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Marendar: Legend of Spherus Magna

Bionicle story fanfiction

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7 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Jun 08 2014 - 08:18 PM

I've decided to start publishing this story I've been writing. It's a direct continuation of the official Bionicle storyline, and is intended to wrap up the many minor plotlines that were bouncing around when the story ended, while also being a complete story in of itself. It doesn't explain what happened in the official story, though, so if you haven't read it you might be lost at first. There will be brief summaries of what's happened before now in the review topic. http://www.bzpower.c...r-review-topic/
All comments and criticisms are welcome, especially any errors you might find.

Prologue

Earlier

The Sisters of the Skrall were in their greatest crisis yet.
Only moments ago, they believed, they had been on a trek across Bara Magna, seeking a being who could supply them with great power. Now they were somehow stranded in empty desert without so much as a crumb of food, a drop of water or a scrap of shelter. They had no choice but to choose a direction and continue marching, hoping that they would find some sort of salvation before they all perished.
When salvation came, it was in the driver's seat of a strange machine that glided over the ground like a bird through the air, no louder than a soft breeze. The Skrall watched the machine approach, Solis Magna reflected in the glass-and-metal sphere of its exterior. When it was only yards from the awestruck sisterhood, the vehicle drifted smoothly to a halt. Out stepped a strange being, clad in armor they did not recognize.
"So," said the stranger deliberately, "it seems you may be in need of help. Fortunately, I believe I will be able to provide it."
The Skrall shuffled their formation, making a half circle around their leader. "I am Kehanus, matriarch of the Skrall," she proclaimed. Identify yourself and state your purpose." As she spoke, she reached out to sense the stranger's mind, only to discover that it was defended by a mental shield more powerful than she had imagined possible.
"My only purpose here is to aid you and your sisters." The being took a few steps toward them, looking down at a metallic object he carried in his hands as he spoke. "You have a long history of being betrayed, Kehanus. Your Element Lord ignored your wishes and led your women to fight and die in the war. The Great Beings sent the Baterra to kill you, even though it was not your choice to take up arms against the other tribes. Your males abandoned you, leaving you behind in the wasteland. And even now, Agori and Glatorian are building a great new society--one they wish you to have no part in."
"What do you want?"
"I want to save you, Sisters. I will give to you power far greater than any of your kind has ever wielded." With the smile of a rock viper lying in wait for a rodent, the stranger casually turned the metal tool in his hands. "None of you have carried a weapon since the war, for fear of the Baterra." He pointed the object at a nearby rock and pressed a button. A bolt of yellow lightning leapt from the device, shattering the rock into gravel-sized fragments. A dust cloud rose away from the remains. "These are no ordinary weapons: they are the very ones used by the Baterra themselves. The only weapons that the Baterra are programmed not to attack. Wielding them, you can destroy Baterra with ease. You can massacre them, just as they did to you. And once the Baterra are gone, you will be able to use any weapons you like... on whomever you like."
Kehanus was silent for a moment. Her instincts told her that it was a trap; that this creature had some ulterior motive. But could she risk denying her people the tools they needed to rise up and reconquer what was once theirs? "Our immediate concerns are far more dire than our future plans, stranger. If you offer aid, then how will you deliver us from the perils of the desert?"
"There is a small village of Agori just three miles west of here. They have food in their stores and water in their wells..." The stranger rubbed at some minute blemish on the weapon he carried. "...And if they are unwilling to share those with you, then it will be an excellent opportunity for you to test these fine gifts I wish to bestow upon you."
He held up the device for the Matriarch to take. After she hesitantly did so, he returned to his vehicle and unloaded an armful of the weapons, which he passed out among the Skrall before explaining how to use them.
"You claim these will protect us from the Baterra, but how do we know that is true?" questioned one of the Sisters.
The stranger casually took the weapon from her and fired it at a stone pillar projecting from a rock formation behind the group. Rather than shatter, the pillar exploded into a burst of sparks and toppled to the ground. The Skrall could clearly see that it resembled stone no longer, rather a mass of ruined machinery. There were two clawed arms visible, folded against the metal structures. "If anyone has further doubts," the stranger chuckled, "now would be the time to voice them."
No one spoke.
The stranger returned to his vehicle once more and came back with a large apparatus that seemed to be a huge metal cylinder twice the size of his own head, with straps that allowed it to be worn on a person's back.
"This," he said, dumping it onto the ground, "is my final gift. It is not a weapon, but rather a sort of shield. You see, there is now a new species of being on this planet. They resemble Glatorian, but their armor is like my own. These beings are powerful: they control the elements much like the Element Lords did. But there are far more of them. Enough that, as strong as you are, Sisters, they could have you at their mercy.
"This device will quickly drain away the elemental abilities of these beings if they come near, leaving them powerless. I recommend that you carry it with you wherever you go, and keep it out of sight when possible."
"We are... grateful for your gifts," said Kehanus. "But you never answered my first question. What is your name?"
The stranger at first seemed to ignore the question as he trotted back to his vehicle. But as he climbed into the machine, he turned and answered.
"You may call me Marendar."
The vehicle left a faint haze of dust in its wake as it floated away over the desert.

Review Topic: http://www.bzpower.c...topic/?p=687706

Edited by Akavakaku, Jun 08 2014 - 09:18 PM.

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( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) 

-Takuaka: Toa of Time

Marendar, the Legend of Spherus Magna: http://www.bzpower.c...-spherus-magna/

 

Get in the Robot entry: Kalmah's Conquest Exo http://www.bzpower.c...s-conquest-exo/

 

My BZRPG character: http://www.bzpower.c...pages/?p=668767

 


#2 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Jun 17 2014 - 11:29 PM

Chapter 1

Now

Onua sat with his fist against his chin, listening to the conversations of the Council of Warriors. The Council was a spur-of the moment invention of Gali to try and make the most of the time of the Toa and Glatorian in the area of the soon-to-be New Atero now that there was no longer anything critical to remove from the Matoran Universe, and the Turaga had deemed it an excellent idea. Onua had liked the idea as well, as he hoped that seeing their protectors cooperate would help the Matoran and Agori adjust to life together.
Unfortunately, it had been clear from the moment they entered their meeting hut that there was still a rift between the Glatorian and the Toa. The three Glatorian present, Ackar, Tarix and Vastus, sat down on the opposite side of the table from Onua, Tahu and Gali. Over the course of the meeting, the council's unity did not improve. Ackar and Gali seemed to Onua to be the only ones focused on trying to promote the integration of the Matoran Universe into the society of Spherus Magna. Vastus had crossed his arms and leaned back the moment the meeting began, and had hardly said a word the whole time, only speaking up when spoken to. Tahu was the opposite, dominating the conversation and fiercely pressing his ideas. His main argument was that Spherus Magna was still in far too great a crisis to begin worrying about the communities of Matoran and Agori. While Onua appreciated Tahu's concern, he privately felt that the Toa of Fire's perception of the danger was skewed somewhat.
And then there was Tarix.
During the brief time since Onua had met him, he had learned that the Glatorian was a highly experienced soldier and master of strategy. But the Water Tribe veteran seemed directly opposed to any form of integration between his world and that of the Matoran. He had never explicitly said so, but his enmity for the Toa and their people was obvious.
"Gali," Tarix said calmly, "I have much respect for your faith in the charity of the Matoran. Charity I do not doubt they showed you, as their sworn protector. But the people of Spherus Magna can't be expected to show the same unquestioning faith."
Tahu had his hands on the table, pressing down on it slightly. "What are you suggesting?"
"I only mean to express how the average Agori feels right now. When your world collided with ours--literally--you brought with you a colossal war, ending one hundred thousand years of uninterrupted peace between the tribes. You forced us to take sides in a conflict we never chose."
"So... you're blaming us for the war. That seems reasonable."
"Calm down, Tahu," murmured Onua, "we're all friends here."
"Don't forget, Tarix," Ackar pointed out, "that Tuma was building an army to conquer Bara Magna. Mata Nui was the one who defeated him. Peace would have ended either way."
"And the war against Makuta is over," Gali added. "The Agori have nothing more to fear."
Tarix leaned forward and lowered his voice. "Are you really so vain as to believe your Great Spirit was our only hope against the Rock Tribe? Even you, Ackar? Mata Nui did nothing against the Skrall that an ordinary Glatorian could not have done. We are not rats hiding in our holes, Toa. We can defend ourselves."
Tahu slammed the palm of one hand against the table. "Mata Nui gave you new powers, defeated your enemies and repaired your planet, and this is how you repay him? By slandering his deeds and insulting his people? I'm starting to think he picked the wrong person to turn into a snake."
In an instant, all six warriors were on their feet. Tarix had his swords drawn and was being restrained by Ackar and Vastus. Tahu's hands were empty, but they all knew he didn't need a weapon to attack. Onua and Gali were at his sides, afraid to touch him.
"Easy, Tarix," Vastus breathed. "You saw what he did to all those ugly yellow lizards. Unless you want him to do the same to us, I'd recommend you sit back down."
Slowly, Tarix returned to his seat, followed by the other Glatorian and the Toa of Water and Earth. But Tahu remained standing. He looked right into Tarix's eyes for several tense seconds. Then he turned, lifted the entrance flap of the tent and left.

"Well, Mavrah," said Pohatu, "can you tell us what in Mata Nui's name is--
A heavy crash shook the door Pohatu and Kopaka had entered through. Mavrah spun around to face it, then quickly ordered, "Ceiling hatch. Climb until you reach the top of the ladder."
Pohatu moved quickly, swinging the hatch open and hauling himself up into the vertical shaft behind it. It was barely wide enough to accommodate him, but as he ascended his adaptive armor shifted, becoming less bulky and more streamlined. "That's handy," he muttered.
Kopaka went up next, at Mavrah's urging. While he climbed, he looked downwards and used his Kanohi Akaku to watch what was going on below. He saw Mavrah leap up and manage to catch the lowest rung of the ladder. But just as the Onu-Matoran began to struggle up into the shaft, the door of the room was thrown open by a tremendous mass of writhing, moving... things. Kopaka stopped climbing and let go of the ladder, dropping down to where Mavrah was.
"Brother!" Pohatu shouted.
The Toa of Ice flung his arms out at the last moment before he would have crashed into Mavrah, freezing himself to the walls to stop his fall. Then he pulled the Matoran up into the shaft, closed the trapdoor and froze it shut for good measure. "I don't want you sacrificing yourself for us, understood?"
The two climbed up to where Pohatu waited for them at the top of the ladder. As far as they could tell they had come in through the floor of another room, but this one was devoid of any source of light. All they could see were their eyes and heartlights.
"What were you doing in that corridor?" Mavrah demanded. "Did you really expect to make it past them?"
"Okay, I have so many questions right now I don't even know what to start with," sighed Pohatu. "Let's just start with introductions. I'm Pohatu, Toa of Stone. This is Kopaka, Toa of Ice."
"I am Mavrah, from Onu-Metru of Metru Nui. We're in a safe place; I can answer any questions you have."
"Wait... Metru Nui?" Kopaka asked. "Nobody's lived there for a thousand years. How long ago did you leave?"
"A thousand years sounds about right. Well... I lived as somewhat of an exile for a while around the end of my stay. But nobody moved out of the city while I was still there. Nobody but a handful of Toa."
"A handful of... Wait! I've heard of you!" exclaimed Pohatu. "You lived on the Great Barrier, with some sea Rahi from the Archives. The Turaga thought you died!"
"That's right. I did."

"Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?"
Lewa was in the middle of a jungle called Bota Magna, which he had never heard of, surrounded by a crowd of white-and-green-armored, Matoran-like beings he had never seen before, who were prodding him down a well-worn path with the sharp metal and stone points of their simple but robust axes and spears. A couple glanced in his direction when he spoke, but they did not make any response. Rather, they continued muttering to themselves in their own language.
As for Lewa, he had no idea where these people were taking him, or why. It seemed all he had to do was keep marching on through the jungle. But after just a few minutes he started to question whether they were taking him anywhere at all. The scenery certainly hadn't changed. And hadn't they already passed that log?
Lewa considered himself a reasonable and cheerful Toa, but being led at weapon-point through a strange forest was slowly causing him to become more frustrated. Just when he thought he wouldn't be able to tolerate it any longer, though, he was struck by a sudden flash of inspiration.
Without giving his captors any warning, the Toa of Air spontaneously leapt over their heads and weapons, flipped in midair and alighted on a stump just off the path.
"Lewa!" he shouted, aiming for a voice that was strong but not agressive. His maneuver had its intended effect: all the jungle-dwellers wheeled to face him, startled but evidently not angered or afraid.
Now he had an audience.
"Lewa... Nuva!" As he uttered the second word, he thrust an arm to one side, with his fingers splayed, and summoned a gust of air in that direction as he did so. The effect was dramatic: the gust was accompanied by a sweeping wave of foliage. A few leaves swirled along in its wake. The assembled beings gasped and turned to one another, seemingly amazed.
"Lewa... NUVA!" he repeated, this time using his other arm to throw a larger wind blast in a different direction through the forest. A few small birds flew up out of the undergrowth in fright.
Lewa knew the importance of timing. The third trick had to be the biggest and best, something that would leave his audience in total awe. He activated his Kanohi Miru, and felt his feet leave the ground as he began to float weightlessly upward. In midair, he chanted, "Lewa...Nuva...Toa...Suva... TAKANUVA!" He swung his arms up, clapping them over his head, and at the same time whipped a cyclone into existence around him. Leaves, twigs and flowers were sucked off the ground and pulled into rapid orbit. All the jungle-dwellers gasped audibly, some even sinking to their knees. Lewa allowed the cyclone to settle down and drifted back to the forest floor. Now that the show was over, the crowd seemed unsure of how to react. They turned from each other to the Toa of Air, whispering phrases he wouldn't understand even if he heard.
But from behind him Lewa heard a phrase he did understand, spoken by a harsh, rasping voice.
"Are these your prey, Toa?"
Lewa whirled around to come mask-to-mask with a gold Kanohi Hau.

 

Review Topic: http://www.bzpower.c...topic/?p=687706


Edited by Akavakaku, Jun 18 2014 - 12:01 AM.

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( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) 

-Takuaka: Toa of Time

Marendar, the Legend of Spherus Magna: http://www.bzpower.c...-spherus-magna/

 

Get in the Robot entry: Kalmah's Conquest Exo http://www.bzpower.c...s-conquest-exo/

 

My BZRPG character: http://www.bzpower.c...pages/?p=668767

 


#3 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Jun 21 2014 - 07:10 PM

Chapter 2

Hafu thought he might have seen this room before in a nightmare.
The stones of the chamber were alive, shifting and whispering to themselves, and every so often grabbing at the backs or feet of the occupants. Kapura had only just pulled himself free from the grasp of a wall. At the far focus of the elliptical chamber was a round depression in which a cloaked figure sat, wrapped in chains that slithered like serpents over his body.
"You cannot be serious about freeing him," demanded Axonn.
"I am," replied Artakha. It is by no fault of his that he is imprisoned here. As our creator--and, let's not forget, our rescuer--I think he deserves that much."
"He must not be freed," Brutaka rumbled in a multitude of voices. "Even if his curse could be removed, he is powerful and insane. He must remain here. If anyone attempts to free him, we will attack."
"Oh, and you're a pinnacle of mental health right now, aren't you?" giggled Vezon.
"You are still under my command, Brutaka," said Helryx icily. "Attacking Axonn, Artakha or the Matoran would be a very poor mistake. The rest... well, the universe wouldn't miss them much."
Tuyet's glare could have melted protosteel. Miserix just scoffed.
"Well," said a soft, tired voice that wound its way out the throat of the imprisoned Great Being, "as fascinating as I find this conversation, we have more important matters to deal with."
"Ouch!" Vezon cried, clutching the Kanohi Olmak fused to his face. "You could have warned me." An instant later, a circle of darkness appeared from nowhere, swallowed the ten beings like bits of foam into a whirlpool, and vanished as though it had never existed.

The Toa Hagah rode over the desert on their borrowed Sand Stalkers, shining like earthbound stars in their metallic armor. Riding with them were Takanuva, Toa of Light, and Kyry, an Agori of the Fire Tribe who was an experienced guard and familiar with the area. There was no need for talk, because they knew their mission perfectly clearly: to rescue the Toa Mahri from an army of Skakdi and a menacing golden creature with godlike powers.
Despite his best efforts, Takanuva could not help but worry for the Toa Mahri. He had known them for as long as he could remember, and in that time he had failed them twice: first when the Rahkshi attacked, and then when he was blocked from traveling with them to Karzahni. He was resolved that this time he would save them.
As the group reached a tall cliff rising out of the earth in front of them, Kyry pulled his steed to a halt. The rest of the group stopped as well.
"What's wrong?" Norik asked.
Kyry pointed to the cliff. "That shouldn't be here."
"Did we go the wrong way?" Pouks suggested. Kyry shook his head.
"Then what are you saying?" wondered Gaaki. "That something transported us across Spherus Magna without us realizing?"
"No. Those hills are exactly where they should be." Kyry pointed out into the distance. "So is that mountain. But this cliff should not exist." It should be flat from here to the sea.
"Then it's an illusion," declared Iruini. To prove it, he dismounted and confidently walked forward. But rather than passing through it, he collided with the rock and stumbled back. "It's not an illusion."
"Someone must have put it here, then," affirmed Pouks. "But this is a lot of stone. Maybe Pohatu could have done it, but I'd be dead tired if I tried raising all this. Couldn't have just been a Toa."
Takanuva decided to speak up. "Well, the real question is whether we can all just go around it."
"I'll let you know," said Iruini. He disappeared. A few seconds later, he was back, several yards from the group. "Just quick-traveled around the cliff, and it's huge! A giant circle, big enough to fit Metru Nui in it twice at least. One side of it goes down into the sea. No gaps or low parts. It's like a wall."
"A wall around what, though?" Bomonga mused. "It might be some kind of defense the Skakdi made for their fortress, but I can't imagine how. Their elemental powers aren't this powerful. Norik, want me to give you a boost up there?"
The Toa of Fire nodded and used his mask to shrink to a tenth of his height. Bomonga backed carefully away from the group and used his own mask to grow nearly as tall as the cliff. He stooped down and picked Norik up, then lifted him up to the top of the wall so he could see over.
When Norik returned to the ground and regained his normal size, he had a grave expression. "It's a giant barrier. Inside it there's a colossal maze of canyons and rivers. Even a few volcanoes, if I'm not mistaken. And right at the middle is the fortress the size of a small city. Whatever we're dealing with, it's strong."
"I say we go in," declared Pouks. "We don't know what might happen to the Toa Mahri if we delay." The other seven present affirmed their agreement.
Takanuva turned to Kyry. "You should wait out here with our steeds. If something happens to us, someone needs to be able to go back and tell the others." The Agori nodded. "I'll send up a light signal to you once it gets dark. Green means mission accomplished. Blue means we're ok, but not done. If it's yellow, or I don't send up a signal, we need help. And if its red, it means we're in very big trouble."
"I'll remember that."
"Good." Takanuva turned to Pouks. "Can you make a hole in this for us?"
The Toa of Stone put a hand on the cliff for a moment. Then he turned back and shook his head. "I can't. It's like there's someone fighting my elemental power, keeping me from changing anything about the cliff."
Gaaki aimed her Tidal Spear at the wall and fired an intense jet of water. All the Toa were soaked by the spray ricocheting off the stone. But when she was done, there wasn't even a chip missing. "Guess the only way through is over," she muttered.

A rustling noise in the bushes alerted the two Vorox stationed to follow the pair of invaders who'd stayed behind, the grayish one who could move metal and the blue one who could make lightning. But they were confident that neither ability could be used against them, because in his backpack one of the Vorox carried a device that robbed those powers.
The noise from the foliage intrigued the Vorox, but they were far wiser than to rush into the dark grove of trees and see what its source was. It could easily be a small animal, a falling branch... or a trap.
So the two Vorox carefully glanced in all directions before venturing closer. The one with the concealed power-draining device urged his companion to sneak around the long way to where the sound had come from. She advanced cautiously into the trees, keeping her sword and energy launcher ready. Without warning, something heavy and solid struck her shin hard, sending her tumbling to the ground. She was on her feet an instant later, whirling to face any attacker, but there was none, nor any weapon that might have struck her.
Meanwhile, the first Vorox was cutting through the woods far to the right, where he guessed his quarries might have been trying to make a getaway. He paused on a rock that protruded from the forest floor and gazed through the foliage. A low, thickly-leaved tree caught his eye. It was an ideal place for his prey to attempt to hide. He tried to take a step forward--but couldn't. His feet were stuck to the rock! The Vorox took hold of one of his ankles and pulled, but without success. When he tried to remove his hands and stand back up, he found that they were now adhered to his legs. He was now stuck in an awkward crouch, effectively handcuffed. Besides his tail, he was defenseless.
In just the spot he thought might have been a hiding place, the Vorox saw the gray being appear from the shadows and begin walking calmly towards him. "I hope he kills me," thought the Vorox, "because if he doesn't, Kabrua will."

 

Review Topic: http://www.bzpower.c...topic/?p=692462


Edited by Akavakaku, Jun 22 2014 - 11:12 PM.

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( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) 

-Takuaka: Toa of Time

Marendar, the Legend of Spherus Magna: http://www.bzpower.c...-spherus-magna/

 

Get in the Robot entry: Kalmah's Conquest Exo http://www.bzpower.c...s-conquest-exo/

 

My BZRPG character: http://www.bzpower.c...pages/?p=668767

 


#4 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Jul 06 2014 - 02:33 PM

Chapter 3

"Now, I suggest you don't try to squirm too much. Pridak did, and it's going to be a while before he gets back feeling in his legs." With that warning issued, Hydraxon leaned in to finish Takadox's restraints, ignoring his furious muttering. He wasn't worried about the traitorous Barraki overpowering him. The former warlord's strength lay in his hypnotic vision, not his muscles, and he was securely blindfolded by a metal visor.
Once the jailer had finished with Takadox, he stepped back to the dock to review all the captives he had chained to the boat. He had all the the Barraki except Carapar, who Takadox claimed was dead. In addition, he had gained possession of a Kra-Vortixx called Roodaka, who had personally served the will of Teridax, and Tuma, the huge and hideous king of the Skrall.
"Complains a lot, don't he?" observed Hutra of the former monarch. Hutra was a giant with bladelike horns and many sharp fangs, and the successor to the late Order of Mata Nui member Botar. He was of the same species, and also had the power to teleport.
"He'll shut up in time," Hydraxon assured his comrade. "Excellent work gathering this lot."
"Only my duty, and I had help, of course. But... do you think we'll find Helryx? It don't feel right not knowing where she is. Or what happened to her."
Hydraxon would have put a hand on Hutra's shoulder, but as it was completely inaccessible he settled for the side of the giant's arm. "Our enemies have been trying to capture and kill her since before we called ourselves the Order. And they've never even come close. I'm not worried in the slightest."
Hutra's fangs twisted into a grin that made a Skakdi's look small and tame in comparison. "I do feel better now. You're sure you can handle the prisoners from here?"
"As long as Tuma's whining doesn't drive me overboard, I'll be alright. We're going to an island with an old, old Water Tribe prison built into it. It hasn't been used in thousands of years, but it's secure." Hydraxon wished Hutra could teleport them all to the island, but the giant was a rookie in the Order, and not yet allowed to know the location of their new maximum-security prison.
"Then I will see you again, brother." Hutra held up his fist for Hydraxon to clank. It was like a boulder being struck by a pebble. "As soon as I can, I will go look for Helryx." With a crackle of energy he vanished.

Helryx was in the dark. It was a dark beyond a lack of light; rather, it absorbed light before it could be seen, and sucked the warmth from her core. It was a phenomenon she had experienced only rarely in her long, long life, and it almost always went face-and-mask with extreme danger.
She was standing, so she assumed that there must have been some substrate on which to stand. But as she shifted her feet, she did not feel earth, stone, wood, metal or any other material she was familiar with. There was only a solidness that supported her weight, devoid of any identifiable texture.
But while there was no light here, there was no impedance to sound.
"Yaah!" cried the Po-Matoran who had wound up with Helryx and her party. "What is this place?"
"Not even I know it," said Miserix, "and I know shadow."
"We know this realm," hummed the many voices of Brutaka. "It is the shadow cast by the universe, a place where nothing should exist."
"And it's very dark and boring," Vezon pointed out. "I was stuck here once, and there was nothing at all to do. You can't even make rock carvings."
"This dimension is sometimes called the Field of Shadows, or the Zone of Darkness," said the Great Being, as calmly as if he were merely identifying a species of flower. "I brought us here so we could have a little meeting."
"Oh, very clever," sneered Tuyet. "So basically you're keeping us hostage here until we give you something you want. Well, what is it? Clearly you have your freedom now."
"While Vezon's mask gave me freedom the moment he arrived, I am still bound by my curse. It was a mistake, intended as a blessing, but it went horribly wrong."
"We have no way of removing your curse, Great One," said Helryx.
"I don't need you to. You see, when my... friends... discovered my condition, they locked me up in my fortress to prevent the curse from affecting more objects than it already had. And then I had one thousand centuries to sit and think. At first I was angry and remorseful for having contracted the curse. I indulged every regret, invented every foul name, and imagined every fantasy I was capable of, until finally the well of bitterness within me ran dry. After that, I began turning my thoughts to how I could escape somehow and remove my curse. A few millennia ago my plan was complete, and all I needed was someone like Vezon."
"Then why are we here?" Kapura asked. "Did you only mean to save us?"
The Great Being's sigh was a rustling hiss. "To save you? No, not entirely. My original plan was to bring Vezon, or whomever fit the role, into this dimension alone for the final step. But it came to my attention that you all were not too far away, so I decided to take you along. It will give you more choices. To put it plainly, over the millennia I worked out a scheme that, using only the mechanisms available to me, could transfer my curse to another intelligent being. Specifically, to one of you."
"We will not allow you to curse one of us," said Axonn.
"Really? What do you intend to do, exactly? Kill me, and escape? Vezon's mask is deactivated, and can only activate again if I tell it to. And just try teleporting between worlds, Artakha. None of you will leave, unless you choose one of your number to suffer the curse, be left behind, and in all likelihood be suffocated by their own armor."
Miserix snickered. "I think I know who deserves that."
"Yes," echoed Brutaka. "We are in agreement."
Helryx quickly realized who they were referring to. "Let us vote then. Do all agree that Tuyet bear the Great Being's curse?"
"Yes," said Artakha.
"Yes," said Axonn.
"Yes," said Kapura and Hafu at almost the same time.
There was a brief silence.
"Sure, why not?" finished Vezon.
"Then," concluded Helryx, "with the obvious exception, it is unanimous. Tuyet, as leader of the Order of Mata Nui, I condemn you to be--"
A jet of water rammed into Helryx with the force of a charging Kane-Ra, knocking her on to her back. Even as she slid to a stop, she used her mask quickly to determine what direction the water had come from and set a focused water jet of her own right back. She heard Tuyet grunt as it hit. Then there was a loud clang from the same direction, followed by the thump of something hitting the ground. "Tuyet?"
"She has been dispatched," Brutaka's voices droned. "Non-fatally."
"Then," said the Great Being, "the procedure can begin." There was complete silence for a few seconds, then a faint, echoing noise like the clinking of chimes. After a few seconds more, it faded. "It is done. For your sake, Tuyet, I hope you die soon."

Lewa lurched back in surprise from the mask-wearer. One moment he hadn't been there, the next he had.
"Whoa! You scareshocked me, goldenmask!" Now Lewa could clearly see that the being was some sort of bizarre chimera of Matoran and rahi, with eight limbs and four wings. "And I'm not preyhunting. Junglefolk caught me spearpoint and march-led me down undertree footpath."
The golden-masked being stared blanly. Lewa realized he'd used more treespeak than he'd intended.
"Let's start over," offered the Toa. "Lewa, Toa Nuva of Air."
"I am Gaardus, the hunter."
Lewa noticed the jungle-dwellers arraying themselves around Gaardus with a cautious grip on their weapons. "What were you doing behind me?"
"I just got here."
"From where?"
"The Red Star."
"What? Do you mean the actual--"
An ear-shattering noise drowned Lewa's question. He threw his hands to the sides of his head, but by the time he did so his armor had already muted it to a less painful level.
Gaardus and the jungle people lacked adaptive armor, however, and all collapsed to the ground with their hands over their ears except for one tribesman who only looked around in surprise. Lewa realized that he must have been completely deaf.
The deaf being pointed to the sky behind Lewa, wide-eyed. Lewa turned and saw a column of smoke and ash rising from where the Great Being's fortress had been.

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#5 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Jul 21 2014 - 01:09 AM

Chapter 4

"Well, for a dead Matoran you aren't doing too bad."
Kopaka ignored Pohatu's joke. Trying to listen to them all was like trying to count every falling snowflake in Ko-Wahi. "Someone found you and revived you?"
Mavrah tilted his head slightly. "You must have just arrived, then. No, I wasn't really... found. You see, as incredible as it may sound, right now we are actually inside the Red Star. The bodies of the deceased all arrive here, just after death. Then--have you met the Kestora?" After the Toa nodded, Mavrah continued. "They repair the bodies and revive them."
"It is one thing to fix a body, but what about the spirit?" Kopaka asked, although he already suspected the answer.
"The spirit is not bound to the body. After death, it has no home of its own, so it is absorbed into the fabric of the universe. It becomes one with Mata Nui, you might say. When the body is restored, the spirit returns to it, like a Proto Drake returning to the sea after a storm."
Pohatu turned to Kopaka. "Do you think..."
Kopaka didn't need to hear the end of the sentence to know whom Pohatu was talking about. "No. He has moved on."
"It doesn't always work," Mavrah added. "The spirit can't always return. I don't think the Kestora know why. But when that happens, the body gets... put to other uses."
"No need to clarify that," shuddered Pohatu. "I'd rather not have centuries of nightmares."
"I still don't understand something. The Kestora claimed that nobody could return to our world anymore, thanks to Gaardus." Kopaka realized that Mavrah would have no idea whom he was referring to. "Gaardus was the one who brought us here. Part Matoran, part something else. He teleports, and according to the Kestora he was the last to leave the Red Star. They tried to send people back after him, and it didn't work. They had to 'end them.'"
"Interesting... I assume Gaardus is no longer on the star with us? I wonder whether the sendback broke after transporting him, or if it broke first and he simply teleported himself home. But yes, long ago whatever process is responsible for returning the revived stopped working.
"The Kestora drove themselves insane trying to figure out why. They tried everything, all the most depraved experiments imaginable, in their quest to fix the malfunction or find a way around it. But most of their tests and autopsies are done on the more powerful species, like Toa. We Matoran are allowed to remain intact if we stay away from the Kestora and don't interfere with their work... usually."
"And if you don't?" wondered Pohatu.
Mavrah shifted his position. "They have developed a substance that drains willpower completely. The effect wears off, but it takes many weeks, and by then it is usually too late. All of them carry weapons that can fire it as energy."
"Oh, you mean these?" Pohatu drew the weapons he'd taken from the Kestora. In the dark, they had a greenish glow visible at their core. "I'd bet my mask it's antidermis. Bottled Makuta juice, basically. There's a cure, but I don't think you'd find it around here."
"It's also how the Kestora control their creations--the things that attacked on the level below us. Those are their primary guards, and they are stationed in all the areas the Kestora don't want us to go."
"Why haven't the Kestora sent anyone after us, then?" Kopaka wondered.
"They're scared, probably. The two of you running loose on the star is the worst crisis they've had in a long time. But I'm sure they've already sealed off this block and increased the guard."
"Then how do we get out of here?"
"Well... I was hoping you two could answer that, actually."

Gali leapt from one jagged rock to another as she scaled the hill. "Tahu!" she shouted.
The red-and-gold-armored being seated at the hill's craggy peak turned to watch her, unfolding and re-folding its serrated wings.
"Tahu." Gali slowed as she approached him. "Why did you go?"
He turned away to face back out over the plains. "I said things I shouldn't have. It was wrong; I admit that."
"Then why didn't you stay and face your mistakes?"
Tahu's wings trembled slightly. "Because I'm not apologizing to Tarix. I don't owe him anything."
"Maybe that isn't the problem, though."
Tahu turned slowly back to Gali and shifted his position so that he could see her better. "What is, then?"
"Ever since the battle you've been uneasy. As though you're no longer sure of something... something important to you."
"I'm not unsure of anything. It's these Glatorian, trying to sabotage us and block us every step of the way. You think they would be grateful to us."
"Yes, it seems they do have trouble understanding us. But that is not a problem we cannot overcome. There's something else that's bothering you, Tahu. As your teammate, I have to know about it.
Tahu tensed. "It's nothing important."
"If it is enough to send the Toa of Fire to this lonely hilltop, it must be important indeed."
After a long pause, Tahu spoke. "You know what happened when I put on the Golden Armor. The Rahkshi were all destroyed, and all their powers were absorbed into the armor. I thought that was an amazing gift."
"Or compensation for losing your Nuva powers, at least."
Tahu smiled at the joke, then continued. "But it's more than that. It did something to me. You remember when we became Toa Nuva: we used our new powers foolishly and recklessly."
"That we did. Perhaps we should thank the Bohrok-Kal for teaching is a lesson in humility."
"And that's exactly what I mean. The power of the Golden Armor is greater than any Toa should control--greater than I should control."
"Have you already forgotten using the Mask of Time?"
"It's not like that. That mask was dangerous; the slightest mistake in using it could have been catastrophic. But there's nothing to restrain me from taking advantage of the new powers I have now. I have too much power, and there's nothing I can do with it. Now I see how the Makuta went wrong. Because it's happening to me." He held up a trembling arm, shapeshifted to match the clawed limb of Makuta Antroz. "What's to stop me from... becoming just like them?"
Gali lowered Tahu's arm. "You are nothing like them. If they even had the slightest fraction of your integrity, there would never have been any need to wake us up."
"It isn't a question of integrity. It's a question of control. I couldn't control my pride after we imprisoned the Bahrag. You told me we had to stick together. I didn't listen. Look how that turned out."
"Tahu, you are far wiser than the Toa who arrived on the shore of Ta-Wahi months ago, or the Toa Nuva who emerged from the pool of protodermis beneath Mata Nui. Besides, even putting your merit aside, you were destined to wear the Golden Armor, and destiny is not easily understood in advance."
Tahu sighed. "You're right. As always. I will... keep the armor." His arm changed back to its usual appearance, and his wings melted away.
"Do you think you had a choice? The rest of us would never have let you give it up. You don't get to be a Toa Nuva without special armor."
Tahu laughed and followed Gali down the hillside. "I wonder what Takanuva would say about that."

Takanuva coughed and wiped a layer of dust off the front of his mask. He and the Toa Hagah had been making terrible progress in the maze of sandy canyons that surrounded the Skakdi fortress. The main problem seemed to be that none of the Toa were able to use their elemental powers in an effective way. Pouks and Bomonga had repeatedly tried and failed to win over the elemental forces at work that maintained the landscape. When Gaaki and Kualus tried to use their powers to make travel easier, it only resulted in a treacherously muddy bog or a dangerously slick ice layer. Norik couldn't melt the stone or fuse the sand, no matter how high he raised the temperature. And Iruini's attempts to clear the path with wind only threw grit everywhere.
A strong gust blasted Takanuva's mask with sand. He threw up a hand to protect himself, and judging from the cries of the Toa Hagah he wasn't the only one afflicted by the rising sandstorm.
"Iruini!" Gaaki yelled. "We said no more wind!"
"It wasn't me, sister," shrugged the Toa of Air. "The wind just decided to start blowing. I can't stop it!"
Gaaki scowled and halted her march. She raised her hands and a circle of water appeared from them, stretching out until it encompassed all of the Toa, protecting them from the flying sand.
"Excellent," proclaimed Norik. "Let's get moving, then."
Once they were on their way again, doing their best to navigate in the direction of the fortress, Takanuva quickened his pace to walk alongside Gaaki. "Has your mask shown you anything?" he asked quietly.
"If it had, I would have told you." There was an edge in Gaaki's voice: slight, but still sharp.
"Sorry. I just--"
"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped. This mission is just making me tense. I don't like not knowing what we're dealing with."
Takanuva glanced at the other Toa Hagah. They seemed much more relaxed, at least as far as a Toa on a critical mission could be expected to relax. Were they just better at hiding their fear? Or was there more going on than Takanuva realized?

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#6 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 11:06 PM

Chapter 5

"Beware my stinger tail!" hissed the Vorox with as much violence as he could muster. "If you come any nearer, I'll skewer you like a lizard!"
Zaria regarded the Vorox doubtfully. He was trapped with his hands stuck to his ankles and his feet stuck to the ground. It was Zaria's doing, of course: he'd simply used his Mask of Adhesion.
"I'm not the one who's going to come nearer," Zaria told the Vorox.
"Who, then?"
Zaria simply pointed out into the woods. The Vorox turned and saw none other than his own hunting partner appear out of the trees, held at gunpoint by her own energy launcher, which was floating in midair! Or was it?
As the Vorox stared, he abruptly realized that the gun was in fact being held by a person. But the person appeared to be nothing more than a standing shadow, impossible to see unless you looked right at it. Then, before his eyes, the shadow changed into a corporeal being, one that was blue and white and biomechanical.
"Now," said Chiara to her detainee once the two were both in the clearing, "remove your pack and put it over there." She gestured with the sword that she had also taken. "Then come right back here. Do anything funny and I'll shoot." The Vorox reluctantly did as she was instructed, but showed little fear despite the launcher Chiara aimed directly at her.
Once the Vorox returned to Chiara, Zaria opened the pack and began searching its contents. He found knives, water, bandages... Generally, just what he would have expected someone to bring on a short hunt. There was no sign of what he was looking for. "Your turn," Zaria ordered the Vorox he had trapped. "I'm going to free one of your hands. You will take off your pack and toss it over there. Don't think about getting your weapons; they're stuck in their holders."
As promised, Zaria allowed the Vorox to lift a hand. Once it was free, the warrior carefully pulled his pack off his shoulder--and threw it to his partner.
The instant she caught it, she began running, sprinting through the trees faster than the Toa had ever seen a Vorox move. They immediately began to pursue, Chiara with her newfound sword and launcher, Zaria with the knives he'd obtained.
Zaria was tall, but not very fast, and anything but agile. Despite his efforts, he soon began to lag behind.
Chiara was much faster and more agile, but the Vorox had experience on this terrain and seemed to truly believe that her life was in great danger. Chiara knew that if she didn't catch the Vorox soon, she would lose her chance.
Even as she kept running, Chiara raised her energy launcher and aimed at the Vorox darting through the trees. She saw an opportunity and took it, firing a blast right at the Sand warrior.
Chiara had expected a small explosion upon impact, like she had seen earlier, but what occurred was instead a huge blaze of sparks, like from a shattered lightstone, and a loud crack that made her cover her ears. When the smoke cleared, the Vorox was on the ground, unmoving.
Beginning to feel winded from her sprint, Chiara walked the rest of the way to the Vorox. She saw that her shot had hit the backpack, which was now a burned and torn ruin. As for the Vorox, she was burned but not critically injured.
But there was a very strange mess of twisted metal visible within the tattered backpack. Chiara reached out and quickly pulled it out on to the ground, both to avoid waking the Vorox and because the metal was hot. It was almost as large as her torso and seemed to have once been a smooth metal cylinder, but had burst open, revealing internal components that looked almost organic.
With heavy, clanking footsteps and slight panting, Zaria appeared behind her. "What'd you find?"
"I shot this device and it exploded.
"Good shot."
"Nah, I was aiming for the legs."
"Well, if it's what I think it is..." Zaria raised his hand, and a chunk of metal tore itself off the device and floated into the air. Then he made a fist, and it crumpled into a ball.
"So this is what they used to cancel our Toa powers." Chiara let a spark jump between her finger and thumb. Suddenly, she threw an electric pulse at Zaria, toppling him. "Bolt-head! You forgot the other Vorox! He's going to get away!"
Zaria quickly looked over his shoulder, as if afraid the Vorox was right behind him. "Makuta bones, you're right. The adhesion must have faded by now."
"Well, if he comes after us... We'll just have to show him what happens when you mess with Toa."

Lesovikk woke. The first thing he saw was a dark, rough surface that hung over him like a canopy. He turned his head, and the roughness ended, giving way to a flat, unbroken blue. The first thing he felt was a debilitating soreness, like he had been dragged for a kio over of sharp rocks. It was so severe, he checked to make sure his mask was still on. It was.
Slowly Lesovikk rose to a kneeling position. He discovered that above him was a low rock shelf, shielding him from the desert sun. The ground beneath him was dry and dusty. Something was wrong, he realized. His sword was gone, and he had no memories of lying down to rest under the overhang, nor of any experience that could have caused his soreness. How had he gotten here? Examining the ground, he realized that it was almost entirely undisturbed. There were no footprints, his or anyone else's, nor vehicle marks.
Lesovikk stumbled out from behind the overhang and looked around. The terrain was familiar, and in the distance he could see the edge of the Great Spirit's body. From its position, Lesovikk judged that he was just a half hour's run from New Atero. Hunting Karzahni could wait for the time being; now he wanted answers. He activated his Mask of Kindred, emulating the hardiness and endurance of a Sand Stalker, and set off at a swift pace.
When he arrived at the outskirts of the haphazardly arranged city-to-be, he soon noticed that many Matoran and other former residents of their universe reacted with fear or anger as he approached. They willingly parted before him, but usually not without glares or urgent whispers to each other. One Vo-Matoran dropped a jar of Ussal wax (sealed, thankfully) right in front of his feet, nearly tripping him. It could have been an accident, but Lesovikk doubted it.
It was New Atero's council district that Lesovikk sought, where the Turaga and elder Agori governed the populace. He arrived to find Onewa, the Turaga of Stone from Metru Nui, standing in the middle of the road, seemingly waiting for him.
"Follow me, Lesovikk," the Turaga said impassively. Lesovikk couldn't help but notice that he hadn't said "Toa."
Onewa led him into a mostly-finished assembly building, where in the future citizens would presumably meet to discuss important matters. Now, though, in the central room were two Glatorian and four Turaga, including Onewa.
"We have some questions for you, Lesovikk," said a Kiril-wearing Turaga of Fire. "First, why did you come back here?"
"I came back here because I had some questions for you, actually," admitted Lesovikk. He told the Turaga how he had mysteriously gone from tracking down Karzahni to waking, unarmed, in an area of desert he had never visited. As he spoke, he watched the expressions of the Turaga change. Two, a Rau-wearing Turaga of Water and a Turaga of Fire whose name he thought was Vakama, appeared to grow increasingly worried as they listened, while Onewa remained stoic. But the last Turaga's reaction was strange: he gradually seemed to become quite pleased with Lesovikk's testimony, as if it confirmed his beliefs. He was the first to speak after Lesovikk finished.
"And you can think of no reason for why you somehow lost your sword and were transported from one place to another?"
"No."
"Then I assume you can't explain why we found the body of Karzahni, with your sword in his chest."
Lesovikk stood in shock, trying to think of some explanation. To him it seemed that someone had set up the murder to implicate him, but he could think of no way to prove it. "I was framed! I never found Karzahni!"
The Kiril-wearer turned to the other Turaga for support.
"Are you sure, Dume?" asked the Turaga of Water. "It's possible that he is telling the truth. If he truly killed Karzahni, why did he return? And why did he do such a poor job of concealing the body?"
"Could have been to make it seem like he was framed," suggested Onewa. "But you have a point, Nokama. We don't have all the answers yet."
Vakama nodded. "Toa Lesovikk, we will have to take you into custody until this is resolved. Can we trust you to cooperate?"
"Yes. But I want to see Karzahni's body first."
Onewa, Vakama and Nokama turned to the Kiril-wearer, who sighed and nodded his head. "Fine. Kiina, Gresh, take him to the body. Then find a cell for him."
The two Glatorian approached Lesovikk, but before they reached him, Toa Nuva Tahu, Gali and Onua entered the room. When they caught sight of Lesovikk, they stopped abruptly.
"So you're the killer," Tahu remarked softly.
"I've killed no one," Lesovikk replied in no louder a tone. "Karzahni's death was not by my hands."
"It does look suspicious, Tahu, if you ask me," the green-armored Glatorian pointed out. "Like someone set it up to look like his doing."
"Our brothers did say they had their doubts," Onua pointed out.
Tahu only watched as the Glatorian led Lesovikk away.
After passing a combination-locked door and descending into an underground complex, Kiina and Gresh took Lesovikk to a spartan room, where under a dim red lightstone lay the huge body of Karzahni. His organic components had been cremated, leaving only his mechanical systems, which were blackened from the flames. On his chest, partially covering a sword wound, lay his broken Kanohi Olisi. Lesovikk had never seen it before it had fused with Karzahni's head; it looked disturbingly misshapen, as though it had been made from parts of several different masks. On the ground before the being was a memorial stone. Lesovikk read it:

Karzahni, The Disgraced One
Menace To The Matoran
With Remorse His Legacy Is Remembered

There was something cathartic in seeing him dead, reduced to bones and armor. A feeling of finality, of coming to the end of a journey only to discover that the destination was the very place you first left. Lesovikk willingly allowed the Glatorian to take him to a cell, where fresh air and enough light to see by were supplied by a narrow vent that reached the surface.
"We'll come back to check on you," promised Gresh or Kiina. Lesovikk had never found out which was which. He was in no hurry for them to return, though; he had much to think about.

From the peak of a modest tower that overlooked New Atero, a pair of cold eyes watched the Toa Nuva emerge from the building Lesovikk had just entered. The eyes' owner crept across his perch's roof, staring down as the Toa laughed at the comment of a passing Matoran. He needed them--the Toa Nuva, Lesovikk, and all the other Toa. He had grand plans, and they were vital.
Many others would die, of course, but that was an unavoidable consequence. Only those who could not fit into the great new scheme had to be killed. The rest would all have their chance to join him. He had never doubted for a moment that when the time came, they would beg to become a part of his new world.

 

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Edited by Akavakaku, Jul 28 2014 - 11:22 PM.

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#7 Offline Akavakaku

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Posted Aug 10 2014 - 03:36 AM

Chapter 6

For what felt like the tenth time, Krakua, Johmak and Jerbraz reached a dead end, this time impeded by a fern-covered cliff rising from the forest floor. They had been following Vika, an energy hound belonging to the Order of Mata Nui who was tracking Helryx.
"I think we might need a new energy hound," Krakua said. "Is Vika even on Helryx's trail?"
Just after he had asked, Vika seemed to catch a trace of his quarry again and pulled at his leash, taking the group back the way they had come.
"He isn't following her trail," Jerbraz explained. "He's homing in on her position. Vika knows what direction Helryx is in, but not how to get there."
Krakua pushed aside fronds of vegetation, trying not to let go of the energy hound's leash as he was pulled though the forest. "You'd think he could do it without taking us through every tree on Spherus Magna, though."
Johmak had drawn breath to reply when the shriek of a small animal rang through the bushes. Krakua stopped, halting the party. Vika raised his head attentively, although his training restrained him from running off to chase.
"Something wrong, Krakua?" Johmak whispered.
Krakua nodded. "I hear something." He used his Mask of Telepathy to search for nearby thoughts, and found the keen instinct of a predator lying in wait. "We're being hunted," he told his companions telepathically. To Vika he communicated a feeling of danger, hoping it would keep the energy hound quiet and still.
Krakua knew there were ways of calming or agitating any creature with sound. But faced with an unfamiliar target, he didn't want to take chances with producing the wrong noise. He reasoned that a hunter would be most deterred by the call of a more dangerous beast. So he chose to emulate the warning growl of a Tahtorak. Krakua's rendition came out harsher and buzzier than the genuine sound, but from Vika's tense cowering he judged that it was close enough.
In answer, a swath of ferns ahead began to rustle. A creature emerged from them, a long-tailed biped hunched over like a Rock Steed, but far larger. Its arms each bore three hooked claws, and its jaws were reinforced with sharp steel plates that interlocked like an extra set of teeth. Most of its body was plated with artificial armor. Krakua remembered hearing about giant cybernetic reptiles prowling Bota Magna, but this was the first he'd seen.
The reptile stared down at the intruders of its territory with a cold gaze, then growled back, louder and deeper than the sound Krakua had mimicked. The Toa fought the urge to cower and run, and was preparing a sonic pulse to knock it out when an explosion unexpectedly boomed out from the jungle ahead. For Krakua it was excruciating, nearly as bad as the sonic attack that had been used on De-Koro back when he was a Matoran. But Johmak and Jerbraz were less vulnerable to the sound, and took advantage of the distraction it caused to the giant reptile.
Johmak fragmented herself into a swarm of black crystals and flew at its face, aiming to scare rather than injure. Jerbraz, invisible to the beast (as he was to everyone else), ran underneath it and gave it a superficial slash across the belly, between two armor plates. The attack succeeded, causing the creature to flee into the forest, although it kicked Jerbraz into a tall fern entirely by accident on its way out.
Krakua was still crouched on the ground, the attack on his village still vivid in his mind. As if he could sense the Toa's pain, Vika slunk up to him and nudged Krakua's head with his own. Krakua scratched the Energy Hound's shoulder, and realized his bad memories were fading.
When Krakua stood, he could see a dark cloud rising beyond the trees in the direction he'd heard the explosion. "We'll go that way," he said quietly, pointing with a raised arm.
"What?" Jerbraz asked, brushing a frond off himself. "Why?"
"Because I've noticed that Helryx and huge explosions are usually in the same place at the same time."

"Gaardus!" Lewa shouted, shaking the fallen Matoran-creature's shoulder. "Up-wake!"
Gaardus half opened his eyes and stared up at the Toa of Air.
"Hurry! Battlefriends in tower, gotta windfly to firecloud!"
Gaardus rose to a kneeling position and tapped his ear. Lewa realized he had been deafened, and pointed to the rising smoke, then used his Kanohi Miru to rise into the air. Gaardus didn't look happy, but he spread his wings and took off, following him.
As he gained altitude, he realized that the fortress had not merely been damaged, but leveled. Only a crater filled with charred chunks of stone remained, and most of the surrounding vegetation either had been burned to the ground or was still burning. As he descended, Lewa cut off air flow to the fires, extinguishing them one at a time. But there was nothing he could do for the fortress itself, or those who had been in it.
Lewa allowed himself to drift down to a surviving ground level floor upon which Gaardus had landed, then sat down on the stone surface. He could hardly believe what had happened. Hafu and Kapura, Matoran he had never known personally but whom he'd defended along with all the other residents of Mata Nui. Axonn, who had helped his team on Voya Nui. Helryx, the oldest and perhaps the bravest Toa ever to live. Artakha, the creator of the Toa Mata and many of the items they came to use. And a Great Being, one of the designers of the world Lewa had lived in. They were all gone, taken not by battle or another event that could have been predicted, but by an unforeseeable attack.
"What was this place?" Gaardus inquired. In response to Lewa's silence, he added, "My hearing is returning."
"A battlefort for a Great Being. Some...some friends were inside."
Gaardus was silent for so long Lewa wasn't sure if he was still there. Then he asked, "Are those your friends?"
Lewa looked up to see a portal appear near where the fortress's front gate had been. Several beings stepped out of it, and he recognized all of them as those he'd left behind in the prison room. "Yes!" he cried. "Friends! I'm over here!"

Axonn stepped out of the portal into daylight, and saw a burned ruin of a stone edifice in one direction. In every other direction jungle stretched as far as he could see. "Where are we now?" he wondered.
The Great Being was the last to step out from of the portal, which closed behind him. The sunlight made his hooded black cloak of chain mail look even older and dustier. "This is the place we left. To me, it looks as though it was utterly destroyed just a few moments ago. Good riddance, I'd say."
"But how--" Axonn started to say. He was interrupted by a yell from the ruined fortress. It was Lewa, running towards him, followed by a bizarre, many-limbed being with a Kanohi mask.
"You're all healthgood!" shouted Lewa. "I saw the fireblast and thought..."
"It seems you saved us just in time yet again," mused Axonn, turning to the Great Being.
"Yes, well, if I did it was by sheer coincidence. Lucky for you that this place blew up when it did, and not earlier or later."
Lewa introduced Gaardus to the rest of the group.
"I am Rashalah," said the Great Being in response. "It is only proper that my creations learn my name."
"How did you find this Gaardus?" Helryx asked Lewa. It was Gaardus who explained.
"I am a hunter. I can return to any place I have been, so that I may hunt there again. I did not seek this Toa. I was returning to this forest, where I have hunted once before."
"That reminds me!" Rashalah exclaimed. "There's a fellow Great Being here on Spherus Magna! We should pay him a visit! He will be so delighted that I am free. Hmm... Vezon must go with me, as I need him to make the portals. But I would rather take more along."
"I'm not going," said Miserix simply, before sprouting wings and flying off.
"The Order of Mata Nui needs me and my comrades," declared Helryx.
"Ah, Kapura and I are just Matoran," added Hafu. "We should probably go back to our people."
"And I will be the one to take them back," offered Artakha.
Lewa thought for a moment. "I should find the other Toa Nuva. I don't think Tahu or Kopaka would have happycheer that I went off alone."
"You are looking for Kopaka?" asked Gaardus.
"Yes, do you know him?"
"I took him to a place he wanted to go. It is not a place I want to go back to. Nobody wants to go back there."
"Can you take me to him?" Lewa requested. Gaardus stepped forward and wrapped his wings around Lewa. Then the two of them vanished.
"Maybe I should have given him a bit more caution," Artakha wondered to himself.
"Then it shall be just myself and Vezon," sighed Rashalah. A portal appeared under Vezon's feet and the Skakdi fell in with a yelp. Rashalah stepped in after him and the portal closed.
"Someone is coming," Brutaka cut in. "Three beings and a Rahi. They are shielding their minds."
"Are they Order members, then?" Helryx asked.
"Perhaps. Let us wait for them."
When the newcomers emerged from the trees, they turned out to be Krakua, Johmak, an energy hound, and, Helryx realized from a couple small leaves that appeared to be floating beside them, Jerbraz. She felt a telepathic attempt to read her thoughts, but it ceased quickly.
"Helryx!" Krakua called. "It is good to see you."
"And how do you know it's really me?"
"You tightened your mental shield the instant I tried reading your mind, as you have before."
"Not bad, Toa. I'd like to introduce you to my old friend, Artakha. Artakha, these are the Order members Johmak, Jerbraz, and Toa Krakua.
Artakha bowed slightly to each of the three arrivals. "I was going to return these Matoran to their home. Before I do, is there anything that I can do for the Order?"
"Maybe you could take us home, too," Johmak suggested. "We have a new base here--you should see it, Helryx."
"That would be welcome," Helryx agreed.

Review Topic: http://www.bzpower.c...topic/?p=717788

Edited by Akavakaku, Aug 25 2014 - 11:52 AM.

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( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) 

-Takuaka: Toa of Time

Marendar, the Legend of Spherus Magna: http://www.bzpower.c...-spherus-magna/

 

Get in the Robot entry: Kalmah's Conquest Exo http://www.bzpower.c...s-conquest-exo/

 

My BZRPG character: http://www.bzpower.c...pages/?p=668767

 


#8 Offline Akavakaku

Akavakaku
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Posted Aug 25 2014 - 11:21 AM

Chapter 7

Kopaka turned the gaze of his Kanohi Akaku in all directions, penetrating the opaque walls as if they were invisible. He efficiently set to work finding a route that would take them past control rooms infested with Kestora, storage chambers infested with far less savory creatures, and labs defended by automated antidermis launchers. "Any particular place we want to go?" he asked Mavrah.
"We can't rendezvous with other free Matoran; the Kestora will be circling them like Takea. The stasis vaults are large and quiet; we can hide in one of them. Do you see any?"
Kopaka located a long, multi-story room filled with stasis chambers like those in the Archives. But rather than Rahi, these held sentient beings. "Right there," he pointed, sharing his mask power with Pohatu and Mavrah so they could see as well.
"The trouble will be getting in," Mavrah mused. "The vaults are armored and machine-defended to prevent the people in stasis from escaping, but it will also make it hard for us to enter."
"Leave that to us," Pohatu boasted. "You don't become a Toa without an advanced course in getting to hard-to-reach places. Now, how do we get out of this room?"
"Here," beckoned Kopaka. The two others followed him to a corner of the room, where he pressed his hands against one of the wall panels. An instant later, the panel fell off to reveal a shadowy space beyond.
"Okay, how did you do that?" Pohatu pleaded.
"Ice expands as it freezes. I froze the wall's seams and the pressure popped it open."
Kopaka led the way down what turned out to be a crevasse-like gap between the Red Star's rooms. Pipes and conduits ran along both walls, as did more organic-looking veins and tubes. The three had to use these for handholds and footholds as they climbed. If the space had a floor, it was far below in the darkness.
Then Kopaka began climbing upwards, and they followed him to a trapdoor which he pushed open to emerge through the floor of a brightly lit hallway, dazzling after their travel through the dark, despite the reddish tint of the light.
"Right around that corner is an automated launcher," the Toa of Ice announced. "Pohatu?"
The Toa of Stone was gone for an instant, then reappeared holding a mangled piece of equipment ripped from its socket. They proceeded down the hall, often relying on Pohatu to disable a defense system before they reached it. Kopaka constantly adjusted their course to prevent passing by any Kestora, although once one of the violet villains that he'd failed to see coming crossed their path, glanced in their direction, and then went calmly on their way. After taking a brief shortcut through a crawl space, they arrived at an ordinary-looking wall that Kopaka claimed was their destination.
"The wall is thick, and solid metal. The interior has automated launchers everywhere, and I think there are a few other traps. I say the two of us go in together."
"Agreed, brother," affirmed Pohatu. "But first I want to have a look at the layout."
After Pohatu had seen all he wanted to, courtesy of the Akaku Nuva, he nodded to Kopaka. The two Toa backed up against the wall behind them, then used Pohatu's Kakama Nuva to leap forward with all possible speed, passing through the wall entirely before they even saw it ahead of them. Once in the vault, they slowed only enough to see where they were going, darting from one launcher to the next and destroying them merely by tapping gently: with their inertia, it was enough to blow the launchers to bits. A pit trap opened beneath Kopaka, but by the time the gap was wide enough for him to fall through he was already dozens of bio away. Pohatu dodged a falling ceiling block with ease, then splintered it with a kick for good measure.
When all the defenses were destroyed, the two Toa skidded to a halt alongside each other, then stooped over with their hands on their knees, breathing quickly.
"Mavrah's still out there," Kopaka pointed out.
Pohatu responded simply by kicking the wall through which they had entered. It dented, but did not break. It took a few more solid kicks to make a Matoran-sized hole, through which Mavrah's mask appeared with a very shocked expression behind it.
"How?" the former Archivist gasped.
"Nuju explained it once, but I didn't fully understand... something about the probability of collision being inverse to speed," Kopaka answered.
"Need a hand?" Pohatu helped Mavrah into the vault, then turned to better take in the surroundings.
The vault was roughly rectangular, but imperfectly so, seemingly because it had been made by knocking down the walls that separated a block of smaller rooms. More pipes and veins twisted across the walls here than in other areas; many looked as though they'd been rerouted. Staircases led to the room's upper levels, which consisted of zigzagging grille catwalks that were supported by metal poles, wires and beams. Overall it looked quite unfinished, an impression furthered by the destroyed antidermis launchers on the walls.
Lining the walls on all three levels of the vault, however, were brightly glowing, transparent columns: stasis chambers. Each held a different sort of being; Toa were relatively common, but the bulk of the collection consisted of unique individuals, of species that were not seen elsewhere in the room. Matoran were almost completely absent.
Pohatu noticed one being in stasis who appeared strangely familiar. He didn't recognize the red and black Turaga, but his mask was unmistakeable! "Kopaka, Mavrah! Come see this!"
Both of them gasped when they saw the golden Noble Hau the Turaga wore. "That's Lhikan!" exclaimed Mavrah. "He became a Turaga!"
"It should be possible to free him," noted Kopaka.
"Hold on. The stasis tube is rigged." Pohatu pointed to one of many tiny green bubbles in the transparent wall of the tube, so small they were almost impossible to see. "If I'm right, and that's antidermis, then breaking the glass will make it spray everywhere, infecting Lhikan and all of us."
Kopaka scolded himself for not noticing the antidermis before Pohatu. "Then we'll break it carefully." He encased Lhikan in a shell of ice for protection, then put up a second shell for Mavrah, Pohatu and himself to take shelter behind. "Go ahead, brother."
Pohatu conjured a fist-sized rock, then made it float over to the stasis tube and knocked it against the glass. The tube cracked but did not shatter. He bashed the rock against the glass two more times before it violently shattered, flinging shards outwards and spraying droplets of antidermis in all directions. But the ice barriers held, and once the debris was still Kopaka shifted the ice to blanket it, in order to make it safe to walk.
Lhikan began to stir from his stiff stance. He blinked a few times, appearing confused, then focused on the Toa and Matoran. "What's happened... where is this?"
"Maybe you should sit down, Turaga," Kopaka recommended. "This is going to be a little surprising. We are all, at this very moment, IN the Red Star. And you are here because, like our Onu-Matoran friend, you died... one thousand years ago."
Lhikan gasped. "But then--Toa Vakama! What became of him!"
Pohatu chuckled. "We call him Turaga Vakama now. He and his team completed their destiny a long time ago. The Matoran of Metru Nui are safe, the Makuta is dead, and the city is... You know what, that part can wait. But the point is, we're rescuing you. Hey, all we need now is one person who's blue and one who's green, and we'll be a full team!"
"Wait--does anyone hear that?" asked Mavrah. The others strained, and perceived a clicking, clattering, scraping, shuffling commotion somewhere far off, echoing through the pipes and ducts. It was getting closer.
"I think it's coming from the floor," Lhikan suggested. He stepped to the edge of the square pit trap Kopaka had triggered earlier and peered into its depths.
"This is bad," moaned Mavrah, "very bad. We're trapped."
"No problem, we have an exit." Pohatu jogged over to the wall he'd quite forcefully modified and stuck his head through the aperture.
Kopaka saw it coming with his Akaku, but only had time to shout "No!" and take a half-step closer before Pohatu was abruptly yanked out of the vault. Amidst the clicking and clattering of the delighted attackers, the only coherent sound was the crack of a Kakama Nuva shattering.

It was a tremendous relief for the expedition of Toa journeying towards the Skakdi fortress when they reached a cave mouth that marked an end to the winding, sandy canyons that had hindered their progress so far.
Less relieving was the strange feeling that they were being watched. Passage through the cave was easy, especially with illumination provided by Takanuva, but the light revealed features that might have better remained hidden. The walls were adorned with the pictographs that resembled those which the Skakdi used to chronicle their histories, but the grotesque carvings made no sense: one wall depicted a flock of misshapen winged creatures swooping into the toothed maw of a giant, then continued on to show a crowd of headless Matoran parading around the corpses of the same creatures. Another showed a cluster of stones in various stages of becoming crude humanoids and quadrupeds. None of the Toa could imagine who might have carved these, or why.
But most disturbing were the faces: usually Skakdi-like, but varying greatly in size, features and proportions, staring from between lines of pictographs, from otherwise blank walls and rock faces, from inside natural-looking cracks. Some scowled, some screamed, some grimaced, some glared. Beneath their gaze, the golden glow of the Avohkii was little comfort. It grew clear to the Toa that they were passing through a place of madness. They dearly hoped that the caves were uninhabited, for no being who dwelt in their engraved depths could possibly be sane.

Malum asked himself a question that he knew by heart, a question beaten into him by the hardships he'd faced during the Core War and after. "Why?"
There were, it seemed to Malum, many "why"s here, in the sandy underground shelter his clan of Vorox and Zesk called its temporary home. Why should he agree to the terms of his special guest, a biomech from the Great Spirit world? Why would the being want the Vorox clans' aid against some enemy in the first place? Why had he so cleverly avoided the question of who exactly the enemies were?
"We're nomads, not conquerors," Malum told the biomech being. His intent was not to stall for time, but to encourage him to drop a little more information. "We fight for what we need to live, but we are no lovers of destruction and violence. If those are the traits you need, then you're too late, because the Skrall Empire just fell. So, no, Matoran. We don't want your weapons.
"I am not a Matoran."
"My apologies, you biomechs all look the same to me."
For some reason, the confession made the negotiator scowl and breathe deeply before continuing. Malum wondered why: was it considered insulting to be like a Matoran? Or did this being in particular simply object to the comparison?
"Then you are condemning your clan, no, the whole Sand Tribe, to be gradually crushed under the new alliance between Agori, Glatorian, and those of the Matoran world. Let me tell you, they have no kindness for your people. If survival is your aim, the technology I offer you is your chance at salvation."
Malum felt an unexpected wave of emotion at being called one of his people, not the Fire Tribe but the Sand Tribe. Was it--pride? Of course, he had long ago been accepted into the clan like any Vorox, but it was a surprise to hear it affirmed by an outsider. He pushed the feeling aside and returned to the issue at hand. "We've survived all this time without those special weapons."
"Have you seen the powers of the newcomers? The Toa?"
"I have heard the stories."
"Stories do not do them justice. If you will not take the weapons, at least take the power theft device. It won't give you an advantage over them. It will only give you fair odds."
Malum glanced around at the small group of Zesk and Vorox who had sat with him to hear the negotiation. He knew very few of his clan understood Agori, and that afterwards they would demand an explanation of what had transpired. "What about you, stone viper? Why are you so eager to sell out your brothers?"
"They are no brothers of mine. I came here only to ensure that the people of Bara Magna are well prepared for the changes ahead."
The being deposited a large, metallic cylinder before Malum, then turned to go. With a tilt of his head, Malum sent a Zesk to accompany the visitor back up to the surface and ensure that the entrance was properly concealed afterwards.
"The world is changing," he thought, "for the first time in a hundred thousand years. Perhaps it's changing in our favor."

Review Topic: http://www.bzpower.c...topic/?p=724580

Edited by Akavakaku, Aug 25 2014 - 12:40 PM.

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( The bunny slippers hiss and slither into the shadows. ) 

-Takuaka: Toa of Time

Marendar, the Legend of Spherus Magna: http://www.bzpower.c...-spherus-magna/

 

Get in the Robot entry: Kalmah's Conquest Exo http://www.bzpower.c...s-conquest-exo/

 

My BZRPG character: http://www.bzpower.c...pages/?p=668767

 





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