.....An armored fist connected with an armored head. Bruising was not likely on either side, but it achieved the desired effect as the De matoran who had been struck fell to the ground. He rolled quickly to his feet; the pistol he carried leveled at his attacker. It was a brave move, but futile, as in the same instant a half dozen guns were leveled at him. The sonic matoran didn’t know what was in them, and wasn’t anxious to find out. He still held the gun, but his eyes darted rapidly, and his mind even more. In his left hand he held, clenched tightly, the object he had been given: the reason for this whole ordeal.
..... “All right, you piraka, out with it. What the karz do you want?” he asked, his normally quiet voice sharp and snappy. His attackers, matoran like himself, smiled at each other.
..... “A toa sympathizer, and he doesn’t have a guess,” one said, smirking, “and what’s that in his hand I wonder? Looks awfully like those toa stones you read about. Are you off to be a toa, Anvor? Was a philosopher’s life too quiet for you? Or do you believe ‘Destiny’ called you?”
.....Anvor sniffed, and retorted quickly, his intellectual habits too strong to resist.
..... “Destiny isn’t a being, therefore destiny can’t call me. I suppose next you’re going to say that some big fat fire toa dropped it on my doorstep for naming day, right?”
..... “Never use sarcasm on one of these blasted literalists,” the first speaker muttered, glaring. Anvor smiled at a point well struck, regardless of his chances of living for more than a minute.
..... “Regardless,” broke in another, perhaps the leader. “You've always been standing up for those toa Virum, and now they’ve given you one of their precious toa stones.”
..... “How right you think you are, and how wrong you were. No, as much as I know, this gift was not made by the good Virum. What it is, I have yet to tell you,” Anvor replied. He had put away his gun, and was standing so his right side was facing them. Behind him, his left hand slowly pried the covering off the precious object he had been gifted with. He had told no lie, for the Virum had neither given nor made it to the best of his knowledge; his scornful statement about naming day had been almost dead on. He had found it inside his door that morning. Such statements were not lying, merely dodging cleverly around any truth that was too revealing. But it would not satisfy them for long, he knew. There were many other things he knew. Anvor was one of the few of the class known as ‘students’. Of the one thousand odd years of his life, he had spent most of his time in the Great Temple, although he was a mere novice in the eyes of some of the older denizens of the now ancient temple. Metru Nui culture had taken ever since that time, over a thousand years ago, when the fabled Toa Nuva had entered Karda Nui, never to return. Slain were they, and with them died the hope of awakening Mata Nui. The slayer was a rebel Makuta, Icarax by name. He had taken over the Brotherhood, defeated Teridax, and waged a worldwide war. When the dust settled, Metru Nui was unharmed, but in seclusion, cut off from the world. During the war, the sea gates had been turned into fortresses. Now cities surrounded them, and few people from the rest of the universe entered past these port cities. Metru Nui was once again doing a roaring trade, and soon it had reached the point where the population of the cities was far too small. In response to this, Turaga Dume with the aid of the other turaga, activated the long forgotten matoran factories. No one ever knew how they worked, for it was guarded too well, with seemingly half the city’s vahki on patrol, but the result was known; tens of thousands of matoran of every different element had come into being, Anvor among them. In the space of a few years, Metru Nui’s population had swelled to over a million. Metru Nui was no longer a city, but a group of cities, all populated by matoran of every different element, mostly living in harmony. Slowly as the years passed, visitors from the outside became even fewer, and matoran from the port cities rarely strayed to the main island for anything except for business. In isolation, with only the turaga and toa as non matoran, a strange new sentiment had grown. Matoran as the rational race, with all others being a lower form, and the subspecies of matoran; toa and turaga, were not included in this race. It was this sentiment that possessed the gang he was facing, as well as thousands of other matoran, chiefly in the main city. Out on the port cities, people usually had their heads screwed on right.
.....Anvor’s hands moved again, the bindings upon the stone gave way. He had studied much, including toa stones, and how they worked. It had been only ceremony to place the stone within the Suva of the great temple; a touch would transfer the power. The first speaker broke the short pause.
..... “Enough. The stone, and your life ends swiftly,” he said flatly, his gun still aimed at Anvor’s head.
.....Anvor acted. His hand closed around the stone, and he held it up, silver light radiating outwards, congealing around him. The others were blinded, as was Anvor. Stretching he felt, power coursed through him. He felt himself elongating, growing taller. He had read of this, he knew what it meant. As the light began to fade, he stretched out his hands, only to aid the reaching of his soul: spiritual hands reaching for a spiritual power, a power always latent, now exploding. His spirit’s hands grasped, his mind seemed to push down upon a gas pedal, and power burst out. Sheer sound burst from him, white power surrounding it. A wall of power it seemed, smashing into and through everything around. Screams he heard not, no sound registered, for his sound shielded itself from him. Still around him, all was white, but a fading brightness. The power he had felt coursing within him began to fade, and a spinning weakness, as if he had not eaten for a week, filled him. Vision returned, and Anvor frowned in puzzlement, looking at the ground. He had not remembered climbing a ladder.
.....Oh wait, he checked himself, You grew, remember?
.....Then he looked up.
.....There were no enemies alive. They lay on the ground, armor broken, blood vessels burst. The surrounding ground and buildings looked like a dozen bombs had struck. Glass shattered, metal bent and stone turned to dust. Some had collapsed, others looked like they were about to.
.....Oh karzahni, you had to use a nova blast, didn’t you? Anvor thought grimly, smiling a little. But inside he felt satisfied, although a little troubled. He had slain for the first time. His mind analyzed: murder? No, he had been threatened, and was probably about to die. Therefore, it was righteous. All the same, his mind rebelled against his intellect, and he still felt numb. He shook his head, and his frown deepened as he looked at himself. He had expected to see grey and silver armor, and indeed, it was there. He frowned: it was not part of him! It felt like he was simply wearing armor, not having it fused to him. Looking closely, he noted that he wore silver chainmail, with gunmetal plate armor protecting his arms and legs. He reached and pulled off his left gauntlet. Instead of the standard hand of a toa or matoran, he was met by a slim, totally unarmored grey hand with skin the texture of leather, and probably as hard. He felt the same inside, so he must still be quite mechanical on the inside. Yes, he was not a normal toa, but he was still one: the nature was the same, although his shape may have changed...
.....As he perceived the crowd of onlookers, Anvor wished that he was a little less of a normal toa. They were drawing closer, bending inwards a hastily formed parameter that a squad of vahki had formed. Anvor turned and fled, even as more chaos was formed by the two conflicting parties. He had only one opinion of this; it was a mess, and all he wanted to know was how he had gotten the stone, and why he wasn’t a standard toa.
.....Evening set in on Metru Nui, the last glints of two suns reflecting off the pristine metal and glass boxes that were the homes of the matoran. It seemed calm, flying high upon the wings of technology, throwing anything that refused to fly off the side.
..... As he had known for a while, Anvor was one of those things. The only change was that they were now trying to throw him, instead of just planning to. The city was buzzing with excitement: a toa had been born, and of course it had proceeded to level whatever was nearby. Of course, trust a toa to do that. That the was popular thinking, and if anyone thought of the dead matoran found, it was only to nod primly at the terroristicness of toa. Centuries of bigotry and hate needed only this one incident to flare up into militant hatred. Riots broke out demanding the disbanding and exportation, or execution of the city’s toa team. While they were easily dispersed by a concentrated force of vahki, their spirits were not dampened.
.....Half aware of this, Anvor had only one goal; stay alive. He knew the basic layout of the city, enough to know how to get from one place to another relatively unnoticed. That was one thing; trying to get from one place to another when you were a seven foot tall toa who had just leveled a block in the middle of the city was another. Anvor had never been skilled In stealth, and so found it slow going. He moved slowly from one place to another, bent with exhaustion from the massive power he had expounded. It was so easy... Just lie down, relax, sleep. Who cared about what happened: the ground looked so soft, so comfortable... His legs were aching and his breath was long gone...
.....Anvor shook his head sharply, as if a physical movement would help clear the mental fog within. Rationalize it, he thought; it was always the best way. He was still in Sector 3, or ‘Ta Metru’ as it once had been known, but he was nearing the border between it and the next sector, once Ga Metru. The Great Temple, his destination, was not far now. Nokama would give him sanctuary, if she or anyone else there poked their nose out of a book long enough to notice him.
.....Lured on by thoughts of safety, Anvor moved quicker, until he could see the border ahead of him.
.....It was then and only then that he remembered a once mundane, now chilling fact: the borders between the sectors were actually narrow channels, and chutes were the only connection over them. That meant at least one matoran operator, several vahki, and whatever matoran that were nearby. As a matoran, it was easy. As a toa, it was nigh impossible. He could try to swim, but remaining unsighted would be extremely difficult, and he doubted he would have even the strength for that. He did not trust the vahki, for it was highly likely that he was branded as a wanted criminal, and even less the matoran, who would tear him to shreds whether or not he was the worst piraka or the holiest toa. It was stand and fight, and pray for a miracle.
.....Yeah, sure, I certainly am in the best condition. I’ve found out some key usages of sound, and I’m armored. On the flipside, I don’t have a lot of energy; physical or elemental, I’m practically unarmed, and I have no idea how to use my mask. Fun, fun fun...
.....Griping wouldn’t help, he knew that much, and looked at his surroundings. The majority of the buildings were warehouses, empty in the midevening, a blessing most certainly. It was a quiet section of the city, and lying inside a dumpster, he was well hidden from unfriendly eyes. His eyes waged war on staying open, and he fought them viciously as he tried to think. His future was easy to forsee. He could by some miracle manage to flee from Metru Nui entirely, he could spend the rest of his life wandering in the depths of the archives, until he eventually ran out of energy and completely shut down for good. Or he could get found, captured, and either imprisoned or worn limb from limb.
.....Or... He could find whoever was responsible for this entire mess...
.....The toa Virum were the most likely, but he knew next to nothing about them. They lived in total seclusion in northern Ga Metru, in an ancient building, al least twenty thousand years old. He had seen it, and it had struck him as wonderfully beautiful. The old castle, surrounded by ancient trees and an equally old stone wall, was far more peaceful and pristine than any of the skyscrapers built by matoran these days. But of the toa themselves, and of what they did, nothing was known; no one had even seen them in the last seven hundred years. If they had sent the stone, why weren’t they caring about the person who had received it? The question he asked was answered by another thought. He had been running roundabout, from sidestreet to sidestreet. Unless there was a psionics toa on their team, it would be almost impossible to locate him while he kept moving. This last thought defeated his resistance, and digging rubbish aside, he half covered himself with it. In an instant, his eyes had closed, and he had fallen into an exhausted slumber.
.....The feeling of shaking broke through into his dreamless sleep, and he instinctively tensed, slowly waking up. His eyes snapped open; it had not been his imagination, for he felt it again. Someone was shaking him. He sat up with a start, shedding the garbage that had covered him. But although his still bleary eyes looked al around, he could see nothing. It was not quite dark, the twilight around him showed the promise of approaching dawn. Then he heard someone. It was a strange, and by no means pleasant experience as his ears detected a shape standing over him, a shape remarkably like his own. He lashed out, only for his hand to be grabbed.
.....”I see you’ve discovered sonar, Anvor.” The voice was quiet and restrained, and Anvor had the impression that a turaga had just addressed him. Looking at his hand, he saw two gauntleted hands grasping his wrist, two armored arms connected to an armored body. Forest green eyes gleamed out from behind a great Huna, old and a bit amused.
.....”Who are you?” Anvor asked, his voice sounded rusty as it always did when he first woke up.
.....”I see you received my package,” he said in reply, releasing Anvor’s wrist.
.....”You’re the leader of the Virum, aren’t you?” Anvor asked, the pieces coming together in his mind, as potency became act.
.....”Yes, Enza is my name, and I am their leader... And yours?”
.....”What happens if I don’t want to join you?” Anvor asked, cutting straight to the core of the matter.
.....”You stay in hiding for a few more days, until you’re either torn apart by matoran, or imprisoned by vahki. It’s a fate few wish for,” Enza replied simply.
.....“It seems then that I have little choice. I will join,” Anvor said with a sigh, getting to his feet. The few hours of sleep seemed to have worked a miracle, for he felt some energy. Nonetheless, he was sure that he could do with at least another ten hours of rest.
.....”Have you learned to use your Kakama yet? No? Well then, lend me yours,” Enza replied, and Anvor traded masks. The toa of air gripped him by the arm, and began to run. All around the world faded into a blur. Anvor felt spray hit him, and realized with a start that Enza was running on the sea itself. To his left the shore flashed by in a blur. He was sure that they had passed the great temple within the first five seconds, and within a half minute they were on land. Just as Anvor was beginning to feel speed-sick, Enza leaped into the air, dragging the sonic toa behind him. They landed on a rampart, and Enza released Anvor.
.....”Welcome to the castle Virum, my home, and now yours,” Enza said simply. They were on a tall, thick stone wall, complete with parapet and walkway. In front of them stretched several acres of ground. The ground was well treed, massive and ancient oaks in lines along the side of the paved path from the gate, and placed randomly elsewhere. Thick grass was around them, and moss upon the ground where grass grew not. Cobbled walkways wound about, and flowerbeds lined them. Innermost was a stone building, tall and compact, a fortress seemingly thousands of years old. Stained glass filled the windows, and parapets topped the towers of the fortress. It was taller than the surrounding buildings, and incredibly out of place. It looked peaceful, and Anvor instantly loved it.
.....”It looks... Peaceful,” he said softly. It wasn’t enough, he felt, but it was all he could articulate.
.....”Come on. You’ve had a rough day; you could use a few hours of sleep,” Enza said as they again switched kanohi. Anvor nodded gratefully, and they walked down the nearest flight of steps.
.....It was morning when Anvor awoke, and the first reaction he had was one of discomfort. He slid out of bed, and was rewarded with the uncomfortable feel of stiff muscles. The room he was in was fairly small, made of stone like the building. It was simply furnished, with a bed, armchair, dress, and some other simple furniture. For a moment, he wondered where on earth he was. Then the last day came back to mind. He looked down, and nodded. Yes, it was real, and judging from his first discomfort, sleeping in his new armor was not comfortable. It would take some getting used to. Anvor stretched, yawned, and walked to the door. It was wood, carved in seemingly pointless wavy patterns, and he noticed that the knob was slightly worn as he turned it. Outside, a door confronted him, and as he looked left and right, he realized that he was in a hallway. The door opposite of him was the only one in that wall, and Anvor noticed that there was an inscription on the door; it was the entrance to the library. He smiled; it was the perfect setup. He could see that the hallway turned forwards at both ends, and walked to the right, guessing that it wouldn’t matter which way he walked, he’d still get to the same place. He was right, as he came out on a balcony. To his left, he could see the other end of the hallway. Below him was the door to the castle, and a dark red carpet led from it to (he presumed) a door below him. It was like nothing he’d ever seen before, even in the houses around the great temple. It was exhilarating, fascinating, and a little terrifying all at the same time. He shook himself out of his thoughts and walked forwards, down a flight of marble steps to the main floor. His presumption was correct, as the carpet ended at a double door, made of carved wood. Anvor put a hand on each handle, and pulled, slipping through the opening, as the doors closed behind him. Inside was a large dining room, marble floor and walls, and what looked like a false ceiling of chandeliers, all lit with fire, another thing Anvor had never seen. However, at the end of the table, he could see Enza and several other toa sitting, most of them turning to look at the new arrival. He walked forwards a little nervously. The table seemed far too long for the eight odd inhabitants present, he thought. They all were similarly armored, although there was definitely differing styles and colors among them. All of them however, wore a surcoat, which Anvor guessed had their own personal emblem. As he drew near, Enza rose to his feet, and the other toa followed suit.
.....”God’s morning to you, Anvor. I see you’ve recovered somewhat from yesterday’s events. From what I hear, you were quite the sensation, the entire city is talking of nothing else. The uproar in fact is spreading to the portal cities, although it’s a little more rational there.”
.....”Let me guess, riots, protests, wild eyed speakers preaching holy war against the infidel toa, mops butchering vahki, and general upheaval?” Anvor asked wryly.
.....”If the state of this city wasn’t so evident, I’d think you had a mask of clairvoyance. You’ve got everything going on completely right. Dume is trying to restore some order, and is siding with the matoran insomuch that he has you on the wanted list for destruction of private property and murder. Nonetheless, every single working vahki must be being deployed right now, so some order should be restored soon,” Enza replied. Anvor nodded, not surprised in the least.
.....”That aside, Anvor, I would like you to meet the rest of your team. Caith, magnetism; Lasca, plantlife; Gorn, fire; Talama, iron; Acknar, stone; Zelisia, ice. Ladies and gentlemen, our newest member: Anvor, sound.”
.....Anvor nodded, feeling a little awkward. His eyes scanned the others swiftly, noting down what he saw. Caith was average height for a toa, and his armor was black with gunmetal chainmail, in the same style as Anvor and Enza’s armor. His mask was a Kadin, and his mouth smiled through the already smiling mouthpiece. Lasca was a few inches shorter than him, emerald green armor overlaying dark blue chainmail. Her mask was a Calix. Gorn was even shorter, at least a head below Anvor, but he was twice as broad. Unlike the others, his armor was composed entirely of black plate armor, with brilliant red chainmail underneath. His mask was one Anvor did not know, although it looked rather like a streamlined Komau. Also unlike the others, he wore his weapons; clawed gauntlets and small disc launchers mounted on his lower arms. Talama was standard height, wore a Sanok, and had gunmetal plate armor, with burnt orange chainmail beneath. Acknar was a full head taller than anyone else, with brown scale armor over black chain mail. He wore a Mahiki. Last was Zelisia, only a few inches shorter than Acknar, thin, with silver chainmail and white plate armor. She wore a mask of possibilites. All in all, they looked quite unlike the standard toa, but Anvor felt an instant liking to them.
.....”Um, hi,” Anvor said. The other toa exchanged glanced, some stifling a smile.
.....”And a merry ‘um, hi’ to you as well!” Caith answered back, not stifling his grin. Anvor grinned at him, feeling more relaxed already.
.....Once again evening fell over Metru Nui, but this time, it fell over a now calm city. The unrest was quelled, and now Vahki searched for the missing toa, instead of gangs of matoran. Anvor sat upon the roof of one of the towers, a book in hand, arms resting on a parapet, looking out over the darkening city. So absorbed was he that he hardly noticed when Enza walked in and sat down next to him. Only when the toa of air cleared his throat did Anvor look up.
.....”News bulletin?” he asked, and Enza nodded.
.....”The matoran are peaceful again. Vahki are still searching for you, but I’ll soon clear it up with Turaga Dume. I think you’re safe.”
.....Anvor sighed, shaking his head.
..... “It’s great being a toa and all... But I wish the stone had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
..... “So do all who live to see such times,” Enza replied somberly, “but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
.....And as he spoke, the twin suns finally set. But where there would normally be blessed stillness, the lights of the city still shone, blotting out half of the stars.
.....”The days of the Elements are over,” Enza whispered, and Anvor could feel pain and loss in his voice, increasing as he continued.
.....”The days of technology have come.”
And there you have it, my entry, and probably my longest story. I used the quotes 'I wish the ring had never come to me etc.' and 'the age of man is over, the age of the orc has come.'
This is a preview for my upcoming epic, Contra Vitam.
Edited by Zarayna: The Quiet Light, Apr 04 2012 - 03:31 PM.