~90,000 years before fall of Teridax
•••••Tarun, Toa of Fire, had never met a challenge he could not overcome. He had protected an entire village of Matoran from a raging volcano; he had faced down a Kanohi Dragon and lived to tell the tale. He was known among his friends and allies to be brave, calm, and ready for anything. When Matoran had cowered, Turaga had hid, and even his own team had been afraid, he would step forward and defend them all, never thinking twice about what he was doing.
•••••For the first time in his life, he was experiencing utter terror.
•••••Physical danger didn't frighten him. He would fight on until the day he fulfilled his destiny. He had faith that Mata Nui, the Great Spirit, would ensure his continued survival until that moment. Because of this philosophy, he would charge into battle with not a moment's hesitation. Even when death seemed near, if that seemed to be his fate, he would accept it easily.
•••••But this was not danger. Or at least, not danger of that kind. What he faced was a completely different kind of challenge, and one he was wholly unready for.
•••••It was assaulting his mind.
•••••"It" was the pit. When Tarun had first been assigned his mission, he had felt reluctant to be torn from his Toa team, especially to work with Makuta. But the moment he had set eyes upon it, he had known why he was needed. The pit extended down as far as the eye could see, which wasn't very far, given that the top layer was coated in shadow. That was the only way to describe it; it seemed as if a layer of darkness simply covered the entrance to the pit.
•••••His task, along with a Makuta strike team, was to explore the caverns beneath. Two Rakshi had been patrolling the area when they had encountered it; they tried to descend, and were never heard from again. Deciding that sentient beings were needed, the Makuta leader, Miserix, had specially requested two Toa to assist his Makuta in exploring it. It was clear why Toa were necessary; Makuta were, at heart, shadow beings; perhaps they could not fight an even greater darkness than their own. So there he was, in a deserted area far from any civilization, trying to explore a cavern that's very nature revolted him.
•••••He didn't feel like he could do the job.
•••••The thing was not trying to overpower his mind; no, he had been trained to defend against such attacks by an old friend, who had told him he would one day need it. Perhaps he knew, thought the Toa. The axe-carrying stranger had certainly seemed to know much more than Tarun could ever comprehend.
•••••Rather, this attack was using his own intelligence, his own thoughts, his own memories against him. It was using Rendor against him. No, I will not think about that. I will not! I swore I would not! But try as he might, he could not shut out the memories. Flashes of images assailed his mind.
•••••When he could bear it no longer, he used the oldest thing he had ever learned; when in need, reach out to your fellow Toa. He turned to his ally for help, and then decided that Necroz would be no use. It wasn't than Tarun was prejudiced in anyway - it certainly wasn't the Toa's fault - but Necroz could never understand.
•••••Something had happened to the Toa of Ice, years ago. He did not mention it in the presence of other Toa. He had returned from a mission, crazed, attacking anyone in sight. His armor and mask were blackened. He had been subdued and the Toa had done all they could for him. In the end, his mind was recovered, at least partially. His body never was. He could no longer use his elemental Ice powers...instead he controlled shadow. Apparently, someone had thought he might be useful. If you don't think the Makuta will be as effective, why send him? was the question echoing through Tarun's mind. But he let it slide. You never knew, really. Maybe he was something special.
•••••He glanced over at the other two allies they had with them. Krika and Spiriah, they were called. He got the impression these weren't the most popular Makuta of the bunch, but that suited him just fine; Makuta seemed to reward bloodlust and violence. It was sickening. Tarun had to remind himself that they were allies. Frankly, he couldn't see why.
•••••His gaze slipped to the pit for a moment, and the tidal wave of memories rushing through him made him stagger. He felt like he was drowning in an ocean of nightmares, and nothing was going to rescue him.
•••••"Mata Nui, are you alright?" Necroz was peering at him, concern written all over the Toa of Shadow's face. "Do you need some help?"
•••••Necroz's words brought him back to reality, and he responded with a curt, "No, I'm fine. Just...feeling a little sick." He felt a little guilty about it; the other Toa had helped him out. He realized that the pit was affecting his actions as well as his mind. "But, uh, thanks anyways." He felt he had to add something. He was grateful.
•••••Necroz gave a sigh and looked a little upset, and another wave of guilt hit Tarun. But he could tell the mutant just wanted to be left alone, so he dropped the subject. He instead turned to the Makuta. He noticed they were peering down into the pit. It was clear their reaction was not as powerful as his, but he still noticed what appeared to be queasiness in the smaller one. Krika, the Toa supposed. Spiriah either hid his emotions perfectly or was affected at all, which Tarun highly doubted. He was tempted to risk another quick look but couldn't. Karz! If this goes on I'll be of no help at all. He steered himself and gazed into the pit. It made him sick to his stomach. He kept his composure this time, but only barely. Still, the longer he looked, the easier it was. He couldn't help but remember the swimming lessons with Garis. He had a natural aversion to water, but somehow she had convinced him to learn how to swim. The trick, he had discovered, was to dive in. If you spent too long waiting, you would have no courage. Garis...he remembered her smile, her laughter as he tried his best but never achieved the grace she had. No, he would not think of Garis.
•••••So he took initiative. Did what leaders do. Stepped up and decided to be the one who would get the ball rolling. He was a Toa of few words, so he said what was neccesary.
•••••"Let's go." And then he dove.
Edited by CaptainLepidus, Feb 28 2013 - 11:17 AM.