- Chapter 8: Aetius’ tale –
“You cannot start a story without talking about the people that are involved into its plot, nor without saying who’s bad and who’s good. Therefore, I’ll start from the very beginning.
My people lived on this planet since it existed. We were known as the best weapon craftsmen – and the best men in the use of them. Our village, Koltumieh, was in the far North and few knew how to reach it. So, if customers couldn’t get to us to buy things, we brought these to the customers.
Bandits and marauders didn’t even try to attack us. Our outposts and fortresses were many, well located and strongly armed. However, beasts didn’t know our language, so we had to escort merchants’ convoys to prevent the attacks of the wild animals.
Only the Skrall dared to face us, yet with scarce results. Every time we drew them back, they raised their weapons again. Their strategy was good and I think they stole it from ours: they attacked with few men, ambushing us. They never could stop us, but they caused our convoys to delay.
The reason of our success was that our tribe, if we can call it this way, wasn’t a distinct and separate one, but it put together people from every friendly tribe. Fire, Ice, Water and Jungle tribes lived together in our settlements, fighting and working side by side.
Obviously, there was a separate class in our small society, known as Cúhmeiri, from the name of our first Master, Cúhmeir the Bladeborn. You have to know that a war made this planet to tremble.
Thousands of years ago, a great discovery broke the thin peace between tribes: it was found that the core of the planet contained an energized substance which provided huge amounts of energy. And the tribe that could have ruled on it would have had the biggest power. As always when talking about of power, madness made its appearance. So the scourge began. Core War, they called it.
My people didn’t side with anyone. We didn’t fight in that war. Our reason to fight is to protect innocent lives from harm, not to cause harm. But not fighting didn’t mean not suffering. Driven by their crazy desire for power and glory, warriors came to our village and killed many of our people, for unknown reasons. They all said, no matter which tribe they belonged to, that we had been sentenced as deserters and traitors. We couldn’t fight them back at that time. They were too much, too strong and better armed. Also, more infamously, they caught us during sleep time.
Later, when the Great Cataclysm destroyed the planet and sent two fragments of it into orbit, we answered to the world that betrayed us. We traveled further in the North, mile after mile, until we found the valley of Mcheyl, where our first leaders, the Hjalemiri, which means Eagles of the North in our language, founded our new city, Varxylieh, Sun of the Dawn. Here we regained our strength, protected by the cold, cruel mountains.
However, our greatness was still far from the once powerful and respected Nation. So, Cúhmeir, the leader of the Hjalemiri and great hero of the Resistance of Koltumieh, decided to give his followers, the Cúhmeiri, the opportunity to get hired by External People for murder jobs. Therefore, we were known also as Assassins.
This way, we earned lots of money and other precious goods like food and raw materials for our weapons. In a hundred years, we were as solid and well-off as before the Core War and, in the meantime, we also made some discoveries that gave us many other tools to fight whatever we were called to battle. These discoveries were the Cúhmeir’s artifacts and the Exomyte Vein. Probably you’ve never heard them, so I think I’ll have to explain something.
The Exomyte is a strange mineral that, if put on contact with air, burns for a seemingly infinite amount of time. In facts, its name means “never ending flame”. The eldest sample of this particular stone has been found two years after theCore War and it’s been shining since that day. As for Cúhmeir’s artifacts, I can’t tell you much about them, since they’re the most sacred things in our culture. However, I’m allowed to reveal you the details of two of them: I’m sure you won’t blab these things to others, because, in that case, we would find you, anyway. And then you’d be shut up for the eternity.
Back on our little secrets, the first is the Pistol. I carry one on the right arm, do you see it? Its ammo is made of little balls of metal, which are fired when the fragment of Exomyte gets in contact with a small cup of an explosive liquid. This generates an explosion, which sends the bullet flying, until it hits enemies’ cranium. It’s slow to reload, so we don’t use it very often, but it proved to be really useful in critical situations. It provides a fear factor, do you understand? People aren't used to see such things, so they’re scared when they see a prodigy like that. The other artifact is our trademark, the Cúhmeiri’s standard equipment, whereby we could defeat everyone with its only aid. Its name is “Deathflash”, but it’s more commonly named as Hidden Blade, which I have on the left arm. The mechanism that moves both the pistol and the blade is based on the usage of a certain force with the arm, which needs to be moved with “X” force. They’ve been designed by our ancestors, whose things are old as the world. The Hjalemiri discovered a temple where they stored all their knowledge and transcribed it on a stone. Its instructions had been used to develop these weapons.
Now, it’s time to speak about the reasons of my worry. As you may have understood, I’m a Cúhmeiro. And like all my companions, I’ve dedicated my whole life to fight our enemies. We’ve never understood where they come from, but we suspect they’ve always lived further in the North. Sincerely, I doubt about this, since those regions are inhabited by the most dangerous creatures I’ve ever seen and its ground spits toxic gas non-stop. However, all those treats seemingly never affected them, for they are very skilled both in weapons and magic. Yes, magic. Or, at least, we call it this way. Perhaps it’s a technology so advanced that we can’t understand it. Sorcerers, that’s how we called them. Anyways, they’ve been our biggest concern since we first met ‘em after the Core War. Cúhmeir was already dead at that time. Writings in the Book of the History, the book where our story is written, say that they appeared north-east from the city. They were unarmed, or so we thought, because, when they reached the gates, they unleashed some mysterious power and broke them, thus giving them the opportunity to kill many of our warriors. However, they were less than us, so we could reject their forces. But they soon returned with more warriors and they promptly answered to our violence. And they repeated their attacks during the years, searching for something. Century after century, we’ve made it until ten years ago. This time we were the losers. It happened during a night, one of the darkest ones. They struck with brutality and rage. Desperation, a thing we never knew even during the long days of our battles against the other tribes during the Core War, ruled in our hearts. I can still remember the horrors of our fall.
Can you imagine it? Innocent people, burnt in their houses while they were sleeping; the unfortunate ones who woke up just to see their dears carbonized in the middle of the ruins of their once beautiful house, now burning in the night, star on the ground mirror of the sky, their tears evaporating within the flames; my brothers and sisters falling while fighting one hundred enemies per one; our old Master killed with unnecessary bestiality. My Blade Sister and future spouse stabbed in the back...”
Aetius’ eyes glowed at the light of the candle he lighted few minutes before. He lowered his head. Silence. Small drops fell on the ground. But it was just matter of minutes. He raised his head again, his eyes burning, desiring vengeance.
“My future spouse stabbed in the back, her eyes slowly closing, surrendering to the only thing we’ve never been able to defeat; her last words, which I barely heard in the roaring of the flames in the darkness and the war cry of the enemies: “Save our treasure… let me go… we’ll meet again, because the Great Spirits wants it”. I can still remember that I told her “I won’t let you die, Lijnee, I promise you”. But I was already talking to an empty corpse. That has been the only promise I couldn’t keep in my whole life.
I can’t tell you much of what happened after. I was blind for the rage. The only thing I know is that I somehow managed to escape with the survivors I had been able to find, less than a dozen I think, behind me and the artifacts of our treasure in a sack.
By that day, we’ve been wandering in the known world, scattered and confused. Weak, for the first time. We kept us far from our fortresses, conscious of a sure death if we would have ever approached one of them. We’ve been traveling to the four corners of the world and even further. Barely accepted by the other Glatorian and Agori, Toa and Matoran watch us with suspicion. Our methods are very different from yours. The Toa Code prohibits murder, and murdering is our way to defeat the enemy. So we had to keep far from the main cities, too, for we don’t want investigating eyes on us, and to go here and there, trying to find something that could give us a new hope. That’s why I was traveling in the desert where I found you. I had been informed of some troubles in that zone: merchants caravans told about strange noises, arcane words and storms of every type. Now, all my doubts - and fears - have seemingly been cleared. The thing that attacked us is perhaps one of the members of the leading class among the Sorcerers, one of the Wiilkyti. “Wiilkyt”, in our language, means “necromancer”. In facts, we’ve had reports of strange underground activities, usually in tombs, of these people. Since we’ve known the Sorcerers, they’ve always been wandering in tombs, cemeteries and such, practicing their arts on tombstones. We actually don’t know if their true purpose is to create some sort of undead creatures, but we think they’re trying to find a way to definitely destroy us. And the Wiilkyti have the power to do such things. During our investigations in their territories, we’ve found out that they grant their minions’ weapons special powers. It looks like they have the biggest “magical” resources in their civilization. They can shape shift and transform their bodies into practically everything, as far as we know.
I don’t know what they’re up to and I don’t know what they want from you, but I swear I’ll do my best to find the truth.
Blades of the Night,
Masters of Doom.
Silence is our cloak,
Darkness our cowl.
Avoiding the day to protect it,
we’re the Cúhmeiri!
My story ends here. Now it’s time for the future to come.”
Edited by Emile A239, Jul 13 2012 - 11:40 AM.