Two vahki walking up a hill
one's shot and one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready
There's no time to change your mind
The Hunters have come in the night
now’s your time to flee or fight
.....”All right. The beach is in sight, none of the Hunters have spotted us.” These words came from a toa of air, peering through a small window set in the front of the barge. The other eleven toa relaxed slightly.
.....”We might actually do this,” one pointed out, sensing what his fellow toa were thinking. All around him, the warriors were straightening mask and armor, making sure their weapons were loaded, in good condition, and making every other pre-battle preparation that one could think of. They were nervous, and with good reason: they were in the first of a dozen barges on their way to the legendary city of Metru Nui. They had received a cry for help from that island; a half drowned toa of water dragging herself onto the shore of a nearby land, gasping out something about Metru Nui being invaded by a horde of Dark Hunters. It was not a thing to take lightly, and even less after the toa had recovered enough to give the full report. Metru Nui swarming the city, vahki slaughtered and driven back, matoran unable to leave their homes, the toa and turaga besieged in the coliseum... It sounded like something from a horror story.
.....”Wait!” the same toa shouted again, startling everyone. Every eye was upon him as he continued,
.....”We have been spotted! Half dozen Hunters, they came out of nowhere. My bet is that they’ve been watching u-UGH-” The last word came out as a grunt. Before the toa’s startled eyes, the air warrior collapsed in a mixture of shattered glass and blood, a neat hole through the forehead of his kanohi; a sniper had shot in the through the small window. The barge was plunged into chaos as the Toa leaped out of the way of the viewing hole, as if more bullets would somehow strike them through it.
.....Their leader, a veteran Toa of Ice named Anzon, quickly settled them down with a few angry commands. He whipped out a small communicator and spoke into it.
.....”This is barge one, we’re approaching the shore, a Dark Hunter sniper got one of us through our viewing hole, we guess a Sanok; make sure that can't happen again. I suspect a trap. Anyone here have an Akaku?”
.....”This is barge seven, we’ve got one, scanning now.” There was a pause.
.....”You were right, barge one, there are about a hundred Hunters, maybe more. They’re in every form of cover known to man; trenches, rubble, buildings. They’re all armed too, I see a few artillery turrets.”
.....”Not good,” Anzon replied, “Our barges are built for transport, nothing else. They’ll cut us down before we can hit the water, powers or no powers.”
....."What other tactic do we have? Surprise was our best tactic!" came a rather irritated voice from one of the other barges. Anzon sighed and was silent for a moment before finally replying.
....."We have a hundred twenty toa here, we're Metru Nui's only hope, and we're almost in range of weapons more powerful then their snipers. Are you telling me we have nothing planned except for opening our barges and getting butchered?" his voice was hard and he sounded like he was addressing a more dumbwitted novice toa.
....."Iron and stone, get to the viewports, I don't care how many snipers are trained on them!" he barked suddenly. "I want a wall at least thirty feet high between us and the shore; move!"
.....One toa in his barge moved forwards, hesitant until he caught the glaring eye of his leader, upon which he moved swiftly to the port hole, clenching his fists and activating he earth power even as he crouched down so that only an eye was showing through the hole. The water churned as the sand underneath congealed and rose, and to the half astonished eyes of the waiting Hunters, a wall of segmented stone, earth and metal rose up out of the silver sea. In some places the wall was of wood, showing the designs of some of the plantlife toa.
....."Out!" Anzon roared before the toa could relax. "Get into the water before they break that thing down!" Almost in perfect timing, the front walls of the barges were unlatched splashing onto the water. The toa poured out, protected momentarily by the hastily erected barricade. The water was at neck height, the water shallow for how far out they were. Weapons trained at the barricade the moved forwards. Even the flyers stayed in the water, knowing that they would be too large a target otherwise. A half dozen Kakama users grouped at one side, preparing to charge as the advance forces.
.....The barrier exploded, the barrier fragmented and collapsed under a thunder of attacks. The toa of water divided the seas before them, drying the mud into sand; a narrow causeway. The Kakama toa sprinted down it, too fast to be hit. The dry made land fell apart as the toa of water realized the deathtrap they had created, even as several toa going down it were killed or wounded. Powers flashed back and forth as did bullets and energy bolts. On the land the Kakama toa broke into a series of hit and run attacks, focusing on the artillery which was bombarding the toa with both shells and various energy or elemental attacks. Hardly a hundred feet separated the two armies, and the toa, only u to the armpits, increased speed as much as possible. The water was brown from shattered earth barriers, and fragments of trees floated about the water, which was continually being poured, boiling hot thanks to fire toa, upon the Dark Hunter forces, cover or no cover. The toa were relying on constantly made and constantly shattered barriers, but even so they were taking losses. Flyers launched into the air, as did anyone who could get out of the increasingly deadly water. Distance closed, and the Hunters began drawing melee weapons, forming battle lines. Water streamed off the armor of the toa as they closed in, power blazing.
.....Eyra, toa of sonics, crouched behind a particularly large boulder, shaking a little. An arrow was nocked to his string, and no Hunters were shooting at him. It was passably the first respite he had gained since the landing: the toa had gained the beach almost an hour ago, and the fighting had spread into the general area, although it was more duels and sniping wars than a full fledged battle. His hand reached under his mask, wiping the sweat off his brow. Closing his eyes he forced himself to activate his sonar, scanning the area. After ten seconds, he saw it, a skakdi crouching inside a half destroyed shed.
.....”Found one,” he murmured softly to the toa of iron next to him. The grizzled warrior nodded.
.....”Your job, Eyra,” he said simply. The novice toa glanced at him almost pleadingly, but he was unmoved.
.....”Shoot him. Now.”
.....”All right, Rahkan,” Eyra replied a little resignedly. He got to his feet, still concealed. He had turned off his sonar, but still knew exactly where his target crouched, twenty yards away, the building offering no protection from their direction. Evidently he had not noticed them when settling in. Eyra closed his eyes, calming and preparing himself. He had little doubt of this, as unskilled in his power as he was. As long as he could remember, the bow had always been his weapon, and he had sometimes managed to bring down targets as large as Muaka with a single arrow. If he couldn’t shoot this Hunter, he doubted many others could. Slipping his fingers onto the string, he pulled back to full draw; he could keep at that position for almost a minute without tiring. Slowly, carefully he stepped out, eyes and bow focusing on his target. He released the arrow in the second o the three seconds he had allowed himself. The skakdi had just noticed him as he released, but had no time to dodge. The arrow slammed into his side, triggering the weaken aspect of it. As if he’d been hit by a level 7 weaken disk, the Hunter crumpled to the ground, too weak to even move. Glancing at his mentor, Eyra was rewarded by an approving nod. A grin splitting his face he slid behind the boulder.
.....”Where to now?” he asked. Rahkan grunted.
.....”Our team leader was killed in the first landing, recall? I have no way to tell what the landing forces have planned,” was his rather irritable reply.
.....”Shouldn’t we try to rejoin another group then?” Eyra asked, a little bemused.
.....”This place is still crawling with Hunters, and our forces are too spread out,” Rahkan replied. Then after a moment, “no, we’ll just continue on; if we meet up with any other landing forces, we’ll stick with them. If not, then we’ll have to plan our next move. Now go!” With a barely suppressed groan, Eyra got out from the cover of the boulder, arrow nocked to his bow. Rahkan held his compact, custom made lightstone rifle at the ready, eyes flicking around for the sight of any Hunters. Their area of beach was completely empty.
.....“The price paid for getting in a drawn out fight,” Rahkan commented, and both their minds flashed back to the battles they’d endured since landing; the last one had been rather long, and both of them bore the scars of it. They passed the skakdi where he lay, not bothering to bind him; it would be hours before he could even crawl away. Ahead the beach changed into houses, mostly matoran summer homes. A flash of metal on the smashed window of one drew Eyra’s attention, but before he could look at it, he felt Rahkan’s hand on his arm, and glancing at the toa he saw him shaking his head, eyes looking both sad and grim. All the same, it was only seconds later when Eyra looked back again. There, lying sprawled over the windowsill was the corpse of a Ga matoran, blue armor still gleaming in the sun, but the eyes dulled by the fact that her neck was almost severed from her body. He jerked his head away, repulsed.
.....”Is it like this everywhere?” he asked, aghast.
.....”Maybe not. Only where the matoran tried to resist them, or the Hunters needed them gone,” Rahkan replied. “I told you not to look.”
.....”You never said a thing!” Eyra replied in a feeble attempt to regain some of his earlier cheer.
.....”It’s war, boy,” was Rahkan’s grim reply. “You might want to get used to it; the city won’t get brighter after this.”
.....Eyra walked on, already wishing that he’d never received the summons to come.
.....It was almost evening by the time the toa had gained full control over the area and regrouped. The earlier merry army was sober and quiet, the sights and sounds of war fresh on their minds. Of the landing forces, only a little over ninety remained, and they had hardly retaken any of the city. Novices and captains alike lay sprawled on the beaches or drifted in the water, never to rise again. The veterans and leaders were hardly surprised, but among the younger, the general consensus was that if this was victory, they didn’t want to see defeat.
Edited by Zarayna: The Quiet Light, Jun 19 2012 - 08:07 PM.