OOC: Finally...she’s back.
The Vortixx was sitting on the rough stone floor of her cell, a windowless pit hewn into the bedrock of Ta-Koro with little to no attention paid to the comfort of the occupant. Not that anybody who was imprisoned down here deserved any form of comfort, considering their crimes. And she was no exception; the blood of Matoran was on her hands. How many, she didn't know. Two dozen, maybe more. She was hoping for the latter. These people worshiped a great spirit that had no right to rule in the first place and they had condemned their rightful master to the abyss. And now Makuta was gone and his gifts to her along with him, leaving her in agony. Somehow, her mental connection with the master of shadows had made her dependent on his presence, addicted even, on a level she hadn't known about. Her body was in constant, excruciating pain that would not fade. It was there when she rose in the morning and it kept her shaking and trembling, unable to properly function, until at last the exhaustion would become too great and she passed out for some hours of blissful unconsciousness. Kohra was left broken, a pathetic being robbed of all strength she might have had at one point, save for her will to live. But she had not given up yet. Despite all the pain and anger, something inside her kept her going in her solitary confinement.
She had her legs tucked in, hugging them tightly to counter the tremors. A bead of sweat ran down her cheek and dripped onto the ground. She couldn’t even tell if it was warm or cold. But at least, she wasn’t alone today. Across from her, on the other side of the bars, stood a Toa. A Toa she knew all too well: Draeverian. The blind Toa of sonics had come to see his personal demon for one last time, to enjoy the sight of her behind bars, so to speak. Draeverian naturally couldn’t see it, but as he spoke the Vortixx listened intently, head down and eyes closed. She focused on his words, let them sink in and committed them to memory. The way he stood, head turned as if looking at her, zeroed in on whatever little sound she made, the furrowed brow, but also the undeniable nervousness in his posture, the tightness of the jaw muscles.
The image and sound of one blind Toa, just barely keeping himself together made her dark soul giddy and a psychotic smile formed around her lips. Here was Draeverian, the little Toa who couldn’t. He wanted to be a hero, in fact, was a hero; but when it came to being acknowledged as such, his own consciousness stopped him, just a few steps short of greatness. She had seen to that. He was right in berating her of course: She had used and abused him, implicating him in more than one attack on the Koro, not to mention the psychological trauma. But, deep down, buried under all the spite she had for the likes of him, there was a hint of regret. In a way, Draeverian was the only one who really knew her. Even the other followers of Makuta, for the most part, were unaware of who she was or what she had done, except for the few that Makuta had kept in the know. And she had only met them in person just before Makuta’s downfall.
Which made Draeverian the only one that would remotely qualify as a friend she had made on Mata Nui.
Draeverian shrugged off the feeling of misfortune shrouding his mind like a storm front. He felt uneasy without seeing her face. It was an effect he could never fully rid himself of. Draeverian shifted on the uncomfortable wooden stool, but still the feeling lingered. The world felt ripped out of focus, pulled into her black hole of a heart. He felt his own burn with vengeance, jealousy, and something more he would deny until death: excitement.
“What’s your game, Kohra?” He finally asked, a hand brushing back the black ties of his blindfold. It had been a question plaguing his thoughts since the beginning in Le-Koro when she had caught him unawares and began what would only become a destructive relationship.
The warm wind and Summer sun drifted across Draeverian’s features, his arm stiff in the cast from the humiliating defeat at the hands of The Brutal Bard. Mita laughed and gave him a pat on the shoulder before launching herself into the fray of commercial opportunity farther down the Le-Koro platforms. He could hear her guitar in the distance, strumming metallically with improvised lyrics worthy of widgets to make her stop. Draeverian chuckled.
The toa in question turned his ear toward the sound in front of him, feeling the waves of sound ripple off her tall figure and bounce from the slim physique. “Call me DJ. What you need?”
“What’s the motivator behind the dominator: sadistic revenge, or something greater?”
Rivet rustled into his consciousness soft as a feather, finding herself curious how the Sorceress Of Death behind bars would answer. She was a gray mist without substance or temperature, and yet her presence gave Draeverian the fortitude to keep a sound mind.
“I did...what I had to, Draeverian.” she said, her voice hoarse. And for once, there was no malice in her words...she almost sounded...honest? Could that be it? Draeverian didn’t know, but he doubted it. Still, encountering the Vortixx like this...if he could have seen her he might have felt slight pity. As it stood though he only felt slightly less disgusted. Before he could say anything more, the rumbling of a heavy door being opened at the far end of the corridor interrupted him, followed by the rolling of what sounded like wheels coming closer.
A Matoran pushing a cart appeared in the orange light of the lightstones lighting up the passageways of the dungeons. He was wearing a dirty grey rag slung around his waist like an apron and on his cart were several bowls, put in rows and filled with what appeared to be soup or stew. The Matoran acted stiff, keeping his distance and fully focusing on the task at hand. Between shivers, Kohra briefly thought he looked a bit nervous, but the next onset of spasms drove those thoughts out immediately again. He ignored Draeverian and unceremoniously picked one of the bowls. There was a narrow metal board welded to the outside of the bars on which he placed the small meal. The bowls were just wide enough to fit through between the bars. Kohra forced herself to move, tentatively reached for the bowl and retreated back to her bunk with it. In the meantime, the Matoran just returned and left the cellblock again with his cart.
Kohra eyed her food. The smell reached her nose, causing her to grimace. She wasn’t hungry. But she had to eat, despite her body rejecting the food half the time, being the mess that it was. Even if the food tasted good...which is usually didn't, at least not to her...as far as she could tell. Everything tasted like ash here. As she raised the bowl to her lips and took a slow sip of the thick liquid, she suddenly felt something cold and metallic brush against her lips, sending an energized shiver through her. There was something in her bowl...she lowered it and looked down - and froze with a slight gasp. There was a syringe, half submerged and filled with black liquid. The Vortixx reached down, fishing it out of the food. Once again, she felt a weird sensation wash over her. As soon as she came into contact with it, something had happened. She didn’t know what, but it felt...good?
She started at the syringe in her hand and felt her fingers tighten around it. Her mind suddenly had a clear focus, a singular train of thoughts that she had sorely missed for weeks...or had it been months? It didn’t matter now. Somehow, she knew this substance was meant for her to use. Not use as in “grab the nearest guard and stick them with it” and neither as an ace up her sleeve for later. This was meant for herself…
Her hand turned the syringe ninety degrees, the metal of the needle against the flesh of her arm. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath - and pushed.
Outside the cell, Draeverian noticed the lack of noise coming from the Vortixx. Before, she had been twitching, her body scratching against the stone of the cell, unable to stay still...and now there was near-perfect silence on the other side of the bars.
As the silence continued Draeverian's face took on a suspicious expression. Throughout his life he had learned that silence in such a situation was like the calm before the storm. Hesitantly he spoke out to the direction in which Kohra had been before.
"Has the food stunned you into silence? I doubt it is that good."
Still no reply. Then suddenly, a painful gasp, followed by a groan. The Toa of sonics stepped forward, listening closely. The soundwaves painted a mental image of the room before him. No details, but Kohra was not sitting on the bench. She was kneeling on the floor, arms wrapped tightly around herself in pain. And then, she stopped...and started to stand up. And that’s when Draeverian realized something was terribly, terribly wrong. As he reached for Rivet, he heard the sound of soft, evil laughter.
Inside the cell, Kohra felt great, ecstatic even. Her mind that had been clouded for months now was finally clear again, she was focused...and she had power. She could feel it surging through her, concentrating in her clawed hand. Whatever had been in the syringe, it had made her whole again. And that meant, she was finally in control of herself again...she could finally do something about this predicament she was in. She chuckled and raised her hand. The next moment, the door of her prison cell was torn open.
The telekinetic force continued and slammed into the Toa of sonics, then into the wall behind him, taking Drae with it. With a crack his head collided with the stone, his ears desperately trying to adjust for the sudden loss of balance.
Through the muffled filter, he heard the soft crunches of her heels on the stone floor getting closer. Kohra crouched down next to the fallen Toa of sonics and dropped the syringe into his lap. Then she stood up and coldly smiled down at him.
“You really are my only friend on this forsaken island...after all, you’ve always been there to get me out of trouble.”
The Vortixx turned and left, quick steps carrying her down the corridor. She needed to get to the outside. She knew they weren’t expecting trouble from her and least of all an escape attempt, but somebody surely had heard the commotion. As if on cue, two Matoran carrying spears hurried around the corner in front of her. As soon as they spotted her they levelled their weapons. “Halt!” they ordered. Kohra stopped, standing casually, her arms slightly outwards and palms facing out. “Okay, you got me.” she calmly said.
The guardsmen were tense, mostly because they had no idea how a ‘junkie Vortixx’ like her had managed to set a foot outside her cell block. One of them took a step forward. “We’re escorting you back to a cell. Come quietly or there will be trouble.”
“You really should take care of my Toa friend back there first, though.” Kohra replied, sounding as innocent as possible. “He hit his head pretty hard on the way out...I don’t know if he’s gonna make it.”
The Matoran’s eyes narrowed. He and his colleague exchanged a glance. That was all she needed. The first guardsman was suddenly yanked to the side by a flick of her wrist, mask shattering as he hit the wall. He fell to the ground and laid still. His partner growled, tightly gripping his spear and came rushing at her, but another telekinetic push tripped him and a second later the Vortixx was on him. Kohra’s arm shot forward, the aim straight and no muscle spasms to hinder it from closing around the Matoran’s neck like a vice. She pulled him up to his feet, placing her left over his mouth. She could feel him shudder as he got a close-up view of the seemingly rotten flesh of her arm.
“Now then,” she said softly, “we’re going to go on a little trip and you’re going to be me guide. I hope you’re good at it. I don’t have a ball of thread to mark my path through this place so if you get us lost I’ll just have to start using your blood. I’m sure you understand.”
His eyes were wide with fear, but not panic. Ta-Koro trained its people well. But he nodded, as far as her hold on him would permit. Kohra unceremoniously started dragging him along. As much as she enjoyed getting a little payback on her captors, indulging herself was out. The two guards surely weren’t the only ones who had heard the noise. Her quick reaction had bought her a few minutes at most.
Finding the stairs out of this cell-block was not a problem, she remembered those last few meters before getting tossed in her cell very well, but beyond that she needed the Matoran.
“Where to?” she asked as they reached the top of the stairs. He glanced to the side and she immediately followed the direction. She wasn’t going to risk taking her hand off of his mouth. They continued in this fashion, Kohra hugging walls, checking around the corners to avoid running into more guards and confirming with her captive every few turns. Finally, after another staircase leading up they were in a broad corridor with doors on the side and at the end. Kohra could hear muffled voices from somewhere nearby. She stared at her captive. “Where to?” she asked, her tone very dangerous. She trusted that her grip ensured he would rather tell her the truth than die, but for all their misguided idealism and faith, Matoran weren’t stupid and she couldn’t rule out the possibility of him misleading her. But so far they had not encountered any resistance. The guardsman’s eyes darted right, indicating a door at the end of the hallway.
They approached it and, being unusually helpful, the Matoran reached out to open it. A second later the Vortixx found herself standing with her hostage in what could only be the female changing room, looking back in the surprised faces of about a half dozen guards in various states of dress and undress. There was a second of silence, the guards assessing the situation while Kohra surveyed the room. Lockers, benches, showers, clothes strewn around and only a bunch of naked Matoran between her and the window at the far side, large enough.
The second passed, and then the ruckus started. The Matoran started yelling, the half-dressed ones started moving towards her and Kohra herself started running. She let go of her captives mouth for a second, shattering the window with a telekinetic push while taking the running leap out.
As she fell she thought she heard on the female guards shout “Not again!”, before cushioning her landing. They still hit the ground hard, but not hard enough for her to lose her grip on the Matoran. Whatever had been in the syringe was blocking her muscles from screaming out against this sudden amount of activity. As soon as she had caught her bearings again, the Vortixx was moving once more, dragging the struggling Matoran along to the nearest alleyway. He had tried to trick her after all. She roughly pushed him against the wall. He tried to yell out, call for help, but as soon as his mouth opened her grip tightened, crushing his trachea. The claw of her left followed, seizing his tongue.
The only sound the guardsman made when she finally let go was a soft, wet gurgle, liquid spilling out in pulses, running down his wrung neck and staining the armor before pooling around the body.
Kohra dropped the remains into the dusty ash on the floor, not bothering to wipe her hands clean. “Good luck calling for help” she said softly, a sinister smile tugging at her lips, before disappearing into the shadows as the first real alarm sounded behind her.