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Second Chance

Dark Hunters Order of Mata Nui ZoTomana Grant-Sud Second Chance

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#1 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Feb 08 2012 - 01:09 AM

From the story of What I Stand For...

A Collaborated Epic presented by Grant-Sud and Zo'Tomana...

Second Chance

______

Part 1: Recruits

Execution Orders: Rejected

Every step echoed in the ears of Helryx. It’s was a very slow, easy walk. Axonn had a distinctive step of his own, being a strong, heavy being. But somehow the easy gait of the prisoner he led, with the slight clang and rattle of his chains, sounded like words.His very footfalls, his body movement, and even his glowing eyes that became brighter as they moved closer to her throne room, said it all.I am here.The prisoner, Dark Hunter subject and codenamed “Excavate”, nationality of the Northern Continent and from the large City of Sol, approached before the Toa of Water. His torn and burnt cloak revealed his features. He was tall and lean with onyx colored armor, only slightly larger than a Toa’s form. He stood with his back straight, head down staring at the floor, and hands in front of him. The electric chains bound his wrists together, the cords reaching around his feet. Any sudden movement caused pain, and Helryx ordered for his hands to be before him, not behind his back.She wanted them where she could see them.He wore no Kanohi, just a protective steel helmet which hadspiked edges along the sides that shifted backward, pitch black in color.Helryx gazed at him curiously. This was the great Dark Hunter? He didn’t seem like anything special.But his record told a different story. According the reports, this single Dark Hunter had charged head first into wars zones only to come out without a scratch. He had killed Toa, Skakdi, fully mature Rahkshi, numerous Rahi, other Dark Hunters and some of the Brotherhood’s most powerful servants.Still, she thought with disappointment, he was no match for one of our own.Well, that wasn’t technically true. He had almost defeated the Order’s Retriever in combat. It was a chance move that had caught Excavator off guard that led to his capture. He had remained in a restrained cell for one month on the island of Daxia before being brought to Helryx.Still, had he been aware of the ability - had he been informed of his enemy’s unique powers and strengths, then success would have been his.Helryx gave the smallest of smirks. No, appearances weren’t everything. There was something in those eyes that refused to look upward, something unique.The room had stone flooring, polished and seemed to be cleaned daily. The walls were a dark gray in color, with unique looking masks and paintings placed up on shelves and hung respectively. Small decorative torches with silver holders that spiraled upward, plantlike, lit the room. Helryx stood before a comfortable chair aligned at the end of the room, one that seemed to glow as though it was a command unit or a communication terminal. It was silent; Helryx ordered to not be bothered while the meeting took place.“Well,” she spoke easily, but clear enough for not one word to be misunderstood, “I assume formalities are in order. And we should make them short, as I’m sure you prefer.”Axonn kept a careful watch on the Dark Hunter, who kept his head down. He said nothing.“My name is Helryx, and I am the leader of this organization. The Order of Mata Nui welcomes you.”Still he said nothing.She ignored it and continued without hesitating. “As I’m sure you are unaware, your execution has been recalled.”That did make him stir slightly.“We’d be very honored if you returned our hospitality by speaking. Do you speak?”“You said you’d make it short.” Finally the Dark Hunter looked upward with crystal blue eyes, they gleamed brightly, a dark blue in color. “What am I here for?”“We have an assignment for you,” Helryx answered. “I won’t lie. Your record tells enough for us to kill you on the spot. You’ve committed more murders than the average Dark Hunter. You are a thief, a terrorist… the list goes on.”“And this terrorist is being hired by you. Why?”In her line of work, small remarks couldn’t bother her conscious. And they didn’t.“Because you are the best,” she said matter-of-factly. “Or so we assume. We are offering you a chance to clear your record, by doing something good for the universe. It’s a chance of redemption.”“A second chance,” he said softly. It was almost inaudible.Helryx leaned in closer, wondering if he would say more. He didn’t, and a silence filled the room while the Dark Hunter gathered his thoughts.“What do I receive?” he asked next.Axonn visibly faltered.“We won’t have you executed, and then you’ll be released. That’s your reward,” he replied in a deep voice with narrow eyes. “And mind your manners.”Surprising both Order of Mata Nui Member’s in the room, Excavate revealed true anger, snapping his head toward the giant being. His chains glowed furiously at the movement, but the Dark Hunter showed no recognition of it. Or maybe he did, and was proving himself.“Pardon me? Mind your manners,” Excavate replied sharply. “You capture me, and instead of killing me, orders – no – use me for your own plans? Don’t you dare, give me such ignorant treatment. Lying is beneath us, I would think.” His voice grew deeper, an analyzing tone, he became more assured of himself the more he spoke.“If you wanted me dead, you would have done it long ago. The fact that your leader hasn’t done so only reveals her weakness. It shows all the cards she holds. And I’m her only ace.”Axonn gripped his weapon even tighter.“You do not want me for this assignment. You need me. Back off, and let me speak with my employer. What does this have to do with you?”Slowly the Dark Hunter turned back to Helryx, staring her directly in the eyes without a sign of wavering or fear.She gave a small smile. Yes, he was a Dark Hunter. A weapon to be bought for and that was all. He didn’t care for release, because he knew he was always a target. It was all a process and that ruse of capturing him hadn’t changed a thing.The truth was they did need him. As a Dark Hunter, that name gave him the prestige of hidden motives and invisibility; elusiveness. A hunting Rahi that as long you got out of his way and ignored, probably wouldn’t harm you. Another Dark Hunter on some mission.He wasn’t a member of the Order, and thus his little attention would direct him to the Shadowed One’s people and no one else. He was skilled enough to pull off the missions, trained enough to know what information to look for. To know that if he dug too deep, he’d be a target for every assassin in the Universe. He knew what do to as told. He had no loyalties except for the one who hired him.That wouldn’t mean he’d be let off on a leash. He would have to be watched over, someone would need to double check his work and keep him in line. That wouldn’t be too much of a hassle, not for the right operative.And above all, as a Dark Hunter,Excavate was expendable. Whether he lived or died, the Order lost nothing. Helryx smiled, because he was just as good as she needed him to be. But despite that, it made the situation for him seem tragic.She pushed that out of her mind and nodded a reply, that smile of – yes – sympathy, still there.The flickering lights from the torches glimmered across his face.“We can talk of a payment. Anything you want. You succeed, stay alive, and you can have anything you want.”Excavate finally nodded, his eyes refusing to leave hers. He stood, waiting for his first assignment._____

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Mar 04 2012 - 02:01 AM.

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#2 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Feb 13 2012 - 01:23 PM

Two for the Road

Spotless, shined armor gleaming black and blue in color, Tomana stood to receive his leader. Special privileges were rarely assigned to Servants of the Order. When the Toa had been notified that Helryx was to come personally to request him for a new mission, he had begun to clear up some of the equipment in his room. Staffs placed up and in order of height, Kanoka Disks in the drawers and notes and tablet entries stored away. She entered into his chamber after a knock. The Toa stood opposite the sliding door with a straight back.“Toa Helryx,” he nodded to the Toa framed by the bright hallway. “Ma’am, welcome to my quarters.”“Thank you Tomana,” the Toa of Water replied, “I won’t be long, but as you know I have a mission for you of the utmost urgency. It couldn’t wait.”Helryx took a quick assessment of the room as she walked inside, curiously but tactfully eyeing some of the words written on the tablets on his desk. His cot, at the other end of the room, had folded covers.“I didn’t mean for you to straighten up your room,” she commented.The Toa of Ice couldn’t keep the small cough and chuckle from escaping.“How long have you lived here now, Tomana?” She asked, much to his surprise. This was starting off on a different subject then he had expected. His past replayed in his mind, all in an instant.As a Servant of the Order, Tomana was just that. Toa were rarely given the privilege of learning anything about the existence of the Order of Mata Nui. Most Toa were considered special, guarding the Universe in line with their own destinies, and the Order, following the will of Mata Nui, would never want to intrude in his plans for them.Tomana was a rare case. The Toa had no home and was considered a wanderer ever since an incident involving the betrayal of his entire team occurred years before. When a Member had stumbled upon him by accident during a mission, his cooperation and impressive skills as a Toa, had allowed him to become a candidate.The Toa of Ice had accepted.He had undergone training, toning his skills in hand to hand combat, academic programs and in forensic analysis. In the latter, he had excelled. Tomana was an expert detective, as it were. The Toa knew how to pin point the miniscule details, whether from physical evidence or mental states. He knew how to see things-“A little over a hundred years, ma’am,” he brought his mind back to the present, realizing he was reliving too much at the moment.“I do hope, that Daxia has been good to you in that time.”It was an odd statement.Tomana eyed her questioningly. What was this about? Helryx never simply approached anyone, simply to ask how they were doing. Was his time here coming to a close? Was she being kind to soften the blow?No, he thought, that can’t be the reason. I’ve seen too much to be simply let go, and experienced too much to simply leave it all now.“Ah- of course. Daxia is my home.”Somehow he thought that was too strong a word. If he was being deported, as … some Servants were, he would do it with dignity. It was just, what he said wasn’t untrue. Daxia had treated him kindly in the unkind universe.Relieved, he noted that the Toa of Water smiled in response.“I’m glad. As it should be,” she added.Suddenly serious, her eyes became sharp as she frowned.“Tomana, the mission I have assigned for you, is for you alone. You will not be overseen by anyone of higher rank, and for the next few weeks, will take place outside of Daxia. This of course, cannot happen with someone of your status. For that reason, you are being promoted as a Member of the Order,” she paused, letting it sink in. “Congratulations.”A Member. Someone who was given missions of higher importance, able to make his own decisions based on the circumstances and be trusted enough to make the right one. He was a trainer of Servants and no longer the trainee. It meant, a teacher now, an overseer, someone who could approach most with ease and add suggestions without a nod of approval.“I- I,” he stumbled, caught off guard.“You’re welcome, Tomana. You’ve been loyal to us all this time, a vote was called upon and many, including myself, agreed to it. You’re a good companion for us, and your skills are unique; a great asset.”“Thank you,” he said again, this time being able to speak it. Without hesitation, he added with incentive, new determination, “My mission, ma’am?”Helryx nodded approvingly.“Unfortunately you will depart as soon as possible. We are sending you on broad multiple missions, with a Dark Hunter we have recently acquired to the Southern Islands. Your mission will be there to observe him on his assignments and report his findings.”Though he had many questions, he knew better then to ask right away.“The Dark Hunter, a well known ghostly assassin, Excavate, will be a scout for information on the Brotherhood of Makuta. We are sending you both there, to an island we believe holds much of their knowledge. Since the Makuta of Metru Nui’s disappearance, raids by the Brotherhood have increased throughout the lands, as you well know. We had at first assumed the opposite to happen, but their strength is greater than ever. We believe they have obtained information that they shouldn’t. We’re transferring him to find out exactly what they know.”Then, was when Tomana chose to spoke.“Excavate knows what he’s getting into?”“Very much so,” she replied. “And he doesn’t seem worried, though he should well know the dangers of such a place.”“Can we trust him?”“As a Dark Hunter, that answer is obviously no,” she answered. “However, this particular one has no place to go. He is too high of an affiliate in the Shadowed One’s Organization to simply return with no punishment. We’ve held him for too long now, and the witnesses of his capture by us, have seen him lose. That’s spread and throughout the Universe he is considered either MIA or dead.”“I see. And since he has no immediate place to go… he’d have to have some kind of motivation. Otherwise at any given moment he could abandon the mission.” Tomana considered, “We’ve agreed to pay him?”She nodded.“That’s right, he is to receive payment for the full completion of all further missions. Once we learn of what the Brotherhood knows and however long that will take, is when he will be rewarded.”Tomana placed a hand over his mouth in thought. “Helryx, what was it that he wan- ” The Toa of Water raised a hand.“I’m sorry, but that is something I can’t reveal. He requested that I alone know the details of his payment. He refers to me as his employer and such things should be kept between us.”Tomana blinked in surprised but shrugged it off. “I see. Ma’am I’m ready whenever you are. We’ll depart from Daxia at the given notice, though I request whatever items or weapons, mission specs and other information you can give.”“Good. We’ll meet up in two hours for a further briefing, and then you both will be sent to the shores of the Abyss Isla.”Saluting, Tomana watched as Helryx walked toward the door. Outwardly, he had a rough grin, but inside he struggled to keep from being foolish as a Le-Matoran. He could not fail this mission and, no matter what, would do his best to see it through to the very end.“Oh, and Tomana,” the Toa of Water turned, to look back at him. “While you have time, I’d suggest meeting up with your temporary partner.” She smiled apologetically, “Get a feel for him, because he doesn’t talk much and he isn’t thrilled about meeting you at all.”And with that the door snapped shut to a close as she left.______

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Feb 13 2012 - 01:24 PM.

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#3 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Feb 19 2012 - 11:00 PM

Illegible

The hover-skiff drifted speedily away from the Daxia harbor. Memories drifted across Tomana’s vision as he deftly handled the rudder. It was an odd, storied vessel that crossed the boundaries between hover and sail. Tomana had specifically requested it, and had received a knowing look from the master of the small Order dockyard. He knew Tomana wanted a vessel that would tell a tale.It was his gift, Insight, that drove him to ask for the vessel. Helryx told everyone that he just simply knew where to look, how to look, how to read people, but she and several others knew far better.He didn’t look, he saw things that others could not. Helryx understood the power best, having used her Mask of Psychometry for so long, but his was not that power, it was more. He could see the past, yes, but he could also see a foggy future, or a crisp one if the future were immediate.It had been hundreds of years since he first discovered the power. Images just appearing in his head, right out of the blue. As time went on, he had been able to control it. Know how to look at things, and when to, though sometimes it would still just come out of nowhere (many times it had saved his life). He couldn't explain where the gift had come from. But it set him apart from other Toa, he knew that, and he knew it gave him the merit needed to join the Order.His only trouble was with people. He couldn’t read minds, but he could feel thoughts, and only if he was able to watch someone, and guarded minds like Excavate’s took ages longer to read.That was why he’d chosen his craft. It would give him the visions he so often experienced with no interruption, unlike his partner working the sails that bent out over the water on either side of the vessel. He couldn’t get a pin on the tall black form, newly clothed in a stiff grey cloak. When he had first walked into the convict’s chamber, no words had been spoken. A long silence of each sizing up the other until Excavate had said sarcastically,“I thought they were sending me with an Ice Toa.”Tomana had barked a laugh at that, “I am an Ice Toa, welcome to the side where nothing is what it seems.”They’d discussed the mission. Speaking in brief, terse sentences that gave away nothing about the Dark Hunter’s personality, Excavate spoke what he’d been told. Every move he made seemed calculated to camouflage intent, thought. It drove Tomana’s Insight mad to be unable to find a hole, a point, an edge upon which to begin to feed. So Tomana sated it with the storied vessel.When they were out into deeper water - not that such a thing mattered to the hovercraft - Tomana set a course, Excavate trimmed the sails, and the ship picked up a breeze that carried it northwest. Tomana flipped a switch that locked the rudder and they sat down silently on either side of the small boat.There was enough silence that Tomana could hear the gears in his back whirl as he stretched himself before gathering up a tablet and stylus, slowly drawing out the symbols of the Matoran alphabet, trying to write down what he saw as he toed a place where the metal deck had been replaced with wood planks.“Your course won’t even bring us close to landing on the Continent.” Excavate’s voice cut through the haze of memory, bringing Tomana’s eyes up sharply to glare at the Hunter.“We aren’t going to the Continent.”“But we cannot get to where we want to go without stopping there.” Excavate moved to the rudder and unlocked it, a series of cables in hand. He nudged the ship off course and simultaneously trimmed the sails to bring the head smoothly about.“We can,” Tomana argued, “And we save time by not stopping. We go directly.” He stood up to move aft.Excavate snapped back at him, “I was hired to do this, and I need to stop by a Southern Port before we go on. Sit down and do what you were told to do, observe.”Excavate locked the skiff into its course and silently went to sit in the bows. Tomana glared coldly at his back, but sat down.Tomana eventually pushed aside the incident and spent the remainder of the voyage to the Southern Continent trying to read something in the character of his charge. It vexed him to no end to be overruled by a prisoner, a murder, and, worst of all, someone he could not read. A vision itched at his periphery, but no matter how he mentally coaxed it, it would not clear.If I don’t get a pin on something, he thought, I’ll go mad before we even get to where we are going! Dark Hunters! They’d try the patience of a Turaga of Ice.Even with the nagging feeling in his subconscious, he kept his eyes on Excavate, following every move, absorbing detail after detail but failing to paint even a bad picture of the being before him.At the port, Excavate led him deep into the alleyways of the port, held up a hand for him to stop, and knocked on a dilapidated door. It opened. He went in. He came out with a device on his wrist, and a belt of knives.“Now we can go south,” the Dark Hunter hooked the belt around his waist, beside the two customized swords already beneath the cloak, and began to flip two of the newer looking knives in his hand, back and forth, testing the balance.“Let me see one of those,” Tomana held out his hand for a knife. Excavate flipped one, and placed the handle on Tomana’s hand. Images flashed through Tomana’s mind in brief instants: an image of a Fe-Matoran laboring over a high-heat furnace, drawing out the white hot blade to hammer in the distinctive shape, the same Matoran sitting with a file to sharpen the blade. Tomana dropped his hand.“Just making sure you hadn’t used that particular one for murder already.”That got him a reaction, a look of curiosity. Tomana smiled to himself, it wasn’t much, nothing near what he’d need to get under his “partner’s” armor, but it was something. He motioned for Excavate to lead the way.

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Mar 21 2012 - 01:04 AM.

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Softly Call the Muster

Let Comrade Answer Here

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BS01 History Page --- The Sleeping World


#4 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Feb 23 2012 - 01:21 AM

Part 2: Hidden

Covered by Mist

They had been on the skiff for days. Conversation since the detour had been put to a minimum. It wasn’t that they despised each other, but there wasn’t much to say. Excavate had kept to himself, and the few attempts by Tomana to strike a more … open alliance, was ignored. The Toa of Ice had eventually accepted that, for now. Regardless of what the Dark Hunter thought, cooperation was going to be essential if they were going to pull these missions off. The Toa started planning their mission ahead of time, though he wasn’t sure what to expect once on the field. He didn’t even know how Excavate would comply with orders. “Look,” Tomana called over, pointing to their map of the Abyss Isla, only a day before reaching their destination. “Right here, miles to the south...” He glanced to see Excavate had stood up from his spot at the stern, and walked over to study the map carefully. “Right there. It’s in this area of the map that we should be able to find where the Makuta were once stationed. Now the information here is older, and sketchy,” Tomana warned. “Even our operatives have trouble in the Southern Regions. But it should be accurate.” The Dark Hunter eyed the path in silence, from the south to the north beach, where their ship would arrive at. It would take about half a day’s travel, at best. The terrain was only forest and the land remained leveled throughout the island. Taking a quick scan, he could see no lakes or barren regions. Flora had completely overgrown everything. “What’s that?” he asked in his quiet and firm voice. Excavate nodded to a circled area on the map, marked halfway from the beach and Makuta base, west of their path. “A Matoran settlement or, territory is a more appropriate word,” Tomana explained. “We’ve never met with them, nor been able to find a trace of a village, but Matoran have been sighted in that area. We don’t know how they came to be there, probably from the Makuta.” He took a pause before finishing, “Considered hostile.” Tomana knew he spoke like they were some endangered Rahi species, and not members of his own kind. The honest truth though, was that if you made no contact and lived this far out, survival was your main concern. Those Matoran have likely degraded to such a status as Rahi, and thus they were a threat Excavate needed to be aware of. The Dark Hunter nodded to the information just as a slight rupture shook about the craft. Turning their attention to the bow, they noted no obstructions in the waters; the ocean was just becoming rougher, knocking at the bottom of their craft. As it was nightfall, both Toa and Dark Hunter had now become practically blinded to the waters ahead, a sudden thick fog covered the surface of the sea. Eyesight lost, they were relying on their compass, map, and sonar equipment to remain at sail. Since they set at out on these waters, Tomana had suggested they take alternate shifts until they reached their destination. The Toa’s was tonight. Excavate sat against the side of the stern, the darkness around him and a constant drumming of the waves brushing against their hovering boat. Tomana kept at the helm, eyes bright and open, though Excavate only could see his back side. Besides the few lamps on the skiff, it was pitch black beyond it, the waters themselves as dark as the sky. The boat rocked in rhythm with the waves brushing its bottom and a warm fog covered him like a blanket. The Dark Hunter couldn’t believe it, but he was drifting off. During his time in prison he hadn’t gotten the best sleep. It wasn’t that the accommodations were bad. He simply had a lot on his mind. Execution was one thing; legacies were another. He was supposed to have died only days before. His mind still hadn’t gotten around that, that somehow, maybe by dumb luck, maybe by that fate, he had made it through. Instead, he was on another mission. Taking a deep sigh, he lowered himself a little further into the side of the ship, his cloak covering him. The sway of the boat as the wind pushed it along lulled him to rest. It’s the security, he realized, his eyes reopening in surprise. In all my time as a Dark Hunter, easy rest is a luxury. But everyone I know, allies and enemies alike believe I’m dead. He gave the smallest of smiles. There was even a guardian Toa on the ship looking out for danger. Eyes slowly dimming, Excavate found it amusing how at time like this the calm before the storm, he enjoyed being a ghost to the world. *** “Wake up, Excavate wake up.” His eyes opened, awakening him from his dreamless state. The Ice Toa stood in front of him, black and blue armor half covered by fog. Excavate covered his eyes to the morning light, before realizing it was the late afternoon by his judgment. “Have we made it?” The boat, he felt, was at a stop and now in the water, sails furled against their spars. The waves firmly pulled it back and forth, the craft staying where it was only by the virtue of being just high enough up to not be subject to their full power. “Not yet. We’re very close though, and I think you need to see what we’re heading too.” Excavate questioningly looked to him, “Why is it so late? You should have woke me sooner.” The Order Member shrugged it off, “I’ve gotten plenty of sleep in the last few days, and you probably haven’t, locked up in a cell for a month. It’s no trouble.” Tomana pointed toward the bow, “That’s why I woke you.” What was interesting the Dark Hunter however, was how the Toa had known he was sleeping so well… He narrowed his eyes, sensing something was off, before slowly shifting them toward the ocean. His breath caught in honest surprise. “I know,” the Toa said, both looking fully at the Abyss Isla. It wasn’t that the island was dangerous looking or too close by. In fact, it would take about another three hours before the two could reach it and disembark. And it wasn’t how large it was, the island was a normal size compared to most, nowhere near the size of the southern continent, though even their sight of it was half covered with fog. It was the trees. Moving to the front of the helm, Excavate leaned down and opened their supply compartment, moving through a few objects. Righting himself back up, he retrieved a scope and looked through it. The trees of Abyss Isla were the largest he had ever seen and not even the mists could completely cover their majestic form. The trunks were nearly the same width as the Knowledge Towers of Ko-Metru. He couldn’t tell if there were bushes or smaller trees at their bases, as they were still too far way. But it was the length, it was the length of the trees both the Dark Hunter and Toa couldn’t fathom. They rose higher in the sky than any mountain he had ever seen. Giant pillars of wood that had no leaves, branches or tops; the mists of the Island covered its foliage in the land as well as skies. He could see no end as they continued to reach upward, probably taken by even the clouds. It was truly a wonder. “When I read the map, I never considered that the Makuta’s base was going to be hidden to such a degree.” Excavate lowered his scope, his mind already planning for a strategy. “But now, I can see that we may have quite a journey ahead of us,” the Toa of Ice finished, making sail once again with a tug on a cord. ________

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Mar 04 2012 - 02:03 AM.

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#5 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Feb 27 2012 - 02:34 AM

Forest of Thoughts

At dusk, they had finally reached the beach of the island.Excavate took a long look at the legion of trees. His two swords were at his sides and his five hidden knives were in his belt and hip pockets. On his left wrist the Dark Hunter wore a retractable cable launcher, a personal weapon he had acquired a liking for in his travels, useful for grappling himself and metal objects with its magnetic end.For this mission, that was all he required.“We shouldn’t leave now,” Tomana said, noticing his companion. “Heading into the forest at night is a death wish. We wouldn’t have the advantage especially since we don’t know the terrain. We’ll head out in the morning.”The Toa sat down after lowering the sail, leaving the boat to simply hover above the waters, stationary.“Helryx ordered for me to scout on this mission. She said nothing about you,” Excavate stated evenly.But there was a subtle emphasis. Tomana glanced sharply at the Hunter.“She’s also given me command of the operation,” he eyed him, equally as easy. “We’ll both head out in the morning. The forest is much more dangerous than previously assumed, besides.”And I’ll need to keep a closer eye on you. He thought to himself as he turned away.“We should get our sleep.”Excavate stood there for a moment, watching Tomana as he sat down in a chair. Then without a word he nodded, and removed his swords. A moment later he took his spot at the stern, taking the first watch, flipping a knife rhythmically in his hand.Hours later, in the middle of the night, Tomana woke to sheer silence. Blinking, he took a glance towards Excavate’s spot.He had disappeared.“Blast,” Tomana muttered, immediately casting his mind to what his reception back on Daxia would be like if he showed up without his charge.In a word, bad.He brought the skiff closer to the shore, and turned a knob to let the craft settle onto the sand. After securing the controls, Tomana stepped ashore, and gazed into the immediate expanse of forest.And so it goes.***Tomana spent an hour on the beach, touching faded footprints, tracing a path, gazing at broken branches. He was gathering information. In his mind he saw Excavate walking easily across the beach a few hours before, dropping into the shadows and underbrush of the woods. Tomana followed his path, stepping in Excavate’s footprints. As the trees closed in above him, Tomana lost sight of his own armor, and thanked Mata Nui for his power. Without it, he would be an invisible being tracking an invisible assassin.Tomana’s foot occasionally clanked against metal instead of twigs and leaves, Insight telling him that Rahkshi had been brutally killed there by hordes of enraged Matoran. He loosened the sword at his side and relaxed into a more ready stance as he glided between the smaller trees that grew between the behemoths which dominated the island. The pitch black forest was covered in a layer of fog, and Tomana could no longer see his hand even when he held the black metal an inch from his eyes.“I don’t know how Earth Toa do it,” he muttered, shaking his head after straining to see parts of himself in the dim light his eyes gave off, “black armor underground would be horrendous.”He knew he should have asked for his armor to be rebuilt the proper color upon joining the Order. It only confused people when it came time for introductions, but his strange coloration was a part of him, even if it did make it difficult during a nighttime hunt to know where your limbs were at. He’d become black and blue many years before after a prolonged battle with a regiment of Rahkshi. He didn’t know why they’d attacked, just that he was almost outmatched. Too many desperate, Insight driven hours later, he had barely emerged victorious clad in armor that was half metallic protodermis, and half Ice; still solid because of a blizzard he’d summoned with the last vestiges of his elemental power, a ploy to give him cover to fight in.Tired, bruised, and missing half of what kept his body together, Tomana had been forced to smash apart the nearest Rahkshi to provide himself with gears, plates, and supports in order to keep his organics from being loose and exposed. By the time he was able to travel he was an amalgam of Vorahk and Guurahk pieces with some Toa armor parts left in. Showing up in the nearest village caused quite a stir, and that was when the Order had contacted him with their offer.And now he was on the Abyss Isla losing himself in the darkness, while following a being whose whole life for several centuries had been spent mastering the game of hide and seek and kill.Following in a Dark Hunter’s footsteps, Tomana thought wryly, having walked he didn’t know how long now, Who knew it would come to this?A brief flash of light caught his eye, the sun peeking above the horizon, filtering though the branches and trunks of the wood, when the Toa stepped in a small hole burned into the ground, tripping. A vision as clear as day of Excavate using knives to climb the great smooth surface of the giant trees in order to get out of the fog assaulted his mind. Following an instinct, Tomana crouched and launched himself forward, creating ice spikes in the side of the tree to swing himself up on. Swinging at an easy pace, Tomana was quickly over a hundred feet in the air.He swung away from the tree he was climbing, sliding across a thin cord of ephemeral Ice before casting himself into the air. Grasping at knife holds he could not see in the fog he pulled himself up the next forest giant. He strained as he lifted himself up to where a knot, the remnant of a gargantuan branch that had long since fallen, protruded out just enough for him to sit down, gasping.Above the mist, sunrise washed over an expanse guarded by the great pines that had so astounded Tomana earlier in the day. With the rising of the sun, the branches high above exploded with small bird rahi, the rain of twigs and leaves eventually falling far enough to hit Tomana. Some scrapes remained on the knot from where Tomana knew Excavate had at least stood for a brief moment in time. In his mind he saw Excavate falling back past the knot, spread-eagled to catch... someone, Tomana couldn’t see clearly who in his sight.Dropping back down, Tomana followed the path his power took him on until he could just barely see something. A figure, swiftly moving past the trees.Tomana smiled to himself.Got you.---------------

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Feb 27 2012 - 02:34 AM.

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#6 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Mar 04 2012 - 01:27 AM

In Minutes

A small branch snapped under his foot.Even though the morning’s light had long hit the Island of Abyss, the forest remained in a dull gray color for hours now. Travelling in the dark hadn’t been easy. His sight was decent, but relying on his ears and touch had been his main way of travel, until his eyes had adjusted. He hadn’t had to journey long before the morning had arrived; he had slept on the skiff, just for a few hours to regain that comfortable sleep again.Stealing the map Tomana had shown him, Excavate had swiftly entered the water and from the beach, into the forest. This was his mission, and the Toa would only have slowed him down. Other baggage would have included, conflicting ideas, leadership disputes which the Member assumed he possessed and most importantly, discussion.The Toa was too open. He wanted everything to be like a book that you just read.Not that there’s much to read. Excavate thought, taking step by step through the leaf ridden forest, eyes ahead. And that’s the worst thing of all. What is there to explain? A Dark Hunter is only that. And if he decides to follow me, I’m adding foolish to my list of his annoying qualities.He had been walking for six hours in the same direction and wasn’t sure if he would come upon the exact location of the abandoned base. The map wasn’t that precise. But once he got closer in the area, he was confident he’d have no trouble finding it.And if the base was stationed in the trees, he’d climb them.Since he’d left the skiff, his only companion had been his thoughts. The world around him was completely silent. Not even his steps caused an echo.And he had to admit his atmosphere was both eerie and calming. The quiet woods haunted him, but posed no threat. He had felt the overwhelming awe of the trees when he came upon the bright beach. Despite it being night, the sands shined with a moon like glow. The waves crashed against his feet as he stood taking all the surroundings in. The forest beckoned all to enter it, the giant trees with seemingly endless height, guardians.Slowly he took his steps through the forest, feeling the leaves beneath his feet. He knew eventually these trees reached a limit. The forest grounds were littered in dead leaves and twigs, branches of various sizes. A thick fog covered his sight, but a constant soft downpour old debris fell like snow.Reaching into his sack, he pulled out the tablet map. It was no regular stone. This was in color, detailed and illustrated by the navigators at the Order.Two hours left, he thought. That was no concern, and more or less of what he had estimated.Moving past another trunk, the twigs at his feet created a rustling sound that had just become part of the ambiance, a natural one.He felt no other presence besides his own, which, he kept note of. No other life, at all. Matoran, Rahi, the thought of their absence, kept him dull in awareness. The grayness of the world around him was just empty. It spoke to him in a hollow way. And he felt saddened at the sudden thought of it lighting ablaze, imagining the forests burning down. The flames would reach high in the sky, lit for hours - no days, and the smoke would stretch for miles…And then, in the back of his mind, he thought about finishing the missions and leaving the Order soon after. The quicker he finished this, the better.I wonder, how much longer should I really walk for?He stopped at a sudden standstill, at his present moment once more, his thoughts remembering where he was and why.Excavate shook his head, keeping his mouth from frowning deeper. Dwelling on things during a mission, recollecting what hadn’t been or what had. An amateur’s mistake…And then with new motivation, expectedly he pushed himself, moving faster and clearer in thoughts. His legs moved at an easy pace without tiring out and his breathing was fine. Trees moved by him as pillars and the leaves rustled.It was in the corner of his eye that he caught a shadow. Unnaturally small compared to the forest, but otherwise should have been unnoticed.Excavate felt the pressure on his shoulder as he heard the trigger sound much too late. He dropped to the ground immediately as quick clips from multiple projectiles fired above him.He laid there in the leaves, breathing easily, not looking at his shoulder yet.How much time would it take to reload? A multiple firing weapon and it ran out of repeated shots … the shooter is a professional, knows his layout and terrain.Matoran.The knowledge came to him immediately. It could be nothing else.Give him time to think … ‘Should I move in? Shoot another round?’ He’ll shoot another wave to make sure I’m no threat. He’s thinking. Let him aim.Thoughts blurred through his mind all at once, his eyes grew brighter and his senses intensified. All of his being as a Dark Hunter ruptured throughout him.One… two…He could have sworn he heard his opponent, yards away, hidden in leaves and mist, take aim against the ground that was holding his weapon steady.Three!Immediately Excavate sprung himself upward, his feet shifting into the dirt giving him momentum. Keeping his head down, he moved swiftly to the nearest tree, ignoring any sounds of the ammo that was fired. It was rapid in shots as they moved after him, the sounds in the forest now like a battle field.Sheltered, he slammed his back up against the tree, his left hand instinctively moving to his right shoulder where the projectile had etched into his armor. Pulling it out, he took quick note of its characteristics. Then he did a quick scan of the forest, knowing there was possibly more than one attacker, or more on the way.It’s the head of an arrow, pure iron, from a repeating crossbow. Meant to stun or poison enemies as they are usually dipped in substances.A quick smell revealed the arrow to be filled with a deadly poison. They were on a kill.Fortunately the arrow hadn’t struck his tissue and only shoulder armor.Keeping his back against the trunk, Excavate scanned the trees searching for other archers. If there was just one hunter, they were counting on a swift kill… but to remove the body and with his danger factor an unknown…They’d hunt in groups for protection and convenience. Now where are you all?The forest regained its silence and appeared frozen before him. The Dark Hunter narrowed his eyes, watching the looming trees, watching whatever shadows the mist revealed. The ground was still, the branches, high up in the trees, covered by fog …There.A small figure appeared standing on the lower branches, moving from behind one of the trunks. Excavate’s right palm ignited with power, as he kept his eyes on the Matoran, looking upward. The Matoran started to load its own weapon before him, his silhouette moving across his crossbow.Excavate hesitated. His enemy was showing himself before loading his weapon, despite having time. It was a poor mistake … or misdirection.Without turning, he shifted his eyes to the left and found another Matoran, beside the trunk of a tree about ten yards away. Armed, protected, locked on and half hidden.Excavate instantly jerked to the right, took two steps away from the tree and reached for a knife on his right hip with his left hand. The first Matoran at six o clock, twenty yards away won’t be expecting sudden movement. With a swift toss he threw the knifedirectly at the Matoran hidden behind the tree to his left, clipping the side of the trunk and stunning, maybe wounding him. Rushing to load, the Matoran watching from the trees ahead will fire shots wildly… Arrow heads drove into the tree beside him, missing the exposed Dark Hunter by several feet. For the Matoran behind me, lose him in protective cover. Hide. He lashed out with his right arm as he moved, releasing the charged energy in his palm directly onto the ground.The bright yellow beam ignited against the dead leaves and branches, uprooting dirt and bringing a fume of smoke onto the field.Excavate ran swiftly through it, the smoke and mist fully concealing him. He halted to a dead stop, standing upright and took a quick breath. His sense of location accurate, he knew where the Matoran would be, and where the trees were rooted.Swiftly he aimed his right wrist toward one of the trees, as high as he could calculate his cable launcher would take him, and fired it. The magnetic end stabbed the bark with its sharpened features, and immediately recoiled, soaring Excavate into the trees above.The three Matoran ran into the open, surprised to find their prey having vanished in the smoke. The small fires died down due to the heavy moisture of the forest; they each rechecked their equipment, unable to discern how they had lost sight of him in less than a minute.***Excavate had used his knives to climb a little higher on the side of the tree, before firing his cable once more at another.Moments later he stood upon the high and large limbs, waiting, listening intently.He took easy steps on the branches, and leaped gently to the next one and the next one after. He kept careful balance despite the slippery texture.The Dark Hunter watched the mist below, unable to see any of the ground. But he could hear the rustling. A soft pitter of steps below, moving and unable to remain as the ghosts they wanted to be. One loud ghost was moving directly toward him.Eyes narrowing, he reached for two of his knives, one in each hand. Then, he took a step off the branch and fell directly into the fog.***The Matoran never saw the figure above him until it crashed on to the ground, striking at him like a Muaka. His arms forcefully grabbed hold of the smaller Matoran, twisting him around faster than he could recall and carrying him against his chest. In fear, he felt the cool piece of metal press against his neck, a knife by his attacker.“Show yourselves!” he heard the intruder call out before slamming its back into a near tree, for protection. “I kill him in three seconds!”The Matoran’s eyes widened.He cried desperately, but it was drowned out by his sharp shout of, “One!”“Two!” the knife pushed sharply against his neck and the Matoran cried out once more in fear than pain.“Stop!”Two Matoran stepped into sight, their weapons at their sides. With a quick glance to one another, the Matoran lowered their weapons to the ground.Excavate remained frozen in his stance, eyes locking with theirs._______

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Mar 04 2012 - 02:22 AM.

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#7 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Mar 10 2012 - 02:20 AM

Abandoned

By mid-afternoon Excavate and the three Matoran continued to walk. Directly in front of him, was the one he kept hostage, an insurance against quick betrayals.Their color varied, but two of them were dirty and blotched in green and brown patches. It looked permanent, not war paint or markings of any kind. Living in these damp forests must have eroded their mechanical parts quicker, caused them to change color. Only the blue one, a Ga-Matoran who walked silently ahead, seemed resistant to the affects of the high moisture.It hadn’t taken long for them to reach their destination. Excavate had ordered that they take him to the Makuta base, the one he was sure they’d be aware of. But instead, for a more peaceful solution, they had requested to bring him to their allies and speak with him there. They’d take him to Jurin.That had been half an hour ago, and they were moving west instead of south. Deeper into their territory, the Dark Hunter noted; he didn’t worry. As long as he had one of the Matoran under watch, he felt they wouldn’t try anything.Finally, they stopped before a large tree trunk.“We’ll wait only ten minutes,” the Ga-Matoran spoke in her soft voice. Her eyes were different from the average Matoran, as were the rest of her company, hardened and dull. Excavate couldn’t fathom how long they had lived here for, so he didn’t try to.“Are we waiting for Jurin? Is he your Turaga?”The one Matoran beside her gave a questioning look, but remained silent.She paused, also unsure of how to reply.“We are not sure, what a ‘Turaga’ is, but we are at Jurin. We’re waiting for our two hunting groups to meet.”“Jurin…” Excavate glanced toward the large tree. “It’s the tree?”“Of course,” she blinked as though it was obvious. “All of our trees have names. They deserve it, for the protection and life that they give us. They live as we do. Do they not?”“Not exactly as we do,” but he understood what she meant. Still, they had named them, all of them, hundreds … no thousands of trees. Every single one of them had a name, and each name meant something.It staggered him, vaguely but noticeable.True to the Matoran’s word, in ten minutes, five more appeared in the mist. They immediately halted at the sight of Excavate giving shocked expressions. He had heard them approaching long before they had noticed him, and he thought the Ga-Matoran wise to not signal for danger.“We … weren’t expecting…” a Ta-Matoran, leading the other four, started awkwardly.“He overpowered us, Thow.” She answered while approaching him. “And he has …”She didn’t finish her sentence but they both glanced at the Onu-Matoran under Excavate’s eye.They whispered for a moment, the two of them conversing privately without the consult of the others. Excavate watched each one silently. They all held weapons, crossbows and knives of all sorts. He locked eyes with one, who was slowly raising his weapon, in defense. Excavate narrowed his eyes in response, before it was lowered again.Finishing their discussion, the Ta-Matoran, Thow, turned and questioned him. “Marow says you want to travel to the Shadows Territory?”“That’s right. I’m here on an assignment, the Makuta, or Shadows, are an enemy of mine. I’ve come to report findings of their base.” There was no point in lying to them. If the Matoran knew he wanted nothing to do with their tribe, then maybe they’d let him be on his way without a fight. And a fight was the last thing they wanted, he knew.Whatever connection they had with the Makuta, it was probably long severed.“Few have come to this place, Stranger, since the Shadows left us. They take a few steps on our beach, and leave. The others, who journey further, don’t return home.”Excavate wasn’t threatened and replied without raising or sharpening his voice. “I will return home, as soon as I search the base.”Marow silently eyed him directly, unlike the rest. “Why do you need to search their abandoned territory?” she asked.“The information I need there is vital. I’ve been sent on an assignment to collect it.”“Why is it important to you or to your masters?”He hesitated.“I don’t know. It’s not my business to know.”Silence between them. Marow suddenly looked sad and he couldn’t believe it, she was pitying him. His thoughts clouded, he didn’t have a reason to retrieve the knowledge, none that were his own. Not one excuse. He had no idea what the base contained and what was so important that was inside. Tomana did, probably.Unable to come up with any response, he uncharacteristically shuddered, and broke off his gaze from her.“We can take you to the base,” she explained, calmly, no longer giving him that look of concern.Thow nodded, as though the decision had been a united one agreed by all.“Since you are here for the Shadows’ Land, we expect for no harm to come to ours. We have not spoken to outsiders since the Shadows lived here. But, your black companion … excused our normal law.”So, Tomana had followed him into the forest.“When we first caught sight of you both near our beach, we realized something strange about the black one. He was similar. He’s like us. We’ve seen many of your kind. We’ve never seen someone like him.”The Dark Hunter took note of that. They had no idea what a Toa or a Turaga was.“We meant to capture the black one, and kill you alone. We weren’t sure why you’d split your search in two, but he was coming close to locating you, we had to move quickly.”Thow, glanced at Marow before continuing, “Too quickly it seems.”“You were going to kill me, and then ask my companion questions?”“Don’t be surprised, stranger,” Thow looked suddenly angry. “All of those we’ve come across have wanted to harm us. Surely your world isn’t any different.”Excavate didn’t reply.“We’ll lead your friend to the base, Stranger. And we’ll take you there as well. We wish to speak with this friend of yours, and then you may both leave on your way,” the Ta-Matoran gave a sharp glare as he placed his crossbow on his back. “If, however, we are treated with violence, I can promise you this: both of you will never leave this place.”“You’re low on people. Many have died since you first came to live here,” Excavate responded, “I can guarantee we don’t want a fight as much as you do.”A small pause before the Ta-Matoran nodded in reply. “Yes, but just remember that we have nothing to lose.”The Dark Hunter watched as they gathered their equipment in a flowing movement as a single unit, or pack. The eight Matoran moved as one and began their trek southeast, wordlessly. Excavate followed at the rear, finally allowing his hostage freedom. The only one who looked him in the eye was Marow. But she was the only one he refused to acknowledge.***It was only an hour before they neared the Makuta’s Territory. The leaves had become thinner on the ground and mist much thicker, to the point where even six yards ahead they could not see.Excavate kept his eyes ahead, noticing how beyond the next tree line, was considerably brighter and open. The Matoran came to a stop at once.“We don’t enjoy this place…” Marow explained. “They used to dwell above the trees, the thousands of years before. Their place was situated very high, higher than our own villagers climb. Beyond the tree’s tops where the leaves themselves did not reach.” She paused, and turned from Excavate to the bright land ahead, still covered by the few trees to see what was truly out there.“They were monsters.”Excavate glanced at the Ga-Matoran, who had gone silent, refusing to say more. The other seven were also frozen, seemingly dazed at what lay before them. A place they dared not revisit.With a single step the Dark Hunter moved forward, passing the natives and brushing by a trunk and the one after, walking out of the forest.And with great surprise, he found a dead land. A place that had no guardians and no protection, Excavate ventured further.Mist no longer covered his sight, now only tinted his view. He could make out what the Matoran would call graves. Not hundreds, but thousands of trees, cut down to the stump. Their number stretched on for what could be miles; the fog veiled much of the land to be sure of the damage.Out in the center of the gray field, Excavate kept his eyes sharp on the black and blue figure, standing.“They took half,” Marow explained, approaching from behind him.He hadn’t heard her steps. This part of the island had distracted him fully. It shouldn’t have distracted him, not a veteran, but it did. Her words rang into his thoughts, pure and clear.“They took half of the forest, before they abandoned it.”______

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Mar 10 2012 - 02:22 AM.

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#8 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Mar 17 2012 - 12:06 AM

Corridors

Excavate walked slowly away from Marow, towards the straight profile of the Toa he’d left behind. Tomana faced away, looking slightly up towards the sky. He made no movement. The Matoran watched nervously from the treeline, unsure of what the being who had threatened them all would do now that he was reunited with his counterpart.When Excavate was a few yards away, Tomana lashed out with an unexpected Ice attack, catching Excavate in the leg and rooting him to a single spot.“You left,” Tomana’s eyes were fierce, accusatory. Excavate wasn’t afraid of the Toa, though he hadn’t expected an Ice Toa to show uncontained fury.“And? It is my contract I am fulfilling. Not yours,” Excavate’s voice was even. “How did you find me?”“Insight,” Tomana replied shortly. The name of the power would mean nothing to Excavate, he knew, but he didn’t feel like explaining his psychometric/telepathic/clairvoyant/sheer instinctual ability. Not to a reprobate.“So you have insight,” Excavate would have rolled his eyes if he’d been anyone else. He would have to be more careful guarding his trail to defend against this “insight” of Tomana’s. It was probably some kind of training, but it was disturbing. Even being so distracted by his thoughts he hadn’t left a visible trail. That much he knew.Tomana left Excavate to extricate himself from the Ice, and walked to the Matoran, who brought up crossbows, and then reluctantly lowered them.“What are you?” Thow asked.“I am a Toa,” Tomana knelt down to look at the Matoran on their level, “a protector. I used to be a Matoran like you until I was chosen by another Toa. Why are you on this island?”The villagers looked at each other, and then all eyes fell on Marow.“I’m the Chronicler for our village,” she said, “I’ll answer.”“About a thousand years ago, not long before the Great Cataclysm, we were captured by the Shadows, and transported to this island as an experiment. We endured huge changes in our world, weather, gravity, strange portals. The Shadows placed evil creatures here. Sometimes they sent a black powder through the air that would change anything in its path into some monstrosity. The leader of the Shadows visited us once before everything began. He said we were mere Mahi for him to use for his own purpose, for a part of some experiment of his. He said he wanted to ‘be like a Great Spirit’.”Tomana hid surprise, blinking twice to make sure the information stuck in his head, and stared at the Matoran as she went on. He had heard from Helryx of a Makuta who liked to experiment. Yes, Mutran. The Southern Continent Makuta. His Matoran? Most likely. The Continent was large and sparsely populated. There were rumored to be cities that no living Toa had seen.“I always wondered why he told us these things, but the answer always came back to me. We were here as puppets in his game. He didn’t mean for us to be able to tell anyone once he was done. We were going to die under his hand.” Marow’s voice clenched as she angered at the memories.Excavate walked up and interrupted, having broken the Ice anchoring him to the ground. “Where is the Makuta base?”Tomana took a deep breath and said, “Look up.”Excavate did, surprised.High above, the sky was punctured with a massive dome frame, upside-down. The trees had grown over the centuries to cover it up so that unless you were on the Island, and out of the trees, you would wouldn’t see it, only the clouds that swallowed its higher portions. The frame was visible only because it glowed with lightstones embedded in the metal. A great portion of it had been taken apart, leaving a giant skeleton that looked uneven, as if parts had fallen to the ground below from neglect.“They took most of their things, and left,” Marow said softly, “they had used us and killed us, and then they gradually forgot about us.”“How long have you been here?” Tomana asked.“More importantly,” Excavate interrupted, “how does one get all the way to the dome?”“You can’t,” Marow’s voice went flat and she once again gave a peculiar look to Excavate, who looked away, “even we cannot make it to the tops of the trees, and we have been here, living in the guardian giants, for thousands of years.”“There won’t need to be climbing,” Tomana said, “We can report it to the Order.”Excavate was silent, Tomana knew that he probably was thinking of going there himself anyway so he said, “Marow, can you guide us back to our boat?”The entire tribe of Matoran, roughly 20 of what was originally a good sized village, tracked them back to the shore. They told Tomana stories of their first days, brought from the Southern Continent by force. Hunting Rahi, building homes high in the trees away from Muaka, forcing Fikou and Lohrak into smaller and smaller areas until they were forced to flee the island to escape, setting traps for Rahkshi (whom they called “smaller shadows”) and the Makuta cutting down the forest for supplies, forcing the Matoran to rebuild their settlement. They asked Tomana about Toa. Where did they come from? How did a Matoran end up a Toa? Why was he black if he belonged to Ice? He was unusually friendly for an Ice type. Was his companion a Toa? Excavate gave them a firm “no” on that. They kept their minds on that to themselves. What did they expect the Order to find at the base? With the sun at its full height, some of the mist had burned off and, while you couldn’t see far, you could see the beautiful greens and blues of the forest. The Matoran flowed through their environment without hesitation, knowing every fallen twig so that even in the midst of leaping from great root to great root a Le-Matoran was even able to keep up a running response to Tomana.Finally, an Onu-Matoran asked Tomana a question that Tomana had seen coming. They were almost at the beach. The deep silver blue of the ocean shimmering through the trees.“What happens to us when the Order comes?”“They’ll investigate the remains of the Shadows’ Base,” Tomana said, looking ahead at Excavate walking just ahead beside Marow, one silently ignoring the other. “And then they will offer you relocation away from here.”The Matoran stopped.“I don’t want to leave,” the Onu-Matoran said.Mata Nui, Tomana thought, is this going to be one of those times where life meets the sort of stuff that you see on the Metru Nui broadcast screens?No.The Matoran began to talk among themselves. Some of them hadn’t spoken for the entire walk, and they spoke haltingly as if their silence had been much longer. Tomana walked forward and grabbed Excavate, dragging him out of the trees.“They are about to ask us to send the Order with ships to take them to Daxia,” he whispered, “Don’t ruin this with your Dark Hunter sense of doing everything on your own. Matoran aren’t Hunters.”“They seem to have done fine so far,” Excavate quipped, but he was silent.Marow stepped forward and told Tomana that they wished to go with “this Order”, but only if they were not separated. Excavate, behind the Toa, tightened a fist, and then stepped over to the boat. He didn’t know how Tomana knew things, but he wasn’t having anything to do with the demeaning of a people who’d proved themselves material that the Shadowed One would prize, if they could be made to be a little less tribal in attitude.Tomana glanced toward Excavate gathering ropes and getting everything rigged for sail back north. The wind was not in the direction he could wish. It would be a long sail north. Maybe he would ask the dockmaster for a usual craft, or an emergency motor.“He’s like the Shadows,” Marow said. Tomana stiffened, he hadn’t heard her walk onto the sand. “I hope he does not burden you too much, Seer.”Tomana’s expression behind his mask was inscrutable, was this Matoran like him?“No, only when he blinds me do I get bothered,” Tomana answered, looking down at the Ga-Matoran, “but he isn’t evil, and Toa are only burdened by evil.”“Not evil, lost. He’s looking for something. Just remember that old saying about darkness and dawn.” Marow sounded like a Turaga for a moment, and Tomana’s Toa instincts cried, don’t talk in riddles!. Again he wondered about her. He put a hand on Marow’s shoulder, felt the long history of Marow being the de facto leader. No power, she just had a perceptive mind. She could be a Toa if she was given the chance.“I remember.”They set sail.

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Mar 17 2012 - 12:07 AM.

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Softly Call the Muster

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BS01 History Page --- The Sleeping World


#9 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Mar 22 2012 - 11:07 PM

Part 3: Negotiations

The Ones in Command

_____Two Years Ago…_____“What is he supposed to do until then?”Tomana’s question had a hint of sharpness not unnoticed by those in the room.In the fortress of Daxia situated in a meeting room, Excavate and Tomana had been called in by their superior. Since the events from the Abyss Isla, the two had taken a part in the transporting of the Matoran locals, cargo ships arriving at the beaches only days later. The base was searched and depleted of remaining resources in a matter of hours, and the two operatives were returned.A week had passed. Tomana had filed in a full report, including the details of Excavate’s actions, and suggested his own thoughts on which direction to take with the Matoran and the Dark Hunter.Now, Helryx held the tablet in her hand, and read over what the Toa of Ice wrote.“Wait,” Helryx responded without glancing upward. “He’s going to wait until we find Mutran. That’s when his missions will continue.”“How long will it take for us to do that?” Tomana asked, unsure of whether he was angry or dumbfounded over the orders.The Toa of Water looked him in the eyes.“He’s a Makuta, Tomana. They are shadows.”Placing the tablet down, their leader stood upward to her full height, not reaching either of them, but slightly intimidating just the same in her worn and scared blue armor.“When a Makuta wants to disappear, he does. That base had been abandoned for two hundred years and those Matoran had been living there for a little over a thousand. We learned about this with full information, only yesterday.”She paused, making sure she had their attention.“It’s not the first time. One thousand years ago, the world fell into chaos. Small Islands lost heat, light and fresh water, earthquakes hit numerous locations including the Southern and Northern Continent, causing thousands of deaths. It was considered the Greatest of Cataclysms. Amidst all of this, one Makuta and the entire popular of Metru Nui … vanished.”Helryx looked Tomana in the eye. Then she turned to Excavate.“This will take time,” She growled like a Muaka. Without waiting for a reply from Tomana, she turned around. “Mutran’s actions usually leave a trail, though murky. This population of Matoran has been missing for a long while, but other Makuta must have known of his experiments. We’ll trace back to where they originally are from.”Sitting back into her chair, she retrieved the tablet once more, but didn’t look at it.“We didn’t gain much information; those Matoran are the only witnesses to their plans, and they know very little. Most of them were killed or mutated by Mutran and their recollections are foggy after wanting to forget for so long.” She paused, lost in thought and almost sounded as if she was speaking to herself. “Their details concerning them being ‘like the Great Spirit’ are one of interest and worry…“Once we learn of his location, we’ll continue for briefing. In the mean time, Excavate will remain here as a Servant of the Order.” She looked toward Excavate, not knowing if he was going to respond or not. “No negotiations. You were hired by us and until the job is done, you aren’t free.”Tomana glanced over at Excavate, who stared at the Toa of Water for a long moment. He was frowning, but nodded, obedient.He couldn’t believe he was still a companion to this Dark Hunter, that their fates had been entwined to another mission. Why? What was the point of all this, leaving him here?“To pass the time, perhaps you’ll agree to go on a few recon missions for us… Daxia can get boring after a while.” There was a hint of softness in her voice, just a little, and Tomana caught it. After all, keeping the Dark Hunter as more or less a prisoner for an undisclosed amount of time had not been according to their plans, though it had been a setback she knew may happen.She never showed her emotions for long, however.“Dismissed.”Excavate moved away, wordless, thinking over what this meant for him.Time. He was going to be here for a long time, he knew. And while he should have felt surprised by the turn of events, he felt normal. He had expected this, deep down he had. He was still an operative, not much had really changed, only a different title. No longer a Dark Hunter. He was a Servant.Contemplating what this meant, it wasn’t until he heard the door shut, that he realized Tomana had never walked out with him.***“We need to talk, ma’am.”There was no hostility in his voice. None. And that was what caught his leader’s attention.“Toa Tomana,” she acknowledged, and nodded for him to continue.He stood at his tallest height, black and blue armor gleaming, fully clean from his previous mission. The notable tiredness of his voice, he held down and replaced it with one of control.“I request that we assign a new operative for the missions ahead.”She stared at him for a moment.Helryx shook her head.“Denied.”“Why?” he questioned instantly, knowing the answer before she gave it.“Because, he has been chosen for this mission, specifically, Tomana.”“Is this Mata Nui’s will? Is that what you’re suggesting?”She paused, and stood upward herself, walking casually to the end of the room and locking the door. The Toa of Water turned.“What do you know of the Dark Hunter?”He recited what he knew from memory, what he had looked up about him in the files of Daxia’s Library. It wasn’t hard, if she wanted a summary, he’d give it.“The Dark Hunter, Excavate. He’s originally from the Northern Continent, city or village unknown. He was a wanderer before being picked up by the Dark Hunter Organization, after an assassination attempt on his life, by that organization itself, backfired. He’s gained a reputation as the ‘Ghost’, for his quiet demeanor and silent approach to killing. He is not considered one of the Shadowed One’s closest operatives in rank, but his record speaks for itself. All known missions carried out by the Dark Hunter, completed.”There, Helryx raised her hand, gesturing a pause.Tomana still didn’t understand and shook his head while crossing his arms. “Helryx, this doesn’t make any sense. Why not send another Member of the Order, one who’s just as silent and more unknown? Karzahni we can send an operative who’s name we don’t even know! Someone we can fully trust- did you read my report? He left in the middle of the mission!”“He’s never failed, not once,” she replied to the detective who had overlooked, or didn’t care about that fact. “Have you seen him? Slightly taller from the norm of his species and known for their agility only, that’s all he should be. Even the energy bolts he can create were from past surgery. Weapons are custom, but unoriginal. Training from the Dark Hunters, and whatever past he had before... that is his whole life.”The Toa of Ice blinked.“Yet,” she continued. “He’s completed every mission. He’s nothing. Any team of Toa should have been a threat against him, yet he’s overcome many. He was attacked by three Matoran, who as you claim, were completely covered by the forest. They know the land, and he had no idea they were coming. The Dark Hunter defeated them in what the Matoran say, was a few minutes. So my question,” her eyes narrowed suspiciously, “Is how does he do it?”How did he do it? The thought hit Tomana like a wave, suddenly surprised at what Helryx had revealed. The Dark Hunter’s level of power wasn’t extremely impressive. He has an assortment of weapons, mental shielding and is a skilled fighter. But … that can’t overcome this universe’s tougher trials. It took something much more to always come out on top.“A Makuta is always a threat. Finding Mutran will not be easy, and finding out what he knows? Almost impossible. Once we learn of his ware bouts, assuming he’ll stay in one place for long, capturing him will cause the entire Brotherhood to flare with alarm. They’ll search for an unseen enemy. When I asked Excavate if he could do it, without arousing suspicion Tomana, he simply said, ‘yes’.”The two Toa regarded one another, the room going silent for a long while.“He can see things, how things are supposed to happen… That’s what we assume; that can be the only explanation.” She gave him a knowing glance. “That’s why I wanted you on this mission, it’s not by chance. Your job is to report on what he does, and you tell me, what do you see in him?”I … don’t know. He wanted to reply. He was a ‘Ghost’, not a powerful person in name, with a history unknown. He’s dead throughout the universe and his species is one of plenty. He can be anyone…And Marow’s words rang through his mind once more.Instead he sighed and gave the only answer he could, miscalculated with not enough time to think through what he knew.“I see very little right now. His mind is guarded, and unlike you I am not very familiar with who he is.” He smiled at a brief reaction from Helryx, “Yes, Insight works on you too. I was able to track him, and on the way back... I accidentally fell on him while he was asleep, the ship was caught by a storm and I lost balance while going below deck to get him to help. His dreams, what I saw of them before he closed off, were disturbed. All I can really piece together of him is that he is driven by the past, and that sometimes the future is the past in his eyes. He isn’t clairvoyant, I know that, and he doesn’t wear a mask for it. Maybe that missing detail is what gives him his edge, but it is something he is hiding under layers and layers of mental shielding. I don’t think a Toa of Psionics could ever find it before Excavate shut her out, no matter what. Reading his body language is fruitless...”Tomana rubbed his mask, and then asked, exasperated, “What happens once he’s done with these missions? Do you really believe he’s going to keep quiet about all this?” Tomana stretched out his hands, gesturing everything around them. “Why should he?”Helryx shook her head. “We’re paying him enough.”“And what is that payment?” He asked again, knowing she wouldn’t answer.He did get a small smile out her though.“Learn more about him,” she responded instead, serious in tone. “Find out what’s under that exterior of his before these missions end. I need to know if he’s very good or just very lucky … or something else entirely.”That had been an order, he realized.With a wave of the hand, she dismissed him.And he could only follow the order._____Present Day…_____ The roads in the City of Sol were often sand covered and Matoran sweepers riding on Ussal Crabs constantly kept them clean. The buildings were large, silver in color and stood at great heights. Bird Rahi soared above bound to the city as their home, while they fed on the fish in the near ocean. Salt scented air filled Excavate’s lungs, as he took in the familiar feeling of the sea, though out of sight. Species ranging from Toa to Vortrixx walked the streets.He walked on the roughed pavement, black cloak covering his body. His armaments included one blade alone, walking the city as a visitor. The bright sun warmed the streets, and a white sharp reflective light that bounced from the many towers and stations took a little time to get used to.To his right a local bar for refreshments and energy was full of beings, and the thought of entering lingered on his mind for a moment. He had a little time…No. He was on an assignment, better to not be distracted.His eyes should have passed over the bar, but it was in that busy market that he caught sight of something. Muscular and spiky on the arms, dark purple or almost black in color; that being grabbed his attention.Casually Excavate moved forward into the crowds. At the bar was a Matoran handing out complimentary refreshments.“A free one, stranger?” he heard the Matoran call out to him.Excavate had a few beings turn to him, giving him an unsuspicious glance. He waved a hand, no.When he turned to look in the Skakdi’s direction, the creature was gone.Eyes narrowing, Excavate swiftly moved out of the crowds and to the right side of the building, down its small alley. It was bright out, but the alley was darker with shade and sand completely covered this harder to reach path. Excavate ran silently, unsure what the Skakdi’s abilities were. If he had teleportation, then this search was futile. If not … then there weren’t too many places he could hide.As he reached the corner, Excavate stopped. Hitting the side of the wall, he slowly glanced to the left. There was no Skakdi. But still...Reaching for his protosteel blade, the Dark Hunter moved along the wall and passed the corner, before he felt an impact of stone slam into his back side.Excavate hit the sand, realizing to the full extent of the trap he had fallen into. Charging his body with energy, he released a full blast of combustible power, crumbling the wall of rock before him. His cloak simply moved with the blast, the material resistant to his energy. Leaping upward with his arms and legs, he turned, cloak pulled back fully.The sand on the ground erupted like a volcano and out from the dust cloud appeared the purple Skakdi, scowling heavily with glowing red eyes. In his hand was a power drill, spinning at a high speeds and granting the Skakdi its ability to use his elemental power over stone.From behind Excavate heard the crunching sound of earth, and immediately began charging an orange energy bolt in his hand. Glancing behind, knowing it was meant to distract him, Excavate outstretched his left hand and blasted the flying rock to pieces. As quickly as he turned back, the Skakdi fired piercing lasers from his eyes.Excavate reflexively brought his sword up with both hands to stable it, deflecting and refracting the beam into multiple shards. Lasers cut into the buildings around them and turned streams of sand into glass as Excavate charged forward. Surprised at the sudden boldness and temporary blinded by the side effect of the attack, the Skakdi turned off the barrage and stepped backward.Drawing his sword back, Excavate slashed horizontally without halting his run.Right before the blade reached its target, a hand of stone had outstretched from the ground and had firmly grasped around his shoulder. Shouting in anger, he felt another arm of earth wrap around his left shoulder, before he could retaliate. He was flung backward, the two arms of earth slamming him into the building at the end of the alley.In an instant the Skakdi ran forward and slammed his hand into the Dark Hunter’s throat, dust and steal filled the air and bent respectively. Held prisoner by the stone hands, Excavate could only stare back at those eyes, which now glowed once more in a dangerously red color.“I don’t know what you want, Dark Hunter,” the Skakdi whispered in its grueling way, its breath smelled of rotten flesh and iron. “But you’ve found me. I wonder if the reward for hunting me down was worth risking your life. Well, risk taken, and now you’re about to lose both.”______

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#10 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Mar 28 2012 - 12:22 AM

Timing

______Present______Excavate wrenched an arm free and tried to use an energy bolt to weaken his bonds. His Skakdi captor, using a drill to channel his elemental power of Stone, simply brought a noose of rock around Excavate’s waist, and tightened it slowely.“Heh heh, none of that now,” The Skakdi leaned close, “If you scream, the rock goes–”“You need to chill out,” Excavate sputtered, drawing breath, “before my friend does it for you.”A black proto-steel sword appeared in the peripheral vision of the Skakdi, frost forming on its Ice charged tip.“Your timing is impeccable,” Excavate said flatly.Without a word, Tomana froze the Skakdi and the stone holding Excavate, smashing the bonds with the flat of his blade and wrenching the drill from the frosty Skakdi with his other hand.“So,” Tomana said, “about that Dark Hunter training you were bragging about...”______Weeks After the Abyss Isla Mission______“There will be no use of any kind of external powers,” Axonn growled, “no energy bolts, no elemental bursts, no telekinesis, you get the idea.”Tomana looked over the edge of the electronic tablet he was using. Excavate was about to spar with some of the Order of Mata Nui’s agents. The Dark Hunter held a blunted sword, twisting and rolling it while looking dispassionately at Axonn as he listened to the rules.“And no injuring your opponent, that’s why you have a blunted weapon,” Axonn sighed, he was obviously as bored with the list as the people listening to him. He finished it off and pointed Excavate and his fellow agent, a big, bulked fellow nicknamed Bruiser, to opposite ends of a long, wide, rectangular mat.Tomana looked back down at the tablet, a list of missions that needed doing. He would sign up for some of them, though he knew that he would only get ones related to running down leads from clues garnered in searching the Abyss Isla Makuta base. He and Excavate had been officially paired with each other, and unofficially banned from pursuing any missions beyond what Excavate had been hired for. Not that they hadn’t been on other missions, but for the most part they were aimed at tracing the Makuta of the Abyss Isla.“Why is it called the Abyss Isla?” a voice said at Tomana’s elbow.The Toa of Ice jumped, nearly dropping the tablet. “Marow! You gotta stop sneaking up like that.”Marow shrugged, “It’s kept people here on their toes. Toa Helryx has had nothing to say about it.”Tomana relaxed back into his seat. He registered Axonn saying “Begin”, but focused on remembering the answer to Marow’s question. “The Abyss Isla,” he began, “located in the Western South Island Chain. Prior to a few weeks ago there was little truly known about the Island, but some of the few who came back from going there reported a cave entrance on the extreme southern point which led to a system housing a great chasm. No explorer ever reported a depth, so it was dubbed the Great Abyss, and the island was named after it. The cave system is actually being explored as we speak by Order servants.”“And you keep all this in your head?” Marow shook her head, and opened her mouth to say something, but Tomana pulled her close a split second before Bruiser, the agent Excavate had been fighting, passed through the space where she had been.“Th-thank you, Seer,” Marow stepped back to the agent and tried to help him up. Bruiser waved her off and took up a position along the wall. Another agent stepped forward and took a stance against Excavate. Tomana knew this one personally. He was lithe, quick, and oddly strong for his build. Trouble for many fighters.Tomana pitied him for what he could guess was coming.“How do you know I can see things?” Tomana queried.“I see it in your eyes,” Marow sat down beside him, “looking at things that happen just after your eyes move.”“Hmmm.... How are the Matoran of the Isla?”“Good. We’ve been working around Daxia. This place really needed us. Mata Nui would be ashamed if he visited at how dirty it is.”“Matoran make everything better,” Tomana laughed, then, “duck.”They did as Excavate’s sword impaled itself in the wall. Tomana watched the following part of the fight. Excavate without a weapon was an impressive sight. Dodge. Duck. Dip. Roll. Kick. Grab. Twist. Punch. And the fight was over. The agent pulled himself up off the floor, and tottered to the side.“Tomana,” Axonn said, “show this Hunter what an Order member can do.”“You may want to leave,” Tomana turned off the tablet and handed it to Marow. “Take this to the library for me?”“Sure. But I’m watching.”Tomana could feel her eyes on his back. Excavate felt Marow watching too. The Matoran just had a presence to her that was hard to explain.“Ready yourselves,” Axonn commanded. Tomana took up his ready stance, sword down to his side. Breathe in, breathe out. Axonn raised a hand, and dropped it, “Begin.”Excavate closed the distance and struck at Tomana’s sword arm. Tomana whipped his blade up and caught it on the cross guard. He closed his eyes, and pushed.Up, down, slice, duck, block, cut, catch his arm under yours, drag him over you, strike, left, right, jump, block, parry, feint right, thrust left, bend left, roll. Tomana could feel Excavate’s weapon a breath from his armor, never quite touching. He caught Excavate’s blade on his own and the pressed his offensive. One. Two. Three. Go under his guard. Circle your tip and he’s disarmed. Drop your sword, it’ll only slow you down. Guard right, punch left. Catch the kick with your leg. Swing around behind him. Grapple. Roll. Stay down as he gets up. Kick, let him catch you. Grab his other leg before he kicks you. Fall backwards. Right hook. Twist the arm, hold.“Enough!” Axonn stepped forward. Tomana had Excavate pressed face first into the mat on the floor, a knee in the Hunter’s back and an arm about to dislocate. The agents on the walls cheered and clapped. Apparently it had been a good fight. Tomana never knew exactly how it went until he watched the security feed. He’d fought as he always did. Eyes closed, deep into the flow of Insight.It shouldn’t have been that easy, he thought as he moved off from Excavate, even with my Insight... He’s killed dozens of Toa, sometimes multiple at once. Surely he let me win. He frowned beneath his Volitak. This was not at all what he’d expected.The two stood a part, each one eyeing the other. There was a degree of confusion and anger in Excavate’s expression.Something had happened to him... Tomana reflected.The Dark Hunter’s mind reeled, his thoughts flicking the fight over and over in his mind.He’s a Toa... How did he stop me? He’s seen me fight only twice in our time together. Two sparring matches and those first two, it wasn’t real. But that, our fight was different. I couldn’t get around him. There wasn’t any surprise in my attacks for him. He had no surprising attacks, but he countered what I threw out. I’ve fought beings with greater speed and strength than his, only once, and come out with only a chipped armor piece.... So why him? “Who trained you?” he said aloud.“Hydraxon, myself, a couple Toa from my old team,” Tomana answered, frowning at the question. If he let me win, why would he want to know? “and Insight.”Wooo, insight teaches him. Nuts. Excavate narrowed his eyes. This was the second time Tomana had mentioned “insight” to him in that manner. He was going to have to ask his employer about this. He did not need an unknown complicating his contract.“Toa Helryx requests Excavate be escorted to the audience chamber by Toa Tomana,” a voice chimed from the intercom system.“Let’s go,” Tomana strapped on his sword from the rack beside the training room’s door. “We’ll have to do this again, daily. It’ll keep us sharp between missions.” And give me a chance to force you to actually work.“Of course,” Excavate replied. I need to make sure I can dispose of you if need be, after all.Marow handed Excavate’s sword to him and just gave him that same look she had since she first met him. He looked away.“I know, I know. Everyone has a set back.”Marow smiled._____Present_____Tomana and Excavate dragged the frozen Skakdi to the back of the alley. They had no need of him being walked upon. As Tomana spread some reinforcing ice across the Skakdi’s body, a Matoran stepped out of the shadows.“You had two weeks.”“We took two days,” Excavate responded, “The Skakdi as requested.”“How?”“Ask him,” Excavate gestured at Tomana, “he’s the one who tracked the Skakdi to this district.”“Trade secret,” Tomana winked.The Matoran frowned, “As promised, I will set up the meeting between you and Lord Rekken.”“Good,” Tomana put an ice shell over the Skakdi. Lord Rekkan was in command of several Skakdi armies allied to try and fight out a Makuta. All indications showed that this Makuta either was or was close to the one who had led the base on the Abyss Isla. Tomana and Excavate had been sent to negotiate with the Skakdi Lord. The Makuta in question for anonymous support. No questions about the supplier, no question over how the supplies are used. All they had to do to meet with him... track down a single purple Skakdi in a city whose population was over a thousand. Tomana had spent the first day wandering across the city, confusing Excavate by touching seemingly random bricks, tables, or stones and then rushing off in a new direction.But now they had the Skakdi, and their interview with Lord Rekkan was not far behind.“Drink?” Excavate waved towards the bar as the Matoran once again slipped away into the shadows. “That place is the best in Sol.”“No drinks,” Tomana grinned, “we’re on a mission remember?”

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Softly Call the Muster

Let Comrade Answer Here

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BS01 History Page --- The Sleeping World


#11 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Apr 02 2012 - 06:16 PM

A Place You Call…

_____Two Months after the Abyss Isla Mission_____Step by step he moved down the hallway, with each few yards passing identical steel doors with a number on each one.214… 215 … 216 …217.The number remained in his mind for a few seconds. Whenever he walked down this hall, and found the door with the number 217 on it, that would be his room.Tentatively, though he wasn’t sure why, Excavate retrieved the uniquely designed key given to him from his sac. Gliding it into the key hole, he twisted it to the right until he heard a click. He removed the key and slid open the gray door.Inside was a spacious room of fifteen by twenty-five, gleaming pearl white and gray along the walls and floor. At the end of the room was a bed, long enough for his form. On the left side as he walked in, was a steel desk with a lightstone right above it, hung from a row of cabinets. To the right was a closet with similar sliding doors, though not as thick.Before doing anything, he closed the door to his new quarters and locked it. Inspecting, he moved through the cabinets above the desk, finding them to be empty. The desk itself had an electronic keypad featured with files and information, perhaps a terminal of sorts, flashing on its screen. He’d look through it later.The rooms in this section of the fortress were meant for lower agents, not customized or garnished with special features. But they were designed to be comfortable, and personalized in anyway Excavate saw fit. Right now, he got that feeling. The room was just blank, but very much like his own back on Odina.The Dark Hunter sat on his bed, getting a feel for its firmness.Then he moved to the closet.Opening the doors, he found what he had been told to expect. Placed on racks, were his two blades on the left side of the storage room. Above them hung his knives, now all polished and gleaming. There wasn’t much space in the closet, but just enough to hold his equipment and whatever else he collected or owned or even stole along the way.To the right was his cable launcher and a new Cordak Blaster which wasn’t his - a full set of rockets aligned beside it. He was surprised by that addition. He hadn’t used many Cordak Blasters in his time, but they were a deadly weapon and honestly, having one on hand would be helpful for the tougher missions ahead.Removing his black cloak, he placed it on one of the hooks in the compartment before closing it.My old room back on Odina. Have they removed everything from there now? The Dark Hunter stared at the closet door. Not that it mattered, he had nothing back there he needed. But he wondered who cleaned it out. Or did they just send the next Hunter to live there and do with the room as he pleased?A soft knock hit the door of his new accommodations, and Excavate turned toward it, slightly perplexed.He opened it, to find Marow standing there. The Dark Hunter narrowed his eyes.“Your habit of following Tomana and I around has now become annoying,” he said, not with any hint of rudeness. It was worse, factualness. “What do you want?”If she was hurt by the statement, she didn’t show it. And her voice revealed nothing either.“I brought you some extra bed sheets. Someone told me it can get cold down here sometimes.”The Matoran held out some covers for the Dark Hunter, handcrafted by Ga-Matoran fabricators he was sure. Often sail cloths were their specialty.He paused before taking them. Marow was no young Matoran, Excavate knew. She could have been thousands of years old, and her experience on the Isla probably added age to her life. But Marow continued to silently study and follow, like some Matoran who was looking up to their favorite Toa.Then again, the Ga-Matoran wasn’t naïve like that.“What do you want?” he asked a second time in a lower voice, his suspicion rising.Marow blinked at him with those eyes. Karzahni, the Matoran’s stare was like the morning sun that bothered you while you tried to sleep. She had a frown on her face, like she was reading a book. Like she was reading him.“Are you going to leave here?”“When?” he responded and wondered where she was getting at.“When this is over, are you leaving the Order?”He didn’t hesitate.“Yes.”The reply was a firm one.“I don’t understand why you’d leave this place.”Excavate shook his head and moved back into his room. He left the door open.“It’s a nice organization you know. It has almost everything you need. And I know you don’t want to go back.”“You’d be surprised how willing the Dark Hunters will re-accept me. Missing for a couple months doesn’t necessarily mean they consider me dead. They won’t care if I tell them I took a vacation.” The Dark Hunter had a smile on his face, but it was one of irony, as though he knew something the Matoran didn’t.She caught that look.“I’m not talking about the Dark Hunters. You don’t want to go back, and I know it.” Her voice had crispness to it. An edge that he had failed to notice before, but somehow knew had always been there. Or only when she spoke to him.“I’m here to tell you the truth. I figured it out from the time I met you, on that Island, when you didn’t go for the kill. And it wasn’t because you’re noble, I know you aren’t. It was because you didn’t care.”Then, he turned to look directly at her. His stare was sharp, and he didn’t breathe. He stood to his full height, and Marow realized just how much of a nerve she had struck. How close she was. He wasn’t going to turn away this time. Excavate would always protect what was his.“I know what you’re planning…” she continued on. “I can see it, more than Tomana can. He’s looking too hard. And if you … give up all this,” Marow gestured to the walls, the floor, the room, and then pointed to Excavate himself. “You’re not going to save anyone. You’ll remain homeless. And what’s worse…”He cut her off right there.The dark onyx armor seemed to turn a murkier shade. But Excavate’s eyes dimmed and his fist tightened. He wasn’t angry at her, but at the disrespect. What gave her the right to tell him what to do? To explain what was right for him? What could she know…“What makes you think you can see anything, Matoran…”“I’m just asking you give it a chan-““You can’t understand me,” he interrupted. “You simply can’t. So don’t expect me to stay.”And that made her hesitate. The response lingered in the room. Their eyes were locked. But he was right, she couldn’t know what he felt. She had never had that life before, even if she had gone through Karzahni and back in her own. She had always had that one thing he never did.Excavate waited for a response, if she had one.But the room remained silent for a time._____Present_____The vehicle was a four wheeled – each one broad and heavy in size, multi-seated all-terrain transport. It was built for the sandy regions of the Northern Continent’s eastern area. The locals often used the transport to head from one city to the next, and the drivers, often Matoran who were good with machines such as these, had created a business out it.The vehicle could carry about twenty beings of normal size, but Excavate and Tomana had found it more than a coincidence that they had been the only ones to take have tickets for this transport.Only hours after they had relinquished the Skakdi to their Matoran messenger, they had received two tickets with instructions on how to reach Lord Rekken. The first part meant travelling for two hours by road.Tomana sat in his seat, waiting for the trip to reach its end. In the mean time information about their target replayed itself over and over in his mind.Lord Rekken. The name had come up often to be highly associated with the Makuta they had finally pinpointed after two years. In the end they never found Mutran, but instead another, one who was closely related to him and who’s information and knowledge seemed too great. Her power increased with each day throughout the Northern Continent.The Skakdi Warlord wanted her dead.Their armies had clashed many times before, but slowly she made progress over the land, reaching upward. And some assumed she wanted to go beyond, perhaps to the ruins of Metru Nui itself. Her tactics and battle strategy were impressive and her army had no end to its strengths. Most importantly, the Makuta had known Mutran, and were considered allies in a higher sense. Though a Makuta would never have need for such a thing, it’s assumed they were “friends”.She was a threat and a rising conqueror. The Order had commanded for her apprehension.Between the Makuta and Skakdi an inevitable and final conflict was building up; Lord Rekken wanted an advantage. He didn’t have a chance against her anymore, not with the power she was gaining and his people knew it.It had been only a month ago, that he had sent word to the underground criminals and assassins for anyone willing. He had a plan to overcome the final assault, and Tomana and Excavate were sent to accept whatever the deal was. They only knew it wasn’t to kill the Makuta. The Skakdi was rumored to want that pleasure himself, which suited the Order just fine.After all, having the Skakdi unwillingly and unknowingly ally himself with the Order, would give them the perfect opportunity for her later capture.The irony of it all, the Toa of Ice reflected jokingly, as it was the least important part of the matter, is that I’ll be represented as a Dark Hunter to accomplish this mission.Scorching glares from the sun were starting to affect Tomana a little. Well not affect, but annoy. The convoy had no protection or covering as they sat in the back with the Po-Matoran driver far up in the front. The wind cooled them to an extent, but not enough. He was a Toa of Ice, and heat wasn’t his best friend. Using his powers, a thin layer of crushed ice constantly built up on his body. Excavate, he noticed, was using his cloak for protection, but kept his eyes toward the back of the vehicle, toward the road they were leaving behind.He followed the Dark Hunter’s sight far out in the distance, to the City of Sol.What an appropriate name, the Toa of Ice thought dryly. The temperatures didn’t seem to ever drop, even much during the night.“Happy to leave it or are you hoping to return sometime?” Tomana called over the roaring winds, a half smile on his face.Excavate turned to him, not frowning which was good, though not smiling as usual. Tomana had grown used to it and had learned the neutral expression was a natural one for the stick in the mud.“I never saw the ocean,” he called back. “I had meant to while we were there, but we actually finished the first part of the mission faster than I had expected.”He stared at Tomana for a few minutes, a mixed sense of regret on his face.“Sorry, Excavate,” he responded. “Hit the beach when you get back to Daxia, how about that?”“It’s alright.” He turned to back to watching the city move from them. “You’ve never seen Sol’s ocean though. No place like it in the universe.”Slightly confused, Tomana asked, “I thought you said you’d never seen it?”“No, no I’ve seen it. It’s quite a sight. I used to see it often when I lived there.”A jolt.“What?” Tomana asked in surprise sitting upright, “You used to live in the City of Sol?”Excavate looked back at him, “You didn’t know? Before I became a Dark Hunter, yes.”The air rushed by them and the vehicle rocked slightly at the sudden rocky part of the path. What were the odds they had chosen - no, that Helryx had chosen this city for them as their destination? Lord Rekken’s reach stretched far throughout the lands, they could have contacted his messenger in any other place.“It’s no secret,” Excavate finished, cloak flapping around him. “It’s a great place though. If I could really have anything, I’d take back Sol in a heartbeat. But I lost it, years ago.”The Toa of Ice had never heard him speak of something so honestly and kindly. And suddenly he was reminded of the payment that was still promised to the Dark Hunter - the City of Sol?It wasn’t Helryx. Excavate must have requested we start our search here.“I’ve been a Dark Hunter for a long time, Tomana,” Excavate called once more, the normal and unreadable expression on him. But this time he was smiling. “But some places are special, no matter what you do or what happens in your life, you always remember them.”_____

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Apr 02 2012 - 06:17 PM.

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#12 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Apr 13 2012 - 01:46 AM

Once More Into the Breach

_____Present_____“Tomana,” Excavate’s face was blank over his confusion. The Toa of Ice was staring into the desert with this absent stare. He hadn’t moved for quite some time at this point.They’d ridden the transport until they came to a marker on the road, at which point they jumped out and looked towards the desert to find the mountain peak that would lead them west to the Skakdi Lord Rekkan. Excavate had found it almost immediately, a two peaked mountain all by itself with ranges on either side. He’d lifted his arm and pointed it out, but Tomana had stood frozen, as if he was lost._____500 years before the Abyss Isla Mission_____Tomana felt the sand grains rub against his palm as he rotated the white sword in his hands. His armor was burned, the pure white smudged by smoke from the flames his former teammate had sent at him. He was waiting for that instinctive push in one direction or another as the Ice wall in front of him was slowly pounded, washed, and melted away by the same Toa he had trusted his life to barely a month ago.He had gone away on a solo mission, a trivial trip, and come back to a nightmare. His team was ruling their Matoran charges like despots. At first he had been sure it was some kind of mental control causing his team to behave like monsters, but as he hid in the hills and jungles surrounding the village he had slowly had to face the truth. His team was corrupt. Only one of them, who had also gone on a solo mission - no, had been sent on a solo mission he now remembered, and only that other one, seemed to be against this change.That one, also a Toa of Fire, was away from Tomana’s side of the Ice wall, trying to defend himself with his own, similar, wall of flame. Tomana knew he was waiting for him to move.Tomana placed his blade against the ice wall, edge pointing away from the wall of flame to his right. He flooded the weapon with power, and sent it crashing outward. The wall of ice exploded, becoming an instant blizzard emanating from Tomana’s position. The seven Toa he was fighting were split. On the right, his ally sent out a firestorm. Tomana heard a scream, but turned to face the Water and Air Toa that had been separated from the group by Fire and Ice. Tomana didn’t want to fight his teammates, and everything about him was saying run. He ducked. A fireball flew through where he’d stood and crashed into the Toa of Air, who went down clutching his mask.“Geran!” Tomana cried, slashing Ice at the offending Toa of Fire. The Toa of Water, characteristically out of energy already, tried to tackle Tomana. He rolled and cut at her legs, freezing them solid. He was starting to run low himself from sustaining the blizzard. He looked out to the desert that extended far to the west, just outside the jungles. Behind him, his former friend brought down a flaming sword.Time seemed to stand still. Insight had taken hold of Tomana stronger than it ever had before. His internal vision ran through the past, showing him patterns he’d never taken note of. Meeting his team, who all hadn’t quite trusted him. Going on his first mission and having to remind Geran of his honor as a Toa. Reminding his team leader of the Water Toa they’d almost left behind. He saw far into the future. He saw some of his team lying in the dust of the village Kini, saw dear Matoran friends working as slaves on Xia. He saw hordes of Rahkshi bearing down on a faceless figure, and he saw a tall black Toa covering the sands of a desert in Ice. Tomana bent to the left, and time stepped forward. The flaming sword came down and cut into his left arm, severing some organics. The blizzard winked out of existence.Tomana writhed in pain until his former friend stepped on his chest.“You arrived and your first question was, ‘Why, Kareth?’ .” The Fire Toa was utterly calm, bored almost. He’d been a Toa for far longer than Tomana, and Tomana knew from what he’d seen that his attacker had killed before, long before he had been a part of any team.“The answer is that the Matoran need a firm hand,” Kareth continued. His voice took on one of malice, and sparks of Shadow flickered in the flames dripping from his sword. Tomana’s eyes went wide as his enemy continued, “And the Toa Lords will provide- AH!” Smoke billowed from a white hole in Kareth’s shoulder. Tomana didn’t look for the cause, he knew the other Toa of Fire was on a rampage. He shoved the foot off his chest and ran.He ran far across the desert sands until exhaustion caught up with him. He found a cave, and cast an ice shell over it. He slept, a prayer escaping his lips to not be found, to die alone if destiny commanded it. Just not by the hand of a friend.***“Just you and me, traitor,” the two Toa of Fire faced each other.“Yes,” Kareth smiled, “You, me, and my friends.”The firestorm fell, absorbed by the one remaining Toa who refused to rule. Toa from the other side of the storm stalked into a circle around him.“Just try and stop me,” Said Kareth, Toa Lord of Fire.____Present____“Tomana,” Excavate shoved the Toa, who looked around, startled. “Mission, remember?”“Oh... yeah,” Tomana looked back out at the desert, identified the mountain, and stepped forward off the hard packed road into the desert sands, into a sea of memories and pain.“You lead,” he said to Excavate, “I hate deserts.”

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Apr 13 2012 - 01:46 AM.

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#13 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Apr 21 2012 - 12:02 AM

Here and There

_____It was almost sunrise when they made camp. Excavate had been somewhat surprised to find out that Tomana knew as much about desert travel as he did. With Tomana’s Ice powers and a Heatstone, they didn’t have to worry about water, and pole mounted Lightstones let them travel at night. It was midday the day after they had left the transport when they first made camp, and Tomana and Excavate sat across from each other in a small cave they’d found. They were still kios from the two-peaked mountain, but they both agreed it wouldn’t be more than a day before they arrived.“Remember,” Excavate said, “Rekkan thinks we are both Dark Hunters.”“Right,” Tomana stared out into the open desert. The heat was unbearable, and the memories of having to survive after running from his team didn’t help...“It means you have to be swift, to the point,” he continued, watching the Toa. This was important, and Tomana’s mind had been elsewhere the last few hours. “Being a Dark Hunter doesn’t mean you have to show ruthlessness in your speech or mannerism. A calm demeanor can be just as intimidating when used effectively. It all depends on what kind of person you are.”“Should I make up a new personality for this?” Tomana asked.“Using your own personality should be fine. But, the difference is make sure, that no matter how you act, you’re getting what you want out of the deal. Negotiations with a Dark Hunter are a strict matter. What the Dark Hunter wants, he should get. If not, don’t be afraid to back out with poor payment. If he doesn’t want us, we find work elsewhere. And don’t be too quick to accept. It’ll make you seem weak and easy to deception if your employer plans to betray you.”“It’s just a ploy, if he gives us a reasonable offer, we’ll take it for the mission,” Tomana countered.Excavate shook his head, the lightstone shining across his face, covering half of it.“If we’re going to do this, we have to do it all the way. If we accept it too easily, Lord Rekken will speculate there’s more to our reasons for wanting to be hired. If he does that and finds anything, the mission is lost.”The night’s stars were brighter on this night then the Dark Hunter could remember seeing them in a long while. They didn’t really need the light in the cave, and in the back of his mind he instinctively felt like it was giving their position away.“I didn’t realize there were so many rules to this,” the Toa responded with a smirk. “You people are almost as bad as Helryx.”“Well, you learn it as you go.”The silence between them was easy, as it usually was these days. But as Excavate covered the light stone they carried, the lingering thoughts on Tomana’s mind didn’t leave him. Excavate sat down at his side of the cave, using the wall to lean on, while Tomana sat at the other. The Dark Hunter shut his eyes.“Can I ask you something?” He didn’t give Excavate a chance to respond before adding more. “A personal question?”Excavate opened his eyes, and stared back at the Toa in the dim lighting. His mind had been troubled, the Dark Hunter knew. And though over the course of the past two years, they had become allies, or as close to that as you could get to that, things were never personal. Why should they be? It was a temporary friendship … but they were also so different.Or, maybe too familiar, Marow would say.“Why?”“I’ve just been thinking... why did you end up leaving the City of Sol? Did you really want to be a Dark Hunter so much?”Tomana didn’t expect Excavate to be angry, but he did expect some conflict on his face. How do you answer to something like that? And does your prodding intrude on such a person’s morality? If you’re a Dark Hunter do you even care about morals?He looked at the Toa like the question was a natural one.“I didn’t plan to be a Dark Hunter, like you didn’t know you’d become a Member of the Order. It just, happened. I had a home there, and I wouldn’t have left it if I could have helped it. It’s no big secret.”Excavate leaned upward until he sat completely upright.“I’m not sure what you know already. But I lived in the City of Sol, generations ago. I was on the council of leaders for our city, and we kept it up relatively peaceful. We had a lot of species living there. I protected the city by helping the people, creating the laws... It was a home.”He took a second to himself before continuing.“And then at a time when the Brotherhood was making their presence known through our land, contacted us. They were gathering allies left and right, their armies were spreading and they wanted a large unified universe. Nearby cities and villages joined with them, and the question eventually reached us. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well, and a schism broke out. One side wanted our city to remain separate but friendly, the other wanted a unified … empire, if that’s the right word. No one knew at the time, but of course the Makuta were already planning to betray everyone.”Captivated was one word Tomana could have used. He had never known any of this. That Excavate had once been someone of leadership. This Dark Hunter had led a city...“Which side were you on?”“For the Makuta,” Excavate replied, again easily. “I had thought it was the best move, really. More protection, supplies … we had every reason to trust them. Our friends who disagreed … somehow they could see through it. They felt like this decision was a forced one, and the fact that we ‘had’ to choose, meant there was something going on underneath. Fighting broke out, and I was forced to watch my people be killed in battles that I had no control over. I had never seen real violence like that.“The real twist came later though. When we began to calm the sides down, more than half of the city distrusted the Makuta, and us. So the Makuta boldly joined them and offered to stop the schism once and for all.”Excavate gave a light laugh. It was a sick one, laced with a heavier breath.“A brilliant move really. I realized how we had been played, and when our support left us, we were forced to leave. Our allies were scattered and the city eventually came under the Brotherhood’s control, for however long they needed it.”“And you?” Tomana asked, his eyes fixed on the Dark Hunter.“You should know the rest. I wandered the lands for years, until a couple of old enemies, I suppose that’s who it was, hired a Dark Hunter against me. I actually overpowered him, and when that happened, I was approached again by another three. These offered me a job.” Excavate slowly leaned back into the stone wall, getting comfortable again, and closed his eyes. “I didn’t … have a place to go. There was no one I knew, lands I was comfortable in or understood and at the time my reputation was shaky because of the betrayals. I didn’t have that much of a choice, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. What I didn’t know was that once you became a Dark Hunter, you stayed one.”“In for life or dead.” Tomana nodded. “Order of Mata Nui policy all over again. Once you know, you are a threat.”Excavate nodded. “And that’s why, I told Helryx that for my payment, since I couldn’t stay with the Order, that I’d like to be returned home.”“Sol?”“More or less. My problem is, that I can’t stop being who I am. And once I’m done with these missions, I can’t stay with the Order and I don’t have a need to be a Dark Hunter again. So I’ll go to the only place I know, or used to know.” He paused. “Sol, yes. I’ll be a free being then.”Tomana felt somewhat comforted, and saddened at this information. On the one hand, Excavate would be getting what he wanted. On the other, they would be losing a good ally, he realized. And in the past two years of getting to know his partner, he could safely say, that he would miss him when he left. If he got the chance.But … in some way, he felt confused. There was something else here. Something Excavate had left out. Why hadn’t he gone home years ago, if he felt the need to do so, so badly? It made sense that he had been waiting for a negotiation with an employer, where the reward was freedom from his attachments. But why had it taken him so long to find one?And of a higher concern, one that Tomana’s interest couldn’t ignore was the Dark Hunter in the story, the one that had been assigned to kill him.Excavate was a member of a council group for years, living a peaceful life … How had he been able to overcome an assassin, and be good enough to consider being hired? “How about you? Do you mind telling me your story, before you joined the Order?”The Toa snapped back to the moment, realizing his thoughts had left them silent for long seconds. He thought it’d be difficult to tell his own tale. But even as the first few words came to mind, it all poured out like a waterfall.“I became a Toa, life before that wasn’t much besides working as a scholar and detective. I was chosen as a Toa, and eventually joined a team led by a Toa of Fire named Kareth. We settled around an isolated village rich in resources, defending it against Rahi, a few Skakdi attacks, and even some Dark Hunters.” Tomana drug out his black sword, “This is modeled on the blade the team gave me after I was with them for a century. By that time we defended four villages, five of us had Kaulsi for a little while and we would stay in towers overlooking the area. Any signs of trouble, zip, and we’re there to deal with it.”“That’s an interesting system,” Excavate commented.“Olmaks would have been easier, but they’re kinda hard to come by.“Anyway, somewhere along the way, Kareth and most of the others got the idea to actively rule the area. They sent our second Fire Toa, Pylek, and I on brief diplomatic trips and, while we were gone, conquered the four villages and the surrounding jungle. I came back at the same time as Pylek, and we ended up on opposite sides fighting a central group of our seven comrades,” Tomana kept his voice academic, as if he were quoting an old historical document word for word.Excavate’s eyes narrowed at the Toa, his attention fully alert.“I had to flee. I was almost killed by Kareth. But Pylek saved me, and I was able to escape, albeit with a wounded leg courtesy of my former leader.”“Where,” Excavate paused, considering how to ask his question. “Where could you go then?”Tomana grimaced, “The desert.”“And you stumbled upon the Order, by chance then.”“I wish. I came across a group of Rahkshi first. A huge group. They nearly killed me, and I would have died if I hadn’t used their armor to rebuild myself. My luck, they were all Vorahk. The Order found me as I was hunting down a group of Kurahk several months later. No one trusted the black Ice Toa with Rahkshi head armor for shoulders - oddly enough they were the only part usable for that - so I was going to replace my black with white, as no one would help me by making new armor and metal parts for me.“The Order was impressed, and found my Insight to be a unique and valuable power. So I became a Servant, and had them streamline my black armor. If I was to be working for a shadow organization I might as well look the part.”“A power... what do you mean by that? Insight?” Excavate sat upward again, “You’ve used that term many times before.”“My little... edge on the world. I sense things, see things. Remember the boat we took to the Abyss Isla? Well, I chose it for one reason. I couldn’t sense anything from you. So I chose a craft that would give me visions of things that had happened on it in the past. A blood stain would bring a vision of the battle it got there in. A well worn part of the deck, the old captain who got stuck in calm winds more than he ever wanted to.”“It’s a high telepathic ability...” the Dark Hunter spoke, half to himself.“In Sol, I used it to track the Skakdi by following his ‘prints’, his psychic imprint. Think Mask of Psychometry here. Then add on the Mask of Clairvoyance, and turn both on permanently. In every fight, as I walk across the hall-”“The future … can you see it? Always. Even if it-” Excavate stopped. “You can see the past, from two different view points, I mean. Let’s say someone experienced something. And then, someone else experienced it in another way. Could you see both?”Tomana blinked, and stored the oddness away for another time. “The future, yes, but not like you think. The past I see pretty much all the time in my peripheral vision, but when a fight starts I can see things a second ahead, the closer I get to death, so it seems, the further I can see. It’s kept me alive and intrigued and confused since I was a Matoran. I can sense the memory of two people’s view of an event... is that what you mean?” And at that moment, the Toa took a shot. “Do you see this sort of thing too?” Tomana kept his excitement down.He took another long moment for himself, and for the first time, Tomana could sense Excavate’s lie, and the truth it spoke at the same time.“No.” It was quietly spoken. “I don’t see things like that. But I think everyone likes to relive their past, that’s all I mean.”Tomana stored the lie away later. Excavate didn’t see visions like he did. No. But he saw something to do with the past. More investigation of esoteric powers would prove useful, he thought. “Personally I’ll skip reliving the fight with the Rahkshi and with Kareth. I did see the future then. Some of what I saw has happened, other parts haven’t.”Excavate laughed at that. “True. Somethings are best left alone. I’ll be honest, Tomana. It may seem odd, but I don’t regret anything.” He kept a steady stare. “Being a Dark Hunter. I chose it, and I lived it. I don’t think I deserved any sort of destiny … it was just a decision. And I live with it, regardless of the past, you know?”Tomana felt like he did know. But what exactly did his friend mean?Before he could get an answer, Excavate continued.“We should get some sleep. Tomorrow we meet our ‘Lord’.”It was a sudden turn of conversation, but the Toa knew his companion wanted to end things there. In reply, Tomana nodded. “Thanks for answering my questions, Excavate.”“...sure.”Silence filled the air once more, the night winds not cool enough to bring the high temperatures down. But Tomana felt comfortable in the cave.“Tomana?”He opened his eyes, and looked up once more.“Did you ever find out what happened to Pylek? Did he make it out alive?”He wasn’t sure, he had never found out.“No. We were separated, and I never saw him again. I was told by the Order that all of my team was killed, but Pylek was never found. I tried to search with Insight, but all trace of him ended at the battlefield. All I know is that he stuck to his duty. Insight doesn’t lie, he never joined them, I’m sure of it. And that’s enough.” Tomana kept to himself that he did care highly about what happened to Pyrek after the battle, but “duty” was a good epitaph and he left Pyrek’s memory alone as much as he could.Excavate didn’t reply, but the Toa felt like his companion had understood what was left unsaid. He should have anyway...

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Apr 21 2012 - 12:02 AM.

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#14 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Apr 25 2012 - 03:26 PM

Confident Liar

The outskirts of the desert began to take its toll on the two, so it was fortunate their journey was coming to an end.Blistering sun set high to their left, Tomana and Excavate made their way under the shade of the near cliffside. Having traveled down into the trench of the desertic mountain terrain, the direct glare had been cut off. But the heat, a constant pulse of energy that surrounded them, was still unbearable. Their surroundings moved in waves around them.Tomana had stopped using his ice powers long ago, in fear of depleting his energies. Excavate’s cloak no longer helped at all.Surrounding a base in this region of the desert was a smart idea. Excavate noted the tall hills and structure of the trench, the caves that littered throughout the cliffsides. These Skakdi knew every corner, he was sure. It was difficult to reach for most species, but normal weather conditions for them. Preparing their armies was probably no trouble. How much supplies and storage room they had on these large mountains, perhaps even in underground bases below, was anyone’s guess.Tomana continued to walk ahead of him, when suddenly he turned his attention to the left, just a slight movement but noticeable.“We’re being watched,” the Toa of Ice noted. He didn’t stop walking.Excavate nodded. He had assumed they were, since they had made it this close to their base. But getting a confirmation from Tomana was a sure sign; he probably picked up something with his abilities.“What do you think?”This one caught him off guard. He wasn’t really the one to be asked about what to do next. Usually he would offer his suggestions, and highly suggest they followed it. But he wasn’t ever asked.It made sense though, he was the trained Dark Hunter, so Tomana would be logically following his example. But then again, it could have a lot to do with that conversation they had the night before.“I say we get out of this sun.”The Toa of Ice stopped, wondering what he meant by that and turned to see the Dark Hunter removing his blade from under his cloak. Looking upward, Excavate dropped his only weapon into the sand, the blade standing upright.Tomana reached down, and lowered his weapon to the ground as well. He hesitated as he reached for his Volitak.“Mask too?”“I’d say yes, but since they are watching us, I doubt you’ll be able to escape with it if you wanted. They should know that.”“Good point,” he replied and kept his mask on.They both raised their arms up, steadily watching the sides of the trench. Excavate wanted to cut time, no point in them being ambushed for walking too far into their territory. Might as well get it over with.And the Skakdi in brown appeared before them, out of nowhere it seemed. He had been completely camouflaged into the rock bed. With that sickly grin they both knew so well, the Skakdi approached them.“You’ve made it this far, and so your audience with the Lord is acceptable,” his voice was like metal grinding against metal. And then it grew darker.“That is, if he accepts you. Now, move.”The two walked ahead with the large Skakdi close behind. Their weapons were left in the sand. Around them, without warning, Skakdi made themselves known from all the corners of the trench, varying in color, some with weapons aimed. Two ran by them, sent to retrieve their weapons, Excavate was sure. One near Skakdi snapped his teeth as he took a step forward, hoping to get some fear out of the prisoners. Excavate and Tomana hadn’t reacted, but all the creatures grinned regardless.It was their way of giving a warm welcome to the new prey.***Down the corridors of the stone hallways, the Dark Hunter and Toa were led in silence to the main room. Entering the cave systems, the heated atmosphere cooled almost instantly and the sandy winds were blocked. They had been led through stairways, hallways, opening assembly rooms and much more. The Mountain was a fortress and the Skakdi society was, surprisingly, sophisticated.Armories, hidden watch towers, conference rooms… and these were places they had simply been led past.The entire fortress was carved from its stone, but it held a décor to it that was impressive. Smooth floor ways and an organization to its layout that seemed contradictory to the Skakdi’s nature.Excavate scanned the Skakdi ahead, guards for a throne room. They seemed powerful and held their heads high with focus. But behind those eyes and dark grins, he noted a sense of fear from them.It was a fear of their lord.The doors to the chamber opened, and the two walked inside. The room was lit well, very large and circular, all made out of a stone that seemed ancient in a dark brown color and with sand littered lightly across the floor. As they made their way into the room, led by their two captors, Excavate glanced upward and found the source of the chamber’s light.The height of the throne room was stories high, reaching all the way through the mountain’s layer. The ceiling was made of colorless glass, circular like a compass and mosaic in form. The sun’s light shined into the room, but only at an angle and against the walls high above, as it was later in the afternoon. The room was instead lit with candles.“Welcome, it’s a pleasure to meet you both.”Before them was a Skakdi, one of a dark and venom like green skin, sitting upon a large chair. The two prisoners hesitated at his appearance, more gruesome than any Skakdi either had ever seen. His body looked strong and built well, but at the same time the armor was chipped away and scrapped, large patches which revealed exposed flesh. Despite his appearance, his Matoran dialect was excellent and without any default. He had an aura, one that felt like intimidation, a demand for respect and a … a refinement to his way of dealing with things.“You both must be tired from your journey here, and I thank you for arriving at the time that you have. After our negotiations, you may rest easily and stay until the mission we have assigned for you is complete,” the Lord said easily, meeting their eyes. “Also, I want to thank you for retrieving that escapee in the City of Sol. He has been a bother to us all and is being taken care of as we speak.”Excavate caught what he was feeling about Rekken. Pure confidence. He had already made it up in his mind that they would agree to his propositions.Then again, is it confidence, or arrogance? The Dark Hunter wondered. After all, the Skakdi wanted to kill a Makuta.Tomana stepped forward, about to respond to the Lord. They had agreed that despite Excavate’s past experience as a Dark Hunter, Tomana’s easy going charisma would provide better results.“A Toa of Ice. Very different from what I was expecting, but once I had received word of your kind as one of the two Dark Hunters, I was able to fit you into our plans. It almost seems as though destiny is at hand here.”“Thank you, well I’m glad to be able to assist in this operation ... for the right price of course.”“As you should be, young Toa, for the pay is well worth it,” Rekken grinned even deeper, if that was possible. With a mused look he turned to Excavate and studied his form.“And, the Dark Hunter, Excavate.”He leaned forward, arms resting on the knees and hands clasped together.“I honestly was surprised to find that you are looking for word. Your reputation is a good one, but many have presumed you to be dead. Two years absence I’m sure hasn’t gone well with your boss,” the Skakdi paused and raised his eyes. “Unless of course, I’m not speaking with Excavate, but instead a very good look alike or an admirer that wants to take his place.”He gave a shrewd look, but one that had an easy feeling to it.“Though, if you fight as well as the original, who cares?”Excavate only smiled in response.The Lord laughed.“Regardless of where you have been, taking a vacation, helping local Matoran in need, it matters not. Instead the task at hand is the one we’re all here for,” he looked back at Tomana. “So, let’s get down to business.“As you both know, the Makuta of the Storms, as she titles herself, has been advancing throughout the Northern Continent with her armies, leading a conquest for years now. I of course oppose to such malicious behavior. There can be only one ruler of a land after all.” The Skakdi lord smiled, this time much darker than they had seen. It reminded Tomana that they were dealing with someone who was, well for a lack of a better word, evil. A considerate host, he may have been, but still a corrupt one.“We’ve been at war for years, but now is the time when the victor of the next battle, truly takes the crown. In a few short weeks, our spies have determined she will strike our land, holding nothing back. I have confidence in my people of course, but I want a trump card. Something I know that will defeat her, when we counter strike at her own land.”It was in that last few sentences that Excavate picked up the hint of honesty and worry. The Skakdi King knew he couldn’t beat her with his own power.“My army will break in two, one to defend our land, one to attack hers. But I want power, energy to be more specific. To gain this, I’ll need a treasure that only a Dark Hunter can reach.“Only a short way from here, to the north, is the city known as The Coral, your mission is to infiltrate this city, and destroy the shields that protect it. The city itself produces its income through mining, and what it mines, is an organic rock, which produces energy, like a light or heatstone. But it grows, cared for as though you were gardening a plant. With that kind of resource in my grasp, I can replenish my army’s food, weaponry and moral a hundred times over. Even a Makuta won’t be able to stop me.”Tomana responded, “Why is it that you need a Dark Hunter to take over the city, and how do you expect us to do so?”“The city is protected by a shielding system, which draws energy from the coal they produce. It is impenetrable and covers the entire city by air and even reaches under the ground. We can’t enter it, even by teleportation or molecular dispersal. And even if we had a way to do so, contracts and trade routes provide complete protection by neighboring countries. In exchange for constant resources, if anything ever happens to the city, all those not responsible are under legal writings to provide assistance.”“So if you take over the city, you’ll be bombarded by the inhabitants and all their allies,” Tomana summed up.“Exactly. Now, we too, are allies with this city. The loop hole is, that if an external force enters and threatens the city, one that has no ties to their resources and trade, then none of their allies are obligated to provide assistance.”“Why was conditions setup that way?”“The reasons were that greed among Skakdi nations are common. Betrayal was imminent among us, so this city decided to strike agreements with us alone. We all get a piece of the treasure, and none of us the whole thing. We are the rulers of this land, so the Matoran who inhabit the city would have found no reason to think that an outside force would threaten them.”“Won’t these Matoran be suspicious of your nation once you offer your protection, and I’m assuming soon after, domination, right after their assault?”Lord Rekken grinned a little larger. “Of course. They’ll know we set the Dark Hunters on the city immediately after we offer ourselves. But what choice will they have? It will be free game once the shields are down. Any nation can overcome them in a moment, and that shield is the only armor they wore. They’ll be forced to agree to an alliance, fearing that they may be attacked by the Makuta armies themselves. Once they do, that will keep the contracts with the other nations bind. As long as we provide their resources, for only a short while until we gain complete control, they won’t be able to harm us.”Tomana glanced at Excavate. They were both thinking the same thing. With this much of a power increase in Lord Rekken’s nation, their armies might just stand a chance. And with this Makuta’s power and mind occupied, it would be the perfect time to plan their strike against her. However … the Coral was filled with Matoran. And Excavate knew Tomana would be against any harm to his fellow beings. Not only that, but once Rekken took control, there was no telling whether he would be gracious to the Matoran living there, or reign as the Skakdi Tyrant his people looked to him as.However … Helryx commanded them to take any assignment the Lord offered them, as long as it benefited the mission and this one clearly did. Even if it meant lives were lost in the city, that wouldn’t concern the Order.Because it was always for the greater good.“How do you propose we enter the city? If it’s protected, how can we destroy it?”“You, Toa, will be the leader of a travelling village. We have Matoran ready for you to lead across the desert, where you’ll come upon the city, looking for supplies. The leaders and protectors of Coral are three Toa, who are more than generous to provide help. They should let you into the city, where this one,” he gestured to Excavate, “can strike. We’ll provide the details later. But now for my questions in this interview.”Tomana didn’t waver. This was when he would have to do most of the talking.“We’ll need to change your armor color, from that black to a whiter look. I hope there are no complaints, but you’ll need to look less intimidating and more like an old war hero.”Tomana laughed aloud, “It won’t be a problem, Lord.”“I had no idea that Excavate had a partner. When did you decide to travel together and can you handle your own in this organization Toa?”Giving a darker glare, Tomana gave out the best of his acting that he could. He wasn’t pretending, he was a Dark Hunter.“I’ve known Excavate for a long while, and ever since he approached me within the past couple years we’ve handled a few missions together. But that’s no concern for this mission. As to whether I can handle myself… approach me if you’d like to find out.”Silence.A shrewd look from the Skakdi Lord, who watched the Toa of Ice with easy eyes, that glinted in wonder at him. His teeth disappeared, but he kept a smile on his face. Then he chuckled, which turned into a large roar of laughter.“Truly impressive my friend, I would fight you, but me being a little out of shape and tired over ruling my country, I am sorry to say I’d have to pass.” He gave a look, “If I weren’t saving my power for the Makuta, and if I were a little younger… I’d eat you.”Both Toa and Skakdi grinned. Excavate was slightly amused at the banter, but remained silently watching them both. With a cough as his laughter died down, the Skakdi spoke up.“Only one last question for you both,” he exclaimed. “Do you believe your friend here can kill three Toa? I’ve heard much of your skill Excavate and the fact that these are three veterans, doesn’t concern me. Instead, what I’m asking,” the Skakdi Lord continued slowly, and Excavate suddenly frowned. Something wasn’t right with this approach.“Is, do you have any objections to killing them, Toa of Ice?”The Order of Mata Nui Member was honestly surprised at the question, but he outwardly tried not to show it. Somehow, in all the discussing, the King had seen right through him, or at least something in him. And it was true, he was going to have trouble killing Toa.But he couldn’t be merciful … he wasn’t just a Toa of Ice, Detective and Order of Mata Nui Representative any more. He had a role to play, and in this role, killing was all a part of the job. It was his life.“Of course,” Tomana lied.Lord Rekken smiled and leaned forward once more. He nodded an approval. His next words were much more causal and had that old hint of welcoming in it.“I’ll be providing you both with any weaponry you desire, and fifty thousand widgets for the completion of the mission. Also, you’ll be able to stay in my nation, at any time and in any place, for no cost with complete protection from outside enemies.”Surprisingly, that was much higher up the bar then what Excavate had set the standard for. It was within a payment range that any Dark Hunter would accept.“That will be adequate. And we thank you for your time. We’ll request our list of weapons, and would like our own back. We can leave at any time you need us to. We also have allies in other cities that may provide us some information… for our own research. You surely understand.”“As long as they don’t enter our mountain, you may speak with who you wish and contact any allies. And oh, there is no rush. Stay a few days and relax, my friends, to make preparations. You must be tired after all. And once all this is over, you’ll have what you want, and I’ll have that Makuta’s head, on my wall.”The Skakdi leaned upright, but suddenly stopped smiling. “Which, is where some of the skulls from former Dark Hunters I invited, now reside.”Excavate visibly faltered at that, and Tomana sensed a problem immediately through Insight. He instinctively put his hands to his missing hilt, his sword hand primed with Ice energy, and Excavate swiftly moved into a ready stance, weight on his back foot.“Guards, you may kill them now,” the Lord commanded, just as that smile returned in full.

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Apr 25 2012 - 10:16 PM.

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#15 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted May 09 2012 - 09:49 AM

These Days

____20,000 Years Ago____“It’s time to go, Inira.”The words rung in her mind, as she stared out the window of the highest floor in their large watchtower. She was hesitating, just as Gonrith knew she would. You couldn’t blame her. She had planned to leave hours ago, making sure comrades and such had agreed and had routes to escape the city.But, it was hard for her to just leave.This was her city, her home and her people.It was just, for right now, they wanted nothing to do with the Turaga of Psionics.“Turaga…” Gonrith said again, gently.“Only for now,” he could hear her whisper. “We’ll meet again.”And with that she turned toward her friend, fellow councilor, and for the moment, bodyguard. With a nod, they made their way to the door.From outside, far below to the city streets, fires and conflicts marched across the pavement like insects devouring their food.***He held her hand as they moved down the stairs. She was much older now, and her speed wasn’t like it used to be.‘I was a real warrior back in the old days and we never needed any of that security and such. They cost too much to keep around too.’That playfully rebuking tone she would use on her friends, when she was referring to the “old days” and how the world wasn’t as it used to be, was on Gonrith’s mind. He smiled. Inira always acted like she didn’t need help, and any other time she wouldn’t accept him leading her down the stairs. It kept her muscles in shape, she would say.They had made it down flights of stairs in a short amount of time. There wasn’t much discussion, for there was nothing to discuss. They both knew they had to escape the city. Since the Makuta’s betrayal, and the uproar that followed, half the population was labeled as rebels. Of their group, the side Gonrith and Inira were on, some of them had decided to stay and fight while the others chose to flee.There was no hope in winning this war, Inira had argued. With their city now under the hand of rage and their people having disowned them, there was nothing left protecting anyway. The people had made their choice.Gonrith had honestly wished to stay. After all, on some level it had been the leaders’ fault for accepting the Makuta in the first place. That guilt was with him. If they hadn’t trusted them, as many had begged them to do, maybe they could have avoided all this.When Inira asked him however, specifically for her protection as she escaped, how could he refuse to help his friend?He felt a large shiver run across the floor and walls, which caused his mind to return to the present.“What was that?” he asked, dust and small pieces of the ceiling falling around them.“They’re attacking the watchtower…” Inira replied.“What? It’s a symbol of the Sol’s strength!”“This is a revolution, and we’re not a part of the change, Gonrith.”The metallic gray being, stared at her, realizing again how much she wanted him to let go of this place.“We have to get out then, this building won’t last another barrage like that…”They moved swiftly to the ground floor, few beings all rushing toward the exits. Some held weapons in their hands and made their way to the windows. The two in flight ignored it all.Gonrith stopped at the glass door, surprisingly left intact. He glanced outside it, searching for enemies and hostilities. To his far left, outside and to his shock, were stationed three Exo-Toa on the street. Their Electric Rockets armed and aimed toward the Tower.“Turaga, you’re going to need to climb on my back,” Gonrith said quietly, but urgently. They had only seconds…She climbed on top of him, and he inched as close to the door as he would allow, silently watching the Exo-Toa.The moment they fired, he ran outside with Inira on his back, charging into the streets to the nearest alleyway. He could see Vortixx to his right, but he had no time to wonder if they were friend or foe. He kept running until he made it on the tight path, moving swiftly through the shadows at a now much greater speed. Three distinctive explosions echoed throughout the city.“Gonrith…” Inira breathed, looking over her shoulder. “The Tower…”“I don’t want to see it,” he replied.He didn’t need to see it.***The gust of wind threw him to toward the ground, and Inira flew off his back, taking a major part of the blow. She hit the near wall they were running alongside with a sickening, thud. Gonrith reached out for his blade, looking upward to find a green Toa of Air staring them down.“No! Wait!”Another blast of wind caught his body, pounding him into ground and into the bricks that Inira had hit. His blade clanged as it slipped from his hand.“I’m sorry for this… But you traitors can’t be allowed to rule us anymore,” the Toa said. There was a hint of regret in his voice, Gonrith noted. But the Toa wasn’t hesitating.Traitors. Is that how far we’ve taken the madness of this place?“Toa Mukili…”“Gonrith.”Another blast of wind, and he had no defense for it. Turaga Inira hadn’t moved from the ground, unconscious now. In another moment he felt a trickling sensation on his lips. He tried to understand the odd feeling, by taking a breath, only to find there was no air.Gonrith reached for his throat, gasping loudly, but with no sound escaping as he realized the Toa was creating a vacuum. Mukili was staring at them both, his light green eyes glowing in an unmerciful stare.Struggling, Gonrith scurried for his blade, but lost focus as to where it had fallen to. He fell his attention on Inira, and to his horror he saw her heartlight dim with every moment.He couldn’t accept that it would end like this. Mata Nui this wasn’t fair.The world began to go dark, as the Toa stepped closer to him and losing feeling in his legs, Gonrith hit the ground. He wouldn’t stop till his last moment… There must be a way.Reaching outward, he found the hilt for his blade. Though not having the strength to stand, he gripped it … and let it go. His entire world seemed lost as he felt his consciousness drift away.‘Only for now … we’ll meet again.’His eyes reopened as his friend’s voice spoke clearly in his mind.***…A flash of white……A constant clanging sound……A fresh breeze…She blinked, and slept again.…Her eyes began to reopen as the wind rushed across her face. Dimly, she was aware they were moving at a fast speed, the sand grains biting her armor. Shifting in her seat, Inira glanced over to find Gonrith at the wheel of the transport unit. They were riding across the desert she realized. The world’s brightness started to fade away.Her memories returned.“Mukili…”Gonrith turned to look at her, a look of relief on his face. “I’m glad you’re awake,” he told her.She nodded and pushed herself back into the comfortable seat, feeling weak. She took in some air.“We escaped?”He nodded.Gathering a little strength, the old Turaga turned to look over her shoulder. In the far distance, she could see smoke rising over the horizon. They had been travelling for a long time, she realized.“It’s better that we’re far away,” Gonrith commented with the least amount of emotion he could. Inira wanted to feel numb too.“What happened back there?”No answer.“I mean with Mukili. How did you get around him?”There was a look of struggle on his face that she hadn’t expected to see.“I had to kill him.”Somehow, she had known that. What other option had there been?“I’m sorry, Gonrith…”He nodded, still refusing to look over at her. It was troubling him, and he was taking it hard. That Toa had been of the people they had all known. That Toa was someone who had shared their city with them.But she felt chilled by Gonrith’s expression of conflict. She couldn’t … read anything. No lingering thoughts of his, no explanation to how he felt about it. And … how had he killed the Toa? What advantage had he found?Those of course, were questions she couldn’t ask. She couldn’t remember even the beginning of the ambush.But as the wind rushed by, and as she tried to push her troubled thoughts to the back of her mind, not easily done for a being of Psionics, she could have sworn she heard her friend whisper some words.“I killed him.”And to her, it sounded less like a fact, and more like a question.***“It’s hard to say goodbye to you.”He smiled at her, as they stood at a transport station of a large city, miles north of Sol. They had been through a lot together in the last few days. He had gotten to know the old Turaga, and had come to appreciate and respect what she was to a greater degree. They weren’t just companions any more or members of the same group.They were friends.But they couldn’t remain this way. With people searching for them, and the continent itself on the verge of change, they needed to separate for a short time. People would be searching for a Turaga and her security.“It won’t be long, and we’ll meet back in Sol, years from now. I’ll be alive when that happens, make sure you don’t get too old and kick the bucket now,” Inira joked with that smile on her face.He smiled.“I have some places I’d like to visit… I’ll find a nice home somewhere. A lot of places like taking Turaga in.” She paused, with a look of concern. For a moment he thought she’d change her mind and ask for him to stay. “Where will … will you go?”“I’m not sure yet,” he said in his deeper voice, wondering where he could run to now. Who did he know, where could he go?Those were thoughts and anxieties he wouldn’t reveal to her. Not at this last moment together, and he could tell she was doing the same for him.“Gonrith, do me a favor,” Inira requested of him, stepping closer. She pointed to his chest. “No matter what choices you end up making, and no matter what you have to do. Don’t change. You should never change, unlike a lot beings in this universe, you don’t have to. You know who you are. And don’t be afraid. Never be afraid to stand up for being who you are.“I’ll even make that promise with you.”Placing a hand on her shoulder, he nodded, feeling somewhat proud of her words. They both exchanged the moment, knowing it would end soon. They made their vows right there to not become something they didn’t want to be, no matter what.It was a promise both intended to keep.***____2 Months after the Abyss Isla Mission____Excavate walked out of his room as the door slid shut behind him. Marow had left only ten minutes ago. The Dark Hunter had seen her off after their conversation and he needed to take a moment for himself.Taking his steps down the hallways, he almost paused at a fork in the path. To the left and down the hall was Tomana’s chamber and the sparring room. The over-inspecting Toa of Ice was surely studying about some kind of article on the Isla of Abyss, or looking over the plans of their next mission.And Excavate could safely say he was dreading it. Another day with these people… They were almost exactly like the Dark Hunters except they wore a mask.However.In all the talking he and the Ga-Matoran had gone through … he had made a small promise, a promise to try. He had to live here, and until he left he’d make the best of it.And he’d do it, his way.Walking down the left path, Excavate followed his gut and entered into the sparring arena first. And there he was, the detective looking over some plans. What it was about this room that he found an interesting study hall, the Dark Hunter wasn’t sure.“Toa.”Tomana glanced upward, and nodded before looking down at his file again.“Tomana!”This time he looked upward, an irritated look on his face.“Excavate,” he replied.“I want to fight you.”“Fine,” the Toa replied after hesitating for only a second. “We can spar right now if you’d like. I’ll grab the equipment.” Tomana placed down his file and stood up from his seat, moving toward the cabinet with the wooden swords.“No. I want to fight.”The Toa turned, and regarded him.“Blades and any style, any ability you want to use. I can even kill you if I want to.”“No way,” he returned, giving a stare that could melt the ice he created. The Toa ordered, “Head back to your room.”“If I can’t beat you, Toa, then why should I accompany you on these missions at all? Why not send someone else, instead of a prisoner?”Tomana didn’t say anything, because he had been reasoning the same way only days before. The Dark Hunter was acting far from his usual self. Excavate pulled out his blade, one he was carrying on his back. The other on his waist he left alone. The Dark Hunter raised the blade’s edge in line with the Toa’s throat.“You have no choice, and I won’t let you call in anyone.”Toa Tomana silently pulled his own weapon out, which he left on hand. He nodded.“Alright then Excavate. I’m not holding back. Maybe a beating is what you deserve, because I’m tired of how you treat us,” he spat, eyes narrowed at the level of disrespect this Dark Hunter showed.In an instant, a blur, Excavate charged with a sharpness even Tomana hadn’t fully seen coming. His armed width blade cut horizontally to the Toa’s right. Raising his black steel blade, Tomana absorbed the blow and then pushed both of them back with his strength.The two were feet from each other. The Toa of Ice’s right arm shook at the shock of the attack. Narrowing his eyes once more, Tomana took him in. Excavate was a fierce fighter, and one that wasn’t afraid to take the offensive. He had powerful strength and agility from his species, and a Dark Hunter’s skill. Wearing him down wouldn’t be easy, the Toa knew. However, all he had to do was find one open spot, and strike it.Again Excavate moved forward thrusting his blade toward Tomana’s right shoulder. With no way to block the sudden attack, Tomana spun to his left and cut at Excavate’s side. The Dark Hunter had brought up a hidden knife in his left hand and caught the blade inches from his own body with it. The two regarded each other before breaking away once more.Excavate raised his bladed hand upward, catching Tomana’s attention. An alarm of Insight screamed into his mind, and he instinctively pulled to the side as Excavate threw the knife which grazed his shoulder armor, leaving a cut.He’s incredibly fast. He tries to distract you with the simple things before he launches from a different angle. The Toa’s mind reeled in the information.“You don’t have bad reflexes. Not too many dodge that knife throw,” the Dark Hunter commented as he ran forward.“Just lucky I guess,” Tomana replied with a smile as he held his blade out before him.In the next moment Excavate leaped high over the Toa, flipping in mid air. Tomana raised his blade to deflect against the bolt energy he fired, orange colored electricity bouncing around them. Landing yards away, the Dark Hunter spun around with his left hand outstretched.Tomana foresaw the next move, spinning to his right while materializing a shield of ice on his left forearm. He raised the frozen crystal armor outward to meet Excavate’s blast. The beam shattered the ice shield to pieces and Tomana stumbled backward. Quickly regaining his footing as the mist and smoke cleared, Excavate moved forward. Their blades clashed once more.Without waiting for the Dark Hunter to pull another maneuver, Tomana channeled his elemental power through his sword, instantly freezing Excavate’s weapon and right arm in a solid block of ice.Eyes widening in surprise, the Dark Hunter moved back and brought out another knife in his good hand, slashing it blade downward into the hold. The ice cracked as his arm broke free. Finding his opponent before him, Tomana outstretched his own left hand. A beam of blue energy unleashed from his palm and finger tips.Dropping his knife, Excavate fired a blast of energy at the ice beam, equally depleting them both. Now moving back on the defensive, Tomana appeared in front of him thrusting forward. Excavate’s eyes grew wide as he desperately dropped his blade right as Tomana slashed at empty air. Angrily, he quickly latched onto his opponent’s wrist and with his left hand grabbed the back side of the Toa, twisting and swinging him over his shoulder.Tomana felt a vision run through his head. It was Excavate’s mind as they made contact. Something had finally slipped and he could see it, clear as day.The Ga-Matoran stood over him as he lay on cold ground, leaves crumbling against his fallen form and branches like thorns in his side. She was unmercifully pointing her crossbow at him and he watched as her companions appeared from the mist.He was about to die.And it was because of what he had turned into.She took aim…With a loud thump and a blur of light bringing his mind to the present, the Toa crashed onto his back. Excavate swiftly picked up the knife he had dropped with his left and swung it over Tomana, an inch from his neck. The Toa was pinned.Breathing heavily, they both stopped.On his knee and one foot, the Dark Hunter eyed the Toa, knowing the contest was over.Taking in a long breath, Excavate’s air caught at a sudden sight. Somehow in all the confusion, Tomana had reached out, his left palm pressed against the Dark Hunter’s leg. He could feel the coldness of the Toa’s hand beginning to creep into his thigh.“You… why didn’t…” the Dark Hunter looked over their positioning once more. The Toa’s reflexes were very good.“Why didn’t you freeze me?” he finished.Tomana stared up at him, a frown on his face, but not one of anger. Worry.“It wouldn’t have mattered. You could have finished me before I could have stopped you.”“You didn’t try.”“I … wasn’t afraid of you.”Tomana slowly lowered his left hand back to his side, and Excavate moved upward, standing to his full height. Tomana continued to lie on his back, taking in some more air.“I’m going to feel that in that morning…” the Toa said, trying to sound to make the tension lighter. He laughed a little but winced at his muscle pain.“Why weren’t you afraid? I said I’d kill you.”“Yeah, but you didn’t… And, during that battle, I realized something,” Tomana said, slowly, choosing his words so he could maybe, just maybe gain an ally instead of just a partner. “We’re a lot alike. We have the same fears, sometimes. But we can also trust others, which in our line of work, is a rare thing.”Like how you trust Marow, though she at some point, almost killed you. Or… he thought chillingly. Was what I saw something from his past, or his future?Excavate hesitated, still thinking over the Toa’s words.“I made a promise, a long time ago. It was before I became a Dark Hunter, even. I told a friend of mine that I wouldn’t change. I have no problems putting my trust in someone. I never did before.”Tomana nodded, somewhat understanding.“I’m not asking you to like me. You just have to tolerate me, while we work toward getting you out of here,” Tomana watched him for a long moment, before smiling. “And who knows, you may learn to like our Order.” youThe Dark Hunter didn’t respond as such, instead reaching out his hand to pull the detective back up.“That’s a nice trick, knife throwing. Mind giving me some pointers on it sometime?” the Toa asked, giving him a spirited look, reaching up to take his palm in return.____Present Day____Excavate fired an energy bolt at the red Skakdi’s right hand, causing him to drop his Lava Launcher. At his side, Tomana’s right hand instantly materialized a blade of ice, and sliced at his own enemy. Directing his sword forward, the Toa unleashed a directed blizzard, slamming the frozen guard into the wall.The red Skakdi eyes started to glow dangerously as he took a sharp glare at the Toa, an odd effect overcoming him. Tomana suddenly felt slow and his body moved as though time itself was warped. The dust at his feet moved to a standstill.Skidding to the floor, metal clashing against stone, Excavate grabbed the Lava Launcher and aimed it at the Skakdi. The guard turned in surprise.Pulling the trigger, the Skakdi kept his face filled with confusion as he fell back, a hole in his chest.Instantly the time effects wore off, and Tomana regained his awareness. Looking around, his eyes fell to the dead guard before him, then to Excavate.He looked like he was going to speak, before they heard laughter.“Very, very well done,” the King exclaimed. “I’m impressed, if you can both defeat a couple Skakdi, you should have no trouble with Toa.”They both didn’t answer at first, but Tomana was the first to find his voice.“I’m glad we were able to display our abilities,” and that you have no quarrels with us killing your guard.“The negotiations are complete, my guests. My guards will escort you to your rooms. Enjoy your time here.” The Skakdi waved his hand, a signal that the meeting was over. Two new guards entered the room, ignoring their fallen allies.Tomana made eye contact with Excavate as they walked out, and his face said everything. There was disappointment.Walking through some hallways, Tomana was led to his chamber and silently shut the door. Excavate continued to walk ahead, the two guards right behind him, their grins showing and their spines’ bent.

My hand to God

I didn’t mean to

He entered his own room, the newest unfamiliar bed awaiting him. With a soft shut the door closed, leaving him alone.

After all, of what we’ve been through

Moving slowly, he removed his cloak, and threw it to the nearest chair. The room was small, and had no windows. The floor was sandy and like the ceiling and walls were made of stone. The lighting was accommodated by lightstones.It was comfortable, but as usual, bland.

Men come in different shades

It’s how we’re made

How many places had he stayed in over the course of the last few years? From Destral, to Daxia and everywhere in between, he would have thought sleeping in prisons would have accustomed him to any conditions by now.But in particular, he thought of one old room that he used to have long ago. Nothing could feel like home compared to that one.

That little house on Ellis drive

It’s where I felt most alive

The oak tree covered that old fort

Having that distinct memory of it for so long now; it wasn’t as though he longed for it, but lately, the more time he spent with the Order, the more he thought about it.

I miss it, Lord

I miss it, Lord

All the places in Sol he had seen, how long had it been since he had been in that city and smelled that air? Too long. And now trapped in the chambers of a Skakdi Fortress waiting for the execution of another city, he thought of exactly where this was all leading him. His life had been about journeying from place to place for so long now, and he wondered suddenly, if this life had much meaning for him.Matoran often said Mata Nui had a plan for everyone, a destiny. He didn’t know if he believed in that. It’s not that he didn’t want to, but he truly never pondered about it before.

These blood red eyes

Don’t see so good

But what’s worse is if they could

Would I change my ways?

Then again, the Great Spirit had been asleep for over nine hundred years now.Was that your plan, Mata Nui? Did you want to fall into the abyss, and let us run things ourselves for a while? Well, we’re doing a horrible job of it.Maybe some were taking hold of their destiny, but Excavate knew he wasn’t. For him, every day was a new command by the powers that be.

Wasted times

Shaking his head, he fell onto his bed, and lay, looking up toward the ceiling.

Broken dreams

He needed to sleep. There was no sense wasting his time about what had happened, he needed to stay focused on what was about to happen.

Violent colors so obscene

Is all I see these days...

Shutting his eyes, and forgetting about what was on his mind, like on most nights, he tried to fall asleep.

These days.

Watch what you say

The Devil is listening

He’s got ears that you wouldn’t believe

And brother once you go to him

It’s your soul you can never, never, never retrieve

These blood red eyes

Don’t see so good

But what’s worse is if they could

Would I change my ways?

Wasted time

Broken dreams

Violent colors so obscene

Is all I see these days

These days...

_______

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These Days was written by The Black Keys and we own none of it.


Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, May 11 2012 - 01:36 PM.

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#16 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted May 18 2012 - 04:59 PM

[background=transparent]Part 4: Infiltrator[/font]

[background=transparent]Just Business[/font]

[background=transparent]“Botar.”[/font][background=transparent]The adept teleporter of the Order flashed in and out of existence, taking the tablet in Tomana’s outstretched hand with him.[/font][background=transparent]Operation Report: We have made contact with the Skakdi Lord Rekkan and are proceeding forward with his plan. I will pose as a caravan trader on his way north, stopping by the Coral to deliver and pick up supplies. In return for a supply purchase I will give the Coral City Council an old transport used in defending the Coral before the shields were in place.[/font][background=transparent]Tomana reentered the mountain complex, tugged at the white armor plates the Skakdi had given him to wear in place of his black. They didn’t fit right, and he was quite used to the quality, tailor made, [/font][background=transparent]black[/font][background=transparent] armor the Order had made for him. He was actually quite disturbed to not have the subtle, Rahkshi head shape to his shoulder armor. He didn’t feel quite complete.[/font][background=transparent]Once I leave, and night has fallen, Excavate will exit a compartment on the transport and proceed to destroy the generators, escaping the city before being caught by the team of Toa stationed. Once the shields are down, Rekkan will offer his protection to the city. They will be forced to accept in order to protect themselves.[/font][background=transparent]Not that having his own armor on would be any better, it would put off the people of the Coral he would have to talk to. He might be comfortable, but sometimes it was hard to convince people he was a Toa.[/font][background=transparent]I formally request that the people of the Coral be given aid by the Order in relocation to another part of the continent before the Skakdi army moves in, and that Excavate be given a strict no-kill order.[/font][background=transparent]- Tomana, Ice Toa, Agent of the Order of Mata Nui[/font][background=transparent]It would take Helryx about an hour to get to his message, knowing how high her desk was probably stacked, and half an hour to answer his message after talking to some of her more trusted advisors. Tomana had already found out a path that would take him an hour and a half to traverse, ending up back where he started. He needed to move, run, jump, swing, crawl, anything to get used to this alien armor. He hadn’t bothered to ask where the Skakdi had gotten armor for a Toa of Ice.[/font][background=transparent]“Zoraxa.” Excavate walked up to him and using the alias the had agreed on for the Toa of Ice. Tomana paused in his round to let him catch up, and continued walking.[/font][background=transparent]“How’s the report coming?”[/font][background=transparent]“We’ll know soon enough,” the Toa replied, not quite turning to look at him.[/font][background=transparent]The sandy pavements of the fortress shuffled their steps with noise. Two Skakdi walked by the two agents without glancing their way. Once they were out of earshot, Excavate continued.[/font][background=transparent]“Feeling comfortable?”[/font][background=transparent]“About being here? Sure,” Tomana replied. “All we have to do is watch out for creatures that want to eat us. All in a days work.”[/font][background=transparent]“I mean about the mission.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana didn’t hesitate with a response, sarcasm ringing. “Oh I’m fine. I just have to go kill my brothers out there.”[/font][background=transparent]Silence between the two of them, and Tomana knew the Dark Hunter must have been wondering where they were going. The Detective was just passing time really, waiting for a response.[/font][background=transparent]“And how about you?” the Toa asked.[/font][background=transparent]“I’m fine.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana was silent. Excavate sighed and jumped right to the point.[/font][background=transparent]“You don’t think it was necessary? If I hadn’t killed that guard, Rekken would have never believed we could pull off the mission. And you might have been dead.”[/font][background=transparent]“I [/font][background=transparent]might[/font][background=transparent] have been. And [/font][background=transparent]maybe [/font][background=transparent]Rekken wouldn’t have believed us,” Tomana responded, stressing the right points. “You could have come up with another way though, and that guard hadn’t even begun to stop me.”[/font][background=transparent]“Why do you care, it was an enemy, a Skakdi. And let’s be honest, killing is our job.”[/font][background=transparent]“It’s not mine,” he replied softly.[/font][background=transparent]Silence.[/font][background=transparent]“Those Toa are going to fight with [/font][background=transparent]their[/font][background=transparent] lives, Zoraxa. You can’t avoid that. You’re more than just a being of principles; you have a job to do. And you [/font][background=transparent]knew[/font][background=transparent] that would be a part of it,” he leaned in. “What’s going on? Why are you bringing this in all of a sudden?”[/font][background=transparent]“I just don’t feel right about giving an entire city to the enemy, that’s all. And as to my job: I always get it done. This mission will be no different.”[/font][background=transparent]“No. It’s more than that,” Excavate grabbed Tomana’s shoulder a little too firmly and the other shrugged it off with a glare. “There’s more,” the Dark Hunter said again.[/font][background=transparent]“I’m a Toa. That’s it, nothing new brought in, nothing less. Satisfied?” Tomana did not want to get into an argument now. It was neither the place nor the time.[/font][background=transparent]Excavate took a step back, and slowly nodded. Tomana started to walk again and he followed.[/font][background=transparent]“What are you taking in, tomorrow?” Excavate asked. “Rekkan has given us full run of the armory.”[/font][background=transparent]“I’m going simple, sword – white of course, bleh – and one of the blasters that shoots light, what are those things called anyway?”[/font][background=transparent]“Not sure, but I’m surprised someone hasn’t named it after a random Matoran yet. I’m going in heavy. My requested blades from the Order, knives. And from here, a Cordak Blaster and a Plasma Cannon.”[/font][background=transparent]“Expecting a war?” [/font][background=transparent]“The Coral’s generators are said to be as tough as an electric Rahkshi.” Excavate smiled. “I’ll need something to get through that.”[/font][background=transparent]They walked in silence until Tomana’s feet brought him back to the same spot outside the fortress. The gusting sand covered his tracks and tinkled against his armor as Botar again flitted in and out of sight, right on cue as always, leaving behind a small tablet.[/font][background=transparent]Request denied. The mission is forefront. You are to use all necessary force to complete your assignment. Any resistance met is to be dealt with directly.[/font][background=transparent]- Helryx[/font]

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, May 18 2012 - 05:00 PM.

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Softly Call the Muster

Let Comrade Answer Here

-------

BS01 History Page --- The Sleeping World


#17 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted May 24 2012 - 08:47 PM

[background=transparent]The Toa of Principles[/font]

[background=transparent]Tomana opened his chamber’s door at the sound of knocking. It was early, very early, in the morning, and the last thing he wanted to see to his rising was the hideous face of a Skakdi. Marked in black armor and staring with its glowing yellow eyes, the creature spoke.[/font][background=transparent]“You requested we give word when your equipment arrived?”[/font][background=transparent]Immediately the Toa’s drowsiness left him, he blinked quickly and took his steps into the hallway, shutting the door behind him.[/font][background=transparent]“Yes, that’s right,” he responded. “When did it arrive and where?”[/font][background=transparent]“At the exact spot you told us it would. I was the guard waiting for it.” The Skakdi gave a gesture for the Toa to follow and the two began walking. “I carried it to our armory.”[/font][background=transparent]“It?”[/font][background=transparent]“It’s in a container, secured by powerful steel and the lock is coded.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana didn’t need to ask how the Skakdi knew that. The guard obviously tried to break into it. It was interesting the Order had their weapons protected in that way. The detective assumed there was a message in the cargo. Maybe one concerning his request...[/font][background=transparent]You shouldn’t go through things that don’t belong to you, [/font][background=transparent]the Toa thought. Instead, knowing it would only pointlessly anger the Skakdi he questioned, “Did someone appear with the case?”[/font][background=transparent]He wondered if Botar would have revealed himself so easily.[/font][background=transparent]“Yes, a Matoran. She asked for it to be delivered to the Toa and ‘requested’ that I not break it.” The Skakdi gave a slightly annoyed look, its grin dimming.[/font][background=transparent]The Toa of Ice tried not to smile. [/font][background=transparent]That sounds like Marow.[/font][background=transparent]“Did the Ga-Matoran say anything else?”[/font][background=transparent]The Skakdi stopped there, only steps away from the armory now and turned to look at the Toa straight in the eye. He narrowed them.[/font][background=transparent]“Yes. But it was a Ce-Matoran. She told me to give this message: ‘And tell the other one, the Dark Hunter, I said, please be careful.’” He paused, leaned in closer. “And I thought that was interesting, since she didn’t give a name for the Dark Hunter, like there was only [/font][background=transparent]one.[/font][background=transparent] I tried to question her, the annoying little Rahi, but she vanished.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana could have cursed. [/font][background=transparent]Shouldn’t that Matoran have known saying something like that could blow our cover? And who was this Matoran? Maybe it was one of the ones he saved on the Isle of Abyss two years ago?[/font][background=transparent]The information flew through his mind, examining and reexamining what he knew. Of course, it almost slipped his mind that he had a Skakdi to answer.[/font][background=transparent]“She was referring to me, obviously. She’s a good friend of mine.”[/font][background=transparent]“Well, then that answers my question then, [/font][background=transparent]Toa.[/font][background=transparent]”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana smiled.[/font][background=transparent]“Do you have a problem with us, [/font][background=transparent]Skakdi?[/font][background=transparent]”[/font][background=transparent]“Personally, you two Dark Hunters are a little too in the dark for my taste. You sure do seem to have access to interesting allies, and I’m just wondering how they respond so well and why they do it outside our fortress.”[/font][background=transparent]“Reception is bad here.”[/font][background=transparent]Narrowing his eyes once more, the Skakdi breathed, “You just better watch out. Lord Rekken trusts you, but many of his doubt that trust.”[/font][background=transparent]With that the Skakdi turned to leave, the door to the armory still closed.[/font][background=transparent]“Yeah, I’ll be sure to let him know,” Tomana said quietly as he made his way to retrieve his message.[/font][background=transparent]***[/font][background=transparent]“Here are your swords,” Tomana handed the two blades to his comrade, and Excavate immediately placed them near the wall of his room. “Your knives, polished as well which was nice of the Order.”[/font][background=transparent]Excavate couldn’t help but slightly smile at the Toa’s humor.[/font][background=transparent]“Anything else?”[/font][background=transparent]“Other weapons will be packed with you in stasis and from the Skakdi.”[/font][background=transparent]The Dark Hunter nodded.[/font][background=transparent]“But I do have something for you to review...” Tomana reached into his pack and retrieved a stone tablet. “This has the details of what we’re planning, as well as the location of the generators and the information on the Toa you’ll be fighting.” He hesitated before adding, “Names and all. I recommend you study it before tomorrow.”[/font][background=transparent]“Understood. Anything else?”[/font][background=transparent]The Toa of Ice stood, watching Excavate for a moment, trying to come up with the right words. He was about to ask, well, to request that...[/font][background=transparent]Then he remembered about the Matoran and felt like that was a good excuse to by time.[/font][background=transparent]“The Matoran who brought these weapons for us, a Ce-Matoran, she gave the message for you to be safe... Who was that?”[/font][background=transparent]Excavate looked confused for a moment as he looked over his knives.[/font][background=transparent]A Ce-Matoran...[/font][background=transparent]An image of one Ce-Matoran came to mind, but that was so vague. Where did he recall it from? He shook his head.[/font][background=transparent]“I don’t know who it is.” Excavate shrugged.[/font][background=transparent]Tomana nodded, but didn’t leave. The mission was getting closer and closer to being launched, and if he didn’t say anything now...[/font][background=transparent]***[/font][background=transparent]The desert was harsh and unforgiving as its gusts pelted them with sand. Lord Rekken didn’t seem to feel any discomfort by it, and stood in his large cloak, grinning at the Toa and Dark Hunter. Despite his joyful grin, he spoke with seriousness laced in his words. Tomana stared at him, as Excavate slowly unsealed the small capsule that would be hidden within the transport vehicle. It was a small fit, but he could manage. The material of it was similar to Toa Canisters, and should completely hide him from radar and detection equipment they would surely use on it when Tomana arrived.[/font][background=transparent]His weapons were stored inside as well. It was a good thing he wasn’t claustrophobic. Not that he’d remember the trip, he was going to be placed into complete stasis, to fully block out brain waves.[/font][background=transparent]“Toa, when you arrive be sure to let your mental protections down just enough for Joga. With his mind reading powers he needs to be able to trust you completely. The Matoran Village that you lead, does exist, and we’ve already taken control of it, use the coordinates we gave you, and you should have no worries if they check it out. Think about Matoran you’ve come across often, to fool the Toa of Ice there. Happy thoughts and that sort of thing.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana silently nodded, strapping himself into the transport, trying to concentrate on the Skakdi’s words, but half being able to do so. Excavate didn’t look at the Toa of Ice.[/font][background=transparent]“I... need to ask you a favor. A request, really.”[/font][background=transparent]“What is it?”[/font][background=transparent]“When you’re out there, on the field, I need you to protect them.”[/font][background=transparent]“...Who?”[/font][background=transparent]“The Toa.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana glanced to the Lord Skakdi. “You got it sir.”[/font][background=transparent]Rekken nodded approvingly, and turned to Excavate.[/font][background=transparent]“When you’re in combat, you need to know some things. As I said before, even if you get the shields down, we can’t offer you any protection. We can’t be shown to be affiliated with either of you in the slightest. Get out of the city, on your own, Excavate. And don’t remain hidden there until we arrive, because we’ll have owned Coral by then, and be forced to execute you for your crimes if spotted.”[/font][background=transparent]The Lord spoke without grief in his voice, as though Excavate’s execution was a typical thing that he didn’t personally have to worry about. However, since he [/font][background=transparent]was[/font][background=transparent] giving the advice, the Dark Hunter believed he must care on some level.[/font][background=transparent]“Tomana...”[/font][background=transparent]“Listen. This is hard for me, because of what you know about me. Taking this city away from them, is enough of a crime, but killing them as well? Leaving the Matoran without any protection? I can’t condemn them like that.”[/font][background=transparent]“If … I hold back, I might not be able to stop them. If I can’t get those shields down, you do realize this goes against the overall plan, to find out what the Makuta know? Killing them might be for the greater good.”[/font][background=transparent]“I know. And I also know what this means for you personally if you fail.”[/font][background=transparent]“You know where the generators are located, destroy them one at a time and move on just as quickly. They’ll even be Matoran guards in the city, so watch for them. Also, the generator situated underground, be sure to kill the Toa of Earth, [/font][background=transparent]before[/font][background=transparent] you reach it. He’ll have the upper hand down there. Understood?”[/font][background=transparent]“Understood, Lord,” Excavate replied.[/font][background=transparent]“...”[/font][background=transparent]“Excavate, it’s not an order, you can do what you want. And I know Helryx ordered differently, so I can’t command you...”[/font][background=transparent]“I don’t see that being a problem.”[/font][background=transparent]“Hmm?”[/font][background=transparent]“Well, technically, Helryx commanded that I follow all of your orders, no matter what. So if I don’t do this, then I’ll be disobeying what she told me to do.”[/font][background=transparent]“...Excavate.”[/font][background=transparent]“It’s not my fault my overseer has suddenly decided to go rogue.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana could remember the clear laughter ring through his mind as though it happened only a moment ago. He smiled at the memory. Excavate entered the small canister, and the top resealed itself automatically. The haze and mist suddenly filled his confinement and he felt his body start to go numb...[/font][background=transparent]“Good luck, Tomana,” he whispered quietly, and feel asleep.[/font][background=transparent]“Tomana, before you go...”[/font][background=transparent]“Yeah?”[/font][background=transparent]“... Eventually, maybe not now but someday, you [/font][background=transparent]might[/font][background=transparent] have to face those Toa again, and you’re going to have to [/font][background=transparent]make them believe in what you did, or face the wrath of Toa betrayed.[/font][background=transparent]“I … don’t think I’ll see these Toa ever again.”[/font][background=transparent]“But if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you about it. I’ve met betrayed Toa, they aren’t pretty.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana sat, with his hands on the wheel. He turned to Lord Rekken, standing below with his two guards on his side and many more Skakdi in the distance as his gaze reached far up the mountain. They were preparing for war.[/font][background=transparent]Lord Rekken nodded, and he returned it.[/font][background=transparent]The engine flared, and the transport lurched forward at a high speed, wheels moving across the terrain with ease. He kept looking on, and wondered about the mission ahead, and thought about Excavate’s words. [/font][background=transparent]He knew of a betrayed Toa too.[/font][background=transparent]Excavate, who did you meet? What did they do?[/font][background=transparent]And do they feel the same way I do now?[/font][background=transparent]“Good luck, Excavate.”[/font][background=transparent]***[/font][background=transparent]The glowing city, some might say, was considered a younger brother of Metru Nui. Parks and education centers, filled with Matoran of all kinds. Tall and lean gleaming skyscrapers connected by chute systems few and far between. The city was an oasis in the desert. A protected oasis. The glowing but translucent shield surrounded the entire radius of their home, a steel wall right [/font][background=transparent]in front of[/font][background=transparent] the dome cut into the ground [/font][background=transparent]as a hard reminder of strength[/font][background=transparent].[/font][background=transparent]Water Toa Klowa moved easily through the streets, her sights were set on the Matoran ahead rushing forward.[/font][background=transparent]“Up ahead?” she asked, not concerned, but wanting to ease the guard of his worry.[/font][background=transparent]Nothing could get through the shields.[/font][background=transparent]“Yes, Toa,” he replied in a huff. He stopped and pointed to the gate, one of the four that resided among the wall. “One of the guards up there will show you.”[/font][background=transparent]She nodded and stared up at the Matoran who was waving from far above. With a little concentration, her body shifted and blurred in form before all who watched, and she teleported atop the gate.[/font][background=transparent]“Show me,” she requested, moving to the edge of the gate where the other guard had moved to.[/font][background=transparent]“Right over their Klowa. We have some unknown vehicle approaching us, and it’s moving fast, towards here.”[/font][background=transparent]Nodding with a frown, Klowa was given the scope from the Matoran and she gazed through it.[/font][background=transparent]She could see a figure at the helm, white in form, hard to see clearly in the desert’s bright glare and murky winds. She gave a small adjustment to the lens...[/font][background=transparent]Then her frown turned to one of a smile, and she lowered the scope.[/font][background=transparent]“I think this one is okay,” she responded easily. “He’s one of us.”[/font][background=transparent]______[/font]

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#18 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Jun 03 2012 - 12:27 AM

[background=transparent]City of Glass[/font]

[background=transparent]The great dome of energy rose up before him quickly, puncturing the flat horizon. The Coral was aptly named, its shield glowing a dusky rose, the great metal wall before it orange in the light of the setting sun. Just through the shield, Tomana could make out a jagged line of skyscrapers, red to his eyes. A coral reef in the desert.[/font][background=transparent]Whoever said buildings can’t be art?[/font][background=transparent]As the transport neared the wall, a gate opened towards him, followed by a tunnel that came from within the shield to allow him in.[/font][background=transparent]Either they are really confident, or they could see just how much of a junker this thing is.[/font][background=transparent] All he knew about the transport he drove was that it had once been used to build the Coral, and that it had been abandoned on the side of Rekken’s mountain complex a millennia before.[/font][background=transparent]“Halt!” a crisp voice cut through the air. Tomana put on the brakes and eyed an approaching contingent of Matoran following a Toa of Water.[/font][background=transparent]That’d be Klowa[/font][background=transparent]. He thought. [/font][background=transparent]Not as imposing as her battle record would suggest.[/font][background=transparent]“Greetings, Brother,” she smiled up at him. “What is your business in the Coral?”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana’s heartlight skipped a beat. [/font][background=transparent]Brother.[/font][background=transparent] “I am delivering a gift from a village on the other side of the mountains. A gift of history in exchange for supplies.”[/font][background=transparent]One of the Matoran, probing the vehicle to gauge any threat it might pose, leapt back. “Mata Nui’s Spirit! It’s my old excavator! Right there, my insignia to mark what’s mine,” he pushed another Matoran back, “and ain’t yours.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana grinned, “Might it fetch a fair trade?”[/font][background=transparent]“It might,” the Matoran looked up at him. “But we gotta determine it ya-”[/font][background=transparent]“Let him in, he’s fine.” A Toa of Ice strode out, tapping a Suletu.[/font][background=transparent]“Thanks Joga,” Klowa fist-bumped her teammate. “Now you’re at an advantage, stranger. I’m Klowa, Toa of Water. Joga here is obviously Ice. What’s your name?”[/font][background=transparent]“Zoxara,” Tomana grinned. That old second name would read honest to Joga. “Ice.”[/font][background=transparent]“Well, Toa Zoxara, welcome to the Coral. I think Maren there would love to take the transport over to the museum for you. You can come with us to the City Suva. Turaga Korendai will want to meet you.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana shouldered a bag and leapt down from the transport and gave it a pat, an unspoken farewell to his comrade within. He’d heard of Turaga Korendai. She had been a Toa of Lightning on a team defending his own village several centuries ago; even then she was one who always met whoever came into her territory.[/font][background=transparent]Let’s go for her not remembering me.[/font][background=transparent] Glad of Order training, Tomana walked between the two Toa, followed by a small guard of Ta-Matoran.[/font][background=transparent]If Turaga Korendai remembered him, she didn’t show it. She gave Tomana a brief history of the Coral, how it had been at the mercy of armies until their shield was made, how armies had perished trying to break through.[/font][background=transparent]“And all the while, we build our own Metru Nui.”[/font][background=transparent]Tomana had only been to Metru Nui once, and all he remembered was a hurried night investigation, following a fugitive the Order wanted captured. Tall, dark, imposing structures. Glowing chutes threatening to reveal him as he crept along in the shadows, avoiding Visorak and mutant Rahi.[/font][background=transparent]He liked the Coral much better, even if the white steel of the buildings was cast pink in the light of the shield.[/font][background=transparent]“You will stay the night,” Turaga Korendai went on.[/font][background=transparent]Uh oh.[/font][background=transparent] “I really should make my way back to my village as soon as possible. I know the Coral will honor our request of supplies in trade.”[/font][background=transparent]“We will, we will, but the desert is dangerous at night. The Skakdi armies around us are known to be less than hospitable to outsiders.”[/font][background=transparent]“Of course.” Tomana knew the look Korendai was giving him. She always got her way.[/font][background=transparent]***[/font][background=transparent]Excavate woke to silence, and waited until he was sure of no movement outside before pressing on the walls around him. After a minute, he found the pressure plate to let him out. He silently snaked out of the capsule, retrieved his weapons and strapped them on. Watching for Matoran, he closed up the transport and set a heatstone near its power source.[/font][background=transparent]The fire would hopefully break out soon before he destroyed the first generator. That would hopefully divide the emergency forces of the Coral while he went after the other two. He hadn’t told Tomana his plan. Hopefully Tomana would never need to know.[/font][background=transparent]***[/font][background=transparent]“You may stay the night here,” Kato, Coral Toa of Earth showed him into a small suite on one of the upper floors of the city’s central tower. Kato had met up with them at the base of the building. He was obviously the leader, and had stood fairly apart, sizing up Tomana. None of the Toa seemed to feel threatened by him, but they did have a reasonable amount of caution regarding visitors. From what Joga had informed him about the the ore deposits in the city, and the secret power source of the shield, it was not surprising that several caravans had tried to enter the city under the guise of trade and cause a great amount of damage. Tomana silently hoped that the most recent security measures wouldn’t slow down Excavate too much.[/font][background=transparent]As they left Tomana to himself, Korendai caught Kato by the arm. Joga and Klowa stopped behind them, hands immediately to their weapons. Kato nodded to them, his thought shared among them by Joga’s Suletu. Joga and Klowa gave a quick acknowledgement to each other and exited. Korendai looked back at Tomana’s door, and spoke quietly.[/font][background=transparent]“Post a couple of extra guards up here. Toa ‘Zoxara’ is not who he seems.”[/font][background=transparent]***[/font][background=transparent]Tomana stood on a balcony, and saw, far below, the shapes of Joga and Klowa running towards some chutes, stopping to show some kind of token, opening one of the magnetic tubes. Klowa glanced upward and teleported and Joga entered one of the shoots, being pulled instantly into the city, flashing towards one of the tall, spindly shield generators.[/font][background=transparent]They must suspect something.[/font][background=transparent] He paced the balcony, trying to ignore the memories embedded in the armor he wore. [/font][background=transparent]After about an hour, Tomana heard the sharp snap of a some kind of weapon. The night sky was lit up red as though sunset had come again. Looking out on the city, he caught sight of several flaming projectiles soaring up into one of the generator towers. Each explosion was minimal, but the damage was immense. Melting steel slowly bent in on itself, and the tower fell into one of the building complexes.[/font][background=transparent]It’s begun,[/font][background=transparent] he thought, as the night returned to the dark and the city sparkled with its lights. The Toa judged where Excavate had stood by where the plasma had come from. Now that the first generator was destroyed, Excavate would be on the run.[/font][background=transparent]Tomana stepped to his door and found it locked from outside. He cursed and went back to the balcony.[/font][background=transparent]Gripping the railing, Tomana shook his head. What was done was done. They would be back to arrest him soon, Kato was no fool. Taking a small jar from his bag, Tomana blacked out several parts of his armor, leaving his mask, forearms, shoulders, and calves white. Basic camouflage. The door banged open, Kato pointing a Zamor launcher from the other side of the threshold.[/font][background=transparent]“What do you have to do with the explosion?”[/font][background=transparent]“Nothing,” Tomana lied. He gestured to his blacked armor, “I was about to go find something out.”[/font][background=transparent]“Stay here,” Kato looked relieved, if confused about the paint. “We won’t need a stranger’s help.”[/font][background=transparent]“But you won’t be able to refuse it.” Tomana gulped at the deception, stepping out to the balcony.[/font][background=transparent]The night lit up again, an explosion from the museum district. Kato touched the side of his mask, as if listening to something. He raised the Zamor again, and pointed it at Tomana.[/font][background=transparent]“I guess that’s my cue,” Tomana placed a hand on the rail. “Maybe we’ll corner whoever it is.” Keeping frustration behind his eyes, Tomana flung himself over the rail and out into the night.[/font]

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Jul 30 2012 - 12:02 AM.

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Softly Call the Muster

Let Comrade Answer Here

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BS01 History Page --- The Sleeping World


#19 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Jun 23 2012 - 12:18 AM

Dust

“Someone was spotted?” Klowa asked as she and Joga sprinted under the lit street lamps.“Yes. That’s the word I got from one of the guards,” Joga explained in a huff. “I think it’s a Dark Hunter.”“How could a Dark Hunter get in here?”Joga grimaced, but didn’t say anything.“No…”“There’s no other explanation,” Joga added to her thoughts. “Zoraxa must have brought him in with the transport. It’s why the Turaga was suspicious of him and why Kato stayed behind.”The white lights streamed across her face, as they continued to move toward the Chute System ahead. A control tower stood looming with multiple chutes throughout its structure, heading to other parts of the city. The chutes were lit with blue lights and neon in color. The area was easy to see, but Klowa knew that this Hunter could be in any one of the shadows the lights casted.“Do you think he would plan an attack? What would he gain for betraying us?”“I don’t know, Klowa. It’s certainly possible, and it’s not like we’ve never seen it done before. I had a good feeling about him though…”Stopping at the chute tower, the Toa two regarded each other.“Where was the Hunter spotted?”“Near the southern district, outside the grand museum. But he was seen heading south to the High Tower...” Joga gave her a knowing look, “I’ll meet you over there?”“Better plan. I can take this Dark Hunter. You head to the Museum and take another look at what Zoraxa left behind. I say on a danger level, a Dark Toa is the one we have to worry about, not this other distraction which is all he might be.”“Alright. Be careful okay?”“Same with you. Keep in touch,” she finished, tapping her mask. Without another word, Klowa glance upward into the night sky and focused using her Kualsi, Mask of Quick Travel, before teleporting out of sight.She reappeared miles above the city falling through the sky. It was pitch black, except for the transparent energy shield above her which casted a small glow. Below her, millions of lights sparkled like stars, ranging from white to yellow, red and blue. Air rushed over her and she realigned herself in free fall, looking toward the southern part of the city, she located the museum, its grand spotlights shining on the energy dome itself.Her body shifted as she focused, her molecules scrambling and vibrating.Klowa instantly arrived atop the Museum’s roof, looking down over the edge. In the streets she spot nothing out of the ordinary, few Matoran moving to and fro as most had returned home this late at night.A perfect time to start an attack, she thought, teleporting to a nearby rooftop.She ran at a full sprint, along the edge of another building, watching the streets. Phasing to the next ledge, and then the next after that, she did this over and over until a full half hour past. No disturbances, until she leapt off and concentrated on the roads below. Her form reappeared in the middle of the street.Klowa! I have information I’ve picked up, he’s been spotted! She heard the yell in her mind, somewhat desperate and unclear as the distance between them was great.Vortixx and Matoran security are having difficulty and request help on the main bridge near the Tower, they’ve got some trouble over there but can’t even see their target! The main guard hasn’t sent any telepathic signals in the last few minutes.Joga often linked his mind with certain guards in the city, as a needed precaution against threats. It was a signal he had taught them to send out if they needed any help at all. It wasn’t as intimate as his link with his fellow Toa, and was normally a one way communication.I’m close. She silently responded, before catching sight and teleporting once more to the far end of the street.***The dust that settled around him as he grinded to a halt on the large bridge of Coral city, had risen after firing multiple energy shots at the Vortrixx security, uprooting the solid earth and metal below them. Excavate stood in the middle of it all, street lights illuminating his surroundings while tall gleaming steel towers and gray metal buildings made up the background. Ahead of him, far in the distance and down the long and straight roadway, was a unique looking building with an antenna sprouting out of the top.Inside, the Dark Hunter knew there was a maintained and secured generator, powering the transparent shield that surrounded the city.He watched for a long moment, not having to take notice of the Matoran around him, hesitating to fire disks or whatever weak weaponry they had. This city wasn’t as guarded as he had previously thought it would be.And right before him, as he took in the grand tower which stood miles away, a Toa of Water appeared instantly from seemingly nowhere, blocking his view.‘Toa of Water, Klowa’, the words written in Tomana’s notes replayed in the Dark Hunter’s mind. ‘She wears the Mask of Quick Travel. The Toa is a powerful fighter in element and hand to hand, her specialty being the sword. Reports have said that her fighting style is highly impressive and dangerous, her skills coming to her naturally and through training. A high warning on this Toa: not to be taken lightly in a fight.’Excavate looked her up and down. She was a Toa of Water, an impressive fighter, but stereotypically of her type she was probably very social and caring toward others.He watched her eyes, yellow and narrow but having not drawn her sword yet. Her back was upright and not at all slouched. She hadn’t said a word.The way she’s regarding me, she’s trying to figure out what I’m planning and how far I’d be willing to take things. All Toa have the same weakness and all their enemies gain from that weakness. The beings uninvolved in the fight are of their utmost concern.Excavate glanced to the right and left without moving his head, catching sight of the Matoran unfortunate enough to still be on the bridge and the ones in the buildings, looking out the windows. He had his trump card.She took notice of this, and seeing his motives, withdrew her sword, threateningly.He concluded in thought. Nurturing by nature, and overly worried about the weaker. Her fighting mind will drop when bystanders are injured.It was a cheap way to win a fight, but Excavate had a promise to keep. If he was going to keep her life alive, he’d have to do everything he could to distract her while he got the job done.***Klowa regarded the Dark Hunter, his form half hidden in the dark and his eyes glowing brightly. He stood no taller than she did and was covered in black and gray armor, standing almost perfectly upright. She wasn’t planning to fight him, but she knew from what weaponry he was carrying, that he was. Two blades, hidden knives at his hips and arms, a Cordek Blaster and a Plasma Cannon, strapped on his back. That last one would hinder his movement quite a bit.Still, despite what he wore, Klowa didn’t feel threatened.She could take him.It wasn’t even until he glanced to the side, looking for a way out, or at the Matoran around them that she drew her sword.“If you think you can escape here,” she said, easily, “Think again.”He regarded her without saying a word, one wide sword in his right hand. He didn’t even blink.When he pulled out his Cordek Blaster from behind his back with his left hand, and slowly aligned it to aim at her chest, she wasn’t alarmed, but she found something out about his movement. He was confidant, and he had a plan.He wasn’t going to surrender, so she aligned her own blade with his chest, her own arm outstretched.“You should know, that I’ve faced weapons like that before. You fire a shot off, and I’ll redirect it with a blast of water… Turn yourself in Dark Hunter, and it doesn’t have to go further. We won’t harm you, but only if you drop the Cordek and sword.”Yeah right… she thought without showing any indication. He’s not going to surrender. He wants a fight… It’ll only take a moment to disarm him. A quick ‘jump’ and that rocket launcher will be on the floor.She just needed to wait for the right moment. Matoran were nowhere to be seen now, and Klowa could only hear her own breathing. The Dark Hunter hadn’t made a move, and as she continued to watch his eyes, she felt something behind them. There was something …The next moment went by in a blur.Her enemy, as though it was the most casual and natural movement available to him, redirected his launcher to the left, arm fully outstretched, to the near building along the bridge. It was slow and fluid, but swift all at the same time, effortless and it was done so well she never caught the movement until it was too late.He kept his eyes only on her, and fired.`In surprise and with a shout the Toa fired a jet stream of water from her sword, a wild shot to redirect the missile’s course. The rocket moved past the stream and hit the near building above bridge level. The stone and iron took a major impact and exploded, gravel and smoke spraying across the battlefield, covering everything.Klowa was blinded and to sudden realization, was now unable to use her mask to teleport, since it required sight.She held her sword out in front of her, searching for her enemy. The Dark Hunter was good and would attack from the side, more than likely.Joga! Are you there? Joga!The next assault came unexpectedly right in front of her, as a liquid cable reached out from the smoke, flying through the air to connect to her mask. Inches away, Klowa reacted reflexively, taking a step back and knocking the cable away with her sword. But the metal attachment at the end was magnetic and stuck to her blade.The Dark Hunter appeared from the smoke, charging forward and pulling the cord from his right wrist to his right, yanking her sword in hand to her left. Surprised, but not willing to let her guard down twice, Klowa kept a firm grasp on her blade. Seeing his left hand now fitted with a sword, she cursed under her breath and pulled desperately at the cord to move and counter his blow.The two stood locked for a moment, eyes on each other as their blades cut steel against steel.She narrowed his eyes, and he smiled. Then, he moved forward.Charging into her, the Dark Hunter skid his blade across hers, tearing the magnetic piece off as his cable launcher retracted. Klowa stumbled and felt him move past to her left. He had withdrawn a knife in his now free right hand, holding it blade down.In one swift motion, he sliced it toward her face as he past her.The blade clipped her mask and effectively removed it from her face. She froze, hearing it scatter to the ground with a clang.At the next move, he had knocked her to the ground, face downward. He leaned in and placed a knee into her back, sword to the back of her neck.Her breathing was erratic as she tried to focus, her power having been cut. She knew she only had moments left to live now.“Don’t, move,” he whispered in a steely voice. “Toa of Water, I swear if you make one attempt to attack me again, I’ll be sure to injure more than just a few Matoran behind a wall.”Specific weapons… Joga, listen to me. He’s been trained for this. Klowa sent the message with her eyes fiercely shut in concentration. She wasn’t afraid to die, but she wouldn’t waste her time seeing her death. She needed to get the last bit of information out to her team that she could, while she had time. He’s been sent, provided with the right equipment. He has a blunt and unnatural fighting style, unexpected movements, two blades, a cable launcher, a –He removed his knee and replaced it with his foot, now rising. From below, she could hear him tinkering with something in his hands. She opened her eyes, trying to see but unable to. With a quick, snap-hiss, she realized he was going to end her life. Klowa felt around for moisture in the air. If she could just conjure up something…“And don’t use your elemental powers, I can sense that.”Did he truly have that ability, or did he just know she’d try a last attempt?Only a moment later, and a large thundering uproar came from the Hunter’s weapon. She looked upward, eyes widening as a flaming energy projectile rocketed across the bridge and far into the distance. Its target was the generator.The structure and satellite melted at the intense heat and slowly toppled over, smoke spewing from the tower as it fell. It was only when it hit the pavement and crashed like a fallen giant that the ashes raised high into the sky and the chemical fumes ignited, lighting up the sky for a moment longer.“If any of you follow me,” he said, looking down at her, with neither regret nor satisfaction in his voice. A roaring cloud of dust rushed by them as he spoke. “Then all of your people will fall just as so.”Promptly, he dropped the Plasma Launcher to the ground, its round being used up. Lifting his palm toward her mask, yards away from the two of them, he fired an energy bolt at it, shattering it to pieces. Stepping away, he ran toward the edge of the bridge and leaped off, the shadows covering his next destination.

***

Klowa slowly stood up, shaking off the feeling of smoke in her lungs and heavy heart. Lifting her head, weakened because of the loss of her mask, she watched sadly at the destruction in the distance.Don’… happens, we’ll- Klowa? Regroup…She wasn’t concentrating, and forced herself to do so.Say again? She thought.Klowa, good I’m glad you’re responding. Are you alright?I’m fine, just a little bruised in the wrong places.It happens to the best of us. I saw what happened to the Generator… it’s bad. I’m glad he wasn’t aiming for over here.Where?The museum … Klowa have you seen it?She didn’t respond for a moment, and turned toward the Grand Museum, north. It was in flames.Karzahni…Klowa?Was it Zoraxa’s doing?They set something off near the engine of the transport he was in, it was a minor explosion, but it’s reached out. Zoraxa says he’s on the way. I haven’t responded.The Toa of Water had a feeling he was trying to reach his ally.He’s heading for the next Generator. That’s the Dark Hunter’s plan.Alright, I’m planning to intercept.On my way. You’re going to meet him first, and maybe Zoraxa too. Right now, that Toa is an enemy Joga… Don’t underestimate him. We’re going to need to be smart to take these guys down. They’re professionals. They’ve picked the field, the game and the players. Where is Kato?He’s been trailing after Zoraxa and says we’re all heading to the Generator west of you. That leaves that one and the mining station.We can’t afford to let them fall. We’ve been fools from the start…Only if we lose.With that last response from her friend, she moved through the bridge and found her blade among the rubble. Picking it up, she firmly grasped it, anger getting to her at the thought of their overconfidence. They had had believed they were too protected and had gotten soft. After a moment, a new mask appeared on her face which she called from her Suva, a Mask of Shielding.“We won’t lose,” she finished in a whisper. It was a promise she was determined to keep._____

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Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Jun 23 2012 - 12:19 AM.

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#20 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Jun 30 2012 - 01:39 PM

Mistaken Targets

Joga ran down one of the streets, feet pounding the pavement. The location was filled with civilian homes and apartments as well as larger work buildings, their lights shining down yellow on his body. Above was the blue glow of a large chute built stories above and running parallel to the road.If I’m right, I should be close. The next tower is only a few miles away. He won’t be able to hide forever and travel by Chute is too noticeable and risky. He’ll know we have them on surveillance. Once Kato gets here, we should be able to sense movement in the ground as well as take out Zoxara.That last thought; he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. There was a connection with the Toa of Ice, one that was genuine, and Joga had sensed it. He just couldn’t see Zoxara as being someone who was evil. Maybe he was misguided or had it been a misunderstanding?Logic and realism told him otherwise. But there was a sense that he had. One of a brother bond that maybe only a Toa could feel.It was as he crossed the intersection of a dark alley that he caught sight, too late, of a shadow in his peripheral vision. He felt the impact a moment later, a kick slamming into his side. The Toa’s body was thrown to the left and he fell onto the hard concrete. As he looked upward, he saw only the blue eyes of a tall and dark being skidding back to stand upright.Joga immediately recovered and unhitched his Ice Pickaxe. A bright orange laser brightened up the alley and crossed the distance between them in an instant. Joga brought up his weapon and created a small ice shield that took most of the impact, steaming as it shattered.If Klowa couldn’t beat him in hand to hand, I don’t have a chance. It’ll have to be an elemental fight.The mist clearing, Toa Joga swiftly directed his weapon toward the Dark Hunter’s direction.“Got you!” he shouted, as a stream of blue ice energy ignited from his Axe, causing the entire width of the path to be engulfed in ice, effectively blocking the alleyway. The buildings at his sides were covered in a thick layer of frost; he narrowed his eyes as the mist and dust cleared, the sheen of the ice glimmering and hiding what was beneath it.“I didn’t get you, did I?” he muttered under his breath, eyes scanning the ice. “You couldn’t have run backward in time, and you didn’t run past me.”He took a second, and one more.“Above?!” he shouted, sudden fear creeping into his voice.And there was the Dark Hunter, hanging high in the air from a cable attached to the roof tops of the building. Its body was glowing brightly orange, as though it was charging that energy…Joga inhaled sharply and released another thick layer of ice between the gap that separated them. The barrier cracked under the blinding power and the world erupted with sound as the Toa was repulsed.He landed on his back in the middle of the wide and opened street, smoke spewing out from lane. Joga slowly stood up, pickaxe ready. The ice and his armor had protected him from any pain, but still his head buzzed. Though the street lamps illuminated some of the area, the dark passages rendered the Hunter near invisible. Joga scanned the alley, broken up pavement with buildings that were scarred and cracked.Glancing upward, he caught sight of the enemy running along the rooftops, almost matching the night sky in color.Joga immediately sprinted to the left, paralleling his opponent. With a swing of his pickaxe materialized ice shards soared at the Hunter. Some of the rounds missed him, clipped the edge of the roof, and one that was on target was deflected by the Hunter’s sword in his left hand.He’s keeping himself in sight… why is he continuing to run along the edge? Joga wondered, firing another wave of icicles to no effect. The Dark Hunter leaped from the edge and landed swiftly to the next tower, barely hesitating and pushing forward with his legs. With another sprint, he leaped off to the left and fired his cable launcher to a high tower swinging off it to land to a Matoran living complex, stories high.Concentrating, Joga moved his weapon before him and streamed a long bridge of ice upward toward the rooftops until it connected from the road to edge. The Toa of Ice charged forward on the slippery path, his feet accustomed to such things. The Dark Hunter noticed the move and came to a full stop. Raising both hands, he fired numerous quick bolts from his palms, shattering pieces of the bridge. Joga leapt across the gaps, repairing the bridge as needed with wide swings of his pickaxe. A bolt flashed toward him, which he deflected with his axe, and returned fire with an ice blast. The ice buckled underneath him as more bolts rained around him, but Joga remained fixed on his goal.With a final leap, he was on the rooftop with the Hunter. Swinging his pickaxe back, he dashed forward on the now stable ground to meet him.His opponent drew a blade from his back, striking quick as lightning at Joga’s left. The Toa blocked and moved to strike, but the Hunter quickly spun his blade, striking at Joga’s unguarded right, forcing the Toa to roll away.Using his free hand, he fired a blast of ice from his palm. His enemy swiftly spun around the missile and slashed with his right arm, cutting at the Toa’s shoulder blade. Joga cried out at the sudden pain and fumbled with his weapon, the steel clattering to the ground. The Dark Hunter moved swiftly and bunted him with his shoulder.Joga reversed, and to both their surprise he felt his leg meet empty air as he stepped back, his foot tripping and his body suddenly in free fall over the edge. The Toa of Ice could only see himself fall back, gravity leaving him to die and his corpse in the middle of the road for his brother and sister to discover. His time as a Toa would end.And as the vision left him, he could only see the face of the Dark Hunter, eyes wide as though he had made a mistake. Confusion on Joga’s face, he felt a hand latch onto his, saving him from the fall into the abyss below.***Excavate hesitated, and froze as they both stopped, half of Joga’s body in freefall. His eyes were wide, and for a moment he saw Tomana hanging over the edge, in his hand. He had almost killed the Toa. And if he had died… the guilt would have been sickening. But why?Because it would have been my fault, he decided. The battle was started by me, their lives are mine.And something about protecting your city and home, gave him the feeling of sympathy and regret. Regret since he was the one taking it from them. The thought scared him. And it only confirmed what he knew about himself.“You… caught me.”Excavate couldn’t reply to the Toa’s words, so he yanked him back on the roof and swung him promptly.Joga landed on his side with a thud, and started to get up, again.He’s persistent.It was time to end this fight and find the last two generators…Sword readied, he was lost in thought and never saw the movement to his right. But he felt the impact from the punch of a Toa of Earth. The blow threw him yards away, elemental power charged in the fist. Excavate felt the air knocked out from him, and slowly stood back up. Kato stood, glaring at his enemy. A chainsaw like weapon was in his hand.“I spared you only once: for Joga,” he announced. “You won’t get it again.” Turning to his brother, he watched the Toa of Ice slowly stand. “You okay?”“Harmed in the shoulder, but I can fight.”Silently they watched one another, all not knowing what would happen next. Excavate retrieved his other blade, one in each hand. Taking on two Toa at a time shouldn’t be a problem, especially considering that Kato was above ground and near civilians. Using his earth powers would be very difficult.But still… he needed to end this. Get to the generator and stop wasting time. He needed a distraction and time to think and plan. He glanced behind him, seeing the next tower far out into the distance. Below, stories below, was an empty street. A chute system ran through it.The wind blew past them all, and the Toa readied their gear. Excavate lowered his weapons to his side.With as much honesty in his voice as he could give, he told them.“I’m sorry for what we’re going to do.”Kato visibly faltered at that.“Wha-”Instantly, Excavate lifted his right forearm and fired his launch cable directly into Joga’s shoulder armor. The Toa stumbled in surprise, and Excavate stepped off the edge. Kato moved forward and caught his friend as he was pulled forward, digging his weapon into the rooftop to catch them both.The Dark Hunter quietly hung in midair, the quiet night and small lights around him. Taking just a moment for himself, he went against his growing guilt and secured the blade in his left hand on his back. He pulled out his Cordek Blaster, and aimed for the chute below.***Tomana took in the sight of Excavate saving Joga from two rooftops over. Caught off guard, he could only imagine that the Hunter had a plan in mind. At least he hadn’t killed the Toa.Then he saw Kato.The Toa of Earth didn’t see Joga hanging off the edge. He was raising a fist to knock out Excavate. If he did...Tomana laid his sword on the edge of the roof and crouched so that the pommel rested against his shoulder. Laying part of the blade on his palm and stabilizing it with his left hand, he sent a ice crystal down the blade and at Kato’s shoulder. Low density, it smacked Kato’s armor and fell noisily to the ground. The Toa looked up, and Tomana slapped first his chest, then the side of the building he was on. Kato nodded, and gave one last suspicious glare as Excavate finally heaved Joga over the edge.Tomana relaxed, and looked down to the next rooftop. It was certainly not nearly as far as he’d gone when he’d jumped out of his quarters. That particular plunge was one he probably wouldn’t do if he had chance to go back.A brief swing of his arm, and a slide connected the rooftops. By the time Tomana was down and running to the other side, Excavate had dropped off the building. Tomana saw the brief plunge, the cable catch, bringing Excavate into an ever widening arc. Excavate readied his Cordak Blaster, and opened fire at a nearby chute.Oh, no you don’t. Tomana brought his sword up and fired a wide swath of crystals, catching the two shots his partner had unleashed.Too close.The snap of steel rang discordantly in the night, and Excavate was falling. Insight hit Tomana hard, forcing his arm up and his body out into the night. Acting instinctively, Tomana created another ice slide that carried him down, down, and right into Excavate. They slammed against the side of the skyscraper, and down into the street. There was a crunching sound as Tomana landed on top of Excavate.“My leg! You...Piraka” Excavate hobbled to his feet, grasping his left leg. Tomana winced at the sight of crushed metal of the Hunter’s calf.“Hold still,” Tomana pushed the Hunter back down and gently probed the injury. “Tibial support is bent for sure, relevant gears going to all out of alignment, organics pinched“Why are you still here?”“I was tied up with the local Turaga, I couldn’t leave.”“Yes you could have.”The two stared at each other.“If you’re really still here, go after the second generator. I don’t need a medic.” Excavate slowly got up and limped to the end of the alley. “I can still fight. Listen, Joga’s got a sense on your open mind, and so he knows your location. You need to hide yourself now, since they’ve probably seen you save me. It’s time we kill you off.”“So glad you decided to keep me around,” Tomana replied. But he nodded, and then held out his sword. “None of yours are long enough to help you walk. And I am a Medic, are you sure you don’t want a quick splint?”Excavate looked up at the roof above. No Toa. “They’ll be coming. Hurry.”With a few deft movements and two strips from the hem of Excavate’s now tattered cloak, Tomana secured a knife along Excavate’s leg. “That should hold. Go carefully.”“Yeah, tell that to the Toa chasing me.” Excavate turned and half-limped, half-ran to the end of the alleyway. Tomana briefly looked after him before turning to find the other generator.***“Kato,” Klowa grabbed his arm from behind. “The Dark Hunter got away from me.”“I know, I just cut the cable he was using to swing off of a roof. We’re going down to the alley he fell now.” Kato’s face was grim. He had seen Zoxara’s almost unwilling leap. Something was wrong with that Toa.Still on a rooftop, though lower, the trio glanced down at the alleyway when Excavate hobbled out. He turned, supporting himself with the white sword Zoxara had been carrying, and fired a Cordak blast back into the alley.Klowa gasped as smoke and dust billowed out. Excavate looked straight up at them, a challenging glare, and moved on.“Klowa, Joga,” Kato’s voice was harder than it had been, “meet him at the generator he is going to. I will check on the other one.”“You don’t think that ZoHe’s dead. I can’t sense him at all.” Joga’s mouth was set in concentration beneath his mask.“I don’t know what to think. There could be another Hunter, and Zoxara has been an unknown quantity since the Turaga asked me to guard him. Something is up and we need to be ready.“You have your orders. Stop the Hunter. Now!”______

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Edited by Grant-Sud Rises, Jun 30 2012 - 01:40 PM.

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#21 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Jul 05 2012 - 04:16 PM

Sit Sine Labe Decus

Tomana placed his hand flat against the skylight of the underground facility that housed the powerplant for the generator that rose high above his head.They can set up a temporary transmitter. If I’m to do this, I might as well make it spectacular.He breathed a film of ice over the window and tapped it with his fist. He threw Ice energy at the falling pieces, wrapping them in snow so that they hit the ground noiselessly. Tomana slid in after them and slowed himself by grabbing a metal pillar, hitting the floor with only a small sound.Weaponless as he was, Tomana kept a close watch on the door across the room. The generator before him thrummed as it drew power from below for the rosy shield of the Coral. A pipe came in through one wall, bringing water from some underground source to cool the generator’s mechanisms. Bingo.Tomana found a ladder and made his ascent to the top of the pipe.“I don’t know what you are really here for,” the voice of Kato rang out from the doorway, “but I know it threatens my city. Get down from there, traitor.”“I am no traitor, brother.” Tomana clambered up and moved along the pipe, closer to the generator.“You can call me ‘brother’ when you aren’t endangering us all, and breaking the Code.”“There are higher loyalties in this universe, Kato, than are dreamt of in the Code.”“Leave it to Ice Toa to speak in riddles.”“Because Earth Toa aren’t fans of them at all.” Tomana grinned.Kato smiled too, but his voice was hard, “Zoxara, we know about the Hunter. Why are you doing this?”“Because Mata Nui demands it.” That will give me a space. He sidled closer to the generator.Kato stored Tomana’s words away for pondering later. “You are going to disgrace yourself if you do this. You hear me?“Then I shall choose disgrace. This is my duty, Kato, and I need to see it through. You know how this is. Our never ending sacrifice. I’m tired, and I hate this, but there is no other way.” Tomana raised a foot and slammed it down on the pipe, freezing a plug of water from where he stood to the generator intake. The hum of the mechanisms increased in pitch almost immediately. He then let Insight take over as he leapt backwards to avoid several dense missiles of Earth.Kato punched the ground, sending a shockwave rippling toward where Tomana should have landed, but his opponent neatly created an ice rail, linked to the generator, that he slid along above the ground.As Tomana neared him, Kato drew and swung his Chainsaw, making solid contact with...Karzahni, he’s good. The Chainsaw drew a neat line across a shield of Ice as Tomana was slid past. Skidding to a stop, standing firmly about ten yards away from Kato, the Detective held a blade of fresh Ice to match his damaged shield.“In terms of Elemental strength, I’m afraid you’re on the losing side.” Kato smirked. “You have to be running at least half empty at this point.”He’s right. Tomana admitted to himself. The Earth Toa was fresh, he was not. If he didn’t end this, it wasn’t going to go well. He closed his eyes, and waited.What is he doing? Kato cautiously lowered his weapon. He watched as Tomana continued to just stand there. The standstill went on for several more seconds, until Tomana suddenly jerked his arm up. Kato dodged left. At that moment, a steel plate blew off the generator, hitting Kato squarely in the chest.Kato rolled, holding tight to his Tool, taking deep breaths and trying to ignore the pain. He definitely cracked a gear.Too old. He thought wryly. Hearing Tomana’s steps, he wiped a hand backwards, causing the ground to rip up and fly at the Toa of Ice. Tomana threw his sword high, rolling forward on his shield. He rode the wave and reached out to catch the sword at it came down, swinging it in a wide arc at Kato.Are his eyes still closed? Kato brought up a wall of earth, which was flash frozen. There was a second of total silence before the wall’s base was shattered, bringing the structure down on Kato. Pinned, Kato swung his Chainsaw in a small circle, but Tomana easily reached beneath the debris and yanked it away, placing it at Kato’s feet where he could not reach it.“I’m sorry, brother,” Tomana moved into full view, his eyes still closed, covering Kato in a thick Ice Shell with a wave of his hand. “This will protect you, but I ask that you call off Klowa and Joga. I asked...my partner...to not kill them. But, we’re all desperate now. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I won’t let them kill him, either. This has to be done. When the shield comes down, I suggest you gather what Matoran you can and escape.”Tomana disappeared as the hum of the generator jumped an octave. Kato felt the concussion as one of the internal mechanisms of the generator exploded. A thunk sounded through the shell. Behind him, the proto-metal shell of the generator began to redden and warp. Fire roared from the top, blasting through the roof. The heat began melting the Ice and frozen Earth. A flex, roll, and Kato was free, punching a hole in the stone floor and digging far and fast to escape a fire Tomana had never conceived of.As he tunneled, Kato kept in his mind a picture of Klowa and Joga. Zoxara was ahead of him, and the Hunter ahead of Zoxara. He didn’t like what chances his friends had against those two. He had to regroup with them, before...Only one generator left. Joga, Klowa, I’m on my way.

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Edited by Zo'Tomana, Jul 05 2012 - 04:17 PM.

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Softly Call the Muster

Let Comrade Answer Here

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BS01 History Page --- The Sleeping World


#22 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Jul 18 2012 - 01:20 AM

Uprising

Excavate slowed his jerky, adrenaline fueled movements as he took in the tower that dominated the plaza before him. Marble tiles covered the area, statues of Matoran in various poses and fountains decorated with Rahi sculptures dispersed throughout. The generator tower itself loomed in the center of the plaza.It was small compared to the last one he had seen, but still its six story tall frame was impressive in height, deceptively fragile looking. Polished black steel covered its spindly form, a cobweb of pipes and steel frames. Suspended in the center of the tower was a noticeably protected area, spherical in shape and completely concealed. That was where the generator was held.Excavate had already been told of the density of the steel, of the redundant supports in the design, and with the limited number of Cordak Rockets he had left, only two shots, there was no way he was getting through the armor.From the top of the tower, a glowing and calm energy of orange and pink flowed upward into the sky.He took in the base of the structure: four limbs that rose to combine together into the main spireI can’t destroy it directly, but if I were to knock out one of those legs then that might topple it.But he would need to be sure that each rocket had enough power to blow the tower’s one branch. He didn’t think he had enough fire power to destroy two of the legs, though that would be much more efficient. He’d have to place them both correctly, like chopping down a tree, and take a shot, detonating them from a distance with a laser bolt.Taking his steps forward to get started, Excavate winced at the pain in his ankle. It wasn’t too bad, and the sprint was helping him along. But the irritation was there. The loss of his mobility, it was something he couldn’t ignore.The bright light in the area, cast off by the lamps above, brought shadows around him, dark to the bases of some of the statues. The area was completely barren, and Excavate moved in cautiously. There was no security, no Matoran forces at all.They’ve been called off… The Dark Hunter thought.It was then he caught the movement in his right eye. He quickly turned but wasn’t fast enough to block the body that shot from one of the shadows and the flying kick that landed square in his side.Excavate fell to the ground and clench his mouth at the pain in ankle. Swiftly, he got up and snapped his two swords up into his hands. Joga was already on the move, swinging his axe from right to left, cleaving the air with a powerful blow that Excavate barely caught with his blades.He’s using one hand. The other is...The Dark Hunter’s eyes widened as the Toa cut his left hand toward his enemy’s chest, and unleashed a blizzard of power from his palm. As he did so, he twisted his pickaxe around Excavate’s blades, and one of the swords dropped onto the ground.Excavate flew back into one of the fountains, half lying in the water. His body was etched with small ice shards and he shivered, his breath knocked out of him, his other sword lying in the water by his hand. The pool was only a few inches deep, and as the Toa of Ice took his steps closer, the water started to freeze.“That seemed familiar, didn’t it? I decided to follow your example in combat,” Joga told him, eyes narrow. “If you’re going to defeat a Dark Hunter, you have to think like him. No more hesitation and first strikes are without warning.”The water froze completely solid, and Excavate felt numb, while he gathered his senses.“You’ve endangered everyone here, and I won’t let you bare them to further attack. It’s over. And you’ve already lost.”As the Toa spoke, the Dark Hunter charged his body with energy, his torso and eyes glowing. In a breath, the ice shattered, and Excavate started to stand. Taking in steady breaths, he noticed that Tomana’s sword had loosened against his leg, the slim piece of cloak having broken off. His ankle felt heavier.Joga had been knocked back a few steps by the energy discharge, and stood staring at the Toa out of closed stance.“Alright, we finish it.” Excavate unhooked his cloak from his back, letting it fall to the ground to reveal his slim body. He felt bruised. Small cuts from the battle over the course of the night marked notches in his armor. The warriors, fully conscious of each other, held their ground for a brief moment, re-evaluating their opponent.Excavate fired a swift bolt of energy toward the Toa with his right hand and then followed up with a shot from his cable launcher.Moving his pickaxe, Joga created a small ice barrier only a foot wide to absorb the blow. He jumped to the left, dodging the cable and charged forward, weapon at the ready.The cable continued to move past and hooked itself against a sword Excavate had dropped on the ground. It instantly recoiled.But Joga had anticipated the move, and caught the cable with his hand, slicing through it with a single swing of his axe. Excavate feinted a dodge right, and swung a quick beam of energy left.Joga rolled, firing another blast of ice as he rose, catching the Dark Hunter in the chest.Half immobilized physically and mentally, Excavate could only watch as the Toa pushed with his legs to leap and cross the distance between them. He brought his axe down on the Dark Hunter, an opportunity for a killing blow.The axe made contact, and Excavate could only cry out.***She took her steps easily, one at a time. She didn’t want to move forward, really, she didn’t. This Hunter would do anything, anything, to make sure his job got done. She knew that, she knew his type.And she was scared.Staring down at her brother, Klowa watched Joga’s chest move up and down, slowly. He was sitting upright against one of the statues, scratched up in the armor a little, but unharmed. He was also unconscious, with a cut at his right side where a sword had pierced him from below. Still, he was very much alive.Turning, breathing heavily, she noticed one of the blades the Dark Hunter had used lying on the marble ground. Walking over, she stood above it and after long consideration, slowly lowered on one knee to pick the thing up. It was made of protosteel, durable and sharp. Her fingers tightened around the metallic, impersonal hilt. She stood. Her armor reflected blue color onto the ground as she came into the low light.Looking upward, she took in another breath. And she saw him. Her fear of what she could lose, her brothers and her people, pushed her to ask a question that troubled her mind. She needed to know something.“What’s your name?” she called, her voice not her own.The Hunter didn’t turn for a moment. He had his back to her, and he was standing up against one of the frames of the Tower, his hands inside a small open hatch. His Cordak blaster was at his feet, and his cloak was missing. At his leg, torn pieces of cloth hung aimlessly and ripped. A bright white sword, Zoxara’s sword, was strapped to his back. He glanced over his shoulder to acknowledge her, before returning to work.“…Gonrith.” His face was slightly strained as he spoke. “No sudden moves, Toa. The missiles from the Cordak are armed. A strong impact will cause them to go off. You can kill me if you’d like,” he placed his hands into the hatch once more. “But I promise you, striking me this close to the explosives will only help me .”“Then come down. We’re finishing this.” She spoke, not requesting, but commanding. “Once you drop the shield, those Skakdi will come. We know it. And these people will die.” On that last word, she emphasized it with a yell.Excavate turned around completely, revealing himself. He had a large gash in his left shoulder, an open wound and one Klowa knew Joga had dealt. She looked on in surprise.Yet, she recalled, Joga was still alive.“I get you. I know what you are,” she continued, teeth clenched and anger rising.The Hunter pulled out his sword and held it in a brief salute for her, still on much higher ground. He neared closer to the edge.Klowa watched that wound on his left shoulder, realizations coming to her.“I understand you.” Her eyes narrowed and Excavate inspected her voice and face, realizing she was driven. She was terrified of losing her city. “Listen!” she shouted. “You won’t save anyone by doing this! You’ll only remain who you are.”Then she charged, a battle cry in her voice as Excavate jumped off and moved forward as well. But as he landed, pressing his weight down on his good leg to soften the fall, his thoughts unfocused and came back to what Marow had told him so long ago.***Steel against steel, her breathing was erratic as she leapt back and with another swipe of her sword, created a wave of flowing water. It was directed as a fierce jet, hitting Excavate as hard as any rock could. It threw him off and he returned the fire with a bolt of energy from his weakened left arm.Klowa brought up her acquired sword and deflected the shot easily, twisting around as she did so for another strike.She was impressive and desperately gaining the upper hand with every move. Excavate had known from the start she was supposed to have been a great swordsman. But her fear for the city was driving her to act without caution, and it was exactly what was throwing him off.He was weakened, and he couldn’t keep up with her, not even close. She wasn’t underestimating him anymore, and she was acting far outside the way he expected.With a quick swipe from left to right, he drove her back and fired two bolts from his left arm once more. The first one she shielded herself from, the second she took to the shoulder in full. But instead of stumbling back, she ignored any pain and charged forward. Excavate’s eyes widened and he took a stab at her mask, noticing for the first time the Mask of Shielding she wore. The steel cut against her mask, but didn’t even scratch it. He felt the protective energy repel it away.Meanwhile her body bunted shoulder first into his and she sliced upward across his torso as soon as space separated them. He could only move away as she rushed past him, and aiming another cut at his left leg and striking his wound.Excavate cried out as his leg seemed to vanish from under him, driving him to the ground. He rolled and scrambled to get away, out from the reach of his own blade.Flowing water floated from the fountain sources like creatures, following Klowa like she was their mother.Excavate stood up once more, using Tomana’s sword for support. He watched his opponent as she brought his blade up, arms outstretched before her. The sword’s edge was lowered as her wrists bent. It was directed at him, parallel to the ground. Without a word, she made the gathered streams of water fly at him.He brought up Tomana’s blade to match her attack, dodging what currents he could while pushing forward.Then she ran toward him, her blade catching against his, neither one giving in as they pressed against each other.His arm gave first, and their blades strayed off with a sharp clang. He felt his own sword cut against his right side as she pushed, cleaving a gash in his armor down to the muscle. Klowa kept her eyes on his, a merciless, resolved look in her face as the blade cut in closer.She was up against his chest and he leaned forward, the world beginning to swim before his eyes. Her body now held up his.“You changed. That’s what it was. That’s what you couldn’t save.” She told him, still watching his eyes as they started to dim. “You and Zoxara are exactly the same. You both will drop this city, because you think it’s your duty and the right thing. Yet you protected me and my brothers, thinking that maybe it’ll redeem what you’ve done? If you felt no guilt, you wouldn’t have bothered. Get it? Despite it all, even if you had succeeded, I’m not going to kill. We’re not like you, which is why Joga showed you mercy. No one is going to change me… not like someone changed you, Dark Hunter.”He felt too heavy, and her words played like music in his mind. The sad lamentations of his inner thoughts sprouting upward, wanting to speak aloud, to correct what she had said, somehow. To deny what she told him? To agree with her? Excavate wasn’t sure. He wasn’t sure what he wanted with this mission, and he could no longer remember why it was important to him. He was so tired now, so full of pain.“Klowa,” was the last thing downhearted words he heard Tomana say before he felt his mind shut down completely.***Excavate resurfaced to a wild storm. Tomana seemed to hover before him, arms outstretched controlling a slowly dissipating blizzard. Once it was done, Klowa stood about fifty yards away.The Toa stood watching his sister from afar, his mind in a deprived state as the mission’s conflicting morals continued to throw heavier burdens upon him. He was almost completely spent, physically and elementally. He had sprinted here from the last generator, arriving just in time to hear Klowa’s speech, and immediately feel the guilt he had been trying to lock away.For the greater good or not, they were right about one thing, he was condemning them all.Crouching down, he moved an arm under Excavate’s shoulder to help him up. “Are you alright?”“Yes.” Excavate looked at the tower and then at his partner. It was a disconcerting sight, the Toa’s eyes were half open, vague, distant. “Listen, I’ve armed my last rockets at the tower, the forefront branch is holding them. We just need a single shot to topple it.”Tomana looked toward the Generator Tower’s direction. And then at Klowa, who stood at a distance, now watching them. With a grim expression and eyes of anger, she moved forward. Quickly, Tomana unhooked his arm from his friend and retrieved his light blaster from his back, locking in ammunition.“Get in closer, and take that shield down.” Tomana ordered as he took a step in front of the Dark Hunter. “I’ll buy you time.”Excavate replied with a curt nod. But he hesitated, and placed a hand on the Toa’s shoulder.“Tomana…”He glanced over his shoulder, keeping his other senses on the Toa of Water. Excavate just watched Klowa as he spoke.“Nations and cities fall every day, even Toa aren’t innocent of that crime. But you know why we’re doing this, and you have faith in it. It has to be done, despite anything else.”It wasn’t something he had expected from his comrade, but somehow he felt like they were said for the Dark Hunter’s reassurance as well as his own. What Excavate felt about all this he wasn’t completely sure. Tomana on the other hand, felt a sickness to what they were doing, at least one half of him, perhaps his younger self.But … the other half, the Member of the Order of Mata Nui, the stronger Toa he had grown into, knew what had to be done, knew what he stood for today.Tomana felt the hand on Excavate’s shoulder release him, as the Dark Hunter stood weakly. He took aim at his Sister, and ran. Behind him, Excavate clenched a fist, and hurled a bolt of energy in a wide arc toward the waiting rockets.***Kato tunneled as quickly as possible in the darkness, shifting and seeing and feeling like a worm, delving through basements of buildings and structures in a direct line toward the plaza. When he finally got beneath the square, he stopped, listening for the ruptures and sounds of the earth. He picked up the fight between Klowa and Excavate, and Zoxara’s intervention. When everything became silent he drew in the power of the Earth around him, and placed both hands on the ground above him. He gave an estimate on his location, and pushed.***The first stream of water he froze and shattered. The second swiftly rushed past him and absorbed the shot made by Excavate. The flowing water crashed into the Dark Hunter, unable to dodge in his state.Tomana aimed with his light blaster and landed a direct hit at the Toa of Water. But the shot dispersed around her form, her Mask of Shielding glowing brightly. Raising her sword high, she struck.The blade came down on his Light Blaster, which Tomana raised as a quick shield and twisted with the blow as she moved forward. But as he moved past her, she had spun around and landed another blow to his right arm.The sword had barely cut him, but it was too close of a shot. And he couldn’t afford for her to take another.In the next moment, the blade was raised to his throat just as he raised his gun.“You shoot me, I’ll live through it.” Klowa snapped.“I’ve fought with that blade before, and it hasn’t gotten me until now.” Tomana replied, slowly.“Sorry…” And she moved forward, just as the ground began to shake.Tomana glanced down, just as she did, both distracted. A vision suddenly came upon him, the ground exploding in an uproar around them with Kato appearing from beneath.Quickly, he stretched out with his free hand and froze the ground in a thick ice. Klowa couldn’t move her legs, and Tomana leaped backward. Her face lit up in surprise as the earth and marble came up around her, swallowing her.Tomana landed on his back, skidding against the cracked marble. He reached for his Blaster as Klowa fell before his feet. She slowly got up, her mask having been lost. Her expression was in complete surprise as she watched him reflexively raise his gun.The Toa of Ice forced his next words, “I...wouldn’t have-”Kato appeared from behind her, out from the smoke and dust, black armor and weapon raised high. With a shout, Tomana raised his blaster and fired a light blast at the Toa of Earth.He disappeared, falling back into the cloud.The Toa of Ice and Water breathed in silence, quietly asking what the other would do. Klowa had an expression of sadness, while Tomana was just surprised by what he had done. He closed his eyes, making up his mind on what he had to do. She was correct about a lot of things.He lowered his gun, aimed it at her face.He hesitated.“I’m sorry.”She just watched him, a struggle of anger and confusion on her face, before she finally saw the same emotions in his own. And she softened her eyes just a little.“…I know.”Moving his armed hand to the right, directly in line for the Tower’s leg, he fired.***The burning Tower was between the two sides, with the Toa on one, Tomana and Excavate on the other.They were a Dark Hunter, and Order of Mata Nui Member. But to the Toa of Coral, they didn’t belong anywhere. Smoke covered their bodies, but the silhouettes revealed by the flames on their side, still remained.Klowa watched as one of the two moved to lift the other up. Joga slowly approached his brother and sister. He looked upward as the soft glowing shield slowly folded and faded away. The city was defenseless and the sun was calmly rising above the horizon.“We don’t have a lot of time,” Kato acknowledged. He turned toward his friends and smiled, just not one of joy. “We’ll have to take as many as we can.”Klowa and Joga simply nodded.“And them?” his Sister asked.Kato watched the traitors’ shadows for a long moment, before they slowly faded away. “Leave them. They’re not important to us. Let’s tend to what is.”And with that, they walked away, toward an uncertain future._____

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Edited by Grant-Sud Rises, Jul 18 2012 - 01:21 AM.

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#23 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Sep 06 2012 - 11:59 AM

Part 5: Ascension

Rest Up, Brothers

The second Excavate appeared inside Daxia fortress’s teleportation zone with Tomana and Botar, at least three beings of varying species grasped onto his shoulders. And it was only at that second did the Dark Hunter realize how tired he was. He and Tomana allowed themselves to collapse and be carried off. One of the larger beings, a local of Stelt wearing a Mask of Healing, spoke up.“How much time do you both have until you need to regroup with Rekken’s forces?”“We have a week to return. If we don’t, they’re going to consider us MIA and our contract will be terminated,” Excavate told him.“Alright,” the blue creature replied. “We’ll need to start right away.”***Two days went by in a blur, full of treatments, sleeping, waiting and healers. By the fifth day, he was healed and done with any treatment, constantly visiting - and being visited by - Tomana. Even Marow was able to come speak with them to see how they was doing. Despite their refreshed state, they were both ordered to take it easy and recover.Sleeping on his bed, he hadn’t woken from the first knock or the second and it was only when Tomana opened the door himself that Excavate grudgingly awoke. The Toahad been returned to his characteristic armor and all damages to his body had been fixed.“Hey…” the Dark Hunter said with one eye shining and the other closed. “Are we being shipped out?”“No. Helryx does have a meeting for us, but we have five days yet.”“Good. I want to sleep until then.”Tomana grinned and took a seat at Excavate’s desk. “It was a long mission. I’m okay physically. But mentally, I need to rest.”“Yeah,” Excavate agreed. He reached upward and placed his arms behind his head, propping it up. “Any news? At Coral I mean?”The Toa of Ice nodded and placed both his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together. “Most of the Matoran have decided to release their city fully to the Skakdi Warlord with the statement that the Skakdi defenses are more dangerous than no defense at all,” Tomana allowed himself a brief grin before returning to his news. “Officially, while Skakdi move in, the Toa are leading the inhabitants to a distant region prepared to take them in.”Both Excavate’s eyes were fully open and he listened alertly.“Unofficially…” Tomana said slowly. “We’ve picked up word from communications that some of the city has decided to stubbornly stay, because they know it was Skakdi who planned the attack on their shields to begin with. The rebel faction is being resistant. The Toa aren’t supporting it and feel an exodus is the safest route. We’re not sure yet if the Skakdi will go after the fleeing Matoran, but we doubt it…”“They won’t want to waste time to go after them. They’ll probably capture the resistance, and use them as miners. Rekken will concentrate on defending and establishing their new base. Other Skakdi Fractions will think of taking it while they are weakened, so he’ll move in his armies there.”“That’s what we believe,” Tomana confirmed. “As for the Toa? If they’ll make it out of the region without interference from hostile forces, I’d be surprised. I’m not sure if we’re going to provide protection, since we normally don’t intervene unless it pertains to an assignment… though we have been maneuvering things much more than we used too.”Tomana’s voice strayed off at that last sentence.“I’m sorry, Tomana. We did what we could…”The Toa waved it off, “It’s alright. In the end it couldn’t have gone down any other way.“Besides,” he continued, sitting up straight. “You did everything you were told. I was the one who changed the operation halfway through. Speaking of which, is something wrong?” He raised three fingers and pointed to each, one by one. “Doing what you’re told on a mission, feeling regret for not being able to help me, sleeping like the doctor ordered… I think I even see a smile?”Excavate let out a sharp exhale that was half laughter.“Maybe we didn’t succeed with the mission. Maybe, we’re both dead and in Artahka or something…” Tomana joked, but spoke with earnestness. “You really have changed alot since I first met you.”Excavate didn’t reply while he sat upright himself on the edge of his bed. He stared down at his hands, curling his fingers and stretching them out again. He looked at his repaired armor across his arms, but noticed the little niches and scars that had just never been fully polished over.“We’ve been through alot over the past two years,” Excavate told him. He looked up at his friend.“Yeah, and it’s going to be weird after this mission. Being on my own as an official member will be…” Tomana struggled with the words, choosing them correctly. “It will be strange to not know my partner is watching my back. I’ll have to do it myself. I was appointed as a Member the day before we teamed up, you know.” Tomana gave him a look, “And I’ll admit my promotion was probably for the obvious reasons surrounding you.”“You do a good job. Though I’m sure they probably thought we’d fail long ago. They weren’t expecting to keep us around for so long.” Excavate wasn’t surprised by the news Tomana had given him, and he hoped that after he left, if he could ever leave, they wouldn’t strip the Toa of his position.“Maybe,” Tomana agreed. But he nodded after a second thought. “Or maybe they thought we’d succeed. And it looks like we did.”“Either way, when we’re finished, I want you to know that I will miss our, whatever it is we’re called. Our small team of two I guess.”“We’re brothers,” Tomana corrected. “And we always will be.”The word felt fresh in his mind. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had called him that, but only knew the customary thing between Toa was to hold out your fist and let your friend hit back. So that’s what he did.***“First off, congratulations,” Toa Helryx started, standing before them in her throne room. Her eyes watched them both approvingly, and there was a half smile on her face. Tomana wasn’t surprised by her mood, though it was rare. The Water Toa was extremely delighted over the fact that the Makuta was so close to being in their hands.“We’re not done, but rest assured that the hardest part is over. We’ll be sending you both out within tomorrow, so I suggest you get sleep. Your final mission is a simple one, rejoin the Skakdi forces and await the Makuta’s capture.”Excavate and Tomana exchanged glances.“The mission is played out as follows: We’ll be sending you both back to Rekken to retrieve the reward money and keep up with your appearances. Rekken is planning an all out assault on our enemy’s near fortress, who has occupied a mountain region to the north of Coral.”As Helrxy spoke, a holographic layout of the Northern Continent flickered into existence right before their eyes. The large land zoomed into the eastern area, where the desert region’s details were displayed and the small dot of Coral was noted.“Since their new city is defenseless, he’s attempting an offensive plan built around their new energy supply. The Skakdi’s enhanced weapons have now received the power source they have been waiting for, and they are worthy of fighting the Makuta’s armies.”Small blue lines streamed from different areas of the desert and met at Coral, representing Rekken’s forces. Then the merged and larger line made its way from the fallen city to the north where the red symbol of the Makuta’s fortress stood.“We, while the chaos of their battle ensues, will send in a team to capture the Makuta herself. Before this all starts, you will offer to sell Rekken factual information concerning the Makuta of Storm’s fortress defenses, army quality and quantity which we have received by spies. Not only that, but courteously we have devised a sure proof plan that will allow vehicles of his to reach the fortress’s sight via a hidden constructed route and destroy it with heavy artillery.”“Won’t Rekken be suspicious that we’re providing this information so generously?” Tomana asked, while his eyes studied the layout. “He could think we’re double agents for the Makuta if we keep getting involved.”“Not necessarily,” Excavate considered. “Dark Hunters are war profiteers. It’s no news that the Brotherhood is taking land in the Northern Continent and if that happens, they’ll rule with a structured and iron fisted society. Being against the winning side, so there’s more fighting, rebellions, and revolutions, is exactly what Hunters would want. Not only that, but we all know relations between the Dark Hunters and Makuta are abysmal. We've been on and off at war with them for years now.”“Exactly,” Helryx concluded. “Once Rekken sends in his troops and destroys the fortress, the Makuta will be in our custody. Stay on the battle site until the mission is completed, we’ll need operatives to observe the war and report in on it later.”“Of course,” Tomana nodded. “We'll pack up any supplies we need.”“Good. Dismissed to prepare.”_______

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Edited by Grant-Sud Rises, Sep 06 2012 - 12:02 PM.

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#24 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Jan 20 2013 - 03:02 PM

Deadline

 

 

 

The protosteel blade sliced into the armor of the Rahkshi like butter. The Kraata squealed as Excavate ran past the creature, effectively killing it as the blade was pulled away. Spinning to the right, he brought up his blade to deflect an oncoming laser from another Rahkshi, one of Heat Vision. Pushing forward, the laser struck back at the son of Makuta, splitting its armor open.The Dark Hunter heard the hissing sound of more enemies ahead and turned to see them aiming their staffs at him, filled with destructive energies of all sorts. Excavate took a step back, calculating a plan to defeat them, when a sudden blast of ice came from out of the blue.Surprised, but not too surprised, Excavate took notice of Tomana on the battlefield yards away, fighting his own monsters. The Toa took a second to glance his way, somehow knowing Excavate was watching him, and nodded.A sudden barrage of explosions surrounded Tomana, smoke and dust covering him. Three Skakdi allies rushed forward into and through the smoke. Tomana charged from out of it as well as they all began firing off their own assortment of weapons.Oh yeah Helryx, a real easy mission, Excavate thought to himself as another Rahkshi appeared from behind.The mission so far, however, had gone very successfully. Rekken had welcomed the two “Dark Hunters” with open arms, and after some information was passed the King Skakdi agreed to their plan. What they knew of the Makuta’s armies had so far been almost completely correct. The landscape near the Mountain Fortress wasn’t as barren as the rest of the desert, quite the opposite as the entire area was covered in grassy fields and forests, all a glistening green. Even the sun gave the sky a pinkish hue that was beautiful, if it weren’t for the war going on.Both sides were sending in platoon after platoon of Skakdi and Rahkshi that didn’t seem to end, all in various colors of armor with all the intent of killing the other. And so far, the Skakdi were winning.The Makuta had no idea this wave would come so suddenly, and had no idea her opponents would know what sort of army she possessed.Excavate slashed at a Rahkshi, swiftly kicking its body away while firing a bolt of energy with his free hand at another. Having lost one of his blades to the Toa of Coral, he had acquired a new one from the Order which was on his back awaiting use.How many Rahkshi had he faced now? Ten, twenty? The battle had been going on for an hour at least. It had been Excavate and Tomana’s decision to join in the war as it was the best way to be available in case the Order had new developments and the best way to escape from Rekken’s gaze in the chaos.Rekken himself wasn’t fighting, but instead was in a quiet position of observation. High above and out of range of any fighting at an outpost, the Skakdi was constantly receiving information from Telepathic Skakdi and scouts from the sky. The King was spilling out orders constantly, and it amazed Excavate to see the different patterns in strategy as they moved in closer. The Skakdi armies would hold their position for a time, or charge ahead, flank from the right or move from the left. They were organized well.Far ahead, the tallest mountain contained the Makuta they were searching for, somewhere hidden in there. She was watching everything, Excavate was sure. And it would only be ten minutes before it was all over.The team of Order Members had been sent in. Qualified and trained for the job, Botor had teleported them, a team of four, as close as he could to the theorized throne room. Even as Excavate battled against the Rahkshi, they probably had her in custody. And Rekken’s special bombardment units were moving in from the far west to destroy the mountain. The route had been constructed by the Order using numerous Nuvhok, from a species called Bohrok with drilling capabilities that outmatched anything Excavate had seen in the skills of tunneling. The route was just out of range from all the Makuta’s scouts, a flaw in their security that had been discovered. By the time their side saw the tanks arriving, it’d be too late to come up with any counter plan.Excavate charged upward on a slope as three Rahkshi rushed down to meet him. To his right, a sudden rapid fire of ice shards clipped his opponents, downing two of the three. Excavate cut deep into the last one, just in time to see Tomana rush up from the hill as well.“How are you doing?” he asked loudly, blade in hand. Obviously it had been used often, slime of Kraata covered all of it and the Toa.“About as good as you, if I look the same,” Excavate responded.Immediately they both turned to the sound of a Rahkshi’s hiss. The Dark Hunter unleashed an energy bolt, shattering the creature’s helmet and a following well targeted ice shard killed the Kraata inside.“We’re holding them… but that’s all. We can’t seem to break through at this last line,” Excavate continued. “Are you thinking that?”“I agree. We’re pushing, but slowly,” the Toa of Ice responded. “It should all be over soon though. Only minutes to go, I’d say.”The Dark Hunter nodded a response, as three mutated Nui-Kopen caught his attention. Soaring through the sky, the big wasps fired an explosive energy to the ground, uprooting grass and dirt in the wake.“Scatter!” Tomana commanded, leaping down the hill as Excavate ran to the left. The dirt rained on the Toa as he rolled downward. Righting himself up, he fired a few ice blasts from his sword, barely missing them. One of the Nui-Kopen crashed through the sky as a fireball from one of the Skakdi caught it.Excavate took in a quick assessment of the battlefield, seeing the advantages on both sides.This shouldn’t go on much longer. As soon the main fortress is destroyed, their reinforcements will be dwindled and without a commander. It’s only a –The light that flashed across his face was surprising, and he assumed it was an energy wave he had missed… but it was too bright, too sudden. When his eyes readjusted, he heard the thundering shock wave, the sound of an explosion that should have shook Mata Nui himself. And when he finally glanced upward, over the forest, he could see the cloud rising in the sky.No…“Get down!” he heard Tomana call out to everyone on the field. Excavate fell to his knees, as a sudden wave of dust poured from out of the trees ahead and covered them.***“Was… was that the …”“Yes,” Lord Rekken replied to his nearby lieutenant, his eyes narrowing at the sight of the explosion. “The convoy is gone.”It was a massive detention, but very controlled and contained, the blast only hitting a small portion of the western terrain.“Sir…” his lieutenant asked, a scowl of anger forming. Not toward his Lord, but toward those responsible.The cloud of smoke rose high into the sky, a warning from the Makuta. Rekken smirked though. He was no coward, and this kind of strategy was just what he expected from his opponent.Of course, certain things needed to be adjusted.“The convoy; were they in position to strike the fortress at the time of the explosion?”The Skakdi gave a questioning look to a nearby tactical and communications officer. He received a no.“No sir. They were minutes away.”“Alright. Then the Makuta knew they would come in from that side specifically… Has the second team of tanks been deployed, tailing the first?”“Yes sir.”“And we didn’t tell the Dark Hunters about that group did we?”“No word has been given to them.”“Good. Then if they don’t know, the Makuta may not know.” Rekken turned to his second in command and sharply gave out the following orders. “Plow through that last Rahkshi barrier and bring in enough bombardment units to strike from the front, while our second group continues in the west. They won’t risk that sort of firepower so close to their mountain and it’ll serve as a good distraction. We’re evacuating. If those Dark Hunters told the Makuta about our position, it serves to good reason they may try bombing us next.”“Yes sir! Sending out the orders and evacuating now.”“Good.” Rekken turned from his station, the large screen showing the battlefield and the land outside. His cloak swept around his slightly hunched form. Then a sudden grin came to his face, teeth large and sharp.“Oh, and before I forget. Speaking of those two Dark Hunters we have on my side, on my field with my troops? Execute them.”***Excavate’s mind reeled. Something had gone horribly wrong. Glancing over, he saw Skakdi immediately snap out of their haze and continue their fight against the Makuta’s armies. They fought with uncertainty, though. Surely everyone knew it. The convoy was gone.What in Karzahni’s name happened? he thought. Was there something we missed? Did Rekken betray his own people?He brought up his blade as his next opponent came closer. Glancing to his right, he noticed Tomana strangely rush into the jungle.I’ll have to catch up with him in a moment. Figure this out-Instantly he felt a claw wrap around his neck, and lift him up, feet dangling above the ground. Excavate couldn’t breathe and struggled against the unexpected grasp.A Skakdi grunted behind him.“Well, well, well. It seems we have a traitor among us.”Excavate gasped, as everything began to go dark…***He knew he had seen Botar. No one could miss such an ugly face, even if it was half covered by a tree trunk.The moment that explosion had gone off, Tomana had come to the conclusion of only one thing: the capture team must have failed. It made sense. If the team had lost, the Makuta would have no trouble reading their minds and learning about the deadline they were on.And if Botar had made himself known on the battlefield, it meant they needed to talk.He sensed someone to right, and stopped instantly. There was someone…A sharp warning rang off in his head, and the Toa immediately ducked as a projectile sailed over him. Yards away, a Skakdi stood, poised with weapon in hand.Tomana glanced to his left, and then over his shoulder. Three of them.It made sense of course, that Rekken would now want them dead. After all, the Skakdi King knew nothing about the Order’s strike team. Who else was there to blame?Activating his mask, Tomana almost literally vanished. With everyone watching him however, his cloaking wouldn’t be as efficient. He wore the mask of stealth, good for hiding sound and allowing his body to become transparent. But it wasn’t a mask of invisibility…Rushing to the Skakdi behind him, he slashed his sword against the soldier’s shoulder and brought up a wave of ice to freeze him. The other two behind him though, could make out his body movements and aimed their unique launchers to him.Insight letting off another warning, Tomana swiftly moved behind the frozen Skakdi’s body as the two projectiles made contact. One was a lava launcher, and the other was a missile weapon.The explosion pushed Tomana to the ground and completely shattered the body of their frozen ally.Willing to kill off your own companion… Tomana thought disgustedly.The Toa turned off his stealth field, and raised his blade firing two quick shots of ice at their weapons. He charged forward, ready to deal a finishing blow.But he never got his strike, as his view of the world warped and skewed. And then before him was Botar.***Suddenly he was free and the world returned into view. Excavate glanced up to see Botar holding him by the hand and Tomana only yards away. He brought a hand to his neck, and rubbed it, struggling to get some air.“W-what happened?” he croaked out, as Botar released him.“Are you alright?” Tomana asked, surprised to see his friend in such pain. He hadn’t thought Excavate might get hurt while he chased after Botar.“I’m fine. But the Skakdi have turned on us. What’s going on?”“The mission is over,” Botar spoke up, arms crossed over his chest, sharp ugly teeth in a scowl.“We lost the convoy, but our team is still in there, right?” Excavate asked.Tomana suddenly frowned, realizing he was right. And Botar continued to confirm it.“They’ve failed the mission, and we don’t believe there are any survivors,” Botar turned to stare at both of them for a moment before continuing. “Don’t give me a look of surprise. You both knew this was a possibility. It could have been the Makuta, or something could have gone wrong in the fortress. Traps and Rakhshi around every corner… Regardless, the Makuta’s found out about the passage and now she knows about our plans. At least the Skakdi’s. We need to pull out. You’re both done with your mission, and we’ll mark it down as a success on your part.”Tomana looked down.“We can’t end it,” Excavate spoke up. “You’re going to send me in the fortress.”Botar suddenly laughed aloud, which wasn’t a pleasant sound to hear.“You can’t take her, Hunter. She’s more powerful than all three of us here, and that whole team could have been wiped out by it. It’s over.”“We can’t let her escape again. We won’t get a second chance at this!”“No.”“Tomana!” Excavated turned to his friend. His eyes were strangely pleading, and the Toa of Ice knew why. For the last two years, Excavate had been waiting for this moment. Only Tomana had the authority as a member of the same status as Botar, to fulfill Excavate’s request. He closed his eyes in thought. They couldn’t defeat the Makuta. Then again, they only had to capture her. And …“He’s right,” Tomana responded after a moment, opening his eyes. “Botar, it’s taken us too long to find the Makuta when she didn’t know we were looking for her. If a strike team from an unknown organization has made an attempt on her, she might disappear for good.”“He doesn’t have the skill. If I send him, it’ll simply be a waste of a Servant.”“You’re not going to just send him. You’re sending both of us.” He raised his hand. “I know, but listen, it’s the only way. We need the information that Makuta is holding. It’s too vital for us to lose without taking a small risk.”Tomana didn’t tell Botar that Excavate’s plea probably wasn’t for the Order, but for his own freedom that was secured with the Makuta’s capture. But regardless, the Order’s own reasons should be good enough.“She won’t be expecting a second team,” Tomana continued, “Because there wasn’t a planned one. And if she’s found out about the Order from them, we can’t allow her to bring that information back to the Brotherhood.”Botar frowned. “Alright … if you’re going to capture her, you’ll need to break her armor. And that’s not going to be an easy task. Her armor is made of some of the most powerful material, and even your swords need a clear cut to get through it. Then your only chance is for Tomana to freeze her antidermis, which is stored inside the armor. You’ll have to be thorough in solidifying all of it.”Excavate nodded. He had only two blades and some knives as weapons, but nothing close to the ammunition that he held during his battle with the Toa at Coral.“One last thing, we’ve gotten word that the Skakdi King is planning a second assault of tanks against the fortress. We think he’s going to succeed in this fight. So you have no less than fifteen minutes. Send me some kind of signal to pick you up. If I don’t receive the signal… you’ll have no way of getting out of there regardless of whether you capture her or not.”He received a nod from both.Botar raised his hand to their shoulders and concentrated his energies.“I’m sending you to the same spot I sent the first team. I hope Mata Nui’s helping us here, you’re going to need it.”Tomana grinned. “It was nice knowing you, Botar.”And in the next moment, they teleported from sight.

 

 

 

 

 

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[color=#000000;]Review Topic[/color]


Edited by Quote (Mr. Traveler), Jan 20 2013 - 03:03 PM.

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#25 Online Zox Tomana

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Posted Jan 28 2013 - 10:10 PM

Earlier in Time, Stronger in Law

Botar dropped Tomana and Excavate off in a small room off the main hallway of the mountain fortress. It seemed that the previous strike team had been successful in clearing at least most of the way. Rahkshi armor littered the passage like chutes crisscrossed Le-Metru, and it wasnt until they had made to the door two floors beneath the throne room that things had begun to go bad."I've seen a lot of things," Excavate had warned Tomana as he'd looked in. "This isn't the worst, but you may want to brace yourself."Just inside the door, fragments of a Kanohi Iden lay before wasteland of Rahkshi and Visorak. The mangled body of an Order Agent was before them with five crushed Exo-Toa guards at the foot of the next stairs.Tomana silently stepped around the bodies and knelt by the Agent, stripping the corpse of identifying items. Hed known this Agent well."Tomana-" Excavate began, but he was cut off."Tomana!" a voice shouted. The Toa of Ice stood up, hand on his blade, looking around. "Tomana, over here!"The voice was coming from one of the Exo-Toa."Arien?" Tomana look at the scrap heaps."Tomana, you have to go back." Arien's voice came, more softly now. "I was only just able to use my Iden before I was killed. I took over this Exo-Toa and helped the others through, but they've been eliminated by now. Go back. Go-" the voice stopped.Tomana picked up Arien's sword from the ground and placed it on top of his friends body. "We can't turn back, not now.""Tomana," Excavate stated again, "do you know if there is another way into the throne room?"The Ice Toa looked hard at the Dark Hunter, thinking. "No, I don't think so. The only plans we have of this facility are ones that could be obtained by capturing some Brotherhood minions previously stationed here. They made no mention of a backdoor.""Then I hope that the fruit of the others efforts will get us to the threshold.""Lets go."They ran now, the wreckage becoming more violent as they continued. Two more Agents were found at the base of the stairs beneath the throne room. Tomana dug a stone from the floor and hid any Order specific gear. Up above they could hear the Makuta giving orders."At least two others up there," Excavate moved halfway up the stairs. "You go high, I'll go low."Tomana nodded and followed him up. He motioned a countdown, and Excavate used his power to blast the door off of its hinges.The first thing he saw was two blue armored warriors from Stelt, manipulating a large cannon. Swinging his blade, Tomana froze them in place, hearing energy sizzle from Excavates hands to take out something he couldn't see. As he came to a halt just inside the door, Excavates back to his, he saw the Makuta.Tall, brown and black, and calmly attaching a pair of claws to her hands, the Makuta spoke softly, "A second attempt? You would think the first would have been foolish enough." She stepped out from in front of her throne, revealing the body of the final Order Agent right before her feet."Stand down, Makuta." Tomanas voice was brittleThe Makuta was not impressed. Her tone of voice was eerily calm, and patient, not one he would associate with a Makuta. Her stance was upright, not crouched over or bent like a Skakdis. And her eyes, it was like they saw everything. Every secret, every thought Tomana hid behind the mental shields of his Order training.When she spoke up, it was like she was talking to a confused Matoran, "And you are who? The Shadowed Ones herald? Only that pompous fool would dare incite a Skakdi army against me, and then send a strike force directly into a Makutas lair... Or is this his doing? A little too direct, for his touch.""Makuta," Tomana moved his sword between himself and her, "you are hereby bound by the will of Mata Nui. Stand down."The Makuta looked at them, seemingly amused. "Small Toa, you would try to fight a Sister of the Brotherhood?""He's more than he seems, for a Toa." Excavate spun one of his blades, sizing up his opponent. Her arms seemed to be best place to strike, if he could get at them. "I'd suggest you do what he says."Without further warning she swiped a claw at them, forcing them to dodge a wave of chain lightning that uprooted steel plating in the floor as it passed them. Tomana rolled behind a chair, casting a blast of Ice that was immediately vaporized by Heat Vision.Excavate ran along the rooms wall, firing off multiple bolts of energy at the Makuta. All were right on target, but the Makuta wasn't avoiding them, making no attempt to dodge. They dispersed over her armor like ripples on a pond. Excavate sprinted past her, ducking beneath a contemptuous laser volley and sliding to a rest underneath a worktable near the far side of the room."A little of Toa and his friend," the Makuta was smiling. "Today must be Naming Day somewhere." She fired off a stream of plasma at Tomana. The Agent of the Order, always quick on his feet, threw himself into a roundoff to avoid it and responded with another blast of ice. The room filled with steam as his barrage ended, the Makuta's body hot with electricity. She forced Tomana back again with a pulse of Shadow energy. Seeing Excavate in the corner of her eye as he was coming from beneath the table, she activated her power over Gravity crushing him with the previously leaf-weight table.Tomana closed his eyes. He had to do get her armor open somehow. Sensing a blast, he leapt, landed, spun, rolled and slashed upward, but the Makuta dodged it and struck at his head with a high kick, swinging her entire body behind the blow. She was using her Kraata powers and would have connected - Insight or no Insight - if Excavate hadn't taken that moment to leap onto the Makuta, latching onto her back with both hands. The Makuta, graceful despite her height, spun around and backpedaled against a wall, briefly stunning him and causing him to drop before she returned to Tomana.The Ice Toa's eyes were still closed, but Insight wasn't a match for a Makuta. She missed her next series of attacks, but as Tomana was flipping out of the way of more Chain Lightning, she activated her Accuracy and kicked at her throne. A chunk of protodermis snapped off and flew at Tomana, striking him squarely in the chest. The Toa slammed into a wall, and crumpled.Excavate body began to glow, an energy charge starting to build up. He should at least be able to dent her armor if he got off one concentrated blast.Focusing all his energy into a single beam, Excavate ran forward and slid on his knees, lifting up both arms to her shoulder and unleashed it point blank at the turning Makuta. Her upper right arm crumpled, but did not crack.The Makuta glared. She picked him up with her left arm and held him against the wall."Who sent you?" she growled.Excavate glanced at Tomana. The Toa was slowly getting up. He could stall with a little honesty. "Mata Nui."The Makuta cut into his shoulder with laser vision. "Who sent you?"Tomana was up by now, and had taken full notice of his friend's peril. Excavate looked the Makuta full in the eyes. They were beginning to glow red again when she suddenly cried out. A knife had appeared in her shoulder. She dropped Excavate and slowly turned to face Tomana. Excavate leapt up to her back again, taking hold of the stylized horns of her Kanohi and locking his legs around her chest. The Makuta reached back and grabbed Excavate, attempting to rip him off. Tomana threw another knife, planting it in her exposed chest between Excavates feet. Losing patience, the Makuta rolled forward. Tomana heard Excavates armor crack as he cartwheeled himself away, missing the blast of Shadow that his enemy had unleashed as she came up.Tomana landed his cartwheel and thrust his hand at the Antidermis leaking from the Makuta's shoulder, her movements having caused the knife to rip a larger hole. The gas he could see began to freeze, but the Makuta felt what he was doing and unleashed a power scream directly at him.The Ice Toa hit the floor, vision flashing, and began to slowly stand up using a chair, listening to the incoming steps. The knife throws had worked, but now she was mad. Insight was raging behind his eyes. He felt the air vibrate as her fist came towards him. He tried to dodge, but the visions had leapt far into the future. He could see ships surrounding Metru Nui. He could see a great battle in a desert between two titans. He saw a golden Mask being held aloft during a ceremony-The Makuta's clawed fist connected, and she followed up the strike with a blast of fragmentation. Tomana's visions cleared as his shattered body landed on the console of the great cannon, and he dimly saw Excavate dragging himself along the wall.It was over.Tomana closed his eyes as Excavate began to fade away, the mission was done.


Edited by Zo'Tomana, Jan 28 2013 - 10:39 PM.

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