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The Power Within: Legacy of Terra Nui

A Tale of Terra Nui Terra Nui Ballom Sharaku Toa Terra

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#1 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 04 2013 - 11:34 PM

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Prologue

"No Eden can stay free from the shadow of sin forever."

~~~

Terra Nui: an island paradise, untouched by war and strife for thousands of years, almost as it was the day Matoran settlers first set foot on it, a jewel in the great silver protodermis sea. Covered in a range of interlocking ecosystems, from a lush rainforest teeming with Rahi, to its icy mountain's peak, to its active volcano at its heart, Terra Nui supports an almost unprecedented array of unique places and creatures.
 
One would imagine that a huge volcano would be a great hazard to the island's inhabitants, yet Mount Juvala never seemed to hurt even a fly. As a result, giant worms and other strange creatures thrive almost up the volcano's slopes. Similarly, no tsunamis, hurricanes, or earthquakes ever seemed to harm Terra Nui, almost as if a giant hand was shielding the island from harm.
 
So far, no Terra Nui Matoran had ever felt the grip of fear, or the stab of starvation in their stomachs, for hundreds of thousands of years . . . not yet.

 

------

 
The huge vessel plowed through the seas, gliding silently along like a huge medusa, oblivious to the storm around it. Marked with huge scars of seafaring battles, and with giant spikes jutting from its sides currently acting as lightning rods, it was truly a fearsome sight. As the ship cruised along, creaking with every movement, a lone figure stood at its prow, his tattered cape blowing in the gale as much as the ship's very sails. Suddenly lightning cracked overhead, briefly illuminating the figure. Crouched, gaunt, and shrunken, he nonetheless possessed an aura of command and strength. Gold armor, dulled with age and wear was fastened in a loose-fitting manner around his ebony, spike-covered frame. Clawed hands and feet clutched the rails and planks of the ship, and a hollow-eyed, black mask with gleaming evil crimson eyes covered his hideous face. As he stood there, a lone island came slowly into view.
 
"Ah, there it is," he thought to himself, "the key to ultimate power. Back at the Brotherhood, they laughed at me, even in the presence of Lord Makuta himself. Soon they will pay. All the world will pay for this, even the high almighty Mata Nui, whom I cursed in my wrath! The treasure of Terra Nui will soon be mine!"
 
Suddenly the ship slowed, and the bright, glaring light in its heart dimmed. "More heat!" the black figure bellowed. Seconds later, the flame reignited to an even stronger one than before, and the vessel lurched forward again, closing the gap between it and the island.
 
As the being moved down towards the hold, a small, spike-covered insectoid creature, its eyes glowing almost as bright as its master's, clambered up the cape and onto the black figure's shoulders. Whispering almost to himself, the lord softly spoke.
 
"Nothing can stop me!"


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Edited by Ballom, Jun 22 2014 - 09:32 PM.

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#2 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 05 2013 - 06:37 PM

Chapter 1

Brega was fishing quietly along the coastline, reeling in fish after fish. Suddenly, a crashing noise caused her to drop her fishing pole in surprise. Turning in the direction of the sound, she was awestruck to see that the waves had brought in more than just the usual bamboo pole or piece of driftwood. A huge, fearsome-looking vessel, encrusted with barnacles and bearing tattered black sails had wound up ashore at the southern coastal shelf.

Rubbing her eyes in disbelief, Brega watched as several large armored figures climb down the side of the ship, down into the sand. They were followed by half a dozen smaller figures, each about the size of a Matoran. What really disturbed her the most, however, was the black, robed figure striding down the vessel's gangplank that was being lowered. As she watched, six of the seven larger beings began to remove metal pieces and building materials from the ship, setting up the foundations for a series of buildings. Meanwhile, one of the smaller creatures, this one a bright red, noticed Brega and waddled on its pudgy legs over to where she sat.

"Ooh, hello," it said, "Who are you? My name is Hanak."

Brega blinked. This creature, despite the similarity in size, looked nothing like a Matoran. He wore shiny silver armor, had long arms with nimble fingers, and had an oversize head with two bright green eyes, along with feet ridiculously small for his body.

"Do you speak?" he asked, puzzled.

Suddenly, Brega found her voice. "Hello. Um, . . What exactly are you...?"

"I am a Torika. We are like Matoran on the island I came from." A yell from one of Hanak's larger counterparts, this one colored a deep brick red, made him turn around and scurry back towards the ship, his little legs pumping furiously.

"Who was that?" the large figure asked Hanak.

"Oh, just one of the natives," replied the Torika. "She seemed nice. When do we get to meet some more of them?"

"Whaaaat!?" screamed the bright blue figure. "This isn't a foolish Torika party for you to run around and socialize! This is a mission of conquest!" He pulled a jaggedly curved boomerang from his back and threw it in Brega's direction.

Brega, almost too dumbfounded at what was going on to even speak, jumped to the side in an attempt to avoid the missile. Miraculously, she suddenly stopped hearing its flight through the air. Looking up, she realized it was gone from its path to her, instead floating in the air by the armored figures. Amazed, but not wanting to push her good luck, she grabbed her fishing rod and ran back towards the forest edge as fast as her legs could carry her.

 

------

 

The Dark Lord calmly turned toward the blue figure, handing back the boomerang which had been hurled at Brega. "Do not ever do that again," he said menacingly. "I prefer not to exert my powers as often as you seem to think, Viermoc."

Glowering, Viermoc turned to Hanak and his larger red master. "This was your doing, Argarak," he snarled. "You could have prevented your minion from talking to the villager."

Argarak crossed his hands on his chest, looking at Viermoc mildly, as Hanak wisely used the moment to hide behind Argarak's back. "The Matoran would have fled anyway. Let's not argue amongst ourselves, hmm? We must save our real energy for the coming takeover."

The Dark Lord nodded, gesturing to the other beings. "Dismissed, all of you. Get back to work. Scytale, you round up supplies. Ruhktar and Cyraikk, you assemble the buildings' frames. Argarak, you and Hanak assemble the circuitry and automated systems. Tharaka, you and the other five Torika do the rest of the work." Six of the beings quickly separated to do their own tasks, as the Dark Lord talked to the last, a huge golden brute taller than all the others.

"Zakarath, as you see, the time for waiting is over. As soon as these buildings are up, and Argarak has finished the last automated work of his, we will strike."

Zakarath nodded, and lumbered off to the heart of the ship, as his master stood and gazed slowly out to sea.

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 22 2014 - 09:35 PM.

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#3 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 06 2013 - 06:20 PM

Chapter 2

Argarak strode in through the entrance of the large, metal laboratory. Set to his exact specifications, the place was filled with all sorts of strange devices, from tools on the walls to heaps of parts on the floor. Hanak was already there, assembling what appeared to be a metal skeleton from a heap of metal.

"How soon can you have that ready, Hanak?" Argarak asked.

"Three hours, sir," the Torika replied.

"Good." Argarak sat down at a table and rolled out a large blueprint scroll. What was I thinking when he wrote this? Sometimes I can't even read my own writing. "Hanak!"

The Torika turned toward his master was working, being the only Torika who could read or write. "Yes?"

Hanak peered at it, and then shrugged, returning back to his work. Sighing, Argarak pulled out a lens and attempted to decipher his scrawl. Let's see . . . Something about an intelligence matrix for a robot. Crystallized protodermis . . . and . . . yellow? "This mission was planned too hastily," Argarak muttered to himself, for at least the fifth time so far. "Already things appear to be going wrong."

Upon reaching Terra Nui, Argarak had been assigned the task of building an army for conquest of the island, seeing as how seven Sharaku and six Torika could not do it themselves. "And, of course, Argarak ends up as the pack Rahi, doing everything," he mumbled, although he knew that his team depended on him greatly. Argarak was the technology expert among the team, knowing the great deal about building and operating machinery. However, that required time — which his leader wasn't giving him.

Planning ahead, though, Argarak had designed and mass-produced fifteen hundred Drone model soldiers, all ready to be assembled. However, Hanak and the other Torika were in charge of that task. Argarak was to create six elite robots to lead the Drone army, each with a complicated intelligence matrix. Named in ancient numerical designations Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Omega, and Zeta, and codenamed "Captains," each robot was the color of one of the subordinate Sharaku: red, blue, green, brown, black, and white. Each possessed advanced weapons skills, hyperfast reflexes, titanium armor shielding, and of course, fearsome intelligences. Only through complex programming were they completely loyal to the Sharaku, something which the simpleminded Drones needed only to follow. Six captains had been built on the long journey, and now, with the Torika near completion of the last Drones, Argarak was finishing Captain Beta.

Standing up, Argarak reached for a cabinet to pull out a power tool. However, the lock was jammed. Annoyed, Argarak unsheathed his huge grey claws and tore the cabinet open. Picking up a laser welder, he returned to the task at hand. There, he soon achieved his objective and set down his tool, admiring his handiwork. He picked up the intelligence unit, and walked over to the back of the building, sliding it into a shiny suit of blue armor. A sinister head strikingly reminiscent of a Vahki sneered back at him.

"Ah, good," Argarak said. "You are all done." If only reading his writing were this easy . . .

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 22 2014 - 09:36 PM.

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#4 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 07 2013 - 05:18 PM

Chapter 3

 

Keeramak waited impatiently in the long, dim corridor, tapping his hooves on the tile floor. Suddenly, a section of the wall slid inward, shedding a ray of light into the gloom. Shielding his eyes, he peered through his hand, seeing several beings stepping in, one blue and gold, another yellow and red, before the door closed, darkening the room once again.

Out of the darkness, a harsh voice spoke. "Keeramak, I have come to give you your next assignment. Obviously it is important, or else I would not waste my time dealing with it."

Keeramak recognized that voice. It belonged to the Shadowed One, his leader. Unconsciously, he bowed, even though it was dark.

"You are to be sent to the island of Terra Nui," the Shadowed One continued. "Do you know of it?"

"Yes sir," Keeramak replied. Although he had never been there — in fact, no Dark Hunter had — he had heard of it. A paradise filled with useful goods: ore, fine wood, and other valuables. Coming from a land of perpetual ice and snow, Terra Nui sounded ideal.

"Good. Ancient?"

One of the other beings spoke. "You are being sent to Terra Nui in response to a Brotherhood ship having left its station, traveling in the direction of the island. An important Brotherhood general was aboard, along with his top lieutenants. We do not yet know exactly who is involved. That is your job, along with . . . shall we say . . . neutralizing them."

The Shadowed One began speaking again. "In order to ensure the mission's success, you will lead four other Dark Hunters there. Darkness, Monster, Shadow, and the Silver Scout. In addition, we have also hired Chazok for the mission."

Just the mention of the feared bounty hunter's name made Keeramak afraid. Known for countless successful missions on the side of the highest bidder, Chazok had perhaps one of the most formidable reputations.

Keeramak gulped. "I understand. I will not fail on this mission."

The Shadowed One grinned, his teeth shining in the dim light. "For your sake, you had better not."

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 22 2014 - 09:37 PM.

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#5 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 08 2013 - 06:23 PM

Chapter 4

 

At the Dark Lord's camp, everything had finally been finished, and all loose ends had been wrapped up. Argarak's robot army was now fully operational, and stood in rows on the beach as Argarak and Hanak activated each one. Everything was working according to plan.

Well, almost everything, Scytale thought. The emerald green Sharaku, of course, had been chosen for guard duty. However, he could not wait to attack the Matoran village, where he would rip the Matoran limb from limb, and then he would —

"Scytale, stop thinking about the Matoran village," Tharaka said.

"How did you know?" Scytale blinked, surprised.

"You were licking your staff and grinning insanely." Tharaka relpied. "Not that your little Pokawi sticker is much good anyways." As she pulled out her pikestaff, she lauched a blast of water from it, which hit a tree, freezing as it hit. Tharaka waved her hand, as the ice exploded into boiling water, shredding the tree.

A small, white Torika with blue armor, with a ridiculously big grin plastered on his face, waddled up to Tharaka. He was followed by a forest green one, who for some reason had a big bunch of fruit in his hands, which he was eating furiously.

"Awwwww. Hello, there little ones," Tharaka crooned, patting Thukor and Zanta on the heads. The white one looked up and, if possible, his smile grew even bigger.

Scytale looked away in disgust. All the Sharaku had attendant Torika, each their own color, except for Zakarath, who used the other Sharaku as his servants. Argarak had Hanak, Taraka had Thukor, Viermoc had Vukaz, Ruhktar had Rieka, Kyraikk had Kavan, and Scytale was stuck with useless Zanta. Their affection for the little servants varied in sheer adoration in Tharaka to utter hatred in Viermoc, who often used Vukaz as target practice. Scytale himself couldn't stand them. Maybe it was his imagination, but they always seemed to be lurking in the shadows, as if waiting for something. Not that Scytale disliked shadows . . . they were useful for shielding his sensitive eyes.

Unless, of course, Zakarath was in control of them. The head Sharaku had received training from the Dark Lord himself in darkness skills, and often used his powers in extreme ways. Too many times had Scytale felt the shadows condense, and wrap around his throat . . . he shuddered.

Scytale noticed that two the other Sharaku, black Ruhktar and brown Kyraikk, were plodding by, each in the grip of hearty laughter. The two Sharaku were best friends, though Ruhktar's bestial nature contrasted greatly with Kyraikk's clever wit. Likewise, Ruhktar, oddly enough, had no elemental powers, a constant source of frustration to the Dark Lord. But he was fairly tall, compared with Kyraikk's biggest handicap . . . his height. He was the shortest of all the Sharaku, about the size of an average Skakdi, unlike his species, noted for tallness. It did not matter as far as his stone powers went, or his slave-driver nature, but Kyraikk did receive constant humiliation, often being called a "Torika" in contempt, even by Rukhtar. Only Kavan, whom Kyraikk nonetheless towered over, offered any consolation for his size.

Suddenly, Scytale heard the clomping of heavy metal foot steps behind him. Spinning, he saw three drones walking up to him, their blasters raised and aimed at him. Jumping out of the way, Scytale barely avoided several blasts, as he brought up his staff in a counterattack. As he did so, a fourth drone carrying a heavy gun joined the fight. However, Scytale quickly decapitated two with his staff, spitting venom at the third to melt its head. Falling back, he then changed his color to match a nearby tree, hiding his staff behind him. Confused, the drone swiveled around, trying to locate its quarry. Using the advantage, Scytale then jumped forward, only to be knocked back by a massive blast that pummeled his chest. As he flew back, Scytale threw acid at the robot, fusing it into a melted block.

Landing winded, Scytale found himself looking into the grinning countenance of Argarak.

"Fooled you, didn't I?" he said, before turning and walking away, laughing as he went.

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 28 2014 - 12:17 AM.

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#6 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 09 2013 - 11:52 PM

Chapter 5

 

Far away, nestled in the tranquil valley plains of Terra Nui, on its calm northern shore, lay the Matoran village. In appearance, it was basically like any other Matoran village you might find on any other island, such as Kaiva Nui or Kora Nui. Circular rings of thatched wood, straw, and protodermis huts sat in three progressive rows around a central village meeting center, with a Mata Nui stone fountain gushing liquid protodermis in the center. On the southwest end lay the paved road out to the valley, and all throughout the village Matoran of all six kinds could be heard working, playing, and just enjoying the perfect, clear day.

 

Near the beach's edge sat a large stone hall, the largest building in the village. For it was here that the great Turaga Akito resided.

 

"Ah, what a lovely day it is," he said, leaning on his staff on the porch and looking out toward the village. Short in stature, he was brilliant red and mahogany in color, with a full-length robe with strange figures sewn into it. He carried a staff that had been a fire spear in long ages past, for in his prime Akito had been a Toa of magma. His noble Akaku adjusted its x-ray vision eye to peer at his beloved people. "Don't you think so, Hakeahu?"

 

"It certainly is." His companion on the porch stooped down to the Turaga's level, as different from his friend as could possibly be. Hakeahu was tall and silver-gray, with huge plated armor, massive limbs, a barrel chest, and huge corded muscles. A giant hand axe rested on the balcony, gripped in fingers the size of bananas. A Titan of the Order of Mata Nui, Hakeahu had been assigned the task of protecting the island, back in the days when Akito was a headstrong young Toa. The two were now inseparable friends.

 

Akito hobbled off of the porch and into the road. "Come, I have been restless these last few days. All I have been doing is sitting and telling the little ones stories of faraway places, Dark Hunters and giant Rahi. Let's go for a stroll." Hakeahu silently nodded.

 

As they walked, Turaga Akito let his binocular eye wander, to take in all of the surroundings. Of course, he noticed the Matoran passing by and waving. But these weren't just any Matoran.

 

Through some bizarre natural occurrence, the normally unigender races: Ga-Matoran female, the other five male, had been cast aside ever since the Matoran had landed on Terra Nui. Now, one could find male Ga-Matoran and females of every kind. Also, the young Matoran, normally of one kind, seemed to possess different colors due to a unique anomaly: on Terra Nui, the Matoran could actually breed and multiply. Strange, but if the Great Spirit willed it, so be it.

 

There was the resident thrill-seeking Ga-Matoran, Machi, trying unsuccessfully to do a vertical take-off on his pet Icorahk. On the other side of the road was Wula's Trading Shop, where she and her little brother Zumi sold trade goods and locally-bartered items. In the blacksmith shop, the Ta-Matoran Sari and her friend Takan labored at a pair of Kanohi masks. The Le-Matoran woodcutter Hukiro trying to sell some wood to an unwilling Onu-Matoran miner, Vakk. Everything exactly the way it should be. Now if only . . .

 

With a bloodcurdling yell, the Ga-Matoran fisher Brega ran into the village square. Normally, she was out on the ferry boat at this time, so her being here was not normal. Worse, she looked as though she had seen Makuta's ghost itself.

 

Turaga Akito stopped her in her tracks, shaking her to stop the screams. "What is it, Brega? Has your ship been eaten by a Lamproid? Are the fishes flying out of the sea? What is going on!?"

 

Sobbing, Brega opened her mouth, attempting to speak. "Boat. . . landed. . . shore. . . strange armored beings . . ."

 

"I see," Akito replied. "Well, everything is fine now. Will you excuse me for a moment?"

 

He walked over to talk to Hakeahu, who was staring at the ground.

 

Slowly, Hakeahu spoke. "Now it begins. They have finally learned of the Mask."

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 25 2014 - 09:06 PM.

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#7 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 10 2013 - 03:57 PM

Chapter 6

 

Toa Vrael hid in the trees at the edge of the forest, watching the scene before him. A large set of metal buildings were arrayed in a semicircle, each appearing to be of the exact same design. However, Vrael knew otherwise. His Mask of X-Ray vision allowed him to see exactly what — and who — was in each building. For one thing, there appeared to be an awful lot of Skakdi around for his taste too. Even Skakdi children, or whatever else they were. In addition, large, ominous-looking robots patrolled the area. Quickly investigating the contents of each building, Vrael soon discovered that the center, command building was empty.

After meeting with Turaga Akito, Hakeahu, and Chompshi, Vrael's best friend and Toa comrade, Vrael was chosen to investigate Terra Nui's new . . . inhabitants. He knew he was mainly chosen for his skills at stealth, but . . .

Quickly running out of the woods, Vrael ducked down under a rock, watching the camp. As soon as a robot came too close, Vrael used his elemental power to shoot razor-sharp crystal fragments at it, effectively destroying it. Then, using the hulk as cover, he ran behind the nearest structure. There, he saw a thin, green Skakdi leaning against the wall, looking the other way. Silently, Vrael crept up behind him, crystallizing the Skakdi's hands together behind his back with his staff.

"What is the meaning of this?" the Skakdi cried, before Vrael put his hand over its mouth and knocked him out with his staff. Unconscious, the Skakdi crumpled to the ground, disappearing from sight. Feeling on the ground, Vrael realized he was still there, just blending in with the building.

Neat, thought Vrael. A chameleon. But he seems unnaturally tall for a Skakdi. They all do. . .

Coming to the front of the building, he took out several more robot guards before entering, closing the door behind him. There, he found himself in a large corridor, with three doors: one in front of him, one to his left, and one to his right. Wondering what to do, Vrael suddenly became aware of strange humming noises coming from the center corridor. Turning around the corner, he suddenly came face to face with one of the little Skakdi children, this one a vibrant blue.

Looking up, it blinked, and stepped back. "Who are you?" it asked.

Vrael quickly knocked him unconscious, and put the Skakdi in a large closet which be found nearby, binding its hands and feet, before continuing down the passageway, looking through the walls for other life forms as he did. Seeing none, he followed the maze of passageways to the large central chamber. There, he entered a room filled with large plasma screens and gleaming consoles, along with a bank of screens showing security images of what was going on outside. Finally, Vrael's gaze came to rest on the corner of the room, which, though blank, seemed to radiate darkness. Walking forward, he focused on it, trying to realize what was there.

To Vrael's surprise, suddenly, like a curtain falling, a screen of darkness slid inward, disappearing to reveal a hulking golden figure standing in its place. The monstrous Skakdi gave a huge grin, showing more teeth than Vrael had ever seen in one mouth before, even after living on an island that housed creatures with hundreds of teeth.

"Hello," the being said, as Vrael jumped back. "Surprised by me? Perhaps you couldn't see me with your mask?" He stepped forward, stepping out of the shadows completely. "I am Zakarath. Why have you come here? And are you Chomphsi or Vrael?"

Vrael jumped again. "How do you know who we are?"

Zakarath smiled even more. "I am well informed. Now answer my question: why are you here?"

Vrael looked at Zakarath. "I would ask you the same question."

Zakarath began to circle around the room. Vrael walked the opposite way, still facing Zakarath. "Good answer. I don't believe you'll hear mine, but you are no doubt here to hurt as many of us as you can upon learning our mission. Therefore, I will have to ask you to leave." He then stopped, and turning to one side, he began to draw symbols in the air with his hand. A small orb of darkness appeared, floating in the air threateningly. As Vrael watched in horrified fascination, a line parted the inside of the orb, parting to form a window. It showed Terra Nui from high in the air, showing part of the rainforest.

Not knowing exactly what would happen next, but realizing that it was bad, Vrael drew his staff, lunging at Zakarath from the side. In response, Zakarath drew his own sword, a thick, short, club-like weapon. As the orb floated off to one side, the two of them began to duel, steel ringing on steel in the silent room. Using great skill, Vrael knocked Zakarath's weapon out of his hand, throwing crystal dust in his foe's eyes as Zakarath tried to grab his sword. Clawing his eyes, Zakarath activated a triple scissor blade hidden in the palm of his other hand.

Taking Vrael by surprise, the blades caught Vrael's sword, clenching to shatter it. Reeling backward, Zakarath opened his eyes and gestured with his hand.

Realizing the orb was behind him Vrael struggled in vain to struggle forward, as the orb pulled him into it, while growing larger to contain him.

The last thing Vrael realized before portal inside the orb pulled him completely through was that the orb was that the image it showed was not an image, but reality, as he began his long, long fall down to the rainforest floor . . .

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 25 2014 - 09:08 PM.

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#8 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 12 2013 - 12:20 AM

Chapter 7

 

At the Terra Nui village, it was still the early hours of the morning. Most of the Matoran were still asleep, with the sun not even up yet. However, in the Turaga's hut, a serious discussion was taking place. There, a small, green creature was standing inside, talking to Toa Chompshi, Turaga Akito, and Hakeahu concerning Toa Vrael.

"You see, he fell from sky, making huge, big crash in da rainforest." The Green One — as he was known as on Terra Nui — said, gesturing with his hands. "I found him on forest floor, all hurt. So I took 'im to me home and fixed him as best as me could."

Chompshi listened attentively, thinking about what the little being had said. "How horrible! Vrael must be brought here immediately for further care!"

The Green One nodded, before toddling off out of the hut. As he did, Chompshi turned around. "This is very bad news. Now with only one able-bodied Toa here, we are very open to attack." He sighed. "Poor Vrael."

Turaga Akito nodded. "We may be attacked any day now. It may be better for Vrael to stay in the forest under The Green One's care. In the meantime, we need to reinforce the buildings here to limit the damage an attack may cause. Chompshi, you know best about matters like this, so I will leave the rest of the preparations in your hands."

"Very well. I will tell the Matoran that if anything comes, just attack with any weapon possible: Kolhi sticks, hoes, fishing poles, mining hammers, the like. But above all, we must not have the village destroyed." A Toa of Electricity, unlike Vrael's crystal element, Chompshi was tall and lean, like his friend. His gold armor shone brilliantly despite being centuries old, and his yellow Great Komau always seemed to wear a jovial smile. In one hand he held an electric-shooting pikestaff, and on the other was a custom-built blaster cannon, which could absorb static charges from the air and release them in a devastating blast. "We must not be caught off guard. I will do everything I can, Turaga."

"Good," said Hakeahu. "But now, that little green fellow seems to be . . . oh, Holy Mata Nui!"

The Green One came trudging in through the door, his green eyes dimmed in sorrow. In his wheelbarrow, normally filled with the rare jungle woods he carved for a trade, lay a poor sight. Vrael looked half dead: his left hand had been lacerated beyond repair. His right leg seemed to be broken, and his chest armor seemed broken in several places, sticking out at odd angles. His heartlight pulse was almost nonexistent, his eyes tightly shut. But worst of all, his blue Akaku, worn since he was a young Matoran, was broken clean in half.

"Makutabones!" Turaga Akito cursed under his breath. Chomphsi was too horrified, too sorrowful, to speak at first. When his voice finally came, he looked down at his friend, his eyes brimming with tears. "Who did this to you, Vrael? What have you done to deserve such a fate?" He turned to face Turaga Akito.

"I will help you and The Green One heal him myself. I will do whatever possible. I was a blacksmith once. I'll forge him a new suit of armor, an artificial weapon for his left hand, and, most importantly, I will forge a new mask. A Great Mask of Life Support, to keep him alive."

Akito, too moved for words, nodded, but that was enough.

 

 

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#9 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 12 2013 - 06:50 PM

Chapter 8

 

Chompshi bent over the small table, peering through his mask while assembling components. Vrael's new suit was proving a daunting task, especially since it needed to be strong enough to support its weight, yet flexible enough to allow a great range of motion. After several attempts, however, Chompshi's patience was at an end. Throwing the partially connected joint into the corner of the treetop hut of The Green One, he then walked outside, brooding.

Although Vrael was healing remarkably well, he seemed to have temporarily lost his elemental power, along with being very weak. In addition, the suit was only halfway done, and did not function half as well as Chomshi had hoped it would. In over his head, the Toa had tried time after time to fix recurring problems, to little avail. Sighing, Chompshi wearily walked back inside to his makeshift assembling room and began to work again, digging out more parts from already overfilling bins.

 

------

 

Back at the Matoran village, a somewhat normal scene could be found: Matoran still going about daily tasks, such as trading goods, or bringing in fresh produce, or goods from the mines. However, the general mood was one of worry over the condition of Toa Vrael and the impending attack. Even Hakeahu was troubled, and had gone off to Lake Ural for some peace and quiet. Turaga Akito was inside his hut, when the first explosions rang out over the village.

Catching everyone by surprise, the Matoran froze in fear momentarily, as a wave of dull grey robot drones crested the hill leading to the village. At their lead ran three imposing robots of larger size, each about as big as a Toa. The lead one was vermillion red, cracking a long orange bullwhip in the air, while cocking a long machine gun. The second, blue and sleek, ran crouched to the ground, cradling a harpoon in a wicked blue claw. But the third was even larger than the others, a titanic hulk of metal, slowly clomping along, shooting a rotating dart launcher. The Matoran had never, in all their lives, seen such a terrifying spectacle.

Immediately, however, the Matoran picked up their improvised weapons. The day before, Wula and Zumi had hosted a mass rental, giving each Matoran every object that could be a weapon. Hoes, Kolhii sticks, Kanoka launchers, fishing rods, and other various tools were raised in the air.

Inside, Akito rushed to his fireplace, lifting an old Toa tool across the mantelpiece. A laser crossbow, it had been crafted by himself in his Toa days, and had slain many Rahkshi in its time. Gleaming black, with twin blasters, a long barrel, and a rechargeable battery, he cocked it, something only he himself would ever be able to do. Not even Hakeahu could cock the weapon.

As he ran outside, filled with new energy despite his years, Akito actually grinned. "It's time to take out the trash . . ."

And the Matoran, with one great yell, surged forward as the drones met them in the square.

 

------

 

Of course, The Green One had seen the drones even as they exited the forest. So he had wasted no time in alerting Chompshi, before running off to do his own mysterious deeds. Nonetheless, the invading drones momentarily stopped in their tracks, as a huge lightning bolt flashed over the forest. It slammed into the first drone it could find, blasting it apart in a brilliant flash of light and metal.

Chompshi hefted his spear as Akito ran to his side. "Well, our hour has come, eh, Turaga?"

Akito, however, had no time for chit-chat. "Less talk, more fighting!"

Nodding, Chompshi began charging his own blaster cannon. Within seconds, he had amassed enough energy, releasing a giant spark into the oncoming drones. Akito likewise was firing with great accuracy, nailing drone after drone that rose to meet him. "It's like shooting Makutafish in a barrel," he said.

The Matoran, meanwhile, were engaging in hand-to-manipulator combat. Most drones simply had a pair of brawler claws, or a small cannon and a foil rapier. But some, located in the back near the Captains, had large softnose laser rifles, which fired heat-seeking shells at the nearest buildings. Each blast hit with powerful force, liquefying buildings and the ground near them.

Machi had found his Icorahk, and was flying around, sniping with a water gun he had made for fun, but which actually did quite well against the robots. Sari, Takan, and the other blacksmiths had fashioned swords, and were dueling with the medium drones. Elsewhere, Wula and Zumi had barricaded themselves in the shop, throwing tiki figures at any drone that came near. And Brega, Daika, and the fisher-Matoran had caught several drones in nets, and were beating them with their fishing rods.

The three Captains suddenly ran into the fray, as a stray laser blast hit the Mata Nui fountain, causing the base to crumble, and the statue collapse. Chompshi, startled, emptied a blast into the black Omega Captain, knocking it off its feet. But not for long. Akito, in a sudden shot, pumped a cap into the blue Beta's cerebral cortex, causing its head to explode. The robot fell down in a heap, though not without shooting a harpoon at Akito. It missed, fortunately.

As the Omega rose, Chompshi glared at it defiantly. "What are you confounded machines doing here? We are a peaceful people, never harming any outsiders. What do your Skakdi masters want with us?"

The robot answered coldly, as it parried Chompshi's staff thrust with its tri-blade. "You have something we seek. Submit peacefully, and you will not be harmed."

In response, Chompshi stuck his charged staff into its central processing unit, shredding armor and short-circuiting systems. Disabled, the black robot pitched face forward into the dirt. As Chompshi turned around, however, a long whip lashed around his neck, bringing him to his knees.

The red Alpha captain aimed a tri-cannon on its chest straight at him. "No fleshling can defeat the Dark Lord's army! Look around you, and see what your defiance has wrought!"

All around, the Matoran had fought valiantly, but they were no match for over one thousand armed killing machines. Hundreds of drones lay destroyed, but many more still had rounded up the Matoran, with the surrounded villagers surrendering. Hakeahu himself had arrived on the scene, but was pinned down by a dozen drones. Akito was surrounded as well, with several rifledrones pointing their barrels at him. Slowly, he dropped his crossbow, and raised his hands in the air.

With a quick blast, Alpha's chest cannon opened fire. The shots stunned Chompshi, causing him to keel over. As his vision began to blacken, he saw the poor Matoran who had given up, the broken, charred buildings and ruined Mata Nui statue, and his friends Akito and Hakeahu at the robot's mercy.

As he fell, and the darkness claimed him, Chompshi could not believe what had happened.

They had lost.

 

 

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#10 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 13 2013 - 06:04 PM

Chapter 9

 

Far, far away from the Matoran village and all of the destruction wrought there, several lone transport pods washed ashore near Terra Nui's south-western coastal shelf, the waves gently washing against them as their cargo left them. In this case, the cargo happened to be several armored beings, all of which appeared to be in a foul mood.

 

"Really, Darkness, did I absolutely have to be in the same pod as the scout? Every time the pod moved, he would jump on me. My armor is almost gone!" grumbled one of them, a Rahkshi clad in a suit of silver plating, as a tiny silver Rahkshi jumped off of him, speaking gibberish in a high-pitched voice.

 

Darkness, a hulking black being wearing a long cloak, though possessing many blistering retorts, decided to remain silent, as the silver creature raged on and on, eventually being cut short by tripping backwards over a rock.

 

Meanwhile, the last being of the three, Monster, scuttled out of its container, showing its bizarre body, which had three heads positioned above its six legs. In addition, two arms were slung above its heads, each sporting huge claws.

 

Overall, the gang seemed a motley collection, however they were in reality a very strong and dangerous one, possessing many powers. Monster had the power of acid, and Shadow the power of electricity. However, the team's greatest strength was the fact that it was made up of a kind of uber-Rahkshi. Monster, Shadow, Darkness, and the Silver Scout were, unlike other Rahkshi, living beings themselves, housing Kraata only to gain additional abilities. In fact, Monster and Darkness were currently examining the condition of their Kraata when Keeramak crested a sand dune nearby, becoming visible to them.

 

An impressive looking creature, Keeramak was a tall being which had a thick hide, and four arms to manipulate things with. However, Shadow was not so impressed. Visibly annoyed by his temporary leader's appearance, Shadow sighed and walked over to see him. "Yes?" Shadow asked impatiently.

 

"I can see that you are all here, right on time. Has Chazok arrived yet? I haven't heard word since we left the Dark Hunter base."

 

"We thought that this Chazok arrived with you," Monster hissed. His middle head held control of his appendages, the other two Rahi-minded heads, and was capable of bad, but passing, Matoran speech. "He should be just about . . ."

 

As if in answer, a gleaming silver dagger-shaped airship roared out of the heavens, with two flame-jet propulsors moving it forward. The vehicle spun around as the shock wave hit in glaring sound blasts, then settled in a patch of Harakeke, burning a whole swath of the weeds. From the cockpit, Chazok himself, complete with his full armor suit, jumped down nimbly on the sand less than a bio away from Monster.

 

"Excuse me," he said, grinning sweetly — or at least as close to sweetly as a Skakdi could get. He was clad in a silver spiked armor suit that contrasted brightly to his white skin, and from parts of his suit hung various weapons.

 

Silver Scout uttered a stream of shrieking gibberish, jumping onto Darkness' shoulders, waving his small staff furiously.

 

"What is it saying?" enquired Chazok mildly.

 

"He says," translated Darkness, "that we need to work out our plans together." The Silver Scout added something else. "He also says he is not an it, and wishes to be spoken to as such."

 

"Well, I really care what it has to say," Chazok sneered. He turned and started to climb back into his craft. "I will decide my plans in my own way. You fools better stay out of my way, or else." He closed the hatch, before flooring the accelerator.

 

 

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#11 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 14 2013 - 06:01 PM

Chapter 10

 

Meanwhile, in the Terra Nui rainforest far, far away from the landing site, The Green One returned to his hut. It was not a large house, just a thatched-roofed hovel suspended in a large mangrove tree. Around the trunk was a spiral staircase of carved boards, and suspended from the largest branch was a rope ladder that led to the heart of the jungle.

 

Dumping down his wheelbarrow, which was filled with dead wood and the remains of a log, The Green One and his guests hurried into the main room. It was circular, with several square openings for windows and a Mata Nui stone on a protodermis fireplace. In one corner was a bed where Vrael, wearing a Kaukau to supply oxygen, and hooked up to several life-support rigs Akito had built. In the other corner was Chompshi. "I have brought da Matorans, Mista Chompshi."

 

The Toa of electricity looked up from his work, an almost finished armor suit for Vrael. "Thank you, Green One. You may go now."

 

As The Green One scurried away, the two Matoran, Sari and Takan the blacksmiths, approached Vrael. "Is he doing all right?" Sari asked.

 

"Oh, from his looks, he seems fine," Chompshi replied. "I have almost finished his power suit." Arranged on the table were several blue and white armored items. The main suit was still in Chompshi's hands being painted. On the table could be seen Vrael's old staff, repaired, along with a gleaming, sharp chainsaw hand, a pair of spiked gauntlets, two long leg guards, and a bunch of coiled tubing.

 

"Is there anything we can do?" asked Takan.

 

With the power suit finished, Chompshi set it down next to the other parts. He stood up, addressing the Matoran. "Yes. I remember when I was a Matoran myself, working as a mask maker. Even then, you two were the master smiths. That is why I have called you here. Even a Toa needs the best possible expertise."

 

"It is time to make the Nektana. The Great Mask of Life Support."

 

------

 

In the Matoran village, all had changed in a blink of an eye.

 

Though the Matoran had lost many homes and shops, they were nonetheless laboring steadily. Already many skeleton buildings were emerging. Soon the village would be completely repaired. But though the Matoran continued with their duties, something in the village had been lost. There was no more laughter in the square of the little ones playing Kolhii, or the friendly chatter of the elders. Talk there was still, but it was done reluctantly, for many drones now patrolled the outskirts of the village armed. Something had been lost in the battle.

 

On his porch, Turaga Akito watched the laborers go in for the evening supper. Hakeahu, standing nearby, strode over to his friend.

 

"It seems almost dead. Now, with both Toa gone, we are defenseless. Now, for once, the Matoran know a terrible thing: what it means to be afraid."

 

Turaga Akito replied mournfully. "Yes, my friend. We are at their mercy."

 

As Hakeahu retired himself, Akito walked over to the Mata Nui fountain. In the entire village, this was the one structure that had not been repaired. Standing in the rubble, Akito looked down at the cracked stone face, which still retained the mighty courage that its master possessed. "Ah, Mata Nui. You would know what to do. Why have you forsaken us?"

 

Turaga Akito turned to go, but as he did, he noticed a part of the rubble that had not caved in during the battle. He stooped down, using his staff to brush the stone away. As he did so, his staff broke apart the hard rock. But it didn't hit stone. It hit protodermis. Grunting, he heaved open the hole, pulling out the protodermis shell. It cracked open, revealing the last thing in the world he expected to see.

 

It was two stone tablets. And they had writing on them.

 

 

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#12 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 15 2013 - 06:17 PM

Chapter 11

 

Chompshi, Hakeahu, and Vrael — now in his new suit — were clustered in the Turaga's hut, whispering nervously to each other while Akito examined the two tablets he found.

 

tablet_1.jpgtablet_2.jpg

 

At great length, he looked up at the others.

 

"Well," he said, "I have traced the kind of Matoran dialect these are in. They are written in a very, very old tongue, and are difficult to translate. We will need Terra Nui's Chronicler to write down my translation."

 

Hearing this, Chompshi turned to Hakeahu. "Just a minute," he said, before walking out of the hut, returning momentarily along with a Matoran holding a scroll and a quill.

 

"Thank you, Chompshi," Akito said, nodding in the Toa's general direction, before turning back to his work. "Let's see . . . this first tablet here talks about six Toa, who will come to Terra Nui's aid. Actually, it describes six Matoran, here. Hmm," he said, tracing the characters near the top. "Roughly translated, it says this:

 

Expert weapon thrower shrewd,

Keeper of the beetles' brood,

Lonely fisherfolk, and young,

Speaker of the lizard's tongue,

Odd One's friend, who likes to talk,

Wrestler of the Muudabok,

Find these six to search . . ."

 

Akito paused. "Several letters are lost. However, it continues saying: so new Toa they shall be."

 

Hakeahu, who was pacing back and forth, turned to face Akito. "Well, I think I know who those Matoran are. Lyse is the Green One's best friend, and is talkative, Pachi wrestles Rahi, and Nuukor raises the Hemisva. Also —"

 

"— Matoba speaks the Ako language and Attar is a knife thrower." interrupted Chomopshi. "However, who is this 'lonely fisherfolk?'"

 

A rasping sound coming from the corner of the hut startled the others, turning to listen to Vrael. After his injury, the he could not talk without his suit's mouthpiece, and even then did not sound as he used to. "That would be Heaka. She is a Ga-Matoran who often keeps to herself."

 

"Thank you, Vrael," said Akito, patting the Toa on the leg. "Now, this other tablet here," he said, gesturing with his arm, "seems to be a guide, telling where six items are. I'll read it to you, though several words are lost:

 

In the ancient fields I lie

Stricken twixt the earth and sky.

As well as in the hills of old

And on top of --------- -----.

I reside by ocean fair

Deep inside the monster's lair.

And where shifting sand dunes spread

And in place where none dare tread.

Find these six keystones, you'll surmise

Where the ancient -------- lies.

 

When the Turaga was finished speaking, Chompshi spoke. "Well that's very well and good, but can we concentrate on the Matoran here? The first tablet says they will become Toa, but where are their Toa Stones?"

 

Akito nodded. "You're right, of course. We should try to find the Stones first, but where? Terra Nui is a huge island!"

 

Hakeahu suddenly broke in. "Excuse me," he said politely, reaching over to pick up the first stone in one of his huge hands. Then, he suddenly crushed the tablet by closing his hand.

 

Flabbergasted, Akito's mouth fell open. "Did you just . . ." he trailed off in horror.

 

However, to everyone's surprise, Hakeahu was digging through the stone shards and powder, picking out six circular stones which he held up to the light.

 

"A Toa Stone, anyone?"

 

 

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#13 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 17 2013 - 12:42 AM

Chapter 12

 

Matoba had no idea why he was here.

 

In the Matoran village, the six chosen Matoran stood in a row. All had been selected by the tablet precisely, and now Vrael was surveying them, talking to Turaga Akito.

 

The Ta-Matoran looked around him, at the other Matoran who were destined to be his team. Most were Matoran he knew, but not really good friends. Of course, when you were an Ako studier who lived among the lizard Rahi for a living, learning their culture, it was hard to really know anyone. Nuukor was a jolly Hemisva breeder, whose stock was used by his fellow Onu-Matoran. Though famous, he had, as far as Matoba knew, no friends. Attar was very skilled with daggers, and swallowed them or threw them for a living. Lyse was a skilled tracker, navigator, and treeswinger, with a fast tongue and the broadest Treespeak Matoba had ever heard. And Pacha was a daredevil, a talkative but likeable female Po-Matoran who was officially a herder but who rode the Muudabok more than she watched them.

 

"I just can't believe this, we are going to quick-become Toa-heroes!" Lyse was all smiles this day. "Pretty good call, eh, sword-thrower."

 

Attar was balancing a dagger on one finger and talking at the same time. "Yeah, I'm very happy. I know what Toa tools I'll be using."

 

Pacha was in the middle of a heated debate with Nuukor over which of their preferred Rahi had benefited Matorankind the most, so Matoba looked at the end of the line. The final Matoran, Heaka, he had never met, though Brega had told him she was an expert fly fisher. Heaka was, Matoba noticed, very attractive for a Ga-Matoran, with a slim blue body and a pretty aquamarine Rau. Noticing Matoba, she smiled and waved, while Matoba, self-conscious all of a sudden, did the same. He was just about to introduce himself when Vrael spoke.

 

"Alright, everyone. You have been chosen by Mata Nui himself, to become the next generation of Toa for Terra Nui. I have here the six Toa stones, so let's not delay and get this over with. Now, I'll just . . ."

 

He suddenly stopped as Chompshi appeared out of nowhere, attacking the hundred or so Drones that were patrolling the village. Channeling all of his electric power, he gathered a huge amount of static with his blaster, but had set the weapon to stun. As he fired, a huge blast of electricity hit the Drones, not destroying them, but temporarily stunning their power circuits. As he did so, Vrael led the six Matoran out of the village towards the rainforest, with Chompshi following behind them, cautiously watching for more Drones.

 

Once the party had reached the edge of the jungle, Chompshi turned to the Matoran. "If you remain in the village, the Sharaku will know about us. That is why we must train you elsewhere."

 

Matoba looked at him questioningly. "Why must we train here? I thought that we had to find the six keystones first."

 

"You will, as the first of your great Toa deeds," Vrael said. "But Chompshi and I must train you first, for we cannot defeat the Sharaku alone. You must learn to work together as a team, and master your elements and mask powers. So, are you with me?"

 

As Chompshi held out the Toa Stones he had been carrying, Matoba put his hand on the red stone. Lyse, Nuukor, Attar, Pacha, and Heaka followed in turn. Satisfied, Chompshi and Vrael stepped back. "It is time to face your destiny."

 

Blinding white light shot from the Toa Stones, enveloping each of the Matoran in pure power. From the village, Akito and Hakeahu watched, but were, for the first time since the attack, actually happy. The Drones in the village stood up, without realizing they had been even stunned. They resumed their work, unaware that anything had ever happened.

 

Terra Nui's salvation had come.

 

 

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#14 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 18 2013 - 12:56 AM

Chapter 13

 

In the Terra Nui lowlands, Chazok stood on top of a low hill, surveying the landscape with his electrobinoculars. Aside from the herds of bovine Rahi called Muudabok grazing, and the occasional Tyrannarahk soaring high above a few mioo away, the landscape was silent, and motionless.

 

He turned to his companion, a tall, gunmetal gray android who Chazok had created himself and who served as his partner. "Any sign of the Toa yet, Iron Knight?"

 

Iron Knight moved his craggy, torn metal face in a semblance of a nod. "Affirmative, Chazok. Land mines dispersed within 100 bio around us. Six Toa are approaching from the east. Plan evasive action?"

 

Chazok smiled, turning his binocs back to the valley. Looking through his helmet, columns of equations and data streamed by, giving the exact location of the Toa, along with their vital signs, and many other things. Then, turning back to his robotic companion, he spoke. "Call The Inferno. We will fall back to the tree line, before continuing with the plan."

 

------

 

Pacha stooped down to the grass, stirring the patch with her light polestaff. Being the most familiar of the Toa with the lowlands, she had been chosen to find this keystone, as her Great Mask of Tectonics allowed her to detect any places where a stone might hide. "Yup, I'd say it lies about two kio from here, y'all."

 

Matoba frowned, looking to the spot of land where Pacha indicated. "That doesn't seem far off. Lyse, have you made sure there are no Tylacines around?"

 

An unusually small Muudabok trotted up to the five Toa, before standing next to Matoba, its tail swishing back and forth.

 

"Whoa, that's amazing," Pacha exclaimed. "Those Muudabok aren't normally as brave as this one!"

 

To everyone's surprise, the Muudabok stood up on two legs, then transformed into the smiling Toa of Air. Lyse saluted with one of his twin air blades. "The far-coast is clear, Toa-team!"

 

Nuukor twirled his shock drill, scanning the horizon. "Well, let's get a move on, then. These Rahi smell like a bunch of rotten Hemisva eggs, and I don't like the looks of some of the bulls."

 

As the Toa started off towards the spot she had chosen, Pacha swung her large hammer up into Nuukor's face. "Hey, you better watch your tongue there, bud. I don't complain about your little bugs now, do I?"

 

Once the top of the hill had been reached, Attar cut a swath of grass clear with his swords. "It should be right about here. Pacha, are you sure that this stone is underground?"

 

Pacha nodded her head. "It should be."

 

Nuukor made a face. "If you're all so unsure, I'll just check myself." He hit the ground with his drill activated, causing multiple pinging noises to come from all over the hill. "That's odd," Nuukor frowned. "It's almost as if there are many other things buried here."

 

"That doesn't matter," Attar said impatiently. "Just start digging."

 

------

 

Chazok turned to Iron Knight, deep in the safety of his large, closed speeder. "Are you ready?"

 

"Affirmative," answered the robot.

 

"Good," Chazok said. "Initiate mine destruction."

 

The robot reached over and pressed a button on the ship. Peering out one of the viewports, Chazok looked just in time to see the nearby hill erupt in a huge fireball.

 

 

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#15 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 19 2013 - 06:34 PM

Chapter 14

 

The Dark Hunters stood hidden in the tall grass outside of the Matoran village. From their viewpoint, they could see the entire village fully restored, filled with Matoran ambling around in the afternoon light. Also, there was the constant presence of the dozens of drones, all pacing around the village. As they all watched, Keeramak quickly gave instructions. "Shadow, Darkness, you two stay here. Monster and Silver Scout, we'll go around the other side. Wait for my signal."

 

Finishing talking, he began to circle west around the village, with Monster following. Then, Shadow began to focus his power, while Darkness used his own to shield Shadow from view. After many moments, nothing happened, though the air was charged with electricity. Eventually, even the drones could tell that something was changing — black clouds had gathered only over the village, and nowhere else. However, the Matoran had enough sense to go inside their homes, while the drones just stood there.

 

Suddenly, Shadow's Kraata produced a large surge of power, causing Darkness' cloak to momentarily flicker. Instantly, all of the drones activated their weapons and began to fire waves of blasts at Shadow, as Darkness used the moment to cloak himself and Shadow. Then, Darkness' cloak began to shimmer, as sparks arced from it into Shadow's hands, fueling his electrical power.

 

Still, the drones knew they were doing little, and shut off their weapons. Just then, Shadow chose that moment to strike. Casting aside Darkness' cloak easily, he lifted his hands up to the sky. As he did so, the black clouds parted, and rained lightning down upon the drones, each bolt eliminating several with unnerving precision.

 

At the same time, however, the drones faced an even more intimidating sight: a huge, beetle-like Rahkshi charging from the other side of the village. On its back was Keeramak, who was firing his chain-gun rapidly at the remaining drones while Monster blasted acid into their bodies. After several rounds, the remaining drones refused to surrender, and were destroyed.

 

The lightning and clouds departing, the Dark Hunters strode through the village to Akito's hut, with the Matoran, amazed by the ferocity of their newfound heroes, just watched. Keeramak reached Akito and Hakeahu on the porch, and bowed. "As you can see, my partners and I destroyed those pesky robots for you. Now your village is safe once again. Because we are your saviors, you will give us some information."

 

Akito scowled, and shook his staff. "I can see that you are Dark Hunters, and though you destroyed the drones, you beings always have ulterior motives. In addition, we are not the uncivilized savages that you seem to think we are. What do you want?"

 

Keeramak, rather annoyed, replied. "We are searching for a Brotherhood of Makuta renegade that came here in search of a Great Mask of Power. The Shadowed One wants it for himself, and we believe that this mask, as well as the Dark Lord, are on this island. Tell us where it is!"

 

Hakeahu swung his hatchet menacingly, but Akito walked up to Keeramak and held up his hands sincerely. "I do not know of any Great Mask on this island, for if I did, I would give my own life to make sure you would never take it. But this Dark Lord himself is known to us, so I can help you in a way."

 

Shadow sneered at the Turaga. "How do we know that he is not lying to us? They could very well have the mask now!"

 

Darkness, however, shook his head. "I doubt that, facing five armored Dark Hunters, a little Turaga would tell us falsehood, especially since we do not even know where the mask is ourselves."

 

Keeramak bent down to the Turaga, eyeing him suspiciously. "Exactly how will you help us, old one?"

 

Akito smiled cunningly. "I can tell you exactly where you can find this Dark Lord. And if I do, you can eliminate him."

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 25 2014 - 09:22 PM.

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#16 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 20 2013 - 06:38 PM

Chapter 15

 

As the huge explosion rocked the valley, Chazok watched with glee as the Muudabok that had been grazing before turned tail and run towards safety in a huge stampede. Everywhere his mines had been set, large craters were blown into the earth, and the six Toa were nowhere to be seen.

 

He turned toward Iron Knight in The Inferno's cockpit. "The mines have done their duty. Let's put her down."

 

The speeder slowly began its descent towards the scorched earth. With a grin even larger than it was normally, Chazok thought with glee of the treasure that surely must have been buried underneath the foothills, just waiting to be dug up. Or blown up, at any rate.

 

------

 

Matoba hauled himself up from under the outcrop he had thrown himself under, scanning the hillside around him. Thankfully, his Great Mask of Heat had let him absorb most of the energy before it could turn his powerful, armored body into a charred husk of biomechanics. Despite the smoke billowing around him, he could not see anything around the hillside.

 

Turning around, however, he saw Heaka materialize from a puddle of muddy water. Her mask of Liquidation must have saved her skin, too. "Heaka! Are you hurt!?" Matoba rushed up to his comrade, giving her a huge hug. In all his life, he had never been happier to see someone, and despite the dirt stains on her armor, he thought Heaka looked lovelier than ever.

 

"I'm fine, Matoba," Heaka pulled away from him, smiling broadly. "Just because you have big, powerful muscles doesn't mean you can crush me with them. Where are the others?"

 

Nuukor stood up from a few bio away, leading a still-shocked looking Pacha. "Thank Mata Nui I had my Defense mask when I did, and that Pacha sensed it. Otherwise we wouldn't have survived." Similarly, Attar and Lyse joined them from the other side.

 

Once the Toa team was together, Matoba turned towards the valley. "Well, now that we are all here, we can find that keystone . . ."

 

". . . Which belongs to me, Toa." Whirling around, the Toa saw a strange, dagger-shaped speeder descend towards them. Standing on top of it was a burly white Skakdi, who wore silver armor and was bristling with weapons. "Hand it over, before I blow you away."

 

"That stone belongs to the Matoran of Terra Nui, and you will not be getting it from us any time soon. Besides, there are six of us and only one of you, with or without a fancy airship," Heaka replied, sticking her tongue out at Chazok.

 

"Very well," said Chazok, obviously annoyed. "Iron Knight, open fire with the laser cannons!"

 

Suddenly, without any warning, Matoba aimed his torch at The Inferno and released the pent-up heat wave he had absorbed from the mines. The blast hit the craft head on, causing the primed cannons to begin firing wildly. Its engines temporarily scrambled, it began careening towards the hillside, with Chazok inside it visibly screeching colorful Rahkshi curses at the Toa.

 

"You won't see the last of Chazok, I can guarantee that! Until we meet again, Toa!" he yelled, as The Inferno regained composure and blasted off towards the jungle.

 

Picking up the ovular stone, which happened to be a blood red, in the dust ahead of them, Matoba folded his arms across his barrel chest, and turned towards the cheering other five Toa. "Well, I can say for sure that he won't be coming back here for a long time. Let's head back to the village."

 

 

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#17 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 21 2013 - 06:41 PM

Chapter 16

 

Meanwhile, amidst all the planning going on in the Sharaku stronghold, Zanta watched . . . and waited.

 

The green Torika crouched in the shadows of the main control room, watching the seven Sharaku engaged in a heated debate. Normally completely full of flashing plasma screens and consoles, the room now only had about three fourths of the coverage it once had, showing the outside coastline and buildings through the Drones' photoreceptors. The other section of screens was blank — and worse yet, these screens had once broadcasted images of the Matoran village.

 

"What do you mean, Argarak, that they suddenly 'went dead'!?" shouted Viermoc. "I thought that you were in charge of this section, while Kyraikk, Ruhktar, Scytale and I were searching for the Mask!"

 

"It was not entirely my fault." Argarak replied hotly. "After all, Zakarath was also here, in the main citadel, and Tharaka was patrolling the perimeters with the Torika."

 

"Regardless, I believe that we are not the only ones who want the Matoran village in our claws." Zakarath seemed incredibly calm amidst the shouting of the other Sharaku. "We must not argue amongst ourselves, and continue as a team. Perhaps it was the work of sabotage, or a sudden failure, or who knows what else. But we must continue. The Mask is practically in our grasp."

 

"I think that it was those foul Torika who sabotaged it," Scytale hissed, bug-eyed and practically licking his staff again. "Viermoc and I always knew they had something to hide!"

 

"Leave those cute little creatures out of this!" Tharaka glared at him. "After all the time we have been together, how could they possibly betray us?"

 

As the Sharaku's tempers flared up even more, Zanta quietly scurried off to the secret meeting spot. "Sorry, Miss Tharaka," he whispered. "But what you are doing has to be stopped."

 

------

 

Inside the small radiator chamber, which even Argarak rarely ever went to and instructed Hanak in its care, the six Torika had their meeting.

 

Hanak banged his wrench on the small table. "Alrighty, everyone. Now Zanta is here. What have you found out, chum?"

 

"The Sharaku have discovered the missing data displays, and think that we might have sabotaged them," the green Torika answered. "We might have to start hurrying."

 

"They suspect us! I knew it!" The blue Torika, Vukaz, started whining. "Now we shall be killed for this!"

 

"If the Sharaku don't know that we plot against them, then that may be our greatest asset," Kavan and Rieka spoke simultaneously. Because their masters were together so often, the male brown and female black Torika had become close friends, and both had valuable advice.

 

"I still think that this is a good idea." Thukor was all smiles, as always. "For all our lives, the Dark Lord and Sharaku have been pushing us around, telling us what to do, and overall treating us like slaves. I'm not saying that we kill them, or course, since my mistress is nice to all of us, but as for disobeying, why not?"

 

"Thank you, Thukor." Hanak smiled back at him. "Your optimism is always cheerful to us in these times."

 

"Not to me," Vukaz moaned.

 

"Anyways," Hanak continued, "we must help the Matoran whenever possible. I will try to get further information from Argarak regarding the growing number of Drones. The rest of you, hide when not needed, listen to conversations, and report everything. Those poor Matoran need all the help we can give."

 

As Hanak continued his lecture, the little Torika listened intently, and soon even Vukaz was wearing a shy smile. The Torika had hatched one of the most ambitious plans that their race had ever conceived, not of conquest, but of espionage, and it was all happening undetected beneath the Sharaku's slitted noses.

 

The rebellion had begun.

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 25 2014 - 09:23 PM.

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#18 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 22 2013 - 06:18 PM

Chapter 17

 

On the far southern shore of Terra Nui, the six Toa stood on the edge of a steep cliff, looking around.

 

"Exactly where is this keystone here supposed to be, anyway?" asked Nuukor for the umpteenth time.

 

Attar sighed. "It's located right under us, in the Tyrannarahk nest."

 

"The question is, how do we get in?" questioned Matoba.

 

"We could cause a landslide and scare them away," suggested Lyse.

 

"No!" said Pacha, horrified. "They could be hurt!"

 

"Whose side are you on here, ours or the big ugly Rahi's?" exclamed Matoba, throwing up his hands.

 

The argument between the Toa continued, growing larger and larger, even involving odd things such as Matoran relatives back in the village, or what they had for dinner the night before.

 

------

 

Meanwhile, after several long minutes of argument, Heaka returned. It wasn't her return that was surprising, however, but the method of it — Heaka rejoined the Toa team riding on her brother Machi's pet Icorahk, with its owner behind her.

 

Reaching the cliff, Heaka jumped off the Icorahk and attempted to halt the other Toa's arguments. "If you Kolhii-heads would just pipe down for a moment, Machi here can solve our problem easily." The Toa quickly quieted down, watching Machi wave cheerfully at them, before disappearing down the cliff face.

 

------

 

Going down the cliff, Machi soon saw the Tyrannarahk nest, a gaping hole in the rock face, like an open wound. Motioning for his Icorahk to stop, and hover beside the cave entrance, he then slowly climbed into the hole. His eyes adjusting to the darkness quickly, he was able to make out the huge form of a sleeping female Tyrannarahk. Looking closer, he was able to notice the smaller form of a little Tyrannarahk chick, a fat, round creature covered in fluffy down, waddling around the nest, its small, stubby wings flapping as it moved.

                                               

Quickly forming a new plan, Machi darted forward and grabbed the chick, holding its jaws shut. However, the chick did not seem to mind, and, turning its head, peered at Machi with bright beady eyes. Adjusting the chick in his grip, Machi walked to the edge of the nest, still holding the chick.

 

Suddenly, he poked the chick sharply in its fat belly, causing it to emit a loud, raucous cry. Almost immediately afterward, the mother opened its eyes and noticed what was going on. With astonishing speed, she rose and launched herself at Machi, emitting a horrible roar and clashing her giant jaws.

 

Seeing its mother coming to rescue it, the chick gave a happy cry, which turned to one of dismay when it suddenly began moving away from its parent, as Machi hopped on his Icorahk in order to fly off.

 

Normally, an Icorahk can fly at supersonic speed. However, while supporting a grown Matoran and a heavy baby Tyrannarahk, it must move significantly slower than that. Still, the Icorahk was a blur as it launched itself out over the protodermis sea, with the enraged parent flying after it. Unfortunately, the mother, her huge wings flapping furiously and still emitting horrible roars, was gaining fast.

 

Realizing this, Machi issued several commands, causing the Icorahk to turn sharply past the Tyrannarahk, heading towards shore. While the Tyrannarahk attempted clumsily to adjust its direction, the Icorahk flew over the Toa, as Machi yelled at them to stop the Tyrannarahk. Immediately answering his plea, five of the Toa each launched several elemental blasts at the huge Rahi, while Heaka went off to one side. Activating her mask, she turned into a chute of water and slid down the cliff, going into the nest.

 

Meanwhile, the female Tyrannarahk recovered from the Toa's attacks and continued flying towards Machi, gaining terrible momentum. However, the Icorahk suddenly went straight up, as Machi released the Tyrannarahk baby. Trying to fly in two directions at once, the mother failed at both, and crashed into a tree with a large thud as its child toddled over to it and regarded its stunned parent strangely.

 

Machi landed the Icorahk back among the Toa, as the mother Tyrannarahk gently cradled the baby in its small forearms, and, tired of its baby's kidnapping, headed off towards its cave. "Well, I distracted it. Now all is left to Heaka to nab the keystone."

 

"You mean, this keystone?" Whirling around, the Toa team saw Heaka beside them, holding up a triangular, shiny blue stone, unlike the one they found earlier. Both stones, however, had circular slots on the bottom. "The mother apparently thought this stone was one of her eggs, and was trying to hatch it. Now that we have it, let's head back to the village."

 

As the Toa team departed, Machi and his Icorahk rose up in a straight vertical ascension, and sped off towards the adjoining Icorahk colonies. "I don't know about you, Ikki," Machi told his pet Rahi, "but that was enough adventure for one day."

 

 

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#19 Offline Ballom

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Posted Aug 23 2013 - 02:28 PM

Chapter 18

 

Deep in the dark recesses of a sunken protodermis mine, Nuukor peered around, truly in his element. The third keystone was located deep below the ground, and since a great many mines were located below the lowland valleys, the team of Toa had decided to start there, in a mine below Lake Ural. Nuukor had volunteered to bring in a team of Hemisva, along with his two miner friends, Vakk and Kofu. The two Onu-Matoran were returning to the cave where Nuukor was waiting, as the other Toa were still exploring.

 

"Any luck yet?" Nuukor asked, as the Matoran and their Hemisva cart approached, hefting large chunks of ore along with bags of lightstones and protodermis.

 

"Well, we hit a rich ore vein about 150 bio down" Kofu explained, "which means that . . ."

 

". . . Even if we can't find your stone, it's still a good day for us." Vakk finished. Being Kofu's best friend, the two miners were inseparable, and practically even finished each other's sentences.

 

"Yup. But Nuukor, this one mine hasn't been visited by us in over twenty years. And it’s had a few cave-ins recently. Have your other friends gone too deep?" Kofu looked a bit worried.

 

"They are in groups, with Matoba, Pacha, and Attar exploring higher up, and Lyse and Heaka down below. Why?"

 

Vakk looked around uncertainly, and then spoke, worry in his voice. "Because we found the deep shaft end where the cave-ins occurred, and we saw the Air and Water Toa there."

 

"The mine was flooded, and they were down there."

 

------

 

About 160 bio below them, Heaka materialized out of a pool of muddy water. "Whew. It's a good thing we got past that rock pile. Lyse, are you still there?"

 

An Archives Mole pulled itself out of the rubble, and stood up, turning into the Toa of Air. "Yes, Heaka, I am safe-fine. I think that we have far-lost the others. Hopefully, the keystone will be close-near."

 

Suddenly, the ground around them shifted, as a large green bulk came shooting through the earth. Landing in the water, the three-bio long worm Rahi turned its body towards them and bared its multiple-fanged grinding mouth. The species, Collosorahk, was native to Terra Nui, and lived in the thousands underground, tunneling through the rock. Small ones like this posted no danger to the miners, and just avoided them, but Matoran legend spoke of a huge, 300 bio long monster Collosorahk called "Shredder". Said to be hundreds of thousands of years old, it had created all the mines in its tunnels, and with armor harder than diamonds and a mouth that devoured all in its path, Shredder was said to be invincible. Even Turaga Akito could not remember a time when Shredder was not around.

 

As the small Collosorahk ground past them, Heaka and Lyse rushed to the hole it had created. Peering through the murk, Lyse's acute vision could see nothing but more twisting tunnels. "It's hopeless, Lyse," Heaka replied. "We could be down here forever, and there seems to be no way out. Worst of all, the keystone is nowhere to be found!"

 

Suddenly, the water near them began to churn, and as the startled Toa readied their weapons, two shapes emerged from the muck. One was broad, round, and powerful, with a curved head, a pair of clawed arms, and an insectoid appearance. The other was small, about the size of a Matoran, and wore a backpack of sorts, and carried a pair of sharp daggers.

 

Heaka and Lyse both knew what the Rahi were, for Akito had shown them carvings as a Matoran of this species, a terrible, ubiquitous species. They were Bohrok. And yet, these Bohrok were dark blue, with silver armor spots, and did not immediately attack them.

 

Lyse approached the Va, for Va always acted as translators to their larger cousins. "What are you doing here, creatures? As Toa-heroes of Terra Nui, we are ready-able to fight you to the death!"

 

The Va, however, merely looked up at him. "The Aquavak mean no harm to any Rahi, or to Toa. We have known of your presence for quite some time. You see, our colony lives above, in Lake Ural."

 

Heaka looked shocked. "Bohrok who are not evil? And who live in Lake Ural?"

 

The Va continued. "Our ancestors were abandoned on Terra Nui long ago, and adapted to life here. Our krana do not control us, they merely let us communicate as a hive mind. Now, a few days ago, my associate here," it gestured towards the Aquavak, "and I were stranded down here. It seems that the Aquavak colony collapsed a bit when a cave-in occurred. But we did find this down here." Amazingly, it pulled out the missing keystone, jet black and filthy, with silver streaks on it, but intact.

 

Heaka and Lyse took it triumphantly. "Err, um, thank you, kind Aquavak." Heaka replied, a bit embarrassed. "My comrade and I greatly appreciate this. But how are we all to escape this place?"

 

Lyse, however, had an idea. He suddenly became longer, bulkier, and greener, turning into the coiling form of a Collosorahk. "Quick-grab on to me!" he roared, as Heaka and the Bohrok scrambled up his hide. "We're about to blow this deep-tunnel!"

 

And with a powerful churning and digging motion, Lyse blasted up towards the surface, carrying Heaka and the strange Bohrok with him.

 

------

 

Later on, the two Bohrok stood in the banks of the Lake, watching the reunited Toa cheer over the found keystone, and then depart. As they themselves prepared to dive, Aquavak looked down at its smaller friend, speaking in the buzzing tongue of the Bohrok. "Well, at least we can report back to the hive. Strange things have occurred today, ones we are not likely to forget."

 

Shouldering its daggers, Aquavak Va nodded. "Yes. And to be honest, I don't think we've seen the last of those Toa."

 

 

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#20 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 25 2014 - 09:53 PM

Chapter 19

 

Kyraikk swung his mace menacingly. "I still don't see why they always make us do the heavy brute work, like a bunch of pack Rahi."

 

Both he and Ruhktar, along with their Torika Kavan and Rieka, had been sent by the other Sharaku to investigate the lack of Drones monitoring the captive Matoran village. Of course, Kyraikk had smartly decided that the intimidation factor would be the best method to get any information out of these measly Matoran. Ruhktar, always following his teammates' instructions without argument, had agreed with his friend. Now, the two stood on the outskirts of the Matoran village.

 

Hakeahu had agreed to meet the Sharaku, for Akito was busy in the village with Chompshi and Vrael, and did not want to risk the Toa being seen. Arms crossed around his barrel chest, he regarded the two Sharaku coldly. "So, these are the invading Skakdi who sent their armies to capture us. I didn't realize that you would be quite so ugly, short, or rotund."

 

Ruhktar aimed his blaster at Hakeahu and glared at him. He took his weight very seriously. "I am not fat! And my partner here is not short." he added, considering that Kyraikk was equally sensitive about his size.

 

Kyraikk added his own double-bladed axe at Hakeahu's neck. "Just tell us what the Matoran did to our Drones, and I will not be forced to decapitate you."

 

Hakeahu pushed the weapons away. "I told you, none of the Matoran even harmed the Drones. They were just incinerated by blasts of lightning and acid that came from a group of outside invaders, nothing more."

 

Ruhktar looked doubtful. "Yeah, right, and I'm Makuta's son. No, wait . . ." he paused, blinking. "Does that make me a Rahkshi?"

 

Kyraikk pulled his friend away. "It seems to me that we may not be the only newcomers to Terra Nui. Very well, Titan. You may go back to your village." As Hakeahu wandered off, sending them back rude comments about their mothers, the two Sharaku turned and left. They barely even noticed when the two Torika went out of hiding and scurried towards the nearest Matoran.

 

Brega had been watching, for she had been the one to inform Hakeahu about these strange tall Skakdi. To her surprise, however, two Torika, just like the friendly red one Hanak she had met, ran up to her, and put two packages in her hands. "You didn't see anything. Don't tell anyone we met you." the brown one replied, giving her a large grin. The black one whispered to him feverishly, and then they ran off as quickly as they had come.

 

Brega opened the twined parcels, finding a bundle of sharpened daggers and two disassembled spears. With a smile on her face, she rushed back into the village to tell Turaga Akito.

 

------

 

"Do you really think that there may be a group, such as Toa, on this island fighting against us?" Ruhktar asked Kyraikk as they wandered through the plains. "I mean, I have no problem crushing Toa, but this makes our goal harder to reach."

 

"If there are Toa, then it won't matter once we have the Mask." Kyraikk grinned fiendishly. "I would enjoy torturing them once we defeated this group. And besides, didn't Zakarath fight a Toa about a month ago?"

 

"Yes, but he killed it."

 

The Sharaku's conversation was interrupted, however, by the sudden appearance of a group of Rahkshi, carrying odd weapons. At their head was a bipedal deer-like Rahi, which brandished a spiked gauntlet at them. "We have found the Brotherhood of Makuta members! Kill them!"

 

Quickly, Kyraikk loosed his mace, and swung it at a large black Rahkshi, which materialized in a method eerily similar to Zakarath. The Rahkshi dodged the swing, and shot dark energy from two blasters on its back. The deer Rahi had leapt on Kyraikk, clawing viciously, while Ruhktar blasted energy at a silver bow-carrying Rahkshi and its miniature counterpart.

 

With Keeramak on his back, Kyraikk flipped over, while striking Darkness with a stone barrage. He then wrapped his mace around Keeramak's neck and began to squeeze. Ruhktar, meanwhile, had stepped on the Silver Scout, incapacitating it, while parrying arrows with his war club.

 

As quickly as they had come, however, the Rahkshi suddenly retreated, leaving Kyraikk choking the remaining creature. Ruhktar turned towards it and aimed his blaster at its head. "So this is the group we heard about. Who are you, and what are you doing here?"

 

Suddenly, Keeramak stabbed at Kyraikk, and slipped free from the chains as the brown Sharaku stumbled. Running away nimbly on his hooves, he turned towards the Sharaku and spat at them. "The Shadowed One has set a bounty of your Lord's head, and we will return to claim it!" Then he bounded away.

 

As the Sharaku, their Torika scampering in tow, hurried off towards their base, Kyraikk turned towards Ruhktar. "Yes, now we know. It seems that the Dark Lord is not the only player in this game. Forget Toa, for we must be much more careful. We must tell the others immediately."

 

"There are Dark Hunters on this island."

 

 

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#21 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 26 2014 - 08:55 PM

Chapter 20

 

The sun shone down brutally on the southern desert of Terra Nui like a baleful yellow eye. In the midst of a seemingly endless sea of dunes, the group of Toa wandered aimlessly. Except from the occasionally Nukepi snail oozing across the landscape, or a burrowing Degu lizard emerging, no life could be seen for kio.

Matoba was doing his best to absorb the heat around them, but even he was tired and slow. Pacha and Nuukor led the group, while Lyse, Attar, and Heaka were bringing up the rear, Lyse in the shape of a Magraka observing the landscape.

"It's a good thing that Matoran don't sweat," mumbled Nuukor, who was having trouble seeing ahead in the blazing light, due to his sensitive eyes. "Otherwise we'd look like Heaka half-transformed into a water puddle."

"I think we used up our last dried Waiwa and Madu fruit half a kio ago" Pacha replied. "At least Heaka can give us water, but Mata Nui, I'm starving!"

Nuukor, suddenly enraged, used his Mask of Defense to turn his body extremely dense, and began stomping on the sand. "We . . . are . . . going . . . to . . . die . . . out . . . here!"

As if in response, however, the sand around the three Toa began to swirl, and it soon began to form a whirlpool shape. Though Pacha had moved aside, even she had been caught, and she, Matoba, and Nuukor began to sink into the sand. "Quicksand trap! Run!" yelled Matoba, as Attar and Heaka ran forward.

But it was too late. Within a few minutes, the three Toa had been absorbed by the earth.

 

------

 

With a deafening crack, the Toa suddenly broke free of the sand, and were falling into a deep underground cavern. It did not take long for them to land of a pile of rock. Brushing themselves off, the Toa looked around.

It seemed that they were in a huge cave system, yet it did not look like any cave on Terra Nui ever had. The walls were honeycomb-patterned, strange spires rose up to the top of the cavern, and everywhere, yellow Rahi could be seen working.

Matoba instantly readied his weapons, and with Nuukor and Pacha, prepared to fight. "I don't know where we are, but whatever happens, we can take most of them down with us."

"Oh, I don't think that will be really necessary."

Whirling around, the Toa saw a small Bohrok Va approaching them, a larger Bohrok in tow. They were yellow and black in color, had odd silver shields and armor, and the Va had a large hook on its one hand. It looked up at them with eyes belying a great intelligence. "I am Necrovak Va. I speak for the will of the hive. Why have you come here?"

The fact that these Bohrok seemed harmless made Nuukor and the other Toa surprised, yet the earth Toa stepped forward. He did, after all, have the most experience with beetles. "A sand sinkhole carried us down here from above. I didn't even realize that you Bohrok had a home here. Or were not evil."

The Va and the Bohrok looked amused. "I should hope not! It is our Krana that make us act the way we do, and as our history shows, the great Bahrag were not misguided. Didn't you know that after colonizing Mata Nui, the horde of Bohrok and the Kal settled down and never harmed another Rahi again? We have our own leadership here. The Krana —" it pulled out a red Za from its backpack, which crawled around a bit before returning, "— just give us our means of communication."

Pacha looked quite cross. "Fine. We are searching for a keystone in these parts, which is, I believe, yellow and gray. Have you seen one?"

The Necrovak bent down and buzzed something to the Va, who nodded. Beckoning to the Toa, he and his counterpart moved towards the center spire. Other Bohrok and Va came down to join them. Necrovak Va led them to the center spire. In a hollow about the Toa's height up, there was a space of a shrine.

In the middle, an extremely fat Xa Kal sat, feeding on a mushroom-like fungus which grew on the hive's walls and provided illumination. Above it, however, was the symbol of the Bohrok, and in a small alcove there stood a yellow and gray stone.

Necrovak Va pulled it out, brushed the dust off of it, and held the desert keystone up so that the Toa could see the slots at the bottom.

"You mean this keystone?"

 

 

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#22 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 26 2014 - 10:03 PM

Chapter 21

 

Chompshi stood at the balcony of Turaga Akito's house at the Matoran village. By now, the team of six Toa had been gone for quite some time. Normally, his Kanohi Honiara would let him connect minds to any of the Toa in a range of about three kio. However, after returning with the latest keystone, he hadn't seen the Toa in a while since.

 

Vrael walked up to where Chompshi was. "I'm sure that the Matoba and company will be back soon, my friend." By now, he had completely adjusted to his power suit and new mask, and was actually stronger than he had been before. "You trained them. They are true Toa. They'll make it."

 

Nodding, Chompshi followed his partner back into Akito's hut, to see what the Turaga had come up with.

 

------

 

Inside the hut, the remaining tablet sat in the middle of the large table. Hakeahu was examining it, as if he could figure out where the missing piece was. Beside it were the four found keystones: red, black, yellow, and blue. Akito, meanwhile, had pulled some scrolls off his bookshelf and was looking at an old sea map of Terra Nui. The Green One sat nearby eating a Madu fruit and peeling it with his axe.

 

Vrael joined Hakeahu. "Any luck yet?"

 

The Titan shook his head. "This tablet has been bothering me. By having only the last part missing, we are in a complete mess as to what top it is referring to. I sure hope that it isn't too far off. Besides, with the Toa gone and the Mask still out there, the Sharaku could attack us at any moment!"

 

Chompshi had gone over to where Akito was, and the Turaga was explaining his find to him. "See, I've found a picture of the rainforest area, which dates back to the golden age of Metru Nui, approximately 3500 B.C. There is a large rocky cliff section right about here, and I'll bet my crossbow that the stone is in that area. I'll send The Green One with directions for the Toa." The Green One, his mouth too stuffed with fruit, only nodded. "He knows this forest like the back of his hand. I'm sure that he can lead them there."

 

"Lyse used to be a navigator, so I'm sure he can help," Chompshi replied. "After all, the rainforest is filled with dangerous Rahi, all sorts of pitfalls, and other ghastly horrors. I've never been to the deep jungle myself."

 

"Good." Akito handed a wound scroll to The Green One. "I want you to go to the Johmai cliffs, about ten kio southwest of here, and bring the Toa once you find them. Got it?"

 

The Green One saluted, and bounded off, axe swinging. "Yes sah, mista Turaga, your honor."

 

------

 

Outside, Chompshi stood by the Mata Nui fountain later that evening. Vrael had gone to sleep early, and the Turaga and Hakeahu were still using their references. He looked up at the Great Spirit, with its wise, stern, and yet kindly gaze on its traditional carved face.

 

On a whim, Chompshi tried to connect his mind to Mata Nui, but of course it didn't work. He wished it could have, though. The Great Spirit had eternal wisdom, and all throughout history he had led great Matoran and Toa with visions and prophecies. Even being asleep and nearly dying without the Mask of Life hadn't slowed him down.

 

Chompshi was turning to go when something caught his eye. When the Matoran had rebuilt the statue, they must have left a bit of powdered stone and mortar behind. Bending down, he pulled out what at first seemed to be a jagged piece of brick.

 

However, it slid out easily, and when he turned it over, Chompshi came to a shocking realization. This stone corresponded to the tablet, and it had writing on it:

 

"Mountain cold."

 

tablet_fragment.jpg

 

 

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#23 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 26 2014 - 11:25 PM

Chapter 22

 

Deep in the jungle's heart, there was a large expanse of jutting lava cliffs that formed a semicircle in the thick rainforest. These were the Johmai Cliffs, which stood hundreds of feet high, standing high above the surrounding area. Looking down from the edge, the Toa, along with the Green One, were able to see across the entire jungle, seeming to be only small green shapes from so high up.

 

Looking down with a pair of Wula-bought binoculars, the Green One moved from his vine to Lyse, who was also hanging near him. "Well, da stone must be way down der. You can turn inta the Ascipetero, and I'll go get down on our mode of transportation." Dropping, with Lyse transforming into the flying snake and following, the Green One landed ten kio below on the back of his mount — a fat, yellow-green Bladetort lazily grazing at the sparse grass. Snorting, it turned its head around and gave him a look with its large, beady eyes and licked him with its prehensile tongue.

 

The other Toa soon followed suit, and the team of seven surveyed the thick forest before them. "It should be in dat part der," the Green One said. Motioning to his Bladetort, the hexapedal tortoise began to slowly move forward, and the Toa began to cut their way through the foliage. The stone would not be far ahead.

 

However, their progress was soon stopped, as a huge tank emerged a few kio to the side, mowing down trees with its treads, pushing the debris out of the way with a large scoop. Covered in gleaming black and silver armor, it had a mobile turret with a long barrel, and a pair of side-mounted cannons. As it moved into a clearing, a cloud of Gula fleeing it flew by.

 

Then, almost as if seeing the Toa, the behemoth stopped. Immediately, the Toa froze. For a few seconds, nothing happened, until the noise of static came from one of the tank's antennae, and the Toa distinctly heard the cheerful voice of Chazok.

 

"We meet again, Toa! You didn't think you saw the last of me or Iron Knight, did you? Do you like my new toy? I certainly do!"

 

The bounty hunter's proclamation was immediately followed by the launching of a dozen missiles from hidden ports in the tank's turret.

 

"Run!" Matoba yelled, as the group dodged the missiles, while desperately trying to escape the tank as well, which had lurched into frighteningly quick motion.

 

The Green One, unfortunately, was a sitting Taku, with his Bladetort whimpering in fear as the tank swept past them, its guns blazing. Thinking fast, the Green One began a series of honks, snorts, and gurgles at his mount.

 

Immediately, the huge tortoise rose up and thrashed its bladed limbs into the air, a murderous glint in its beady eyes. Bellowing, it charged the tank with surprising speed, jumping clear on to the metal monster.

 

As a result, the tank suddenly lost control, veering crazily to and fro, before crashing into a tree and stalling, smoke billowing from the engine. From the antennae, which were still broadcasting, came an incoherent stream of curses in a variety of languages. As the hatch opened, hurling the Bladetort off, Chazok's tirade continued, still without once repeating a word. Followed by Iron Knight, the bounty hunter left the tank and activated his jetpack, screaming off into the jungle, hot on the Toa's trail.

 

 

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#24 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 28 2014 - 12:20 AM

Chapter 23

 

Traveling as quickly as possible, Chazok barely noticed the jungle flying by, as he was too busy dodging trees and branches, trying to keep the Toa in his sight. Suddenly, however, the Toa seemed to vanish completely from his sight. Motioning to Iron Knight, who was right behind him, to curve off to the right, the bounty hunter then switched rapidly between the vision settings on his helmet, still in motion. The changes in setting did nothing, yet Iron Knight soon spoke to Chazok through their communications system. "We're at the edge of a rift. The Toa must be hiding in there."

Chazok grinned. "Good. Follow the rift for a few hundred bio, then land and go left. We'll pin them down." Even as he finished speaking, the ground beneath Chazok fell away to show the deep rift in the jungle, a jagged canyon about a hundred kio long. Stopping his forward motion, Chazok hovered in place, trying to locate the Toa. The infrared spectrum quickly showed their hiding place — a small overhang slightly to Chazok's left. Realizing what the Toa were likely attempting to do, the bounty hunter landed at the nearest edge of the rift, and waited.

 

------

 

Matoba looked at the pile of plant matter doubtfully. "And what exactly is this supposed to do?"

The Green One, seeming to be adjusting something, didn't even look up. "Dis is a bomb. When you hid it wif fiya, it go big boom."

"Whatever." Matoba stepped off to the side. "Are you making more than one?"

Nuukor gave the Green One's handiwork a glance. "If he's making what I think he is, one will be more than enough."

 

------

 

Everything seemed to be in place. Standing up, Chazok set down a single mine, using the adhesive bottom to stick it to the edge of the rift. Then, he activated his jetpack and descended into the rift.

Almost instantly, he saw the Toa all standing in a group, along with the short green creature, and some sort of fat turtle Rahi. However, something was wrong. They seemed to be doing nothing, except the fire Toa who . . . Chazok's eyes widened. Swerving out of the way, he barely dodged a fat package, covered in leaves and glowing with heat. While still airborne, it then burst, releasing a swarm of baby Vibraneura — dragonflies native to the jungle — angered by the heat, which began to attack the first thing they saw — Chazok.

At that moment, the Toa each released a timed elemental blast, careful not to hit the swarm of Vibraneura. Pummeled from several sides, Chazok decided to take the course of least resistance — cutting all power to the jetpack's engine, and falling straight down on the Toa. Immediately activating his laser staff, he waved it around indiscriminately and was rewarded by several screams of pain.

Backing off, with the Vibraneura mercifully leaving, Chazok regained his composure and began firing with his six-barreled hand cannon, while deflecting elemental blasts with his staff. Within a few seconds, the group was in full retreat — and ran right into Iron Knight's smiling metal face.

 

------

 

Surrounded from both sides, the group changed position, with the Toa surrounding the Bladetort and the Green One. Then, the Toa began fighting with their own hand-held weapons, three Toa facing an opponent each, while the Bladetort was digging in the ground for some reason. Nonetheless, the Toa were outmatched, and were fighting a losing battle. Discovering this, along with the Bladetort seeming to find the object of its search, the Toa fled, Lyse transforming into a Hummaera to soar away, Heaka vanishing into a puddle, and the other four running turning to climb up the sides of the rift to safety.

Watching them go, Chazok waited patiently. Just as the last Toa reached the top of the rift, he saw the Green One toss up a large green stone to Attar. Moving with lightning speed, the bounty hunter launched a small grappling hook, catching the stone and reeling it in, into his welcoming hand. Before the Toa could react, he remotely called The Inferno then hid in the shadows.

When The Inferno arrived a few seconds later, Chazok swung into the cockpit with practiced ease, Iron Knight following him. What they did not see, however, was the Green One climb onto the back of The Inferno shortly before it took off . . .

 

------

 

Chazok sat in the cargo hold of The Inferno, examining the keystone closely. It was exquisitely made, if one cared for such things — Chazok did not — with Matoran carvings all over it, along with the bottom cut at an angle, as if to fit into something. Nonetheless, despite its beauty, the keystone was a problem. It had to be important for the Toa to want it so badly. Therefore, there was only one option.

Chazok set the keystone down on a nearby table, aimed his Kemet Nui blaster, and pulled the trigger.

 

 

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#25 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 28 2014 - 01:21 AM

Chapter 24

 

Out of all the places in all the environments in all the island of Terra Nui, Chompshi just had to be in this one.

He was climbing up a frozen hillside with Vrael, on the icy slopes of Mount Tongaru. The Toa of Crystal, in the lead, had one of Akito's old maps, and was scanning the area. No sane Matoran had ever been here before, but the two Toa needed to go: the last keystone rested somewhere on the summit.

Of course, Vrael's elemental power let him be happy and carefree here. As Toa of Electricity, Chompshi was freezing. His cannon was covered with ice, and was not active due to less static in the air. Following his friend up a slippery slope, he cut aside icicles in his way. To pass the time, the two Toa attempted small talk.

"I sure hope that the six Toa have found that forest keystone by now," Chompshi said. "Once we have this one, the mask's location can be found."

"Well, let's be careful. Even I have never been here before, and Akito hasn't been here in over three thousand years. Besides, I have heard tales of Matoran explorers dying from avalanches, freezing to death, or dying from . . ."

"From what?" Chompshi did not like the way Vrael trailed off like that. He knew that his comrade was afraid of something.

Vrael turned back as the Toa ascended another ledge. "It may only be a legend, but supposedly there is a huge hive of Xotohk here." Chompshi instantly knew Vrael's fear. The huge, dangerous wasps were one of Terra Nui's most feared Rahi. They fed solely on Hemisva, and so all the Onu-Matoran beetle raisers such as Nuukor was gave half their broods to the Xotohk every month. Though few Matoran had ever seen more than a dozen wasps, and nobody ever knew where the swarm went. One rumor said they lived in Mount Tongaru.

Chompshi wasn't willing to find out. Still cold, he trudged along.

 

------

 

After much walking, the Toa had discovered a cave entrance near the peak of the mountain, considering it was now too treacherous to ascend to the summit. This cave system had led on for many bio, with twisting, clammy, and dark tunnels. Chompshi, feeling warmer, now was in the lead, his lightning staff aglow to light the way.

"I don't think this was on the map," Vrael replied. "How long does this go on? Makutabones, how I wish I had my old Akaku back!"

Suddenly, the two Toa heard a rumbling noise coming from somewhere far off. Mount Tongaru was known for its avalanches, but the snow never seemed to fall beyond the alpine grassline. Whatever this was, however, suddenly started to seem closer . . . and closer.

Without warning, the ledge the Toa were on started to slip. Grabbing on with their staffs, Chompshi and Vrael held on tenaciously as the stone slab began to fall. Looking down, Chompshi suddenly saw a glow beneath them.

"Jump, Vrael! If we don't, we could be crushed! It's our only chance!"

His friend nodding, the two jumped just as the ledge fell.

The slab crashed between some other ledges, a few stray rocks following the Toa in their mad ascent. Suddenly, however, Chompshi and Vrael hit the light area.

Looking up, there was a light a long, long way up where the summit exit was. Around the Toa, though, the place seemed to look odd. Very odd.

The whole interior of the mountain had strange, hexagonal, honeycomb-like cells, some filled with phosphorescent fungi, others with fat, writhing grubs the size of Matoran. Chompshi, amazed, pulled at Vrael, who was staring at something.

"Look at this, friend! A whole ecosystem inside the . . . what's wrong?"

Pointing behind Chompshi, Vrael turned around. "Don't . . . move . . . a . . . muscle."

Turning around, Chompshi suddenly had a look of mortification on his face. "Oh, Mata Nui!" he gulped.

Surrounding them on all sides were hundreds, no, thousands of huge, white, spiky insects, with long antennae, bladelike wings, and massive, sharp stingers. Buzzing angrily, they stared at the two beings that had dropped into their realm.

Chompshi turned to Vrael ever so slightly.

"We'd better run."

 

 

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#26 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 30 2014 - 11:44 PM

Chapter 25

 

Almost immediately after pulling the trigger, Chazok had the satisfaction of seeing a blinding laser blast emit from the nozzle of the Kemet Nui blaster, striking the stone. Instantly, it erupted in an inferno that consumed the entire stone. When the blast dissipated, and Chazok blinked several times to get rid of the afterimage, he saw that the stone was now a pile of smoking shrapnel.

Grinning, he turned to Iron Knight. "Dispose of that."

 

------

 

Looking in through the viewport, the Green One was dismayed to see a blinding flash, and then noticed that the green keystone had become a pile of ashes. A wailing moan emitted from him. Quickly, he began to cut a hole in the glass with his axe, and then immediately swung into the cargo bay of The Inferno.

Whirling around, the huge iron gray robot holding the pile of pieces saw the Green One. "Intruder alert! Intruder alert! A biomechanical organism 0.789 bio tall has entered the cargo hold 3.42 bio west of the main cannon. Initiate activation sequence."

The Green One turned around, finding himself staring into the six barrels of a huge cannon. Before he could swing his axe, it fired.

Chazok, in the cockpit, saw a flying green something emerge from the cargo hatch, on fire and moving about 15 kio an hour. He could discern harsh screams coming from it as it plummeted to earth.

 

------

 

Chompshi gulped.

He and Vrael were trying their best to stand completely still. Around them, the angry Xotohk buzzed, flying in circles trying to find the prey which had been there moments before.

Suddenly, however, a stalactite fell from the ceiling, hitting Chompshi on top of his mask. He flinched.

The wasps, suddenly seeing the movement, flew forward, jabbing with their stingers.

As he and Vrael ran as fast as their legs could carry them, through the tunnels and towards the beam of light, Chomsphi turned to his friend.

"We've got to reach the summit! It's our only chance, and I'm sure that the keystone is there! You put up crystal barriers, while I try to persuade these bugs that we are their friends."

Dodging a thrust stinger with a parry from his crystal staff, Vrael nodded.

 

------

 

Landing with a sharp thud, the Green One landed in the jungle.

Standing up, his green armor scorched in a few places, and with a wisp of smoke coming out of his head, he looked around. A Gargali herd was grazing nearby, regarding him as they usually did, with little interest. A Rahanivika was sitting on its nest a kio away, but did not stir and merely squawked dumbly.

He whirled his axe at a Kompiki, who had come over to him thinking it was fresh prey. The raptor screeched and ran away.

As he began the long trek to his house, the Green One smiled. The cannon had done little. His species was indestructible.

He pulled out of his pack a leaf-wrapped blob. Unwrapping it, he held up the real jungle keystone.

"Weel, I guess dat my littel ruse worked well, aye? Now let's get ya back to da Toas."

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jun 30 2014 - 11:45 PM.

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#27 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 02 2014 - 09:11 PM

Chapter 26

 

With a crunch of frost and rock, Chompshi and Vrael burst out of the tunnels inside Mount Togaru and out into the open.

Behind them, moved to the point of ferocity and fury, buzzed some hundred angry Xotohk, stabbing madly with their stingers and flapping their sharp, pointed wings. These two creatures — larger versions of the things that guarded their prey Hemisva, it seemed — had burst into their hive for no reason, made a threatening gesture, and were now running away really quickly. Now, though, the beings were cornered, and the swarm would mercilessly kill them.

Turning as he and Chompshi ran up the snowy slopes toward the summit, Vrael summoned a hail of crystal shards which rained down on the wasps. These hit a few, causing them to stumble and buzz off, but the main force was unaffected. Chompshi then shot a blast of chain lightning at the advancing insects. This too zapped a couple, but didn't really stop the advance.

As the chase continued, Vrael finally summoned enough energy to create a massive wall of pure crystal right in front of the Xotohk. Many of them hit it head on, and a layer formed as the insects hit the wall. Soon, however, they regained their composure, and began hacking at the wall even more angrily.

By now, Chompshi and Vrael had reached the high point of the mountain. All around them, they could see the whole island, in breathtaking, pristine beauty. Yet below them, the buzzing was getting louder. "We don't have much time," Chompshi said. "We must find the last stone."

Vrael plunged his staff into the ice, turning the frozen water slowly into clear crystal as he heaved at it. Chompshi, meanwhile, had found something else: at the very top of the summit stood a lone silver Suva-esque shrine, with six triangular slots in its carved surface. Puzzled, Chompshi looked at it, only to hear Vrael give an outcry.

Holding up a red and white stone triumphantly, Vreal ran up to Chompshi. "I've got it! Now we can . . ." This was interrupted, however, by a sickening crack, as the whole crystal wall gave way, and the swarm of Xotohk surrounded the two Toa. They raised their stingers just as Chompshi used his mask of Mind Linkage to send a last-ditch, desperate message to the other Toa and Green One.

 

------

 

Near the base of Mount Tongaru, the team of Toa had met up with the Green One. To their amazement, the little being had used a fake keystone to trick Chazok, and had secretly been holding the real one all along. Matoba had pulled out the bag with the other four found stones, and added the jungle one to the lot.

"Well, now that we have those, we can go up the mountain." Heaka proudly said. She turned to Attar, about to ask him for directions.

However, at that very moment, a sudden mental image struck the seven beings. It showed Chompshi and Vrael, high above them, surrounded by the ferocious Xotohk. Chompshi had found the receptacle for the stones, while Vrael had found the final one. Both were in serious trouble.

Turning towards the mountain, Matoba began to run, with the others following him. "Quickly! We must save Chompshi and Vrael!"

 

------

 

On top of the mountain, the Toa were surprised, however, to find Chompshi and Vrael sitting on the Suva shrine. Vrael was meditating, while Chompshi was tossing the ice stone up and down. Around them hovered a hundred Xotohk, blinking passively and not even buzzing.

"Surprised?" Chompshi asked. "Well, I had just sent you the message for help, when I suddenly had an idea: if I could communicate mentally with these things, then maybe I can persuade them that we are their friends, and not have them attack us. Amazingly, it worked!"

Nodding, the Green One turned to the lead wasp and made a quick series of buzzes. Immediately, the wasp signaled to the others, and the whole Xotohk group began to fly off towards the lower part of the mountain.

Once they were gone, the Toa and the Green One turned their attention back on the shrine. Each being who had a keystone produced it and fit it into the base in a hexagonal pattern. When all of the stones were fit in, the shrine was now an interlocking, multicolored, five-sided pyramid. Satisfied, the group stood back expectantly. However, nothing happened.

After a few seconds, Chompshi spoke. "I think I know how this works." He bent over right next to the pyramid and activated his gun. A thin stream of electricity emitted from the nozzle and into the shrine. The beam refracted around inside the shrine, before coming out the other side in a stream, which kept continuing even past the side of the mountain. Looking over the edge, Matoba was able to see where the beam ended.

"Look. It's like a pointer of some sort. And it's pointing right down one of the mine entrances."

 

 

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Edited by Ballom, Jul 02 2014 - 09:11 PM.

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#28 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 02 2014 - 10:17 PM

Chapter 27

 

Despite popular belief, most of the Terra Nui mines are neither a dark nor gloomy place. Instead, huge caverns filled with softly twinkling lights give the impression of comfort and warmth . . . most of the time. When slinking along furtively, fearing pursuit, the area seems a bit different. A multitude of lightstones may as well be the watching eyes of an enemy army, or some other unknown horror. Despite this all, as the Toa followed the mine shaft deeper and deeper, Nuukor still found reason to be happy, even whistling a tune every so often, much to the annoyance of his comrades.

 

"Will you just be quiet?" asked Lyse exasperatedly. "I see no reason why you seem so full of insane happy-cheer."

"This is my true home. Nowhere else on the island is so welcoming or comfortable. Anyway, we should be at the bottom of the shaft soon. Then the mask will be only a little bit away." Even as Nuukor spoke, the slope of the floor leveled off, and the chamber grew noticeably larger. "Now listen. If we are separated, follow these instructions from here when you see branches off, you go left, right, top-left, right, bottom, top, left, left, right."

All of the Toa stared at Nuukor. After a few seconds, Pacha spoke. "Which is first?"

"Never mind," Nuukor sighed. "Just make sure you keep me in sight. I guess other Matoran don't have fantastic memories like us miners." He brightened. "Look, there are two miners." He raised his voice. "Hey Kofu! Where's Vakk?"

His answer quickly came as a round ball of orange armor fell from the cavern ceiling, landing with a crash before the Toa. Then, it stood up, to show a dizzy, battered Vakk.

"I've gotta stop landing like that. If I destroy one more suit of armor, Wula's gonna kill me." He began to brush pieces of ore off himself. "At least I got a good haul." He walked over to Kofu and deposited his finds in the cart. Pacha walked over, interested. "How did you keep the ore in your hands when you fell?"

"Didn't," Vakk answered. "The suit is magnetic. It attracts ore. All I gotta do is knock it loose."

"But wouldn't the magnets stop working from impacts of you falling?"

"Dunno. Ask Wula." Vakk walked up to another wall and began to climb. "See ya."

"So," Kofu asked, "where are you all going?"

Nuukor answered before Pacha could. "To mine shaft number 7098502. We think something valuable is there."

"Ah." Kofu looked up. "That's only a couple bio from here. Take a left, then keep going."

The other Toa all looked at Nuukor. "I knew that," he said sheepishly.

 

------

 

About a bio above the climbing, grunting Vakk, a lean white figure hung suspended in the shadows. Sharpening a wicked scimitar, Squad Leader Zeta could have smiled, if his insectoid head could allow it. Now, he, Delta, and Beta needed not to follow the Toa. They could just go straight ahead without the Toa, although without their squadrons. Their leaders had wanted this to be a mission of stealth, not of force.

Jumping down, he spun over the surprised Matoran using the magnetic pull, then pirouetted down on the cart. Before the other Matoran could shout a warning, he had incapacitated it as well. Vakk, meanwhile, fell again.

"Robots! Prepare your weapons!" Matoba drew his fire staff, lighting up the whole cavern. As the six Toa looked around, two more robots emerged: Beta, the tall blue menace that Akito had blown the head circuit on, for which even now the Toa could discern a twitching in his posture, and Delta, a squat, wide, yellowish brown unit with a tetra-pincer and a huge brawler claw. "Surrender or die," Zeta spoke monotonically.

Suddenly, the Toa all acted at once. Nuukor turned his body rock-hard at the oncoming lance from Beta, while firing his cannon at the same time. Heaka dissolved into water on the floor, only to reappear behind Zeta and strike at him. Pacha moved the Matoran and their Hemeisva cart to safety, while Attar flung his blades at Delta's head while doing a dodging backflip. Meanwhile, Matoba had created a wall of fire around the Toa and Lyse had metamorphosed into a huge, screeching Rananivika, lashing out at the three Captains with a hundred-pound beak.

Delta fell over, with two frozen knives in his neck joint. Beta had a huge dent in his torso from Lyse's impact, while Zeta had been clobbered by both Heaka's spear and Pacha's club. The tree Captains soon stood back up, however, with the dents already disappearing.

"They must have some kind of healing metal!" Attar yelled. "Quickly, head back to where the Mask is!" The Toa hurried forward, with Nuukor shielding them. He fired another rocket, as Heaka shot a jet of water. Both hit Delta squarely, causing a massive electrical shock. He lurched forward, and would have decapitated Nuukor had not Attar speared him with an ice pillar. Circuits fried, the brown Captain pitched face-forward in the dirt.

Zeta, meanwhile, had climbed the cavern wall, and was throwing lightstones down at an advancing Matoba. "Stop throwing those, you pile of scrap metal!" Kofu wailed from the far wall. "Those are priceless!" Matoba shot a jet of fire upward, causing the white mech to lose its balance. Lyse then flew up, in the shape of a dragonoid Magraka. He loosed his own jet of fire at the same time Matoba loosed a heat blast. This proved to be too much for Zeta, despite his great agility. Burning and smoking, the Captain fell straight onto Matoba's own spear, effectively skewered.

Now only Beta was left, and it was clear that the blue robot was not functioning properly. Dodging a hammer swing from Pacha, it prepared another strike with its harpoon lance. Turning towards Attar, its head began to swivel on its socket. "You fleshlin . ng . . .ngs . . . aaaree . . . nooo match for uzzzzzzzz!"

But the Ice Toa sidestepped, as Pacha shot a jet of sand, Lyse loosed a small cyclone, and Matoba shot another head blast. As soon as these elements hit each other, they combined to form a glass funnel around the disoriented Beta. Attar struck it with a dagger, crystallizing the glass into a frozen prison.

As the Toa surveyed the battle, Matoba spoke. "Let's go."

They left the scene of the battle behind, and followed the tunnels. After a few seconds, they rounded the corner to see an amazing sight — a shimmering green mask, carved out of a huge piece of emerald crystal — the Kanohi Zlinj, Great Mask of Nature.

 

 

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#29 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 03 2014 - 12:20 AM

Chapter 28

 

"What do you mean — you just lost it!?"

The Sharaku cringed as their leader raged at them. Each of the seven stood in their master's room, each uncomfortably aware of how badly they had failed. On top of that, each of their attempts to blame it on another one had failed as well.

The Dark Lord paced around the room, the Spikerahk scuttled frantically to keep up with him. His cape billowed around him while tablets flew around the room, in the grip of a storm of darkness energy created by the Dark Lord's rage. "No doubt there is some reason as to why your best forces to have failed to snatch the mask from the grasp of a bunch of country bumpkins! However, it will be a waste of time to hear that, and I doubt the contents of this room can stand it." He gestured to numerous artifacts propped up against the walls of the chamber.

"I — " Argarak began.

The Dark Lord whirled around. "Silence!" he screamed. As he finished speaking, the crash of a large, old map falling from the wall was heard. Turning to see this, the Lord made a supreme effort to calm himself, and succeeded. The winds in the room subsided. After a while, he spoke again.

"Since you do not seem to have the skills to end this problem, I will take matters into my own hands. Now get out of my sight!"

The Sharaku rapidly complied with his wish, slamming the door behind them.

 

------

 

All of the Toa and Hakeahu, not to mention the Green One, had gathered in Turaga Akito's house to examine the mask, which was currently in Chompshi's hands. He set it down on the table. As he did, he noticed the Green One was staring at it with wide eyes. "Oooooh. Dat's shiny!" he said, looking at numerous reflections of his face in it.

Vrael cleared his throat. "Yes, well. Be that as it may, we have at long last the Mask."

The Green One looked down. "Sorry." Known only to Lyse, he had an irresistible attraction to shiny objects, and tended to hoard them.

Chompshi picked up the mask and glanced at it from all angles. "Maybe one of us should put this on. We don't know if the Mask would harm a being, especially if they are not destined to wear it." There was a murmur of agreement from the others, who had all heard the story of how, ages ago, the brave Toa Matoro had lost his life after putting on another Great Mask — the Mask of Life. Chompshi didn't want this to be the same. "Who wants to put the shiny green Mask on first?"

His remark was followed by silence. The six young Toa looked quietly among themselves. Finally, Vrael spoke. "I believe that since I am crippled, I would put it on, considering that I am less needed than the rest of you. Therefore, if it is harmful, you would lose less of a resource."

Chomphsi, however, seemed gladdened by Vrael's words. "I appreciate your generosity, but if anyone is to give their life to promote the safety of Terra Nui, it will be me." He held the mask up to his face, took a deep breath, and put it on.

Almost immediately, the mask began to glow like a star, white light coming from its heart. However, within seconds the glow vanished instantly, to be replaced with a murkiness that clouded the once-clear crystal.

Chompshi took off the mask, and set it down. He spoke quietly.

"That's it then. It's dead."

The Toa sat dead silent, with many hanging their heads. Turaga Akito just sat there, his jaw hanging open. Hakeahu looked angry for a moment, then closed his fist and stared sadly also. It seemed that all hope had been lost.

 

 

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#30 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 04 2014 - 03:59 PM

Chapter 29

 

Keeramak peered down from his lofty vantage point. It had taken quite a few days for the Dark Hunters to travel, but their directions had been correct. The crazy old Turaga had been right after all.

He, with the rest of the squad behind him, was staring down one of the desert hills at the Sharaku stronghold, right at the top of a majestic sea cliff. The semicircle of black buildings looked foreboding, yet Keeramak didn't seem too impressed. Just another group of Brotherhood members to take down, another psychopathic Makuta to torture secrets out of, and another Mask to take.

Though, he did admit to himself, this scenario happened a lot more to the Dark Hunters by the Brotherhood than the other way around.

"Okay," he addressed the Rahkshi group behind him. "I don't like you scaly overgrown Kraata much, since you're practically traitors to your own Makuta-serving kind, which is one of the two things I hate the most: traitors, and hot weather with large predatory mammals. Yet if we are to succeed on this mission, we must all work together. Even if that includes Chazok and his tin can."

Shadow nocked his bow. "Agreed. You help us, horsey boy, and we will help get this Dark Lord and the Mask."

Keeramak looked at the squad, annoyed. "We'll camp here for tonight. Monster, go gather wood. Darkness, Shadow, and I will build a shelter. Scout, make sure no one is following us. And don't you bloodsuckers call me horsey boy. I am a deer! There's a difference!"

 

------

 

In the Sharaku stronghold far beneath, the six Torika were rushing around at triple speed.

Hanak, knowing full well that all the Sharaku were hastily working on projects in Argarak's workshop, had called an emergency meeting in the main control room. No Drones had been posted as guards, and the other five servants had been instructed to bring all the tools and parts they had been hoarding for so long.

"Okay! Everyone in position!" Hanak called, sitting in the main chair, his fingers flying across consoles. "Zanta, I want that access jack over here now! Vukaz, put that crate over there, and that comm over there. Rieka, unload the blank access keys. Thukor, watch all the monitors! Kavan, do you know what you are even holding?"

The brown Torika looked at the piece he was jabbing into an input device. "No . . ."

"Then put it down!" Hanak, satisfied, watched as a long string of codes began to emerge on the nearest screen. "Very good, guys. The list of access codes is coming, and we'll soon have out ticket out of here!"

While the keys, now filled with data, unloaded, Rieka and Thukor stuffed them under the tools in their boxes. Giving a thumbs-up, Zanta ran over to Vukaz and Kavan. They turned off all the monitors while Hanak put all the other downloads away.

As quickly as they had come, the six Torika scuttled off, but as they did, Hanak whispered over his shoulder at the others. "Boy, won't master Argarak be surprised when he finds out about this!"

 

------

 

Chazok sat in the belly of The Inferno, fitting the last wires in place. Satisfied, he turned back and flipped the switch on the control board back and forth. A green light flickered. All clear.

Standing up, the bounty hunter walked to the main hold of the ship and sat down in the cockpit. Looking around for a few seconds, he found his query. Opening the small panel, and ignoring the multiple warnings written on it in Matoran, Chazok revealed a small button underneath. He rubbed his hands together gleefully. The Dark Lord and all of his followers eliminated at once — a wonderful thought! And they would never know what hit them.

He pressed the button.

 

 

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#31 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 04 2014 - 07:24 PM

Chapter 30

 

In the Matoran village, all the Toa had moved out of Turaga Akito's hut, and, along with the Green One and Hakeahu, had drifted over to the village square. Meanwhile, a small crowd of Matoran had gathered.

"It just doesn't seem fair, that after all our hard work this turns out to be a dud!" Matoba complained. The other Toa were all upset at this turn of events, especially Chompshi and Vrael. The Green One was shocked, but held onto the false mask as though it was still worth something. Hakeahu pounded his fists in despair. The Matoran of the village just stood silently, contemplating what had happened. Now, all that remained was to await the inevitable destruction by the Sharaku.

Little Pyar, a small Ta-Matoran, waddled up to Akito, who stood beside the majestic Mata Nui statue. "Mista Turaga, sir, what's gonna happen to us?"

Akito patted him on the head. "Don't worry, small one. We're going to be alright." He turned back to the other Toa. "You know, it's funny. Looking at this Mask," he gestured at what the Green One was holding, "I knew I had seen it somewhere before. Now I know an exact replica has been here the whole time — on the statue. And . . ." He broke off in mid-sentence, looking at Mata Nui with an odd intensity. "I wonder . . . Hakeahu, if you will."

The tall Titan strode over to the statue, and lifted the stone mask off its face, revealing a flat, featureless face underneath, with only holes for the mask to fit on. He set the mask on the ground and stepped away, and turned to the Toa of Electricity. "Put a medium electrical current through that," he said.

Chompshi stepped forward, aimed his cannon down onto the mask, and launched a bolt at it. The mask absorbed it easily, and nothing happened for a second. Then, waves of sparks began to emit from the stone, spreading all over it and shredding the rock. As it fell away, the object within was exposed — the true Mask of Nature — a Mask of black lava rock, molten protodermis flowing through thousands of little veins in the hard Koalite object. It was obvious that this was not a mere copy, as this Mask glowed with an intense light emitting deep from inside it.

Akito smiled, and spoke softly under his breath. "Atemu, you sly Burnak!"

Hakeahu nodded, hearing what the Turaga had said. "Indeed. Now there remains the question of who puts this one on. I believe that I should. Something deep down tells me that I should." He bent down, cupped the Mask in one of his large hands, stood up, and put it over his own, wondering what would come next. What did was almost instantaneous.

Hakeahu saw.

Not through his own eyes, but a vision of the entire world through the mask. His gaze fell on the surface of the Endless Ocean, a sight few have ever seen. However, this experience was brief, as his view suddenly magnified, going down through layers of domes piled underneath the continent. A second later, he looked down upon a small dome, which housed the islands of Kemet, Punt, and Byblos Nui, a place not so far from Terra Nui. Here, the mask had been forged, under the watchful eye of the then-Toa Atemu. Meticulously over a long period of time, it had been fashioned, then encased in stone, and sent to Terra Nui, masquerading as part of the very Mata Nui statue Hakeahu knew his body still to be standing by.

The vision then moved its gaze to Terra Nui. For thousands and thousands of years, the Mask sat in its stone prison, waiting for the very moment that was happening.

Hakeahu saw all this, and more. Countless visions stored in the Mask, from two Matoran throwing rocks at it, to the recent attack on its hiding place by the Sharaku's robots. All seen through the Mask's unique perspective. Even parts of the future were shown — Hakeahu saw the entire rest of his life up until its end. And as the vision ended, the Mask imparted one last revelation to Hakeahu, one which chilled him to his very bone.

Robot Drones of the Sharaku. That was all he saw. Not that his vision was zoomed in on them, but the immensity of their army filled the entire scope of his sight. All marching towards the Matoran village, even as he witnessed it. Behind them stood a dark stronghold, where the seven Sharaku were barking out orders to seven Captains, while the Dark Lord stood behind them and laughed — a horrible, echoing laugh which echoed in Hakeahu's ears long after it ended.

He took the Mask from his face, and stared grimly ahead. At long last, he spoke.

"They are coming here."

 

------

 

Satisfied with his moment of triumph, the Dark Lord surveyed his advancing horde. Oh, the Matoran would never survive! At long last, this cursed island would be cleaned, and the Mask of Nature would be his alone.

He turned to Zakarath, about to issue another order. As he did so, however, the lord sensed something coming. The head Sharaku did too, with both turning their heads to the sky. A lone object was heading towards them. "Incoming!" the Dark Lord screamed, as he and Zakarath created shields of shadow energy around themselves and the fortress.

Then, the world turned black and deafening.

When the blast cleared, the Dark Lord saw nothing but gray. Clearly agitated, he saw the smoke clear. He and his seven minions, the puny Torika, the Captains, and his camp were all fine. Turning around, however, he paled.

A whole third of his fifty thousand Drones were gone, just wreckage in a smoking crater. To the right, the majority of the armada was in disarray, yet still marching forward. It was impossible!

Zakarath, a wobble visible in his harsh voice, turned away from this horrible scene and toward his master. "What do we do now, sir?"

The Dark Lord stared grimly ahead, petting the whimpering Spikerahk. "This tragedy changes nothing. Keep the army moving towards the Matoran village. I will have my victory."

"Our day has come!"

 

 

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#32 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 04 2014 - 11:14 PM

Chapter 31

 

The group of eight Toa, along with Hakeahu, climbed out the small mine entrance, brushing dirt from their armor. Surprisingly enough, they found themselves in a grove of trees adjacent to the Sharaku stronghold, only bio from the huge robot army. Matoba in particular seemed amazed. "Hey, that tunnel did lead us here quickly."

Nuukor beamed. "Onu-Matoran know their way around and — unfh!" His speech was cut off as he walked into a tree. He sat down rubbing his forehead.

"Shh!" Hakeahu motioned for the Toa to be quiet. "We should keep our voices low. We don't know how keen these things' hearing is." Almost as if in response, dozens of robots in the first row swiveled their heads to stare right at the Toa. A metallic voice rang out from the nearest captain, a green one they had not yet seen, called Gamma. "Open fire."

Matoba cursed.

 

------

 

The Silver Scout began to jump up and down, jibber excitedly, and wave his staff at the Drone army as the Dark Hunters watched from their own vantage point. Their gaze followed his pointing staff, just to see an amazing spectacle — the entire army moving away from them.

Shadow gasped. "This is the perfect opportunity to strike. Attack!"

He and the others jumped over the hill and ran toward the army, as the Rahkshi began to make bizarre screaming noises. Keeramak bellowed, while the Silver Scout only made chirping sounds. The Drone army, meanwhile, was already confronting what had distracted them. Something that the Dark Hunters had not expected to see.

It was a group of eight Toa, and a Titan, from the looks of it, charging at the robots and launching their own elemental blasts.

Chompshi was yelling at the others, as the group ran forward. "For Mata Nui! Chaaaarge!"

 

------

 

In the Matoran village, all was prepared for the final hour.

Everything that could possibly be used as a weapon had been gathered, including the items the Torika had given them. Barricades had been set up, ditches had been dug, and the gates had been closed. At the front of Turaga Akito's house stood all 200 of the Matoran on the island, armed with pitchforks, harpoons, hoes, Kolhii sticks, shovels, drills, staves, pokers, walking sticks, and whatever else they could lay their hands on. Akito sat at the very front, his crossbow ready, facing the crowd.

"Matoran of Terra Nui! Before the day unfolds, I must say that what will happen will be the ultimate test of our loyalty. You are about to go into battle against a monstrous tyranny, to protect our own island and ourselves. I have done my best to prepare you, but if I die, know at least that I cared about each and every one of you. Now, it is time to fight!"

The Matoran all nodded, and readied their weapons. Various Matoran had prepared for the battle in other ways: Machi had brought his Icorahk, Wula had made a suit of armor for every Matoran in the village, and all had been instructed by the Turaga for 3 days in combat. Now, all they had to do was wait.

A rumble rose in the distance, as a huge column of drones ran towards the village. At their head strode Alpha and Zeta, whirling their weapons maniacally. Once they reached the gate, the army stopped. Alpha's monotone rang out: "Surrender or die. If you resist, we will kill you all and burn your village to cinders."

Akito yelled hoarsely. "We will never surrender! Do your worst!"

In response, the gate imploded from a barrage of softnose laser blasts. The drones ran straight into the village, brandishing their weapons. The Matoran too ran out as well, shouting as loudly and as bravely as they could.

The Turaga, at the front of the Matoran charge, grumbled to himself, "I'm getting too old for this."

And as it happened on the other side of the island, the two armies clashed, igniting a battle which would be remembered for thousands of years.

 

 

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#33 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 06 2014 - 02:44 PM

Chapter 32

 

The Toa and Dark Hunters stood in the center of the huge robot army, hemmed in on all sides, yet still fighting valiantly. Despite having fought for hours already, they were still energetic, mowing down rows of Drones advancing on them. However, they were beginning to tire, and knew they could not keep fighting forever. Though hundreds of the robots lay destroyed at their feet, their elemental blasts were harming increasingly less. Only Hakeahu, still punching and swinging his axe with great ferocity, seemed unaffected by this weariness.

Matoba moved over next to Chompshi, igniting a dozen Drones on fire in the process. "Are you sure this was such a good idea?" he screamed over the din of the battle. "We're completely surrounded!"

Chompshi turned to yell a reply. "At the time, yes, I did think so!" The Toa stopped speaking to launch a bolt of electricity at his latest ten antagonists. "But I do have a plan. First we need to —"

His speech was cut off by an even louder rumble, as Chazok's huge tank emerged from the ground, plunging straight into the fray. While its treads crunched Drones underfoot, it launched dozens of missiles from countless hidden ports. Heading toward the Toa, the vehicle launched the rest of its missiles to destroy the Drones surrounding them. Then, before Hakeahu could utter a word of thanks, it veered off in the direction of the Dark Hunters, using an apparatus to shoot streams of fire, turning Drones into molten slag.

Within a few minutes, the Dark Hunters were free, and the tank began to change direction again, fighting hordes of Drones in an attempt to reach the Sharaku Stronghold. Unfortunately, the army moved to block it, despite heavy losses. After a while, even the tank began to falter as robots climbed onto it, keeping the guns from firing correctly.

Hakeahu spoke to Vrael from the Toas' position. "Hold off the robots for a while. I have a plan, but I need concentration."

Vrael nodded. "That shouldn't be too hard. Chazok gave us some much-needed breathing room."

In response, Hakeahu reached into a pocket in his armor and put on the Mask of Nature. Concentrating hard, he used the mask's power to reach out to the minds of countless Rahi around the island — Aquavak, Necrovak, Xotohk, Visorak, Acko, anything he could influence — to travel to the battle scenes, both at the coast and at the village, with all haste.

 

------

 

The Green One sat in a mossy bank near Lake Ural, snoring softly, his Bladetort grazing nearby. What had started as a fishing trip had soon turned into a long nap. Suddenly, his slumber was interrupted by the sound of thousands of Aquavak emerging from the depths of the lake.

Awaking with a start, the Green One walked over to an Aquavak Va, and inquired in its language what was going on, only to learn that they were traveling to fight alongside the Matoran, at the village.

Turning, the Green One saw his Bladetort suddenly bellow and hoot, in an unexplained anger. Behind it, hundreds of Visorak emerged from the jungle, heading after the Bohrok. He shouldered his axe, jumped onto his mount, and shouted, "Dis way to da village!"

 

------

 

The assault from the overwhelming number of Rahi took the robot army completely by surprise, and leaving it very vulnerable. While Drones tried to target Visorak on the ground, Xotohk hacked them to pieces from the air. When attention turned to the Acko riding Magraka above them, Necrovak burned them to shrapnel. Attention was turned away from the Toa and Dark Hunters, as well as the Bonecrusher tank, which slipped away from the battle into the circle of buildings that made up the stronghold.

As the Drone army lost a huge number of robots, already being reduced by a third, the group took out robot guards in square, and looked for a way in. In frustration, Chazok fired on the laboratory, blasting a smoking hole in the wall. Satisfied, he opened the hatch of the tank and, with Iron Knight in tow, jumped out, vanishing into the building.

Meanwhile, Hakeahu struggled with the door of a building, to no avail. A voice spoke behind him. "Perhaps I can help."

The Toa all whirled to face a small group of what appeared to be miniature Sharaku, only they carried no weapons and were smiling hugely. The lead one, bright red in color, held a crate up to them. "Here, take these keycards. They will let you into the stronghold." He began tossing the cards to various members of the group, until the box was empty. Each key seemed to match a building.

Matoba peered down at him. "Why should we trust you, little one?"

Hanak smiled again. "You don't have to. But those will get you inside. And let me tell you, us Torika have been the slaves of the Sharaku too long. Now we help you win. But hurry, for the Sharaku have gathered the last parts of the army to crush you. Head inside, quickly!" Before they could respond, the six disappeared into a heating duct opening nearby.

As the Dark Hunters and Toa separated to go into each building, they slid the keycards into the locks on each door. At the first one stood the eight Toa, with Hakeahu gone to another building. Chompshi heaved the door open.

"Well, my comrades, it is time for us to face our destiny."

 

 

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#34 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 06 2014 - 05:28 PM

Chapter 33

 

The twisting, dark corridors of the Sharaku stronghold were difficult enough to navigate with the Torika, Matoba realized, and he could hardly imagine traversing the buildings without them leading the way. Every thin passage looked the same — endless black walls with dim lightstones every so often. Flashing red alarms dotted the passages, giving loud shrieks from time to time.

His reverie was interrupted when Hanak, who was leading the party, paused in front of the three-way intersection. A few minutes passed, but the Torika did not move, and the group of eight Toa grew impatient.

"Well?" asked Pacha expectantly.

Hanak motioned for her to be quiet. "We're waiting for Vukaz to make sure the coast is clear." As he spoke a panel in the wall opened, and the blue Torika popped out, covered in soot.

"Take the left passage. That's where the Dark Lord is. And hurry! More Drones are coming toward you as I speak, and —"

The Torika's speech was cut off as a squad of Drones emerged from the three passageways, cutting off the Toa's path. Almost immediately the Toa responded, firing large elemental blasts over the diminutive Torikas' heads, destroying most of the robot offenders. The remaining ones fell back, backing into the left passageway.

"Stop them! They're trying to provide support for the Dark Lord!" Attar yelled, as the Toa charged after them. Soon a tall door emerged in front of them, which Chompshi broke open the lock to. The other Toa, not knowing what to expect, followed him in.

 

------

 

The battle in the Matoran village was almost over, going from a near loss to a great victory.

The sight of hundreds of Bohrok and Visorak emerging from the jungle to fall upon the Drones had been enough to re-energize the losing Matoran, who fought with newfound strength. As the last few robot soldiers were overrun, Alpha and Zeta were still fighting off Rahi. Now, Aquavak were rolling around the village shooting laser blasts, the smaller Va riding on top of them. Brightly colored Visorak shot Rhotuka blasts and webs to destroy the Drones, while the Matoran beat them with their improvised weapons.

By now, the Green One had picked up Turaga Akito on the Bladetort, and was shouting orders to the Aquavak and Visorak. "Look, over there!" Akito pointed with his staff. "Your assistance was very timely, but there still remain the two leaders!"

Having removed the opponents surrounding them, the two Captains advanced on the Rahi and its riders. "Resistance is futile. We can still terminate you and win," Alpha spoke. The Green One, in response, jumped onto the ground and began to duel with the red robot. The latter, however, managed to fire his blaster straight at the little being, dealing him a severe blow.

The Bladetort, seeing its master wounded, went berserk, unleashing a mighty roar.

It lunged at Alpha, and before the robot could fire at it, decapitated the Captain with a strike of its huge serrated claw. It then trampled Alpha's body beneath it.

"Are you okay?" Akito asked the Green One, pulling him up again.

"Yeah, I'm fine, but we's still gotta enemy to deal wit." Turning, the two saw Zeta, obviously losing, attempt to run. Akito aimed and pulled the trigger.

The white Captain's head exploded from the timed shot. As it fell into the dirt, a crowd of Matoran and Aquavak surrounded it, beating the body to pieces.

Soon, all became quiet. The Bohrok, Visorak, and Matoran looked around. In the battle, many houses in the village had been ravaged, and thousands of Drone bodies littered the ground. Akito and the Green One, however, smiled.

As the Matoran and Rahi began to cheer in their various languages, and the Bladetort bellow happily, the two beings gave a triumphant yell to the heavens.

"Victory!"

 

------

 

The Dark Hunters slowly advanced in the darkness of the warehouse building, which they had reached after traversing a long range of tunnels. Metallic noises issued from all around them, threatening. While the Rahkshi seemed to be able to move about with no light, and silently at that, Keeramak was not thus gifted. Therefore, when they moved to the left, Keeramak was a bit late in moving, and walked into a wall with a loud thump. Cursing, he fell down loudly.

Immediately, spotlights turned on around them, lighting up the room with a harsh glare. The Dark Hunters found themselves in a room full of Drones, along with the Sharaku Tharaka, Scytale, and Viermoc. Their eyes widened in surprise.

Tharaka levered her spear at them, while Scytale licked his evilly and Viermoc readied his blades. "Dark Hunters!? I knew it! Well, we'll make short work of you!" The Sharaku lunged.

Tharaka shot a blast of icy water at Darkness, who simply put up a darkness shield to block it. Scytale was engaged in a furious swordfight with Keeramak, changing colors to sidestep his opponent. Monster and the Silver Scout were tussling with Viermoc, while Shadow shocked Drones left and right.

Seeing three other Captains at the back, Omega, Delta, and Beta, Shadow hissed to the other Dark Hunters.

"Well, the Brotherhood members are here, all right. Let's show them what true Rahkshi can do!"

 

------

 

"I have been waiting for you, Toa."

Chompshi and the other seven heroes found themselves in a huge chamber, lit by pillars of light. No Drones were in here, as it radiated a malevolence that even robots would avoid. Two Sharaku, Ruhktar and Kyraikk, stood as guards on each side of a throne in the center of the room.

On the dais crouched a gold-armored, gaunt, and old Makuta. Unsheathing his claws, he stood up, sweeping the spiky insectoid in his hands aside, and walked forward with cape billowing. "I am the Dark Lord. Makuta of Shakaz, and true master of Terra Nui. You destroyed my precious army."

"Now, Toa, I will destroy you!"

Chompshi and Vrael looked at each other, as Ruhktar and Kyraikk stepped forward menacingly, readying their own weapons. "Let's each take one," Vrael said. "I'll take black; you, brown."

The other six Toa positioned themselves. Matoba boldly yelled a challenge at the Makuta. "We shall fight you to the death, scum! The Toa of Terra Nui shall emerge victorious!"

The Dark Lord laughed horribly. "We'll see about that." Rushing forward, he and his two bodyguards attacked the Toa.

Soon, chaos emerged. Chompshi and Vrael parried thrusts by the huge weapons of Rukhtar and Kyraikk, while shooting lightning and crystal shards at them. Meanwhile, the other Toa fired elemental blasts at their assailant.

But the Dark Lord was a master of his powers. He would create shadowy portals to absorb energy, and lash out of the darkness with his talons. His own dark blasts were impossible to block, and the Toa were locked into a furious battle. Whenever they attacked, he would escape.

The Toa soon tired, unable to register a hit on the Dark Lord. They had to stop, while the elder Toa fought on behind them. The Dark Lord regarded them pitifully. "You Toa are weaklings, unfit to battle one such as myself." He leashed an evil cackle, and grinned. "You will never defeat me!"

Lyse glared at him, as the other Toa panted for breath. "Oh yeah? Without your large-big battle-army, you are hash-toast in no time!" Heaka glanced back at the others, who had recovered. "Matoba, do you have a plan?"

Matoba walked up to the other Toa. "Yes, I do. We must use our masks and combine our powers. Together, we can defeat this darkness, and win!"

The six Toa slammed fists together, hefted their weapons, and ran towards the Dark Lord.

United they stood. Divided, they would fall.

 

 

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#35 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 07 2014 - 08:53 PM

Chapter 34

 

Chazok soared into the hole in the laboratory's roof, closely followed by Iron Knight. Landing in the wide heating duct inside, the bounty hunter then turned to Iron Knight. "Wait here. I need to deal with something." He pulled several metal parts out of hidden pockets in his armor and began to build something as his robot counterpart opened the duct and flew out.

Looking around, Iron Knight saw that the large laboratory was devoid of all life except the Sharaku Argarak, who was standing in the center, typing in a computer console. Landing, he leveled his gun at the being and spoke. "Surrender or die."

Surprised, the Sharaku turned around, then relaxed. "Oh, it's Old Tin Can. Is your master after me for the technology of his I stole, or at the Shadowed One's request?"

"Now is no time for jokes. Surrender or die." The robot's pitted metal face gazed blankly at the Sharaku.

"Oh, very well. Bit repetitive aren't you?" Argarak raised his hands and backed away from Iron Knight. "Do I have the right to remain silent?" As he spoke those specific words, an explosive near Iron Knight detonated, knocking him to the side. As his aim on Argarak faltered, the Sharaku jumped to the side, lifted his feet off the floor of the building and hit a switch nearby. Immediately the whole floor glowed with electricity, huge currents arcing toward Iron Knight. While the robot tried to move, even more electricity poured into his system.

 

------

 

Chazok looked up from the heating duct, his work almost done, to see Iron Knight fall, sparks trailing from his metal skeleton. Startled, the bounty hunter ran a scan from his helmet, looking for Iron Knight's presence as a nearby electronic source. Nothing registered. For the first time ever, Iron Knight was severely damaged, or worse. With a snarl, Chazok launched himself out of the duct at Argarak.

 

------

 

In the throne room, Chompshi had managed to bring the fight of him and Vrael versus the two Sharaku to more manageable circumstances.

Kyraikk had backed him into a corner, whirling his mace like a bola. Chain lightning wouldn't harm the brown brute; it would just be blocked by his stone powers and made him mad. Grinning horribly, he next tried to slice Chompshi with his axe. In a bold maneuver, the Toa of Lightning had sidestepped him, and shot a blast of lightning back.

The blast had weakened Kyraikk, who decapitated himself with his own axe. Now, Chompshi had decided to help Vrael beat Ruhktar.

The black Sharaku, having no powers of his own, was now in a furious rage, swinging his club left and right while shooting his laser gun. Vrael set up a crystal barrier, only to be pummeled down. Ruhktar flung the axe at him, causing Vrael to be trapped under it. He then knocked Chompshi down and aimed his gun at him. "This ends here, Toa," he grimaced.

At that very moment, the Torika had been poking around to get the last salvageable bits of scrap. Hanak had looked into the room, only to see the six Toa locked in combat with the Dark Lord and the other two losing — badly. Vrael was struggling to get up, while Chompshi was facing a blaster at point blank.

The other Torika could only watch helplessly. Hanak in particular was mad, very mad. These Toa had been kind to him, had helped the six to freedom. If there was anything he could do, he would do it. Hanak began to run toward Chompshi, knowing that he would be too late.

Suddenly, time seemed to slow down. Everyone in the room stopped moving, and the other Torika, beginning to find new powers as well, stared. Running extremely fast in a millionth of a second, Hanak slammed into Chompshi, knocking out of harm's way.

As soon as it had come, the time slip ended. The two fell, with Hanak now extremely tired. Ruhktar's blast burned a hole in the wall, and with a roar, he turned around. Unfortunately, he met the bladed chainsaw of Vrael, which cut his head clean off. Now dead, Ruhktar fell beside the already slain Kyraikk.

Chompshi got up and looked at Hanak, amazed. "You saved my life, little one." Turning to Vrael, the two elder Toa ran toward the other six.

 

------

 

The Dark Hunters were fighting a losing battle.

Using his limited invulnerability, Viermoc had knocked out the Silver Scout, and was now advancing on Monster. He threw his boomerangs, which cut all six limbs off of the three-headed Rahkshi. His power ended at that moment, and like Hanak, Viermoc fell down panting.

Screeching with rage in his death throes, Monster hurled a stream of acid at the blue Sharaku. Unable to fight it off, the stream began to burn through Viermoc's flesh. Screaming in pain, he fell down onto the prone Dark Hunter, and both soon died.

Tharaka was sparring with Darkness, who was able to block most of her attacks. In desperation, she flung her spear him, sending the weapon right through Darkness' chest. Attempting to fling a jet of water to freeze him, Darkness swiped his claw and blasted a shot at Tharaka, causing her to slam back into the wall. She did not get up after that.

Keeramak, on the other hand, was locked in combat with Scytale. Having changed to match the wall's color, the green Sharaku was shooting acid, and their weapons continually met in a furious duel. The deer-like Dark Hunter sprang back, as Scytale jumped down and glared, licking his staff yet again. "I will be victorious, Rahi creature!"

Quickly, he lunged at Keeramak, landing on him and preparing to strike. The Dark Hunter was quicker, though. In an upwards slice, he brought his shielded blades up into the Sharaku's gut, while firing with his gun arm.

Scytale fell down as a smoldering carcass, still grinning insanely.

Meanwhile, Darkness had lumbered to where Shadow was. After destroying scores of Drones, the Dark Hunter was beginning to tire. Lightning bolts shot throughout the air, arcing towards the four remaining Captains surrounding him. But Shadow was tired, and he knew that his time was limited. Unless . . .

Putting his bow aside, Shadow began to gather electrical energy around him. His Kraata inside his shell began to arc around crazily, thumping in zigzagging arcs of electricity. Soon, a supernova blast was forming.

Darkness, seeing Shadow being covered by the horde, shouted out, "Shadow, no! It's too late! . . ."

With a titanic explosion, Shadow released his power. The electrical blast destroyed every single Drone around him, as well as the three Captains. Darkness too was unable to escape or use his heat-proof power, and he fell as well. The room exploded in a shower of lightning.

Keeramak and the Silver Scout were barely able to make it outside.

 

------

 

"You can never win against me, Toa!"

The Dark Lord had backed into the corner of his room, now surrounded by all eight Toa. Together, they had managed to block many of his shadow attacks, and he was losing.

"You're wrong, Makuta," Matoba replied, hefting his fire staff high. "Together, all of us can defeat you. Mata Nui's light will always triumph over darkness, and Terra Nui will survive!" He motioned to the others. "Ready, my comrades?"

"Ready!" Chompshi, Vrael, Lyse, Heaka, Pacha, Attar, and Nuukor slammed their fists into his. Channeling their elemental powers, the Toa aimed their weapons at the Dark Lord.

"Wha . . . what are you doing!?" The lord began to scramble backwards, only there was nowhere to go. "I will rule over this island! I will have the Mask of Nature! I will . . ."

The eight Toa Terra released their power, forming a great Nui blast that shot out towards the Dark Lord. As he screamed, it engulfed both him and the retreating Spikerahk, forming a whirlwind around the figure of darkness, in a rainbow of colors. Soon, it rose to the ceiling, and nothing inside of it could be seen.

The Toa cheered, as the blast faded as quickly as it had come. Dissipating, they watched as a black Kanohi and a heap of rusted gold armor fell to the floor, along with a few wisps of ash.

The Dark Lord was gone. Forever.

 

------

 

Hakeahu stepped through the gaping hole he had just cut in the corridor, finally into the control room. He smiled in satisfaction. It had taken a long time, and resulted in to destruction of countless Drones, but he had made it. Now, all he needed to do was make a few adjustments to the controls, and the Toas' victory would be complete. He reached for a console.

A voice behind him spoke. "I wouldn't do that if I were you." Hakeahu turned to see Zakarath, standing with his sword at Hakeahu's throat.

"Sorry, I only listen to the advice of sane beings." Hakeahu brought up his axe, knocking the Sharaku's weapon aside. Then, he held his weapon in a fighting stance.

"Bring it."

 

------

 

Totally unprepared for Chazok's onslaught, Argarak still was able to step out of the bounty hunters way, then press another switch to his left. Immediately, heavy combat Drones entered the room, led by Gamma, the green Captain. The robots formed a defensive barrier between themselves and Argarak. Chazok, however, was unfazed, and filled with murderous rage. Activating his laser staff, he threw himself at them, slicing them to pieces and using the weapon to reflect back many more bolts that they fired at him. Even the captain he casually cut into smoking pieces, his eyes on Argarak the entire time.

Seeing the mood Chazok was in, along with the astonishingly quick destruction of his defense, Argarak began back away. Even as he did, Chazok finished the last Drone and flew toward the Sharaku, his staff in hand.

Realizing that there was no escape, Argarak pulled out his own weapons: two flamethrowers, speaking all the while. "Why must we fight each other, Chazok? We aren't so different, you and I."

He lunged at Chazok even as he finished his last sentence. Gouts of flame burst from his weapons, engulfing Chazok and setting him ablaze. However, the fires soon died on flame retardant armor, and the bounty hunter used his staff to cut the tank of one flamethrower. Argarak then dropped the other, unsheathing his long, metallic claws. "I see we'll have to do this the hard way."

The two began to circle each other warily. Abruptly, Chazok lashed out with his staff, the Sharaku catching the attack just in time. The two began to spar, staff versus claws. However, Argarak had much more experience fighting in such a way, and disarmed his foe after a few minutes. Argarak grinned. "Aren't so great are you, now?"

Chazok said nothing, backing away until he bumped into a wall behind him, near Iron Knight. He spoke after a few seconds, as Argarak drifted near him, both flamethrowers now in hand, and pointed at Chazok's head. "You mentioned we had to do this the hard way. I suppose you were right."

His speech was punctuated by a popping noise. Aragark looked down to see a small dart sticking out of his chest, in a small gap between armor pieces. Gurgling, he collapsed as the neurotoxin spread through his body.

Chazok barely noticed. He had kneeled down, looking at the remains of Iron Knight. He was gone. Chazok's only companion, only friend in the world, was gone forever.

Chazok's vision blurred. He put his hand to his face, and felt it wet with tears. For the first time in centuries, the most feared bounty hunter in existence wept.

 

 

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#36 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 07 2014 - 10:57 PM

Chapter 35

 

The battle at the coast was over. The Toa's triumph over the forces of the Dark Lord was complete. No more Sharaku remained to oppose them, and the few Drones left were unorganized, with no leader left to direct them. The scores of Rahi that had fought under the will of the mask were beginning to disperse, with Xotohk and Magraka flying off to their lairs, and the Necrovak horde slowly rolling into the east towards the Pehku desert from whence they came.

However, the victory had come with a price. The once-beautiful beach upon which the fight had occurred was a ruin — blackened, ashen sand with heaps of wreckage upon it. Smoke from the destroyed Drones, weapon discharges, and dead Rahi filled the air, hanging over the evening air like a dark cloud.

Running out of the throne room at the head of the group of Toa, Chompshi surveyed the battlefield. Out of the semicircle of dark buildings, one was completely destroyed. Darkness, Monster, and Viermoc lay in a corner, all dead. Tharaka and Scytale were crumpled in the other corners, while in the center of the destruction lay the remains of Shadow, surrounded by a ring of Drone and Captain parts. Keeramak was wandering through the wreckage of the building, a dazed look on his face, while the Silver Scout was looking sadly at his dead comrades. Meanwhile, the Torika had also appeared via their various newfound powers, and were also present.

Chompshi shook his head sadly. "Look at the condition here. What have we done to our home?"

Vrael stepped next to his friend and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Only what had to be done. This island is now rid of the Sharaku forever."

Matoba walked over to the two. "What about the buildings? Are we just to leave them here as a reminder of what happened?"

Vrael glanced at the Fire Toa. "That is a decision to be made at a later date."

"No, Vrael. Matoba is right. The stain of these buildings should be removed from here. Destroy them. Burn them. Anything."

The others agreed. Combining their power into another focused beam, the eight Toa aimed at the throne room and unleashed a blast. It engulfed the structure, reducing it to rubble in a matter of seconds. As they did so, however, a loud tremor shook the beach, causing all the Toa to grab onto each other for balance.

When it stopped, they looked down in confusion. Pacha put her ear to the ground, then looked up unhappily. "I think that the coastal shelf we're on is a bit weak from all this here fighting. If we destroy all these buildings, it could collapse! We've gotta get outta here!"

Chompshi turned to the other Toa and Torika, as well as Keeramak. "Hear that? We have to leave immediately! In fact, we should . . ." He trailed off.

Nuukor looked at him in concern. "What is it?"

"Where's Hakeahu?"

 

------

 

In the master control room, Hakeahu and Zakarath fought on.

Having traded blows for what seemed like ages, the two beings fought sword to axe. Zakarath seemed to be enraged, using his darkness powers to throw consoles towards Hakeahu. The Titan was using the Mask of Nature to all of his ability, creating vines to stop the projectiles, and other such organic creations.

"You can't win, Sharaku." Hakeahu parried another thrust from Zakarath's small scissor blade. "In fact, I would suggest that you try some different tactics if you hope to take this mask. With the powers of Nature at my disposal, I have a few tricks up my sleeve!"

Zakarath sneered. "You'd better have to use those, then." He continued to fight with mad ferocity.

Hakeahu, though, knew in his heart that the Sharaku was telling the truth for once. His blows, though almost impossible to tell with the naked eye, were becoming less and less strong, while his opponent's were as strong as ever, possibly increasing in strength. He took a deep breath, knowing that this would be the last fight he'd ever have.

Focusing all the awesome power of the Zlinj, he used it to attack the mind of Shredder, the giant Collosorahk, whose enormous bulk was fast asleep underneath the furnaces of Mount Juvala. The creature responded by instantly becoming perfectly alert — and very, very cranky.

With a roar of rage, it launched itself in the direction of its antagonist with awe-inspiring speed.

 

------

 

The group of survivors from the fight, including the Toa, Torika, Dark Hunters, Chazok and his Bonecrusher, with Iron Knight attached atop it was moving from the camp as fast as they could, when another, louder earthquake shook underneath them, moving toward the Sharaku stronghold.

As it did, the monstrous green head of Shredder emerged from the ground with huge teeth pulsating, followed by the rest of his 200-bio long armored bulk. With a roar, it continued toward the control building.

 

------

 

Zakarath saw the creature emerged from the ground on the cameras, seconds before he heard its roar split the air. His face turned white, showing for the first time in his life ghastly fear. However, he managed to keep his voice calm as he backed away from Hakeahu, dropping his weapons.

"Call it off. Call it off, Titan, and I will let you have your life spared. Keep the infernal Mask, just let me escape! By the powers, I'll never bother you again!"

Hakeahu looked at him, completely calm. "No. My death will not be in vain. I will not allow you to escape."

He reached forward, and pinned Zakarath's arms to his sides with his axe. As he did, Shredder's head burst into the room, its mouth agape with huge crystal teeth grinding in a pulsating flower of death.

That was the last thing Zakarath saw in his life, as he, Hakeahu, and the Mask of Nature were taken literally into the belly of the beast.

 

------

 

The whole group stood watching in silence. The coastal shelf, completely severed by the island by Shredder's last tunnel, remained in the air for a split second before it slid down into the ocean, carrying with it the last vestiges of the stronghold. Hundreds of Icorahk flew off in a flock from the disruption.

As it fell, the sea rose up, a huge tsunami which spread out from the island, carrying with it the thousands upon thousands of metal shards that made up the Drone army, which glittered like diamonds before vanishing into the sea forever.

Then the sun vanished beyond the horizon in a blaze of light and color, its final rays reflecting on the eternal tomb of the Sharaku stronghold.

 

 

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#37 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 08 2014 - 09:16 PM

Epilogue

 

The Toa, Torika, and Dark Hunters stood at the edge of the cliffside, staring down at the sheer cliff which was now right in front of them, a steep drop all the way to the ocean floor. Below, the ruins of the coastal shelf lay in piles of rock.

With the sun having set, the group moved apart. The Toa cheered, embracing each other in a mighty hug. Keermak and the Silver Scout looked at each other, then began to walk towards the east. Chazok stepped off to the side, and put a hand to his helmet, entering a series of commands using the buttons on the side. Seeing the sleek ship descend, he moved towards the Bonecrusher, piloting it into the hold over the boarding ramp. Finally, bringing Iron Knight's body aboard, the bounty hunter closed the hatch, and The Inferno rose up into the heavens.

Chompshi watched it fly off toward the horizon. He felt a tap on his leg. Looking down, he saw Hanak and the other five Torika standing there. "Sir, we . . . have no place to go. The . . . the Sharaku, our masters, are . . . dead. Can . . .," he trailed off, before blurting out along with the other Torika, "Can we please stay here?!"

Vrael and the other Toa looked at Chompshi, and he looked at them. He turned to the Torika and smiled. "For one who saved my life, and your five brave, wise friends, I would grant anything. Certainly."

 

------

 

Chazok sat at his desk in The Inferno, Iron Knight's prone body in front of him. Using a handheld scanner, he was searching for any signs of computer activity remaining, any sign that his friend had survived. Just when he was about to give up hope, he found a small program which had been implanted in Iron Knight. Downloading the file onto his scanner, Chazok found it contained only a single folder. Upon being opened, Iron Knight's expressionless, metal voice rang out.

"In the event of my destruction, I have prepared this file. It contains the programming for my entire mind and system." As he spoke, dozens of hidden files popped up, displaying lines and lines of code. Chazok looked on in amazement. However, his heart fell with the next sentence spoken. "However, the new system will contain none of my current memories or behavioral patterns. Finally, if my master Chazok hears this, I have one last thing to say. You were always the biomechanical I most enjoyed the company of."

The recording ended, and vanished from the scanner. In its place remained the pages of code remained. All that was needed to create another Iron Knight. However, one of the things the robot said echoed in Chazok's mind: "The new system will contain none of my current memories or behavioral patterns." Deep in his heart, the bounty hunter knew it was his friend he missed, not a robotic bodyguard.

Reaching forward, his hand steady, he erased the file.

 

------

 

"So the mission failed."

Though spoken softly, the Shadowed One's voice carried horrible menace. Keeramak cringed. After taking a week to travel back to the base, he found himself once more in the dark throne room, surrounded by Odinian tapestries on the circular walls. Sentrahk and Ancient kept a watchful eye by the doorway, while Keermak could see the shadowy form of the other Darkness hanging above his leader's glowing orange eyes.

"No, sir. We did — I mean, I did complete the primary objective. The Makuta of Shakaz was indeed on the island, and our forces did indeed cause his death. Although in order to take out his Sharaku servants, the Rahkshi you sent were not able to make it here."

"So Darkness, Shadow, and Monster are dead. And that Scout . . .?"

Keeramak looked behind him. "Outside mourning. I doubt that he will be the same after this."

"Very well." Keeramak heard the crunching sound of the Shadowed One cracking his knuckles. "Dismissed. Your life is your reward."

Keeramak loped out of the room, flanked by the senior Dark Hunters. As he did, the deer-like Rahi vowed that he would take a vacation . . . a long, far away vacation.

 

------

 

In the Matoran village, a celebration was being held.

Having been freed from their captivity forever, the Matoran had taken a week's worth of preparation to make a new feast. Colored banners festooned the newly-rebuilt village, while other decorations had been set up as well. In the center, the great fountain statue of Mata Nui had been reshaped by Pacha and Nuukor, so that now it showed the great Titan Hakeahu in a heroic pose. Water gushed from his huge outstretched palm, while the axe was held down at his side, and on its carved stone face, the false Mask of Nature rested.

Wooden tables with leafy cloth had been set up in a semicircle around the statue, piled high with plates of bread, Bula berries, Madu fruit, Cocoa nuts, Taro root, Vuata Maca pods, steamed Waiwa, Tooay in the shell, and a whole roasted Muudabok. And in this festive scene, Matoran from all across Terra Nui were dancing, singing, and celebrating.

Of course, they were not the only ones. The Necrovak, Aquavak, and their Va had been invited, and now they too were eating and conversing in their languages. Acko ran around throwing torches and swallowing fireballs, while Visorak hung around on their webs. Even the Torika had been warmly welcomed, and they sat on the grass telling stories of the island of Shakaz, with Matoran young and old listening raptly.

The eight Toa Terra had returned as heroes, and along with the Green One and Turaga Akito, they stood clustered on the Turaga's porch. Akito cleared his throat.

"Friends, Rahi, fellow Terra Nuians, give me your . . . err, auditory organs! We have come together in a joyous celebration to honor Hakeahu, a great hero, loving friend, powerful warrior, and the savior of us all. Without him, we would be trapped in a realm of nightmares, but thanks to him, the Mask of Nature was saved and all remains of the horrible Sharaku erased forever. So let us all raise our gourds in a toast. To Hakeahu, and to our bright future!"

As they all cheered in the toast, Akito glanced upward at the bright sky and smiled. The power within had been found, new Toa heroes had emerged, and new alliances had been forged. Truly Mata Nui was watching over them all.

The music from the party floated in the air and through the sky, heading up past the sphere of the great dome, and into the realm of stars where legends live, and where new ones had only just begun.

 

The End

 

 

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