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Windows Through The Void

A serial

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#1 Offline Tolkien

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Posted Dec 15 2011 - 12:27 PM

“Go.”

The voice echoed in the dry air of the chamber. Helryx’s voice was terse, thick with urgency. She stepped forward and pressed something into his hand. It was the gnomon—a piece of the ancient sundial he had unlocked. What did it mean? He could not say.Takanuva glanced to his left. The Silent Toa still stood motionless, his eyes grim. Krakua was a strange Toa, Takanuva thought; but, of the three beings which surrounded him in this dim chamber, he trusted him the most.Krakua nodded, his voice echoing in Takanuva’s mind: “Go.”The other being was there too: Brutaka, the traitor, the one whom they said had despaired, once.“Once condemned, but now redeemed,” Helryx had said. The scarred mask upon Brutaka’s face flickered with a dangerous light. The Olmak was perilous. A thing that could open doors…gateways.Windows through the Void.There was nothing for it now. No other task, no other cause.No other duty.

“Go!”Takanuva faced forward now, steeling his nerves, eyes wide against the terrible light of what loomed before him.The portal gaped.He stepped forward.

Windows Through the Void

- A serial -

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Edited by Tolkien, Dec 16 2011 - 03:58 PM.

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#2 Offline Tolkien

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Posted Dec 25 2011 - 02:37 PM

: 1.1 :

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A flash, and stars flickered across his vision, but not just the stars of shock or pain.Real stars.An unfathomable darkness opened beneath him, a gaping absence. The endless depth of the Void yawned, tearing at his being as he hurtled onward. Onward through the emptiness, through the black, reeling darkness...Onward!A thud, and the heavy weight of gravity seized his limbs as he collapsed to solid earth.It was over.Takanuva lay still, his lungs heaving, perspiration and fear clouding his vision like a fog. His jaw was clenched tight, muscles seizing as he began to shudder. The feeling of abject terror that enveloped him was like nothing he had ever encountered, and it was slow to abate.But it did abate, gradually releasing its hold upon him. He exhaled, letting his body go limp, exhausted from the journey. His mind was still dazed, and his eyes roved around him, trying to focus on his surroundings. Where was he?Finally, he felt that he had the strength to stand. He rose to a sitting position, then to his knees, lifting his head. He reeled for a moment as he finally stood upright, trying to regain his sense of balance.Helryx had warned him...she had told him of the danger, but he could never have prepared for what he had just experienced. Hurtling between planes of existence, time and space. The encounter with the void had left him drained.”Where am I?” he thought.There, at least his mind still worked, despite the exhaustion of his body. That was good to know.He looked around, rubbing his eyes with shaking hands, trying to focus.It was dark, but he could see, his vision adjusting to the dimness. The wind whistled through the trunks of the endless trees which surrounded him on all sides. Black trees, gnarled and desiccated, rattling in the night air. It was a forest. A dead forest.”Perfect,” he thought, sighing. This was certainly not his destination. It couldn’t have been that easy. It never was.He sighed, rubbing a hand over his mask, letting his thudding heart calm itself.Then he looked up.There, far above him, he glimpsed a vast ribbon of stars sprawling across the night sky, glinting down through the tangle of branches which roofed the dead forest. It reminded him of the sky on Mata Nui, when he had called that island home, and it would have been beautiful, if he had not had a more pressing errand.”All the same,” he thought wryly, ”I’m glad I can look at them from a safe distance now.”He might be a Toa of Light, but he would rather gaze at the stars with his feet planted on solid ground.He shook himself now, trying to loosen his aching muscles. He had to continue on, had to find a way out of this place. Valuable time was being wasted.He took stock of his supplies: Kanohi and Toa tool...and the strange gnomon. He pulled it from the armor-slot at his waist where he had stored it, turning it over in his hands. It was nothing remarkable to look at, but it had served him well in his past adventures. It seemed such a long time ago, long before he had ever dreamed of being a Toa. Simple days, simple times.“Stop thinking about the past,” he prodded himself mentally, grimacing. “The here and now is what needs attention. Now, what else have you got?”Light.Yes. He raised a hand, trying to summon the power of his Element to illuminate his way. His hand flickered for a moment, a small orb of radiance lighting up the clearing.Abruptly, the light went out, vanishing just as suddenly as it had appeared. Another wave of weariness washed over his mind and body, as if he had just lifted something far beyond his strength. It took all of his will to keep from collapsing. His mind buzzed, dizzy.”No element,” he realized. He had no elemental power left. The thought sent a shiver of fear up his back as he sank to one knee. He was drained, both his strength and his element. Defenseless. He would have to wait to regain his power.“Mata Nui,” Takanuva sighed, aloud, his voice grating, “What am I supposed to do now?”Only the wind answered him: a long, low, rasping moan. The rattle of the dry trees continued on into the dark distance on all sides.“Well,” he said at last, “this doesn’t help me at all. I can’t just stay here...”There was only one course of action.He stood, rallying himself, and began to walk, leaving the small clearing behind as he ventured into the trees.

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Edited by Tolkien, Jan 09 2012 - 10:58 AM.

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#3 Offline Tolkien

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Posted Jan 06 2012 - 01:33 PM

: 1.2 :

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An hour went by. The gravel of the forest floor crunched under his armored feet. The stars shone down, unblinking.Takanuva was beginning to feel restless. Striding on through the endless darkness, there was no destination, no real direction. He had no goal, other than getting out of the forest, and now he felt as if he were going in circles.The trees seemed to gather more thickly around him as he went on, the branches lowering like twisted arms. It was an unsettling place, this forest. No sound disturbed the silence, other than the crunch of gravel and the mourning of the wind. There were no rahi here. Nothing at all.It was a place that felt...left behind. Abandoned. Empty. A house with no inhabitants...He shivered. Would the night never end? Perhaps here night was eternal.”Ironic,” he thought. "They said I was supposed to drive out the night, bring a ‘new day’. Now I can’t even manage a flicker...”He squinted, putting a hand out in front of him to push away the low-hanging twigs.“A Toa of Light in need of a lightstone...”That made him laugh. The sound seemed to carry through the dead ranks of the trees. A sound that had not been heard in that place for ages.And then another sound answered it.A whisper.A voice.Takanuva froze. Had he really heard it, or was his tired mind playing tricks? He quickened his pace, turning to the right, eyes straining through the darkness.There it was again, almost an echo of a voice...faint and far off in the distance. He turned back to the left now, listening intently.This was something. It must be. He had to follow it, but it was hard to tell which direction it came from. How would he ever find it? The thought of wandering endlessly through this ancient, empty forest pricked his spirit with dread. A terrible fate...His eyes narrowed with resolve. No...he would not let that happen.He stopped abruptly, looking around. Something had changed, something was different, wrong...he felt a strange sensation of……burning? Something was burning him! Hot against his armor. There—at his waist.It was the gnomon.He snatched it from the slot he had placed it in and held it up. A burning vibration moved through his fingers as he stared at it, wide-eyed. The small rod almost seemed to glow faintly before his face, or perhaps it was just the reflection of the stars...“What does this mean?” Another question, another riddle. He clenched the gnomon tightly in his fist, frustrated.“What are you trying to tell me?” he said aloud, his voice rising.“Gah!” A sharp vibration rattled his fingers in response, and he dropped the gnomon to the ground, flickering in the dimness.He cursed and stooped to snatch it up again, reaching downward. But before he could touch it......it moved.He withdrew his hand, gasping in surprise. The small instrument quivered in the dust for a moment, turning slowly in an arch as he watched, almost as if it were...orienting itself.Abruptly, it slid forward, skittering along the ground before him, drawing a line in the rough gravel.Takanuva watched its progress in amazement for a moment, almost not believing his eyes.Then again, he had seen stranger things, hadn’t he? He did not have the will to question this new development. He shrugged tiredly and followed, letting the gnomon lead him on, half bent in the dimness. He wouldn’t let it get away.“Where are you taking me?” he muttered, stumbling over tree roots and small rises in the terrain. Straight onward it led, like a compass, pointing the way.“Fitting for a gnomon,” he thought, chuckling a little.That was when he heard the voice again.His ears pricked up at the sound, tuned to the direction intently. It was close now! Straight ahead, it seemed, just over a small rise. The gnomon was heading right for it!He stood up straight and gave chase, dashing up the gentle, tree-covered slope, ignoring the branches that grasped and tore at his armor. He had his goal, and he would not be deterred. Before him, the gnomon vanished over the rise, leaving only the thin trail in the dust behind it.Quick, Takanuva, onward!He spurred forward, a feeling of excitement flooding his mind as he rushed helter-skelter up the slope, stumbling a little as he crested the rise—Suddenly he was falling forward, his feet meeting only air as he flailed into emptiness. Wind whistled in his ears for a split-second as he fell four bio down the steep embankment beneath him, landing heavily upon his face in the mulch below.“Oh…” he groaned heavily, “How graceful,” He lay still for a moment, eyes closed, berating himself for his stupidity. He hadn’t been paying attention, too intent on the movement of the gnomon. It was a foolish mistake. He should know better.Takanuva sighed now, raising his head and shaking the dust from his eyes.That was when he noticed it: the light.Light!It almost blinded him as he looked upward. He shaded his dull eyes with one hand, raising himself to his knees. Moments passed as he acclimated himself to the white glare, regaining his balance. What was it? The wind was utterly silent now, but there was another sound.A whispering.A voice.“Hail, creature of the Great Beings,” it said. The voice was calm, utterly composed. It sounded almost familiar, like a voice that had always been speaking in the back of his mind, somewhere. A voice that was too often drowned out...Listening to that voice, Takanuva felt a sense of awe fall upon him. He opened his mouth to speak, but couldn’t manage any words to reply. He drew a breath, still squinting into the glow.At last, he lowered his hand, staring full-on into the source of the shimmering radiance.And what he saw amazed him.

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Edited by Tolkien, Jan 06 2012 - 01:34 PM.

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#4 Offline Tolkien

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Posted Jan 22 2012 - 07:03 PM

: 1.3 :

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It was a hau.It was a Hau.A Kanohi Hau was hanging in the night air before him, huge and spectral. A Hau made of light.The stars seemed to glimmer through its face, through its two huge eyes. They were deep eyes, ancient and tranquil. The pattern of the stars found an order in those eyes.“Wh-who are you?” Takanuva asked, finally finding his voice. His eyes were wide, almost disbelieving the image that hung before him. The shock of seeing such a familiar likeness in such a foreign place seemed to clash with the relief he felt at finding something living in this dead forest.“I am...of the Great Beings,” the Hau said, staring down at him impassively. Its eyes seemed to pierce him through, gazing into his heart and mind.“Can you...can you tell me where I am?” Takanuva replied. He felt his heartbeat quicken at the mention of the Great Beings. Perhaps he wasn’t as far from home as he had thought.“You are lost.” it replied, and Takanuva thought he caught a glimmer of humor in the mask’s face.“Yes, I know,” he said, frowning a little, “I mean, can you help me find my way?”“I can.” Now the image of the mask turned its eyes downward. Takanuva’s gaze followed, and, there in front of him, he saw the shape of the gnomon, still quivering slightly, pointing straight toward the floating Hau. He picked it up gingerly, finding that it no longer burned him.“Why did this lead me to you?” Takanuva asked, turning the small rod in his fingers.“It is also of the Great Beings.”“Oh? But it’s just a gnomon.”“Appearance should not be judged so hastily,” the mask said with a tinge of reproach. “You will only deceive yourself that way.”Takanuva sighed. The mask was a riddle-maker.“Look,” he said, his mind returning to the urgency of his mission, “can you help me get where I’m going? I have an urgent task—”“—I can, as I said,” the mask interrupted, turning its eyes back to him. “But there is another task you must finish first. Another duty.”“I’m afraid I don’t have time.” Takanuva was starting to feel frustrated now. Was the mask going to help him or not?“There is always time,” the Hau said, its eyes laughing again. “Go to the City of Silver. A wrong must be righted there.”This was not what Takanuva had hoped for: another task set before him. He had wasted enough time wandering through this forest already—he had to find the way back.”And anyways,” he thought, frowning, ”why should I trust this floating mask?”“You must trust me,” the mask said, interrupting his thoughts. Takanuva was startled, wondering if the mask could tell what he was thinking.“I can’t—“”You must. Only then can you continue on your journey.”Takanuva felt anger rise in his chest for a moment. This mask would not force him to do anything. But then he looked into its eyes again. There was no deception there—only peace, confidence. This being could be his key to finding his way. He would have to trust it.“Fine,” he said sharply, standing to his full height. “What do I have to do?”“You must go to the City of Silver. It is not far.”“Alright then,” he said, “just show me where to go.”Takanuva peered around impatiently, looking for a sign of a path or road.“The City is in danger,” the mask continued. “Even now it is threatened from outside the walls. You must protect it and that which dwells within it—”“Alright—I said I’d go.” The Toa of Light stepped toward the mask, impatient, his eyes still searching.There! On the edge of the clearing. There was an opening in the trees, and what looked like the remnants of a road. Something was shimmering along the horizon there.“Is that the City?” Takanuva pointed, moving toward the opening.“Yes,” the mask said, its eyes narrowing. A sad look crept into its face as it moved behind the Toa. “That is the City of Silver.”“Yes, I can see it. It isn’t far. I’ll right whatever wrongs need righting.””Very well,” The mask said, its voice seeming to fade slightly as he moved toward the edge of the clearing.“But remember what I have said, creature—”“—I will, don’t worry,” Takanuva said hurriedly, feeling the sense of urgency rise in his chest. He squared his shoulders and turned from the floating Hau, stepping quickly down the remnant of the path.For a moment as he moved away, he thought he heard the voice of the Hau again, words echoing faintly behind him, whispering in the low breeze.He could not understand them.

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Edited by Tolkien, Feb 13 2012 - 11:01 AM.

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#5 Offline Tolkien

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Posted Jun 30 2012 - 01:25 PM

: 1.4 :

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“Remember, creature.”“Perhaps then you will learn to listen...”The Hau faded into the starlight as Takanuva moved away, its eyes glittering with a knowing look as it flickered and vanished.The wind began to moan again as Takanuva jogged off down the ruined track of the road. His focus was now turned to a new duty—a new goal. He was running out of time. He felt the urgency of his plight keenly now. He would have to finish this task quickly if he was to continue.Before him, along the horizon, the silver light rose up into the towers and spires of a vast city. A City of Silver. The stars paled in comparison as he ran briskly down the winding track. Here and there to the side of the road a stone pillar loomed among the trees, and sometimes he glimpsed the remains of ruins deeper in the forest, broken and buried beneath ancient dust and the winding of dead roots.The forest ended abruptly before the walls of the Silver City. Straight from the earth it rose, smooth and glass-like. Takanuva approached and ran a hand along the surface. It was almost frictionless. Impossible to climb, for sure. The metal or crystal of which the wall was made glowed with an inner light, filling the sky above him with its silver radiance.He turned back to the road. Now he saw that it wound its way parallel to the wall, vanishing in the dusk to his right. He followed it, moving more slowly now, staff in hand, ready for anything he might meet.After a while, he found that the roadway was paved. Closely-fitted stones made the path straight and even. The stones were well-carved, bathed in the same silver light as the city. No Po-Matoran could do better...For a moment, faced with memories rising in his mind, Takanuva felt the strangeness of his situation. Lost in a dead forest in some Mata Nui-forsaken land, searching along a glowing road beside a glowing city. He certainly never expected to be doing this.A sound broke his reverie—the noise of shouts. He realized that he had slowed to a walk, but now he quickened his pace. There was a commotion ahead. Some kind of uproar. He squinted through the dimness, around the curve of the wall. This must be the danger the Hau had spoken of.He would find out soon enough.Takanuva left the roadside and hugged the wall closely, sidling along it, covered in the radiance of it. As a Toa of Light, light itself could be his camouflage here.Suddenly a noise came from behind him—on the road to his left. Something was hurrying past along the paved way. It was a small figure—a Matoran?“No...” he thought, “Not a Matoran, but strangely close.”The small figure dashed away along the track. It was clad in some kind of armor—shades of dark red and purple. Takanuva couldn’t tell if it was wearing a mask or not. It certainly reminded him of a Matoran.He had to follow it. Stealthily, carefully, he moved along the length of the wall, craning his neck to see around the smooth bend of the silver barrier. The small creature vanished along the road, trotting steadily along.The sounds were growing louder now, and the Toa thought he heard the noise of metal clashing on metal. Voices were raised in anger. He sped up, almost running now, close against the wall. Almost there——And then he saw it. A creature! It was huge: a hulk of silver, metallic armor. It lumbered across the road in front of him, and Takanuva saw that it was surrounded by a host of the smaller creatures, crowding around it. They were shouting, gesturing. Some of them thrust small spears at the massive beast, crouching low to jab at its underside.The silver beast gave a deep groaning roar and lashed out with one of its great claws, scattering the smaller beings like dry leaves in a wind. Takanuva left the wall, strafing out across the road now, careful to keep out of the creature’s line of sight. He saw that he had reached the gate of the city: it was open. Two great doors swung inward, all metallic silver, except that both were scarred with black marks—claw marks?“This is it,” Takanuva thought. “This must be what I have to do...”The Hau had said that the city was threatened—threatened from outside the walls—and here was a beast attacking the city. It seemed almost too simple.Takanuva smiled grimly, readying himself. He turned back to the city, reaching out a hand toward the gleaming walls. He might be drained of his full power for now, but he didn’t have to be the light source in order to use it.As he watched, the great beast lashed out once more, driving the smaller beings back. One of them took the opportunity to hurl a spear, catching the creature between two armor plates. It roared suddenly and charged the contingent of smaller beings, who scattered as it barreled headlong down the road. Mouth gaping, eyes wide.Straight toward the Toa of Light.Takanuva made his move then. Focusing his remaining power, he drew a surge of light out of the city walls, a flashing conduit of radiance spreading into his form as he unleashed it full into the beast’s face.The massive creature swerved away from Takanuva, rearing up as the blinding flare seared its eyes and singed its armor. The Toa leapt to the right, crouching on the gravel beside the road, ready for any attack.But no attack came. The beast continued in its headlong rush, stumbling away from the road as it dashed madly into the trees.Its groaning roar faded into the distance as Takanuva listened, slightly out of breath. He smiled, proud of his success, and turned back toward the gate of the city.

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