Posted Nov 19 2011 - 02:10 AM
Monsters in the DarkThe coast of Victus Morta was devoid of life. Not of just Matoran or Rahi, but of all life. The plants had wilted, trees had fallen The sky seemed dead, the clouds overhead completely still, silent, with a tint of beige. Even the sea of liquid protodermis was still, quiet, far from the shore. There were no sounds, except the hollow moan of the wind, whispering of death to come.A lone Kikanalo marched across the barren shore of the Island in search of its next meal, but as it examined the remains of a nearby bush, a Matoran darted out of his hiding place. It approached the Kikanalo slowly, but not cautiously. He exhaled deeply, a violet mist leaving his lips. The Kikanalo breathed in, a sickly green glow enveloped its eyes. The two beings turned away in silence in search of a mutual shelter.Three Toa stood together in a cave. Darissen, Toa of Iron; Kota, Toa of Lightning; and Rania, Toa of Ice contemplated what could possibly be done. A plague had swept across their land in a matter of days, with no possible source of salvation imaginable. The island had little to no communication with the rest of the universe, and the next traders would not arrive for the next few months. No Matoran were left free of the plague, and even three Toa had already fallen victim to the pandemic.As for the virus itself, it was a highly-contagious mutagen with the power to wipe away all memories, leaving only base instincts, and the irresistible urge to spread the virus to anything whose heartlight was still being. Now, only three Toa were left to save an entire island of demented, mindless Matoran. And they had only one lead as to where to stop it.“We need to go into the nest,” Rania said bluntly.“Are you insane?!” Darissen was not pleased with the suggestion.“If we have any hope of destroying the virus, we have to go to the source. It’s the only way, Darissen,” Kota was as unsure as Darissen, but she knew being a Toa meant taking risks.Darissen hesitated. He knew as well as the other two that there was no other way. Going to another island for help could very well spread the virus. But the alternative was a suicide mission. “We can’t. I mean… there would be no way to just… do you think there would be an unguarded magic red button somewhere in their nest that just turns off the virus and gives everyone their life back?”“No, but there must be more information there than in this cave. We could possibly get a non-contagious sample,” Kota stated.Darissen, as leader of the team, could easily veto any decision. But that was not what it meant to be a leader, or a hero, for that matter. He knew what they had to do.“We move out at dawn. These things don’t come out during the day as far as we’ve seen.”“But their nest is most likely very dark,” Rania reasoned.“That’s true, but there won’t be anything to stop us from getting there,” Kota explained.“Then it’s agreed?” Darissen looked at his two teammates. All were unsure of what they were about to do, but no other options were available. “Alright. We all know what we’re about to do. We all know what we’re up against. If we are successful, we will need to study the virus. This is just the beginning.”“Get in, get out, live, save the island. Sounds simple,” Rania remarked.The Toa rested for the remainder of the night. At the break of twilight, they set out for the nest of mutant Matoran. They trekked across the parched sand, where once plentiful plants flourished. Passing through a forest, the Toa soon realized the leaves on the trees had fallen, and the bark of the trees themselves seemed to be rotting and falling to the ground.Darissen heard a noise, like the cracking of a tree, but he could not tell from which direction the noise originated. Holding his hand up, he motioned for the Toa to stay still. He hesitated, and surveyed the area around them. He turned to the left, just as one of the trees collapsed, hitting his head. He fell to the ground, unconscious.The Toa of Iron woke up to the sight of Kota wiping his face with a wet cloth. He placed his limp hand on hers, pushing it away. He attempted to stand up, but was overcome with dizziness and fell face-first onto the ground. Kota helped him to his feet, taking all his weight upon herself.“Should we go back?” Kota asked Darissen.“No. We have no time. We need to find a cure for this virus as soon as we can. I’ll try not to slow you down,” He replied. “Where’s Rania?”“He’s checking to see… whether the fallen tree was caused by a living being, or if it just fell on its own.”“I see. Rania!” He called, succumbing to dizziness once more. Rania came rushing.“I think the fallen tree was caused by rotting bark, nothing more,” Rania explained. “I see you’re doing better.”“Not by much,” Darissen replied. “We have to keep going.”“But Dar, you’re in no shape to…” Kota started.“We have to keep going. If I fall behind, keep going. We can’t risk you two being attacked. Once we’re in there, we do what we have to do, and don’t wait for anyone.”There was a moment of silence. The Toa looked to each other in dismay. It was the only way to save the island. They may have to sacrifice a brother or sister.As the three Toa ventured across the island, they found an abandoned Ta-Matoran village, scorched by the tools of its former inhabitants. The sight of an empty village sent shivers down even Rania’s spine. After trekking across the island for half a day, the Toa arrived at a cave that led deep beneath the island’s surface.“If anyone can think of a more obvious place to try, speak now,” Rania said sarcastically.As The three Toa ventured into the dark cavern, Kota illuminated it with her Kanohi Ruru. They reached a natural stone bridge spanning an enormous chasm. Dozens of green lights waited on the other side. None of the Toa needed to say it. They all knew they would have to fight Matoran they were sworn to protect. But fighting and possibly killing some was better than the alternative.“There’s no backing out now,” Kota started. “One of us has to capture a Matoran’s breath in this air-tight vial. Put this cap on it once you obtain the sample. After that, bring it back, and I’ll combine it with water. Once the airborne disease is diffused through water, we will be invulnerable to it.”“Why not just put the water in now?” Asked Rania.“Good idea,” Kota pointed a finger into the vial, and let out a small stream into the glass tube that would be the salvation for the entire island.“You two hold them off. I’ll go after a Matoran and get the sample,” Darissen said, solemnly.“You’ll never make it back,” Rania whispered harshly.“I’m the only one you can afford to lose.”“Don’t talk like that. Put some ice on your head if it hurts so much,” Rania reached out his hand, encasing part of Darissen’s Kanohi in Ice.“Stop that!” Darissen yelled, swatting away Rania’s hand. Then they all heard it. They all heard that the Matoran had heard, and were now converging on the Toa.Darissen used his Kanohi power to rush across the bridge before the Matoran overtook it. He quickly caught a Le-Matoran in a headlock, who gasped, and let out a deep breath.The other Matoran ran toward Kota and Rania. If they were going to do anything, they had to do it now. Rania mustered all his strength, summoning as much elemental power as he could muster. His body glowed light blue, before he unleashed everything he had. The swarm of Matoran stopped dead in their tracks, encased in ice. Kota stared in wonder. Just then, the bridge began to creak.After a long and difficult struggle, Darissen was able to place the vial over the Matoran’s mouth, capturing the sample that would save the island. He could not believe it. He raced back across the bridge, not noticing the creaking beneath him. The combined weight of the Matoran and the ice had forced the bridge to take on more weight than it could hold. As Darissen passed the block of ice, the stone beneath his feet crumbled. Dozens of Matoran fell to their deaths, as Darissen reached out for the ledge, hitting his head on it. Though he himself was saved, his mask had shattered on impact, and even then, its pieces fell into the pit. Without his mask, Darissen was too weak to pull himself up. He dug his fingers into the stone, hanging on for his life, and the life of all the remaining Matoran on the island.His hand slipped, and he could not help but let go of the ledge. Just then, Rania and Kota pulled him up.“Let’s get out of here, Dar,” Kota said, helping him to his feet.The next day was extremely successful. At midnight the next, Kota looked up from her desk, thrilled with her discovery. She ran to Rania and Darissen’s quarters.“Rania! Rania! I found the cure!” She shook him awake. She looked in his eyes, and for the first time since she had known him, she saw him smile.She ran to Darissen across the room. She shook him, rejoicing over her victory. Darissen did not react. She shook him again, and still nothing. She began to think his head injury may had been more serious than she had previously thought.Kota shook her brother one last time, and was relieved to see his eyes snap open. His glowing emerald eyes.