Posted Sep 19 2017 - 02:46 PM
We traveled on through the jungle, until we came to a burnt village. "Folks, we found the Warriors." I murmured solemnly.
Kevaku hopped off. "Now can we do some fighting? Huh? I'm not scared! I can fight the lot of 'em. LETMEATEM! NOW!"
Elryx was the only one of us who looked truly worried. "So, where do we go from here?"
I scanned the carnage around me. Toppled buildings, burned trees, and lifeless Okotans stripped of their masks littered the ashen village.
No. Not burned trees. This was something way more dangerous. Okotans honored fire, some used it to get rid of bad crops, others to fertilize fields. But this was evil. Something far beyond Okotan's control. This was shadow.
I looked into the jungle. The trees bent backwards in one area, creating a pathway. The ends of the trees were charred black. They were trying to get away from something. I instantly knew which path to take.
"Everyone, saddle up. We need to hit the road."
"What do you mean?" Elryx asked. "What road?"
"The road of destruction." I answered melancholically.
As I walked back to Jenny, I stumbled upon the lifeless body of an Okotan. Death was a terrible thing. I walked over, picked up its mask, and placed it gently on its lap.
We followed the path of destruction for a while. It didn't take long for Kevaku to get bored.
"Ohhhhhhhh, we're merrily merrily on our way to nowhere in particular!" He sung as we tried to plug our earholes to block the sound, but to no avail. Elryx finally mustered the courage to nudge him.
"Please stop, Kevaku. That's kind of annoyi-"
"I'M TELLING!" Kevaku turned to his side only to face endless jungle. "Mister Tree-ee, Elryx said my song is annoy-ing!"
I fabricated the ultimate face palm, and Elryx giggled. My brother could be a pain in the neck, but honestly, there was no one else I would journey with instead. And Elryx... She had just come into my life yesterday, but I had a feeling we were destined to meet long before this. She was different. We all were. Elryx was meant to play a huge roll in the quest to save Okoto.
As I watched the path before us, I thought of my Mom. My thoughts always returned to her. I don't have memories of her, just glimpses. A sound, a smell, might be just enough to catapult me into a warm fragment of a memory. Why did Elryx remind me so much of her? I caught a glimpse of her long hair blowing in the wind. She reminded me of early memories, too fuzzy to make out. I tried not to think about it too hard. It was not beneficial at all. But Elryx almost made me feel better about my loss.
I thought about my family. If Dad was gone, I didn't have anyone left except for Evaku. But there was hope. What if Makuta had taken him? He could be a hostage right now, a prisoner of darkness. Would I ever find him? Wait. If he was a prisoner of Makuta, he would have to be inside the Shadow Realm, the same place we had to close. If we succeeded, we could risk having him trapped inside the Realm forever. If we went inside and tried to get him out, he may not be there, and we would be killed. Gosh, did heroes have to make decisions like this all the time?
We continued to ride on through the evening. The sky darkened, and I felt a tinge of fear shudder down my spine, like a million skull spiders were creeping in my soul.
"Hey, Tri." Elryx said behind me. "Let me take over, you need some rest."
We switched sides, and it wasn't long before I fell asleep.
Of course, I dreamed of the Shadow Realm.
The first thing I noticed was the rain. It felt acidic, and hissed as it fell through the sky. The place looked like a huge city. The buildings were tall, black monoliths, decorated with purple markings. In the center of the city was a dome, with purple windows all around.
Okotans aimlessly roamed the streets. No, not Okotans. They were more like AntiOkotans, with hollow, dark eyes, skeletal frames, and zombie-like composure, like me after not getting any sleep. I recognized Shadow Warriors, guarding the entrance to the dome.
I could see inside the dome. A huge being, frozen in red crystal, seemed to be speaking with the wiry silhouette of an okotan. He didn't look like the others, for he was no zombie. His yellow eyes scanned the other creature. His features were sharp and sinister, but I couldn't make out enough of his face to recognize him in a crowd.
"Good, good. My plan is almost complete. Umarak stirs in his sleep. I will wake him again as my temporary, errr, body. I can finally walk outside of this cursed planet, and begin my conquest. And when I win, you win." The crystalized monster growled. His mouth did not move, but I felt his voice just as strong as any other. I knew who he was- the master of destruction, Makuta.
"Sir." The Okotan said. "The resistance is coming. They are powerful, they can stop you.
"THEM AND WHAT ARMY?" Makuta shouted. I could've sworn his right eye twitched. "You know I have an army that can never die. I can reform them, and recreate them over, and over, and over again! And we are facing Okotans. The worst they could do is find their destiny. And I'll make sure that never happens."
I woke up with cold sweat beading down my face. We had stopped. Jenny was breathing quick, short breaths, and Elryx looked deathly pale. Her eyes were fixed on a pasture. Yeah, just a pasture. Except the grass was pitch black, and it was covered in Shadow Warriors.
A ghostly, gray fire burned in the moonlight. A figure seemed to materialize inside, piece by piece, creating a seriously buff figure. As it stepped out of the portal, the grass burned around it. I was looking at a huge, tank like warrior, with titanic claws and hands, glowing red highlights, and a mask. At least I thought it was a mask. It looked like a burning flame, and all I could make out were its eyes.
"Now, but an ounce of my power has escaped to the real world! Muahahaha!" It laughed as its claws grew red.
I was thinking it was Makuta, or Umarak, or Makarak, or Umkuta, or whatever. I'm gonna call him Makuta, just to avoid confusion.
He turned towards us, and my body felt freezing cold. He slashed through multiple trees, coming closer, and closer, until...
"Oh, how I've been waiting for you, Okotans." He grabbed me by the neck and lifted me up.
Elryx and Kevaku tried to run, but they were grabbed by the Shadow Warriors.
I felt his burning touch on my green armor. Grunting, I kicked against him, twisted, and thrashed, but to no avail. His grip was just too strong.
"I want you to suffer, Trilek. You will not be able to fulfill your precious destiny with fear in your heart. Now, kill them."
Suddenly, I was aware of everything: The Warrior's blades getting closer to Elryx's and Kevaku's throats, the way Makuta's eyes gleamed, the lightning bug crawling on a leaf in the tree about 40 feet away from us. I felt like I was awake, for the first time in my life. Not only that, but my mind was racing, and my entire body seemed to course with energy.
Then, I pulled out my shock bow, and it grew. In fact, I think I grew, my feet were almost touching the ground. I kicked Makuta onto the grass, activated my shock bow, and sent a wave of panic through the ranks of the army.
Makuta looked flabbergasted. "This is a battle we cannot win, Toa, but I'll be back." With that, the entire army sunk into the ground just as easily as stones into water.
I watched them leave, then I turned to Elryx, all like "Did you see that??? I came, I saw, he beat it!" That's when I realized Kevaku was staring at me in astonishment, Elryx in horror.
"You're... Um... super tall and super buff." Elryx looked me up and down. Now, I know that some people might've given their right big toe for a girl to say that to them, but her face looked like she had seen Alien, Predator, Terminator, and Invasion of The Body Snatchers all broadcasted at the same time.
I also realized I was looking down at her. From our talk the night before, I learned Elryx was only about two months younger than I was. We were both thirteen, and about the same height. How could I be looking down?
I backed away and looked down at a peice of volcanic glass from the shadow fire. My mask was completely altered; instead of the usual Okotan mask, I was wearing a mask with two eyeholes, a visor over the mouth, and three prongs jutting out from the back. This was incredibly weird.
I started to sway, and I fell to the ground. Elryx and Kevaku tried to help me up, but it was no use; I was seven feet tall and about two hundred pounds! My eyes closed, and my last thought before falling asleep was what Makuta had called me: A Toa. I wasn't sure if I was excited, happy, worried, mad, or unsure of myself.
And then I blacked out.
My vision was very strange.
I saw Okoto, with an endless night fallen over it.
Six heroes, restoring peace and order.
I saw Okotans traveling in huge- what, airships?
Finally, a symbol appeared in the blackness. It looked exactly like my mask.
I saw an inscription under it, it read "Awake, Child of Light!"
Child of Light? Wha?
I woke up with start. I saw Elryx's face above me, looking down. "Oh, by Gali's mask, I'm glad you're okay. You weren't even breathing for thirteen minutes!"
I stood up and realized I was five feet tall again. Whew. I was worried for a second there.
I blinked and rubbed my eyes. I felt like I was coming down from the highest sugar high in all of history. "Am I still super buff?" I asked hopefully.
Elryx chuckled. "No more than usual, knucklehead."
Kevaku popped out from the bushes. "Don't scare me like that, brother!" He ran up and hugged me. "Why did you do that? I thought you were dead!"
"Good to see you too, buddy!" I gasped for air as he squeezed me like a bog snake.
I realized something. The Warriors had gained the ability to shadow travel with Makuta on their side, and now they were undetectable. How were we going to find them now?
Elryx steered Jenny that early morning. I didn't have the guts to ask where we were going. The sun wasn't even out yet, so I thought about laying back and catching a few winks... until I noticed our surroundings were changing. First deep, swampy marshlands, then a river running through a meadow, with no trees.
I finally asked her. "Hey, um, Elryx? Where are we going? Pretty sure this is no where near the dark portal."
Elryx didn't even glance back. " We're going to get some help. From a professional. I live here. My first cousin is a scholar of historical events, he could probably understand what's happening."
I frowned. "What's a first cousin?"
"Your mom or dad's cousin. My Mom is a teacher, and my Dad is the Captain of The Storm Brigade."
"You mentioned you had a brother..."
"And two sisters. Their names are Alexri, Adaliki, and Eeuvat. Eeuvat's probably off with his friends playing soldier, and Alexri and Adaliki are at swimming lessons, so we might not see them for a while."
"You have a big family."
"Oh, no. It's a regular size. You should see Tennax, he has nine brothers and sisters... Anyway, we're approaching the border. You might wanna hop off."
Kevaku and I climbed off of Jenny. It felt awkward walking again, and my tailbone ached from siting on the beast's spine for too long. A river ran down the grassy plateau, disappearing in a sea of mist. As we gazed beyond it, we saw an endless sea, with multitude of lilypads, connected by long wooden bridges. It was build on the same reliance on nature us Le-Kotans had, but it was... Well... Tiny. It could've be a village, but it would never qualify for a region.
Elryx tied Jenny to a tree. "Our man-made islands are just the beginning of our villages. Most are underwater, but we have air in them. Of course, you could go E.V.A, but that would be suicide to a leaf dude like you. "
It was then that I realized the mist was a waterfall, and I was looking off to the sea it fed.
We followed a walkway down to the beach. It had to have been around here since the Toa came, it was etched into the rocks themselves. Figures were carved into the rocks, which meant they either prophesized future events or they had been attacked by some serious taggers.
My shock bow remained on my back as I ran my fingers over myths the elders had left behind: Predak and Madusi, Oriak the hunter, Lioiocles off to slay beasts of darkness. And of course, the Toa. All six of them, perfectly spaced out- it sent a chill down my spine. As I placed my foot on the last step, I read the inscription. The stone was cracked and covered with sand, but I could make out a portion of the writing: Telescope No. 1, F-35 Klusmos Brigade.
As we walked onto the beach, I felt the misty sea air brushing against my face. Kevaku skipped around like this was the best day of his life. "Hey, Trilek, wanna build a sand castle? Or," he whispered real discreetly, "Bury Elryx in the sand while she's sleeping?"
I shot an unamused look at Kevaku, but Elryx just smiled. "You know I can hear you, Ev." Kevaku just shrugged and looked up at the sky, real innocent like.
Elryx led us to a seastone gate and knocked. Nothing happened. "Ugh, the Ga-Kotans must still be asleep." She mumbled. The gate was small, and beyond it lay a wooden bridge and the lilypad village. We could've swam to the city, if it wasn't for the sharp pikes that seemed to come straight out of the water, blocking any passage there.
"I guess we'll just have to wait. Kevaku, feel free to bury me." She lay down and stared into the sky. Then, suddenly, the sound of a conch shell horn blasted through the air, and I could see tiny figures of Ga-okotans exiting their homes, with various tools slung over their backs, (fishing poles, maybe?)
Elryx continued to knock. Finally, a speaker at the top of the gate sprung out, blaring over the steady sound of the waves. "Hey there! Welcome to the Region of Water. Who are you?"
Elryx rolled her eyes. "You know who I am, Uvetaz. I'm coming with two friends."
The speaker cut out for a moment, then resumed. "Sure, Ellie. Bop on in!" The Okotan speaking sounded very affable, like a radio telemarketer who wants to sell you something, but Elryx sounded annoyed. She turned to me, and she would've said "Can you believe this guy?"
The gate opened, and we walked inside slowly. The wooden walkway was two hundred feet long, but soon we made our way to the town square. The place looked a lot more beautiful up close! We could see Ga- Okotan walking too and fro, not really bothering to look at us, and the buildings were made out of huge leaves. Boats made their way around the harbor, and groggy merchants unloaded packages and placed them into their shops.
Kevaku stared at each of the shops we passed, his eyes wide with glee. Elryx, on the other hand, seemed bothered. Matching my pace with hers, I kept my tone casual as I spoke to her. "So, that guy a friend of yours?"
It took a while before she answered. "Maybe he thinks he is, but I'm not as trusting in him as everyone else. I'm not even sure if Uvetaz is one of us, because... No one knows where he is most of the time. He doesn't live in the village." She kicked a stone out of the way and cringed. "Plus, I hate it when he calls me Ellie."
I looked up at the sky. "Ellie? That's not too bad. Are we anywhere close to your first cousin's house?"
"My family lives in the underwater village. We can take the Subelevator down there, we're almost to the station. And as I said, I hate the name Ellie." Elryx responded. She kept her eyes fixed on the road ahead of her, and I decided not to talk with her for a while.