Vakama’s home only had two sounds; silence was normal when Vakama was there by himself. And chaos was the only description for when his grandchildren came to visit…
Vakama was a retired Protector. He had guarded the fire village for generations, and now that duty had fallen on his elder son Narmoto. Vakama knew that being a retired Protector was a blessing, as very few Protectors had the chance to survive to an old age. But Vakama knew he had been very lucky indeed, and now considered every moment he could spend with his family the greatest luck he could ever obtain.
This particular visit from the family was a large gathering. Narmoto and his wife came with their children. Vakama’s youngest son Jaller happened to be there to help with household duties, and soon Jaller took upon himself the duty of distracting Narmoto’s youngest sons. With the youngest children entertained Vakama was able to talk with Narmoto.
“So, are you sure it is time for Hafan to travel to the great mural?” asked Narmoto.
Vakama stated, “Indeed, Hafan is of age. Seeing that you are occupied in village affairs I think I am more than capable than taking Hafan to the mural.”
“But with the Skull Spiders about do you really think now is the time to take my son on a trip to the mural? I don’t want to lose you or him to an attack.”
Vakama looked at his anxious son, “With the threat of the Skull Spiders it is no better time to for Hafan to learn the Prophecy of the Heroes. The kid needs hope.”
Narmoto stared at his feeble father. Even with old age weighing down his bones, Vakama’s eyes burned with determination. Narmoto knew his father was right in his judgment. “Just be careful okay?”
The next morning Vakama and Hafan set out together across the jagged plains of volcanic rock. Vakama wore a simple cloak and carried his old firestaff. Instead of his preferred Mask of Invisibilty, on his face was a normal villager mask to conceal his identity as the retired Protector. Hafan looked like a smaller version of Narmoto, his big blue eyes seeming to be in wonder at every new sight. “Grandpa, I have never been this far outside the village before, where are you taking me?” Vakama replied, “We have many places I want to take you today, but first I will take you to the Cave of the Dead.” Vakama wanted his grandson to obtain an appreciation for life and death, and he figured that a visit to the burial grounds of the late Protectors would help him gain the needed perspective.
The Cave of the Dead was large, inset into the walls were crypts where villagers have been laid to rest in the millennia since the Fall of the Mask Makers. Vakama lead his grandson through dark corridors and into a large room. The bodies of dead villagers almost appeared to be in immaculate condition, as their metal exterior shelled from view the deterioration of the interior flesh. Only the most ancient bodies had the appearance of haggard metallic skeletons. Vakama lead his grandson to a crypt, and stood there in reverence looking over a dead body. The body was dressed in the ceremonial garb reserved for late Protectors, on its face was a ceremonial mask; cast in gold and shaped to resemble the legendary Mask of Fire. Vakama was sorrowful as he began to explain to Hafan, “This body here is that of your great grandfather; my father, Lhikan. He was a brave Protector like your father and he fought to keep the people of our village safe.” Hafan interrupted, “What happened to him, why did he die?” Vakama began to tell the story of that fateful day:
“I was a young man, who spent his days practicing my battle skills for the moment my father would retire. I was a bit of a fool in those days to, never thinking of the dangers of life; only on the honor of being the son of the Protector. Then one day the Great Volcano overlooking our island erupted. Our village was located straight in the path of the flow of lava. Your great grandfather asked me to help evacuate the village. I helped as much as I could, while your great grandfather walked towards the oncoming lava flow. He used the powers in his Protector’s mask to try and divert the lava, give us as much time as we could to escape. As we escaped he was engulfed by the flames. Even as he suffered immense pain he continued to divert the flow of the lava away from the village.”
“The next day we found him, trapped inside the solidified lava rock. We dug him out but he was still very sick. As he lay dying he removed his mask and handed it to me. ‘You know what you must become’ was what he told me as I held that mask in my hands. He died shortly thereafter, and that is when I had to become a Protector. I’ve spent my life trying to live my life like him. I have taught your father and your uncle Jaller about these things, and it is time you learn to.”
Hafan stood in silence, pondering the things his grandfather hold told him. Vakama continued, “That mask my father gave me that day was forged over a thousand years ago by Ekimu himself. It is the mask I wore when I was a Protector, the mask your father wears, and the mask that someday you will wear when you must become a Protector to.”
Hafan soon paused with a look of concern, “Grandpa? Will you and dad die someday then?”
Vakama only could nod in silent agreement, and then took his Grandson to the next room. “This is the tomb for my generation.” Vakama began to cry as he approached the still body of a lifeless villager. Her body lacked the burial robes of the Protectors, and her face was bare and maskless. Even in death, her body showed beauty of a being who had lived a fulfilling life. Hafan began to cry when he realized who the body was. “Grandpa, is this Grandma?” “Yes,” said Vakama as he began to control his tears, “this is your Grandma.”
Leaving the tomb Vakama took his grandson up a steep cliff side. The two talked about life and death. They talked about pain and joy. Vakama began to talk with his grandson about the Skull Spiders, and how their appearance was a sign of the rising evil of Makuta. As the two traveled up the cliff Hafan heard the tales of Ekimu the Mask Maker, the Temple of Time, the glorious Creatures of the Elements, and the history of the island of Okoto. In the hours that passed Hafan also learned about the life of his grandfather, how he met his grandma, how he raised his sons, his adventures as a Protector, and his travels across the island. At the top of the cliff the two entered a cave adorned with murals.
Vakama looked at his grandson, “Do you want to know why I am not afraid of the Skull Spiders?”
Hafan stared in amazement, “Why?”
Vakama smiled as he held a torch up to illuminate the mural, “Because I know that there is hope in the greatest legend of all.” Vakama addressed his grandson as though he was his own son, and then recited to him a great prophecy.
“When times are dark and all hope seems lost, the Protectors must unite, one from each tribe. Evoke the powers of past and future, and look to the skies for an answer. When the stars align, six comets will bring timeless heroes to claim the Masks of Power and find the Mask Maker. United the elements hold the power to defeat evil. United, but not one.”
Edited by Xboxtravis, Jan 23 2016 - 10:19 AM.