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If you only read the bottom and are confused about the new chapter looking familiar, that's because the new one is up here. After rereading the story a few times, I felt that an earlier part of the story needed to be included as well. The result is an extra chapter to take the place of Chapter 1.
Almost there! I can smell the sea breeze now!
My feet pounded endlessly against the forest floor. My knees collapsed beneath me as I slid behind a fallen tree, underbrush clawing at my arms and yellow mask. My color wasn't ideal for hiding in the woods, but I couldn't change that at the moment. I heard the steps of the other Av-Matoran behind me, each following my lead by ducking under a thick shrub or behind a large tree. Something didn't feel right.
A heavy rush of air met our ears as a huge, red being flew into view. His wings folded behind him as he swooped to the ground several paces in front of us, looking around intently for any sort of disturbance. He strained his ears, but we had already spent months learning how to stay hidden from the monstrous thing. Finally, a falling branch in the distance drew his attention away, and he left us to investigate. He would be back soon, so we had get to the coast before that happened. Not wasting a moment, I waved my hand above the trunk I was behind, pointed forward, and curled it into a gesture that had saved our lives up till now.
We hit a wall of leaves and branches and began clawing our way forward, knowing that it could only be the edge of the forest. Falling forward into a large pile, we suddenly burst out into the sunshine. A glance around the rocky beach in front of us revealed what we had come here for. Several Matoran were busy loading boxes onto a small merchant ship that was beached among a larger outcropping, effectively hidden from the rest of the shore. One of the loaders noticed us and motioned to his companions. Calmly, they opened several of the crates and walked away to help tie down a loose pole on the boat.
We knew exactly what this meant and rushed down the beach to where the boxes sat. I was just joining the free-for-all race when I heard a thud behind me. Turning to look, I saw the blue and white legs of my closest friend sailing beyond her head, which was planted in the sand after she tripped over a rock. I rushed back to her side and hoisted her up.
"Now's not the time to trip, Radisi. We're almost there! Just a little farther."
We hurried to the last open box. After helping her get in, I squeezed into the bit of space left between Radisi and the false packaging that would hide us from inspection. I looked around one last time to assure that everyone was settled and safe before shutting the lid. With held breath, we waited for the workers to return for our crates and load us on the boat. We had tried to get word out about the Makuta turning evil, but so far these merchants were the only ones who believed us enough to help. Everyone else simply scoffed at the idea that Mata Nui's favorite species would turn on the rest of us, but here they were, hunting down and killing off everyone Av-Matoran they could find on the Southern Continent.
One by one, we finally felt ourselves get hoisted up and placed on the gently rocking vessel. The engines beneath us roared as they started up start and then lowered to a content hum as the ship pulled away from shore. Each of us let out a collective sigh of relief. For months, we had been running without sleep to reach this boat in time, with several of the Makuta trying to sniff us out all the while. Now, we were finally safe. The purr of the engine began to calm all of our nerves as time drew on, and Radisi soon broke the silence. She was never one to keep quiet and let a cheerful word go unsaid.
"Well, you always said you wanted us to be closer," she whispered timidly.
I thought for a moment, almost ready to shoot back a comment such as, "that's not not what I meant," but all that came out when my mouth opened was a hearty laugh. A few miles more and we had relaxed to the point where we swapped stories and jokes. After running for so long, it felt good to simply laugh, even if it was louder than we should have.
Several days later, we arrived at the boat's home port. The lids on each of our boxes were cracked open as we saw our first glimpse of the shining City of Legends. The seven of us crawled out, trying to stretch our cramped limbs after being cooped up so long. As we looked around in wonder, our eyes fell on a line of Matoran that were standing at attention, flanking either side of a short, frail looking figure. We gasped and bowed to him out of respect. As the one who lead the group up till now, I felt the need to introduce my group.
"You must be Turaga Dume! Thank you for meeting us. We never thought we could make it off the Continent! I'm Avoma. This is Radisi," I began pointing down the rough line we had formed, "Batorik, Tani, Takua, Velso, and Zavusi. We told you all that the Makuta were turning against us. Even these merchants can vouch for us now!"
The small Turaga simply chuckled.
"Well, well. Whatever the reason, you are all welcome here. There are positions available for each of you in the city if you wish to join us. It will let you stay hidden from whatever you may be hiding from, and hopefully you will trust us enough to share the truth one day."
He ordered a few of his staff to stay and show us where to go, and then hobbled away while still chuckling to himself.
"Heheheh, the humor of some Matoran. Evil plot by the Makuta? It's a wonder the Southern Continent stays peaceful at all with jokes like that being thrown around."
Dismayed at the Turaga's carelessness, we muttered between ourselves for a while before agreeing that we could only accept his offer of protection. We followed as Turaga Dume's staff lead us around the city, pointing out were each of us would work or live. Apparently, our reputation preceded us as we continued on. For every street we walked, various Matoran would point at us and whisper among themselves. The more thoughtless of them would let a stifled laugh slip out.
Well this is going wonderfully. We've talked to a grand total of eight Matoran and the Turaga, and already the city despises us.
After everyone else was assigned their place to live and place to work, I waited expectantly to see what was in store for me. We came to a Protodermis Chute boarding station and waited for one of the large, hexagonal busses to be prepared for us. A puddle next to me caught my attention. The others had seemed tired as each parted ways, but the closer I looked, the more purely exhausted my reflection seemed. I eyed my yellow mask most of all, which showed more scratches and small nicks than I could count. At least the form of my Kiril was still clear beneath the rough marks. Lines and details starting from above the forehead narrowed down around the eyes and met at the "mouth." Cheeks were replaced by two cylinders that sloped downward to each side.
One of the guides mentioned with an officious air that my mask would have to be painted before I did anything else in the city. Puzzled, I looked around at the others and noticed that each one's Kanohi was adorned with a dab of silver paint at the top. I wanted to make a retort about his attitude, but was too preoccupied with another thought. A small itch reached my throat, causing me to let out a long, dry, hoarse cough.
That's odd. The air feels like sand. More dust than I'd expect for the 'pure' Ga-Metru…
I drew in another scratchy breath and hoped that I would be placed in a cleaner part of Metru Nui. Drawing in the puddle with my toe to pass the time, and ignore the pain, I decided to venture a question.
"So, where am I going to work then?"
The spokesman of the group looked up with a face that he was clearly forcing to stay expressionless and said, "We don't know, the Turaga said he had a more personal job for you and wouldn't tell us anything about it."
Great… so I get to work directly under him. How wonderful…
Edited by LanceMuch7, Sep 15 2014 - 09:11 PM.