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The Knights of Terankos


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#1 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Nov 26 2016 - 03:15 AM

Prologue

 

 

This place sure went to the blazes, didn’t it?

 

A lone warrior clad in black armor wandered through the stone region of the island of Okoto. With both his mask and armor, it would be easy to mistake him for being a black dragon, a mythical creature knowing for dwelling in the shadows. The warrior had traveled long and far to get to where this island, intent on fulfilling a personal duty he upheld with up most importance. Once, a magnificent paradise, now the island was stricken by darkness.

 

This weather… this atmosphere… This sure does take me back. It makes me think of that day. The moment when…

 

Lightning flashed brightly in the sky, followed by the roar of tremendous thunder. The dark skies and rain plagued the land, and the overall landscape appeared to be broken and shattered. Of course, he secretly coveted this darkness, as he was born from this darkness, or so he believed. He took a moment to look to the faded insignia on his armor.

 

This symbol… This was once a badge of honor. It stood for so much. Now it just serves as a grim reminder…

 

He continued on, eventually coming to what he believed was the right path. The lightning continued to flash brightly in the sky, enough to scare off some of the smaller creatures unfortunate enough to be in this storm. It would be easy to get lost in a place so unfamiliar, and yet something deep down told him that the path he was taking would lead him to the one he was searching for.

 

This island has seen better days. Something transpired here. Whatever that may be, it matters not to me. Once I’ve found him, I won’t be seeing this place for much longer.

 

Okoto had seen better days indeed, as it was once a glorious paradise for the villagers and creatures that lived there. That was before a great darkness pervaded the land, brought about by a mask maker and his wicked creation.

 

Pathetic… Truly pathetic, if you ask me. To think this island was devastated by some pretender born from the light truly disgusts me.

 

As he proceeded down a valley, he thought he heard something scuttling behind him. He paused and looked behind him. There was a moment of silence before he heard the sound again. It seemed like not all of the roaming creatures were scared by the atmosphere of the storm. He slowly backed himself up against the face of a cliff before using the power of his mask to conceal himself from his possible attacker.

 

The Marauder’s mask… my oldest friend and ally aside from my fellow knights… former fellow knights.

 

The moment he vanished, that was when his followers made themselves known. They were relatively small insects with four legs, a tail, and most notably a body in the shape of a skull. The warrior overheard some villagers refer to creatures resembling these as “Skull Spiders,” when he was scouring the island while avoiding detection for reconnaissance. As the spiders drew closer, he reached behind him to grab his lance. As the spiders continued to gather to where they last saw their prey, the warrior chose to reveal himself. When the lightning flashed once more, he deactivated the powers of his mask and took to the air in a swift motion, leaping into the air with both hands gripping the lance. It was too late for most of the spiders to react, as he plunged the lance into the ground, destroying a good number of spiders on contact and unleashing a growing radius of shadow energy around him to take down more of them.

 

When he took his lance out from the ground, more of the surviving spiders quickly rushed for him. With his swift movements, he swept a number of the spiders with his lance, defeating them with ease. A few more were heading for him from behind, believing their prey would be caught off guard. This was far from the truth, as in no time he pulled a secondary weapon from his hip, a powerful hand axe, and with one swipe he managed to defeat the rest.

 

Child’s play. Nothing but mere child’s play. If this is what plagues the island of Okoto, these villagers have no hope. If a mere infestation is enough to keep them at bay, I can’t help but laugh at the thought of something much larger terrorizing the island and how they handle it.

 

As he was sheathing his weapons, something else caught his eye. Not too far away, he noticed something else had been watching him. However, it was not a Skull Spider. This was something he recognized, as he had seen these a few times before. It was a Shadow Trap, eyeing him from afar. It was beginning to back away, but before it could take a few more steps, the warrior had already leapt into the air and landed just inches away.

 

“Umarak…” he spoke. “I know you are out there. I will find you.”

 

If Umarak was nearby, he was not showing himself. No, he was nowhere near this exact location. This Shadow Trap was merely a scout for him, in search of something the hunter was after. The warrior looked right into the single eye of the trap, which start to shake and back away again.

 

“I know your master is here. I know he is out there. I want him to know that I have come for him. I want him to know that Volchior, former Knight of Terankos, is here for him.”

 

 

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Edited by ShadowBionics, Nov 26 2016 - 03:29 AM.

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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries]

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#2 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Dec 21 2016 - 04:07 AM

Chapter 1

 

 

Well, time to report back to our fearless leader…

 

Atheron stepped through the doors of the dark fortress he and many others called “home,” located in what some might consider a desolate wasteland. To him, it was merely the island of Nirek.

 

As someone dedicated to Terankos and those willing to serve in his name, he was at times reluctant about the leader and founder of their group. Some could argue their leader was a genius with intelligence at an incomprehensible level while others might argue he was a lunatic with insane ideas desperately in need of being locked away. Atheron felt he was somewhere in the middle.

 

Lately, he seems to be so… obsessive and vague. I worry for him, sometimes.

 

The highly-ranked knight proceeded through the corridors, acknowledging others he passed, who in turn paid their respects to him. Very few knights were ever given such honor, so much that those in the lower ranks had to not only acknowledge, but properly pay respects to a such a warrior when in their presence.

 

After climbing a few flights of stairs and proceeding down a long, dark corridor, he made it to their leader’s private chambers. Atheron approached the door with caution and was about to knock on the door when a voice from within the room startled him.

 

“Intrude!”

 

Despite being a master of battle tactics, Atheron was still unable to figure out how exactly to approach their leader. He once made the rookie mistake of entering the room without knocking, which led to him facing an uncontrollable rage he had never seen before. After learning from that experience, he began knocking, although again he was met with reprimanding as he was being “too loud.”

 

Has our leader become…?

 

He opened the door, stepping in as it creaked loudly. The room was dark, save for some light from a few dimly lit candles and a single window looking out at sea where a thunderstorm was brewing. In front of the window was a large throne looking out toward the view. From the armrests, two cloaked arms were visible, with one of the sleeves revealing a gold gauntlet with pointed fingertips.

 

“Atheron… I hope that my trusted tactician has come to bring me the news I wish to hear?”

 

“Yes, Lord Almatas,” Atheron nervously stammered. “We have found the being you spoke of and we have brought him into custody.”

 

“Can I assume you encountered no problems?”

 

“Well…”

 

“Speak.”

 

“On our voyage at sea, we encountered a band of pirates, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle.”

 

The being known as Almatas gave a shallow and cold laugh, twirling the fingers of the visible golden gauntlet.

 

“Skull Raiders… such a nuisance. They ought to be put in their place. Anything else to report?”

 

Atheron became a little hesitant to answer back. Almatas spoke again, breaking his train of thought.

 

“Do not forget, my tactician, even if you withhold information from me, I do have ways to make you talk…”

 

“No, no! Only… it appears you were not the only one interested in the target. When we arrived, we were met by three unknown warriors. One was a rather sullen warrior who wielded a large axe. The second was a rather arrogant swordsman who wasted no time in challenging us. The final one… he was very large and tall in stature… and his face… looked like something described in the legends of Karzahni.”

 

“Is that so? Interesting…”

 

Almatas rose from his throne and began to walk towards Atheron. His entire body was hidden in a hooded cloak. All that was visible were his gauntlets, one gold on his left hand and one red on his right hand, and two very long, bone-like horns protruding from his hood. He then rested his red gauntlet on Atheron’s shoulder before turning to speak to him. Atheron briefly caught a glance at their leader’s bright, crimson eyes glaring right at him.

 

“Allow me to greet our new guest.”

 

***

 

Almatas made his way with Atheron to the dungeon area, just below the ground level of their fortress. As they made their way underground, many knights immediately dropped to their knees to bow before their great leader. As the proceeded, neither of them spoke to one another, keeping a very grim silence throughout.

 

Eventually, Atheron led him to the cell door that kept their target captive. Atheron opened the door and just as he was about to go in, Almatas held his gold gauntlet in front of him to stop him.

 

“Remain here. I will go in by myself.”

 

Almatas stepped inside the cell and Atheron slammed the door behind him, standing by the door just as he was ordered.

 

Inside the cell, a formidable-looking warrior kneeled, chained and battered. His black armor was cracked in various places and he himself looked as if he didn’t have the strength to stand up on his own two legs. He had a very lean and lank body build, as well as two very large, almost bone-like horns protruding from his head. He wore a mask Almatas recognized as the Hunter’s Mask, one that gave the user some control and guidance of the shadows.

 

Special chains were ordered to restrain him for that reason. While Alamtas condemned the power of light, this warrior was too important to him to allow him to escape, so he wanted him to be imprisoned with chains and shackles infused with light elemental energy, just enough to restrain him and make sure he did nothing to escape.

 

As Almatas approached him, the warrior did not bother looking up at him. He remained silent and as though no one else was there with him.

 

“You’ve been busy, my friend…” the dark leader said.

 

The warrior still did not speak, nor did he even look in his direction, choosing to keep looking down at the ground.

 

“Tell me about yourself, desert dweller.”

 

At that moment, the warrior abruptly looked up, facing Almatas for the first time.

 

“How…?”

 

“How did I know?” Almatas began to pace around the holding cell. As he walked, the warrior’s gaze never left him, studying him closely.

 

“I know a lot about you. Your people were master weapon smiths. You hail from the desert land of Sergas. Your people were branded as social outcasts for having abilities associated with the darkness…”

 

At that moment, Almatas stopped, approaching the warrior directly.

 

“You needed to survive. You became a wanderer. You did whatever you needed to in order to survive, no matter the costs.”

 

The crimson eyes of Almatas narrowed as he spoke those words, looking right into the crimson eyes of his captive and guest, whose eyes showed a look of question and anger. For a while, neither of them spoke. Almatas began again.

 

“That is precisely why I’ve brought you here, as my honored guest, you see.”

 

“Some way to treat your guests,” the warrior spat.

 

Almatas momentarily stopped before continuing.

 

“Yes… I wasn’t quite sure you would accept my most generous offer, and I had suspicions others would be coming for you as well. I’ve personally seen the extermination of some of these legendary weapon smiths at the hands of those who did not understand them. However, I do… That is why I’ve brought you here. I want… Nay! I need you.”

 

“Need me for what?”

 

“We here are outcasts, as well, my friend. For some reason or another, we reject the will of the light and the accursed Mata Nui in favor of embracing the shadows and finding peace in the darkness of one’s heart. I think you would be very welcome here.”

 

“And just where exactly is ‘here?’ You’re speaking in riddles.”

 

“Oh, my apologies. I haven’t even told you. This is the island of Nirek, and we are the Knights of Terankos, dedicated to all that matters to him and that shadows he commands.”

 

“Terankos?” The warrior sounded genuinely surprised. “The great god of shadows Terankos? Was he not…?”

 

“Yes…” The Knights’ leader became very somber. “I am aware of his ultimate fate. I’m pleasantly surprised you know, seeing as anything mentioning him or Karzahni the Chaos Bringer is strictly taboo in this society. It matters not, you see. Dreams and ideals never truly die. We may take them with us to the grave, but anyone inspired by those same dreams and ideals can carry on that legacy and see that they live on.”

 

“So while Terankos himself is not around anymore, you still see to do things you think he would approve of?”

 

“I do not think he would approve… I am sure of it. That is precisely my point.”

 

“How in blazes would you even know that?!” The warrior was truly outraged at what he was hearing.

 

Almatas became silent and he turned his head to listen.

 

“Can you even hear what you are saying right now? Are you aware of how much of a lunatic you sound like right now? Unless you have direct contact with the god of shadows himself, I don’t see how you can say you are doing as he tells you! I fight only for myself! I belong to nobody! And even if I did, I would never join any sort of pathetic band of fools led by an even larger fool such as yourself!”

 

When he finished, Almatas began to laugh softly, then laugh loudly in a manner most unpleasant. The room echoed with the sound of his cold, maniacal laughter, to the point Atheron could swear it was ringing through the hallway of the holding cells in this blockade.

 

When he finished laughing, he turned to face the warrior once more, who now had a disgusted look on his face. Almatas approached him menacingly, holding out his gold gauntlet in front his face with his fist clenched.

 

“Care to repeat that?”

 

Before the warrior could even respond, Almatas presented an open palm to his captive and immediately he began writhing, screaming out in pain. Almatas began to slowly curl his fingers, intensifying the torture of his captive, who was begging him to stop and pleading for mercy. The mental torture he felt was excruciating and indescribable, and it only got worse as the leader intensified his attack on him. The warrior looked up at him briefly, seeing his eyes glowing brightly with a look of triumph and determination, bordering on insanity.

 

He could feel his body starting to go numb and he was slowly feeling his mind tear itself apart. There were two ways he would make it out of this ordeal… Dead or alive as one of these so-called knights. He had his pride of being a lone hunter who did as he pleased and answered to no one. However, his very life was on the line because of his pride. In the end, he felt as though he had no choice.

 

A few seconds later, the Knight leader relinquished his grip on him and the warrior slumped down to the floor, gasping for breath. Almatas laughed softly to himself at the sight of the broken warrior at his feet.

 

It was a few minutes before the warrior spoke again, his voice hoarse and raspy, having gotten weak from his intense screaming in pain.

 

“I… will… do… whatever you…ask…” he grudgingly croaked.

 

“Good… Tell me, what is your name?”

 

“I… have none…”

 

“I see. I suppose one such as yourself would have no need for a name in such a society. I, too, have long forgotten my own name.”

 

Almatas stood over the body of the formerly lone hunter, holding out his hand with the red gauntlet in an open palm.

 

“Henceforth, you shall now be known as…”

 

Almatas paused, studying his new recruit. It was not often he had to rename his knights, as they either submitted to him fully as they were, or in rare cases they wished to abandon their old identities. Atheron was once case where he fully submitted to him. This new recruit needed a name that was most fitting to the kind of being he was and the sort of knight he would become. Almatas sensed great strength and potential in him. It was then that he knew the perfect name for him.

 

“Umarak! The hunter.”

 

“Thank… you…” croaked the newly anointed Umarak.

 

 

 

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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries]

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#3 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Apr 08 2017 - 01:08 AM

Chapter 2

 

 

Not much time passed before the door opened and the hooded figure of Almatas stepped out from the room. He only took a few steps before his piercing gaze turned to Atheron.

 

“Take our new friend to have his wounds treated. I expect this will be no problem for that younger sister of yours…”

 

As the hooded figure began to ascend the staircase, Atheron looked back into the room to catch a glimpse at the warrior now known as Umarak. He then looked back over at the staircase, only to see the oddly-shaped shadow of Almatas becoming distant. His words before his departure felt toxic to the tactician.

 

Merith…

 

Her name and face immediately came to his mind, almost making him fall into anxiety, but then he regained his composure and made his way into the cell. There was no time to waste when it came to a direct order from the supreme leader.

 

Umarak was limp and unconscious, his body sprawled out over the floor. Atheron received a key from Almatas just before they reached the dungeon area. Initially he wasn’t sure what it was for, but now seemed like a good a time as any to use it. He carefully placed the key into the lock, making sure to avoid touching the chains.

 

A being of shadow touching pure light is like having a death wish.

 

Eventually, Umarak was free from his bindings and ready to take upstairs. Atheron carefully lifted his body in his arms and then placed him over his left shoulder. He took one last look back at the cell and the chains before walking out and closing the door behind him.

 

For both our sakes, let’s hope Merith can do something to help our new friend here…

 

***

 

Oh no, I’m so late! I’ve gotta hurry!

 

Volchior was racing through the corridors, barely even taking a moment to catch his breath.

 

This is going to be a very bad first impression for my first training session!

 

As a recently promoted knight, Volchior was assigned a mentor that would be in charge of his training. Overcome with anxiety, the young warrior hardly slept at all and in the end, overslept after he did finally manage to get some rest. He wasn’t actually sure who his mentor was, but whoever it was, he was afraid of the consequences that would follow if he did not make it to his session on time.

 

Just as he reached the entrance to a training area, his face was met with crimson and black armor, sending him falling back and falling flat on the floor. Panicking, he immediately got back up to his feet, keeping his eyes closed from the embarrassment.

 

“Please, forgive, I’m so very sorry!”

 

He was cut short by a playful giggle. He finally opened his eyes to come face to face with a female clad in crimson and black armor that had a gold trim.

 

“Ah, you’re a cute little thing,” she said playfully.

 

“L-L-Lady Norenka? Please, I’m very--“

 

She giggled once again. “Please, there is no need for such formalities around me, especially considering our relationship.”

 

Volchior immediately became flustered. “R-R-Relationship?!”

 

“Yes. Didn’t you know? I’ve been assigned to be your mentor by Lord Almatas himself.”

 

“You mean…? You’ll be handling my training?”

 

“Why, yes. Is that a problem?”

 

The black-armored warrior shook his head. “No, it’s not that! It’s just… you’re… so amazing-- I mean, so highly ranked. I’ve only heard stories about you and your skill in battle.”

 

Norenka smiled and put her hand on top of his head. “There’s no reason to be intimidated by me. I want you to feel calm around me. You and I are not all that different from each other. Now then, you’re just in time for our training session. From my understanding, you are skilled with a lance, correct?”

 

Volchior nodded as Norenka took her hand away.

 

“Excellent. Then things should go just as smooth as I hoped for. I, too, take the lance as my weapon of choice. Never the less, it is always a good idea to be skilled with multiple arms. Diversity and skill with weapons are important to one’s victory in battle.”

 

Norenka turned around and began walking out into the open training area in front of them. She stopped only briefly to look back over to her potential protégé.

 

“This way, please.”

 

The footsteps of Norenka’s heeled boots echoed through the hallway as Volchior followed her, still nervous about what sort of training he was in for.

 

I never dreamed I would not only get to meet her, but train with her…! This is going to be interesting…

 

***

 

Umarak awoke atop a stone slab. He had no idea where he was or how he got here. That’s when he tried to think back as hard as he could. He was living as a bandit before. Then he found himself attacked by three warriors claiming to fight in the name of light. He was nearly beaten within an inch of his life before being rescued by another faction of warriors.

 

Then he found himself taken prisoner and interrogated by that psychopath in the hooded cloak. That’s when he was given a new name.

 

Umarak.

 

Having lost his home and his previous life, he had long forgotten his own name over the passage of time, as anyone who could have even known his name was long gone and most likely exterminated.

 

That’s how it had been for as long as I could remember.

 

Umarak tried to get up to get a different look at his surrounding, but just as he did, he felt a sharp pain in his right side and his back, like daggers were penetrating his body. He cried out in pain before laying back down.

 

“Hold on there,” said a voice outside of the room.

 

Umarak looked to his left to see a being clad in emerald and ebony armor with a gold trim. He was standing in the doorway, looking on at him. Umarak wasn’t sure who he was, but remembering the name of “Knights of Terankos,” he could only assume it was one of those so-called knights he heard about.

 

The being approached slowly to his side.

 

“You’ve been through quite a lot these last few weeks. You need to rest.”

 

“Who… are you?”

 

“You may call me Atheron, and I was one of the ones who rescued you.”

 

Umarak couldn’t entirely recall meeting him. That entire fight had become a hazy memory.

 

“It’s quite all right if you don’t remember me,” he replied, as if reading his thoughts. “You were nearly unconscious when he found you.”

 

“So you brought me here?”

 

Atheron nodded. “I swear you have Karzahni’s own luck. I was almost unsure if we were going to make it to you in time.”

 

“Why…?”

 

“We were ordered to by our leader. He has taken an interest to you and your species in particular. He refused to allow another of your kind to be hunted down.”

 

“The demon in the hood?”

 

“Yes…” Atheron replied sheepishly. “For your sake, you might not want to refer to him like that. The last one who made a similar barb like that ended up having their windpipe crushed.”

 

“Then please, tell me of our master’s name,” Umarak insisted.

 

“You may refer to him as Lord Almatas.”

 

“’Almatas?’ As in…?”

 

Atheron nodded. “That’s right. I’m almost surprised you caught on. But perhaps I shouldn’t, seeing how closely associated with the darkness your people were. In ancient tongue, ‘Mata Nui’ translated roughly to ‘Great Spirit.’ As such, ‘Almatas’ would roughly translate to ‘Bad Spirit,’ or in some cases, ‘Demon’ even.”  

 

Before Umarak could ask another question, Atheron held up his hand a whispered quietly, “I can explain more to you later, but now is not a good time.”

 

There was a silence in the air until a voice came from another room.

 

“Big Bro-theeeeer!”

 

“Over here!” Atheron called out.

 

Atheron looked over to his left once more to see a female clad in armor of ebony and ivory with a golden trim. She was of a shorter stature compared to Atheron, and she gave off a very bright and positive aura. She happily walked in and approached the two of them.

 

“Yay! I see our new friend has made a recovery!” she exclaimed.

 

“Yes, Merith, he has, but I think he’s still feeling a bit sore,” Atheron added.

 

“Well, that’s no problem at all!” She held out a long staff and held it over Umarak’s chest.

 

Umarak had a look of uncertainty, to which Atheron flashed a look of reassurance to him.

 

“Now, hold still. This might tickle a little bit.”

 

Merith’s staff began to glow and suddenly envelop Umarak in a yellow aura. He indeed felt a tingling sensation throughout his body, which was painful at first, but then it started to fade away. Then in a matter of seconds, the pain he was in was no more.

 

With a smile, Merith took back her staff, which stopped glowing.

 

“How do you feel now?” she asked.

 

“I… feel fine,” Umarak replied.

 

“Good. I haven’t met anyone I couldn’t help out!”

 

“Merith, allow me to introduce you to our newest recruit, Umarak. And Umarak, this is my younger sister Merith.”

 

“A pleasure,” Umarak said. He held out his hand, but he suddenly found himself being embraced by Merith instead.

 

“Welcome to our family, Umarak! I hope we get to know each other more… I mean, outside of me having to patch you up, of course.”

 

“Like…wise…” Umarak said, unsure of what to make of Merith’s hug.

 

“I think he’s had enough excite for now, Merith.”

 

“Oops! Sorry.” The flustered Merith slowly let go of the newly anointed hunter and walked over to Atheron’s side.

 

“Take a few moments to rest up if you’d like. Then whenever you’re ready, come find me in our library area. There’s a few things I’d like to discuss with you. Some of which I’ll need to go into specific detail about…”

 

 

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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries]

No, I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!


#4 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Apr 13 2017 - 12:19 AM

Chapter 3

 

 

“No, no, this won’t do at all. I need you to show me all you’ve got!”

 

Volchior struggled with his initial training with Norenka. He wanted to show her the best he could do, and yet he simply couldn’t bring his best efforts forward, so more often than not he ended up being thrown around whenever his mentor struck.

 

“I heard you had so much promise, Volchior. Tell me, what is the problem?”

 

“Um, nothing! Nothing is the problem!”

 

“Do you take me for a fool…?”

 

“N-n-no! That’s not it!”

 

Norenka struck her lance into the ground and made her way over to him slowly.

 

“You know, as a mentor and protégé, our relationship is built entirely upon communication first, only followed by my advice and training. If you can’t bring yourself to communicate with me…”

 

She paused, turning away slightly.

 

Volchior was at a loss for words. He was not sure if with his failure to impress her, he had somehow hurt Norenka. He never once thought of someone with her fierce reputation to have a soft heart deep down.

 

“It’s not that at all! It’s just…”

 

“Are you intimidated by me?” she asked suddenly.

 

The knight in training was startled by her words. Norenka nodded understandingly.

 

“Tell me, young one. What reason do you have to be intimidated by me?”

 

At that moment, the knight in training realized he would not be able to hide anything from his mentor anymore.

 

“Yes, Norenka, you’re right. When I’m around you, I have this sense of hesitation and worry, but only because you have such a great reputation and you are an appointed knight of a high rank by Lord Almatas himself.”

 

“I see,” Norenka replied. “It makes sense now. Do you remember what I told you when we first met?”

 

“There would be no need for formalities.”

 

“And do you know why I said that?”

 

Volchior fell silent. He wasn’t entirely sure about that. Seeing his hesitation, Norenka stepped in.

 

“I don’t want to have any barriers around us. From now on, I want you to stop seeing me on some pedestal high above you. We are on equal footing. We are both warriors. On the battle field, rank means nothing. What matters the most is skill, courage, and determination. Rank is nothing but a meaningless label, just to boost one’s reputation and in some cases one’s ego.”

 

Norenka began to walk around Volchior, eying him up and down as she did so. Her footsteps sounded loudly with each step she took.

 

“Fear and hesitation will keep you from reaching your full potential. You can accomplish great things, but only when you let go of your fears, face them head on, and allow that determination to drive you. When you hesitate, you are only holding yourself back. The more you hold yourself back, the further behind you will stay.”

 

Norenka finally stopped and let out a deep sigh.

 

“We are done for today,” she said. “I want you to take time to reflect on what I’ve told you today. I want to see you again tomorrow, and I hope that when you face me again in training, it will be as equals.”

 

“Yes, Norenka,” the black armored warrior nodded in agreement.

 

As he grabbed his lance from his feet, Norenka held her hand up once more.

 

“One last thing, Volchior. Would you mind if I asked you about the style of your armor?”

 

Volchior took a look at himself and his black and silver armor, styled after the black dragons of legend.

 

“That will be a story for another day,” he said with a slight smirk on his face. To Norenka’s chagrin, Volchior then went on his way. As she watched him leave, she had one final thought before she also left the training area.

 

This young one could be a fine knight someday. But only if he allows himself to be.

 

***

 

Umarak wandered through some of the various corridors for what seemed to be days to him. He had no idea where anything was or even the layout of this location. He wasn’t even sure where he was to begin with, and yet he was expected to simply navigate he way to find a library he wasn’t sure existed.

 

Eventually, that’s when he made his way to the lower part of the facility, and eventually he found himself outside a large room that contained volumes of information. Carvings, stone tablets, scrolls, and even books upon many shelves were all present in his immediate point of view. As he continued to gaze upon the large collection of information, he eventually came face to face with the being known as Atheron once more.

 

There was no mistaking his ebon and emerald armor as he stood near one of the shelves with a book in his hand. He looked up once he sensed that he was no longer alone.

 

“Ah, so you’ve made it here,” he said in a welcoming tone.

 

“It would’ve helped if I at least knew my way around here,” the hunter spat.

 

“The leader doesn’t see much point in making any sort of map,” he explained. “I mean, if it fell into the wrong hands, our fortress would be compromised very easily. So, he sees it as safety outweighing convenience.”

 

He turned around and signaled Umarak to come close. As he did so, Atheron lowered his voice somewhat when he next spoke.

 

“I also don’t like to make this particular room all that known to everyone… especially not to Almatas.”

 

“Why do you say that?” Umarak asked softly.

 

Atheron’s tone shifted to being more somber, as if he was grieving for someone.

 

“As you guessed it, there is more to Almatas than you might think. The way he gave you your new name, so too did he give himself his. I doubt anyone who ever knew his real name and face is even alive to recall such information anymore.”

 

“You’re saying no one has seen his true face?” Umarak was dumbstruck by how absurd it sounded, but Atheron simply nodded.

 

“He wears that hooded cloak all the time. Not once in my years of serving him have I ever seen him without it. All I’ve ever seen of him are his horns, his gauntlet-covered hands, and his clawed feet. And of course, those piercing red eyes that I almost feel can cut right through me with one simple gaze alone.”

 

“Sound suspicious that you willingly work for someone who refers to himself as a demon and never even shows his true face.”

 

At that moment, Atheron’s face became completely solemn. It was then that the hunter realized he chose his words poorly.

 

“Willingly?” Atheron stammered. “You think I willingly chose this for my sister and myself?”

 

The hunter became silent as the tactician began to speak again.

 

“I was forced to,” he continued. “It was either be slain by that wretched monster serving the so-called Great Spirit, or serve Almatas and live on. I had no choice in the matter.”

 

“You mean--?”

 

“Yes. Merith and I come from a small tribe that reveled in the power of the shadows. We were viewed as outcasts, but we existed in a small community away from most other beings. Things seemed peaceful and we were able to study the shadows and contain our rituals however we pleased. That all changed one day…”

 

Atheron closed the book he had been reading and looked at the front cover with a sense of sadness.

 

“A band of warriors claiming to serve the will of Mata Nui attacked our village. Our best men were no match for them. One of their number… I know not his name, but his face is something I will never forget. Piercing orange eyes with no sense of mercy. A large maw filled with what seemed like many rows of sharp teeth. He wore no such mask on his face. I feel like his face alone could have been of something out of the Shadow Realm, and yet he served Mata Nui.”

 

Atheron made his way over to the large double doors of the library, closing them and then making his way back over to Umarak.

 

“My father managed to get us as far as he could from our village. It was him, me, my sister, and my mother. It was then that we met that horrendous beast of a warrior. I was paralyzed with fear, as was my sister. My father stepped in front of us, turned to face me, and shoved a tome into my arms, the very one I have with me right now. He ordered my mother to take us and run. Tearfully, she did that as he ran and faced that accursed monster. That was the last I ever saw of my father. Although, that wasn’t the last I saw of that imposing warrior, as he was present when we rescued you.”

 

“You mean to say…?”

 

“Yes. I believe the destruction of our village and the treatment of your race are all linked by these misguided crusaders. These ‘servants to Mata Nui’ are on a mission to eradicate anyone associated with the shadows.”

 

“So what happened to you afterwards?”

 

“Mother eventually became ill. I did my best to treat her, but her condition worsened. She could not walk as well as she used to. Before long, she could not even get out of the bed we made for her because the pain was too excruciating. Finally, she passed away in her sleep on night. Merith and I were all on our own. All we had were our masks, tools, and my father’s tome of shadows. It was not long before I crossed paths with Almatas. My sister and I tried to find sanctuary wherever we could, but we were met with harshness and backlash. It wasn’t long before our mysterious crusader friends found us again, this time only sending in warrior who called himself Trinuma. I ordered Merith to hide as I faced him alone. I had trouble holding my own against him as he fought with what seemed to be pure energy of no elemental origin, which proved effective against my limited power of shadow. It was then that Almatas appeared before the both of us. In a swift ferocity I had never seen, he took down Trinuma with just two swipes from two swords he carried. With him out of the way, he faced me and told me he had a use for me and that I needed to join his cause immediately to survive.”

 

To Umarak, it sounded almost identical to what Alamtas told him when he was being interrogated. It seemed as though the Knight leader used similar tactics to get whatever he wanted.

 

“At first, I refused. I wanted my sister and I to live in peace among the inhabitants of our world. Alamtas laughed and said the peace I desired was nothing more than a mere fairy tale that did not exist. Then…”

 

Atheron paused, trying to keep his composure but clearly struggling to do so.

 

“Then he told me that if I did not join his cause, then he would do away with the both of us where we stood, starting with my sister so I could have time to feel the agony of losing her. It was then that I begged him to spare her and convince him how she could be of service to him with her powers of healing and reanimation. Then, I pledged myself to him on the condition that he would take in the both of us, and that Merith would not be harmed. To my disbelief, he accepted.”

 

Atheron faced Umarak once more, having regained his composure.

 

“The fact I possess the Tactician’s mask makes me a valuable asset. While two of these masks exist in the world, a great tactician is of a great importance to anyone leading an army. It is natural that he wanted to have someone who could ensure victory. He agreed to keep us both on the condition I do what he wanted and assured him victory on every mission I would take part in. Even so, he still blackmails me, taunting me with my sister’s name and threatening to do away with her if either of us act out of line or fail in in any sort of manner…”

 

“He’s even more insane that I thought he was!” Umarak thought out loud.

 

Atheron gave a very sour laugh.

 

“Well, my friend, that’s actually before he went insane.”

 

 

 

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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries]

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#5 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Apr 18 2017 - 01:38 AM

Chapter 4

 

 

“Wait a minute. Before he went insane?”

 

Umarak the Hunter stared back at the tactician as if he himself had gone insane.

 

“Sadly, yes. And that is why I’m even discussing this with you. I overheard some of the things he told you in the holding cell, and I could immediately see some parallels between both of our situations. I’m kind of worried about him… No, I should rephrase that. I’m worried about what he can do. I’m worried about what he possibly plans to do.”

 

“Clearly, he’s building an army. And he forcibly enlisted us to be in it.”

 

“That much is clear. But why build an army? For what purpose would he want to have us here?”

 

“How are you even keeping this from him?”

 

Atheron sighed. “It’s not easy. Luckily for me, he granted me permission to have this library constructed with the main idea being that every piece of art and literature considered taboo or forbidden be taken and relocated here. Since he didn’t care about where I put it and since he never even sets foot in here, this is my safe haven. At least, for now.”

 

“What is he capable of? What did he do to me?”

 

“I wish I had an answer for you. I don’t know much about the full extent of his abilities. I only know that he is a master swordsman and that he has a set of mind powers that he can use however he pleases. You experienced excruciating pain while he spoke to you, did he not?”

 

Umarak nodded grimly.

 

“That is a taste of what he’s capable of. Although one thing I’m not sure is…”

 

“What?”

 

“Is it him? Or is it that golden gauntlet he wears? Think about it. He raised that hand when he delivered his punishment to you. And I’ve seen him do similar things to past victims when he raised that hand.”

 

Atheron took the moment to go over to a particular bookshelf and take a book from it. He sat down across Umarak and started flipping through pages.

 

“And you have no clues to what he’s up to?” the hunter asked.

 

“It’s not easy,” the tactician explained. “Spying on him is nearly impossible now. I was barely outside his door when he called out for me to enter. I can’t help but fear that he somehow he is omniscient and aware of everything we might be saying or doing. In which case, I may have just doomed you, me, and my sister just by me telling you all this.”

 

At that moment, he stopped turning pages and took a breath, as if expecting Almatas himself to burst through the doors at that instant. A few moments passed and there was no sound.

 

“However…” the tactician said, breaking the silence. “Before he did become seemingly aware of everything going on around him, I overheard him talking one night.”

 

“To who?”

 

Atheron was almost hesitant to answer. He looked up to the hunter, a look of fear in his eyes.

 

“There was nobody there. He was alone in his quarters.”

 

Umarak’s eyes widened, on the verge of fear as well.

 

The tactician continued. “I was near his door when I heard him laughing. I got close to the door without making a sound. Luckily I have excellent hearing, so I was able to pick up on the conversation. Just to make sure, however, I knelt down to try and look under the door. For the duration I was there, I could only hear his voice and saw only him. Aside from me, hardly anyone else is allowed in his private quarters. While he was talking, he mentioned something about this object right here.”

 

Atheron pointed to an ink sketch in the book he grabbed earlier of an interesting-looking staff. Umarak looked at the page and then at the name that was written in bold lettering.

 

“The Staff of Artakha?”

 

Atheron nodded. “From what I’ve read about it, this is quite an incredible piece of craftsmanship. It has the capability to fix and create whatever the holder wishes for, so long as it is within the staff’s power. He claimed that he would have a power that would rival the Staff of Artakha, so given what I’ve read here and given the way he is… I fear he is mad enough to do whatever he can so that can be as powerful as an object named in honor of the Bringer of Order himself.”

 

“Not necessarily…”

 

Atheron looked up at the hunter.

 

“If he wants to rival it, he wouldn’t want to create. He would want to destroy. And where there is order, there is chaos.”

 

“Karzahni the Chaos Bringer… Of course! But there aren’t any objects associated with him.”

 

“Not yet. He could be planning something big. We just don’t know it for sure.”

 

“No, at this point it’s all merely speculation. But I feel we’re on the right path. For now, though, we must act ignorant of any of this, as to not bring attention or stir an outcry among those here. If you have anything at all you want to talk about, please seek me out here. As I’ve said, this is my sanctuary and hardly anyone else ever comes around here. When I’m surrounded by knowledge, I feel a sense of serenity and peace.”

 

“So then, what do you suggest we do now?”

 

“Oh, I nearly forgot. I was so wrapped up in our discussion I didn’t realize time had gone by so quickly.”

 

Atheron glanced over at Umarak, who was still wearing his battled-damaged armor.

 

“ Well, first off, we need to get you fitted for some new armor. Before that, however, I think I ought to take you by our armory and weapons cache.”

 

***

 

Umarak couldn’t help but be amazed at the large collection of weapons that were stowed away in a single chamber. As a former crafter of weapons, he couldn’t help but look over each one the two of them passed. Atheron told him he was free to take whichever weapons he so desired, as these weapons were merely stolen from fallen warriors or “donations” from various weapon cache missions.

 

As Atheron continued talking about the armory, Umarak went on ahead of him and set his eyes on a very large bow weapon. The hunter reached out for it and began to inspect it from many angles.

 

“I see you’ve taken a liking to that one. We acquired that one from a run in with the Skull Raiders. Are you sure you’d like that one?”

 

“I have a preference for ranged combat. Plus, I feel like I can make a few adjustments to this one to make it suit my needs.”

 

Atheron shrugged his shoulders. “Very well then. Like I said before, you’re free to take whatever you want from here.”

 

After taking up a blade and a long glaive, Umarak nodded to the tactician and confirmed he had seen all he wanted to for the time being. At that point, Atheron led the hunter through another corridor and into a room that had various pieces of armor on display.

 

“This one will be for you,” he said as he indicated a set of armor to the left of them.

 

Umarak walked over to inspect the armor closely. He looked down at himself at his damaged armor, which had already become dull, rusted, and old from many years of living as a fugitive on the run. He looked over to this new armor, which had a bit of a skeletal motif to it.

 

He then noted the colors and how they mimicked those of the Hunter’s mask perfectly, as if he and that mask were meant for this armor. Umarak also noticed some red curved spikes in the armor, as well as some other small red accents.

 

“Any particular reason for the red?”

 

Atheron simply shrugged. “I like the color red. Plus, it was actually our leader who ordered the specifications of the armor. Merith merely took your measurements and followed his directions as best as she could.”

 

“Your sister made this on her own?”

 

The tactician nodded. “Merith and I had own our set of responsibilities when he still had our own lives. Designing armor and clothing is a simple task for her.”

 

“I’m amazed she even got it to match my mask so well.”

 

“I heard Almatas refer to it as the Hunter’s mask,” the tactician said. “Tell me, is it as powerful as what my research states?”

 

“Not sure what your research say, but it gives me some control over the power of the shadows. There are some abilities it has that I’ve yet to try out, but in time I intend to make the most of them. Now then, what about yours?”

 

The hunter indicated the mask the tactician wore, which oddly enough had a very familiar shape to it.

 

“Curious, aren’t you? The Tactician’s mask, which ironically mimics the look of the so-called legendary Mask of Fire, is one of my greatest allies in battle. Being a tactician, you are responsible for making the right decisions at just the right time in whatever circumstances you and your army encounter.”

 

Atheron took a small pause before continuing.

 

“Such a task might prove to be stressful for those who can’t think quickly on their feet or consider very viable option when entering the field of battle. With this mask, however, that all becomes a lot easier. When I tap into the mask’s power, it allows me to see and think of many different strategies all at once so I’m able to quickly make good decisions to ensure victory and maximize our efforts.”

 

“Wouldn’t something like that be…?” Umarak said, somewhat astonished.

 

“For some, it can prove to be stressful in itself having to have a mask show you so many things all at once. I’ve trained myself in keeping my composure and my sanity, and so far nothing has happened to take me out of commission.”

 

“And you said earlier there are two of those masks known to exist?”

 

“Ah, yes, how astute of you to remember,” the tactician said, pleased at the hunter’s listening skills. “Indeed there are. I’ve never seen the other mask for myself. However, my father told me long ago about it, and likewise I have done some research on it as well. While I don’t know where the other mask is or who owns it at this point, I do know that if I were to cross paths with that mask and anyone possibly wearing it, it would prove to be rather challenging, to say the least. I would consider that user to be my biggest threat and rival.”

 

Atheron walked over to the doorway and indicated Umarak to follow.

 

“I’ll go ahead and show you to your quarters. Starting tomorrow, you are going to be a promoted knight, as ordered by Almatas.”

 

“And that means…?”

 

“You will be ranked more or less in the same class as me and a few of our other members. This means Almatas will be more likely to assign you on missions that are of the utmost importance. I did however request that I would have a hand in observing you and possibly training you as needed. He agreed to it and said that I will be your mentor, but only whenever you need me.”

 

“I’ve held my own against all odds before.”

 

“I’m very sure you have. Although, I still would like to observe your fighting style and get to know you more. Plus, if you are at least assigned with me, I feel things will turn out better given our new alliance.”

 

Umarak nodded. “Very well. However, I’ve typically worked alone.”

 

“Which is fine and I know you’ve been used to being on the run by yourself for so long. However, now that you’re with us, things are going to change. I only wish to help ease you along so Almatas can fully trust you and at the very least, we can report back to each other if either of us learns anything else about him.”

 

Without saying another word, Atheron led Umarak to a small room with a bed in the corner and some various shelves and racks for weapons and belongings. Umarak set down his new weapons and then made his way over to the bed. Before Atheron left the room, he turned back to face Umarak once more time.

 

“Rest up for tomorrow. Whenever you’re ready, you and I are going to have our own little ‘training session,’ so I can get to know you and your abilities more.”

 

“All right. See you tomorrow… ‘Master.’”

 

“Very funny.”

 

With that, the ebon and emerald figure that was Atheron vanished from sight once the door was closed. Umarak began to lie down on the bed and slowly close his eyes.

 

What have I been dragged into? This whole thing sound so suspicious. Whoever this Almatas is, I need to keep my eyes on him, unless I want to end up like that Trinuma I heard so much about…

 

***

 

As the tactician walked through the corridor to his own quarters, he could hear footsteps coming from behind him. He knew whose footsteps those were and he turned around.

 

“Hello, Norenka.”

 

“Ah, you’re still as sharp as ever,” Norenka cooed as she made her way over to him. She held out her arms and embraced him once she was close enough.

 

“How’ve things been with you?” Atheron asked.

 

Norenka released him and gave him a warm smile. “Not really much to go on. I spent a good part of my day training with my new protégé of a knight.”

 

“Ah, yes, I heard about him,” he replied. “How was it?”

 

Norenka’s smile was replaced with a look of concern. “He seems to be intimidated by me. I was hoping to see him at his full potential, but the whole time he was holding back.”

 

“You know,” Atheron began, “I seem to remember someone just like that. She was so happy when she became a knight with her new important rank and so eager to show what she was made of. Then she met her mentor and remembered how important he was and she felt so nervous about making a good impression on him because he was so amazing. Does that remind you of anyone?”

 

Norenka playfully shoved Atheron away.

 

“You stop that!” she replied, clearly embarrassed. “I was so young and inexperienced at the time.”

 

“Which proves my point,” Atheron declared. “He is young. He will learn. Were you really that much different back then compared to how he is right now? Zartross told me a lot about how your sessions went and how you improved over time… once you stopped being so nervous around him. Give the young one a chance, and he might just surprise you.”

 

Atheron then hugged her tightly, surprising Norenka greatly.

 

“Stop being so hard on yourself and him, all right?”

 

When he let go, Norenka tried her best to hide her blushing face.

 

“This is new for the both of you,” he continued. “Just remember that you two are a team. You are in this together. In time, he will learn. In turn, you need to remain confident for both his sake and for yours.”

 

“Th-thank you…” Norenka said. “I, um…”

 

“Yes?”

 

Norenka seemed to be hesitant with her next words.

 

“I… thank you for the advice. I’m really glad to have you always there for me… as a friend, of course.”

 

“Any time, Norenka. If you ever need me, you know just where to find me.”

 

With that, the tactician continued on his way, not aware that Norenka was still looking over at him until he vanished in the distance.

 

Norenka then began to go down another corridor to her private quarters, her thoughts racing in her head as she did so.

 

I almost don’t know what I’d do without him. He was the first one I ever spoke to when I first got here. He was my first friend. He’s helped me along so much and he’s always been there for me. I really am so grateful for him. Ugh, but why did he have to remind me of how I used to be?? So embarrassing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by ShadowBionics, Apr 18 2017 - 01:39 AM.

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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries]

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#6 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Apr 21 2017 - 01:29 AM

Chapter 5

 

 

The sound of clanging weapons rang through the air of the training area. Twin lances sang and whistled at the clashed and swung through the air.

 

“You’re improving, Volchior,” Norenka said. “Your technique could still use some work, but otherwise I can see you’ve let go of some of that hesitation.”

 

“Thank you, Norenka,” Volchior said as he dodged and parried Norenka’s attacks.

 

Volchior spent most of the night pondering on Norenka’s words, driven by them and unable to put his mind at ease. Upon calming himself down, he began to understand what it meant to ignore what rank meant, especially when it came down to being on the opposite end of a weapon. In nature alone, there was no such thing as a ranking system. It boiled down to the survival of the fittest and the abilities and strengths one could use against their opponent.

 

It’s like she said. In battle, rank means nothing. And yet, being around her still makes me feel… off somehow…

 

Volchior sensed an opening in Norenka’s attack, in which he used to knock her back. As she stumbled back slightly, the black armor-clad warrior leapt into the air with his lance in hand. He let out a yell as he aimed the head of his lance at Norenka. He thought in this situation, he would have had her, but then Norenka regained her composure and used her lance to immediately knock him back down to the ground.

 

Volchior tumbled and rolled on the ground, his lance clanging at his feet shortly after. As he tried to get to his feet, his ears rang with Norenka’s footsteps approaching him.

 

“You seem to have a bit of a daring nature in you,” she said. “I like that.”

 

She extended her hand to Volchior, who graciously took her hand as she helped him back to his feet.

 

“Now, what exactly was that move you just attempted?”

 

“It was… just something I practiced on in my days fighting in the Gladiator pits,” he replied reluctantly.

 

“Oh, that’s right, I’d nearly forgotten you used to fight for sport.”

 

Norenka only knew a brief history of her potential protégé, only knowing he was forced into becoming a gladiator against his will, literally fighting for his survival. It stayed that way until his fighting skill and dormant shadow abilities caught the eye of Almatas, who was convinced that he wanted him for his ranks.

 

After “persuading” the ring leader behind the gladiator fights to let go of this rising star of a warrior, Almatas immediately took him back to Nirek as soon as he could. Shortly after, it was around that time Almatas personally approached Norenka and told her how she would be his trainer and mentor, as he was confident in her skill and knowledge in battle.

 

“It was more than mere sport,” Volchior replied bitterly.

 

“Oh! No! It’s not-- I mean…”

 

“It’s okay. I understand what you meant.”

 

As Volchior picked up his lance, Norenka approached him and put a hand on his shoulder. Caught off guard, Volchior turned around suddenly.

 

“No,” she said, “it’s not okay. I should have chosen my words better. Out of anyone, I should know…”

 

“Wait, what are you talking about?”

 

Norenka took him by the shoulder again.

 

“I hope you have a clear day, young one.”

 

“I hardly have anything else to do aside from my time with you,” he said.

 

Norenka led him over to some benches and then indicated for him to sit down. As he sat down, Norenka sat down next to him, immediately making him feel flustered inside.

 

“Not a lot of people really know this about me. If I tell you, then I better not hear that you’re talking about me behind my back.”

 

“No, no, not at all!” the warrior replied nervously.

 

“Very well then,” Norenka began. “I might seem like some kind of fierce and intimidating warrior to you, but I wasn’t always like that. Would you believe I was an abandoned child of a harsh shadow clan?”

 

Volchior shook his head in disbelief.

 

“I don’t really know what happened to my family. The only thing I can even remember was a large being shrouded in a green aura with only his orange eyes being a distinct feature. I can only imagine he had to do something with why my mother and father were gone. Without them, I was left alone. The survivors didn’t want anything to do with me. The clan leader took me in, but only to be a personal servant to him. I don’t know how many years I spent, but it felt like an eternity. I missed my family dearly, but there was nothing I could do and nowhere I could go. I was already afraid of what my clan would do if they found me trying to escape…”

 

Norenka stifled back tears that she felt trying to escape.

 

“Then there was the matter of those wretched servant dogs to the Great Spirit trying to eradicate anything having to do with darkness. One of our best knights and tactician, Atheron, has encountered them before in his life several times. He refers to them as the ‘Crusaders,’ due to their nature in traveling in the name of their mission. I had no way out. That was until the Knights of Terankos made themselves known.”

 

“They found you?”

 

Norenka nodded. “Almatas goes wherever the shadows may be. Or at least, so he says. It was that day I met him and Atheron and I watched in amazement at how they took down the members of my clan who shunned me. Almatas himself, I can’t even describe how he moved around, almost as if he could fly. I was definitely mesmerized by Atheron’s skill with both a blade and a tome. I felt a personal satisfaction when Almatas took down our clan leader, taking him down with only once swipe of his blade.”

 

Volchior could see her smile through her tears. In these few moments, he felt like he really got to know Norenka more than most of the other knights present, and like he could feel a connection with her. He put a hand on her shoulder, reassuring her things were fine now.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“So I take it from there, you became a knight and rose through the ranks?”

 

“Well…” she said hesitantly, “That’s not exactly how it went…”

 

Norenka hesitated once more, conflicted on what her next words should be.

 

“Absolutely no one must know this, understand?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Norenka sighed. “Upon joining, I was a total mess. I had raw talent, as Almatas told me he arrived that day because he sensed great potential with me. I was eventually assigned a mentor, just as you were. His name was Zartross, and he was one of the best knights at the time. He still is, as a matter of fact. I was intimidated by him. His reputation. His skill. The sound of his voice.”

 

Volchior heard of Zartross as well. In fact, he knew about most of the high-ranked knights. Although, to hear Norenka was at one point intimidated by Zartross the way he was intimidated by her, it felt relieving to him. His thoughts were interrupted when his mentor spoke again.

 

“Trust me. If you were intimidated by me, then you wouldn’t have lasted with him. But despite his fearsome reputation, he did have his moments. He was the one who taught me what it meant to be a warrior and to not be held back by hesitation or doubt. Compared to him, I’m going easy on you… in fact, too easy.”

 

“Wait, are you saying--?”

 

“Norenka-aaaa!!” a voice called out from the entrance. It was a small female of a smaller stature clad in armor of black and white.

 

Norenka waved her arm. “Over here, Merith!”

 

Volchior looked back and forth between the two of them.

 

“Lady Merith?” he asked.

 

“Yup, that’s me!” she chimed happily. “But please, don’t call me ‘Lady’ or anything like that. It makes me feel like I’m old.”

 

“You’ve got it… Merith,” Volchior replied meekly.

 

“How’s the training been going for you two?” Merith asked.

 

“We’ve been making progress,” Norenka said. “We were just about to call it a session when we were just sitting here discussing techniques.”

 

“Um… yeah,” Volchior nervously added, “I was just listening to her advice on how to improve my form for defending.”

 

“Well, that’s great! I’m glad to hear that!”

 

Merith eyed Volchior, almost inspecting him from all angles.

 

“You seem to look okay…” she said to herself. Then she looked him in the eye.

 

“He’s not hurt, but I think he might be a little bit tired,” Norenka said.

 

“If you say so,” Merith replied nonchalantly. “Take good care of him, Norenka! I’ve got a feeling he’s going to be a keeper!”

 

Volchior could feel himself blush beneath his mask as Merith walked away. Norenka giggled softly.

 

“Don’t mind her,” she said. “She’s just teasing. It’s great knowing there’s someone around here who looks out for everyone.”

 

“She has the power to heal, is that right?”

 

“Yes… and a little bit more. But hopefully you won’t have to see that anytime soon,” Norenka said in a somber tone.

 

As Volchior got up from the bench, Norenka stopped him once again.

 

“Now, Volchior,” she began, “I know I’ve asked you already, but I really want an answer. I’ve told you more than enough about me. Now, tell me… what inspired the look of your armor?”

 

Volchior turned back around, looking Norenka in the eye.

 

“When I was younger, my father would tell me stories about the legendary black dragons, born from the very shadows of Terankos. They were a symbol of strength and power, revered by many of those who followed Terankos. When I became a gladiator, I made my armor to mimic the very look of one of those dragons. Sounds kind of ridiculous, but that is my reason.”

 

Norenka gave him a bright smile. “No, I don’t think that sound ridiculous at all. Now then, that’s all for today. Go ahead and have the rest of the day to yourself.”

 

“Yes, Norenka,” replied the warrior in training as he stowed his lance on his back and walked away.

 

Norenka couldn’t help but look at him with a sense of pride.

 

Maybe now that he knows the warrior in the armor, he won’t be as intimidated by me and I’ll finally start making him the best knight that he can be.

 

 

Review Topic here: http://www.bzpower.com/board/topic/23802-review-the-knights-of-terankos/


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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries]

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