Summer, a time of relaxation, peace, and beauty. Right? Wrong.
Ventus trudged through the sweltering jungles of Voya-Nui. He hated this mission so much that he considered going rogue from the Order of Mata Nui, he knew he would hate it, but he wanted an excuse, any excuse to get away from maintenance back at headquarters.
The temperature was easily an uncomfortable 100 degrees, the bugs were buzzing all around him as if they knew that he was very frustrated with his task at hand and wanted to annoy him even more, and he had lost a week's worth of civilized food to Brakas.
"Right now, I wish I had a mask of Rahi control instead of reanimation. Who would want to ever reanimate these spawns of Makuta." Ventus said as he swatted at a group of bugs swarming around his face.
His mission was simple, or so he had been told personally by Helryx. He was to land ashore on Voya-Nui and find Axxon, Umbra, and Brutaka to check on the status of the legendary Ignika, for Turaga Nuju was worried about the universe coming to an end because a few stars went out.
"What a bunch of Kane-Ra dung." Ventus said "Why would the universe end just because a few stars die? Stars are supposed to die, they're created, they burn, they die, just like everything else.
Ventus was supposed to land on the east side of the continent, but due to a random patrol of Dark Hunters, he had to re-rout his course to avoid them, and instead ended up on the north end of Voya-Nui. Where he fell out of his boat into the bay and climbed up the wintery beach cold and wet.
After barely surviving the night, Ventus journeyed into the acursed jungles of Voya-Nui, got lost, and slept in a tree for a night, only to wake up to Brakas claw marks on his pack and that his food was missing.
Despite being a Toa of air, Ventus despised the jungle. It was hot, wet, and buggy. Ventus hated a lot of things, but the core things that he hated the most were bugs, water, and Makuta. Everything else was somewhat better to an extent.
Ventus started to get hungry after several hours of hiking and climbing, so he made a simple trap and waited for a Lava Hawk or something to get caught.
One hour passed, nothing. Two hours passed, Ventus went to look for some fruit and returned to nothing. Three hours passed, a Taku landed near the trap and checked it out, but Ventus sneezed and it flew away.
Ventus decided that trapping was far too frustrating and decided to find something and kill it himself. He got up, took his trap down, and went on a hunt.
After half an hour of walking, he found a Muaka cat and began stalking it. When it moved, Ventus moved, when it stopped, Ventus stopped, when it looked around, Ventus hid. He stalked the cat for some time before he found a suitable place to ambush it; a cliff.
He activated his two katana, and prepared to pounce. But just as he was about to, the Muaka had begun to struggle; it couldn't move! Ventus jumped on the opportunity and left out of the foliage. But something else had a taste for Muaka, a Dagger Spider crawled out of a large crevice in the cliff side and moved down its invisible web, where is imprisoned the Muaka in a cocoon.
Unfortunately for Ventus, the Dagger Spider noticed that there was another life form in its presence and moved towards Ventus with alarming speed; fangs barred and hissing.
Ventus hated all bugs, but spiders were what he hated the most from that category. The Dagger Spider was large, and its venom paralyzed, gave long, sharp pains to the body for ten minutes, and then killed.
The spider propelled itself at Ventus from five feet away with its powerful hind legs and prepared to sink its teeth into Ventus. But Ventus dodged the attack and shoved both of his katana into the Dagger Spider from behind and mortally wounded it.
Ventus then went over to the cocooned Muaka and sliced the cocoon open. Two things spilled out: the skeleton of a Muaka cat and hundreds of newly-hatched Dagger Spiders. Ventus ran and hid, hoping that they would not find him, but Dagger spiders preferred food that they thought would not put up much of a fight. So instead they scurried over to their wounded mother, crawled into her flesh through the wounda that Ventus' katana had made, and cannibilised the larger Dagger Spider from the inside out.
It was a gruesome spectacle, but Ventus watched anyways. Not much eased him more than watching his enemies die. Especially those who stole his dinner.
Ventus ignored the pangs of hunger that felt like they were stabbing his stomach and pioneered onward through the jungle, stopping for a short rest at a pond every now and then to take a sip of water.
After three days in the jungle, Ventus emerged, tired, hungry, and angry. He felt like the world was against him this week and wanted to do everything it could to make his life worse. Especially since he found himself in a desolate ocean of sand.
But one thing lifted Ventus' spirits; the volcano where he was supposed to meet with Axxon, Brutaka, and Umbra was in view now, and not more than a day away.
Ventus hiked for hours towards the volcano relentlessly with nothing but sand and rock around him for miles. At twilight, he set up camp and rested for the night.
While Ventus slept, he dreamt about what he would do next. He had been offered a large sum of widgets for taking on this mission, and he wondered about what he would buy with them. A boat? A hover bike? A vacationhome on some remote island? All of these ideas pleased Ventus. His dream of his perfect life with no worries, living in a mansion on a remote tropical island with half a dozen Ga-Matoran servants taking care of his every need, was reaching its climax when it took a turn for the worse.
His mansion crumbled, a fierce hurricane like no other ravaged the tropical island until nothing remained but debris, and his servants transformed into terrifying Makuta that resembled bugs and bats. Suddenly, it all stopped. Everything disappeared. Ventus was surrounded by darkness. He saw the fabled Ignika change color from silver to black. He saw stars going out. He saw islands crumble. He watched planets freeze and die. The universe that he floated in had become a dark place of death, and apparently his mind thought that it was time for Ventus to join that universe. Ventus watched himself choke, die, and shrivel into nothing.
Ventus woke up in a cold sweat, terrified. He stayed awake for several hours, looking up at the heavens. Wondering if what he had seen in his dream would become reality.
Not wanting to think about it, Ventus dismissed what he had seen as just a dream and went back to sleep.
This time, Ventus dreamt of traveling. He traveled across the planet to various islands and locations, he found beauty in them, and wanted to stay until the end of time. But he was forced to keep moving. Eventually he travelled into space and across two more planets. One was a lush, beautiful jungle world, the other was a desolate wasteland.
He travelled farther into space and saw the three virtues: Unity, Duty, and Destiny. What he saw next was the Ignika changing from silver to gold, a Toa-like figure donning the Ignika, a large cavern, a mysterious swamp, an explosion, and a huge robot emerging from the sea.
A deep voice spoke from nowhere and everywhere.
"Destiny." It said.
Ventus woke once more, but in a much calmer manner. He gazed into the distance toward the great volcano that loomed on the horizon. Today Ventus was going to finish his mission.
He packed his things and continued his trek. He walked in silence, Thinking about the two dreams he had. One was about death, the other was about life. Were they visions? If so, what did they mean? What did the voice mean when it said "Destiny"? Ventus had so many questions.
Ventus decided that he was going to consult Keetongu, a close friend of his, about these and see what he thought of the dreams. But for now, he was going to store the dreams and questions in a corner of his mind.
After a long day of hiking through the dessert of Voya-Nui, Ventus arrived at his destination: the volcano. It was a majestic sight, and Ventus decided to change his view of Voya-Nui, for he decided that it was not that bad of a place at all.
Now where were the three other Order members that were supposed to meet with him? Ventus tried calling their names, but nobody responded. So he decided to look around for them.
After an hour of searching, Ventus gave up and sat down on a rock.. If the other Order members were too busy admiring the scenery to meet with him, he wouldn't worry about looking for them.
"You're a long way from home, Toa." A voice hissed from behind Ventus.
Ventus whirled around to find a cloud of protodites descending onto the ground. Instinctively, he drew and activated his katana.
"Hey, I don't want to hurt you, I just want to chat." The protodites hissed.
"You speak as if you are one person." Ventus said suspiciously "Why?"
"Because we are one person." The protodites hissed as they took the shape of a green Skakdi.
"How did you do that?" Ventus asked with amazement.
"The same way that I can do this." The protodites said as they reshaped themselves into a copy of Ventus.
All Ventus could do was stare at what looked like himself with awe.
"So." The protodites construction on Ventus said "Where are we from? What are we doing here?"
Ventus responded with the same answer that he had told dozens of people. "I'm afraid that's classified." He said.
"Fine, if you won't tell me where you're from or what you're doing here, then I guess you have no further use to me." The protodites said with disappointment.
Ventus knew what that meant and drew his katana, but before he could activate them, the protodites consumed them and proceeded to consume Ventus.
Ventus screamed out in agony as his mask cracked and fell onto the ground with some armor and fluids drained out of his body.
The protodites stopped swarming once all that was left of Ventus were his head, his torso, and an arm. "Before I kill you" The protodites said "I want you to know my name."
They hissed the word "Zaktan" and began descending onto Ventus once more.
But before they could kill Ventus, a figure appeared out of nowhere, bearing the legendary Kanohi Vahi, the mask of time. The figure scooped Ventus' body up and disappeared with him.
Zaktan formed himself out of the protodites, sighed, and walked away.
But in a laboratory on another planet, the Great Being who rescued Ventus was affixing mechanical arms and legs onto him, adding layer upon layer of armor, and finally, a helmet. Throughout the operation, Ventus screamed. It hurt more than the protodites devouring him.
"There you are." The Great Being said to Ventus "Please, be still. I saved you from death, and ask one thing of you."
"What is that?" Ventus said in a voice that was not his own after he had calmed down as much as possible.
"That if it is necessary, you eliminate all Toa." The Great Being said.
"How can I kill my own kind?" Ventus asked.
"You are no longer a Toa. Your elemental powers have been stripped from you, and you are more machine that biological." The Great Being said.
"If I am no longer a Toa, then I do not deserve the name Ventus." Ventus said.
"Then what would you like to call yourself?" The Great Being asked.
Ventus thought hard. After ten long minutes, he decided. "Marendar." He said.
"Very well then, Marendar, I hope that it does not come to you needing to kill Toa, but it is your destiny. Now sleep." The Great Being said.
Ventus, now Marendar, began his long sleep, waiting to be reawakened.
The Great Being then attached a long cord to the back of Marendar's head and walked over to a computer. He spoke one phrase: "Download and delete memory banks."
Marendar slowly began losing his memories and dreams, and soon after, had them replaced with his name and one prime directive: to eliminate all Toa if they attain too much power.
-Meanwhile in another time and on another planet entirely-
"Has the vision-seer been terminated?" Helryx asked as a Matoran walked into her office.
The Matoran nodded.
"Dismissed." Helryx said with a slight tremble in her voice at the end.
The Matoran walked out. Helryx deactivated surveillance in her office, locked it, and soundproofed it.
Helryx then began weeping uncontrollably, for she had ordered the death of one of her closest friends, reminding herself that it needed to be done, that he held extremely sensitive information in his mind and that she could not let this information become a security threat. But she would never live down the fact that she had essentially murdered one of the few Toa that she could call a friend.
Thank you all for reading!