Prologue – A Chorus of Warnings
“Do you remember what happened to the last Matoran who came with us with their blade lifted, decrying us as 'defilers'?” The words of Trijhak the Mad echoed across the central square of Kra-Koro, filling the minds and hearts of Kra-Koro’s faithful, “I do. Such matters are of my domain, and I found myself staring down the edge of a blade. In the end, of course, that blade was lowered... and the value of salvation comprehended, our numbers growing, our mission continued. These incidents happen with increasing frequency. So many come to decry us, only to become our brothers and sisters in arms. And soon enough, everyone will be.”
“Do you feel it, my brothers?” Spymaster Hua picked up where Trijhak left off, “Each day, the earth bears forth more of the Nightmare Machines. They come-”
The rest of his words were lost as Turaga Tuyet, leader of Kra-Koro, and self-appointed prophet of Makuta, slipped into her hut, a wooden chest tucked under her arm. She closed the door behind her, locking and barring it, before settling into a chair, placing the chest on the table before her.
Exhaling shakily, she cracked open the chest, an unnatural cold emanating throughout the room as she did. The yellow-white lightstones illuminating the windowless hut shifted in hue to a grim, bloody crimson. A Kanohi stared back up at her from inside the chest, one of the first masks to ever be infected by Makuta, now so deeply corrupted by dark god’s influence that it had become warped and corroded, its original colouration now overcome by orange-brown rust, and blistered veins of black that seemed to drink in ambient light.
A few years ago, any old infected mask would’ve been enough to commune with Makuta, but ever since his own mask had been taken from his lair, what little power he’d had left had begun to wane, forcing him to extract energy from his own artefacts to sustain himself. The Comets had been snuffed out early on, and now the infected masks were beginning to fade as well. The voice that those who wore them heard now was nothing but a ghost of what Makuta had once been, a dim echo feeding off of the wearer’s temptation, selfishness, and negativity.
This particular mask, however, was different. It was still rife with Makuta’s energies, serving as a direct line to what was left of his consciousness. Bracing herself, she pulled off her own mask, and replaced it with the infected one. Immediately, a clammy coldness filled her body, seeping through to her bones, her soul, flooding her mind with twisted visions of writhing, shrieking shapes trapped in eternal darkness.
With agonising slowness, the nightmares faded, and were replaced by an indistinct, shrivelled figure, curled up on itself, speaking with a voice that was languid and filled with unfathomable agony.
Why have you come, child?
“It’s begun,” she whispered, “The Kal are on the march. We’ve got a few days, at best.”
Then the time has come. Unity or annihilation. Prepare yourself.
Tuyet took a deep breath, and when she next opened her mouth-
Elittra had become well-acquainted with boredom during the years of her exile. Her children’s talents were quite limited, her guests were always gone too soon, and her art projects… well, none of them seemed to last very long anymore.
It was for this reason that she was quite excited by the sound of footsteps encroaching on her campsite. It was rare that any of her visitors returned voluntarily to her, but it did happen on occasion. Perhaps one of her friends had returned to keep her company?
The lone Matoran who eventually broke through the shrubbery, seeming utterly unfazed by the Bohrok that were flanking them, was unfamiliar to Elittra. Their mask was pitch black, creased by patterns of rust and corrosion. Trance-like, the Matoran walked to stand before Elittra, and opened their mouth to speak…
“Gentlemen!” Dornak sauntered into the meeting room, where Grav and Nakali were already waiting, “Tell me, how do you feel about… evil? Because after talking to diplomats and contacts from the other villages, I’ve come to realise that lots of people on this island like using that word… when referring to us.”
“Elittra was evil,” Nakali muttered, “She wasn’t Ta-Koro.”
“That may be so,” Grav replied grimly, “But convincing the rest of the island is going to take some work. We need to make it clear to our neighbours that we have no desire to exploit or take from them. The strength and wellbeing of Ta-Koro is the only thing I care about.”
“I agree, of course, but how-” Dornak broke off as another Matoran barged in behind him. The newcomer wore an infected mask, and had a dim, distant look in their eyes. The two guards who’d been stationed outside the room lay on the floor now, still breathing, but unconscious.
“Who are you?” Grav demanded, drawing his axe.
The Matoran turned their faraway gaze towards him, and started to respond…
“See?” Azalea gestured to the Matoran standing in the middle of Turaga Tomodo’s hut, “He hasn’t moved since we found him. It’s kind of creepy.”
“So… what?” Tomodo turned to frown at Maxas, the Captain of the marines, “Your guards just let this weirdo barge into my hut?”
“Those guards are in the medical tent, out cold.” Maxas replied.
“Hello?” Guurahk stepped past his companions to approach the entranced Matoran, “What do you want? Can we help you?”
The intruder turned his face, partially concealed behind an infected mask, towards the other four Matoran. He parted his lips, as if he were about to speak…
Turaga Unit was displeased.
Here he sat, mere inches from where his predecessor had keeled over and died, and some stranger wearing an infected Mask had charged into the middle of his meeting with his aides. Tuili had been in the middle of describing the activities of the wild Bohrok on Mount Ihu when the intruder had arrived, bludgeoning the guards into unconsciousness with inhuman ease, almost doing the same to Stark and Romana when they’d tried to get in her path.
After throwing the duo out of the way, she’d stopped in front of Unit and Tuili, and begun to talk…
In the same moment, a similar scene was unfolding in the underground village of Onu-Koro. A Matoran, clad in an infected mask, forced their way into ex-Turaga Whenua’s hut, holding him hostage until Onaku, Domor, Kefana, and Oxokoro had arrived to deal with the situation.
The moment all four were present, he simply released the Turaga, and started to speak…
“Your report, Scout?” Zee asked, regarding Kaathe as he and his Bohrok escort made their way into the council chambers. “Have your investigations met with any success?”
“All things considered, we’re doing a lot better than most of the Koros, so success isn't really our problem.” Kaathe replied, nodding to Ehksidian and Kunduj as he stepped past them to bow curtly to his Turaga. “But complacency is a killer. We should be striving towards something.”
“I’ve got an idea,” Kunduj spoke up, “Let’s turn the tables on our old ‘masters’. We can subtly make Ga-Koro reliant on us, so that they’ll agree to be our vassal without ever realising it… at least, not until it's too late.”
“And how do you propose we-” Kaathe broke off, noticing another Matoran slinking out from behind Zee’s throne.
This one wore an infected mask, and if the shards of glass sticking out of her arm were any indication, she’d clearly broken in through a window somewhere. Kaathe and the others started to reach for their weapons, but the Matoran made no move to attack.
She stood silently for a moment, staring vacantly into the middle distance, before focusing on Kaathe, seeming to stare past his mask, towards the Krana behind it. She opened her mouth, but the voice that issued from her throat was not her own.
-the words Tuyet spoke issued from the mouths of the six Messengers across the island, spoken in a voice far more commanding and cruel than any Matoran could manage. This was the voice of a deity, the voice of a demon, the voice Makuta.
Time is short. The end is upon us.
Many of you do not believe. Many of you do not care. Ignorance and arrogance will not save you from what is coming.
The Bohrok Kal – the swarm’s commanders – have awoken. They sense the Krana, and will seek to destroy them. Their armies are assembling, and within days, they will march, seeking the Krana, and slaughtering all who stand in their path. If the Krana are destroyed, the Queens will rise, and all life on this island will be extinguished.
The magics that once held the Queens at bay is abating. Their rise is inevitable now. But if the Krana are protected, if the Kal are vanquished, if the swarms are destroyed, you may yet buy your island years, perhaps decades, to persist and persevere. Time enough to make your peace with the world you once knew, or flee to new lands.
Unless, of course… the voice began to falter. All across the island, the unfortunate Matoran tasked with relaying the message begin to shake and spasm, their very flesh beginning to corrode and decay like the masks they wore.
…you find the weapons. Perform the… ritual. Return me… to power.
The six Matoran all died within the space of a single second, their souls consumed, their bodies resembling the desiccated husks of the long-deceased.
The mask on Tuyet face cracked apart, parts of it dissipating into flakes of rust. Tuyet’s own armour had taken on the same dark colour and rusted appearance as the regular infected masks, and had started to fuse painfully with her flesh. Whimpering slightly, she picked up her own mask, and returned it to her face, where it too began to grow cold and corroded.
Exhausted as if she hadn’t slept in days, she staggered out of her hut, to find the populace of Kra-Koro assembled outside, staring expectantly.
“The time has come,” she rasped, “Prepare for war.”
End of Prologue.
In case it’s not clear by now, I’m trying to make this season quite different to previous games. By now, you’ll have noted that I haven’t included or suggested any aspirations or objectives in any of the village PMs. There’s no secret roles or goals this time. What you do, and how and why you decide to do it, is entirely in your hands.
That said, it wouldn’t be a BZPGOT-esque game without an eldritch, evil NPC faction, a role that is once again being filled by the Bohrok for this season. Unlike previous games, however, where the evil NPCs tend to make their move towards the end of the season, the Kal will be making their attack early on. Rather than summarising the outcomes of this in a closing epilogue post, you’ll have the rest of the season to decide that aftermath for yourself – some villages may fare better than others, some may seize the opportunity to exact revenge, to forge new alliances, or conquer weakened enemies. Be the ambitious, conniving folks I know you all to be, and go wild.
But first, of course, you must survive the oncoming swarms of Bohrok. To help you with that, here are a few points worth keeping in mind.
- Your scouts suggest that each of the Kal controls an army of approximately 500 Bohrok, with half that number in Bohrok-Va. Which Kal will attack which village, and what type of Bohrok will compose each Kal’s army, will be determined via RNG on the eve of the battle.
- The Kal are tracking and targeting the Krana, sensing their location via magical means (this does, unfortunately mean that characters who are actually wearing Krana are in a little more danger, particularly Elittra since she’s on her own. In the interests of fairness, I’ll take steps to give these characters more of a fighting chance, assuming they don’t figure out something on their own beforehand).
- The attack will commence at the end of Episode 2, giving you what I hope will be a decent amount of time to come up with a plan, establish alliances, prepare your defences, and potentially get the ball rolling on some of your other personal plots.
- Eliminating the Kal commander will disrupt the cohesion of each Bohrok army as a whole, making them easier to defeat. However, the Kal are considerably more powerful than the regular Bohrok, and tend not to lead the charge, so finding and defeating them may prove to be a challenge.
- If a Bohrok army takes significant losses, or your defences prove too much for them, the Kal are not above retreat. However, any Kal that escapes will undoubtedly return to cause more problems before the season is through.
On a more general note, depending on how big the episodes prove to be, I may not be doing full, narrative write-ups like I did in Season 1. Even though a large part of the work is simply copy-pasting from PMs, they still take a significant devotion of time and energy to compile and write, and a lot of people don’t read them anyway.
Instead, I might simply condense the major plot points and developments into dot points or short paragraphs, to keep you informed of what’s going on without forcing you to read through a wall of text, thousands of words long, split across multiple posts.
I think I’ve covered just about everything, but if you have any further questions/concerns, post them here, or in your PMs, and I’ll address them as promptly as I can.
Episode 1 begins now!