All That Glitters
The dwelling I currently call home is filthy, dark, dank, and crawling with Stone Rats. This is no place of residence for a Makuta. Once I was feared and respected, able to stroll through the great fortress of Destral. And now? I rest upon a fractured stone slab inside dilapidated ruins neighbored by a lawless people in some bleak, icy corner of the universe. Even the rodents seem to hesitate before scurrying away from me, rather than cower at my very presence like they ought to.
Legends knew my name as Makuta Spiriah – an enforcer of peace and being of great power, working alongside his brothers and sisters to craft new wildlife for the world. But in recent times, I am hardly that anymore, with no such entities as my companions.
Yet, I am not alone here. No, for I share these collapsing ruins with friends that all would regard as beasts – the Zyglak. Those violent, ostracized creatures hide with me from the reach of the Brotherhood and from the rest of the world.
Offering an exchange of friendship to Zyglak is utter insanity, on par with desiring to embrace a hungry Muaka. Yet after explaining my past to them, I found that they can relate to me, and I to them. They, like me, are outcasts – the only type of being that they prefer to associate themselves with.
Early in our existence, my kindred’s lone purpose in life was to design and create Rahi. One of my first experiments was a creature featuring multiple legs to assist in climbing, and large, dagger-like teeth for shredding its meals set in its gaping maws. Though, perhaps most importantly, two heads that snarled at you if you came too close.
After all, two heads are better than one, are they not?
None of my fellow scientists cared for that advantage, however. Chirox especially, regarding my Rahi with disgust when he visited my lab one day.
“You call this a Rahi?” Chirox asked spitefully, jabbing at my work with his tool. It snapped its jaws angrily at him in response, though unfortunately did not come close to harming him. “It can’t even walk properly.”
“It is a work in progress,” I retorted. “Once I perfect its design, the beast will rival even a Rock Lion in ferocity.”
“Let me help you with that, then,” My fellow Makuta reached out, snatched one of the Rahi’s legs, and carried it off with him to the door. “After Mutran and I are finished, your creation will hopefully live up to your expectations.” The creature was still attempting to bite Chirox the entire time, albeit unsuccessfully.
I uttered a silent curse before returning to my notes, half-hoping that my Rahi would succeed in wounding Chirox with its deadly teeth.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to suffer similar instances forever. Following the Matoran war on Metru Nui, our leader, Miserix, decided to allot our number across the universe to each land within it, where we would supervise and protect its residents. I was given the island of Zakaz, home of the Skakdi… and the worthless isle called Artidax, whose existence was known only to a select few. I rarely spent my time there in the south, preferring the much more inhabited location, whose land was flourishing with plant life and fresh water.
From what I hear, Krika was assigned to preside over Zakaz in my place, now that I have gone. Speaking of whom…
Never have I seen a Makuta as atypical and defiant as Krika. It was just after Teridax’s takeover of the Brotherhood when he sentenced Miserix to death that I witnessed his true negativity.
Both Krika and I advanced on the former head of the Brotherhood, for we were fully aware of his preference to transform into large, ill-tempered lizards, and decided to exploit his shock and surprise. I seized one arm; Krika the other. Together, we dragged him from the Convocation Chamber into a corridor outside, planning to haul him down to a room below to fulfill the order.
There Krika suggested we combine our wills to overpower his, and utilize the power of Sleep to keep him at bay. I complied with this. Otherwise, we would have dealt with a struggle from Miserix, one that would no doubt leave quite a mess to clean up. Then we continued on.
Not long after, however, Krika stopped abruptly. “I will take it from here,” he said, tugging the unconscious form in our claws from me, much to my surprise.
Restraints of shadow sprang from his hands and coiled around Miserix’s body, effectively trapping the former head of the Brotherhood of Makuta.
“What?” I responded, but my fellow Makuta was already walking away. I stepped forward, intending to do my part in the task. “We were both ordered to execute him. I will assist you.”
Krika paused then, facing me with a determined look in his eyes. “I will go on from here, alone,” he insisted sternly.
Without another word, he vanished further down the hall with the bound frame of Miserix. And I stood there, watching as he disappeared into the darkness of the dimly lit passageway, bewildered by both his tone and staunch attitude.
However, in the time proceeding, certain concerns caught my attention, such as the strange shift of Krika’s focus on other priorities, and the absence of Miserix’s Kanohi from the collection of masks nailed to the Convocation Chamber’s wall. It was soon after that I finally realized the reason behind his actions and behavior. I wasted no time in confronting him, slipping into the chamber he occupied.
Striding over to Krika, I narrowed my eyes and began almost darkly, “You didn’t kill Miserix, did you, Krika? Care to explain, my friend?”
He turned, an expression fixed on his mask that stopped me short. It was also one that featured emotion I believed to be alien to him, and one I never expected a Makuta to display.
“What is the point of killing him when he is but a victim of jealousy and greed? What harm can he do now that all of his brothers have turned their backs on him?” he answered, his voice tainted with pity.
Sneering at this, I raised a claw and dashed forward to apprehend Krika. He evaded my charge, however, and in one swift maneuver, he grasped my wrist and slammed me into the wall. Although I didn’t see it in my daze, I felt Krika’s hard glare focused on me.
“How rash,” he said coldly, pressing me hard against the wall. “I would have expected more consideration from you, Spiriah. And don’t think of trying that again. It was our mission; we’re in it together. If the others discover this, we both will suffer the consequences. Do you understand me?”
I nodded hesitantly in agreement, earning a moment’s stare from Krika, before he too nodded and released me.
“Good,” he said.
Miserix’s whereabouts did not remain a secret to me. From what I gathered, Krika had imprisoned the Makuta on Artidax. I applauded him for that, for no one, not even I, would go looking or traveling to that place. I tried to keep this knowledge out of mind, though it was Krika voicing some ideas of his for defenses that constantly reminded me of his noble deed, and why I couldn’t betray him to the others.
I must say that his courage in having disregarded Teridax’s command was admirable, although even today I wonder if there are any qualms in Krika’s mind about his decision. I never revealed this treason to the others, finding truth in Krika’s words and fearing death at my brothers’ hands.
My desire to focus on other matters eventually came true, for in the time to come, that was easily achieved as I planned out my grandest experiment that would ensure me the praise of many.
All around me, the instruments of a Makuta were at work; viruses, akin to white smoke, swirled within their containment vats. They stirred and whirled, molding a specimen’s essence to conform to my wishes, actions that were reflected across the shimmering surface of a nearby pool of Energized Protodermis.
Imagine the average being – small, weak, thinking that they will one day accomplish much – bestowed upon with powers greater than that of a Toa, to which he will use to feed his ambitions of expanding what little power he might already have. Now picture this same being – and many others – whose successes were all thanks to me.
The more I turned an eye at Zakaz’s inhabitants, the more appealing the idea of using them as soldiers became, with their fearsome appearances; powerful limbs; and clawed extremities. But not in their original state, of course, being devoid of any power or desire for battle. They required… adjustments… to become proper servants of the Makuta.
Perhaps the outcomes of some of my past experiments hadn’t been quite as I or others expected, but what I had planned for the future of the Skakdi race would best every resulting creature I had ever etched into existence. It would have brought me glory and honor among my brothers and sisters. The new Skakdi were to gaze up at their protector and thank him for the gifts he had imparted unto them as they claimed victory for the Brotherhood of Makuta.
It had taken much of my time and a few visits to Destral to devise and manufacture enough of the perfect mixture of ingredients. And, of course, I required a fresh experimental subject for each new concoction, which meant forcibly removing them from society without any notice. But at long last the toils in my lab had come to an end. The fruit of my labors was spread across Zakaz in the form of a fine, white powder, blowing through the sky on the wind like spores, and flowing with the waters.
They first appeared in well-populated villages, rising above the ground of a street and encircling natives like mist. Those present did not think much of what they believed to be harmless befogging. Only, it was not simply an evening fog, but microbes engineered to alter their very essence. My smile became exceedingly larger when my test subjects ingested the powdery mutagen, be it from the air or water. They coughed on the viruses, unwittingly allowing more of it to enter their bodies through their wheezing.
The vibrant hues of Zakaz’s landscape all paled beautifully as the viruses began clouding across the island. Before long, the viruses took root inside the Skakdi’s systems, initiating a memorable transformation for them.
Gratified, I reclined in my lair, monitoring the island-wide event through my equipment and engraving notes into stone. The grin was stretched wide across my mask, and I couldn’t help but savor every moment of it, to think that life was good.
Roughly a day and a half later everything settled around on Zakaz. In short, it was both a captivating and revolting procedure to watch. There is nothing so exhilarating for a scientist to see his work of this magnitude in action, except perhaps for an analysis of his results.
Viewing the spectacle from the sensors of my instruments was hardly satisfying, however. I had to see the details with my eyes. Once the remnants of my viruses died and cleared from the air, I had sprouted myself a pair of wings and exited my lair. From above I noted the actions and changes to the Skakdi. Several were lying upon the ground and cradled themselves as if wounded, some babbled insanely, and others snarled and leered at each other as they passed by.
Then I decided to take a closer look. Concealed with an illusory shroud, I stalked over to a female Skakdi bent over a pool of clear water. Her flaring crimson eyes were the focal point of the shimmering reflection of her sickly green-colored form, which she appeared to be observing with interest. Without warning, a pair of red energy beams shot from them and struck the water’s surface.
Accidental and sudden outbursts of power confirmed the presence of the other abilities I worked so much on granting to them. These occurred during the little quarrels and skirmishes the Skakdi began having.
The fighting is nothing, I had assured myself. Let them have their fun before the duties of war call for their full attention.
Collected results revealed that there were more changes to the Skakdi than I had predicted. During a telepathic investigation, I discovered that they were becoming mentally agitated. Shock was present in the forefront of their minds, brought about by the unexpected events. But that had quickly subsided into greed, rage, belligerence… traits all essential for a formidable army. Their reactions to the transformation, I suppose.
Evidently, the viruses had a couple incidental side-effects. Some vegetation withered here and there, and several sources of water had dried up. But they were such insignificant losses compared to the success of my glorious experiment!
I remember regretting that I couldn’t yet amass the Skakdi into an army and proceed with training, for I planned to depart Zakaz for Destral very soon after, where I was to restock on provisions. Such a large-scale experiment had cost me much of my lab supplies. However, I had no intention of leaving the Skakdi unguarded or unprotected in my absence; I had brought with me a handful of Visorak spiders from my last journey from Destral to watch over them.
I intended to implement my goals upon my return. But when I did, it was to find my Visorak guards as mangled corpses, to see the Skakdi locked in a seemingly perpetual war that still rages today. Zakaz was no longer the paradisiacal land it once was, instead deteriorating from the constant warring of its natives.
I saw their potential. I gave them power. How did they return the favors? By embracing their barbaric nature and using it to sully my reputation, as well as their own. It was because of them I lost everything.
The rest of Brotherhood failed to recognize my achievement and proclaimed me rogue, possibly out of jealousy, knowing that I had succeeded in my goal, one that rivaled the creation and formation of their Visorak legions.
The Brotherhood is easily the most powerful organization in the universe, leaving very few places out of its reach for a being to hide from their threat of death. Being a member of it once, however, meant that I knew its extent. One particular island came to mind – a dark land governed by harsh laws, whose civil war had torn it apart. There were plenty of ruins to take refuge in.
Unbeknownst to me at that time was that those ruins housed a population of monstrous Zyglak, who were isolating themselves out of hatred of everyone else in the universe. I found myself surrounded and outnumbered by the reptilian beasts, yet rather than panic (though I admit the edge of their blades and effects of their weapons, combined with the number present, were a bit intimidating), I saw the benefits with a possible alliance with them. In addition, I would not allow myself, a Makuta, to be held captive or perish at the claws of incredibly savage, unwanted mistakes of the Great Beings.
“I am an outcast, shunned from society by its prejudicial peoples,” I said, my voice my only effective tool against the arsenal of weapons pointed at me. “What I seek is vengeance, the broken bodies of my enemies beneath my boot. These are qualities that we share, that link us… Together, we could introduce to the world the wrath of those they so wrongly banish.”
As it turned out, they were quite willing to accept my proposal after understanding my predicament, as well as the opportunity before them. Seeing how similarly treated I was to them and knowing the goal they desired to achieve was possible, they consented to my presence amongst them.
Ever since, I have occupied my disgraced existence with avoiding any contact with beings of the outside world, specifically Brotherhood agents or even Dark Hunters; and cursing the Skakdi and Brotherhood for this fate, knowing that I may never return to my former life.
Should the opportunity to purge Zakaz of the Skakdi race ever present itself to me, I will gladly accept it as revenge without any hesitation whatsoever. The Brotherhood, too, must one day know their mistake in casting me out.
And how entertaining that will be to see: the Zyglak marching across lands, slaughtering every Matoran, Toa, and Turaga until their hunger is quenched. Then they shall fill the vacancy, with me a hero amongst them, before turning their hatred and weapons toward my enemies.
The Makuta will hear my name, see me standing above the carnage, and in their dying moments, they will know true fear.
Edited by Magnus Greel, Oct 18 2012 - 03:11 PM.