It was as if a storm cloud had covered the sun; the bright yellow light had dimmed to little more than a whisper of illumination, which faded into complete shadow at the far end.
Red eyes gleamed out of the darkness, lending a glow sufficient to define a harshly angular mask. A smooth, glib voice snarled, "Why did you invite me to the Equilibrium? This is an inconvenient time. I was about to harrow someone."
The light being stepped to the center of the room to stand over a large table, whereon he traced his finger across a large map. "We have business to speak of," he said simply.
"It's a pity. He was such a happy soul." The eyes twinkled, and a smile crept beneath them. "Oh, well. It won't hurt me to give him a few more minutes of contentment. Just make it quick."
This new figure moved toward the center of the room, gaining a vague silhouette. He was tall and lean, his panoply adorned with ample spikes. A tattered cloak billowed behind him like a trail of smoke. "What is it?" he asked carelessly, leaning against a pillar beside the table.
"It's this new island." The figure stabbed a point on the map.
"What is there to discuss?" The shadowy figure shrugged. "You claimed the last one. This one's mine."
"I know that's true. But I want this one."
"And why should I let you have it? Out of the kindness of my heart?" His laugh was as smooth as his tone.
"This one is different, somehow. It has so much potential."
"Potential! It is all the same. It merely matters how you use it."
"You don't use potential, you twist it."
"Call it what you will. It makes no difference." The smooth voice darkened. "You still have no claim that outbids mine."
"Then how shall we settle this?" Instinctively, the white figure's hand went to the hilt of his saber.
"Oh, don't be dramatic. I have no interest in killing you today." The red eyes brightened suddenly. "But I know. We'll split it."
"Bad choice of words. We'll share it."
The resplendent figure raised an eyebrow. There was a pause before he asked, "And how do you propose we do that?"
"Instead of settling this in the arena, we settle it on the battlefield."
"Not war," was the indignant response. "Combat is so plain. Good versus evil, the two great powers battling eternally for supremacy." The ebon figure gagged. "So cliché. And I'm blasé. But here we have, as you say, potential. Conflict on a diffuse scale."
"An out-and-out free-for-all?" The light being was taken aback.
"Chaos." A rapacious smile crossed the scarred mask. "We'll make a sort of game out of it, you and I. We'll each control all the pieces. Rather than battle, it will be a real competition. Survival of the fittest, if you will."
"I won't allow it. I don't like gambling with fate."
"Oh, do lighten up." The black figure laughed at his own wit. "It's not a gamble at all. It's a game of strategy."
"And the pieces? Living, breathing beings, with minds and hearts, and destinies of their own! These are peoples' lives we're talking about!"
"Oh, what good do they do with them, for all that living and breathing?"
"And what do you care about good?"
"I thought it might interest you." The sinister creature straightened and moved to the table. He leaned closer to the white figure, his eyes gleaming malefically. "The Toa will protect the Matoran, as they always do--or will they? The Turaga will lead--or will they? The Skakdi, the Vortixx, the Makuta, all will have their place within our little ecosystem--or will they? You see, it is all up to us. We'll take our turns and make our moves, and as for the consequences--" He waved a dismissive hand. "Existence has its consequences."
The other hesitated. "There will need to be--rules."
"Of course. Any game needs rules. Without them, how could anybody cheat?" The ebon figure grinned. "We'll need to lay down a law for our new people. Regulations, limitations, assignations, what have you. All of that. To play you need a field"--he tapped the island on the map--"and a way to play. And then the contest begins."
The white figure stroked his mask in consideration. He took a long look at the island designated on the map, then extended a hand. "It's a deal. We'll play."
His new opponent took his hand and shook it, laughing. "Winner takes it all! Some real excitement at last!" He winked and turned to leave.
"But we still need a name for this--contest."
Without looking back, the black-clad figure disappeared into the shadows. "It's a little bit of everything, isn't it? It's no simple sport. It's alpha to omega, and everything in between. Or everyone. We're the heads, and the letters are our unfaithful, unwitting armies. Yes, we're the alphas. So they'll start with beta." A door creaked, and his final words echoed in the chamber before it shut with a slam: "We'll call it BZ-Koro. Do you like that?"
Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith