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Lightfall - The Menace Of Light

light shadow lightfall part 1 menace of light

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#1 Offline Maganar

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Posted Mar 22 2012 - 07:36 PM

A couple notes before you start to read:1. I started working on this a long, long time ago. I finished recently. End result: the writing style changes will change a bit as this goes on, but it is all pre-written and I've decided I've put enough time in so far that I'm ready to just put it up regardless of the fact I feel the beginning isn't as well written as the end. It tends to get easily sidetracked...2. Yes, the chapters (esp. early ones) are very short. Very, very short - too short for my own taste. That's why I'll post multiple at a time. I wrote this is one-chapter-at-a-time bursts and they all end at any point that came to my mind as a point I could leave off in such a way that the tension would keep running. I hope you don't have anything against lots of cliffhanger-like endings!3. Lastly, I have a sequel planned. That's the one I plan on making my truly great work, and I'm going to take advantage of any input I can get from this one. So, as soon as I have a review topic set up, I would appreciate any feedback. I will be utilizing critiques, so please don't decide it's not worth your time. I am continuing on with my writing and I will listen. That said, it's time I finally put this up. This is Part 1 of "Lightfall."Lightfall-The Menace of LightChapter 1

The Southern Continent, approx. 10 years prior to Great Cataclysm

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. The entire landscape seemed to be composed of them for Tignioni. As a veteran Toa of Fire on the part of the Southern Continent would one day be called Voya Nui, he was all too familiar with the endless rocks. His life seemed to be predominated by scrabbling over them. He felt…that, perhaps, he didn’t have a purpose a here. Despite this, he was obediently poised on a rock, staring out upon the vast, unending field of yet more rocks outside of a village constructed out of even more rocks. He was to await an important shipment of goods and was to make sure that no Rahi damaged it.

Suddenly, there was a magnificently bright flash. Could this be the supplies at last? He cared for nothing more than the end to the monotonous wait. He activated his Kakama and sped off absentmindedly in the direction of the light, certain it was the Matoran convoy. Yet, when he stopped he saw nothing other than a massive hole. With a sudden realization he murmured, “Why in Mata Nui’s name is it so bright?” Noticing the light came from behind, he spun around but immediately wished he hadn’t.

A dazzlingly radiant orb of energy, with a diameter as great as he was tall, was floating behind him. The sight almost blinded him instantaneously. In fear of some trap he activated his true mask, a Mahiki, and called forth an illusion that there were nearly a dozen copies of him present. Immediately upon doing so, the orb began lashing out at the illusionary versions of Tignioni with rays of energy, with which it was combing the area. Where these touched the soil they vaporized it for as deep as the eye could see, causing a sinkhole to form as the soil collapsed inward. Tignioni frantically raced his mind to try and make sense of the situation before he was obliterated. He thought: It’s trying to kill me. Maybe I can hide if… Seeing it as his only chance, and it probably was, Tignioni called upon his elemental energy to explode the whole surrounding area.

The brilliant orb searched haze caused by the blast, but left, noticing nothing more an oddly shaped rock uncovered by that massive explosion…

Chapter 2

The Southern Continent, approx. 10 years prior to Great Cataclysm

Had there been anyone to witness the aftermath of Tignioni’s battle with the bizarre orb, they would have observed that an unusually shaped rock near the site collapsed into an unconscious Toa of Fire. Tignioni’s quick thinking to produce the illusion he was a rock and veil it with an explosion had saved his life.

A short while later, he came to consciousness. Tignioni stared up at the sky, and then thought aloud, “I believe… I have a newfound respect for rocks.” He chuckled to himself, but stopped abruptly. Where had that thing gone? What if it had reached a village? Wait…there was a village right behind him. Tignioni craned his neck in the direction of the village. There seemed to be smoke, and wasn’t it a little lower in the ground…

Tignioni suddenly felt a sinking feeling. A pit had formed when that mysterious source of light had attacked him as the dirt had collapsed inward. He reactivated his Kakama and sped off towards the village. Upon reaching the outskirts, his fears were confirmed. Buildings were destroyed, belongings knocked over, holes where concentrated light had burned through objects, and, most disconcertingly, no Matoran anywhere.

“Is there anyone here?” Tignioni cried out again, though he knew it would be futile. There were so many questions. Had it simply obliterated the Matoran? Or had it absorbed them? Was it growing in power? Could it be defeated? Where would it go next?

Tignioni circled once more, despite the fact he was sure nobody was in the area. He didn’t believe they had all died. He refused to. Yet the facts were overwhelming, and after six passes through the village and a fruitless hour searching, he surrendered himself to the truth. The village had simply been annihilated. Suddenly, Tignioni felt an urge to follow that thing, whatever it was, and stop it. He would have to get to work right away. He couldn’t stick around to explain to the nearby villages. They would just have to count him among the dead.

Tignioni set off, toward the horizon, not knowing his current, or final, destination. He knew only one thing:

He had found his destiny.

Chapter 3

Xia, approx. 920 years after Great Cataclysm

A Vortixx rounded the corner, only narrowly avoiding a volley of zamor spheres and Cordak blasts. His name was Guftivei and he was running for his life. He had always been disgusted by his society’s way of life on Xia. His near-fatal mistake was speaking up repetitively against one of the largest corporations in weapon production, and, if he wasn’t careful, it would be a fatal mistake.

The company had no regard for anything except profit. Guftivei always hated them, but the final blow was when they destroyed the last stand of vegetation on Xia. It had hardly been more than a stand of a dozen trees, but it was all that remained on Xia as far as plant life went. Now it matched everything else on the island, a complex of gray buildings surrounded by hazy smoke. He couldn’t help it any longer; he protested to it, and now he was paying for it.

Guftivei stepped aside into an empty alcove. He had to leave Xia, but where could he go? He certainly wouldn’t be accepted in one of those havens for Matoran like the Southern Continent or that metropolis apparently made by the Great Beings just for Matoran…What was it called? Oh, yes: Metru Nui. Well, with those set aside, where could he go? Zakaz would be remote enough, but he would probably be caught between vicious warlords in no time. Yet, returning to the concept of the Southern Continent, wouldn’t there have to be some sort of barrier islands offshore from the Southern Continent? They would be small and uninhabited. Yes, if he could survive on one of those, he would be safe…

His thinking was interrupted by a crackle from a zamor sphere hitting a wall. He peeked out slightly. He saw two phalanxes of armed Vortixx advancing, one from each entrance. They had pinpointed him to this building, but didn’t know where he was. They thought he was unable to escape, but they had overlooked one thing: he could travel from one building to the next on their outsides because Xia was so industrialized and the buildings so close together. It was risky, since the ground was nearly fifty bios below him, but it was his only chance. He opened a ventilation hatch and climbed out holding onto a pipe on the wall. He grabbed a railing on the building next to him and began inching his way across the exterior of the building. Upon finding another ventilation grate, he pried it off with his spear, which he had slung over his back previously.

Suddenly, his hand on the rail lost its grip. Since he had removed his other hand to grab his spear, he suddenly found himself falling towards the ground, far, far, below…


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Now released, Lightfall's spinoff, The Sordid Shafts:
...everything will change for the war-torn city of Modos.

#2 Offline Maganar

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Posted Mar 23 2012 - 03:05 PM

Review Topic

Chapter 4

Xia, approx. 920 years after Great Cataclysm

Guftivei shifted his spear horizontal. It snagged between the buildings and snapped, but slowed Guftivei down just enough to survive the fall. He immediately began running down the alleys behind the buildings, in the direction of a pier he knew about. He was in a rather dire state. He didn’t have any weapons and only a few explosives.

Suddenly two Skakdi with modified Cordak blasters pulled in front of him. Just before they shot, Guftivei bluffed, “Wait, I got something your master wants!” Deciding to play with their greed he said “I’m sure he’d pay you extra for bringing me and what I have with me right now.” One of the Skakdi grunted, then gruffly replied, “So, you have something we need, now do you? Well, put your hands up, we don’t want trouble, now do we?”

Guftivei obeyed, but when he lifted his hands, he held a bag in one. The same Skakdi noticed and grumbled “Throw that bag down. You probably want to obey, now wouldn’t you?” Guftivei gave it a glance, then apologized “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.” He tossed it to the Skakdi.

On impact, it exploded. The Skakdi were too hardy to be harmed by it, but they were startled. It gave Guftivei the second he needed to dash up to the first Skakdi and throw him back into the other one, bowling both of them over. He threw an explosive at the wall as he sprinted past. The resulting pile of rubble buried the Skakdi long enough for him to make it to the pier. Once there he took the over-inflated price a Vortixx sailor gave him for a trip to Stelt (he couldn’t afford to waste time haggling), and got moving.

However, the trouble wasn’t over yet. When he looked back he saw a ship armed to the brim headed their way. It had Kanoka launchers trained on the vessel Guftivei was in. It was easy enough to guess what effect they had: increase density.

Things were about to get interesting.

That is, if they didn’t turn deadly.

Chapter 5

Xia, approx. 920 years after Great Cataclysm

The situation was looking bleak. Yet another Kanoka disk slammed into the hull of the ship, increasing its density even more so. With a groan the body of the ship sank lower in the water. Guftivei estimated that they could take about a dozen more disks before it would all be over.

The boat’s pilot was cowering in a corner. He certainly wouldn’t be any help, Guftivei noticed as another two disks smacked the vessel. Looking up at the rigging, an idea suddenly came upon Guftivei. As another disk hit the hull he began to swing a sturdy rope wildly. Suddenly, he latched onto the rope and swung across to the attacking vessel and boarded it as soon as three disks hit the hull of his hired transport. A Vortixx with a scythe charged at Guftivei, but Guftivei simply sidestepped and the unsuspecting offender flew overboard just as one more disk hit the ship. Two more disks hit the ship as Guftivei began wrestling with one of the gunners on the enemy craft. At this point, Guftivei would have to end this before the enemies could launch another three disks into the ship.

The gunner, a gray-armored Vortixx, made a kick aimed at Guftivei’s chest, but Guftivei grabbed his foot and pulled his opponent in. The enemy thought quickly and held up an elbow intended for Guftivei’s face, but Guftivei blocked it at the last moment. As the enemy attempted to uppercut him, Guftivei grabbed his opponent’s arm mid-swing and redirected the blow to the left. While the enemy hesitated in surprise, Guftivei grabbed him around the shoulders and smacked the opponent's head into the Kanoka launcher emplacement he’d been using, knocking him unconscious.

As one more Kanoka hit Guftivei’s vessel, he grabbed a crate with over twenty still in it and smashed it upside-down into the body of the vessel he was standing on. As a result, the disks all discharged their increase density effect into the enemy vessel. Leaping into a small scouting ship attached to the back of the enemy vessel, he pushed off and headed back towards his original ride, which still had a density just low enough to float. Guftivei watched his enemies fall into hysteria as they noticed it was too late to save their ship. Guftivei’s cowardly pilot sailed off as Guftivei listened to the fading cries of their previous prosecutors.

Guftivei knew this wasn’t the end. The first thing he was going to do in Stelt was get a fast ship. He was going to sabotage the corporation responsible endlessly. Their disregard for other beings and the state of Xia itself would be their most grievous mistake. However, he had made it off Xia and they would not be prepared for his future incursions. He was more or less home-free for the time being.

Guftivei was about to settle down for a life as quiet as one could be when one is always planning sabotage. However, it would not remain that way in the future. He would be part of something greater than he had ever imagined.

Chapter 6

Small unnamed island to the east of the Northern Continent, approx. 930 years after Great Cataclysm

Emeder, a Toa of Air, was joking with Shom, the Toa of Gravity in the same Toa team. Their choice of timing was ill-fated.

Suddenly, a bright sphere appeared. Emeder averted his eyes from its brilliance. Before he could react, a blast of pure, concentrated, light energy seared the building behind him. Falling rubble pinned him to the spot and hit him in the head, causing his vision to blur. Emeder could only just make out the form a Toa of Lightning being cleanly obliterated by a shaft of destructive light. Then everything went black and he heard nothing more than screaming Matoran and the sizzling of air heated to the point of being plasma. Slowly, the sounds merged, and then muted as Emeder lapsed into complete oblivion.

When Emeder opened his eyes, his first thought was I’m stuck. It was only after shifting seemingly endless amounts of rubble off of him did he remember what had transpired. Suddenly he noticed Shom was dead, along with all the Matoran, and it was his fault. He had faltered when they needed him most. If he hadn’t been buried in the rubble he could have saved them or at least have died honorably beside them. He was a complete failure.

He searched the ruins with a hopeless demeanor. He knew they were all gone. He was the only survivor. The failure of a survivor.

Suddenly he heard Matoran voices. For a moment he let his hopes rise, before noticing it was a party of travelers. He couldn’t bear to let them see his face. They would find out he was the failure of the village. Emeder bellowed in rage then vanished into the forest. He could just hear the Matoran gasping in horror as he faded into the trees.

Emeder travelled to the nearest dock. When no one was paying attention, he stole a ship and headed south of his homeland, the homeland he had failed to protect. He knew he was hiding from his duty, and, more importantly, his destiny, but he couldn’t put up with those memories of failure.

He would eventually find himself on the Southern continent, where he would meet a certain Vortixx named Guftivei…

Chapter 7

Barrier island of the Southern Continent, approx. 985 years after Great Cataclysm

“I’d take that route. It’s shorter and more secluded.” Emeder suggested to Guftivei. They were hovering over a map of Xia. Guftivei wanted to see justice done to a corporation and Emeder wanted to forget his past so they made a perfect team for raiding Xian business conglomerates. They were currently planning the next sabotage.

There hadn’t been nearly as many barrier islands as Guftivei had hoped for. He had settled for a miniscule sandy island that he could walk around in under five minutes. It was close enough to shore that the Southern Continent was clearly visible on the island’s shoreline. Rahi birds were the only wildlife that lived on the island due to its isolation. They would hide in the dense jungle around the three-room hut he and Emeder had built in the island’s center, a location chosen to avoid the entire abode being washed away in a storm. The central room of the hut sufficed as a decent living area. The room on the left was Emeder’s private area and the room on the right was the equivalent for Guftivei. An underground cellar just behind the hut served as a storage place for arms and ammunition as well as food and other assorted belongings.

Guftivei studied the route Emeder had just proposed. “Well I had something more difficult, but more efficient to try out,” Guftivei suggested. He continued: “If we head that way we can jump onto one of Xia’s unique rail mass transit transports. We could use it to put great distance between us and any enemies and destroy one of the stations as well, to slow down the repairs. That weapon foundry will be in a horrid state after that.” With a sly grin he added “Matter of fact, it might just be in as bad of a state as this island after a storm.”

Emeder sourly responded, “That’ll be tricky to pull off, but I can live with a challenge. Let’s start readying the supplies.” He ignored Guftivei’s weak attempt at humor. Personally, he didn’t care much for comedy…not these days, at least.

They were two heroes intent on doing good, but one was running from his destiny. It wouldn’t last much longer.


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Now released, Lightfall's spinoff, The Sordid Shafts:
...everything will change for the war-torn city of Modos.

#3 Offline Maganar

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Posted Mar 25 2012 - 02:42 PM

Chapter 8

Xia, approx. 985 years after Great Cataclysm

Stealthily, Emeder maneuvered the watercraft behind the building. He clambered atop the building and awaited the next phase. Emeder spotted two guards patrolling a rooftop elevated above his position. They would be in the way. Emeder hid behind a coolant unit and waited for Guftivei to do something about them. About a minute later, he heard a choking sound. The guards had been knocked unconscious and Guftivei was standing on their rooftop. Emeder was glad that the guards hadn’t been killed. He and Guftivei tried to show mercy on their enemies, but it didn’t always work out. In the harsh and unforgiving world they lived in, allowing enemies to survive wasn’t always an option. These days, Emeder viewed the Toa code as a luxury, something he abided by if he could afford to. From what he had heard over the years, this world was collapsing, its heroes waging a losing war. The Brotherhood had turned traitorous; the Toa were vanishing; lands of prosperity like Metru Nui were falling. Despite this, He and Guftivei could still work together and right some of the wrongs in this world.

Guftivei beckoned to Emeder. Emeder threw a grappling hook across from his building up onto Guftivei’s and proceeded. Emeder removed his glaive from his back and Guftivei fed a belt of ammunition into his modified Cordak blaster, which was capable of a steady but slow automatic fire for eighteen projectiles before reloading. This weapon was a prize obtained from an earlier raid. Upon finding a fortified ventilation shaft, Emeder opened their package and removed one of the three acidic zamor spheres they had packed. This one was to create an entrance to the ventilation shafts, the second was to exit the shafts, and the third was in case of an emergency. With a powerful throw, he broke the first zamor sphere on the once-sturdy grate and watched it melt.

Guftivei fixed one of their grappling hooks to the roof and lowered the cable into the shaft. After a careful descent, the pair was above the location where they would need to exit the shafts. Emeder removed the second acidic zamor sphere and placed over their intended exit and brought the end of his protosteel glaive down upon it with as much force as the limited space in the shaft allowed. The sphere broke and created an exit in a shower of acid. Emeder leapt down and was followed closely by Guftivei.

As they had hoped, the room they had just dropped into was empty. They had frequently attacked rooms with high quantities of explosive material because it made it easy to drop an explosive and run, leaving behind untold devastation. Their foes had begun guarding these rooms much more closely, but they were in for a surprise this time. On this occasion they had chosen to enter the room that ventilated another room. The other room was a black powder refinery, where the explosive powder packed into Cordak blasters and explosive charges was made. The ventilation center would seem an odd place to attack, but because Emeder was a Toa of Air, it was actually a very strategic target.

Emeder called upon his elemental control over air and sent a powerful gust of wind through the ventilation system in the appropriate direction. Within no time, the air became hazy with black powder stirred up from the other room. This was their sign to leave. The very air within the entire building was now flammable. They left something behind as they climbed back up on the wire they had threaded through the shaft, leading up to the roof. That item was a timed charge. When it detonated, the whole building would erupt in flame as a result of the black powder in the air. The two saboteurs heaved themselves onto the roof and into the early morning outside. There was no sun in the sky at this point, only a glow on the horizon. That was when they saw movement.

Chapter 9

Xia, approx. 985 years after Great Cataclysm

Projectiles whizzed right over Emeder’s head. He and Guftivei were lying behind a pipe that snaked its way across the roof they were on. It was far from acceptable cover, but nothing else was available to them on the rooftops. The current situation was a serious snag in their plans. They had to move quickly or the whole building they were trapped on would erupt in flames torching both of them alive, as well as their attackers on the nearby buildings. In effect, the entire battle was taking place on a time bomb that the attackers didn’t even know they were standing on. Emeder realized he could use his power over air to great effect in their current location.

“Guftivei! I need a distraction! I can sweep these maniacs right off the roof on the building in front of us with a gust of air, but I have to be able to sneak around until I can see where they all are. Otherwise I’m using up elemental energy on wild misses.” Emeder called out over the noise of battle to his companion. Guftivei readied his Cordak blaster and replied, “I’ll get set and start annoying those freaks right away. Don’t worry; I am a trained professional in the art of being annoying.” Not for the first time, Emeder seriously questioned how Guftivei could be so nonchalantly cracking his pathetic jokes in a situation this terrifying.

With a battle cry, Guftivei stood up from behind the pipe and began to strafe along its length. As he opened fire with his Cordak blaster he taunted “I just dare you to hit me, you Brakas-brained fools!” Emeder took note of Guftivei’s precarious situation and quickly grappled to the building to his left, which was even taller than the building they were currently on, and ascended the cable. Guftivei was taking fire from numerous directions and no longer had any cover now that he was standing, but he diverted the fire excellently. With a practiced hand he released two to four darts in bursts of automatic fire with sufficient speed and accuracy to force his opponents to search for cover. Emeder took no fire as he reached the roof of the other building.

From here he could survey the entire rooftop battle. Guftivei was on the shorter building to his right, the one that would be blowing itself sky-high very soon. The roof of the building in front of that was essentially the same height as Guftivei’s roost, and had numerous fighters. Most of them were the lower-class slave species from Stelt. The vicious brutes were incredibly good melee fighters, so he was glad that he would not be engaging them in close range. There were also some Skakdi there. These enemies were armed with Kanoka launchers and various Xian weapons he didn’t recognize. With calculated blasts of wind, he knocked the enemies off the rooftop and into the alleyways below. He sped up the process when he noticed Guftivei was feeding the last belt of eighteen darts into his Cordak blaster. Quickly, he dispatched the final foes by sending them flying off of the rooftops. The last one, however, a Skakdi, grabbed a rail before flying over the edge. He held on just long enough to fire his eyebeams, which struck a valve on the pipe in front of Guftivei.

A pressurized gas in the pipe began to vent out of the damaged valve as a flame. Seeing the danger, Guftivei vaulted over the pipe and made a flying leap onto the roof of the building in front of him that the enemies had previously occupied until Emeder’s intervention. Immediately after this, the pipe exploded, spewing flaming shards all across the rooftops. Emeder thanked Mata Nui that it had not set the interior on fire, leading to a premature detonation of the building.

Emeder grappled safely down to the building Guftivei was now on. Noticing that he was out of ammunition, Guftivei slung his Cordak blaster over his back, beside his broadsword. The broadsword was a replacement for the spear he had broken in his first escape from Xia. As a temporary replacement for his Cordak blaster, he selected a Kanoka launcher that an enemy had dropped as they were swept off the top. These were hard to come by after the Great Cataclysm, over 900 years ago. There was only one disk left behind on the rooftop, so he snatched it and loaded the launcher. He glanced at the code, but did not dwell on it because he was unfamiliar with what the numbers stood for. It read: 1-5-8.

Emeder looked around. “Sharpshooters will show up anytime now after that ruckus. Let’s rappel down into the alley on the left. I only swept one enemy into that alley, so that should minimize the odds of encountering foes.” Guftivei nodded consent and they lowered into the left alley, which didn’t connect with the one on the right anywhere within visual range. With only about a minute until the timed charge went off, taking the building with it, they took off at a brisk pace.

Guftivei was unaware of how powerful a disk he carried on his back. The “8” referred to its power level. As an “8” it was one of the most powerful, powerful enough to be forged into a Great Kanohi mask. The “1” was simply a denotation of its origin. The “5” was a very interesting number. This number referred to what effect it had when it discharged into its target. Had he known what it stood for, he may have discarded it right then and there.

Chapter 10

Xia, approx. 985 years after Great Cataclysm

They were only two blocks from the rail transport station when the black powder refinery exploded in the distance. The entire sky lit up with a flare of destructive energy as the artificial thunder of the explosion was heard. It was immediately after this that Guftivei realized they were being followed. He suspected it was that brute from the slave species on Stelt that Emeder had blown into this alley rather than the one opposite it. He could hear it lumbering around, but when he looked backwards he only caught a glimpse of a shadow pulling into an alcove. He readied his stolen Kanoka launcher.

Without turning towards Emeder, Guftivei mumbled, “Stop moving, Emeder.”

“Wha-?”

“Stop…now.”

As Emeder halted, so did Guftivei and he looked upwards as if studying something above him. In reality he was trying to pinpoint their pursuer’s location by listening. As soon as he heard a faint rustle behind them he spun around and fired his launcher in one swift movement.

A perfect shot sailed down the alley into the unsuspecting foe, striking him in the chest. He stopped for a second, stunned, before the disk’s power took effect. As soon as it did the enemy began to…grow. He was imposing beforehand (easily half again as tall as Guftivei), but with the disk he grew to three times his previous height. For the moment he was immobilized because his massive shoulders had broken through the walls on either side of the narrow alley.

“Mauka dung!” Guftivei cursed under his breath. He cuffed Emeder, who had been staring up at the behemoth in awe, and shouted “We need to go, now!” Emeder jumped back to life and the twosome tore through the alley toward their destination. A moment later, they heard an avalanche of rubble cascade down as the monstrosity broke free. With a backwards glance, Emeder saw that the beast had climbed upwards and was chasing them from the rooftops, ready to pounce down as soon as he was overhead and engage them in the hand-to-hand combat his species was specialized in. With his newfound size advantage, this would most likely spell instant death.

One block from the station Emeder cried out “He’s gaining! You messed up big time with that disk!”

Guftivei shouted back “How was I supposed to know that was an enlargement disk? Come on, we’re nearly there!”

With the stairs leading up to the platform ahead, the pair had thought they had made it just in time, but they were wrong. An animalistic roar was heard overhead and the vicious enemy catapulted itself clean over their heads from a rooftop behind them and landed in front of the stairs to the platform. Emeder decided this was the time for some heroics on his part.

Emeder bellowed “Hey, Mauka breath! Get me!” and leapt right up to his adversary. For a few horrifying seconds, Guftivei thought his partner was about to die. However, just as a massive fist was about to flatten Emeder into the ground, he leapt through his opponents legs. As his opponent turned around, Emeder grabbed a cable hooked over a pulley high above with a cargo container on one end and a counter-weight on the other. Using his glaive, Emeder slashed the cable below the point he was holding onto it. The counter-weight become detached and the cargo container fell, pulling Emeder on a high-speed trajectory towards the top of the pulley. In frustration, the beast forgot Guftivei and rocketed skyward with powerful leaps off of the walls of nearby buildings in an attempt to catch Emeder. Seeing the opportunity, Guftivei bolted for the stairs and began his ascent.

When he reached the top, he found the transport at the station. Gondolas, tankers, and flatbeds laden with weapons, fuel, and more were hooked to a powerful vehicle that clearly provided the propulsion along the rails by pulling the rest along. Emeder was standing on a gondola loaded with goods and his massive attacker had just leapt onto the flatbed behind him. The foe was honestly as large as the flatbed. However, these were designed to withstand high-density loads, so his weight was supported by it. As Emeder scrambled from one segment of the transport to the next with his pursuer chasing him, Guftivei found a ladder on a gondola and climbed up to join the chaos. Just as he reached the top, the vehicle started on its route for the port.

They were on their way out, but they first had to survive a battle on the segments of a moving rail transport.

…against an enemy that could probably crush either one of them with a single blow.


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Now released, Lightfall's spinoff, The Sordid Shafts:
...everything will change for the war-torn city of Modos.

#4 Offline Maganar

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Posted Mar 26 2012 - 07:11 PM

Chapter 11

Xia, approx. 985 years after Great Cataclysm

Emeder was nearly to the railcar at the front that pulled all the others along. With a backwards glance he saw the beast in hot pursuit, but could not even locate Guftivei. With the wind rushing past him on this vehicle that travelled on rails suspended above the roofs of the buildings, he feared the thought of falling. Just as he reached the very front, he heard a crash. Suddenly, Emeder realized his opponent had caught up and he was trapped on the front railcar with nowhere to go. What had he hoped to accomplish by jumping towards the front, anyway? He was only delaying the inevitable…

With a wild leap, Emeder used his glaive to pole-vault towards his enemy. He grabbed the back of the giant’s neck with one hand and planted his feet on its chest. With his other hand he began to jab it in the face with the tip of his weapon. The leviathan shook his head from side to side, attempting to dislodge his attacker. When this failed to work, he simply swatted at his face. Emeder slipped and began to fall, but he grabbed the edge of the roof just in time.

Dangling on the edge of the zooming vehicle with the wind whistling past his head and a long, high-speed drop to the ground below, Emeder was trapped. With a deep laugh, his foe prepared to finish the job, but was quickly surprised.

With devastating force, a broadsword connected with back of the monstrosity and brought him down to all fours. The brute’s weight shifted to the left of the railcar rather than the center, and a painfully high-pitched metallic screech was heard as the railcar tilted precariously far over to that side for a few horrifying seconds before it shifted back. Guftivei had joined the fight just in time. However, the enemy did not stay down for long. With a primal scream, he reared back onto his feet and came charging at Guftivei. Guftivei pointed the tip of his broadsword downwards and pinned the giant’s foot just as he approached. Because he was charging, the opponent could not readjust his momentum and flipped headfirst right over Guftivei and onto the flatbed directly behind the lead railcar, nearly crushing it in the process.

By this time, Emeder had clambered back on top. Realizing they were just reaching the shoreline, Emeder prepared to do something wildly reckless. Because they were at their final destination, they no longer needed the rail transport, and Emeder still possessed one final acidic zamor sphere, the one only to be used in an emergency. He bellowed a warning back to Guftivei: “Prepare for a jump! Things are going to get messy!” With that, he threw the sphere at the rails directly in front of the vehicle.

As it broke, the acid dissolved the rails, and the vehicle began to de-rail at high speed…

Chapter 12

Xia, approx. 985 years after Great Cataclysm

The lead railcar buckled to the right and the couplings attaching it to the other railcars snapped. It began to skid down the rails on what had formerly been its right side with Emeder hanging off the front end, suspended over open air. Their quarrel forgotten, both Guftivei and the massive Steltian slave clung to the flatbed. The momentum of the railcars behind caused the flatbed to ride over the upended lead railcar. The flatbed then crashed over the lead railcar and off to the left of the rails. Seeing the danger, Guftivei scrambled forwards and leapt onto the lead railcar as it continued to skid down the tracks with the flatbed hanging over it. The weight of the flatbed with the giant Steltian slave clinging to it caused the left end of the lead railcar to tilt. As it reached a critical angle, the flatbed lost its purchase and the entire procession began to slip into the abyss below, taking the enemy with it. The lead railcar was no better off, however. At the angle it had reached, it too began to slip over the edge. Guftivei jumped to the tracks in front as it began to fall and Emeder simply released his grip just as the end he was on passed over the tracks. The end result: Emeder and Guftivei lying flat on the rails with the tracks behind them mangled and destroyed.

Guftivei was exhausted. Between labored breaths, he wheezed “Next time…I carry the zamors…That…That was simply…”

“…Clever?”

“I was thinking…more like…lunacy.”

For a short time, they sat in silence, recuperating from the near-disastrous escapade. Then they began to look for a place to get down from the tracks in order to get to their watercraft. Emeder spoke up, “Well, it wouldn’t have been necessary, if it hadn’t been for your spectacular enlargement disk.”

“We’re not going back into that.” Guftivei answered as they followed the tracks. He continued “I make stuff up as I go along. Usually it works. That didn’t.” They remained silent for a time again.

“There’s got to be more to life than just…this.” Emeder finally said.

“What do you mean?”

“Blowing stuff up, running, risking our lives for lost causes just because we want to make a point.”

“Well, as I see it, it’s an important point. We’re fighting for ideals and hoping to inspire others to establish justice and end corruption and tyranny. That’s a long way off; but if we give up just because of that, it may never happen at all.”

“I still feel life is empty if you fight for something that may never change.”

“Life is what you make of it. I have made myself into a champion for the ideals I believe in with my life. That in itself makes my life feel like it is a good one even if I may never see the changes I try to cause.”

“…changes that will never happen.”

“Maybe, maybe not. Why have you helped me for so long if you have so many doubts about what we do? You never told me much about your past, anyway.”

“Maybe I doubt my other options even more.

“So hopelessly enigmatic. Well, as long as you help me, I won’t question why you do.”

"Is everything so simple to you?”

“Everything is simply what it is. I try to change what I can, but I accept the world for what it is. Look, there’s a maintenance ladder. Let’s get off this slag city and go home. You can pester me with questions as much as you want when we get there.”

As the pair uneventfully boarded their vehicle and sped across the waves toward their home, Emeder thought about what Guftivei had said. If life was whatever you made of it, what was he making of his life? To be honest with himself, he really didn’t know.

Chapter 13

Barrier island of the Southern Continent, 993 years after Great Cataclysm

As he docked the craft he had ridden there, Tignioni noted that the island he had arrived on was a small place to live. If the information he had followed were correct, however, this was the place where they lived. They were known as many things: recluses, criminals, heroes, hermits, and saboteurs. He planned to pose a question to one of them, and then deliver a call to arms.

“I’ve come to talk. Is anyone here?” Tignioni called out as he trod along a path that had been beaten in the jungle. He came upon a hut. As soon as he saw it, he heard the unmistakable click of some form of projectile weapon behind him. As he turned he saw a Vortixx and a Toa. The Vortixx had a weapon he did not recognize, but its appearance made its lethality clear.

“So my source is correct! I’ve come to see you two.”

The Vortixx responded “What in Karzani’s realm are you here for? I don’t recognize you from anywhere and I doubt a Toa would allow himself to be sold out as a mercenary to our enemies. Then again, I’ve been wrong about things before.” The Toa, a Toa of Air, remained silent.

“I came here because we share something in common. At least that Toa and I do. We share a similar history.”

The Vortixx lowered his weapon, intrigued. “Well, well. Maybe I’ll find out something about you yet, Emeder,” he said to the Toa at his side. To the visitor he added “Go on then. This I must hear.”

Tignioni began “Over one thousand years ago, my village was eradicated by a creature of some sort. It was this ball of energy that looked like some miniature sun hovering in the air. Largely by luck, I survived and began to hunt it down. You know what I speak of, do you not, Emeder?”

Emeder’s eyes shone with fear behind his mask. As the question was posed to him he screamed “NO! I know nothing! No, no, NO! Leave me ALONE!” With that he turned and bolted into the hut.

After he disappeared into the building, Guftivei turned to face Tignioni. He then said “Well, I think that outburst makes it pretty obvious he knows something about this village-destroyer of yours. While we give him some time to cool off, why don’t you fill me in on your story?”

- - -

Tignioni had nearly finished his long and weary tale. “A few years ago, in the midst of another destroyed village that had succumbed to the creature, my luck changed entirely. I was ready to give up after another incident where I arrived too late when I heard a voice in my head.”

“Um…Tignioni?” Guftivei interjected. “Are you sure you’re not having some sort of schizophrenic breakdown after one thousand years of failed attempts to stop this thing? I mean, this voice in your head part is starting to worry me.”

“No, I’m serious. This voice told me I could succeed at last if I found this location in the mountains north of the destroyed village. When I reached it, I found a hermit named Imegna living in cave. She was a Toa of Psionics with a mask of telepathy, an extremely powerful combination of elemental power and mask power. I found out she had become a hermit after an incident where she nearly shredded the minds of all the inhabitants of the village she was meant to protect due to an inability to control this dangerous combination of powers. Over the years, she had found a mind that seemed to be programmed, programmed to destroy any intelligent being it found. It was my enemy. When I arrived she read my mind and telepathically asked me to come to her cave because she had figured out a lot of information about this being. At the cave, she tasked me with creating a team to take down this threat to all civilization. She told me I could find another survivor here. Apparently your Emeder is my first lead.”

“Let’s get Emeder. It looks like we might just have a team of three among us. Then, let’s meet your spooky mind-shredding girlfriend in her cave.” Guftivei said with an excited grin.

“The three of us? You’re coming, too?”

“I risk my life on a daily basis as it is. Now, I not only get to continue risking my life on a daily basis, but I also get to tell everyone that I’m doing it to save all of civilization!”

Tignioni couldn’t help it. First he smirked, then he chuckled.

As soon as they entered the hut to get Emeder, however, the mood darkened. Emeder was facing a wall and staring through it as if he could see onwards into a bleak eternity. “I failed them,” he croaked “all of them.”

“If anyone is to stop it, we need your help, Emeder.” Tignioni pleaded. “We can put an end to this. We need to take one step at a time, though. First you need to forgive yourself, then we need to travel to a…contact…on the Northern continent who will help us.”

“Who?”

“We’ll explain as we travel. Come on, let’s put an end to this menace of light.”

On the beach, the team of three packed weapons from the storeroom behind Guftivei’s hut into Tignioni’s boat and prepared to leave. Tignioni was serious about his task; Guftivei was excited for the journey; Emeder was guilt-ridden over the past. As they left, Emeder gave a forlorn look to the island and turned his back on both that island and his life of running from his destiny.

:tohu: End Part 1 :tohu:

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!!! Part 2 !!!


Edited by Maganar, Apr 21 2012 - 09:37 PM.

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Now released, Lightfall's spinoff, The Sordid Shafts:
...everything will change for the war-torn city of Modos.




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