Takua awoke to the sound of thunder.
Normally he wouldn’t have been so frightened by thunder; but it wasn’t everyday he slept on top of a mountain…
As rain and thunder fell into the surrounding air; Takua peaked out from his canvas shelter. The deluge would make it hard for him to continue his journey. Despite this, he found joy in his view over the vast expanses of the island of Okoto. From his shelter he could see over the Region of Jungle; as it crested towards the vast Great Sea. Even through the rain, Takua could spot the glow of fire coming from beyond a mountain ridge, originating in the Region of Fire.
Home. Or perhaps the closest Takua had ever had to one.
Many years ago Takua was found abandoned as a child in the Village of Fire. He was taken in as an adoptive child by the village Protector Vakama and his wife. Takua grew up alongside Vakama’s own sons and daughters. One day when he was a child, Takua sat in a village courtyard watching Narmoto; Vakama’s eldest, receiving fighting lessons from his father. Narmoto was wearing armor that looked oversized on his young body; while Vakama was in his full Protector regalia; an ancient set of armor that perhaps had originated in the days of Ekimu himself. Watching with Takua was Jaller, Vakama’s youngest son. Despite his age, Jaller was several years older than Takua, while Narmoto was nearing the age of adulthood.
“You must be quick and powerful if you are to ever become a Protector;” chided Vakama, as Narmoto began to show signs of fatigue from a long day of practice. “Dad! I’m tired okay! I need a break…” Before Narmoto could finish his sentence, Vakama spoke; “No. A Protector must never rest in his duty to keep his village safe. Endurance is one of the great traits of a true Protector…”
Takua looked over at Jaller. Jaller seemed to be honed in on every one single word Vakama said. Takua couldn’t tell if Jaller was trying to learn from his father’s words… Or if he was just enjoying listening to the scolding his father was giving to his eldest brother. Jaller was always diligently striving to learn how to fight like his older brother; he knew that even if Narmoto would someday claim the title of Protector, that tradition demanded that if the Protector had brothers and sisters that those siblings claim other important roles such as Captain of the Guard, Chief Tohunga of Healing, or Chronicler of the Village. While Takua was just as much a brother to the Narmoto as Jaller was; his status as an adoptive child prevented him from gaining such titles. By ancient law, villagers could only claim titles related to the elements from which they hailed; and while Takua was not sure which element he belonged to it was clear he was definitively not a rightful heir to the Fire Tribe.
The fact every mask he ever wore insisted on turning blue the second it touched his face was a clear reminder of that. Not that Takua belonged to the Water Tribe either… he hated swimming.
As such he was surprised when at that moment; as Narmoto’s exhaustion grew, Vakama looked over at Takua and said; “Son, now it is your turn to practice.” Takua glanced at Jaller, then back at Vakama when he realized indeed the Protector was addressing him. Takua always took note of when Vakama called him son; while not his rightful title Vakama always treated him as such. Takua walked into the courtyard floor with trepidation, as Vakama called him forward. “What do you want me here for?” Takua said as he glanced towards Vakama. “You might not be a part of this tribe; but Takua I believe you deserve all the knowledge I have given to your brothers.” Vakama handed Takua a simple firestaff. The fire emitting staff would normally burn ferociously when wielded by a member of the fire tribe; but in Takua’s hands it produced a small flame that emitted a soft light. Vakama took a staff of his own, and over the next few minutes began to teach Takua how to defend himself.
Over the years the daily sparing ritual continued. Just as Narmoto and Jaller learned to fight with the staff, the sword, the axe, the thornax, and the kanoka; Takua learned alongside them. Yet as Takua reached the age of maturity his differences became all the more apparent. After the premature loss of his wife, Vakama stepped down from his title as Protector to take a personal repose. Narmoto accepted the title per tradition; and Jaller soon found himself training under Narmoto’s wing to take the coveted position as Captain of the Guard. Alaya; and Narisa; the daughters of the family were busy learning important village trades. But the young Takua found himself taken to wanderlust. By day he traveled the slopes of the volcanic hills; gathering trinkets and raw materials that by night he forged into tools for his future adventures. Eventually his travels took him through all the regions of the island. Secretly, he wondered if he could find the answers regarding his origin.
This habit of “adventuring” and “wandering” made Takua a bit of an outcast from the Fire Village. Most of the villagers were content with the lava slopes of their region; and viewed Takua’s trips to distant lands as dangerous, things that could perhaps call forth the ire and curses of the Great Beings. Rumors spread about Takua, “the false-brother” of the Protector; and day after day the Village of Fire felt like less of a home for Takua. While his adoptive family and a few friends remained close to him; the general spirit of the village was of contempt and distrust. When the Skull Spiders began to appear whispers circulated that the Spiders struck the village due to “the curse brought on by that vagrant false-brother…”
So that was when Takua entered exile. It was self imposed; a conscious choice he took open himself. From time to time, he would contact Jaller who would pass news of Takua’s travels to Vakama. At other times, Narmoto and Jaller would send forth Kapura; one of their loyal guardsmen to find Takua for them. Yet in a way, exile was a new freedom Takua had never had in the village. He mingled members of the other five villages, and learned the layout of the island’s landmasses. From a distance hill he looked upon the gates of the forsworn Ancient City. From the beaches he looked at the distant island were legend claimed there was a dark maze hiding great evil. And on a lonely night on a mesa in the Region of Stone; Takua awoke to the sight of six comets falling towards the island. The next day as he entered the Village of Stone, the villagers passed on news of the arrival of “Toa” who were to rid the island of the evil shadows of Makuta the Mask Hoarder.
With such events in motion; Takua had a strange notion, to visit the location of the legendary “Temple of Time” a place where only weeks earlier the Protectors had summoned the Toa to their aid. Curiosity of such things has long been a trait of Takua.
… As the rain subdued, Takua exited his canvas structure and packed it into his backpack. He held in his hand the firestaff Vakama had granted him years ago; a small blue flame emitted a sharp light from the top of the staff. On his hips rested a coiled rope with a grappling hook, and a small blade slightly longer than his outstretched hand. Takua followed a path for several hours, watching as the thunder bearing clouds rolled off into the distance.
The sharp curves and grades of the path made the hours feel like eternity; but gradually the stone path gave way to clean cut bricks which followed a wall where the names of the Protectors of previous generations were inscribed. Takua read a few: Mamuk, Agarak, Norik, Iruni, Tuyet, Lhikan, (Takua noticed a name of a Protector of Jungle, crossed out in shame...), Vakama, Nokama, Nuju… and then finally Narmoto, Izotor, Korgot, Kivoda, Nilkuu, and Vizuna. The names of the current Protectors stood near the end of the path; while an effigy of the great Ekimu watched over them. At the base of the effigy Takua left a small lava rock, a token of the village of his origin (or the closest he could claim); a gift to record the memory of the Mask Maker and the appease the Great Beings.
Then, beyond the statue, was a clearing hosting the mighty Temple of Time. Only a few had seen this sacred site since the fall of the Mask Makers; and Takua was sure he was the first to visit in millennium who wasn’t a Protector. The building was of ancient design; yet looked as though it had been freshly hewn from rock yesterday. Time, eternities, and cosmos stood still at this place; and Takua wondered if this was what his home island was like before the shadow of darkness over came Okoto.
Takua felt as though he didn’t belong there, and that he was a intruder of the Temple’s solace all at once. It was a confusing feeling.
It was then that he realized he was being watched.
Takua grabbed his staff in a defensive position; and turned around and witnessed a grotesque creature of shadow. Standing twice as tall as Takua, the monster was clad in black armor. Sickly green energy pulsated throughout his body, and red spikes protruded from his skin. The jaws of a dead beast rested on the monster’s chest; and the being wore a mask that appeared to have been shattered in two and then melded back together. Great antlers rose from the temple of the monster’s head. Takua feared he had awoken a demon, one which must have protected the temple from intruders. That was until the demon spoke.
“Ah, so this is the best the temple could summon to its defense? A villager who has barely entered his mature years?” Takua shuddered in fear, it appeared fate had drawn him to the temple to defend it from the monster. With a small feeling of duty Takua spoke: “What brings you here to this sanctuary demon?” With a cackle the monster took a step forward on his crooked legs, “I have come here for the Mask of Time guarded in the temple. And it appears that nothing will stop me.” The beast withdrew a sword the height of a full-grown villager, and with it took a swing at Takua. To the demon’s surprise; Takua’s firestaff withstood the blow, and with what strength he could muster Takua pushed the sword back from him. “I-I, I can’t…” stuttering to find conviction, Takua stated; “I can’t let you have that mask.” At that moment Takua felt as though the Mask Maker himself had arisen and bestowed that duty to guard the temple on Takua; a feeling of duty burned within his soul as ferocious as the fires of the great volcano that overshadowed the Fire Region.
And at the next moment Takua was flat faced on the ground; having been pushed aside by the demon. Takua struggled to get back up; he could feel in his side what felt like a laceration. It seemed like part of his mask had cracked. He mustered the strength to look as the demon approached the steps of the Temple of Time.
To his surprise; he watched as a ray of light flashed forth from the Temple pushing the demon out of the sacred courtyard. It seemed in the light there was something familiar; almost as though it had originated in the fire of Takua’s own soul…
At that moment the world turned black.
When Takua awoke he was no longer at the Temple of Time. He was being hauled of the mountain by a group of guardsmen; and Takua recognized Kapura as their leader. His strength was still weak, and the world soon returned to a dark coma.
Again, Takua arose; this time in a canvas shelter. Days had truly passed. He saw his adoptive sister Alaya hovering over him, and could feel her placing balm into his open wound. Kapura was there, and at seeing Takua arise he left the tent to summon some people waiting outside. The canvas gates opened as Vakama and Jaller entered inside. Takua could tell that they were addressing him; but the sound fell deaf to Takua’s ears. And then; a few minutes later, a being walked in that Takua could never have imagined. Clad in golden armor, with blue pulsating rays of light holding it together, the villager walked in with an air of regal power (and perhaps a dash of arrogance). Takua looked up, as the villager looked at his face; perhaps to address Takua or perhaps also studying the cracks in his mask. Then the being bent down and brought his crowned head near Takua’s resting spot. With surprisingly clarity Takua heard the man’s voice; “You did well, your courage prevented Umarak from retrieving the Mask of Time, you have served me as well as a Toa or Protector might have. Takua, welcome to The Ancient City.” Sleep returned to Takua’s eyes; but not the restless sleep of the past few days, but one of peaceful slumber. It felt in a strange way, as if he had finally found a true home.
Ekimu paced within his forge. Normally when he wanted to escape the concerns of the people he could use his work to find solace. Only days earlier he had even dismissed even the Toa using the guise that he was ‘busy making masks.’ Yet even the thought of working on masks was hard at this moment; even as a cracked blue mask rested on his workbench. It wasn’t that the repairs of the mask would be difficult; they were small cracks that he could easily fix within the hour. It was the thought of who was wearing the mask that worried him. The Herald, has returned. He stopped pacing; and looked at the blue mask, a cheap imitation for what it represented. Find the Avohkii, I must find the Avohkii, find it, or else all my work falls. Find it. The thoughts echoed in Ekimu’s mind as he retired for the night.
So yeah this story is set in the same "universe" as my previous short story about Vakama. Since this is intended to be a stand alone installment I have chosen to place it here, although over the summer I might (I said might, not "I will") write an Epic in the other forum to continue the adventures of these characters. But for now this is meant to stand on its own. I have wanted to bring Takua into the world of G2 since the reboot started; and I even Bricklinked the pieces to build a G2 version of him. I hope this and the previous Vakama story have found ways to bring the lore of G1 a bit more into G2, without destroying the world building of one or the other stories. So yeah, I hope you enjoyed the read, and until next time! Hasta luego!
Edited by Xboxtravis, Apr 12 2016 - 08:09 PM.