Posted Apr 22 2014 - 06:34 PM
OOC: It should be noted that the following takes place roughly concurrently with Kohra's escape, and just before, and leading into, Ghost's earlier post.
The Matoran wanted to run, and he wanted to run fast. He wanted to flee from the city, never to return. The streets were beginning to fill up with other Guards, all responding to an event that the cook could not have missed if he wanted to. He wanted to deny that it was his fault. He wanted to pretend he hadn’t noticed, go home, and continue on as if nothing had happened. He could. None of the others would ever realise his part in it; There was no reason even to suspect that he was involved. He could get off scot-free.
But he couldn’t. It had been mere minutes and it haunted him, what he’d done. He’d done what he was told. His family needed him to. It was for his family. The Toa had told him to do it, so he’d done it. He said it would wrap up loose ends, right? He didn’t… He didn’t…
It wasn’t his fault.
His voice sounded almost sickly, resounding weakly through the room as he stepped into his hut. The Ta-Matoran waited for the familiar response, the sound of little feet… But there was only silence. It was fine, he was sure it was fine. The Toa had promised him. That was what he kept telling himself, his mantra, but it sounded weak, even to him. His heart seemed to stop as he stepped further into the hut, looking around every corner.
“I see it’s done.”
The voice was smooth, and seemed to fill the air around the Matoran’s despite its quietness. It lead the Matoran, almost hypnotically, into the living room. And there he was, the same as the first time; The darkly-armored Toa sat on the couch, fingers steepled as he watched the Ta-Matoran approach. He was impassive, still, and yet, a strange sense of menace radiated from him in waves.
“The Vortixx received the syringe; You’ve done well.”
“You told me it would kill her!” The cook blurted out, regretting it before the words had even finished passing his lips. He shouldn’t have said anything, he should have let it pass unchallenged. Yet he couldn’t remain quiet. Some last, shred of dignity wouldn’t let him stay silent.
“No. I told you that it would tie up a loose end. And it did. In prison, she was a liability. Now she is not.”
He wanted to raise his voice in protest, challenge the Toa before him; That was what his duty expected of me. That was the right thing to do. But he couldn’t. His family was at stake, and he didn’t want to see what the Toa would do if pressed. He swallowed his tongue and his pride, merely nodding meekly.
“Yes, your family.” The Toa nodded, expression as unchanging as his tone. He raised a finger, gesturing down the hall. “Through there.”
The Ta-Matoran's gaze followed the path he indicated, and within a few moments, his body did as well. Almost as if in a trance, suspended halfway between a delusion of hope and an impending reality of depair, he began to walk down the hallway. His heart rate quickened and every step seemed like an eternity, but it seemed like he reached the door far too soon for his liking. He pushed it open with a quivering hand, to reveal what lay beyond. Dimly, he registered that the room was where they all slept; And as he opened it, a voice in the back of his head, barely registered, noted that it was where they would sleep soon.
Each bed contained the bulge of a person, without any chaos or disrray. They might have been sleeping, but in his heart, he knew they weren't. The complete stillness betrayed them. In that moment, it was all very clear to the cook; What he had been an accomplice in doing. How the Toa had made him do it. And now, what the end game had been all along. He hadn't seen it before. Maybe he had, and just hadn't wanted to give up his hope.
But it was too late. The Ta-Matoran was dimly aware of the Toa's arrival behind him, though he hadn't noticed him move. For a moment, he thought about running. Fighting. Maybe even yelling, just to attract his comrades, even if it meant the end of him. But he knew he would never be heard.
"You promised you'd give them back to me." The single statement was unbelievably quiet, but it carried the full accusation and indignation that the Matoran could possibly force into it, all of the hate that he wouldn't get another chance to voice. "You said they were fine. That they were treated well."
"I did." The Toa allowed, the same quet tone fulling the Matoran's ears. It was a honeyed speech; It may even have been soothing, had the guard not been aware of the situation. "And I kept my word. When I spoke to you, they were fine. Their end was quick and clean. They did not have time to be afraid."
Perhaps it was what he said, perhaps it was the realization of what had happened, but the Ta-Matoran was prepared to fight. He was angry, furious, and nothing was more fearsome than a man with nothing left to lose. He began to turn, he would find a way to hurt the Toa-
He barely felt the blade, slipped silently from its sheath, trace a line of red across his throat. Nor was he really aware of the hands that plucked him from his fall, and lowered him silently to the ground. His will seeped away with his life, but not before he got one last look at his killer.
Eisen's face was impassive behind his Kanohi, eyes bearing neither malice nor satisfaction. They were, if anything, shockingly empathetic; A deceitful sympathy from the man who had used him so easily.
"Do not be afraid. Night must fall for all men; It merely came sooner for you."
As the world faded until it was as grayed and dark as the Toa's armor, and his senses failed one by one, he heard the voice he had learned to despise sound forth one last time, a herald of the dark that lay before him.
"My apologies. But we do not like loose ends."
The Toa of Iron had not been waiting for the pair long. His flight from the city had been the simplest part of his mission, as he just barely preceded the Guard's total shutdown of the gates. He had watched Kohra and Echelon appear along the path silently, sparing only a nod of acknowledgement as they approached. He knew both by reputation, if not personally, but their rescued party did not have that luxury; The silent Toa's introduction would have to wait for a more suitable time.
After only a few succinct words, he had joined the duo in their departure along the ash-covered path.
OOC: Eisen from topic, as referenced in an earlier post.
CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?
Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG