As the Matoran, Toa, Turaga, Skakdi, Vortixx, and all other races began evacuating through the feet of the fallen Great Spirit Robot, something else began evacuating from the robot’s destroyed “brain”. A thin, greenish black cloud escaped from the gaping hole in the back of the robot’s head. This was no ordinary cloud, however. Were anything or anyone around to witness its escape, they would have heard a quiet, indistinguishable, whisper coming from the cloud as it floated through the barren desert. This was a cloud of Antidermis, the gaseous consciousness of the Makuta.
This particular vapor was the mind of Makuta Teridax, perhaps the greatest mind that had ever existed in the entirety of the Matoran Universe. But for all his intelligence, he had been tricked into yet another “death”, this time by the former Great Spirit, Mata Nui. He had been made to attract the two large moons circling the planet Bara Magna back to the planet, which they had broken off of centuries ago. As the moons hurtled towards the planet, pieces broke off, still hurtling at ever increasing speeds towards the surface. Mata Nui had pushed him into the path of one of these meteorites, destroying the head of the robot he was inhabiting, felling the body, and once again releasing his consciousness into the world.
Every other time this had happened- and there were several- it was part of his plan, he meant it to happen. Little, if anything, that had happened to him was unanticipated or unprepared for. But this was unexpected. He had won- the universe he had known for his entire life was his, and a vast new one opened up before him. Mata Nui, the only being who could threaten him, was expelled from the universe, and placed his spirit in the Kanohi Ignika, the Mask of Life, the only other threat to his power. He had taken every precaution, planned every move, but was still somehow defeated.
And now, without a plan, or body, onr knowledge of where he was, Teridax felt something he had only a few times in his hundred century life: fear. He was truly lost for once, and would die within a few days, a week at the most, if he couldn’t find a new body.
But he put this out of his mind for now, choosing instead to scour the desert for any life forms. He couldn’t rightly see them, of course, being a cloud of gas. But he could sense their life force, and when he did, he could start to plan his revenge against Mata Nui and everyone else who had conspired against him.
But for now, he needed to concentrate on finding himself a body.
Tuma, the deposed and banished leader of the Skrall, had wandered the desert that made up the planet for weeks. A newly arrived warrior, by the name of Mata Nui, who had came into his kingdom, and made demands of him. He had challenged Tuma to a duel, and won only by what he believed to be a dirty, near cheating tactic, that of attacking his back.
The Skrall that he controlled had turned on him, stripped him of his blade and shield, and made plans to execute him. He only narrowly avoided execution by escaping through the midst of a battle between the Skrall he used to control and Mata Nui and his glatorian Allies.
Since he had been forced into exile, he had had next to no food, and only what water he could find in sandy puddles in the desert. He had been unable to shed his black armor, which not only was a nearly unbearable weight by now, but drew the heat of the surrounding desert straight to it.
And all of this drove Tuma insane. He had been reduced to staggering and stumbling aimlessly through the desert. It was at this point, nearly a month into exile, that he saw a strange cloud floating overhead.
Tuma glanced at the sky, and caught sight of the cloud, which was a sickly greenish black color. He thought nothing of it, and assumed it was some kind of gas released during the seemingly earth-shattering quake a couple days ago. But as he continued looking at it, the cloud seemed to be moving towards him. He changed direction, and so did the cloud. Noticing this, Tuma ran.
He ran as hard as he could, in his current physical and mental state, but he couldn’t run fast enough. Soon the cloud enveloped Tuma’s head, and, as he was still gasping from the sprint, he inhaled the cloud.
Within seconds, Tuma collapsed to his knees, and began seizing, his body contorting into inhuman positions that came just short of destroying his physical body. But that was just on the outside. On the inside, the spirit of Makuta Teridax grappled with Tuma’s crippled mind for control of the body. In his weakened state, Tuma was no match for Teridax.
The Makuta quickly snapped Tuma’s mind, and the body stopped; it stopped moving, breathing, thinking, living. But after a few seconds, Tuma twitched, and stood up. But it was no longer Tuma, but his body had become the next vessel for Teridax’s spirit.
Teridax scanned the Skrall’s mind and found his former home, a village called “Roxtus”. It was a small camp nestled in a range called the “Black Spike Mountains”. Teridax had seen these before his previous body and home was destroyed. He oriented himself and set off in what he believed to be the direction of the mountains. He could then find the village and reassert power. He had to move fast, though, because he could tell this body was weakening, and he didn’t have much time. He should be able to find food somewhere between here and Roxtus. Teridax set off warily.
Teridax arrived at the city of Roxtus about a week later, only to find it under construction. Most of the village had been destroyed, and there was a wide, deep groove in the ground leading from the village. He believed this to be the road, and took it into the city.
Upon nearing the gates, he cloaked himself in shadow using the Kraata power of Darkness, and slipped quietly and quickly through the conglomeration of homes, until he found one that seemed to have been hastily carved from the side of a mountain into the shape of something resembling the maskless skull of a Matoran.
It was surrounded by bustling figures, about the height of a Toa, all of whom were carrying something to be used in the construction of the village. They wore primarily black armor, which was accented by red markings. Teridax searched the memories of Tuma, and almost instantly came back with what the figures were: Skrall. Teridax turned the name over in his mind several times. It sounded like the name of an army, powerful, but to be feared. He liked it.
Teridax hid himself behind one of the homes, still concealed by shadow, and used another Kraata power to teleport himself to the shadowy entrance to the Skull. Once inside, Teridax clung to the walls in shadow. He followed the pathways and the commotion of Skrall, until he found the hub of the city.
Teridax came to a great room, at the back of which sat a tall stone staircase with swords, shields, helmets, and other bits and pieces of arms and armor littered the stairs and the area around them. At the top of the staircase sat a grand throne made entirely of obsidian.
On this throne sat a Skrall warrior, bulkier than most of the rest. Also unlike the rest, his armor shone a great black like the obsidian chair he sat upon. It was spiked, making close combat dangerous. Once again, Teridax searched the memories of Tuma for this Skrall’s identity. He found it after a small amount of searching: Stronius, and elite Skrall Warrior known for his brutal tactics.
Teridax readied himself, then relinquished the shadow surrounding him, and brought himself to the center of the room, and called out, “Stronius! Come down and relinquish to me your throne!”
Stronius looked round with a start, saw Teridax, and began to laugh. He rose from his throne, saying, “Tuma! You have the audacity to return here after being banished? I commend you on your bravery. Now, be on your way before my guards have to… help you.”
“I’ve been deposed once, Stronius, why not fight me again? I’m not even armed.” Teridax said this with such purpose as to ensure that Stronius couldn’t turn down the challenge without bringing himself more challenges for the throne.
He picked up the spiked club and bladed shield on either side of the seat and walked down the stairs to who he thought to be Tuma. The Skrall who were watching were now enthralled, and formed a ring around the two combatants. Teridax and Stronius circled each other for a short time, and Stronius launched himself towards Teridax, swinging his club.
Teridax activated the Kraata power of Dodge, and spun around, ending up behind Stronius. He landed a kick at the base of Stronius’s neck, and knocked him to the ground. In his fall, he dropped his club and shield, which went spinning out of his reach. Teridax grabbed Stronius by the neck, lifting him to his knees. Teridax grabbed the front and long, pointed back of Stronius’s helmet and twisted. His neck gave a sickening crack, but Teridax just twisted back the other way even harder, which was met with another crack.
Teridax pulled upwards, and Stronius’s body slumped forwards, falling to the ground. Teridax lifted up the still helmeted head of his fallen foe. The Skrall gasped in shock.
“Now that I have beaten your leader, are there any more challengers?” Teridax boomed. The Skrall murmured uncertainly. Eventually, one a Skrall warrior came forward.
“Ah, so we have our first challenger. Someone, bring him a blade,” Teridax requested. Another Skrall picked up a blade and brought it to the new challenger. The challenger took it, swung it a few times, then began to circle Teridax.
This time, Teridax didn’t wait to make his move. He lunged at the Skrall, swinging the decapitated head of his previous foe. It connected with his opponent’s head, bringing the Skrall to his knees. Teridax left him there, reeling, as he went to the steps of the throne. When he got there, he bent down and picked up a metal shafted spear. He returned to his foe, who was slowly regaining his footing. Teridax walked up behind his foe and twisted the metal shaft of the spear around the Skrall’s neck. The Skrall grasped at it for a few moments, trying to bend it back, so as to allow himself to breath, but to no avail. Before long, the Skrall fell to the ground, spasming, eventually going limp. Teridax picked up another spear, stabbed one end into the ground, picked up his foe, and slammed him onto the other end.
“Now, do we have another challenger? Or shall I take my throne now?” When none of the group responded, Teridax climbed the stairs, and stood in front of the throne, facing the still gathering crowd. “I am not Tuma, as you have seen him before. He was but a weak coward. I am Teridax! I am a Makuta, and none shall challenge me, or face a similar fate.” Teridax gestured to the bodies on the ground and continued, “Now, kneel to me!”
Slowly, one by one, the Skrall went to their knees and lowered their faces to the ground.
“Good,” remarked Teridax. “Now, fetch your leaders and continue your work.”