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Fighting to Survive

Fighting To Survive

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#1 Offline Zarayna

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Posted Oct 11 2015 - 03:40 PM

Fighting to Survive

 

-=-

Prologue

The Prisoner

Something not yet clear, something not yet here has begun…

 

     The room in the Toa Fortress was dim and dry. A barred window was set opposite the door, and a table with two chairs was against the other end. In one of these sat a Toa of Iron, placidly staring at the floor. He looked up slowly as the door opened. A Toa of Fire strode in, his polished armor a brilliant red underlaid with black. He seemed to be smiling, but that was only the build of the Kanohi Miru he wore; his green eyes behind it were calm and sober. A slender Kanoka launcher was slung on his back, unloaded. He paused behind the empty chair.

     "Rahkan," he asked slowly, "what the karz have you done?"

     “I don’t know, Faeros” he responded, his voice laced with bitterness. The Toa of Fire paused.

     “You don’t know why you did those things? You with a mask of memory?” he asked incredulously. Rahkan shrugged.

     “I know I did them, but why it all happened, I don’t think I’ll ever know. I just wanted to survive, same as anyone. When the Dark Hunters are after you, you can’t protect a village.”

     He stopped abruptly, looking down once more. There was silence for a little. Then the interrogator spoke abruptly.

     "I spared you last time because I thought there was hope for you. We all thought you were our brother, you know. But instead you become a thief and a murderer, and you killed your brothers."

     The prisoner looked down, flinching at each word. When Faeros stopped there was silence.

     "I guess you should be rid of me, then," Rahkan said softly. "No use keeping me around and endangering your team. No use."

     "I wouldn't stoop to your level," the Toa of Firev said coldly. "But I can't keep you here. Either we leave you out for the Hunters, or you agree to a... proposal."

     "What would that be?" Rahkan asked.

     "There's a small village in the Southern Continent that lost its Toa. They have a new one, but he needs some one to train him. We'll fake your escape, send you there, and forget what you've done."

     "I... I don't deserve this,"Rahkan said, "I'm not even a Toa anymore."

     Faeros allowed himself a little smile. "You are, Rahkan, being a Toa isn't a thing you can lose, and it's not a thing I can forget. You need to remember it as well."

     "I'll try," the Toa of Iron said despondently, "but I'm sure it'll do any good."

     "That, brother, is entirely in your hands," Faeros retorted as he left the room.

 

-=-

 

     The sea was an endless view in front of him, and all around him. Rahkan leaned against the rail of the small ship he was in. A cloak obscured his armor and head alike, but his lightstone rifle was slung on his back under it. He stared with empty eyes at the approaching landmass. He was tired, so tired. His body still ached from the running fights with the Toa who had captured him. More than that, his heart was weary, scarred and battered. He slumped down, back against the railing, fingering his Kanohi. His mask of memory was half active at times like these, his mind unconsciously calling faces and sounds, fragments from long ago out of it. He gave in, closed his eyes, and remembered…

 

Edited by Zarayna, Oct 17 2015 - 07:48 PM.

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#2 Offline Zarayna

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Posted Oct 24 2015 - 09:10 PM

Chapter I

The Guard

I dreamed a dream in times gone by…

 

     The cold wind of early morning blew across the rocky plain, and the Fe-Matoran shivered slightly, wishing his cloak was thicker. But cold was the least of his worries as he crouched on the massive boulder.

      “I hate wolves,” the Le-Matoran next to him whispered. Rahkan shivered again and clutched his last three javelins close to him.

      “What do we do, sir?” his companion asked, and Rahkan could tell that he was scared. Olu had only recently been declared a fully-fledged guard, and Rahkan pitied the young Matoran for having been caught in this situation.

      “Option one, we leap off and run, in which case we die. Two, we try killing them all, which we cannot do. Our best chance is the third, we sit here until a party finds us or these wolves get tired.”

      “Unless they get up to us before that,” Olu countered. The wolves had been trying to jump recently; one had almost gotten to the top before Rahkan beat it back.

      “Still, it’s a chance we have to take,” was his sharp reply as he ran his hand up and down the shaft of his spear. It was an old habit, and he found the firm wood comforting.

      “Get some rest, Olu,” he said, a little more gently. “I’ll keep first watch, and you can relieve me in a few hours.”

     The Le-Matoran looked over the edge and then back at Rahkan. “I-I don’t think I can sleep right now.”

     Rahkan allowed himself a smile. “Then lie down and close your eyes for a bit,” he said, gesturing to one corner where the stone rose abruptly to provide a little resting place. “I’ll call you if they start acting up.”

     Olu still looked hesitant, so the senior guard reached out, placing his hand on Olu’s deep green pauldron. His orange eyes met Rahkan’s ice-blue orbs.

      “Olu,” he said firmly, “I’ve never let a guard die, and you won’t change this. Trust me. You need to rest.” The Le-Matoran’s eyes dropped, and he nodded. Rahkan gave him a light slap on the shoulder. “Now lie down and try to relax.”

     He watched the Le-Matoran crawl to the indicated spot and obediently lie down. Then he turned his gaze back to the wolves.

     They had chased down both of them, killing their Dikapi. It was almost a miracle either of them was alive now. It had been at least ten years since Rahkan had run into any Rahi this vicious. It was the first time he had ever encountered a wolf. He looked at his weaponry, discontented with the three short spears that had been strapped to his back. The rest were on the Dikapi. He placed one next to Olu. The Le-Matoran opened his eyes and, seeing the spear, muttered his thanks; he hadn’t managed to grab any of his own weaponry.

     The wolves were unusually dedicated, and Rahkan hoped that dawn would scare them away. It sometimes drove nocturnal Rahi away. He gazed at the dark sky, just beginning to show the first hints of dawn, and shivered a little as the wind cut through the loose garment he wore over his armor. He had been out on patrol for too long.

     There was always a sense of eternity in these wastelands, even when you weren’t alone. A patrol that lasted an hour felt like a five hour long stretch. In the night it was even more. Sometimes it was unbearably long, but most of the time Rahkan enjoyed the feeling. No matter what his life was like in the Koro, this was always a time to recollect his thoughts, to become lost in his own mind.

     Right now, however, he found that rather hard. Instead he focused on keeping guard against any sudden moves by the wolves. Roughly every ten minutes one tried jumping up, and every other time one found some paw-hold. Rahkan managed to kill one and wound another, but usually his stabs forced them to jump off again. It was unpredictable and devastating to Rahkan’s nerves as he kept close alert for the next jump.

As he feared, the wolves did not disperse at the dawn. Olu refused to rest any longer, so      Rahkan lay down himself. He needed to relax for a little.

     The real fear was that they would not be found in time. The sun would begin to bake them in a few hours.

     A startled cry from Olu made him open his eyes, and he struggled up just as the Le-Matoran succeeded in stabbing a wolf through one paw. It fell back with a dismal howl. Olu was shaking a little as he turned back. He looked a little embarrassed as he looked at Rahkan.

      “Sorry. It was a bit sudden,” he said. Rahkan nodded silently and then lay back down.

      “Get used to that,” was all he said.

     It took him another hour, but Rahkan finally began to doze. He did not know how long he had drifted, but a sudden shaking brought him back to reality. Olu was standing over him, looking worried.

      “Rahkan, the search party is here.”

      “You’re worried?” Rahkan asked, confused.

      “There’s only four of them, Rahkan!” Olu exclaimed. Before he could continue, Rahkan had already pieced to together. The wolves had forced two guards into hiding, they could kill four as well.

      “We’ll have to distract them then,” he said, and felt even his hands shake a little. There must be at least twelve wolves below them. On Dikapi they could give them a chase, but on foot…

     He heard a sudden change in the Rahi. They had stopped circling the boulder.

      “Rescue party spotted,” he muttered, leaning over the edge.

      “Hey, Rahi!” he yelled, “look up here!”

     It worked for a moment, but as the four Dikapi riders drew closer their attention shifted back.

      “Run!” Rahkan heard Olu yell behind him. “Get out of here!”

     Rahkan pulled himself back up, watching the riders. They had stopped. He waved his javelin in the air.

     They started moving again.

      “Karzahni!” Rahkan cursed as the wolves began moving towards their rescue. He hefted his spear and cast it, striking one of the rearmost wolves. The rest kept going.

This was a moment where caution was simply unthinkable. With a sharp cry Rahkan leaped down, landing on the corpse of a wolf and rolling to his feet. Ahead the riders split to avoid the charging wolves. 

     Rahkan chose to ignore them, scattering pebbles and sand every way as he sprinted to the fallen Dikapi. They were long dead, but his hands immediately went to two things. The spear he had dropped and the bundle of javelins still hanging from the saddle. He slung it over one shoulder, looking back at Olu who had just climbed down. The Le-Matoran cried out as one of the routed riders charged past them.

     Rahkan turned, lowering his spear-

     -Only for a wolf to smash into his stomach. The Matoran was sent flying back, and in a moment the beast was on top of him. His spear was gone, his javelins unreachable. He reached out his hands towards the wolf-head in a futile attempt to ward off the ravaging maw. It pushed, wearing down his last defense.

     Then it reared up, and Rahkan felt its blood as it collapsed on top of him. He registered barely Olu’s spear-shaft protruding from its mouth before the Le-Matoran was at his side, pulling the corpse off him. He squirmed out from under it, scrabbling to his feet. His chest hurt, and he knew there would be a bruise or three there under his chest-plate. Olu handed him his spear, and Rahkan noted that his comrade’s hand was shaking a bit.

      “Courage!” he said as he accepted his weapon. Looking around, he spotted only one of the guards sent to rescue them. The unlucky Matoran was travelling parallel to them, four wolves close behind. They were gaining.

      “There!” Rahkan snapped, pulling out a javelin and taking off towards the beleaguered guard. The Matoran must have seen the help coming his way, because he immediately swerved towards them. Rahkan let his first javelin fly. It went wide, landing several feet to the left of the wolf he had aimed for. He pulled out another. The Dikapi was only thirty feet away, and the wolves were nipping at its feet.

     Even as he threw his next spear it went down, the rider jumping clear just in time. The wolf which had made the strike could not attack the Matoran, as it collapsed from Rahkan’s cast. He grabbed another javelin, moving forwards as he prepared to throw it. The Matoran was on his feet, resting the butt of his lance into the ground in an attempt to spit the first wolf that charged.

     There was a green flash to Rahkan’s left, and he was pleasantly surprised to see Olu charging to his fellow guard’s aid, still armed only with a javelin.

     Rahkan made his fourth cast even as the wolf he aimed at made a charge. The javelin pierced its back leg even as Olu thrust it through.

     But even as that wolf fell back, its comrade took advantage of the break on the guard’s defense to leap. Rahkan watched, frozen with one hand on his next javelin as he watched from third person a chilling re-enactment of his own struggle. The guard was down in a moment, the wolf on top of him. Rahkan tried pulling out a javelin, but in his haste he tore the whole bundle off his back.

     Olu threw his javelin again, even as Rhakan rested his own from its confines. This time the Le-Matoran’s cast went askew, grazing the wolf’s shoulder. It looked up.

Rahkan’s heartlight froze as he saw Olu charging the Rahi, weaponless. It rose up to meet him, abandoning its previous prey. Rahkan watched as it leaped, as Olu was hit, rolling to the side to avoid being pinned.

     With a cry the Fe-Matoran charged into the fray, spear poised to thrust the wolf from behind. It turned at the last moment and charged him. His thrust went over the head, catching between two plates of armor. The force tore the weapon from Rahkan’s grasp, even as he rolled to one side to dodge the wolf. He scrambled to his feet, even as the wolf turned to face the helpless Fe-Matoran.

     Great, thought Rahkan, we’re all in a pickle now.

     There was a shout behind him, even as the wolf leaped at the captain. The undikapi’d guard was at his side, spear planted. This time his thrust was not askew, and the wolf almost snapped the shaft as it impaled itself on it.

The three Matoran stood there motionlessly for a moment, heartlights racing. Then Rahkan looked toward Olu. The Le-Matoran was straightening his mask, but it looked as if he had come through undamaged.

      “Thanks, captain,” the other guard said. Rahkan nodded.

      “Thank you for the distraction, Talki. Where’s the rest of your crew?”

     Talki glanced around, looking for his elusive companions.

      “I- I don’t know. I got cut off from the rest,” he said. “We got split up as these things attacked. What are they?”

      “Some type of wolves,” Rahkan replied. “Whatever ungodly spirit possesses these lands is getting creative in the beasts that plague it.”

     The faint sound of approaching riders made all three look up. Rahkan’s eyes flitted across the approaching Matoran. Three Dikapi, four Matoran.

      “They picked up a traveler?” he murmured to himself, moving to meet them.

The three guards had managed to kill or wound enough of the wolves for the remainder to flee. One of the dikapi had a bandaged leg and its rider looked a little worse for wear, but they seemed to have fared better than Talki.

     The fourth Matoran was a Ko-Matoran who seemed to tremble ever so slightly under his white and grey armor.

      “Who did you find?” Rahkan asked his three guards, but the stranger spoke for himself.

      “I’m from Deoli-Koro, captain,” he said in a low voice that made Rahkan wonder if he was a De-Matoran. “I was sent to Gora-Koro with a message.”

     He paused, and Rahkan’s eyes narrowed with worry. “What is it?” he asked.

      “The Makuta,” the Matoran replied, bowing his head slightly at the name. It was half for respect and half—Rahkan guessed—out of fear. “Makuta Krika came to our village two days. He wanted to take our Toa, and killed him when he resisted. Then he had his Rahkshi round up any Matoran who looked like they would resist as well.” His voice choked slightly, and Rahkan could tell the anger in his eyes. “Krika took half our village away. ‘I don’t want another Toa on this continent,’ he said as he left.”

Rahkan had always thought that Deoli-Koro was especially blessed by the Spirit, having a team of four Toa. Now there were none.

      “Our Toa is away,” he said. “I doubt that Krika will attack us. But thank you for the warning.” 

     The Ko-Matoran nodded. “I will return to our village then, we need all the help we can in rebuilding.”

      “By your leave, I will ask our elder if we can help,” Rahkan responded graciously. “Now, please, accept the loan of one of our dikapi.”

     He sounded a little foolish using his most formal tone, but it didn’t have much of an effect on the other matoran, who shook his head.

      “There are three steeds, and six of you. I am closer to my village than you are to yours, and I would not have you walk.”

     That settled the deal, although Rahkan insisted on taking the Ko-Matoran a little ways before leaving to him in order to catch up with the rest of the patrol. They debated for a little whether they should ride double, or alternate riders, but in the end they all rode.

     Cold and sleep began to batter away at Rahkan’s awareness as time passed, and he found his mind drifting to the past.

     Life had never been easy for the village. Left alone they could have subsisted well enough. But there was always the menace of Rahi, lurking in the desert and striking swiftly and unexpectedly. Some of the villagers, Rahkan included, took to saying there was a demon among them prompting them to harass the village. It was an apt description.

     It had been better when their Toa was still in the village. Toa Feayrin had been in the village since before Rahkan had joined the guard. The Fe-Matoran remembered him when he first joined. Over the years Feayrin had become a good companion to him. He shivered again, and remembered the times the Toa had made bonfires in the middle of the desert to welcome weary guards on their way back from patrols.

     But raiders had kidnapped the village’s Turaga, and Feayrin had left to bring him home. He had made Rahkan head of the guard, and given him his lightstone rifle as a parting gift.

     It had been a colder life since then.

 

-=-

 

     Gora-Koro was, very simply, a canyon. Long ago the caves in which Rahkan’s people lived had been carved out by a long-dead Toa of Stone. It was silent and deserted as the Fe-Matoran rode in.

     He stopped next to one of the first doorways, tying the Dikapi to a bar. Stretching, he walked up the two steps into his home. It was plainly furnished, with a bed, table and chair in one corner. Beneath a set of shelves in the left corner rested his Lightstone Rifle, the bag of ammo faintly glowing as always. Rahkan put his javelin next to it and walked through a narrow door into the next room, far larger than his own.

     To his left was the weaponry of the village guard, leaning against or hanging from the wall. A long table was situated at the center, and two Matoran were talking in front of it; Rahkan lived adjacent to the village guardhouse. One, seeing Rahkan, bowed quickly and headed out to begin his shift. The other turned to face the Fe-Matoran.

      “Teoha!” Rahkan exclaimed, inclining his head. “What brings you here?” The Onu-Matoran smiled, and Rahkan could see an excited joy in his eyes.

      “Feayrin does,” he replied, and Rahkan started.

      “He’s back? Where? When? How?” The questions poured out, and Teoha smiled under his mask to see the normally composed guard almost jumping for joy.

      “He arrived a little after you left.”

      “Where is he now?”

      “I put him in my cave, he needs the rest.” Teoha grew grave, but paused. “You’ll see him yourself, later. How went the watch?”

      “Wolves,” Rahkan said bluntly. “Never saw one before, and it’s been a while since I saw any Rahi so vicious. They killed our steeds, and we hid on a boulder ‘til another patrol met us. We killed them all, lost another dikapi in the process. No one killed, but I do have some important news.”

     Teoha was about to respond, but Rahkan cut him off.

      “It’s the blasted Makuta, Teoha. Killed the Toa of Deoli-Koro and took half the village away. Messenger met us. I don’t know why, but Makuta Krika has it in for Toa. I thought we were safe, but with Feayrin back…”

     Teoha was silent, a little shocked by the captain’s terse report.

      “He’s back, and he needs us as much as we need him,” he replied. “That’s going to be your duty, to keep the village safe. Maybe Krika won’t know he’s back.

     Rahkan looked Teoha in the eye and shook his head once. “I’ll be ready.”

 

-=-

 

     The Toa of Fire that Rahkan saw lying on Teoha’s relatively tiny bed was a far cry from the noble hero he remembered. The once brilliant armor was scratched and battered, shredded on his right thigh where only a bandage protected him.

      “What happened to you?” the matoran asked. Feayrin smiled through his Mahiki’s mouthpiece.

      “I hunted them down, Rahkan,” he said, a quiet satisfaction in his voice. The Fe-Matoran nodded.

      “And the Turaga?”

     The smile vanished. “That is a tale that must be told. But first, there is something I want you to know before anyone else. I have been Toa of this village for several millennia. Now I am wearied and wounded, and I can protect no more.” He looked Rahkan squarely in the eye. “Another must take my place.”

      “But you can recover, can’t you?” Rahkan asked, unable to imagine the village without their Toa. He was about to plead, but Feayrin cut him off with a shake of his head.

      “I am too hurt, both in my body and in my soul. I am old now, too old to be a protector. It is time for me to become your elder, and for one of you to take my place.”

      “Who?” Rahkan, resigned, queried. Feayrin smiled again.

      “You’ll have to wait until the announcement this noon, like everyone else,” he said.

      “I fear though: what will Makuta Krika do now that we have another Toa? He killed or imprisoned almost every Toa on the Northern Continent while you were gone,” Rahkan said.

      “That we’ll just have to weather,” Feayrin said softly. “There are many tragedies in this world, and few can be wholly avoided.” He lay back on the bed with a sigh.

      “We all want to see justice done, but we never realize the price this justice demands. My leg, our Turaga. Wounds that can never be fully repaired…”

 

-=-

 

     It took Feayrin a month of tracking to hunt down the bandits that had raided Gora-Koro. They were camped near a town in the Tren Krom Peninsula, no doubt readying to flee the continent for good. He had caught up to them just in time.

     Catching up to them was not the problem, catching them is, the Toa of Fire ruminated as he watched the camp from a distance. A Skakdi, two Matoran, a Vortixx, a Lower-Steltian and a member little known species, a Brothui. Even with two Matoran—whom he guessed were deadlier than they seemed—it was too much for a single Toa to handle, but he knew he had to handle them.

     It was still dark and not yet dawn when Feayrin made his move.

As he had guessed, the group expected him to be following them. The Turaga was chained to the hulking Lower-Steltian who was guarding him. No illusion Mahiki could make would mask the the feeling of the chain breaking. Feayrin crept closer, cloaked by illusion, observing the camp. It was set near the edge of a cliff, but how long a drop Feayrin could not tell. Their fire was burned to embers, and the hulking guard was nodding. Feayrin didn’t let his guard down: however asleep the Steltian appeared, there was no telling of what state he might be in. The Toa sighed, composing himself. Slowly he closed his eyes, stretching out his hands. To the observer nothing happened, the illusions visible only to Feayrin’s target who slowly got to his feet. Feayrin crept closer as the brute lumbered blindly towards to cliff. A flame ignited in the Toa’s hand as he timed his move.

     The ground was just about to vanish from under the guard’s feet when Feayrin moved. Fast as lightning he leaped forward, his flaming hand grasping the chain, melting through it. Before the dazed Lower-Steltian could react, Feayrin sent a fireball into his back. The brute tumbled off the cliff edge with a howl, and Feayrin hoped that the drop was not too far. Grasping his staff, he whirled around.

     It was as he feared. The nearest bandit was already up, charging him. He frowned as the Vortixx swung a bare hand at him. What was it thinking?

     The whirr of the blade gave him barely enough time to react, diving under the hidden blade. Feayrin popped up and noted that the sword could be seen now, although shadowy and vague: A Xian Shadow Blade. A fireball hit the Vortixx in the chest, sending him back, even as Feayrin slammed his hardwood staff into the bandit’s head, downing him in an instant.

     It was too late though: already the camp was awakening, and his element of surprise was vanished. There was a movement to his side and he locked eyes with his Turaga for a moment. Neither spoke for the danger they were in.

     Then Feayrin moved, closing the gap between him and one Matoran who was armed only with a short rifle. A field of flame flew in front of him, melting the first bullets. The flame leaped forwards, engulfing the Matoran’s gun and leaving him weaponless. Throwing his staff like a javelin the Toa downed him, and leaped over the fallen matoran to retrieve it. Turning, he saw with a sinking feeling his foes: one Matoran armed with twin revolvers in a brilliant red hue, an ebon-armored Skakdi, and a sleek figure he knew only as a Brothui. Both ends of hi staff glowed with heat as he prepared for the fight.

     But the fight had other plans in mind. Even as he prepared another attack the staff leaped out of his hands, cracking cross the mask. He staggered backwards, his mask askew, only to be picked up and slammed to the ground.

     Again he rose, again he fell, the world spinning, his body aching. With a roar he sent a wave of flame from him, sweeping over friend and foes alike: not enough to injure, just enough to break the hold of whatever power had grasp on him.

Leaping to his feet, Feayrin threw out his hands and cannonading his foes with ball after ball of flame. His foes scattered, but his victory was short lived. Scarlet rays swept about him and on him, their force send him not only backwards, but into the air.

It was too late when he realized where he was headed. As panic set in, he flung his hands out in that general direction he knew now only as ‘down’. A blast of flame poured out, gradually slowing him.

     He could not stop a short cry as he landed. The Toa of Fire staggered to his feet, bruised and dizzy and looked about. Then, rational thought fully returned, he placed an illusion of a still form where he had landed. Then and only then he slumped down, breathing heavily. The battle was lost.

     As time passed he became gradually more aware of his surroundings. The plain he had descended into was rocky, the rocks forming irregular spikes here and there. He shivered, glad that they had not been his target. But at the still shape upon one, he paused. It was the guard he had lured over the edge, and there was no question as to his state now. Feayrin sighed as he walked over to the corpse; it was the first time he had ever killed another rational being. Generating a flame in his palm he gazed at the face of his victim: the classic square face with the bulging red eyes, seeming devoid of reason. These made good workers and mindless thugs, nothing more. Still, his heart was heavy as he gazed upon the closed eyes that would never open.

     Dawn found him crouched still in meditation next to the impaled corpse.

 

     After that fight, Feayrin’s world reverted to that dreary existence of constant tracking, constant hunting. The bandits had stolen a boat and left immediately after the fight, not even stopping to find their Steltian comrade.

     It was almost ten months before the relentless Toa tracked them down.

 

 

     Xia was not a beautiful place at the best of times, and in the sweltering heat of the day Feayrin found it unbearable. It was not the heat—as a Toa of Fire, such temperature was hardly unbearable—but the glare of the suns combined with the ugliness of the buildings, black metal and twisted wood forming the bulk of their perception, made his head spin: he missed the quiet plains and hills of his homeland, places he was doubting he would ever see again.

     But that worry he tried to push out of his mind, and indeed excitement had helped there. The building he was observing, cloaked once again by his Mahiki, was of greater importance than his sudden homesickness. Ten months of searching had finally paid off in this: the inn where the bandits were staying. He stretched, ran a hand down his staff, and walked through the door.

     The ground floor of the inn was plain, a small low class one in the slums of Xia. Predictably, a male Vortixx sat at the desk at one side. At the sight of a Toa, he jumped to his feet nervously. Feayrin couldn’t help smiling slightly at this.

      “I’m looking for Varui,” he said in a calming tone, “Is he here?” The Vortixx shook his head vigorously.

      “They’re not here, not here,” he said, the nervousness still evident on his voice. “Left this morning for the south docks. What did they do?”

     The last comment fell on empty air, and the Vortixx sat down again: it never did pay to inquire into the business of Toa.

 

     Feayrin ran through the city, the bright sun still irking him. His form was slimmer and swifter than normal, a trick of shapeshifting he had learned over time. No one else would recognize this, over course, as he cloaked himself in illusion as well. The ever-present Vortixx were minor obstacles, and he dodged around them with ease. As he ran he breathed prayer after prayer to the silent Spirit that he was not too late.

It seemed that Mata Nui had deigned to answer him for once. Hardly five minutes later, he spotted the familiar form of the Bruthui—Varui, the only name he knew. Stopping, he noted the others: two Matoran, one Vortixx and the Skakdi.

There was no sign of the Turaga.

     Feayrin gave a sharp intake of breath, his heart suddenly pounding. He leaned against a nearby wall, trying to think lucidly. Attacking six foes he could handle. But if the Turaga was not with them, then either his mission was about to fail or extend indefinitely.

     There was only one course of action that he could follow, and he did so. Appearing abruptly only some thirty feet behind them he unleashed a storm of fireballs.

Taken utterly by surprise the group scattered. One Matoran collapsed, armor charred; the rest hardly escaped without at least minor injuries. They had hardly seen him when Feayrin drastically switched tactics, once more generating illusion after illusion. But the invisible force that had proved his nemesis last encounter gripped him a second later, throwing him into a wall hard enough to break his concentration.

     Telekinesis, he cursed, rolling to his feet. His first thought was the Vortixx who once again was the first to close. Not giving him time to use his blade, Feayrin threw out his staff, knocking his foe to the ground with a wave of intense heat. He charged past—long experience with that attack had taught him just how much power would take out an opponent for the duration of a skirmish—to face his remaining four foes. They had pressed close after the Vortixx, and he found himself ducking twin rays from the Skakdi as he closed. Feayrin deflected the two-handed axe with his staff, following up with a hard crack to the Skakdi’s head, downing that monster. He grabbed the limp form of his foe as it fell, just as the remaining Matoran set his sights at the Toa of Fire. The shot pierced the Skakdi’s shoulder as the Matoran jerked his rifle up in a vain attempt to avoid killing his comrade, and Feayrin threw the body straight into the Brothui. The matoran went to fire again, not seeing the almost invisible beam of fire from Feayrin’s left hand until it touched the barrel of his gun, melting it into ruin in the space of a second.

Feayrin, however, did not have any time to press his attack, dodging narrowly the same Skakdi as the angered Varui sent it back with even greater force. So close to the hulking being, Feayrin felt almost like a Matoran as he surveyed the thick ridged armor and the long curved claws of his last opponent.

     It made the first move—it was hard for Feayrin to think of the Rahkshi-faced being as a he—leaping forwards with surprising quickness and forcing the Toa to duck under its first slash. Abandoning that, it simply bowled into Feayrin, slamming him against the wall and leaving him to room for weapon or escape.

     But he had reckoned without taking Feayrin’s Kanohi into account, and Feayrin shifted his arm rapidly, throwing Varui back and shrinking his arm back to size rapidly.

     But neither did Feayrin reckon on his foe’s speed. Even as he retracted his arm and straightened, the Brothui leaped forwards, lashing out with one massive hand. Feayrin’s dodge was in vain, turning into a fall as he cried out in agony, lying where he fell. Varui closed the gap, arm raised for a deadlier blow. But flame bellowed out in a huge cough from the wounded Toa, and the Bruthui was forced to step back, holding off the attack with a telekinetic shield. His hand shaking, Feayrin held it over his right thigh. At once the flesh changed, and the armor was restored. He rose, thanking Mata Nui for his Mahiki—not that it was a longterm fix, for shapeshifting would only work as long as his mind was focused—and sent fireball after fireball crashing into his foe. The Brothui deflected the first two, but his strength was wearing thin, and he staggered back with a sharp cry as the last one struck him square in the chest. Feayrin gave him no chance to recover, smashing blow after blow into Varui with his staff until the massive being at last slumped to the ground, defeated.

 

     It was several hours later that his foes were safely incarcerated in the small fortress of the island’s Toa Team. Feayrin limbed towards the cell of the Brothui, resting most of his weight on a crutch: they had repaired his leg as best as they could, but he knew he would never be able to walk properly. He set the crutch aside, shapeshifting his leg back to normal once again and walking in. One of the Toa Xia had accompanied him, a tall Psionics Toa armed only with a long knife. She stood next to the door, waiting.

Inside, the Brothui looked up with a muted snarl as he saw his captor. Feayrin left him no chance for the first word.

      “Where is the Turaga?” he asked sharply. The Brothui paused for a moment unwilling to answer. Feayrin stepped forward, eyes hard.

      “Where?”

Suddenly, the Brothui smiled, the strange emotion of the defeated being who realizes he has one last way to harm his foe.

      “Rotting somewhere in the sea between the Northern Continent and here,” he said, the smile spreading.

     Feayrin looked at him in cold silence. Then, without word or gesture, he turned and stalked out.

 

-=-

 

     There was silence in the hut when the weary Toa finished his tale. Rahkan’s eyes drifted to the floor as he took it in.

      “I could have killed him there and then, I suppose,” Feayrin mused. “One fireball would have consumed him before the guard could’ve stopped me.”

      “Why did you not?” Rahkan asked.

      “I suppose because I had dealt out justice: they were in the hands of Toa, and if I had struck him down it would have been out of wrath; murder, in short.

      “Justice has been served, Rahkan, in its own strange way. All I can do is adapt to the consequences. I will be a Turaga now, to guide our people with what wisdom I have. That is the way of Destiny, after all. Hard, cheerless, but real.”

     He paused, smiling sadly. “Tomorrow,” he said after some silence, “there is little we can do if Krika decides to pay a visit; no number of matoran can do anything against him. We will leave them to their merriment, but you will keep watch. Maybe there will be something you can do, should need arise.”

      After a few minutes Rahkan could tell his old friend was almost asleep. Almost wordlessly he bade him farewell, fleeing the dreary atmosphere of the hut.


 


Edited by Zarayna, Oct 24 2015 - 09:11 PM.

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