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Lesovikk had been searching for days, it seemed. Ever since he had become a water-breather, nothing had gone right for him. After all, nothing hadever gone right for him, especially after the death of his team. As he trudged through the pit, in search of anything that could assist him in his journey to again be an air-breather, he thought that he ought to have died with them. He trudged through the water, each step yielding yet another cold wave of ice cold water. But he couldn't feel it- he was numbed beyond that. The lone Toa of air was about ready to give up for the day and rest, when, nestled against the peak of a rock formation, was it: The mask of life. Immediately bursting off, he tore through the water in the direction of the mask. Just as he reached it, however, it tore loose of its position and began falling. Unfortunately, it was falling right off of a cliff face- he would have to dive further for it. And so he did. Forming his body into an aerodynamic structure, he quickly descending faster than the Ignika. It was nearly in his finger tips, when out of nowhere, it was snatched by a tentacled being. He stopped short, chasing the eight-tentacled beast into its cave. He pulled out his sword, even as they reached a dead end. "That mask will be mine," he said with a mad passion, the cries of a desperate man. He slashed and jabbed until the creature was mince meat, not letting up into he was sure it was dead, and then pulling it out of its cold, dead clutches. With a yell of triumph, he lifted the mask!... ...which was merely a rock carving, holding an egg inside. He had found what he thought to be the power to save him. However, he had merely brought more death to the pit. Indeed. He should've died with his team. -------------------------------------
In a cave far beneath the surface, a spire of crystal glowed.
It pulsed slowly in the darkness, a rhythmic sigh of light that cast a pale green glow on the stone and dirt that surrounded it. Twenty thousand years had it pulsed, and twenty thousand more it was willing to, or twenty thousand after that.
A hammer swung out of the shadows and shattered it. A thousand fragments hung in the air, as though they were supported by the light that turned them to stars for that single instant, and then they clattered to the ground.
The hammer’s owner peered down into the remains of the spire, and a simple green keypad stared back up, its soft glow undeterred by the loss of its casing. “Show-off,” the jungle Agori muttered, and punched in a string of numbers that had not been used since the day his planet had turned to three.
Silently, ponderously, the back wall of the cave fell away, and beyond it he saw stacks of machines humming to themselves, carrying out the instructions of a bygone age. Vatomu stepped slowly inside, feeling all around him the energy of a peoples long lost.
At the far end of the passage, he found a dais of metal and stone, symbols and circuits etched into it and given life by the same green energy that danced all around him. He approached it silently, waiting for any sort of response.
The voice of the Great Being was soft and familiar, recorded long ago but somehow vibrant in a way that made him feel that if he turned he would see the creator before him, ceremonial robes and protosteel mask untouched by time or tempest.
If you have come this far, then I am long gone. I know not how, or when, but we have fallen.
The fact you gained entrance to this chamber is proof that you were a friend to us. I know not if you are Agori or Glatorian or Matoran or Toa, but you knew us.
I will not make false claims. The knowledge stored within here is powerful, but it is merely a fraction of what we learned. I ask that you take it, and build from it what you would.
Bring glory to your world.
A pedestal rose from the stone before him, a screen and keys sliding out from it.
Vatomu stood there a long time, his eyes closed, listening to the quiet buzz of the machines around him, breathing the air that had an edge to it that he hadn’t tasted in years. He thought of the voice that had spoken to him, of its owner, of choices he’d made and words they’d exchanged.
Smiling, he opened his eyes. “Was this your way of making amends, Telerus? Or was this what you wanted from the very beginning?”
There was no response. Sighing, he stepped forward to the controls and looked at them.
Then he raised the hammer high and brought it down, and again, and again, and when there was nothing left he turned to the still-crackling machines and continued his work, pounding and pounding until he felt certain the hammer would shatter, and when it finally did he reached into his pack and drew out another and turned to the next machine.
In time, there was a dying whirr, and the lights of the chamber faded away, leaving the Agori alone in the darkness. He stood there, panting; the tool slipped from his hand and clattered to the ground.
Shaking his head, he reached into his pack and pulled from it a torch doused in oil and a flint. A few strikes was all it took to illuminate the chamber once more. He smiled sadly at his handiwork. “Wherever you are now, you piece of dirt, I hope you can see this. And I hope it hurts you the way watching us die by the thousands never could.”
And then he turned and made for the surface. There was surviving to be done.
"Fear of Failure"
The vista shimmered and shifted in the relentless desert heat. Spreading low across the horizon was an incoming black cloud. Only she knew it wasn't a cloud. Toa Teor felt her knees trembling beneath her. They were coming. They were coming for her, and for the village behind her. Their relentless attacks had never ceased over the last few weeks. Their dead were heaped around the village, but they always came again. They came and they came and only when they were viciously repelled did they cease, only to return the next day. Raw terror gripped her heart. What was a lone Toa of Water to do? The rest of her team had already been killed in the previous battles, and she was left all alone. What if she failed? What if she couldn't stop them? True, they were fewer now, but there were still dozens of them. What if she couldn't do it, what if they reached the village? She nearly buckled in the sweltering heat. What was she to do? She was now the only thing standing between those monsters and the Matoran. And what if she failed? She couldn't blot out that thought, the fear of abject failure. The Matoran were depending on her, they believed in her, and what would happen now? They were all about to die. But no! She could still do this! Weak though she was, she was a brave, strong Toa, and surely if anyone could stop the incoming hoards, it was her! She said this to herself over and over, the words becoming a monotonous drone. You can do this, you can do this. . . Each time the words lost some of their meaning until they became an empty buzz. The Rahi weren't far off now. They would arrive in a few moments. Slowly she dragged her disagreeable legs forward, knowing that strategy demanded meeting them as far from the village as possible. This time she did buckle, before forcing herself to rise again. Who was she fooling? She couldn't do this. She was going to die, and the Matoran with her. She had no real hope. She froze, motionless, as the hoards began to converge upon her. Their gleaming fangs and slavering jaws loomed in on her vision, moving as if in slow motion. Her body felt like stone. Would she even be able to move, she wondered? Would she just stand there as they passed her by, leaving the doomed village to its fate? Her mind ticked down to a standstill. Then, tick by slow tick, the gears of her mind began to move again. They gained speed, and she knew what to do. Without any real conscious thought, she charged forwards with a terrible war cry, raising her scythe and summoning what little water remained in the air. Two of the monsters were dead before they realized that she had actually attacked them. Soon the ground was strewn with their dead. Teor didn't have time to think, she was in a constant state of action and reaction. Twice she narrowly avoided the giant claws, thrice the jaws. But finally she found herself caught between massive incisors. It was then that she saw a great light in the sky, and the cries and the tears broke forth from her before she died. She failed. But she had tried.
"The Secret of Power"
“It was as if someone had taken rage and evil and given those qualities a body to walk around in.” – Legacy of Evil
Power . . . Some work their whole lives for it. Some never find it. Some hunger for it. Some lust after it. I need it. I was destined for it. I was shaped and prepared all my life for it. I am only alive because I it is my destiny to become it. Power and I are as one. We are meant to be. Power . . . It gives life. It takes it. It moves mountains or it destroys them. It controls the world. Someday, so will I. I knew what power was since before I can remember. I was once a slave, domineered like all the rest of the lowlife, mortified and humiliated and beat into raw, submissive fear. Every slave knows the existence of power; it is what oppresses them, it is what forces them to their work each day. It is the force they fear. But from the first I recognized power for what it truly is. Strength. The strength I needed to become more than I was. I realized power has always been what I need. I fought for it. I worked and slaved for it. Every day in the mine I worked harder and grew stronger. Because, oh yes, power only comes to those who work for it. And I hunted it. I fought. I killed as many slavedriver as I could get my hands on. If a slave got in my way I would kill him, too. If a Stone Rat crawled by under my feet, I crushed it beneath my heel. That’s strength. That’s power. I was punished—oh! Karzahni! was I punished! I was lashed, and beaten, and starved, and chained, and they worked me harder than ever. Every punishment imaginable, and unimaginable, was inflicted on me in those days. But I never gave up. I always fought back. That’s power. The other slaves began to fear me. Even the slavedrivers feared me. They punished me because they feared my strength and my power. That’s when the Dark Hunters found me, and that’s why they “took me in.” No. I took them in. I took power into my heart and I was never letting it go. I had never tasted true power. I could still do nothing more than dream of it. I wanted more. I needed more. I trained. I fought. I fought harder every day, and I grew stronger. I gained respect and fear. I only needed one thing more. Power. So I seized it. I failed. I will never fail again. I might have died. I should have died. But I didn’t. I gained more power. That was my destiny. It is my destiny still. And now I’ve found it. From the most unlikely source, I’ve found it. Some fool of a Makuta, Tridax or Teridax or one of them, I don’t care which, left his plans lying around. Pure luck that I stumbled upon them. Luck? No. Destiny. This Makuta’s plan may be clever, but that doesn’t make him any less a fool. I was meant to discover his secrets. Power is my destiny. Not his. I will work for it. I will fight for it. It will be mine. My precious power . . . it is meant to be mine! I am Zaktan! I have found the power I need . . . -------------------------------------
"Searching for a Power Source"
Nuparu turned the hand crank, which lifted up the mining elevator. He was the engineer stationed at the elevator, and as such it was his job to operate it by hand when the miners needed to get out of the Great Mine.
The elevator wasn’t a bad design: Nuparu had been one of the engineers who crafted the system of pulleys which would lift up the cab and get Matoran to different levels quickly. Unfortunately, it had to be powered by a Matoran. They had tried to use Ussal Crabs, but the Rahi were too inconsistent with their pulling, so the job was left to the engineer on duty.
Nuparu knew it was inefficient. If he could create some way to power the pulley system, then it would free him up to work on other useful tasks. But where could he find a power source reliable enough?
As the elevator reached his level, Nuparu let off the crank and secured it into position. The miners gratefully exited the cab. Nuparu leaned back to rest for a bit, nut then Onepu, Whenua’s right hand Matoran, walked up to him.
“Nuparu, I am reassigning you to the scouting team that’s leaving for Le-Wahi,” Onepu said.
“But they’re just going to collect fruit,” Nuparu said. “Why do you need me to go with them?” He had been hoping to get home and work on some of his inventions in his spare time.
“The tunnel on the way isn’t in the best shape, so your skills might come in handy if there are any issues with the rocks or the cart,” Onepu said. “Besides, we’ve called it a day for the miners, so you don’t need to work the elevator.”
Nuparu begrudgingly went to his new position, and before he knew it he was on an Ussal cart heading down a tunnel towards the jungle. Once they got there, the other Matoran insisted that he help pick berries.
He approached one tree to grab its bounty, when one of the Matoran stopped him. “Careful there,” he said. “That’s a Vuata Maca tree. Those pieces of Madu fruit are known to be explosive.”
“Explosive?” Nuparu asked. “Why are they like that?”
The Matoran shrugged. “No clue, but best to be wary around them.”
Despite the warning, Nuparu’s interested was piqued. In secret, he carefully collected some of the Madu fruit and brought them back with him. In his hut, he started experimenting with the fruit. Their explosiveness, he learned, was determined by their ripeness, so some were safer to pick than others. But the juices of the fruit contained a large amount of potential energy, and Nuparu wondered if he could harness it in ways other than explosions.
He began to fiddle with the fruit by inserting wires into the sides. Over time, he discovered that he could power simple machinery in his hut with the fruit, although only for a limited amount of time. He gathered more fruit and began building circuits, and soon his hut was full of Madu fruit that provided battery power to his many appliances.
But Nuparu wasn’t satisfied with just that alone; what if the Madu fruit could be used elsewhere, like in the Great Mines? He made his project official, and got approval from the Turaga to begin harvesting Madu fruit in bulk. Over time, he grew tired of the journeys to the surface to collect the fruit, so he collected seeds from the Vuata Maca tree and planted one underground, where he utilized lightstones to mimic sunlight.
It took months for the tree to start to grow, and it was another full year before it began to bear fruit. By then, Nuparu was reaching the limit with what he could power with just the fruit. It would not be enough to help in the mines. But as he watched the tree grow, he realized that the energy in the fruit was also within the tree itself.
And then, after two years of hard work and research, Nuparu managed to draw electric energy directly from the Vuata Maca tree. The energy was used to power all of Onu-Koro, including the elevators in the great mines. And soon, the other villages learned about the discovery, and they started planting Vuata Maca trees of their own.
Nuparu had indeed found the power he was looking for.