Edited by Angel Bob, Oct 14 2011 - 05:04 PM.
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The Subtarond Projectepisode 6 of Makuta Hunt
Posted Oct 13 2011 - 08:39 PM
Posted Oct 17 2011 - 04:31 PM
Tobduk was covered in slime and undulating flesh. This was not one of the more comfortable situations he had awoken in.
Immediately, he lashed out with a savage kick. His boot sank deep into the Blind Thing’s flesh, but it barely seemed to register this. Instead, its tendrils began to curl around his Kanohi Sanok and yank at it.
“Oh, no you don’t,” Tobduk snarled, and mustered some rage, condensing it into a fireball. When the sphere of flames struck the pale white flesh, singing it, the creature shrieked and flung Tobduk as far from it as possible. For a monster of the dark and damp, fire was an alien and dangerous substance.
Tobduk readjusted his mask to the most comfortable position, then drew out his sword. No more slimy distractions – it was time to find Makuta Brond.
Brond stood before the Earthquake God, the Crusher of Worlds, He Who Breaks Continents. The Makuta of Netheria was an intimidating sight, what with his fanged mask, armor of rocky spikes, and massive, leathery wings, but he paled in comparison to the being standing before him. Even with its armor covered in rust, Subtarond had an awesome presence.
The modified monstrosity stretched its limbs out, testing its ancient joints. It was satisfied. After wiggling its fingers slowly, it raised the Chasmblade in the air. Another wave of power emanated from it.
“Yes,” rumbled Subtarond. “I… am… complete.”
It looked down at Brond again, in a new light. “And what are you?” it asked. “You are no creature of earth and stone. You merely dress in our colors.”
Brond bowed his Kanohi Crast, grinning wildly to himself. “O great Subtarond,” he said, sincere as a teary-eyed crocodile, “I am Makuta Brond, ruler of this region of Netheria. In the past centuries, I discovered your presence here and have spent years working towards this: your freedom. Now you shall lay waste to worlds as you did in the Before-Time.”
“Indeed,” Subtarond said, with the gravity and power of slowly shifting continents. “I thank you for your efforts, Makuta Brond.”
He bowed his head, too, acknowledging Brond’s sacrifices for his freedom. Any being finely attuned to the flow of energy could have felt a sudden surge of earth power in Subtarond’s arm. He fingers twitched slightly on the hilt of the Chasmblade.
“And now you have served your purpose,” the being rumbled.
Brond shattered into a thousand tiny pieces of protosteel. The shards of his armor clattered across the ground for several long moments before finally coming to a stop. There was a slithering whisper of movement, like the hiss of a sudden evaporation.
“I always disliked flattery,” he said, with the hint of a smile.
A bridge of solid rock knitted itself into place between Subtarond’s prison platform and the cavern floor. The god took his first steps in untold ages, and Netheria shook with every one.
Nestra dodged a volley of rock, ducking beneath a boulder. But her own cover then shifted and grew fingers, seizing her and then congealing back into solid rock. The Toa of Psionics was trapped.
The ground before her feet shifted and straightened, forming itself rapidly into first a stalagmite and then the humanoid form of the Earth. Its hands grew into massive sledgehammers, which it prepared to bring down upon its quarry.
WE ARE THE EARTH, it bellowed.
“Wait!” Nestra cried. “You must listen!”
YOU WOULD USE WORDS TO DEFEAT US? the Earth chuckled. WORDS ARE NOTHING. THEY MEAN NOTHING. ALL THAT HOLDS MEANING IS ACTION, AND THE POWER BEHIND IT. THIS IS WHY SUBTAROND MUST SPEAK FOR US.
“But I understand,” Nestra said. “Makuta Indusko’s slime is poisoning you. You’re in a lot of pain. I can relate to that. All us living beings can.”
YOU WOULD CALL US UNLIVING?
“No!” Nestra said quickly, shaking her head. “You are the Earth. You are as living, and more living, as any of us. All life comes from the Earth. You give life from your own eternal reserves of it.”
The Earth paused. If it had eyes, it might have blinked.
“If I was slowly dying,” Nestra continued, “in a lot of pain, the answer wouldn’t be to lash out at anything and anyone. That wouldn’t help me at all.”
She stared into the Earth’s faceless slab of rock, trying to connect with it. This message had to be related.
“If I was in that situation, I would live my last days to the fullest – by helping people. The earth is benevolent; you are the calm soil beneath our feet from which our crops spring. The Earth gives life. All across the universe, Matoran and all others give thanks to you for your providing. If you need them to help, all you need to do is ask. Destruction won’t help you.”
Nestra stared into the Earth, and though it had no face, she knew she looked into its eyes. “You are the Earth. You embody all that it is. Prove yourself worthy of that title.”
Tobduk suddenly found himself lying on the ground, with very little memory of how he got there. In the next instant, he remembered a sudden impact that reverberated around the cavern and yanked his feet out from under him. In the moment after that, another impact shot through the earth and threw Tobduk a few feet.
“This isn’t good,” he frowned. “I think a certain somebody just woke up.”
Steadying himself, Tobduk managed to get himself into a standing position, and then called upon his inner reserves of anger. A shimmering aura of fire sprang into place around his feet, lifting him into the air. When the next shudder came, Tobduk was completely unaffected.
“Time to put a god back to sleep,” he grinned, and surged forwards, fire streaming from his feet as he followed the source of the tremors.
Within several minutes, he had found it. Tobduk stopped short, blinking, as he saw what was carrying the Chasmblade. Then he recovered from momentary surprise and shot towards the Earthquake God.
“You know, somehow I expected you to be taller,” he yelled at the compact creature. “You’re barely bigger than me!”
Subtarond turned his head slowly to see the red-armored being blasting towards it on a jet of flame. He shrugged and stuck out a hand as Tobduk drew close, knocking him several yards away. The Order agent lay there for a moment before getting his breath back and jumping into the air again.
“I’d like to have a talk with whoever said ‘Pick on someone your own size’,” he snarled, and drew more anger into his power. It streamed through his body into his fingertips, condensing there into a fireball. With a yell, he hurled that fireball at Subtarond.
The flames struck the armored being’s shoulder with a satisfying thumph. Though they went out momentarily, they left behind slightly burnt and melted metal. Tobduk drew deep of the smell and grinned madly. Another few fireballs annoyed Subtarond enough for him to stop walking and turn to face Tobduk.
“You angry now??” Tobduk cried, fire flickering up and down his arms. “Good! That makes two of us!!”
“Actually, it makes three!” said a voice, and both combatants turned to see a blue-and-gold-armored, lithe Toa standing nearby.
“Nestra?” Tobduk blinked. “How did you get down here?”
“A friend gave me a lift,” Nestra shrugged. She paused then. “Well, ‘lift’ implies going up, so maybe it’s not the greatest word. But it doesn’t matter.”
The Toa of Psionics unsheathed her mindblade, which was now glowing with blue energy. “So this is the famous Subtarond whom I hadn’t heard of until about an hour ago, then?” she grinned. “Let’s see if the stories aren’t just myth.”
“They are not,” Subtarond said, and stomped his foot. A sudden chasm opened up beneath Nestra, but she stayed exactly where she was, hovering above the gaping hole in the ground.
“Telekinesis,” she shrugged. “A handy tool, don’t you agree?”
Subtarond was unperturbed by her power, instead choosing to rupture the wall and blast several ten-foot-long spikes at her. Nestra dodged each one before running over to Tobduk's side.
"Good to see you again," she said, even as both of them leapt out of the path of a condensed earthquake.
"Likewise," Tobduk grinned. "Now let's see if we can take down a god, shall we?" he joked.
"You will not defeat me," Subtarond said. "I am He Who Breaks Continents. I am Subtarond, Earthquake God. You can no more destroy me than a fireflyer could stand before a raging tornado. I am a very force of nature!"
"So… to paraphrase that, you just said you couldn't be defeated," Tobduk said, flinging a few fireballs while Nestra dazzled Subtarond's mind. The flaming projectiles slammed into their mark with perfect precision.
"Bad move," Tobduk continued. "Guess who else said that?"
He leapt forth, flames trailing from his arms, and spun in a quick circle before the fire leapt off of his body and turned itself into a raging inferno that slammed into Subtarond heavily. The Earthquake God stumbled back a few steps.
Tobduk began to list names, his volume and anger surging with each one. "Makuta Kojol, overseer of Artakha. Makuta Draug, undead monster. Makuta Medusax, petrifying mistress. Makuta Ectrolis, awakener of Aktoros. Makuta Indusko, ruler of the Factory. And do you know what happened to them all?"
Nestra acted then, channeling a medley of memories at the surface of Tobduk's mind, resting outside his shields, into the receptive mind of Subtarond. The fates of each Makuta Tobduk had crossed paths with before - devoured, incinerated, turned to stone, electrocuted, and burned from the inside out. Subtarond staggered from the terrifying memories of each Makuta's last moments, and in that moment Tobduk leapt forth one last time and landed a brutal kick in Subtarond's face. The Earthquake God flew back several meters before crashing into a wall and lying still.
Tobduk and Nestra glanced at each other, breathing heavily but grinning. In the next few moments, though, Subtarond stirred.
Slowly, the god drew himself to his feet, steadying itself with the Chasmblade. "You have destroyed several Makuta," it acknowledged. "You are a powerful warrior, I concede. But you know nothing of me."
Subtarond stepped forwards, fracturing the ground for miles around. "I killed Makuta Brond not five minutes ago," he said. "It was easy. The Makuta was foolish enough to dress himself in stone armor - stone which I could shatter, and with it the rest of him. He is so much dust on the wind now."
The Earthquake God made a simple gesture, like brushing away a fly, and a mighty quake knocked both Tobduk and Nestra to the ground. However, Tobduk did not stay down for an instant; he was immediately on his feet again.
"You don't get it," he chuckled. "Makuta aren't like Nestra or me. They're not biomechanical beings, you great oaf."
"Last I checked, they were," Subtarond said dryly.
"Last you checked, it was in the Before-Time," Tobduk replied. "They moved on. If Brond really was shattered, then that doesn't mean anything - his essence is still out there, drifting through the air, waiting to steal a body. Your body. I'd watch out if I were you, because Makuta are clever. They really are. If they have a plan, it takes a lot of forethought or firepower to defeat them."
"That does not matter," Subtarond shrugged. "Only one spirit can reside in a body at a time, and the only time their grip is loosened is when they are near death. And dying is not on my agenda for today. You, on the other hand…"
In the next moment, Tobduk and Nestra knew nothing but a storm of rock. In the moment after that, they knew nothing but blackness.
An incredible distance above, the elemental ambassador of the Earth felt the tremors rumbling through the region, threatening to shake it apart. It staggered with every impact, wincing in pain as tiny fractures spread across its form. It would be easy to crumble this elemental form and reform in the Earthquake God's chamber to neutralize this threat, but it was made of earth - the very substance Subtarond held power over. The Earth could toss waves and waves of earth archons at the threat, and each one would be shattered into shrapnel.
To add insult to injury, the disgusting slime was using the earth's new cracks and weaknesses to seep further into its composition. This movement was mirrored on the elemental ambassador that had been Onus, as the slime caking its form oozed and penetrated its interiors. The humanoid shape stood stoically against it for a few minutes, but ultimately knelt with the pain.
AAARGH, the Earth groaned eloquently.
And then the earth elemental sensed something peculiar. Though it was a thing of solid shape and substance, rather than the intangible, mysterious forces of the mind, it could have sworn it felt a feeling emanating from the slime. And that feeling was a sick, twisted, poisonous joy.
The slime was alive.
Edited by Angel Bob, Oct 17 2011 - 05:08 PM.
Posted Oct 28 2011 - 04:25 PM
Makuta Brond was Shadow.
Specifically, he was the shadows gathered around the chamber of Subtarond. His energies shifted and slithered intangibly through the darkness, watching as the two warriors taunted the Crusher of Worlds.
Brond did not regret the destruction of his physical form. He had known it was coming. Only a fool would trust a Makuta, and Subtarond was no fool. But it was no setback to Brond. In fact, leaving his body was required for the plan, so it was no great loss.
One with the shadows, he listened and heard all, including the montage of murdered Makuta broadcast into Subtarond’s mind.
Most… interesting, Brond mused. It would seem you have a formidable record, tall one. But Kojol was a posturing buffoon, Draug was already dead, and Medusax could theoretically be freed. So all in all, you killer of my kind, I think you have rather not as many trophies as you think.
The Makuta of Netheria chuckled as Tobduk schooled Subtarond on Makuta’s antidermic nature. You’re quite right, tall one. I am indeed present, he chuckled, but all three combatants were too engrossed with each other to notice the whisper. Nobody interested? Very well. I don't mind. Now I wield the element of surprise.
Brond would have applauded Subtarond on his next move, had he not been an intangible gas cloud. The modified miner unleashed a massive quake in a sphere around the two warriors, collapsing both the ceiling, floor, and several stalagmites. The two were completely buried under a shower of rock, and there was satisfying silence in the massive cavern.
And now I act, Brond hissed as he gathered his energies and mustered those powers still available to him in this state.
Slowly, gradually, the energies of Subtarond began to seep from him into Brond, weakening his will and the barriers against spiritual intrusion. Once a safe amount had been siphoned off, Brond reached out to the particles of air floating around Subtarond… and began to suck them away.
Subtarond frowned, moving away from the spot quickly, but the vacuum followed him. Eventually, he lashed out with a quake, but to no avail. The effect persisted. Finally, the being began to visibly weaken, his legs trembling and his hand clutched to his chest.
Brond seized his chance. His gaseous antidermis moved in to replace the air Subtarond had lost. The Crusher of Worlds kneeled on the ground, surrounded by a swirling cloud of greenish-black.
Nearby, a mound of rubble and boulders exploded outwards, revealing Tobduk and Nestra, weapons at the ready. But weapons alone could not stop what was about to happen.
"No!" Nestra cried, while Tobduk's latest fireball cascaded uselessly off of Subtarond's armored form.
"That's right, 'heroes'," Subtarond chuckled. It was his voice, but the tone and rhythm were all off… "You are too late."
Subtarond's body suddenly writhed, as if recoiling from itself. "No! Begone, demon!" he cried. "I will not play host to the likes of you!"
"I think you shall," he replied.
"OUT!" Subtarond bellowed.
Tobduk glanced at Nestra. The psionic Toa's eyes were shut tight as she reached out with her empathic abilities to bolster Subtarond's resolve. "No matter what, Brond is not going to stay in there," she hissed.
"I banish you!" Subtarond yelled, and there was a hissing sound as the titan coughed out antidermis. With one final thrust from Nestra, all particles of Brond were expelled from him.
The gaseous cloud that was Brond flared and writhed with anger, lashing out with tendrils of its substance, but Nestra yelled and released a blast of unseen force. Brond's energies dissipated, blasted into the dark corners of the massive chamber by the Toa.
Tobduk and Subtarond blinked.
"Well… nice one," Tobduk said.
"That won't be the last of him," Nestra sighed. "Makuta are nothing if not persistent."
"But he matters not," Subtarond snarled. "Shall we resume?"
Tobduk and Nestra exchanged a look. Their previous conflict had gotten nowhere; Subtarond had barely a few dents and scratches on him, while the two of them were battered and bruised. But if they were to try a different approach…
"Yeah, sure we'll resume!" Tobduk cried. "Come at me!"
Subtarond slammed the Chasmblade into the ground, unleashing a burst of destructive energy on Tobduk. The Order agent was caught in the earthquake and fell to the unforgiving ground, but smiled discreetly to himself.
Nestra unleashed a blast of mental force, unbalancing Subtarond. He responded with another small earthquake that struck a huge column behind Nestra. A shower of stones toppled onto her, burying her partially.
A few pebbles dropped from the ceiling.
“You are persistent,” Subtarond said, nodding as Tobduk blasted fireball after fireball at him. A few layers of his rocky armor were chipped off, but he stood mostly unharmed. “Yet your efforts are ultimately futile.”
“We’ve gone over that,” Tobduk replied, mustering his anger and concentrating it further than he ever had before. Only a thin flare of fire extended out of his finges. Tobduk stared intently at Subtarond, leveling his hand at the titan. His mask glowed.
A beam of white-hot fire connected Tobduk’s fingers with Subtarond’s eyes in that instant. In the next moment, it was gone from sight… and sight was gone from Subtarond. The Crusher of Worlds staggered backwards and screamed.
Another fireball. Abruptly blinded, Subtarond could not sense its approach, and it connected solidly with his torso. He fell, cracking the earth with that move. But neither Tobduk or Nestra expected him to stay there.
Indeed, within several moments Subtarond was pushing himself to his feet, and the cavern was shaking all around them. Tobduk felt the rage emanating from the titan, and laughed maliciously as energy flooded his own system – even as huge fissures, several feet wide, were tearing through the cavern.
“I will bring the very kingdom of Netheria down upon you,” Subtarond snarled, fire still dancing in his useless eyes. “This is blasphemy!”
“Oh, shut it,” Tobduk laughed. “You’re not a god. You’re not a force of nature. You’re not a monster or an ancient of immeasurable power. You know what you are?”
The Order agent took one step towards Subtarond. Though the cavern was rumbling thunderously all about, the impact of his boot on the earth seemed louder than anything. Massive flames billowed out of the chasms Subtarond continued to open, which now extended out of sight. The world was shaking; all sense of direction and gravity was disrupted. And still Tobduk stood tall.
“You know what you are, Subtarond,” Tobduk repeated. “You are a fool.”
And in that moment, Netheria shattered.
“But not to worry!” Tobduk yelled, rushing over to Nestra and holding her tight. “It turns out getting blinded makes one really angry. Guess what that means?”
The tall warrior extended his hand to the ground. Jets of fire streamed out of it, rocketing him and Nestra upwards.
As they rose, neither could resist glancing back at the so-called “Crusher of Worlds” standing, struck blind, in the center of the largest earthquake the world had seen in millennia. As they watched, a gargantuan stalagmite buried itself in the earth not four feet from him.
Subtarond turned his head in every direction, looking for a way out. It was useless; he could not see. His eyes had burned to ashes. He had brought the very kingdom of Netheria down upon… himself.
He opened his mouth and screamed, a bellow of fury and fear. That was the last either saw of him, before Tobduk maneuvered them through the shaft he and Brond had dug. For a few moments, Nestra held onto the peculiar notion that not only Subtarond had screamed. There had been another voice there, echoing through the cavern. Unless it was only an illusion.
“Hold on tight,” Tobduk yelled. “This is going to be a close one!”
Indeed, even as the two blasted straight upwards on a column of fire, the walls of the shaft were crumbling all around them. Just after they passed one cavern. Nestra saw it shatter and fall into the shaft. Moments earlier and it would have crushed them completely.
Then she looked up and realized there were worse problems.
“Look out!” Nestra screamed. Tobduk saw the falling debris, certainly, but what could he do? He was trapped on all sides by the fragments of Netheria, falling and smashing in a chaotic catastrophe. There was nowhere to run. There was nowhere to hide –
The rocks parted before them, melting into each other, fusing together into one clean, clear tunnel. The thunder of the earthquake ceased abruptly, replaced by a mysterious silence. Netheria stopped shaking and lay still.
“What…?” Tobduk blinked, even as the two of them cleared the end of the tunnel and landed somewhat unceremoniously on the ground of the drill chamber.
Nestra grinned widely, staring up at a humanoid shape. “The Earth is benevolent,” she said simply.
Tobduk looked up into a face hewn from stone and dirt. “What…?” he repeated.
Nestra stood up and bowed to the earth archon. “Tobduk – the Earth. The Earth – Tobduk.”
“What,” said Tobduk.
YOU TRICKED SUBTAROND, echoed the deep voice of the Earth. YOU TRICKED HIM INTO DESTROYING HIMSELF. YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST RAGING POWER.
“Umm… thanks,” Tobduk said, standing shakily to his feet.
AND HE NEARLY DESTROYED NETHERIA WITH HIM.
“Right,” Tobduk frowned. “Oops.”
WE SAVED YOU. WE SAVED ALL OF NETHERIA, the Earth rumbled. It sounded proud. THE EARTH GIVES LIFE.
“Yeah,” Tobduk nodded. “It does.” He shot a worried and bewildered glance at Nestra. “Who the Karzahni is this?” he whispered.
“Tobduk, this is a greater earth elemental. But not just any elemental,” Nestra explained, grinning. “It speaks for the Earth.”
“Talk about an environmentalist,” was all Tobduk could think of. Nestra laughed. The Earth just looked confused. Somehow.
Without anything to say in response, the Earth turned to Nestra. YOU. BEFORE TODAY, WE BELIEVED POWER SPOKE LOUDEST, it said. IT DOES. BUT REASON… REASON IS INFINITELY MORE INFLUENTIAL.
A small stone hovered in the air before the Earth. Abruptly and suddenly, it hurled itself at Nestra’s wrist, morphing into an ornate bracelet.
YOU SPREAD REASON, the Earth said. YOU MUST SPEAK FOR US. HEAL THE EARTH.
“I will,” Nestra nodded solemnly. “I accept this duty.”
IT IS AGREED, the Earth nodded. THEN THIS ARCHON IS NO LONGER NEEDED.
Immediately, the humanoid shape crumbled into dust.
After several moments, Tobduk coughed loudly. “Um… is somebody going to explain what the Karzahni just happened?”
It cannot be. Subtarond, felled by rage – not the tall one’s, but his own. And now the divine body is gone. Crushed. Shattered.
Well… the best laid plans of Makuta and Matoran…
Now there is no body to seize, no soulless form I can inhabit. I will freeze and die, drifting in the void! Is this any way for a Makuta to go??
But wait. There is one vessel.
Not intended for this use, no, and it would be a shambles of a body at best. But what choice do I have?
I am fading now. But while I still live, I will see to it that two intruders shall not.
"What was that?" Nestra blinked, her mindblade flickering into existence.
"Whatever it was, it'll answer for its rude interruption," Tobduk snarled, a nimbus of flames forming around his fist.
The two scanned the cavern for anything capable of making that noise. Their eyes were quickly drawn to nothing less than the drill - crumpling and folding in on itself, its mechanical pieces condensing into a different shape.
"And that is…?" Nestra wondered, her eyes wide.
Tobduk's eyes narrowed. "Brond!"
"You're quite correct, murderer!" bellowed the Makuta's voice from the transforming drill. As Tobduk and Nestra charged forwards, weapons at the ready, the shards of the machine flew up into a whirling cloud of metal and shadow, vaguely humanoid in shape. "It is I," the swirling mass proclaimed, "Makuta Brond."
Wasting no time on words, Tobduk and Nestra immediately attacked. Fire slammed into the colossus, bringing a burst of light into its gloomy aura, but it was quickly extinguished. Brond's energy dispelled Nestra's telekinetic blast as well. His own wave of shadow energy pinned them long enough for a long metal beam to down them. Brond stepped forward, a massive block slamming into the earth next to Tobduk's head.
"You have destroyed my plans," Brond snarled, lashing out again and again with metal support struts and shards of the drill's plates. As soon as Tobduk and Nestra could rise to their feet, they were struck down again. "My hopes. My dreams. And for that, I will destroy you."
"Talk about an eye for an eye," Tobduk grunted, narrowly dodging a whirling, jagged metal plate. He replied with several fireballs in quick succession, one of which penetrated Brond's swirling shadows and struck the Makuta's central machine, around which everything else orbited.
The Order agent ducked under a beam and sliced it in two with his flaming blade. "Your hopes and dreams were crushed? Oh, you poor little thing, it almost makes me want to cry."
Tobduk's form was glowing white-hot now, flames flickering across them. "Wait, what was that?" he growled, "They involved stealing the body of Subtarond and laying waste to entire nations? Never mind about the pity, then."
He grounded himself in a solid stance, his boots clamped onto the ground. The Earth steadied him as he mustered all the rage bubbling from him, and unleashed it.
Three thick streams of fire blasted from Tobduk's body, lancing into Brond's cloud of metal and gloom. They punched giant holes in the cloud of shadow, purging its darkness with burning light. As they pumped the heat of Tobduk's anger into the eye of the storm, the long, low scream of the Makuta resonated in the rock of the cavern walls and floor.
Tobduk stood there for several long moments, flames continuing to blast out of his form, reaching out in a sea of flames to cover all of the machinery that made up Brond. There was no darkness visible any longer. There was almost nothing visible any longer.
Then the blinding light faded, sight returning to Tobduk and Nestra. The solid earth of the cavern returned. With a deep sigh, Tobduk released the last of the fires.
Brond's scream never truly died away. It continued to echo along the massive cavern, bouncing into the infinite smaller tunnels and crevasses lining its rock. Though long dead, the Makuta of Netheria is screaming still.
Tobduk stared at Nestra silently, smoke rising from his red armor. Then he slumped to the ground in a dead faint. The earth rose to cushion his fall.
"Makuta Brond is dead," Tobduk grunted nonchalantly, tossing a small rock from Netheria's caverns onto Helryx's desk. There was a great thud as it struck the wood, but the Toa of Water did not look up from her tablets.
Tobduk was quiet for all of three seconds before exploding.
"You could at least admit I exist, Toa!" he yelled. Helryx's tablets desk burst into flames.
Helryx put down the tablets with an even grander thud. Water spilled out of her hands, coating the desk and extinguishing Tobduk's fires before drawing itself back into the Toa. She stared irately up at the tall warrior, her Mask of Psychometry's eyes narrowed.
"A job well done, Tobduk," she said. "Happy?"
"No," Tobduk replied. "Angry."
"What a surprise," Helryx rolled her eyes. "The fact of the matter is, I'm currently pre-occupied with a string of murders in Metru Nui. Something to do with Toa Mangai Tuyet. The fate of Makuta Brond does not concern me at the moment. But it is good to know that he will oppress the Onu-Matoran no longer." She returned to her tablets.
Tobduk felt the fires rising in his body, but slowly, he bowed his head and willed them to abate. Breathing deeply, he turned to exit.
"By the way," he remembered aloud. "Helryx. This is important."
"I'm sure it is."
Tobduk turned back around. "Makuta Indusko. His Factory released tons and tons of poisonous chemical sludge into the neighboring regions. A massive portion of the world is choking and dying on it. Something needs to be done about the state of the earth."
"I'll look into it," Helryx nodded. "You have my word, Tobduk."
Tobduk again turned to go. This time, his Kanohi Sanok stretched into a smile.
"Makuta Brond is dead," announced the gruff voice through a Kanohi Elda. His head was bowed before the back of a tall, ebony throne. An unidentified green substance oozed viscously down the throne's metal, seeming to originate from its occupant.
"Of what cause?" asked a voice that froze the first speaker to the bone. It was unnaturally high, and audibly distorted. The voice seemed to come from a mangled, mutilated throat gargling with a deadly poison… even though the Elda-bearer knew very well that the creature he was addressing had no throat.
"The… the cause is uncertain," the Elda-bearer said. "Onu-Matoran witnesses speak of a Toa of Psionics and a tall warrior with power over fire. Not a Toa, they distinctly specified that. The last any of them saw of Makuta Brond, he vanished into the caverns below Netheria locked in combat with this tall pyromaniac."
If the high-voiced master had a mouth, it would have smiled then - and shown long, green fangs coated in poison. As it was, the Elda-bearer heard the bubbling of a vile concoction, but he could feel emotion in that noise. Snake-like tendrils curled out from the throne, waving happily.
"I do believe I know this tall warrior," the master grinned, his voice dripping with poison. "An angry character?"
"By all accounts, most certainly," the Elda-bearer nodded.
"Then Makuta Brond is most certainly dead," the master's voice said. "But it means little to us."
"Very well," the Elda-bearer nodded. "If I might ask one thing of you, Makuta…"
"Speak," the Makuta hissed.
"How goes the progress of… the Wolf?" the Elda-bearer asked.
The throne wheeled slowly around, pushing itself in a circle with the meaty tentacles extending from its base. The Elda-bearer kept his eyes on the poison-coated ground, focused away from his vile master.
"Why don't we see for ourselves?" the Makuta laughed, his voice bubbling with venom.
A shimmering green light obscured the surroundings, and then master and servant stood in a place of darkness. The Elda-bearer glanced up to see gnarled black trees lit dimly by a full moon.
A beastly howl echoed through the woods, chilling the Elda-bearer's spirit ice cold. The Makuta laughed softly.
"It begins," he hissed.
TO BE CONTINUED
Edited by Angel Bob, Oct 29 2011 - 11:44 AM.
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