Posted Oct 17 2011 - 08:01 AM
The Day your Life Ends
In his waking moment, the toa felt rushing air.
Then came cold, hard stone in a sudden, crashing stop.
Za’Ratha lay sprawled on the ground, blood dripping from the new gash in his shoulder. He cursed and looked for the being that dared bring him from sleep in such a violent way. The sight he was met with caused him to rethink the action he was about to take. The large, deadly presence of General Diru filled the room. All the prisoners not awake the Steltian was beating in some similar way.
For some strange reason, as Za’Ratha saw, the titan was even waking - just as roughly, of course - the prisoners not running that day. The toa held one hand over his shoulder as he painfully got up and spat at Diru’s back. Indeed, more than he performed such an action. They would be beaten to wherever anyways, with or without an expelling of saliva or a rude gesture.
All sans the ten Runners were driven to some unknown destination to labor for the day. Za’Ratha was surprised to see that Diru went with them and did not take the ten. He looked as the other nine had mostly wondering expressions on their faces. Tullë was busy with patching up another, named Wynli. Indeed, it seemed she needed it more.
All had fresh wounds in some way from being woken up. Most were just a bunch of scratches and a sore back, but three of them were more severe. Tullë was still fixing up Wynli. Za’Ratha was next, and then a toa named Aringor. The other six were sitting or standing wherever, waiting for something to happen.
“Know what? The door is standing wide open. We can make a break for it,” commented Nexa, who was leaning against a wall with her fingers flipping a dagger.
“Yes, and then get caught and killed. No thanks,” growled Nind, a muscular half-toa. He was also part Steltian of the middle class, making for an interesting sight. His white Pakari was turned to a frown, accenting the muscular curves of his white body.
“He’s right. We have next to no chance of survival,” added Yntre, her silver Rau flashing in the sunlight. The rest of her metallic blue body shimmered as she shifted.
“Don’t be so jolly clever. We have our powers, masks, and weapons back,” retorted the black toa of lightning.
“Three of us are in no condition to be much of a help,” added Wynli, gasping as Tullë pulled a bandage on her thigh tight. Fresh blood peppered her already red body, including her Iden.
Aringor’s wiry, blue and gold body contrasted with the others, showing far less muscle on his frame. His Elda was turned into a frown. Each of the others felt a tingling presence in their mind as they “heard” his voice, “I must agree with Nexa, despite our current state...”
“I-I think w-we need to w-wait...” said a buff toa of the green apprehensively. His weak, unsure voice and the worried eyes in his Calix contrasted with his large, teal body.
An old, yet obviously still athletic toa of earth stepped forward. The grey and black features of his form were hard to make out, even on his Hau. His voice, a hint of wheezing tainting it, replied, “I’m with Eltrin. Despite his lack of confidence, he’s smarter than you all believe.”
“Whatever you guys say... Though I must agree with Eltrin, and by proxy Oroun there. He’s older than most Turaga, and just as wise,” Tullë added as he applied a bandage to Za’Ratha.
Za’Ratha grunted as the other toa pulled the bandage tight, his silver and grey armor clanking as he jerked slightly, and the lens of his Matatu’s eyepiece expanding quickly in pain. “Let’s just get it over with. They wouldn’t leave the freaking door open if they wanted us to do anything else. If it’s a cruel joke, we have our weapons now.”
With nods from those who supported leaving, he walked out. Nexa ran forward, immediately catching up. Tullë quickly patched up Aringor and then followed with a sigh. The toa of psionics left with him. Then the Unknown slowly walked out, his black robes concealing every movement except for the drawing of his rapier. Yntre and Wynli also hesitantly left.
Nind, Eltrin, and Oroun were left in the room. “Well, we have little chance if we are divided. Let’s go,” Oroun commented as he walked out. Eltrin - who was, for all purposes, his pet - quickly followed. Nind rolled his eyes and growled before also following.
Once the eleven had regrouped in the hallway, they began to move forward. Eltrin, Nexa, and Za’Ratha were up front, weapons at the ready. The former held a large battleaxe, the latter held a sword, and the middle had her array of weapons to use. The Unknown stayed near the back, using what seemed to be shadow to cloak himself. The others were scattered in the center.
Strangely enough, when they met a pair of heavily-armed guards at the end of the hallway, they didn’t engage. Instead, the two stepped aside and pointed, then followed the group at about five bio. With a frown from more than one of the toa, they obliged.
Many more pairs of guards were met along the way. Each pair did much the same as the first. By the time they reached a courtyard, about twenty soldiers were trailing the group. All they did was occasionally prod the toa to move faster.
As Nexa stepped forward into the open air, a battalion of soldiers outside lowered their crossbows toward her. She quickly pulled two short swords of her back and held them ready to block, but the arrows were not fired. The guards at the back of the group pushed the rest out and then marched to a large gate. Two of them stayed at the doorway to block escape.
A deep, booming voice resonated across the massive courtyard as two tall, majestic beings rode out on fleshtearers. “People of the United Beings, please welcome King Rhytran, Queen Friltia, and the Royal Army!”
Cheers erupted from the stands surrounding the courtyard. Thousands of beings seemed to be crying out in joy for the bloody event to come. The fleshtearers, both mounted and not, clawed at the ground in anticipation. Their acidic saliva dripped to the ground as they released their screaming roars, adding to the deafening noise.
The voice continued, emanating from a matoran at the royalty’s side, “Today, we celebrate the glorious fifth anniversary of this sport, the Hunt of the Heretics!” The cheers erupted again, forcing him to pause in his speech.
Finally, once they had quieted, he spoke yet again, “And so, today, the Hunt is made eleven times as entertaining! Today, we have eleven Runners, including the Unknown!” More cheers, specifically at the mention of the robed Toa. This raised most of the Runners’ eyebrows as they looked toward him. He stayed silent.
“Yes, the famed Unknown, who somehow manages to appear back in the slave quarters every run, with very few of the Hunters also returning. And so, there is him, Runner thirteen. Let us hope he does not prove able to defeat the army of the United Beings!”
“Then we have Runners 307 through 316, who all appear to be formidable warriors. And then, finally, we have Runner 674. Due to her ridiculous fighting spirit, she has been moved from her position many years from now to this Hunt!”
“Leading each of the seven hunting parties are highly esteemed officers of our army. Leading division one is the great King Rhytran himself, with the Queen Friltia also joining him.”
“Then, leading the second division is the highly esteemed General Diru, veteran of a hundred Hunts and a thousand wars!” The cheers came yet again.
“Leading division three is the powerful General Vryshkahn, known for his brutal strength in battle.” More cheers.
“The fifth division is lead by none other than Lieutenant General Arwex, also known as the Rising Phoenix for his quick ascent through our ranks.” By now the cheers were starting to lessen, but they still greatly permeated the air.
“The leader of division five is the agile Sergeant Nashia, a prime example of a female warrior.” The cheers seemed to carry more of a feminine taint to them.
“Division six is lead by none other than Sergeant Queshra, yet another astounding officer.”
“And finally, the ranged division, division seven, is lead by the supreme sharpshooter Ruten’Hai!”
The toa were led to the gate as it was slowly opened. Some of the fleshtearers jumped forward in anticipation, but were quickly pushed back. The matoran let all whispers die down before concluding with, “And now, three, two, one, go!”
The toa, taking the hint, dashed forward. They didn't sprint, for that would be foolhardy, but they did go at a quick jog. Soon, their feet carried them out of sight and into the forested marshland below. They kept running long and hard.
Finally, after running for almost an hour, the slowest of the group - Aringor, Oroun, Tullë, and Wynli - began to falter, the rest of them slowed also. Many found a sturdy trunk and leaned against it, and any rolled ankles, burrs, and other small, new injuries were lightly inspected by the doctor. No one spoke.
Finally, breaking the silence, Wynli said, "So we stop? We give up already? That's it? What kind of toa are we? Wimps?" The others stayed silent.
"I'm the slowest of the group, and I might slow us down a bit, but we need to keep pressing onward. I'm moving on because I don't want to die." A few groaned, but all got up and followed.
Suddenly, a horn broke the silence, echoing through the swamp. In the distance, the cry of the fleshtearers screamed through the morning air.
And thus, the Hunt was afoot.
TONS OF DAMAGE
Better nerf Irelia.