I was struck by inspiration yesterday and had to sit down and write this story. Special thanks to BZPower member Tolkien for the song written in Matoran language, which you can find on his tumblr blog.
Please read, enjoy, and comment below!
The sky was bright, and the day was radiant. As Admoneira made her way through the crowded street, people of all colors, shapes and sizes hustled and bustled around her. Today was as busy a day as ever in Agens, but Admoneira had no time or interest for any of it. After all, it wasn’t every day that one received a summons from the oldest being on the planet.
It had been twenty or thirty years since she had last heard the call: a high, thin ringing, at a frequency beyond most people’s ability to detect. She had taken several moments to notice the pitch, and longer to remember what it meant -- but when she had, she had dropped her satchel and nearly been struck by a hasty carriage. Stopping only to gather her things, not to apologize, she had immediately changed course and struck off to the eastern edge of town.
From there, she did some bargaining with a carriage-owner, who was understandably reluctant to lend her a vehicle to traverse a road that hadn’t been touched in years. The sight of her dusty seal made a potent argument, though, and if that wasn’t enough, she also had the official papers, signed by the Parliament, marking her as a government-sanctioned chronicler. The owner, a patriotic sort, was more than happy to comply with her request, and soon she was driving off towards the eastern forest. Throughout it all, above the grumbling and snorting of the carriage and the trundling of its wheels on the ground, Admoneira could still hear the ringing, echoing through the air.
The trip through the woods should have taken two hours, and it would have -- if the road hadn’t been blocked two-thirds of the way in. As she once again stepped out of the carriage to hack at an overgrown creeper, only to see the road blocked ahead by a tree growing through the middle, she gave a heavy sigh. Couldn’t he at least hire a gardener, or a hundred, to keep the road clean?
Then she remembered his response to that query last time she had spoken to him. Your modern garden tools make such an unbearable clamor, he had said. The trees and the vines, on the other hand, are silent until struck down. If I am going to continue living on this earth, I would rather do it with my hearing intact. Wouldn’t you?
At dusk, Admoneira stumbled over a twisted root, staggered past an enormous tree, and pushed aside a curtain of leaves to finally reveal her destination. Perched on a steep hill above her, surrounded for miles and miles in all directions by undisturbed forest, was a weathered dome: an ancient monastery, with a population of one. Emanating from above, the ringing was sharper than it had ever been, but Admoneira barely heard it. With a rejuvenated effort, she dragged herself up the hill, anxious to once again speak with him.
The stone door had no handle. Instead, it was inscribed with an esoteric symbol: three circles, bordered by two dented curves. Admoneira smiled and recalled the secret combination. First the topmost circle... the bottom circle... and finally, the circle in the center. Smoothly and almost silently, the door slid away before her.
Inside, the walls of the vast dome were filled with circular symbols; not an inch left untouched. Towering over Admoneira were tall stacks of stone tablets, each carved with the same symbols. A fine layer of dust covered everything in the chamber. Admoneira breathed in the dry, dusty air and let out an amazed sigh. In this room, the great history of her world felt tangible and real.
The dust stirred. Just barely, she could make out a whisper: “There’s no need to make such a ruckus, my dear."
The quiet voice came from the stairs spiraling around the walls. Admoneira looked up, beyond the stacked tablets, to see a hunched figure with a grey cloak slowly descending each stair, his joints clicking with each step. “I could hear your approach a mile away,” he continued.
“Turaga!” Admoneira gasped.
“Ach!” With gears whirring and joints clicking, the wizened old figure brought his hands to the sides of his head. “What did I say about making such noise?”
Admoneira paused, then spoke in a low whisper. “I’m sorry, Turaga. I’m just... so excited to see you again.”
“As am I, Admoneira,” whispered the Turaga. He stepped onto the floor, supporting himself with a wooden staff, and slowly hobbled towards a table where an empty tablet lay. “Come. Sit, and tell the old Turaga your tales.”
The table stood in the center of the building, directly beneath a glass pane in the top of the dome. Admoneira took her seat and glanced up at the darkening sky, looking for words. So much had happened in the past several decades. Where to begin?
“I suppose I’ll start with Agens,” she said.
“Ah, yes. How is that lovely little town doing?” the Turaga asked, chuckling.
“It’s hardly ‘little’ anymore, Turaga. Now that the water stone industry has recovered, people have been coming to Agens in droves. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in any of the civilized nations,” she explained.
“Good. I’m glad to hear it,” he said. “I always told little Carus that his town would do well.” He paused. “How is the little boy, anyway?”
Admoneira hesitated. “Well... Carus is not really a little boy any longer, Turaga,” she said. “He was born before me, you know...”
There was a glint of light off of the Turaga’s mask. Then he shook his head slowly. “I am sad to learn of his passing,” he said. “But he died knowing his destiny was achieved.”
The Turaga always did that -- extrapolate the truth, even when one tried not to tell him. Admoneira hated when he did that.
The Turaga chuckled. “Hate it or not, Admoneira, I will keep doing it. You must allow an old man some of his tricks.” He turned to the side, his head downcast. “Forgive me for asking so foolishly about Carus. In my old age, I sometimes forget that your lifespans are so much shorter than ours.”
Admoneira had always marveled at the Turaga’s physiology. He was made of metal and flesh, seamlessly joined by wondrous engineering -- all of this, accomplished several millennia prior to the invention of the motorized carriage! Many a time, she had wondered how it was that he and the other biomechs lived for so long: whether it was the quality of their organic parts, or a self-repairing function like the immortality devices of old. She had been meaning to ask for years.
“Then I might as well tell you what I know,” said the Turaga. “I was never an anatomist. But I know this much. Most of our ‘organic’ tissues are used as muscles or bindings, and they, like the rest of us, are artificial; made by the Great Beings. When the Great Beings made things, they made them to last.” For a long moment, he let this information sink in, then added, “Unlike your craftspeople nowadays, that is.”
Admoneira had to laugh at that. “Tell me about it. I took a carriage part of the way here. I got it good as new, but by the time I was done with it, the tires were shot and the engine was halfway killed.”
“No, they don’t make them like they used to,” the Turaga said softly.
As Admoneira continued her tales, the stars began to shine through the glass from above. By midnight, she had nearly talked herself hoarse, and had run down to the stream for water several times. Throughout it all, the Turaga sat and listened. Half the time, he stared off into space and didn’t move from his position, but Admoneira knew he could hear her. In any case, he could just about read her mind. It was a pity she couldn’t read his. What did an ancient biomech ponder?
“You’ve stopped talking,” said the Turaga after a time. “Is that it, then?”
Admoneira gave a start. “Oh, no, not at all. I was just thinking, Turaga.”
The Turaga blinked behind his mask. “You want to know how old I am.”
Admoneira’s face blanched. The Turaga chuckled in response. “Don’t worry, dear, I won’t be offended. A biomech stays beautiful no matter his age.” He tapped his staff on the floor. “You said this was... what year, again?”
Admoneira told him. The Turaga nodded and let out a slow whistle. “Well, well. It has been some time, hasn’t it? And yet, to me, it seems like the Fall was just a century past.” He hemmed and hawed for several seconds. “Ah! That’s it, that’s it. I have lived through 150,000 seasonal units -- Matoran time, that is,” he said. “In your years, that would be... hmm... about 12,000 years old, give or take.”
The time span was too much for Admoneira to process. She blinked and put a hand to her forehead. “I might get a migraine if I think about that for too long,” she said.
“Try thinking about it for 12,000 years,” replied the Turaga.
“Did Matoran -- normally -- live that long?”
Admoneira sensed the Turaga stiffen. “I wouldn’t know,” he said. “But since so few of us remain, I would say... no.”
An awful realization struck Admoneira: He doesn’t know.
There was silence at the table for a long, long moment.
“Now he does,” said the Turaga.
Admoneira clasped his hand. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know when to tell you -- ”
“It’s all right,” he said, setting her hand aside. He sat back, gears clicking, and breathed in heavily. “Tell me, when did the others pass?”
Admoneira could feel his heart breaking as she listed the names. “...announced his death twenty-four years ago. The Vortixx of Vulcanus passed quietly three years after.” She took a deep breath. “Barraki Pridak died on his throne ten years ago. Somehow, he lived through every assassination effort over the past four millennia. His empire has already fractured into warring states. And Kopeke -- ” She felt something choke in her throat. “Two years ago, Kopeke walked out of Iconox and into the Drifts. He gave clear orders that he was not to be followed.”
She finished her story. She and the Turaga sat at the table, hands folded, in utter silence. The stars turned slightly overhead, and a chill began to creep at the edges of Admoneira’s flesh.
After many minutes, Admoneira thought she heard a whispered word flit into her ear. She dismissed it as her imagination, but another came, and another. Suddenly, she realized that the words were coming from the Turaga, but they were not any words that she knew.
“lahaya lhikayi, wahata rodui...”
The pitch of the Turaga’s voice varied. Admoneira realized that he was singing. His incredibly soft voice hovered over the notes with a trembling sincerity.
“lahaya lhikayi, wahata rodui,
lahaya ro’ai, ki akuya-kaui.
lehaya matoran, noka khino rho
luhaya turaga zahni’o kyabo.
lohaya toa ki kravahi zaya,
ki aizi voyakorhu akuyata...”
The Turaga trailed off. “You wouldn’t recognize the song,” he said, in response to her unspoken thoughts. “It is from... before your time.”
Slowly, with jerking and hesitant motions, the Turaga began to stir. Gears clicking, he rose from his seat and took hold of his staff.
“Come. Walk with me, Admoneira,” he said. “And bring the tablet. It is time.”
The woman took his hand and helped him move, haltingly, across the dusty floor and out of the building. The two stood together on the hilltop, under the waning stars, looking out at the peaceful treetops.
“In an hour, Solis Magna will rise from the horizon, in all its crimson glory,” said the Turaga. “Then will come the time. Until then, Admoneira... sit with me.” She had a thought, but he shook his head. “No. I do not need any more stories. I need only companionship.”
Admoneira helped him into a sitting position on the grass. The Turaga set down his staff and replaced it with a stone stylus. “I am sure your paper records are quicker and more efficient,” he said, “but consider me old-fashioned -- I never could get used to the idea of them.”
He carved the first words on the tablet. Admoneira knew enough of the Matoran language to translate them, and her heart sank as her worst fears were confirmed. “You can’t know this,” she sobbed.
“Oh, but I do,” said the Turaga. Now it was his turn to clasp a friend’s hand in comfort. “It was revealed to me by another Turaga many, many years ago. This was his final vision. It is the final destiny of my kind.”
“No,” Admoneira mouthed. She knew that the Turaga was impossibly old; she knew that he was the last of his kind; she knew that all things eventually came to an end -- but she refused to believe that it would happen today.
“Be still,” the Turaga whispered. “I will be with you for another hour. I must carve this tablet, but when I am done, I will stay with you. We will watch the sunrise together.”
Admoneira sat with the Turaga as he carved his words. She did not read them. She would read them later, when she was ready to accept the end. She vowed not to let this history be forgotten.
“It already has been, my dear,” said the Turaga, etching a Matoran ‘A’ into the stone. “By all except the two on this hilltop. But that is not so dreadful, in the end. All things in this world are only temporary.”
He finished his work, and set down the stylus. The stars had vanished, and the sky was lightening. Admoneira turned to the Turaga with tears in her eyes. “Please. Don’t go. You’re all that we have left.”
“None of us choose our destiny, my dear. And none of us can defy it,” said the Turaga, staring into the pink light of the sky.
Admoneira began to openly sob as the light grew brighter. No words could communicate her feelings.
“They do not need to,” said the Turaga. “I know your heart.”
Slowly, he raised his hands to his head. When he lowered them, they held the archaic features of his mask. “Take this,” he whispered. “It is our custom. I will go soon, to be with the Great Spirit. But the mask will remain.”
Admoneira took the mask into her shaking hands. “I... I can’t...” she stammered.
“You can,” said the Turaga. “Have faith.”
Admoneira hugged the Turaga tight, setting her face against his weathered cloak. Slowly, gently, he set his metallic hand on her shoulder.
Staring into the growing light, the Turaga bore an unreadable expression on his face. Quietly, he resumed his singing.
“lahaya lhikayi, omahaui nu
lahaya wahata, ki nokhanu-ngu
lehaya matoran, i’azai uzya
luhaya turaga, kravahi’ai na
lahaya toa ki boi royatanu
hau’o rak-rhui boya hayaganu.
ke, lahaya lhikai, omahaui rhu
lihaya rohi nga-kaui ki zyanu.
lehaya puku’o, alai’o, roi’o
luhaya rohi ki avo myatambo.
lahaya wahata, keeto, kofo-ngu
lohaya toa ki ako karyanu.”
The sun rose, and the radiant fingers of the dawn crept across the trees, reaching up to the domed monastery atop the hill. As the light grew and the air warmed, Admoneira held the Turaga close, and he held her as well.
Admoneira opened her eyes. The sky was alight with the scarlet fire of the sun. The Turaga’s fingers rested on her shoulder, warmed by the touch of the sunlight. But his singing had stopped.
Admoneira hugged the Turaga’s body close and cried as the sun rose over her. She would cry for many a day to come. When her tears had dried, she would read the Turaga’s tablet. For now, however, the words sat unread in the rising sun.
I carve these words as I await my death, and with it the death of the Matoran race. As prophesied, I am the last one left. When the morning comes and I pass from this world, I will join the entirety of my kind as one with the Great Spirit.
I have no regrets. I have lived a long and fulfilling life. I have seen and done so many things. I fought on Bara Magna and saw Makuta’s Fall firsthand. I defended the Prison Island from the Siege of the Dreamkeeper’s armies. I saw the Barraki Wars and the return of the Shadowed One. I have seen two worlds united, and I have seen them divided again so many times.
More than that, though, I have seen the flourishing of the Agori. Despite their physiology, they are an enduring and ingenious people. They listened to the ideas of the Matoran, and they built on what we brought to them to make things far greater. I know now that they are a people truly deserving of the Great Spirit’s paradise.
We have had our history. Let the Matoran race now take its leave from Spherus Magna. With unity, we have done our duty, and in doing so, we have achieved our final destiny. The Agori have learned all that we can teach them, and they will grow and flourish beyond anything we could ever imagine. The Great Spirit will be proud of us, indeed.
These are the last words of the Matoran race. These are the words of Turaga Krakua.
Edited by ALVIS, Dec 19 2014 - 07:21 PM.