Note: I wrote this a while back for Kanohi Journal's Lesovikk's Hiatus Contest.
The Scorpion, the Warrior, and the Cliff
Lesovikk trudged along the southern coast of the Southern Continent. The morning sun was bright and revealing. He left a long trail of footprints in his wake. These were set deep in the muddy sand. He looked over at the vast ocean. The water was calm. Nothing stirred. This was in stark contrast to the raging torment in his heart.
Lesovikk stopped walking. His Air Sword left his grasp and hit the sand. He fell to his knees. His muscle tissue had begged for this break. He had been walking for days on end without stopping. He hadn’t seen the point in stopping until his body had said otherwise. He didn’t see the point of anything anymore.
He collapsed onto the sand. He didn’t move for a long time. He had no reason. His muscles took pleasure in this break, but he couldn’t enjoy this moment of rest. It just wouldn’t stop thinking. It kept replaying it over and over again. Lesovikk wanted it to end. He wanted it all to end. The pain was unbearable.
His eyes slowly blinked. Then they stayed closed. They didn’t open for a long time. Lesovikk wouldn’t let them. He had nothing to do, nobody to care for, and no one to care for him. Even though this universe was brimming with life, his world was entirely empty.
“Why did it have to happen?” he thought. “Why did I mess up? Why am I still here?”
Life started to stir as the day got started. Lesovikk decided to ignore the beauty of the sunrise. He felt he didn’t deserve to enjoy the wonderful sight, that he didn’t deserve anything. He could sense something coming closer on the sand. He should have seen this coming. As the day got into motion, creature would awaken from last night’s slumber. Some would be hungry. One Rahi had smelt out its next meal, and it was him.
Lesovikk managed to open his eyes again. The visor of his mask was coated in sand. He created a small breeze to remove the obstruction. Now he could see what hunted him. It was a Nui Jaga.
“This is strange,” Lesovikk thought. “What is a desert creature doing on this beach?”
The creature scuttled closer to Lesovikk. The Toa didn’t move. The distance between the two of them shrunk slowly. He knew what the beast was trying to do. It was trying to herd him to the pack. This tactic wasn’t going to work on this Toa of Air.
The Nui Jaga raised its poisonous stinger and brought it down upon Lesovikk. He rolled and in one smooth motion grabbed his weapon and stood up in a fighting stance. The creature was surprised by the Toa’s speed, but it quickly recovered and was on the attack, but Lesovikk jumped back just as the stinger embedded itself deep in the sand where he had been standing.
While the Nui Jaga was busy trying to free itself, Lesovikk took some precautionary measures. A cyclone came forth from the tip of his sword. The creature tumbled and rolled toward the water. Its stinger was left buried in the sand. It landed on its back, injured and defeated. Lesovikk believed it was time to end it. He readied his Air Sword for the final blow. As he was about to finish it, he found himself stopped by some invisible force. His muscle tissue moved and flexed, but his metal components wouldn’t move. He looked around as best he could, but couldn’t find the source of the problem. The Nui Jaga started to recover.
“Who’s there?” he shouted, “and why are you doing this to me? I’m not one for practical jokes!”
The Nui Jaga had fully recovered and scuttled away in fear. Long after it had left, Lesovikk could move of his own free will again. He looked everywhere, but there was no sign of what had caused him to freeze up, nothing on the ground, anyway.
There was a disturbance in the skies above. He looked up to see a black and grey speck flying high above. Lesovikk unleashed a powerful gust of wind at it. The speck dodged his shot. It then launched a blow of its own. A five-foot deep hole formed next to him. The burst of sand had stuck to his armor.
“Magnetized,” muttered Lesovikk as he tried to rub it off. His adversary now circled overhead. The altitude difference between them shrunk as whoever it was came closer. This being was bipedal with black and grey armor, and he wore a spiked Kanohi. He finally landed a few feet away. He was a Toa.
“Who are you?” asked Lesovikk, his weapon at the ready.
“Is that really necessary?” the other Toa asked. He held up his hand, and Lesovikk’s Air sword flew out of his hand and onto the ground. He got it back with a gust of wind.
“Who said I needed help?”
“After that little spat with the Nui Jaga, I’d say you need a lot of help.”
“I don’t have to listen to this.” Lesovikk started to walk away.
“Aren’t you the least bit curious why that Nui Jaga was so far from its natural habitat?”
“Not at all,” Lesovikk brushed off. He just wanted to move on.
“Yet you were so willing to kill it?”
Lesovikk answered with a sudden burst of wind. It created a cloud of sand that momentarily blinded the other Toa. He used this opportunity to sneak away.
“Why are you so afraid to face yourself?” shouted the Toa of Magnetism. Lesovikk didn’t answer back. He just kept walking. He wanted to get away from the world. He had carried this burden for far too long.
The beach rolled along until it stopped at the base of a cliff. The rock face stretched far over the ocean. He started to climb up the immense rock wall. His hands easily slipped into the cracks and crevices. He almost glided over the rocks and minerals. It was a long climb to the top, but he finally arrived at the edge of the cliff.
An astonishing sight met his eyes. To his right the beach stretched on for miles beyond the horizon. The sand was a blank slate. His footprints and the remnants of the fight with the Nui Jaga and the Toa were gone. The tide had washed them away. The sea was the all-purpose cleaner of the universe.
“Maybe it could do the same for me,” he thought.
He looked over to his left. A long way down from where he stood there were spires of jagged rocks. The waters were violent and choppy. He could see a bit of drift wood slammed against one of the spires. It instantly disintegrated. This was just further evidence on how nothing could survive down there. He stared at the sharp, pointed rocks for a long time, lost in thought. Painful memories flashed through his eyes. It was excruciating. These flashes weren’t going to stop. He started to take the step over the edge.
“Hey there stranger!” someone called behind him.
Lesovikk quickly caught his balance and pulled his foot back. It was the Toa of Magnetism. Lesovikk tipped his head down, trying to capture the glare from the sun on his visor. He didn’t want this stranger to catch onto his vulnerable state.
“What do you want?” he spat impatiently.
“Oh, I’m just checking in on you. You were really distraught this morning. I’d say almost on the verge of breaking down.” He took a step closer. “Am I right?”
Lesovikk’s feet took a few steps back. The ever elusive ledge seemed far away. He just needed a little more time. “No, couldn’t be farther from it,” he choked out. “It was just a dumb beast that needed to be put down.”
“Don’t go saying things like that. Nothing ever needs to be put down. All life is precious. Besides, Toa don’t kill.”
“I’m no Toa!” Lesovikk shouted. He could see the rocks out of the corner of his eye. His patience had run down to its end. He unleashed a strong blast of air from his sword. The force of the winds pushed each Toa over the edge. Lesovikk fell toward the rocks. The other Toa headed for the beach.
“What have I done?” thought Lesovikk. Then he pushed his doubts aside. “He’ll be fine. He can take care of himself.” He still felt guilty, though. A stranger had offered him help, no questions asked, and Lesovikk had shoved him over a cliff. “Okay, that might have been a little harsh.”
He turned around as he fell to his end. He wanted to face the end all the way through. There had to be some dignity there, right? The spires came closer. He was almost on top of them when he stopped. Instead of coming closer, they whizzed by under him.
A set of black and grey armored arms were wrapped around his waist. He looked over his shoulder to see the Toa he had pushed. Now Lesovikk felt the true meaning of guilt. There was also a taste of irony in the mix. It was nearly sickening.
When they landed, Lesovikk stumbled for the first few steps until he fell on his hands and knees. He panted heavily as the effects of the rush wore off. The other Toa had landed perfectly on his feet. Lesovikk couldn’t look him in the eyes just yet. He was too humiliated.
“You know what?” began the Toa of Magnetism, ignoring Lesovikk’s cover, “we haven’t been properly introduced yet. I’ll go first. Hello, I’m Jovan, and you are?” He held out his hand.
Lesovikk was amazed, shocked, and stunned at Jovan’s ability to keep moving. “How do you do that?”
“What? I just want to know your name.”
He finally managed to pull himself up and said, “Lesovikk.” He shook Jovan’s hand.
”Good, definitely a good start,” said Jovan. “Now, as I was saying before, what’s wrong? It must be serious if you were willing to shove me over a cliff like that.”
Lesovikk turned away. “Why would you, or anyone, want to help me?”
“You’re a fellow Toa. Besides our duty to the Matoran and Turaga, we have a duty to each other. If we can’t trust and help one another, then who’s left?”
“Like I said before, I am not a Toa.”
Jovan put a hand his shoulder. “And why is that?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I will always have plenty of time.” He sat down on a nearby rock. “It’s just you and me.”
“I don’t need this.” Lesovikk started to walk away. Then he stopped. He couldn’t move any of his mechanical components, again. “Would you stop doing that?”
“Not until you talk!” cried Jovan. Lesovikk was slammed face-first onto the ground.
“What are you?”
“A Toa concerned for a brother,” he answered. He knelt down by Lesovikk’s head. “And a Toa who knows all the different ways to deal with them.”
“You’re insane!” Lesovikk struggled to get up.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. Maybe eccentric would be the better suited term.”
“Isn’t that what they all say?” he mocked.
“Well, it is, but let’s return the conversation back to you.” Jovan flipped him onto his back with his magnetic powers. “Now, tell me, what’s wrong?”
“Why am I worth so much to you?” said Lesovikk.
“All life is of the highest value, even that Rahi you tried to kill. We’re all here for a reason. We all have a destiny.”
“Then destiny is sick and cruel!” spat Lesovikk. He realized he had said too much. Jovan had the glint of understanding in his eyes.
“So, who have you lost?”
“And who is ‘everyone?’”
“My village, my people, my home, and worst of all my teammates…”
“Your…teammates?” Jovan was confused. Toa don’t normally work in teams.
“Yes, me and seven other Toa, they were some of my closest friends.”
“What happened to them?”
Lesovikk thought back to that horrible day. So many years had passed since then, but it was still heavy in his heart. “It was like any other day. The sun rose in the same way it had the day before. We were on patrol, looking after our Matoran. Then the screams came. We went head first into the chaos. We were young. We thought we were invincible. We were Toa.
“The sight we came upon is still burned in my eyes. A tribe of Zyglak was invading the island. They swore they would kill all the followers of Mata Nui they could find. They had already proved their point with the first group of Matoran they had found. Their lifeless eyes still haunt me in my sleep.
“Then we fought to get rid of them, but it was difficult at first. They had invulnerability to our elemental attacks. We could only fight them by affecting the environment around them. They started to get the upper hand on us, but I saw a way to stop them. I was about to strike when…when I… I hesitated…”
Lesovikk stopped. He couldn’t go any further. His emotions had caught up to him. Jovan released him from his magnetic bonds. Lesovikk curled up into a ball. His grief forced him away from the world.
“I…I’m sorry,” Jovan choked out. “I’m so sorry. I mean that in every way possible, Lesovikk. I… I pushed too hard. But, Lesovikk, Mata Nui has a plan-“
A powerful gale sent him flying through the air until a tree stopped him. Lesovikk stood before him, Air Sword still swirling with his power. His grief had transformed into rage, and all of it was pointed at Jovan. “Don’t talk to me about destiny, Mata Nui, or Great Beings! If any of those things existed, then why did they let seven Toa die, and an entire village vanish that day?”
“But what about the three virtues?” Jovan countered, stumbling to get up on his feet again.
“What about them?” shouted Lesovikk. A tornado from his Air Sword shattered the rock Jovan had been sitting on. “I have no one to be untied with. I have no duty to anyone anymore. My destiny died with my friends. There is nothing out there for me. And don’t tell me destiny wanted them to die that day. That’s a lie! They died because I was a hesitant fool!” He unleashed a cyclone on some nearby trees. They instantly splintered.
He fell to his knees and wept. “They died because of me.”
Jovan went over to him. He knelt down and embraced the upset Toa of Air. Lesovikk could feel himself calm down and ease up. “Listen to me, please. Sometimes things happen that we can’t explain, but they happen for reasons we don’t know. There’s a bigger picture out there, waiting for us. If they didn’t, what would be the point?”
Jovan helped Lesovikk to his feet. “There was something that doesn’t quite make sense, though. You said that the village vanished, but Zyglak don’t make things vanish. What happened there?”
“After the Zyglak…the Zyglak …I went back to the village to warn them, to get them to safety. When I got there, everyone was gone. Their things were still there, but it was all in disarray. I assumed they had left on their own, but then I found the Turaga. He was mumbling to himself, hands fidgety. I confronted him, and he unleashed this bone chilling laugh, almost a cackle. He told me he had shipped off the entire village to Karzahni. I thought it was impossible, that Karzahni was just a myth, but I could see that it was true. I…I’ve been wandering ever since.”
Jovan thought about it through for a bit, and then he said, “There are rumors flying around here that those legends might be true. I wish I could tell you more, but there is a chance your villagers are still around. You might still have someone out there for you.”
“Where do you pick up that kind of rumors?”
Jovan chuckled a bit. “I have my ways.” He patted his Magnetic Bolt Launcher. “If there’s one thing you can learn from me, it’s that knowledge is sharper than any sword.”
Lesovikk felt like he had been punched in the torso. He turned around and thought of the possibilities. “They might still be alive, and I haven’t been trying to find them yet.”
“Yes, but emphasis on the word ‘might.’ However, we’re Toa, and any amount of possibility usually means we’ll follow through all the way.” Then he noticed that Lesovikk had started to run off. “Hey, where are you going?”
“Head first!” he answered back. “It’s time I started to live again!”
“Good for you. Happy I could help you out.”
“Thanks for everything Jovan! I won’t let you down.”