300 years ago…
At first there was nothing. The everyday life of the dozens of citizens of my city, Mahri Nui, was only disturbed by a particularly nasty Lava Hawk who made his nest on Defilak’s house. Then, the first tremor hit. Dekar, who was always a bit paranoid, began panicking, saying Mount Valmai was going to explode. Gar and Kyrehx, both of whom usually kept a cool head, told him there was just a minor earthquake, a result of our village’s proximity to an active volcano. Trembling, Dekar staggered into his hut. Gar, worried, barked to me, “Reysa! Go check on him.”
When the second tremor hit, and Dekar began spewing nonsense about an apocalypse, Defilak sent Piruk to the Cliff Village, where we hoped either Balta or Garan, our leaders, could offer an explanation. Velika seemed to have a strange attitude that day. At least it was stranger than what one could generally expect from a Matoran who cannot speak a single sentence that makes sense, but he always seemed to possess a wisdom that few, especially not Kazi, could understand. But this day he looked frightened, as if some unseen force had warned him the tremors would only get worse and worse. They did.
We didn’t have time to wait for Piruk to come back to the village. The peace that we desperately had strived for on this barren island was destroyed for one second. One second. The time it takes to make half a step, or a word. It’s also the time it took for my life to change.
Before I blacked out, I recall seeing the mask of Velika, who was just standing on the edge of the cooled lava that was the ground upon which we thrived, his eyes filled with a strange calmness and—was it sadness, the sort of melancholy one feels when one remembers lost friends?
An hour later
I remember screaming until my screams were lost in the ink-black water. I remember the sensation of my lungs filling with water and pressure squeezing my armor, but what I remember the most was the feeling of hope being drained from my body, siphoned into the water which was so intent on my destruction. Then, the crash. A powerful ripple ran through my body, searing every part of me with pain. I screamed, knowing the scream would be my last. Then I screamed again. And again. And again. After that I stopped yelling and began to laugh as hope rushed through me. I was breathing! And my shrunken, deformed, crippled limbs had been restored to long, slender arms. My legs were larger and more supple, and even my armor was stronger. I turned to see a blank look from Idris, whom I realized had undergone the same transformation. One by one my villagers, my friends rose from the rocky ground. Others never rose again.
Gar and I, being Onu-Matoran and therefore able to see in the dark sea that somehow was our new home, were tasked with the recording the names of everyone who had survived. I knew only a few: Dekar, Defilak, Idris, Sarda, Kyhex, a Ta-Matoran who wore the Mask of Emulation, and about four dozen others. When I met up with Gar, he said,
“I counted fifty-seven.”
“I counted fifty-six,” I replied grimly.
“That totals at one hundred and three,” the Onu-Matoran said after a quick pause to add our results.
“You realize that means that almost a third of our population is dead,” I hesitantly mentioned.
“Well, I think we can exclude Piruk from the list. He got really lucky.”
“And Velika,” I added.
“Why isn’t he here?”
“I have no idea, Gar. I think he somehow managed to get off the cooled lava in time.”
“Reysa, how are we going to survive down here?”
“I don’t know…”
250 years ago
The sea, beloved, our home
The place in which we all roam
From ancient fall to new life
Peace conquered over all strife
In my mind remains the song
Of all our pasts forgotten
Ages pass, as does the wrong
And each day our bonds tauten
This poem, written by myself and made into a song by Kyrhex, is seared like a brand in our hearts. Our minds are shattered into pieces. The fragments that once were our lives are locked away in the corners of our minds. Only Mahri Nui remains. The dead are honored, and thrown into the black water. The Hydruka aid us in the cultivation of the airweed which brings us life. Each month a new leader of this underwater home is elected into the council. This month’s is a silent De-Matoran whose wisdom reminds me of someone…but who? All I seem to remember is a melancholic gaze from a brown Komau. The council leader, however irritatingly silent, has determined that each day, for the period of one hour, we would be safe from the Rahi of the hostile region. When I was not occupied with various duties within the city, I would guard the Hydruka during this “Safe Hour” as they harvested the airweed. I grew particularly fond of a shy blue one named Morak. In the few spare hours I had between jobs I was usually engaged in conversation with Defilak, Gar, and my best friend Kyrehx. Gar had managed to create a self-sustaining submarine powered and oxygenated by airweed and wanted to present it to the council members as a potential way to search for more airweed fields further down in the black water.
After numerous negotiations with the council, it was agreed that Gar was to lead an expedition deep into the zone known as the Razor Whale’s teeth to search for airweed fields. Our small team would consist of Gar, Kyrehx, Dekar, a Hydruka named Thulox and myself. We armed ourselves with the makeshift weapons known as Electro-blades and some air launchers, since none of us knew what lurked below. So we departed in our rickety submarine, hoping to find what we were seeking. Little did we know we were being watched…
“This is uncomfortable. Why was I chosen for this insane suicide mission?” asked Dekar frantically.
“Because,” I replied, “the fact that your head is so full of rocks makes this rust bucket sink quicker.”
Kyrehx and Gar laughed, and even Thulox seemed to be in a slightly better mood than usual.
“Are you guys going to gang up on me the whole trip?” asked the Po-Matoran nervously.
“Oh cheer up, Dekar,” said Kyrehx, “Otherwise it’s going to be a very long voyage.”
“Alternatively,” suggested Gar, “we could throw him out the airlock and see how he mutates.”
“Whatever. Enjoy your psychopathic conversation. I’m going to go clean out Thulox’s cage,” retorted Dekar.
“Have fun!” I remarked, “And try not to get bitten.”
Our small craft was shaken by a strong current. Gar raced towards the controls, Kyrehx checked the pressure gauge, Dekar dashed towards the small air-bubble powered motor. Feeling useless, I calmed Thulox and loaded my air launcher. Through the thin porthole I saw a green being, a cross between a Toa and a Rahi, swimming in front of us.
“Did you see that thing?” I exclaimed.
“No,” replied Gar, “I did not see the green, spiky, clawed thing that makes Dekar look handsome in comparison.”
“It was probably just a venom eel that was mutated by whatever substance is present in these waters,” replied Kyrehx, who always sought the rational answer.
Our vehicle shook again, this time more violently.
“We’re all going to die!” shrieked Dekar frantically.
“QUIET!” I yelled. An orange tentacle slid past the rear window, causing Thulox to become agitated and aim his air-launching tail. The submarine suddenly flipped over, causing Gar to hit the ceiling, falling unconscious. A three-pronged claw penetrated the port bulkhead and water began seeping in.
“Move!” yelled Dekar, suddenly becoming lucid after his panic. Yanking the controls from Kyrehx he turned towards a small cave. “YEEEEEHAAAA we’re going in!” he exclaimed in a manner I hardly expected from him. The shock of the impact hurled me towards the foreword bulkhead, and just as I blacked out, I recall seeing Kyrehx’s worried face.
I awoke in a strange jungle, but no Rahi sang, walked, or flew. Everything was silent and still except for a crippled Po-Matoran.
“Who ARE you?” I questioned in a voice which faded in and out.
“My name is Velika. I am…a friend. You are of my past and I am of your mind.”
“That makes no sense,” I said, my voice finally stabilized.
“In time the knowledge shall come. But you must fulfill your destiny to the universe. Find the stone of awakening at the place where the waters weep. There you shall find the traitor and he shall face the teleporter. Into six the one shall break. Tell Dekar he will be the jailer, and the Barraki shall fall.”
“You mean the big creepy things with the mandib—“
Then I woke up. The worried faces of Dekar and Kyrhex stood above me.
“You took a pretty big hit,” said Kyrehx, “we were worried.”
“How’s Gar?” I inquired.
“He’s hurt pretty bad. We need to get him back to Mahri Nui, provided there’s still time,” said Dekar, in his new calm voice.”
“Dekar. You will be the jailer,” I exclaimed.
“I don’t know. Take Gar back to the city, but give me enough air to survive. I need to go where the waters weep.”
“Reysa,” Kyrehx added smoothly, “you’re not making any sense.”
“I know what I have to do. Take Gar home. Have him cured. I’ll be alright.”
I wandered aimlessly for what seemed like hours, my air supply dwindling. I tried to hold my breath as long as I could. What are the weeping waters? Who is the traitor? Why will Dekar be the jailer? I pondered these questions until I stumbled upon an enormous crater. Water was seeping in and beyond the rim of the crater seems to be… a waterfall! The waters were truly weeping! Velika, whoever he was, was right. Now who is the—
“So, what have we here? Hmm. If my eyes do not deceive me, you are a Matoran, like those I ruled eons ago.”
The voice came from a hideous blue being with deep red eyes and a horrible grin. His face shimmered in the dark and his stature was that of a mantis. His sharp daggers were poised and ready to kill, but his eyes…I couldn’t stop looking at the eyes!
“Are…you…the…traitor?” I ask.
The being looked at me with a mixture of vile hatred and interest. “You know of these things? It seems I will have to kill you. You are a threat to my position. My fellow Barraki…trust me, for lack of a better word. “
“What is the stone of awakening?” I inquire, knowing it may well be my last quote.
“I have no idea…” his voice trailed off. “Unless of course you are metaphorically referring to the keystone. That would make sense. I assume you know what it does, but you may not know how it came in my possession.
“You see, many years ago, I was a powerful ruler. Most of the universe bowed before my feet if I demanded it, but the great city of Metru Nui was always out of my reach. My fellow rulers and I, as it were, had planned to attack the Great Spirit. Unfortunately we learned very little about who he was, and where we could find him. What we did learn, was the location of a large, powerful machine in the core of the universe which seemed to be able to awaken Mata Nui, should he ever fall into a deep slumber. Learning this, we set out to find the Keystone, the one item that could unlock the Codrex—for that is what the machine is called—and we stole it from a Makuta fortress. I happened to be carrying it with me, along with a tablet of transit, when I was taken to this hateful place.”
I trembled as he raised his dagger, knowing it was likely to be the last thing I would ever see. Suddenly the world was one large flash. I was swayed by the sudden blast of light, and as I opened my eyes I saw a navy blue, crimson, and gold being with large, sharp teeth, horns and an enigmatic yet deadly weapon. In his muscular hand was a writhing creature that was mutating before my very eyes. His flesh was rearranging and his armor was becoming twisted. The entity spoke:
“Welcome to the Pit, scum!”
Glaring at the beast that had so nearly killed me, he dropped from his hand the pitiful mutant and drew another blade. In a deep voice, he exclaimed, “Takadox! Still causing misery I see. Leave the Matoran alone!”
With that he lunged at Takadox and knocked a stone from his hand. It was in the shape of a Toa, in a heroic stance, and was covered in a strange, ancient dialect of Matoran, yet I could make out two
words: Makoki and Codrex. Remembering that Makoki means key, and the Codrex was mentioned by my former captor, I assumed this was the Keystone, or as it had been mentioned in my vision, “the stone of awakening”. Every aspect of the convoluted premonition was becoming reality; I had gone to “where the waters weep”, which ended up being a giant waterfall, and found the “stone of awakening”, the Keystone, Takadox was the traitor and he faced a teleporter, whoever he was. Now, aside from what concerned Dekar, the one had to break into six. There were four possibilities for what that could mean: Me, Takadox, the teleporter, or the Keystone. In a leap of faith, I grabbed the stone and yelled, “Takadox!” and smashed it against my knee. The stone cracked along the middle and fissures began to form. Another blow from my electro-blade shattered it entirely into six small pieces. Sadly, the prophecy had not told me what to do once the fragmentation was complete. Takadox took care of that.
Distracted for a second, the teleporter was struck by the blue traitor who then proceeded to attack me. I remembered his strange glare whose hypnotic quality had pinned me in place, so I shut my eyes as tightly as I could. I felt a push to my abdomen which nearly popped my air bubble, but caused me to drop the pieces of the stone. As I hit the sandy ground I looked up to see the stones falling into the waterfall. Takadox, shocked, did not notice my savior lifting him up and smashing him onto the ground, where the traitor passed out.
“Thank you,” I say to the blue, red and gold being.
“I should not be thanked. I was simply preforming my duty to help the Matoran of the universe. Besides, the fact that I ended up here, to save you, was pure luck. The Pit, the darkest jail of all, was breached ages ago, but life in these waters in the most horrible punishment there is. I assume, however, that Hydraxon is still chasing the ex-prisoners and attempting to lock them up. Takadox was one of these escapees, and he is still intent on destruction. Yet the question remains: what is a Matoran doing down here?”
With that he vanished leaving the sea in front of me empty and seemingly blacker that ever before.
On my way back to the island city, my air supply down to a few minutes, I was stopped by a sight that nearly killed me: Takadox. Paralyzed by his gaze, I thought I was doomed, but then he spoke,
“I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to tell my fellow Barraki all about you. You see, we didn’t really know you existed, until today, and from this day until my final breath I swear you shall suffer. Your city shall suffer, and the swarms of Rahi will make the life of your companions unbearable. But you shall not speak a word, or the entire city will fall.” He gazed into the distance with an odd mix of sadism and sorrow in his eyes, then he continued, “You have one hour per day when you are safe from the Rahi. But one day, be it now or in a millennium, you will stray past that hour. And I will be avenged for what you have taken.”
Struggling to speak with nonchalance I uttered one sentence which brought fear into the heart of this evil creature: “The jailer will come, and the Barraki will fall.”
With those words I departed towards the city.
In the past few months, many Matoran have disappeared. They have lost almost all their memories of a previous life, but I must remember! I know what happened 250 years ago, when I faced the traitor. I stare into the far reach of the fields of air. Would those hydruka hurry? I gaze into the black water, and I am utterly afraid. There might be something watching me. Then a tentacle grabs me. I know the safe hour was over, and that I am paying the price for what Takadox had lost. I open my mouth to cry for help. Then I learn one simple truth:
The problem with being underwater is that you can’t scream.
Edited by Toasylar, Nov 27 2012 - 02:06 PM.