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Makuta Hunt Series Finale: The End of the Brotherhood

Tobduk Chirox Karda Nui Makuta Destiny War

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#1 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 24 2013 - 03:51 PM

THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD

 

Prologue

 

Toa Takanuva looked out upon the smoggy skyline of Xia, a half-smile on his face. Within the dingy alleys and blackened buildings of this harsh land, he had clashed with the traitor Roodaka and finally brought her to justice. Nice of her to drain all her inner light away before our confrontation, he chuckled to himself. Shadow beings went down quickly against his powers, after all.

 

As he surveyed the scene, which included a band of Steltians hauling Roodaka away in chains, a crackling sound met his ears from behind. It was accompanied by a distinctive scent, one of poisonous ozone, and a gut feeling that something was very, very wrong.

 

Takanuva whirled, his sceptre at the ready, and saw a monstrosity stepping out of a hole in space, surrounded by displaced dimensional forces. The creature was tall, several heads above him, and armoured in purple and scarlet; it bore a mask that stretched wide across its head, before curling forwards at the bottom in two distinct tusks. Malevolent eyes glared out of the mask’s diagonal slits, even as the creature’s crimson claws curled around its wicked spear. The portal faded away as the monster’s long, iron-shod legs stepped onto the industrial floor.

 

“Stay -- stay back!” Takanuva cried, brandishing his sceptre. The creature gave a smirk, and vanished a split-second before the weapon would have connected -- only to reappear behind the Toa, curling its claws around his neck.

 

Takanuva’s mask glowed, and the creature recoiled, hissing. “Ha! What kind of shadow creature dares to challenge the world’s only Toa of Light?” he grinned, turning to face his opponent.

 

“One with powers beyond your imagining,” the creature replied. “Care for a demonstration?”

 

In an instant, Takanuva was flung to the ground, and stayed there -- the very floor seemed to have seized him with an intangible power, dragging him closer and closer. The world around him went dark and cold and silent -- the smog replaced by shadow, the industrial sounds of Xia wiped from his perception. Only Takanuva, slowly sinking into the floor, and the purple-garbed monster before him remained. Utter terror gripped his heart as the creature spread its arms wide, exulting in its domination.

 

The hero of light cannot stand against a lord of darkness! it crowed, its sinister voice slicing through his mind. Know this, Takanuva. I have found you, fought you, infinite times in infinite universes. Several dozen of you are my captives and servitors. Indeed, it has almost become a chore.

 

Takanuva groaned, trying to resist, but his body was so held in the clutches of gravity that the stone began to crumble beneath him. The creature’s fell influence struck at his heart, inspiring a crescendo of fear.

 

Before I add you to my collection, I shall give you the satisfaction of knowing who it was that defeated you, the creature cackled. As Takanuva watched, the creature brought its claws to its chest, which now glowed with an unearthly orange light -- and its hand sank through its armour, grabbed hold of something, and began to draw it out. Know, then, Toa Takanuva, you were defeated by the lord of Destral, Makuta Tridax! This name is your doom... and this name is your destiny.

 

Darkness, fear, silence, and gravity overwhelmed the Toa at last, and his vision sank into utter blackness. This was a merciful development, for he never saw as Tridax drew out a squirming, slimy thing from his chest, a sphere of fangs and fins -- and set its mouth upon the Toa’s chestplate. With a horrifying noise, Takanuva’s golden energy began to leak from his body, seeping into the creature, which gorged itself. Golden armour turned to black, white to grey, as Tridax looked on approvingly.

 

Another one for the legion, the Makuta grinned to himself. And thus was won the Destiny War...

 

Review Topic


Edited by Angel Bob, Jul 25 2013 - 07:55 AM.

  • 0
 
New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#2 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 25 2013 - 07:53 AM

Chapter 1

 

On the isle of Daxia, silence reigned. The hidden headquarters within its rocky crags operated without the noise of conversation or confusion as members of the Order of Mata Nui prepared to appear in the open, weapons blazing, and engage the Brotherhood of Makuta in all-out war. The shroud of secrecy they had worn for so long was cast off; now the Order and Toa alike would stand against the darkness that threatened the entirety of the universe. All knew this too well, and brooded in grim quiet, from the titanic Axonn to the invisible Jerbraz.

 

All, that is, except for one particularly annoyed individual.

 

“What do you mean, this isn’t ‘the best application of my talents’?” thundered Tobduk from the heart of Daxia itself. “I deal death and wallow in the blood of the fallen! I have slain Rahi, Rahkshi, and Makuta themselves! And now you tell me these talents have no use in a WAR?

 

Toa Helryx’s mask was set in firm resolve. The elder sat upon her iron pedestal in a small pool of rippling, silvery water, the dappled light reflections flickering across her indigo armour. “...Tobduk,” she said with all the authority she possessed as the highest enforcer of the Great Spirit, “you would do well not to doubt my wisdom.”

 

Helryx made a gesture with her silver gauntlet, and the reflections in the water transmuted to an image: a tall, rocky island from which sprouted a black edifice of evil. “Destral. Headquarters of the Brotherhood of Makuta. The mad Makuta Tridax was left in charge of the island while the other Makuta -- those who remain after your systematic slaughter -- departed to places unknown.”

 

For once, Tobduk did not interrupt. He saw where this was going... or at least, he hoped it was going where he saw.

 

Helryx conjured another image in the water: a fleet of several flagships, carrying an assortment of warriors: Order members, Toa heroes, and various vigilantes from the other island races. “The island has never been weaker; it is the ideal time to strike. Destral will not be without its defenses, but I am confident you can bypass them...” 

 

“Well, of course,” Tobduk chuckled, “I could just -- ”

 

Helryx smiled knowingly. “...without destroying everything in your path,” she specified.

 

Tobduk’s eyes widened. “You ask the impossible,” he frowned.

 

The Toa of Water chuckled softly to herself, and another image appeared in the pool. This one was unfamiliar to Tobduk: a shadowy figure, bearing several wicked blades and traveling at the pace of a lightning bolt. “Who -- ?” he began, but Helryx cut him off.

 

“An old friend,” she said simply. “You should be able to contact him using this pool. My psionics experts have set up a telepathic circuit that has been most helpful in strategizing. His talents will deliver you to the interior of Destral, where you can quickly and easily dispatch Tridax. Without a Makuta to give them commands, the Rahkshi’s formations will dissolve and our army can destroy the Brotherhood headquarters. I’m sure I don’t need to spell out for you how important it is that you succeed.”

 

“You can count on me, Helryx.”

 

“Such knowledge is reassuring in these troubled times. And another thing: currently on Destral is an anomaly calling himself Vezon.”

 

“I’m familiar with him,” Tobduk chuckled, recalling Brutaka’s exasperated tales of the half-Skakdi’s antics. “I suppose you want him dead?”

 

“He has outlived his usefulness. There’s no telling what he might do next, so I’d rather his next action be nothing at all.”

 

Helryx rose from her seat, stepping gently down to the floor where Tobduk stood. “Now I, too, must depart,” she said. “We all have our part to play in this Destiny War; mine involves the isle of Nynrah. Botar?”

 

The door to the chamber swung open, and a massive figure strode into the room. Tobduk stared in utter bewilderment. The titan bore armour of gleaming gold and a new helmet, but he was unmistakably Botar.

 

Tobduk’s brow furrowed. “I’m pretty sure you were dead.”

 

Botar grunted. “I didn’t find the afterlife to my liking. Much more enjoyable down here.”

 

Helryx stepped over to Botar and placed a hand on his arm. “Don’t forget, we’ve a guest to pick up on our way,” she reminded him. “And Tobduk.”

 

“Yes?” Tobduk said slowly, still reeling from Botar’s evident resurrection.

 

Helryx’s expression was unreadable. Her eyes held the gleam of knowledge, as always, and she gave a half-smile. But there was something else there, coupled with her wisdom and foresight. Was it... sadness?

 

“I must hope this mission is satisfactory,” she said. “...Goodbye, Tobduk.”

 

And with that, she and back-from-the-dead Botar vanished from Daxia, leaving Tobduk in a small chamber -- silent, save for the trickle of water in the pool.

 

Review Topic


Edited by Angel Bob, Jul 25 2013 - 07:56 AM.

  • 0
 
New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#3 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 26 2013 - 09:38 PM

Chapter 2

 

After a few minutes of confusion, Tobduk gave up wondering about Helryx and turned to the pool. “Alright, how does this thing work?” he grunted, stepping up to it and awkwardly seating himself on the pedestal that was far too small for him. Nothing happened.

 

“Great Spirit condemn it... I need a connection to this... person!” he yelled at the water, glaring at the shadowy figure darting around in it. He kicked the water indignantly; it splashed on the floor without answers.

 

An idea occurred to him, but an altogether silly one. “That’d be humiliating,” he grimaced. Then he stopped short. Helryx never missed a chance to humiliate him.

 

“Condemn it,” he muttered again. “That’s the answer, isn’t it...”

 

Grumbling, Tobduk stood from the pedestal and hesitantly kneeled in the water. Then, berating himself and Helryx for the ridiculous situation... he plunged his mask into the pool.

 

Tobduk’s sight swam far from his body, swimming free through an ocean of knowledge. Images flashed past -- flagships sailing to Destral, Makuta Tridax, the madbeing Vezon, the fleeting shadowy figure...

 

Get back here! Tobduk growled in his mind, but the silhouette had vanished into murkier waters. Grumbling, he projected his consciousness into those waters, and --

 

Among the tide of images, one seized his attention. The shadowy figure was forgotten, irrelevant in this new light of information. Tobduk stared upon a skeletal, sinister figure bearing black and silver armour.

 

Makuta Chirox.

 

His mental hand reached forward, towards the image. What did Helryx know of Chirox, the Makuta who had slain his people?

 

As he brushed up against Chirox’ mask, another tide of images washed into his brain. Chirox himself, his brutal Visorak horde, an entity comprised of energized protodermis, squabbling in the Rahi labs with Makuta Mutran -- but all of that in the distant past. What was new?

 

His thoughts called forth new images: travel across the universe, a stone gateway on a forlorn island... a coalition of Makuta, within the core of the world -- Karda Nui, the waters informed him. A blinding light, then sight restored... Makuta Icarax joined the fray... mutagenic waters in the swamp claimed three of their number...

 

Tobduk yanked his head from the water, breathing heavily. A tiny gukko bird fluttered in his heart. Chirox is in Karda Nui. And I know the entrance.

 

Yet just as he began to rise and depart for the world’s core, Tobduk recalled the mission he’d been given not two minutes before. One of the utmost importance. Condemn it. I have a chance to kill Chirox, and then I have to go and kill some other Makuta instead?

 

Wait. Helryx was away at Nynrah, and the Order was at war. He had a duty to kill Tridax, and to be sure, he would do so -- but no one would notice or care if, afterwards, he struck off on his own. Helryx had provided him with the perfect opportunity to avenge his homeland...

 

Giddy with the thought, Tobduk plunged back into the waters, questing for the shadowy figure. This time, it appeared before him, now slowed to a relaxed pace. Somehow, Tobduk knew this entity was the key to his mission: if this “old friend” could bring him to Destral quicker than the flagships, surely it could also bring him to Karda Nui. Thus it was that Tobduk darted forward, hand outstretched, and seized the figure.

 

To his surprise, it spoke first. I have been awaiting your call, it hissed.

 

Good to know, Tobduk nodded brusquely. Get over here. I need your help.

 

The shadowy figure’s next words were with some measure of hostility. Who is this? You are hardly the entity I was expecting. I find I now have cause to doubt your words.

 

Tobduk thought fast. I bring news from Helryx! I’m to carry out an important mission for her. Refuse to help and her revenge will be swift.

 

Why should I believe you? Tell me where Helryx is currently, and I shall verify your honesty.

 

Thinking back, Tobduk recalled Helryx’s last words to him. She’s on Nynrah.

 

The figure vanished for a few ghastly minutes. What felt like ages passed. Tobduk used the time to look up the figure’s information. 

 

Then, finally, it reappeared, stepping out of the darkness of the waters.

 

I have spoken to her. You are... Tobduk? Very well. I shall greet you shortly on the shores of Daxia.

 

Tobduk raised his head from the waters and stepped from the pool, grinning like a maniac. “Well,” he said aloud. “Here we go.”

 

Review Topic


Edited by Angel Bob, Jul 26 2013 - 09:53 PM.

  • 0
 
New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#4 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 27 2013 - 07:46 AM

Chapter 3

 

Mind still drowning in raw information, Tobduk was snapped out of his reverie by the echoes of shouting: “Get back here!” “We have an unauthorized intruder!”

 

Great Spirit, not now, he grumbled. I don’t need any delays...

 

There was a scratching and rummaging from the wall to his left. Tobduk turned and strode towards the secret trap door. Whoever’s here knows this island well... Instantly, Tobduk knew the intruder’s identity. A watery image sprang to mind -- Makuta Icarax -- and he remembered that Makuta’s loyal servitor, a Matoran named Vultraz...

 

“Come out, Mazeka,” Tobduk grinned. “I know you’re there.”

 

A moment later, the panel flipped open and an irate Ko-Matoran strode out. “I would have thought you would be out killing something. Did Helryx ground you?”

 

Tobduk snarled. “My time is coming,” he said. “I was made for war.”

 

“Great,” Mazeka said sarcastically. “I hope you and your battles will be very happy together. I need information. Where’s Helryx?”

 

“Out. And you don’t come to us... we call you,” Tobduk said, a plan taking shape.

 

“Vultraz is heading to the core, bringing something to a Makuta,” Mazeka said urgently. “I need to follow him, but I don’t know where the core is.”

 

“I do,” Tobduk grinned, pleased with himself beyond compare. Not only was his ancient mission about to be completed, but Mazeka could help shorten his errand on Destral even further. Tracking down and killing Vezon was a waste of valuable time. It’d be so much easier to make the Matoran do it.

 

Tobduk picked up Helryx’s dagger, flipping it in his hand. “Jerbraz says you have come far. But do you have what it takes to kill?”

 

He relished in Mazeka’s terrified gaze before suddenly sheathing the dagger. “No. Cutting you down wouldn’t even be sport anymore, not when there are so many better targets out there. I have a job to do, Mazeka... and I could use a little help. You aid me and I will tell you what you want to know... or you could refuse, and the guards will haul you off to a cell for interrogation while Vultraz roams free.”

 

The beauty of it was that Mazeka truly had no choice. Sighing, the Matoran accepted. “What do I have to do?”

 

Tobduk strode from the room. Helryx’s friend would be there in a moment. “Nothing too terrible,” he chuckled. “We’re just going hunting.”

 

With Mazeka trotting after him, Tobduk strode through the corridors of Daxia. The guards parted before him, giving Mazeka no trouble. He took only a few minutes to reach the armoury, fling his locker open, and draw out the long, thin staff with the doom viper head.

 

Noticing Mazeka’s gaze, Tobduk grinned at the staff. “This once belonged to a particularly despicable Makuta,” he said. “Called himself Droth. I had a... personal quarrel with him. You should be able to figure out what happened to him.”

 

“You should be able to figure out exactly how much I care,” Mazeka grumbled.

 

“He’s not even dust on the wind any longer,” Tobduk growled, “and thanks to this staff, you could share that fate.”

 

Mazeka was silent as Tobduk rummaged through the rest of the weapons locker. After retrieving a vial of viruses, the angry titan had one more weapon in mind, and it ought to be around here somewhere... aha. Tobduk grabbed the heavy apparatus and affixed it to his forearm.

 

Wielding his arsenal of weapons and viruses, accompanied by a sarcastic Ko-Matoran, Tobduk strode from Daxia’s headquarters and down the rocky shore. A huge boulder warded the sand beneath it from the overhead sun, leaving a great pool of shadow. As Tobduk and Mazeka strode forwards, a figure came into view in the shade, its arms folded impatiently.

 

“This fellow here will be our transport,” Tobduk grinned. “He’s an old friend of Helryx’s, so try not to insult him.”

 

The enigmatic figure looked upon Mazeka with a nostalgic expression. “Matoran...” it hissed. “Such creatures did I guard from harm, so long ago. Now my powers are feared and reviled... I am labelled a Makuta, or one of their foul servants.”

 

“...Okay,” Mazeka said slowly. “Sorry to hear it. My name’s Mazeka.”

 

“I have been called many things,” the figure whispered, “but I shall use the title most recently granted to me. I am called Shadow Stealer.”

 

With that said, the figure extended his slender arms and took hold of both Order members... then turned and stepped into the darkness. All three vanished from sight, and from Daxia.

 

To be continued in Destiny War, part six.

 

Review Topic


  • 0
 
New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#5 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 28 2013 - 10:08 AM

Chapter 4

 

Destral was falling.

 

Makuta Tridax was dead, his army of shadow Toa locked away in the cellar of a collapsing fortress. Vezon, too. Now it was time to depart.

 

Shadow Stealer waited at the top of the stairs. Tobduk batted a Rahkshi aside as the two Order members dashed through the darkened halls, reaching out their arms to the ancient hero, and then all three were gone once more. They stepped out of the darkness to find themselves on a place distant from Daxia, distant from Destral... distant from anywhere.

 

“Where are we?” Mazeka blinked. He, Tobduk, and Shadow Stealer stood on an island about a league wide, covered in dust. The twisted branches on the dirt implied there once existed a forest here, but it was long dead. Indeed, as he looked around, he saw the remnants of twisted trees, turned to stone by the weight of years.

 

“Welcome to a tiny rock in the center of the sea,” Tobduk explained, “or thereabouts. There’s no official name for the place, but I’ve heard it called the Isle of No Return.”

 

“That’s encouraging,” the Ko-Matoran said, rolling his eyes. “I dread to ask, but... why take me here?”

 

Tobduk gestured to the small stone doorway behind them. A dusty staircase stretched into the darkness below. “You wanted to come to the core? Here it is.”

 

Mazeka stared for a long time. “...My thanks,” he choked out. “But if you don’t mind... might I ask to retrieve something before I head in? I want to be ready to face Vultraz.”

 

“Ask him,” Tobduk shrugged, pointing to Shadow Stealer.

 

The Dark Hunter bore a melancholy face. “Matoran... fighting for their own freedom,” he sighed. “Matoran are their own heroes. No need for the old ones...”

 

Mazeka bowed his head. “I apologize for my kind’s treatment of you,” he said slowly. “But this is a personal matter. Vultraz is a plague that only I can end. With that said, may I ask to return to Daxia?”

 

Shadow Stealer extended his hand. “Those who aid others, in the smallest of ways, are heroes in their own right,” he rasped.

 

Mazeka reached out, but Tobduk interrupted. “Oi! Pipsqueak!”

 

Exasperated, Mazeka turned to face the lean killer. “One last insult to toss at me?”

 

Tobduk stepped forwards, staring Mazeka in the eye. “You’re quite dedicated to your little revenge quest,” he said. “I can appreciate that.”

 

Mazeka gave a cynical laugh. “All you care about is the kill,” he spat. “My motivations are beyond you.”

 

Tobduk’s eyes narrowed, and smoke began to curl from his fists. “Listen here,” he growled. “I didn’t come into this world raring to kill, thirsting for murder, exulting in bloodshed. Do you know what made me that way? Revenge. 

 

“Did you hear me ranting to Tridax? Every blow, every fist and every fireball I throw, is fueled by my loss. Every ounce of rage, a tear shed for my brothers. They call me ‘survivor’... Let me tell you, it’s not a glamorous title.”

 

Mazeka frowned, but he didn’t shrink away from the titan. The Matoran realized something alarming: he was no longer afraid of Tobduk. “You and I have something in common,” the Ko-Matoran said slowly. “We’re both motivated by revenge.” His mask was pensive for a few moments, until he looked back into the titan’s eyes. “I can only wish you success. Goodbye, Tobduk.”

 

With a last glance at Tobduk, the ancient hero and the young Matoran became a wisp of darkness, vanishing from sight. Tobduk was left alone on the stone island.

 

The half-forgotten memories of a bygone age stirred in his mind. Gritting his teeth, Tobduk fought back the urge to explode. Struggling, quivering, he thrust his hand out towards the open waters and willed away his rage. A blast of fire transmuted water instantly to vapor, sand to glass, shells to ash. As he watched, the waves came in again and again, sucking out the heat, until they had covered the crater entirely.

 

Tobduk gave a sound somewhere between a growl and a cry. Turning from the sea, he gazed upon the stone staircase, and slowly stepped forward. Save it for Chirox.

 

Staff in hand, Tobduk descended into the dusty darkness of ages past.

 

Review Topic


  • 0
 
New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#6 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 29 2013 - 06:05 PM

Chapter 5

 

Tobduk dashed across wooden bridges between massive pillars of stone. Bat-like Rahi scattered at the sound of his frenzied footsteps.

 

In the sky above, a battle for the fate of the universe was raging. Explosions of elemental energy dotted the core’s ancient air: chain lightning one moment, blinding light the next. As Tobduk ran, the battle pushed itself into the swamp, closer and closer to the metallic Codrex.

 

Well, this is getting nowhere, Tobduk grunted, watching frustratedly as the Toa Nuva and their Makuta adversaries delved deeper into the swamp, far from the stalactite he stood on. ...Here goes nothing!

 

The tall warrior hurled himself off the bridge, hurtling through the air, and awakened the jetpack. Certainly hope it works...

 

The machine shuddered, and for a few nasty seconds, Tobduk continued in free fall. Then a thin, blue flame erupted from each jet, and he soared into the sky, a shrill whistling coming from behind. That’s more like it, Tobduk grinned.

 

Tobduk blasted through the cool, crisp air, headed for the massive metallic sphere in the center of the cavern. The Codrex, he’d heard it called. Apparently, the Toa Nuva needed to delve into the structure to fulfill their destiny and awaken Mata Nui. That was all well and good: it meant that Makuta Chirox was sure to be near.

 

The lean warrior breezed by another massive stalactite just as his eyes caught a flash of chain lightning nearby. Glancing over, his vision narrowed in on the combatants involved: one surprisingly large Toa had been knocked out by the blast, leaving his two adversaries free to dart away. One was yellow-armoured and insectoid, but the other... The other was Makuta Chirox.

 

Perfect.

 

Tobduk locked on to the bat-winged Makuta and ramped up the jetpack’s speed.

 

Sonic shrieks began to echo at the edge of his mind, increasing in volume as he drew near. Evidently, Chirox was attempting to bombard the Toa with sonic power and keep them off balance. Or at least, that would seem reasonable if he weren’t entirely alone at the edges of the battlefield. What was going on?

 

Whatever the case, Tobduk was drawing nearer and nearer to his destined quarry. Five hundred metres. Four hundred. Three hundred... two hundred... one hundred...

 

Tobduk flung the dagger once more, mask glowing. The weapon flipped over and over as it spun through the air, guided by his Kanohi Sanok, until... the dagger bounced harmlessly off, plummeting into the swamp below. No matter. The point hadn’t been to deal a mortal wound, but to get the Makuta’s attention.

 

Tobduk bellowed with rage. He had nothing eloquent prepared. He simply yelled the name he had cursed for millennia.

 

“Chirox!”

 

The Makuta gave no indication of hearing him. Tobduk growled, still yelling, and charged forth, staff at the ready to skewer the scrawny target --

 

With impossible speed, Chirox leapt from the path of the staff, then twisted in mid-air to aim his mask at his assailant. Opening his fanged mouth, Chirox released another pulse of sonic energy -- this one at an earth-shattering frequency. Tobduk’s armor fractured as the power scream knocked him back, and his jetpack spluttered and faltered. The warrior fell.

 

...No. It won’t end like this, Tobduk vowed. I’ll teach him to make a fool of me!

 

Channeling a brief burst of indignant humiliation, Tobduk blasted streams of fire from his outstretched palms. They yanked him from his vertical fall and propelled him a few dozen metres, until he struck one of the fallen stalactites. Tobduk dropped onto a ledge and quickly leapt to his feet, staff still clutched in his hand. Where are you, Chirox?

 

He was not altogether surprised to see the bat-winged silhouette approaching leisurely. It was unlike a Makuta to run from a challenge, especially if the first blows had gone well for them. Chirox gave a toothy grin as he approached, shadows curling at the tips of his blades.

 

Still sending out waves of slight sonic frequencies, Chirox opened his mouth and began to speak. His voice trailed through the winds to hiss in Tobduk’s ear. “Well, well,” the Makuta grinned. “Who have we here?”

 

Tobduk gritted his teeth, holding his staff ready for the inevitable teleport. Chirox would have to draw within firing range soon enough, and then the battle could begin in earnest.

 

“Tall, dark, and angry, by the looks of it,” Chirox continued, beginning to lazily circle the stalactite. “Like so many righteous revengers who have tried and failed in the past. You know, I begin to tire of attempts on my life. I hope you can make this a little more interesting.”

 

Tobduk remained silent, grinning under his mask. Clearly, Chirox won most of his fights by goading the enemy into making careless mistakes, playing up their anger and emotion. Little did he know that this tactic only made his opponent stronger.

 

“You’re awfully quiet. Muaka got your tongue?”

 

“There are no words,” Tobduk growled, “for the rage I feel.”

 

“Awww, poor little thing,” Chirox grinned, flitting back and forth. “Did that meanie Makuta do something to upset you? But remember what the Turaga always say: violence isn’t the answer. Why don’t you go count to ten and calm down?”

 

“I have counted,” Tobduk snarled, anger building, “each millennium since you murdered my race. The first to fall to a web of shadows, the poisonous scourge. I’m sure you know where I’m from.”

 

“Actually, no,” Chirox shrugged. “My Visorak have ravaged countless lands; one loses track of them after a time. But I do hate loose ends. Let’s end this quickly.”

 

With that, he vanished from the air, appearing within a few dozen feet to loose off three crimson bolts of shadow. Tobduk dodged the first and blasted the second two out of the air, mask glowing all the while. He shot a fireball at the Makuta for good measure, one that not even Chirox’s supernatural agility could dodge. The flames burst against his protosteel shell, but Chirox gave no indication of pain.

 

“Is that it? You’re just going to toss fire at me?” Chirox chuckled. “Fire means nothing to a Makuta. But let’s see how well you burn!”

 

A coil of plasma stretched around Chirox’s blade, then hurtled at Tobduk. The blast struck him in the chest, seeping through his armour plating, but he ignored the pain.

 

“My rage burns hotter than any plasma you could throw at me,” Tobduk proclaimed. “Living with that burden every day is more painful than the harshest wound. Let me share some of that pain with you.”

 

He seized the staff and loosed off a blast of white-hot energy. “Fire is one thing... pure rage another. Let’s see how well you handle it.”

 

Chirox twirled out of the blast’s path as usual, but some of the lingering heat scorched his leg. Silver armour turned to sizzled black. “Fairly well,” he lied.

 

Tobduk ducked beneath another few bolts of shadow as Chirox lazily drifted back and forth. The Makuta was only toying with him now, but Tobduk was still playing for keeps. An idea occurred to him.

 

As the latest shadow bolt hurtled toward him, Tobduk began to dodge -- and then froze, pretending to flinch. The dark element caught him in the back, just barely nicking him, but the titan dropped to his hands and knees as if the hit had been much worse.

 

Above, Chirox scanned the area with another of his sonic pulses. The Makuta saw his adversary downed, if only for a second. Still concerned about the mission, Chirox paused for a moment, concentrating on the battle raging outside the Codrex. No doubt he was telepathically contacting his brethren, Tobduk rightfully deduced.

 

Wasting no time, Tobduk quickly raised the doom staff and focused his rage at the hateful silhouette. His mask glowed a dull red as it enhanced his aim, and then another beam of white-hot energy lanced forth, knifing Chirox in the spindly chest. The Makuta yelped as a fist-sized chunk of his chest melted and buckled. The hint of a hole in his armour emerged, surrounded by jagged edges of curled metal.

 

Chirox shrieked a power scream, fragmenting pieces of the stalactite, but Tobduk stood fast against the wave of sonic energy. Muttering curses under his breath, Chirox assessed the situation and elected to end it quickly.

 

The wounded Makuta loosed off another blast of power. This one curled around Tobduk’s entire body, slowing his speed to a crawl. As the titan slowly aimed the staff, energy began to curl around the concentrating Chirox. Limited invulnerability. Accuracy. Cyclone. Quick healing. Shattering.

 

“Tossing bolts back and forth is just such a bore,” Chirox said slowly, struggling under the mental weight of so many powers at once. “Time to end this. Take the knowledge of your failure to your brothers in the afterlife.”

 

With that, the Makuta folded up his wings... and shot forwards at lightning speed, hurtling towards the stalactite ledge Tobduk stood on. Analyzing the rock formations with his sonic patterns, he focused on the weakest part of its structural integrity... just a few metres below the tall warrior. In his wake, the Makuta stirred up the buffeting winds of a tornado, clutching at Tobduk and threatening to drag him to his doom. A black shield of invulnerability surrounding his form, Chirox barreled towards the rock. 

 

Impact.

 

The stalactite let out a crackling, crashing noise as Chirox sliced straight through it, carving rock apart with his shattering power. Then it groaned, slowly and ominously, as the massive edifice of stone began to crumble, pitching forwards, catching the sluggish Tobduk in the center of its collapse...

 

Tobduk fell through the mists of Karda Nui, surrounded on all sides by the crashing fragments of a massive stalactite. His limbs slowed by Chirox’s supernatural power, the tall warrior could do little to dodge the impact as dozens of rocky shards slammed into him again and again.

 

Well, I’ve had worse, he grunted, recalling the mission wherein he’d plunged several thousands of feet into the earth beneath the Southern Continent. But not much worse...

 

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Edited by Angel Bob, Feb 18 2014 - 06:54 PM.

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New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#7 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jul 31 2013 - 10:42 PM

Chapter 6

 

Tobduk toppled to the ground amidst a storm of rocky debris. The titan was battered and bruised on the outside, and burning within -- burning with the fiery rage of his people’s massacre. Tobduk’s anger strengthened him, reinforced him, and dulled the pain of a thousand smaller impacts... and the greater one beneath.

 

With a mighty series of crashes and thuds, the remnants of the stalactite plummeted into the murky waters below. The commotion was enough to rouse flocks of birds within quite a distance. Outside the Codrex, a few Makuta gave a worried glance in the direction of the crash... but they quickly turned their attention back to the all-essential Codrex.

 

Makuta Chirox’s wounds slowly closed, the metal of his armour gluing itself back together through his powers of quick healing. Slowly, lazily, the batlike creature spiraled downwards, towards the devastation he had wreaked on the Swamp of Secrets. Somewhere in that wreckage was a loose cannon with a personal grudge against him, and Chirox did not intend to let such a being survive. Whether or not he had survived the collapse, this angry character would not be leaving the core alive.

 

As Chirox drew near, he noticed a disturbance in his latest sonar pulses. Several smaller fragments of the stalactite were shifting slightly, and he could sense their vibrations. That could only mean one thing. A golden sheen of energy curled around the Makuta’s blades as he readied his power of disintegration. He kept up his regular pulses of sonic energy, scanning the rubble for movement...

 

...And suddenly, impossibly, the fragment was hurtling through the air -- on a collision course with the Makuta himself! Chirox’s eyes widened reflexively, and he loosed the disintegration beam. The huge rock crumbled to dust in an instant, but Chirox’s wannabe assassin had bought time enough to vanish from detection.

 

The Makuta hesitated to draw any nearer to the ground, but he gave an appreciative nod. This character is far stronger... and smarter... than I had anticipated, he murmured to himself. This only argues for his destruction to be enacted even sooner. Now, what are your plans, mystery man? he chuckled, scanning the area for any nearby minds to read.

 

Chirox paused with shock when his scan detected... nothing. He could not sense any intelligent thought in the area. Where had his assailant gone?

 

Down below, Tobduk felt Chirox try and fail to pierce his mental shielding. The Order agent gave a grin, relishing in his opponent’s shocked revelation. Tobduk himself had tucked himself away behind a mangrove, hoping the movement of its leaves in the wind would be enough to mask his movements to Chirox’s sonic senses. As if Mata Nui himself were on Tobduk’s side, the winds began to pick up, ruffling the leaves with greater speed and strength.

 

Tobduk peered around the tree trunk. Chirox had drawn lower, still trying to scan the area with his sonic and telepathic powers. Judging by the Makuta’s expression, both were entirely failing to find his assailant. Slowly, carefully, Tobduk took aim with his staff one more time. The point was not to slay Chirox with a single blow, though that would be a welcome miracle. The point was simply to lure him into melee, where he could become acquainted with the iron gauntlet resting on Tobduk’s arm.

 

A beam of pure heat struck Chirox once more, searing a hole straight through his leathery wing. The Makuta howled in pain and surprise, but soon composed himself. “Very well... I know now you are nearby, even if you have somehow hidden yourself from my senses,” he hissed. “In the interest of fairness, I will do the same.”

 

Chirox began to glow -- or rather, he did the opposite. Light around him darkened and dimmed, and the effect spread outwards, until a cloud of shadow had blanketed the area. Even the sunlight reflected off the Codrex, glaring as it was, vanished behind Chirox’s cloak of darkness. Tobduk couldn’t see the Makuta’s face, but he was likely grinning, in stark contrast to the scowl Tobduk wore. Chirox wasn’t even gloating, which robbed Tobduk of any chance to guess at the Makuta’s location in this artificial night. The wind howled as both combatants were silent, trying in vain to find the other.

 

It was an exercise in futility, and Tobduk had never enjoyed such things. “Condemn it!” he spat, and sudden fires blazed into being in his palms. Channeling his frustration in addition to his righteous anger, Tobduk staggered out from his hiding place and blasted the flames in all directions. In a matter of moments, the swamp all around was crackling and burning, and orange light flickered everywhere. And in the firelight, Tobduk could see the ebon-armoured form of Makuta Chirox floating ever nearer.

 

“At last,” Chirox hissed, “we end this.”

 

Tobduk glared at the Makuta’s hated face for several long moments. Chirox was taking his time, mustering all his strength as he prepared to disintegrate the titan. Gritting his teeth and ignoring the pain in his limbs, Tobduk quickly raised his doom staff and fired off another blast. Chirox effortlessly dodged, but in that moment the titan had fled between two trees and was dashing across a patch of solid ground.

 

Wings beating against the rising winds, Chirox growled in frustration. “You cannot escape me!” Swooshing through the turbulent air, Chirox followed the titan’s trail -- yet just as he picked up the figure’s movement through the waving leaves and branches, Tobduk had turned a corner and darted through the trees.

 

Snarling, Chirox disintegrated an unfortunate tree, but this did not bring him any closer to pinning down Tobduk. Nor did extending his shadow hand, which swatted at the titan’s feet but failed to seize him. With some difficulty, the Makuta flew through the swamp and around a few more twists and turns, trying all the while to land a hit on his opponent. If it had been difficult to pinpoint Tobduk’s location before, it was nigh impossible now. And to make matters worse, these accursed winds seemed dead-set on smashing him into a tree. Growling and grumbling, Chirox alighted on the muddy ground and tucked in his wings. Very well... I shall proceed on foot.

 

Tobduk ran as hard as he could, but even with rage’s flame fueling his every action, he knew his legs would not survive much more exertion. He could only hope his plan was working. Going by the obscenities Chirox was shouting from behind him (loud enough to hear over those blessed winds), it was.

 

After taking a few more arbitrary ducks to the left and right, weaving between trees, Tobduk found the largest tree he’d seen yet. He glanced back to see that Chirox was still on his trail; against all odds, he was. The Makuta barreled through the trees now, blasting them out of his path with chain lightning. Tobduk waited until he could be sure Chirox had seen him: apparently out of breath, on his last legs, staggering around the giant tree. With a sinister grin, Chirox pressed forwards, shadows curling around his blades, and darted around the tree --

 

-- only to find Tobduk far closer than he would have expected. Just after ducking around the tree, the titan had pressed up against the trunk and waited for the Makuta to round the corner. Now, aided by his honed reflexes and Mask of Accuracy, Tobduk leapt forward and caught Chirox entirely by surprise. The blue talons of Tobduk’s heavy gauntlet closed around Chirox’s neck as both toppled to the ground.

 

“You cannot choke a Makuta to death, fool!” Chirox spat, nevertheless scrabbling at Tobduk with his blades and preparing a power scream.

 

“Don’t need to,” Tobduk grinned, clenching his fingers and activating the gauntlet’s special properties. “This is a Griffin Gauntlet.”

 

Chirox’s eyes widened, even as rings of crystal began to take shape around the gauntlet, encasing the Makuta’s ironclad form. The Brotherhood had banned the manufacture of Griffin Gauntlets long ago, on account of the special danger they posed to Makuta. Even now, a matrix of crystal was beginning to unfold across Chirox’s form; when it had formed a suitable casing, the material would quickly and violently contract, crushing the being within -- including Chirox’s antidermis essence.

 

“Get off! Get - off!” Chirox cried, accentuating the last syllable with a power scream that blew Tobduk back into the tree. He struck the bark and froze for a long moment, overwhelmed with pain. Meanwhile, Chirox struggled to move his arm out of the crystal lattice; if he could only bring his hand into contact with the crystal, his shattering power could let him escape...

 

“No!” Tobduk grunted, blasting the offending hand with his doom staff. Chirox’s clawlike fingers turned to slag, leaving him with only a stump. His other arm had already been encased entirely in the crystal. The Makuta was left helpless in the rapidly expanding straitjacket.  

 

With desperation in his eyes, Chirox glanced at Tobduk once more, and tried one last attempt. A sphere of vacuum encircled Tobduk’s head, cutting off all air. “Release me... or perish!” Chirox spat, but his attempt was in vain. The winds of the core were truly raging now, and the Makuta could not keep them at bay for more than a few seconds. Tobduk knew it, and simply glared at the Makuta as the winds rushed in to fill the vacuum.

 

Menacingly, Tobduk strode forwards and raised the doom staff. Chirox recoiled at its sight. “You know this?” Tobduk nodded. “Yes, it belonged to Makuta Droth, your colleague. Until I killed him.”

 

Chirox tried again, this time using his powers of laser vision. The beams struck, and cut like a knife, but Tobduk ignored them. “Even if you could kill me with those beams,” he growled, “that wouldn’t scare me into releasing you.” He knelt down to stare Chirox in the eyes, though he knew now those eyes were robbed of sight. “Ever wondered how come so many of your brothers have perished across these millennia?” he asked. “You’re looking at the reason. Ectrolis, Indusko, Brond, Luporax... I hunted them all, but those were just assignments. But killing Droth... killing you?” Tobduk sported the grin of a wolf. “It’s been a pleasure.”

 

Tobduk straightened up, raising the doom staff once more. He leveled the doom viper’s head at Chirox. “I understand you birthed the doom vipers,” Tobduk said. “Makes no difference to me. But the Visorak? The ‘Scourge of All Life’, the ‘Conquering Horde’?” The staff primed itself, glowing with energy. “I’m avenging far more lands and people than my own. Consider this a payment in full for what you’ve done to the universe, Chirox. It’s my honor to deliver it to you.”

 

Then a red flash filled the air, but it was not of Tobduk’s creation. A deadly bolt of lightning had just snaked through the air and struck the massive tree behind him. What had been a pillar of life moments before was now a scorched, blackened shell, still smoldering from the ruined crust. Both Tobduk and Chirox stared, and took note of their surroundings for the first time in several minutes.

 

The wind had whipped itself into a fury now. All around, the terrific force was tearing branches from trees, and trees from the murky waters. Red flashes of lightning echoed in the sky above, over and over and across all of the core.

 

“This is no ordinary storm,” Tobduk muttered. “This is the apocalypse!”

 

Chirox’s eyes were wide with fright. “I can feel them... feel them dying,” he gasped. “Makuta Mutran is dead... after so many years... and Bitil next, and Antroz after him...”

 

Tobduk lowered his staff, looking around at the devastation. And this storm is just getting started, he realized. He whistled in awe of the pure destructive force of it all. And then another sensation filled his heart, one of joy beyond imagining. He didn’t know how he knew, but... Mata Nui has awakened.

 

“Looks like the Destiny War’s over,” he grunted to Chirox. “And we’ve won.”

 

Chirox was beyond bewildered. “No,” he breathed. “His waking is a crucial step in the Plan... but these storms...”

 

Tobduk was putting the pieces together. Watery images flashed before his mind: snippets of information about Karda Nui, things he’d seen in Helryx’s pool but brushed aside. The energy storms... Mata Nui awakening... the two go hand in hand. And then he understood Helryx’s hesitant farewell. “...No wonder the core is a forbidden place,” Tobduk said grimly.

 

With that, he turned and stepped away.

 

“What?!” Chirox spat. “Aren’t you going to kill me? I thought that was the whole point of this little scuffle.”

 

Tobduk glanced over his shoulder at the Makuta. Chirox was a spindly, blind thing, lying helpless on the ground, imprisoned in a crystal lattice. He was just barely sitting upright.

 

“No,” Tobduk said over the roaring winds. He glanced around again. “You and your kind have brought this storm upon yourselves. I’ll leave you to the fate you deserve.”

 

Tobduk turned back and, staring ahead, strode away from the fallen Makuta. He heard the scrabbling noise of Chirox attempting to stand, to teleport, to escape in any way, but he paid them little heed. Even the loud, crackling zzzzap! and searing red blast from behind him didn’t draw his eye.

 

The titan kept walking, placing one foot after another in the mud. Trees toppled all around him, while winds buffeted his face, but Tobduk kept walking. All anger had gone from him; his veins pulsed slowly, calmly, with no trace of boiling rage. No, only one sensation remained in Tobduk’s mind, a sensation that had been absent from his life ever since the night of the attack. 

 

One simple sensation:

 

Peace.

 

The End

 

Review Topic


  • 0
 
New short story:
 
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal
 
Older stories:
 
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
 
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox




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