[color=#000000;]IC: Eskuron, Readra[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]For a world supposedly resisting the darkness that oppressed and enslaved it, an awful lot of Mata Nui was underground. A huge web of tunnels that weaved in and out of each other, a giant interconnected network of shadow, that continued to expand out and out to the sea. They needed to be careful, though. If they were to dig too far, and too deep, they could uncover their own undoing. An ironic way to go out really.[/color]
Eskuron Vetma, being a Vortixx and therefore having a keen interest in technology and expansion, immediately found ideas of how such a vast network of breathing space could be used for such things springing to his mind. He forced them back with earnest, forcing himself to think realistically. He was in a land younger and more naïve than his homeland. They wouldn't take kindly to about 90% of what he thought today. Or was it tonight? It was hard to tell down here.
He was stood in the center of a mostly empty cavern, absorbing its appearance and history as he daydreamed of its potential. Along the walls were the rotting corpses of statues which depicted almost-kings. They looked as if they were grand in their time, but hated, all that was left of them desecrated, even down to the stone figures he looked at here. Almost all of their noses were sanded off, limbs missing, royal drapes mouldy. One had completely crumbled to a pile of broken stone body parts, its face constantly screaming its proud death cry. It was almost tragic, in a way, if their bleak lack of colour and maintenance didn't look so pitiful. Behind Eskuron was a raised section like a stage, with a small podium reaching out of the front. It was by no means expert carving, but the one who had made it had tried their best, evidently somewhat begrudgingly. Opposite him was the entrance, rubble seeping in through the always open doorway, some of it blown away and scattered across the ground thanks to his explosive way of making his own way in. All of it was covered in a thick layer of dust, and not just because it was underground. No one had been in this cave for a very long time. It had been consumed, like all things, by the passage of time. It was like standing below a graveyard ( and for all he knew, he probably was).
[color=#4b0082;]“Are you yet living?”[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]His brother’s words rang out silently in the chamber, the acoustics of the darkness oblivious to the sound. Eskuron didn’t reply.[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]It had been the last thing Sentraken had said to him all those hundreds of years ago, before they had parted for what he had now found was the last time. They had never got along, but the wrongs of his brother had finally brought his end, and clearly the same would come to Eskuron. All things died, all regimes pass. It was a fact, an undeniable truth that Eskuron had accepted long ago. That had been what separated him from his equally ambitious brother, who was convinced, like so many others, that he would be the one to succeed, and defeat the curse of the power-seeker. On the other hand, Eskuron had accepted his fate, and understood that success wasn’t preventing it, but prolonging it. Then when it came he would welcome it with open arms, for that would be the day he knew he could go on living no longer.[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]He had seen the body, stripped of its decorative attire, its protective armour, the lens, the weapons. Naked. If Vortixx were a religious people, Eskuron might say something about how he was as naked as he was made, or that he was stripped of all the earthly things that he treasured. But alas, he was instead reminded only of the scavenging and desperation in this land that mirrored the slums of his homeland, the life he had led in the shadow of the mountain that was his brother’s domination. Favoured by their father, favoured by all. No longer.[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]A grimace. [/color][color=#000000;]“No longer.”[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]A shadow slipped through the rocks before him and rose to its feet, reflecting his expression with its own mocking undertone. [/color][color=#000000;]“I should have seen this one coming.”[/color]
Eskuron would have smiled, if it weren't for the circumstances. Instead he loaded his Zamor launcher and went on, [color=#000000;]“Such a shame, Servio, that your familial line’s lack of foresight has shown your inferiority once again.”[/color]
[color=#000000;]“It showed little. And my name,”[/color][color=#2f4f4f;] he drew his sword, and his mocking grimace transformed into a clever smile, [/color][color=#000000;]“is Readra. The only people I serve now are the innocent. Your family can kindly go and shove it, your highness.”[/color]
[color=#2f4f4f;]The giant smiled at last, a fang-ridden smirk that made Readra shudder. [/color][color=#000000;]“You should get down on your knees now, Servio,”[/color][color=#2f4f4f;] he drew his own, far greater sword, more of a bludgeoning tool than a blade, [/color][color=#000000;]“that your fighting ability be able to make me bleed more than your little words.”[/color]
[color=#000000;]“Why do you talk like tha-“[/color] Readra started, but the rest of his words were cut off by a mighty rumble in the earth. Several chunks of rock and stalactite fell to the ground nearby, shattering on impact. It didn't take them long to identify a cave-in. Forgetting their feud, they charged out into the tunnels. As soon as Eskuron thought himself clear of the torrent of stone and earth, he turned to fire on his enemy, only for a second rumble to bring the tunnel between them crashing down. They were separated, and no force they possessed could bring them together again.
[color=#2f4f4f;]He cursed. The traitor had escaped his punishment a second time.[/color]
* * *
[color=#000000;]Readra opened his eyes, but they were senseless in the dark. The pitch black of unconsciousness kept its grip even with him wide awake, and a very strong, very familiar smell filled his nose. It was the smell of blood, and he knew it well. He took a deep breath of mostly dust, and blew in several different directions, attempting to determine the location of the bleeding. Since he felt numb and limp, wherever the breeze from his breath cooled the most was going to be where the bleeding was (except, of course, if he had been out for far longer than he had expected).[/color]
[color=#000000;]After some time had passed searching, he struck gold. That is, if gold was made out of acid and he struck it with his bare hand, as that is how the right side of his face was feeling. Red gushed down from a what he assumed was a large cut in the top of his head, and dripped off his chin onto his unfeeling chest. Unfeeling.[/color]
[color=#000000;]It was this thought that brought it home to him how unaware of his surroundings he was, and how all he could do was speak and think. He could feel the dust landing on his face but the hard splattering of blood dripping onto his torso was nothing at all. Arms, legs, fingers, toes even. None of it would move. What had happened? There had been a cave-in, he knew that, but-[/color]
[color=#000000;]Was he paralysed? Or was he still in shock, stuck under the rubble? Perhaps both? He had absolutely no way of knowing. All he understood, truly, was that he was trapped. Trapped in his own body, in a pitch black tunnel among millions, under earth and rock. Travellers might come this way and see the cave-in, but they wouldn’t see him. All they would see would be a dead-end. How he wished he could cry out to them, tell them to wait. But they would just find an easier route by.[/color]
[color=#000000;]Was this it? After all he had been through, was he going to die a slow, painful death in the dark, cold and alone. No one would miss him, at least. Not the villains he had associated with. Not his family. Not Lux or Hakilve. No one.[/color]
[color=#000000;]All that was left to do now, then, was sleep. If no one else was going to notice his passing, then best he didn’t either. Just lay your head back, imagine you’re in a nice warm bed with a feather pillow and a thick fluffy blanket.[/color]