Asiar opened his eyes.
What was that noise?
It was a rumbling. Vague, steady, low. Like a celestial gate being raised, or a Great Being himself setting foot upon the world, Asiar thought. He’d always had good hearing- and imagination- and he wondered then if anyone else had noticed the turmoil. Or was it his subconscious playing games…? Perhaps the tension from the last battles had simply carried over. Now, there were only seven Toa left in their encampment.
The thin Toa of Stone quickly swung his legs off the edge of the bunk he'd been resting on, planting his heavy feet firmly onto the chilled ground. He needed to find Lusath.
Striding swiftly outside, Asiar ventured off towards his friend’s tent.
Slowing his pace to enjoy the crisp air, Asiar took in a deep breath, raising his eyes to the horizon; all around were crystalline towers, lancing brilliantly into the sky, the glow of knowledge visible easily in darkness. Higher still in the sky Asiar saw a peculiar red haze, a stronger light of the same hue nestled at its center; what this was exactly, he was unsure. Shrugging, he continued on his way. The blue shine of intelligence reflecting off of the ice gently repelled the smooth blackness of the night.
Upon reaching the next tent, Asiar lifted the doorflap and peered inside, allowing in a discharged flurry of eager snowfall. Lusath stood within the tent, his close-fit emerald armor reflecting the glow of the overhanging lantern. Asiar saw that Valere was present as well, her cobalt Hau set in a grim expression, along with Intris, whose burnished black armor betrayed his status as a Toa of Magnetism. Surveying the occupants, the Po-Toa walked quickly inside, dropping the flap behind him, so that it rolled off the edge of his shoulder like rain.
“Well,” Asiar began after greeting them, “I was taking a bit of a rest, you see, and-“
“You were awoken by a noise you heard from afar… After exiting the tent you saw the crimson astral anomaly that has remained overhead for the past few hours.” Asiar grunted acknowledgement, nodding his agreement. He’d forgotten how astute Intris was with his Suletu.
“We’re not sure what it is,” affirmed Lusath, the Toa of Plantlife continuing where Intris had left off, “it may have been above us for forever, but just recently, the brightness has intensified. This could be symbolic. But superstitions aside, my friends… to business.”
Rising from his seat, Lusath gestured at a map laid out on a table in the center of the tent. “The Dark Hunters have sent two regiments of soldiers towards us by this route.“ He pointed out a path, twisted as a Doom Viper’s neck, along a canal, scything azure across the pristine Ga-Metru district depicted by the parchment before them. By this time the other three Toa had gathered around, and observed the stratagems and tactics proposed by Lusath. “Honestly, I propose that we send in for reinforcements; after we lost Megrel, Adray, Farro…” he trailed off.
The Dark Hunter insurgents were relentless; so many of the defending Toa had been slain in recent weeks. In wartime like this, losing allies and friends mattered emotionally even more than it had in the past. When your ranks fell apart, Farro had once liked to say, so did your resolve and your sanity. Though it may have seemed an obvious sentiment, this creed became profound to the last seven Toa there; there, the encampment, unfortified, calling the streets of Ko-Metru home, Asiar reflected.
The thoughtful Toa was startled back to reality by a faint increasing whine, like air being forcibly shoved aside by a hurried traveler.
“What…” Valere noticed it as well. She rose from her seat cautiously. The sound increased drastically, suddenly resolving itself into a hoarse yell, and then there was, in quick succession, a grinding impact, a grey form tearing through canvas, and then a blur of brown motion, a woomph of air being expelled unwillingly, and then snow, quiet and pure snow drifting down into the tent.
Through this blur of motion the Toa had stood, dazed, but now they could see what had transpired. A Toa of Ice, by the looks of it, had fallen from some indeterminate height, easily level with the surrounding knowledge towers, crashed through the roof of the tent, and likely would have impacted heavily, if not for Asiar’s split-second instinctual Calix usage, and his natural strength.
The three Toa who were still on their feet, Asiar having knelt down next to the fallen Toa, gathered around in shock, looking down at him; steam rose from the body, ashen armor edged with white lay cracked and shattered, and a pale broken Arthron rested upon the face. In great surprise, such as one does upon witnessing a Fikou slay a Muaka, Lusath identified the Toa below him as one he knew. But, Lusath recalled, he had not known him for a long time.
“Adray…?” How was this possible? A friend, a brother, who had been dead by the hands of the Hunters for years, was lying before him. The other Toa ringing the body were just as surprised; they had all seen the brave Toa of Ice executed cruelly by a now-nameless Dark Hunter. There was no way in Karzahni that he had returned.
Languidly, as though moving any faster would kill him outright for a second time, Adray opened his eyes. The cobalt hue was faint, as though death had achromatized its essence. Just as slowly, Adray began to raise his arm, the others around holding their collective breath in incredulity. And as the revived Toa of Ice pointed vertically, into the night sky, towards the Red Star above, he uttered something that made absolutely no sense to the observers.
"Long way down...”
A brief explanation about the story:
Anyways, hope you all liked the story. As this is pretty much my first story, reviews are appreciated. : )
Edited by Chro, Oct 05 2012 - 07:10 PM.