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The Legend Continues - Bionicle: Turn of Fate

Writing contest Ahkmou

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#1 Offline Boxer502

Boxer502
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Posted Jun 12 2017 - 02:11 AM

Chapter 1

 

A howling roar tore through the ruins of the underground city for the dozenth time, it's echoing sound one of fury and desperation. The source, a being by the name of Kulta, took a moment before releasing another roar deep into the winding tunnels and dark caverns. Silence and more echoes were his only response, as it ever was.

 

If he’d still possessed lungs, Kulta would’ve sighed as he laid his head back against the stone floor. The Skull Grinder rested on his stomach beneath a few tons of stone and debris, his entire lower half and most of his left torso buried and crushed beyond repair. Thankful once again that his dead-yet-not state left him immune to feelings such as pain and fatigue, Kulta closed his crimson eyes and remembered how he’d ended up trapped in the ruins of his former home.

 

Following his defeat at the hands of the self-righteous Toa and their decrepit Mask Maker, Ekimu, Kulta had found himself in a empowered cell built to drain away his power and rage, rendering escape nearly impossible. Worse yet, the Toa had confiscated his Skull mask, taking an incredible amount of his necrotic power with it. Calling out to the shadows, his master had granted him mercy after his defeat. An arachnid creation of the master had returned his mask and with its power, he had freed himself and returned to the city beneath the earth as vengeance burned in the ribcage where his heart-light used to reside.

 

Much to his shock and infuriated discovery, the Toa and Mask Maker had already arrived and were battling his Skull Raiders, an army of the pirates he’d once lead to the island of Okoto years ago, turned undead like himself by their master, the Dark Lord Makuta. Another defeat had driven them underground, and now here they stood, locked in battle with the revered “heroes” of Okoto. After the chaos of bone and elemental power reached its apex, Ekimu challenged Kulta to a duel, one on one, and the Grinder had gladly accepted.

 

Kulta grit his teeth behind his mask at the treachery Ekimu had wielded against him, not just wielding the Earth beings weapon to bring his own city down upon him, but had broke his word at a fair fight. Even as a former scoundrel, honor was not completely lost, and the Mask Maker had broken it without hesitation.

 

“And they call us the filth, Master… How comical,” Kulta said to the darkness surrounding him, voice dry and rough.

 

 

Silence was his answer, as it had been for the weeks following his defeat. The Skull Grinder did not understand why his master did answer his howls for assistance, but a quickly sinking feeling told him this was to be his fate, to simply rot into oblivion in this make-shift tomb. He’d half-considered simply tearing himself free from the crushed components of his body and trying to crawl to freedom, but the city was nearly caved in. Even if he’d freed himself, he’d lack the strength to go very far, and his ruined body lacked the strength of will to create a skeletal minion to work on digging him free.

 

No, Kulta was trapped with only his icy-cold rage and stinging defeat to keep him company. With a growl, the undead lord twisted around as much as he could and used his free arm to start clawing away at the smaller chunks of debris and rocks that held him in place. He was the Skull Grinder, the Lord of the undead armies upon Okoto, and he refused to accept this… He’d claw his way free, even if it took an eternity, smash Ekimu’s mask to scrap, and then melt the Mask Maker in his own forge… Yes, that thought would’ve spread a smile across the Grinder’s lips if he’d still had any.

 

As his silver fingers pulled each stone aside, a wispy smoke bled from beneath a set of larger stones, moving like a cloud and finally settling next to Kulta’s iron-colored pauldron. The Grinder let out a breath of relief and rested back against his chest. Perhaps all he needed was to show a little initiative, life...or, rather, unlife was funny like that.

 

“I don’t mean to be impatient, my Master, but you could’ve answered my calls a little sooner. A lot of our time has been wasted with my imprisonment here… Not that I’m arguing with your will, of course,”  the Grinder corrected, quickly. Makuta did not take disobedience well, and he did not wish his lust for revenge to blind him into earning the Shadow Titan’s wrath.

 

The smoke-like cloud settled and began to slowly take shape, earning a tilt of the head from Kulta. Makuta’s form never became any more corporeal than a cloud of malice and red eyes, yet this shape looked to be almost...recognizable? The shadow finally solidified and the short being tilted its head at Kulta, as if studying his trapped state. Its form was that of one of the Okotan villagers, but instead of the vibrant colors of the various elements, the beings armor was a solid black, and the muscles beneath that were a rippling yellow-green. Eyes of a poisonous, almost sickening, shade of green sizzled from beneath its usual Okotan mask, with a forehead that swept back in two arches over the brow and smooth cheeks. Kulta always considered the islanders to appear weak and innocent due to the cultural shape of their masks, but with those eyes… the little one almost appeared as sinister as some of his skull raiders.

 

“When Makuta sent me to find you, I expected something...more.” The being said, voice smooth, though plenty unamused with Kulta’s pitiful state. .

“Yes… and you are clearly not the Master. Who are you, tiny one?”

 

The shadow tilted its head as he looked Kulta over, not responding immediately. The great Skull Grinder, reduced to half a pile of broken bones, armor, and rubble. At this moment, he was half the being’s size, and even then, was his superior in this situation. The thought was delightfully amusing.

 

“My name is Ahkmou. Makuta has sent me to correct this mess, both figuratively and literally.”

 

The being had a sense of humor. Kulta rolled his eyes for a moment, and pointed down at his pinned bones and shattered crimson-black armor. As he spoke, his voice did nothing to hide the irritation with the new servant’s arrival.

 

“I believe the master may misunderstand the severity of the situation then. Even with my full army, it would take days to dig the city out… and most of them are shattered by the Mask Maker’s treachery,” Kulta finally turned and matched the shadow-beings burning gaze with his own, pointing a finger at the little form, voice as sharp,”so unless you brought the Master himself, you are of no-!”

 

Ahkmou’s small hand suddenly snapped out and caught the Skull Grinder’s wrist, grip nearly breaking the bones from the force. Without warning, a black and emerald energy laced down the Grinder’s arm and tore into his being, forcing a cry from him that echoed through the caverns as his strength was sapped away by the shadow being. As Kulta’s roars of fury slowly began to whither and his attempts at freeing himself ceased, the shadow Okotan simply watched as the Grinder’s life was burned away.

 

When the cries fell silent, and the Grinder ceased to move, Ahkmou simply released the now-dead arm and knelt down in front of the still-smoking former lord of the Skull Army. Makuta had been very clear about how he would become as powerful as the Toa, but first, a sacrifice had been needed. Who better than this failure? Now, only one step remained. Ahkmou ran his fingers across the Grinder’s skeletal mask, the sharp ridges still warm from the power he’d used to destroy its owner’s existence, and gripped the mask by it’s eyes, tearing the mask free with a solid pop.

 

Well, that had been far easier than he’d expected.

 

Kulta’s corpse had almost instantly drained of color, though Ahkmou’s eyes were on the mask. It was a grim visage, truly, but if it granted the power Makuta promised, he had no issues with that. Okoto had abandoned him and the others who’d been trapped in the Shadow Realm, it was only right that they knew the terror he had. No… they deserved so much more. Shadow, darkness, fear, everything his people had suffered until Makuta turned the city into a servant of his will. Even now, Ahkmou still remembered fear being replaced with tyranny. He closed his eyes and saw it as easily as he had the day darkness truly engulfed the Shadow Realm.

 

Chapter 2

 

From the very first day of his rule, Makuta had treated the Okotan’s as simple slaves, living embodiments of his will, and nothing more.  

 

The Shadow Lord had commanded them to build statues, dig up bones of untold monsters for him to reanimate as servants, and other heinous acts that he’d blocked from his memory. Just exhaustion and resentment towards the Okotans who were still safe in their beautiful homes, living happy lives with friends and family.

 

As some tried to rebel against Makuta and lost their free will as punishment, Ahkmou began accusing his neighbors and acquaintances as traitors, quickly gaining the Dark Lord’s favor for finding either those with rebellious thoughts or those with promising strengths to become favorable tools and drones. It was his latest achievement at bringing Makuta a particularly skilled Okotan painter accused of creating propaganda to fuel rebellion among the dark streets that Ahkmou had earned the Titan’s true favor.

 

“Where did you find her, Ahkmou? She’s been eluding even the Skull Spiders for weeks…” Makuta had asked, sitting forward on his throne to peer down at the blue-armored, trembling villager of Water, her eyes wide with terror.

 

He’d been different then, his armor still its original rust-brown and silver, though his mask had always been a deep midnight black, and he’d stood directly behind the painter, wielding the staff of Makuta’s authority he’d been gifted as a boon for his loyalty. The design was simple, yet ornate, featuring a golden carving of the Mask of Control resting upon a head of swirling Okoton runes and a pair of gold-forged horns curling back from the staff’s tip.

 

“Center of the city, my lord, beneath the old library. There was a hidden passage behind a painting of your old self that lead into the structure’s foundation. I found multiple items of propaganda inciting rebellion against your glory, Lord Makuta. She is, without a doubt, guilty of these crimes.”

 

Before Makuta could respond, the painter’s terror must’ve been boiled over into madness, Ahkmou remembered, and she’d turned, launching herself at him, fists risen and golden eyes blazing to an almost white fury. He’d been unprepared for such an outburst and he remembered simply standing there, watching her fist soar towards his mask.

 

It never landed. A flash of crimson light ripped through the air from the throne and tore through the little Okotan’s form, her form going  limp before it finished its step towards Ahkmou. She slumped forward and he caught her out of reflex, her head limp against his chest and body still smoking from the bolt of darkness. He remembered looking up, seeing the Makuta’s claws still glowing from the attack that’d destroyed the painter with such efficiency. As if he’d just swatted a Nui-rama from his face, Makuta sat back onto his throne, resting his chin on his palm. His tone was not excited or angry, simply casual, like taking a life was as simple as kicking a Kholi ball into the goal.

 

“Well done. Hand her over to the Skull warriors, they’ll make use of her parts. Since you know the way, you personally will destroy the artwork and seal off the passage. We can’t have anyone else becoming a martyr from her, now can we?”

 

He hadn’t answered, simply looking down at the mangled corpse of the once-beautifully skilled painter, her eyes dark and colors faded. He’d gone cold in that moment, right down to his organic bones and he was glad her body was mostly concealing his hands as they shook. He didn’t care about her life, wouldn’t grieve for even a moment, but it was the raw display of power that shook Ahkmou to his core. His Lord had snuffed out a life like he was simply crushing an insect in his palm, and had done so without a moment's hesitation.

 

His own expendability was what had chilled him that day, how insignificant he was in comparison the tyrant lording over him and his people. He’d finally realized he was simply a tool, and one had falsified his latest success as well. The painter had not been promoting a rebellion, while she had been hiding her works, the beautiful landscapes she’d created were simply that; gorgeous recreations of Okoto’s landscapes, places he’d honestly forgotten after the years of imprisonment in the shadow realm. Raging storms over an ocean of vibrant blue, the lush and thriving jungles and his home in the deserts, sands blowing in the dry winds.

 

All forms of expression and creativity that didn’t grace Makuta’s glory had been banned early into the city’s banishment, and this was a crime unto-itself, but accusing her of rebellion would’ve only made him look even greater in their Lord’s eyes. He expected her mind to be shackled or sentenced to physical labor… he didn’t believe Makuta would ever destroy one of his people, surely his ego wouldn't’ allow the loss of a worshipper. Apparently, Ahkmou had been wrong that day.

 

Shortly after disposing of both the painter and her work, he’d been summoned back to the Throne room. Makuta explained how he was planning his escape from the Shadow realm soon, with the help of another servant by the name of Umarak. Ahkmou recognized the name, Umarak was a hunter from the rumors he’d heard drifting the streets and hunted the Elemental Creatures of Okoto, the beastial incarnations of the elements themselves. For what purpose, Makuta had not shared, as usual. He’d wondered how a hunter could assist in freeing them from eternal banishment, but of course he didn’t voice such questions.

 

The Shadow Titan then explained how the Toa, the master’s of Okoto’s elements and living legends, would most likely stop his escape, as the prophecy foretold. He hadn’t had much faith in the Toa, even if Makuta seemed wary of them. If they were so powerful, why hadn’t they come and simply saved Ahkmou and the rest of the city from his monster? Just like the other Okotan’s, apparently, the Toa had better things to do then save a villager playing the role of a servant to avoid ending up food for the Skull Warriors.

 

“My Lord, if you expect to be defeated by their combined power, why go through with this plan at all and waste the time? Surely your wisdom can create a scheme they don’t expect?” He’d said, leaning on his staff as he watched Makuta pace, claws folded behind his massive back.

 

“Of course, and that is where you come in, my loyal servant.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“My defeat will take everything from the Toa. They can not defeat me alone, and will sacrifice everything they are to make sure I remain banished. As foretold, they will most likely succeed despite my best efforts, and I will be returned to this wretched place...but you, Ahkmou, will escape while I hold the way open for you.”

 

His staff had clattered to the floor in shock, earning a bemused smirk from Makuta over the Titan’s massive shoulder. Free? He’d...be free of this place? He could see his home again, lay in the warm sands and breathe without his Master’s presence looming over him. He smirked to himself there in the darkness of the ruins as he remembered how quickly he’d accepted the offer. He thought about it for a moment, temporarily ceasing the memory’s playback in his mind, and realized he probably didn’t have any choice to begin with.

 

Makuta had not simply sent him into Okoto unprepared, for Ahkmou was now an extension of the Shadow Titan’s will, and thus had to be equipped as such. His gift was far more extreme and far less pleasant than he’d expected as Makuta had gripped the little Okotan by the throat and with a simple force of will, expelled a portion of his shadow essence into Ahkmou’s form.

 

He’d shivered, cried out and shook as the power latched onto his being and soaked deep into his organic components, staining his armor black and tainting his warm-gold eyes to a toxic green.. Even now, he still felt a chill he couldn’t truly shake off. Instead, he’d simply adapted to the coldness at his core. On top of the shadow power now coursing through his veins and armor, Makuta had left him with a warning, voice low and grating like stone upon stone.

 

“Now, little servant, remember… This power I have gifted you binds to you to my will. There is nowhere on Okoto, or the Shadow realm, where I can not find you and if you should try to simply escape with your freedom while I am trapped here…”

 

He’d emphasized his point by squeezing Ahkmou’s throat tighter for a moment before releasing him and sending him crashing to the floor. He’d been unable to respond, simply coughing with a nod as his vision cleared slightly, though he still shook from the new power coursing through him. He’d been given little time to recover, as Umarak had prepared to open the portal a few simple hours later.

 

The Shadow Titan had gone through first, as Ahkmou had been informed he would, and was only half-formed on Okoto before he heard a growl of confirmation to proceed through without delay. The portal was a rippling mass of violet and black in the center of the throne room, and he’d not entirely trusted such a violent look collection of energy, but another growl from Makuta said he had little time to argue. With a deep breath, he’d broke into a sprint and launched himself with his empowered legs into the swirling mass of power. He instantly felt his head spinning as his form was transported from one dimension to another, muscles tingling for a moment as he was turned from solid to incorporeal and back again. Then, with a thud, he felt stone beneath his fingers and felt the rush of wind from a storm overhead, the scent of fire, water, ice and lush jungle assaulting his senses after going so long without any form of weather.

 

As he’d gathered himself, he saw the half-corporeal Makuta looming above him, silhouetting the little Okotan in his shadow as he directed a torrent of raw shadow at a team of figures at the other end of what appeared to be some large sinkhole rimmed with violet crystals. The tall figures fought back against his Master with a respective element, and their colors had led him to only one conclusion on their identity. So these were the Toa. As much as he’d wished to join his Master and crush them, that was not part of the prophecy. He remembered growling under his breath, and using his Master’s distraction, taking off into the shadows to spend the next few weeks hunting for the ruins of the Grinder’s city..

 

He’d spent so long lost in the memories leading him to this dark and ruined place, he realized the Grinder’s mask had gone cold in his hands, and his logical side told him he was simply delaying the next part of the plan. Makuta had told him to seek out the Skull Grinder and claim his mask, whether the failure was dead or alive. Fortunately, he’d been alive, and provided an impressive test for Ahkmou’s new power, so that was a surprise he was still thanking his lucky stars for.

 

The shadow Okotan turned the mask over in his hands for another moment, before he reached up and plucked his own from his face, tossing it aside with a soft clank of metal against the carved-out floor. With a sigh, he reached up and snapped the mask into place over his dark face, eyes closed as he prepared himself. Ahkmou knew, masks were everything. They could assist a farmer with growing his crops that season, or grant Makuta the power to nearly end the island. Everything was relative to the power of the mask, and since Ahkmou had been told Kulta’s was a rare design from somewhere not native to Okoto, he really had no idea what to expect from its power.

 

As soon as the skull-like mask rested into place, the Okotan’s body erupted into power and spasms that sent him to the ground, voice tearing out through the caverns in pained cries. He felt his muscles tear as the mask’s power flowed through his small body and extended his limbs to better suit the new energy. He’d hear tales of how the Toa had once been Okotan’s like himself and their original masks had helped them ascend to their almost legendary state of power, but this… this wasn’t power, it was torture. He felt his torso crack and tear as the toxic-green light burst from within and tore his rib-structure at the sides, earning another scream.

 

As the pain began to subside and Ahkmou took the risk of raising his new limbs to look at his new form, another sudden eruption of power from his left shoulder forced him to roll onto his stomach as bone-spikes tore from his shoulder armor and protruded like a grotesque mantle. Ahkmou’s vision began to darken from the pain, the trauma having pushed his body beyond what his mind was willing to endure. With the soft clank of metal against stone, sweet darkness took him and he collapsed against the floor, eyes dark.

 

Chapter 3

 

The soft feeling of a stone rat’s nose against his fingers brought Ahkmou from the blissful void of unconsciousness and returned him to the painful existence that was reality. He slowly opened his eyes, and flicked his hand out at the little creature, lips curling in both frustration from his still aching form, and disgust for the little rodent. As soon as his hand neared it, a bolt of emerald energy lept from his fingers and struck the little Rahi animal. It twitched and instantly dropped dead on the spot as Ahkmou felt the aching in his forearm slowly subside for a moment before returning.

 

He tilted his head at that, forgetting his pain for a moment. He hadn’t even put any amount of will behind the movement, and his power simply leapt out and seemed to steal the life from the stone rat. Then, that life seemed to be converted back into an energy that dulled his pain, if only for a moment. Clearly, he had some things to explore with this new power.

 

Pulling himself up to rest his back against the cave wall, Ahkmou looked himself over in the dim light. Thankfully, so long in the shadow realm had helped his eyesight be more sensitive in low-light scenarios and he saw his new, grotesque state in full clarity. He was significantly taller now, easily the height of the Toa he’d seen, though it was like the mask had not twisted him proportionately. His armor had not grown with him in all places, exposing his skeletal structure on his ribs and lower limbs. His feet had grown long claws, glowing a soft, sickening green in the cave and gently scratched against the floor as he drew his knees up to his chest, shaking from shock and the pain still aching deep into his body. Makuta had not mentioned how the power would twist him, how agonizing it would be to simply wield it, and what happened if he lost it somehow, the mask or power itself? Would he simply return to his old self, or would he… Ahkmou shook his head away from the other possibility and stood, growling at the ache in every joint and bone as he did so. This new height was going to take getting used to as he nearly stumbled and lost his balance, reaching out to brace himself against the rocks still burying the deceased Skull Grinder.

 

Then, a thought crossed his mind, looking down at the pile of dead bones and armor. More specifically, the armor. Clearly Kulta would not be using it any longer, he thought, as he bent down and began tearing bits of armor from the former skull lord’s body. A few pieces of crimson armor from the beings arms that should work on his new limbs, and the ribcage-like torso armor would most likely work as a sufficient pauldron for his right shoulder.

 

For a moment, he understood he was wearing a few body parts of another being, but considering he was going to most likely be fighting the entire island on his own, he needed this more than Kulta. With a few solid pops, the armor worked itself into place, and Ahkmou rolled his shoulders and stretched his still-aching form. The crimson armor wasn’t perfect, but his entire left arm and legs were now armored, so he considered that sufficient. Now, onto the next task at hand.

 

Ahkmou focused and closed his eyes, hoping that when the mask had twisted him, it hadn’t robbed him of the shadow empowerment Makuta had bestowed upon him. His body ached even further from the exertion of effort, but after a moment, his power obeyed and his form dissipated into mist, sliding through the rocks blocking the tunnels and back into the winding caverns of Okoto’s underbelly.

 

It didn’t take him long to find his way free of the caves and back out into the Region of Earth, his darkness form sweeping past a large open cave filled with jagged violet spikes and a handful of floating platforms leading towards a stone pedestal of some kind. As he passed through, Ahkmou wondered why there would be a such a display for nothing at all… Probably some random legend the Okotan’s had dreamt up in his time away. They had a habit of that, listening to Narmoto and his stories. He never understood the obsession the fire-spitters had with telling stories, but they surely never missed the chance. He wondered as he exited the caves and floated across Okoto’s surface, heading towards the coastal region of Ga-Koto, if they’d tell stories of him once he and Makuta conquered the island… That would be nice, let someone worship and chant his name for once.

 

As he neared the sands of the water region, he let his power fade and became solid again, limbs still protesting with every movement as he did so. His claws sank into the shifting grains beneath him and a sudden crack of thunder overhead was the only warning he was given before water began to fall against his armor and mask. The rain was light at first, but quickly becoming a heavy downpour that matted the sands together beneath his feet. Ahkmou tilted his head back and closed his eyes, droplets occasionally slipping through the slits in his mask and pattering against his dark face. It had been so long since he’d smelled the scent of rain or felt the coolness against him, far too long. The former Po-Okotan nearly fell forward and sobbed, digging his fingers into the wet sands and try to let Okoto’s glorious, refreshing rain wash away everything Makuta had tainted him with. All the filth, the darkness… the evil. Instead, he simply stood there for a few minutes, letting the rain grow to a raging storm, the lightning occasionally illuminating the raging seas and dark grey clouds of the late evening.

 

“Po-Okotan’s are supposed to hate water, yet here you are, soaking it up… and talking to yourself. Great, now you’re going crazy,” he said to himself after a soft chuckle and continued on his way towards the now furious waters.

 

The storm had come on rather suddenly, and despite his welcome of the refreshing rain, it was a tad curious. It was almost as if the elements themselves were voicing their distaste for such a twisted being planning to enter their waters. Ahkmou understood, as he’d essentially become a monster thanks to Kulta’s mask, but he had no choice. Makuta still held the leash of his shadow infusion, and would most likely tug-or choke-him with with it should he try and escape. Besides, Gali wasn’t here to stop him, so the elements themselves would have to continue to rage on.

 

As the winds began to throw the rain in sheets, Ahkmou arrived at the water’s edge and blew out a breath. As a Po-Okotan, he’d never been a great swimmer, and now, as his body was still recovering from its mutation, he wasn’t any more confident in his odds, but Makuta had been very clear. Arrive at the water’s edge, and wait for further commands. So he waited.

 

He listened to the storm, felt the water lap at his feet and for the moment, enjoyed the silence as he waited for some sign. Instead, he was nearly scared out of his new armor when Makuta’s voice suddenly echoed through his mind, sounding no more pleasant than usual.

 

“Good, Ahkmou, I see you’ve claimed Kulta’s power over the dead. You will need it. There are defeated Skull Spider’s littered about within these waters from Gali’s defense of her home. You must raise each of them from the dead until you find the one that knows where her original Mask of Water resides... “

 

“Dare I ask for what purpose, my Lord? Gali is dead, along with the other toa, as the prophecy you explained predicted.”

 

Makuta’s response grated against his mind, and nearly drowned out even the booming thunder overhead with its intensity.

 

“I only answer your narrow-minded question because it is required for your task…. I plan for you to corrupt that mask,” he explained, slowly, as if Ahkmou was having issues understanding, much to the servant’s annoyance,“Then, you will use your new power over resurrecting the dead and create a Shadow Toa through her corrupted mask and Skull Warrior remains. A simple shadow of the real thing, but ultimately loyal to me. You will do this for each Toa, and through them, I will use their combined elemental powers to free myself from this realm.”

 

Ahkmou frowned in thought, and for a moment, he had to compliment his master on the plan. In theory, it could work. While shadows of their true selves, a darkness-born being wearing the Toa’s original, yet weaker, masks could combine the six elements and open the portal to the shadow realm again. Whether the creations survived the process was obviously irrelevant, and if they were as mindless as the Skull Warrior’s he was commanded to make them from, they wouldn’t miss their lives any way. As much as he hated to admit it, Ahkmou was impressed. Unfortunately he didn’t have long to mull over the more fine details before Makuta’s growling voice echoed through his mind.

 

“I did not release you from this prison realm to stand around, Ahkmou. Go!”

 

The necrotic servant sighed and threw himself into the surf, wincing as his body protested the movement, and began swimming towards the lower areas of Ga-Koto. The underwater village lay carved into the stone of the seabed, soft lights glittering within the huts and homes.  Makuta had not said what he should do if the villagers or Protector tried to stop him, but he had a guess. Not that it truly mattered to him, what had they ever done for him? They’d never tried to come save him and his people, or even make contact… No, he had no love for these Okotan’s. If they tried to get in his way, he’d do what was needed.

 

A school of Takea sharks swam by, and for a moment, he felt a stab of fear. The aquatic hunters were known for their ferocity, even to someone who spent a lot of his time in the desert regions. Villagers he understood, but Takea… they swarmed, chewed, tore at their victim. If the full school turned to attack him, he’d be Takea bones in seconds. Not willing to take the chance, he brought himself to a stop, rose a hand towards the large rahi and forced his will out through his hands, as he had with Kulta. Emerald bolts lept through the waters and struck the school, chaining to each of their silver bodies and causing them to spasm and twist in agony.

 

The energy lept through the school for only a few moments before they finally went limp and began to gently float towards the surface. Just like with the stone rat in the ruins, Ahkmou felt the ache of his body subside, and this time, it did not return. So, it appeared if he took the life of others, it fueled his own. Well that was convenient. It also explained why the Grinder and his people had a constant need for prisoners, they most likely used them as fuel for their power. Sick, but also clever. Ahkmou was noticing a trend with Makuta and his minions.

 

You’re one of his minions, y’know. Just a tool to be used and thrown away.

 

He shook that thought away and continued his swim past the village and towards the ruins he could see off in the distance. The Skull Spiders’ work, most likely, so that was a good as any place to start. He was no Ga-Okotan, so he wasn’t going to be able to hold his breath for too long, so on top of Makuta’s impatience, time was not his ally.

 

He spent roughly an hour in those waters, going up for air every so often and feeding upon the local wildlife when his limbs began to ache or his body grew weak. The Okotan’s must’ve done an efficient job of clearing out the skull spiders after their defeat, as he was having a very difficult time finding even a scrap of the little creatures. Ahkmou brushed his hand against a bit of coral as he came to a stop, toxic eyes searching for the accursed corpse, and as it died in his fingers, he noticed a deep blue among the now-cracked remains. There it was. The remains of a skull spider, deep blue shell nearly blending in with the coral until he’d broken it away.

 

He gripped the little creature’s remains and shot towards the surface, gasping in air as he broke the surface. The storm was still raging, and he almost believed it had gotten worse in his time below the raging waves, as returning to shore took far more effort. He turned and leaned against a large rock outcropping on the coast, looking down at the little creature. Makuta had not told him how he was supposed to go about bringing the little terror back to life, or unlife, and so far he had only experience in draining the energy from a victim, not revitalizing one.

 

However, Ahkmou did remember Makuta using the creatures in the shadow realm to...subdue the more destructive or rebellious matoran, using them as sentient masks. If they had a mind of their own, he may be able to simply let his power work for itself and read its own memories from beyond its watery grave. He figured it was as good a shot as any, and reached up to remove Kulta’s mask from his face. He enjoyed the soft whisper of the now-calm winds against his face before reaching down to gently press the salt-riddled spider to his face, nestling its mask-like underbelly onto his face. Its mechanical components had mostly rusted away from the caustic salts and he felt organic fluids dripping across his cheeks and forehead as he did so, forcing a silent gag. Then, he waited, yet again. He was starting to get tired of that.

 

With a sudden dizzying rush, his eyes gave way to a memory not his own. Well, nice to see he could still improvise and get results. The skull spidr was underwater not far from where he himself had been searching, swimming towards the original Mask of Water that Gali had either abandoned or somehow lost during her short adventures on Okoto, its ocean-blue surface buried eye-deep in the sands. Ahkmou assumed it was being commanded forth by Makuta for the same reason he was now, but ignored the theory as he watched the memory. The creature’s long forelegs finally settled upon the mask and curled around it. With a satisfied hiss, it kicked its back legs and began towards where Makuta must’ve instructed it to take the mask.

 

Ahkmou smirked behind the creature’s mask-esque remains. Perhaps things were going to go smoothly for once. Obviously this one had found her mask, now he simply needed to see what had ended it, and then find that. Most likely, the mask would be near by. The spider swam on a ways before a flash of movement sped across it vision, bringing it to a stop with another sharp hiss. The shape had been large, long, and easily identified as aquatic… but far too large to be a Takea shark. Besides, he thought, the sharks and other rahi feared any creation of Makuta’s by natural instinct. As he watched the shape whip by again, this time closer, Ahkmou made out colors now. Blue, orange, streaks of silver across its head… No, that was no Takea.

 

The skull spider waited for the creature to swim by before it darted forward and tried to simply escape through speed alone. It made only a few feet before it seemed to be hit by a sudden current of water moving at such a rapid speed that it sent the arachnid swirling end over end, making Ahkmou feel nauseous for a moment from the view. The spider corrected itself just and he finally got a good look at its attacker as it raced forward, head bowed forward and tail moving rapidly to keep up speed and force. A body of bright blue and silver, fins lean and powerful, and a head of the purest silver, featuring a deadly fire-orange horn upon its tip. Along its back, a pair of weapons that looked familiar to the ones wielded by the Protectors were strapped and loaded. Ahkmou prepared for the memory to come to an abrupt end as this...creature of the ocean charged forward to impale the spider and reclaim the mask. Instead, Ahkmou himself was launched off his feet by a sudden force he didn’t register until he was a flying through the air, coughing water from his mouth as the spider came loose from his face.

 

It felt as if the ocean itself had created a tendril of water and simply struck him with all its force. He landed with a sharp crash on the flat top of the rocks he’d been near, crying out as the impact nearly broke one of the bone spikes from his left shoulder. A moment later, Kulta’s mask, which he’d been holding at his side the whole time, landed next to him with a metallic clang. He sat up, coughing and sputtering, and more than a little furious. So now he had both a giant fish to find, and on top of that, the very ocean itself wished to get in his way.

 

“Is that it now, huh?! First the Okotan’s don’t come to save me, then me trying to save my own mask turns me into Makuta’s lap dog, and now I have to fight the very waters themselves?!” he roared at the churning waves, rains pelting his face and armor in a torrential downpour,”Fine, I’ll face the ocean's fury!”

 

As if the sea heard his request, he heard the waters suddenly roar an answer and with a brief flash of lightning, saw a new column of water rise from the currents and lash towards him before darkness fell again. His normally excellent night vision was ruined by the sudden flash and he had no idea where the strike was coming from. A moment later, he was struck dead-center, breath knocked from his lungs and he forced off his feet yet again. The continuous stream of water engulfed him, threatening to drown him in its fury as he unleashed bolt after bolt of darkness against the waves to try and fight back, their violet and black arcs simply cutting through the waters without effect.

 

Just as his lungs began to burn and scream for oxygen, the waters suddenly cut off and Ahkmou gasped, lurching forward as he spit water from his mouth and his body expelled the salty invader. In the back of his mind, he noted to note mock the ocean anymore. As he slowly regained his breath, he looked up, expecting the last assault to come and finish him. Instead, a flash of lightning illuminated his true assailant, silver and blue armor reflecting the light brilliantly. The fish creature… There it was, floating a few yards off the raging waters, tail lazily swaying back and forth, though the sense of fury was present even from here. It’s movement was an idle one, instead, Ahkmou had seen enough rahi to sense their tension before the pounce.

 

Ignoring its obvious distress for his presence, Ahkmou was more baffled by how the aquatic rahi was flying above its natural habitat, as well as how it was controlling the elements. As far as he was aware, only a Toa had that kind of power. Well, the Toa and… No, that was impossible. Surely he hadn’t attracted the power of the creature of Water, that was far too powerful for him to defeat alone. The Toa controlled the elements he know, but the Creatures? Makuta had mentioned them as the living elements themselves, fury and all, and he’d very much made this one angry.

 

That explains the storm getting worse, he thought.

 

He reached over to collect Kulta’s mask and snapped it back over his face, feeling a dark presence return to the back of his mind that he hadn’t noticed was missing. So that’s how Makuta communicated with him, the same way he had the Grinder apparently. Masks were everything, once again, it seemed.

 

“Come on then, creature! If you’re here to try and stop me, I must say, I’m more afraid of Makuta then I am of you! What’s stopping you?”

 

“Because her I asked her to stop.”

 

Chapter 4

 

Ahkmou whirled at the feminine voice, nearly jumping off the rock’s surface from the shock of what he saw. She was tall, a good mask over himself, and her mask was beautiful. A shining golden hue that marbled into a deep-sea blue, eyes a brighter blue like the warm sky over Po-Koto and carved runes of the Okotan language arced across her forehead. Her armor of blues, silvers and sea-star orange was smooth and curved slightly across her body, most likely aiding with her swimming, though her identity was immediately known thanks to the carved symbol in her breastplate.

 

“T-Toa… Gali…?” He whispered, sound barely audible over the storms and waves. There she stood, shape shimmering like a desert mirage, but unmistakably present. He couldn’t see her face, the Toa’s masks were far more protective of the wearer then the usual Okotans, but he could’ve sworn he saw a smile in her eyes. She rose a hand, and suddenly, silence struck him like a physical blow. Everything stopped. The storm, the waves, rain, everything came to a sudden halt at this Toa’s command. Such a simple display of power finally broke Ahkmou’s composure and he sunk to his knees before her, simply staring in stunned silence.

 

“Yes, little one… Well, I guess not so little now. I am here, as my brothers and I should’ve been for all of you, so long ago.”

 

“H..how?”

 

“As a Toa, I am the element of water upon Okoto. From the dew that drips in Le-Koto, to the raging storms of my home, as long as the waters exist, so do I. Even if that means not physically, my spirit remains wherever my element does. Don’t worry, I didn’t get it at first either,” She giggled softly for a moment, the sound almost sounding a bit childish as she knelt down in front of him. Those eyes were so cool, like a drink after he’d spent all afternoon climbing the carvings of his home, and Ahkmou realized that she was both the ocean's beauty and wrath at once.

 

“But… you were sent to the stars when you re-imprisoned Makuta? How are you still on Okoto?” he asked, starting to regain his voice again as he processed how he was speaking to the spirit of Water. He was grateful he hadn’t simply died at some point and not realized it. That would’ve been a terrible end to his legend. Drowned by a flying fish.

 

“Our bodies were sent to the stars, yes, once our power was released and we once again united with the elements. Our spirits, however, remained here on Okoto to work with the Creatures and protect our homes.”

 

Ahkmou nodded as he slowly grasped the situation. The Toa weren’t gone, could never truly be gone, but one thing still stuck out in his mind. Looking up at that gleaming golden mask, he asked a simple question, head tilted slightly as he frowned.

 

“How did you find me…?”

 

Toa Gali’s expression darkened and she shifted her gaze to the now-still oceans. She didn’t respond immediately and instead simply walked around him to look out across the endless waters. When she spoke, her voice was distant, as if she was lost in a painful memory she couldn’t ever truly forget.

 

“During the battle with one of Makuta’s minions, Umarak, my soul was taken into the shadow realm. I did not linger long and it was through my visit I figured out the destiny my brothers and I had to fulfill,” she said, folding her arms as if catching a sudden chill. “When a spirit enters that place, it leaves a stain that… can’t ever truly be removed.”

 

“That still doesn’t explain how-!”

She held up a hand and Ahkmou instantly fell silent, afraid another torrent of water would flatten him against the stone again if he continued. Gali was silent for another moment, before continuing.

 

“Because of that stain, I’m able to follow anything that also has that darkness within it. It’s both a blessing and a curse, really. I am able assist Akida in finding any threat to our home, but having that darkness within oneself is…”

 

Ahkmou finished the sentence for her, a grim chuckle on his lips as he did so, “Fatiguing? Always feeling like another presence is hovering over your shoulder, like a looming shadow?”

 

“Yes… You are wise, littl one.” She replied, eyes softening again a few degrees and turning back to look at him.

 

“The name’s Ahkmou, and I’ve been around the shadow realm for about a thousand years, you tend to get used to the lack of privacy,” he shot at her, bitterness dripping from his voice.

 

“Yes, I’m sorry we couldn’t save you all… Even if we were physically on the island, doing so would also release Makuta, and you know what kind of evils he would unleash.”

 

“So the lives of the Capital city are worth the lives of the rest of Okoto…?”

 

She frowned and looked away, as if the thought of leaving any Okotan in peril was too much for her to bear. Ahkmou didn’t care, he pushed harder as he stood and walked over to her, pointing up at Akida, as she’d called her.

 

“You still have a connection with your elemental creatures, you could do something, anything, to try and help us, instead you’ve accepted that we’re lost… and you still haven’t told me why you found me here. You could’ve just ended me and stopped whatever Makuta is planning for me, but you haven’t,” he tilted his skull-like visage so he caught her gaze and she looked at him fully, pain obvious in her eyes.

 

“The prophecy is done, Ahkmou, our destiny fulfilled.”

 

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#2 Offline Wiriamu

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Posted Jun 12 2017 - 02:54 PM

Quite the story you have here-seems like more of an Epic form, but pretty cool nonetheless; quite the interesting take on the old concept of Ahkmou becoming a Shadow Toa.


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Voicing your opinions with tact is the best way to keep a discussion from becoming an argument.
So far as I'm aware, it's pronounced like this: We're ee ah moo.
 

Check out my Creations:

Epics

G1 Battle for Spherus Magna - G2 A Lingering Shadow


Short Stories

G1 Fallen Guardian - G2 Shadows of Past and Future (The Legend Continues Entry) Head of Stone, Heart of Jungle


MOCs

Mask Hoarder, Desert Scourge


#3 Offline Boxer502

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Posted Jun 14 2017 - 11:36 PM

Ah, thank you very much! ^_^ Ahkmou becoming a Shadow Toa was something I really wanted to see back in G1, so I figured I'd take that, and do a heel-face turn on top of it. :P Glad you enjoyed it though! 

 

I very much enjoyed yours as well, like some of the others said, with making some of the combiners a canon thing like G1 did, with the Kaita! ^_^


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#4 Offline Wiriamu

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Posted Jun 15 2017 - 12:11 AM

Ah, thank you very much! ^_^ Ahkmou becoming a Shadow Toa was something I really wanted to see back in G1, so I figured I'd take that, and do a heel-face turn on top of it. :P Glad you enjoyed it though! 

 

I very much enjoyed yours as well, like some of the others said, with making some of the combiners a canon thing like G1 did, with the Kaita! ^_^

Much appreciated. I did a similar thing with the unused G1 alternate models in my Battle for Spherus Magna fic.


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Voicing your opinions with tact is the best way to keep a discussion from becoming an argument.
So far as I'm aware, it's pronounced like this: We're ee ah moo.
 

Check out my Creations:

Epics

G1 Battle for Spherus Magna - G2 A Lingering Shadow


Short Stories

G1 Fallen Guardian - G2 Shadows of Past and Future (The Legend Continues Entry) Head of Stone, Heart of Jungle


MOCs

Mask Hoarder, Desert Scourge


#5 Offline -Taka-

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Posted Jul 24 2017 - 09:53 PM

Wait, is that it? Please, that can't be it! I know this was for a contest and all, but you seriously can not end it like this. Your writing style is phenomenal, and as a continuation, this fixes many of the glaring holes the story team left unresolved, while retaining the elements that made G2 unique. This shows the potential of G2, and I can only ask that you don't abandon such a wonderful piece of work.
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