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Brotherhood

Toa BIONICLE Black Ship Norik Mata-Nui

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#1 Offline Janus

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Posted Jun 18 2012 - 01:54 AM

This is a story I wrote like---three years ago for NaNoWriMo. I figure I should finally post it. Enjoy or something.-JanusChapter One: The ForgeSteam billowed out from the many forges that dotted the island city, nearly obscuring the twin suns from the inhabitants' view. For their part, busy Matoran filled narrow streets and stoked blazing furnaces, each of them either selling their wares or desperately crafting more to trade off. The smell of oil and fire and the sharp sound of metal on metal filled the great city, becoming a nearly overwhelming cacophony of sight, sound, and smell all in one. It was a workman’s utopia, a haven for weapon smiths, and the home of the best armor in the world. And yet, amidst all this commotion there was a simple and efficient structure that belied the rather crude displays.The city itself was structured in three concentric rings, each ring with its own barrier wall, and each wall slowly moving inwards towards the central great forge. The rings were what separated the quality of the goods for sale; while most visitors to the city stayed within the outermost rings, those who were truly connoisseurs could be found next to the central forge, where only the finest of wares were found. The weapons and armor crafted there were forged by only the most skilled of smiths - "Toa Grade", as they liked to say.It was one of the six great cities of the great spirit Mata Nui. The city of the Forge: Tapa-Nui. It was from here that flowed the finest craftswork—not simply weapons, but elegant shields, armor, and even small trinkets made from molten slag peddled by street vendors.It was a hectic, grimy, mad dash city that was beloved by its citizens and loathed by its visitors. It was and always had been, my home.Or that’s what it was supposed to be.Instead my city lay open like a gaping wound, the streets devoid of any sign of Matoran—gone were the bustling crowds, gone was the smell of grime and heat, gone was the sounds of metal singing as it was forged anew. Now the city lay desecrated,still, and silent.I walked through the entrance gate, hardly believing what I was seeing, my mind still reeling in shock. Laying my spear beside me I crouched down upon the twisted cobblestones of one of the empty streets. Gently tracing a finger over them I felt an intense heat emanate from the stone—not a residue of the heat of the forges. No, this was something greater. Even the ceramic covering of the stone had melted away slightly.All around me I saw the signs of devastation, as my walkabout took me through the twisted paths of my once-home. All the while, thoughts whirled noisily in my mind: Had a forge malfunctioned? Had there been an attack? And most importantly of all,was anyone still alive?I continued my walk down those dead, empty streets, wandering down darkened corridors and through the shattered remnants of homes where my people once lived. It soon became apparent that an immense heat had washed across the entire city, blackening stone and turning metal into slag. The city of crafters was now nothing more than scorched earth.Still I continued to wander, hardly knowing where I was going, and yet somehow dreading what I would find.I finally came upon it, the sight that I had hoped to never see: The great forge of the city had become nothing more than a warped metal basin. Its covering was stripped from it by the blast leaving it a gaping pit. The many cranes that once dotted the workstations hung above like skeletal arms, their metal fused and twisted.And still some spark of hope yet burned in my chest. Standing proudly amidst the ruined cityscape was a tall spiraling tower. Though located close to the forge, it had not shattered—the Tower of Toa still stood and surely inside I would find my brothers.Gingerly stepping around the great chasm of the ruined forge I walked towards my home. The tower in which I lived, trained, and watched over the Matoran from. Once I was reunited with my brothers we would find the scourge that had attacked our city—and it would pay.I was almost upon the entrance of the tower when I saw it, the light of the fading sun just happening to glance across its once pristine surface. It was a mask, a jade green Kakama to be exact, or at least that was the colour it was meant to be. Heat had stripped the once brilliant colours from its form, leaving it a dull brown. A single great crack ran through the mask, splitting from the eye. I knew then that my brothers were dead.A cry like no other erupted from me, burning my throat as I screamed. My eyes flamed as I whirled around, desperately hoping that some of the invaders yet remained, praying that one of them would attack me, wishing that I could cause them one tenth of the pain they had caused me…but none came, and I was left alone in my sorrow.It was with this discovery that I truly realized my city was dead, and I was its sole keeper—the last in the once proud lineage of Tapa-Nui. With a heavy sigh I began my work, shifting heat scorched stone out of the way and slowly making my way to the tower.I found them all, my compatriots, they had clearly put up a valiant fight but were overcome. I took each in their own turn. Descending the staircase with one and then ascending again for another. With a grim finality I laid them down in front of our once-home. Clothing them in shattered masks and fractured weapons I laid them side by side.Unity, Duty, Destiny. The three virtues that we lived by, lifting my spear high above my head I let flow my element. Fire, like the fire that had so ravaged my land. It pierced the already weakened stone and allowed me to carve the symbol of those three virtues. It now stood as a monument to my land and my people, emblazoned forever in the stone of the tower. It was under the this symbol that I laboured, gathering any undamaged material from the various homes and workplaces. These I placed in the shattered gulf of the great forge. Letting them fall into the ruined pit. When I had enough material I went to the bodies of each of my fellows, showing them the honor and respect they were owed I lifted each in turn, walking slowly and surely down into the pit of the forge.Around the lip of forge I placed their weapons and masks, a marker for anyone who came to this dead place. I took one last look at the eyes of my brothers, now cold and grey, the spark of life having long since passed. Then I left to search through the city, following the winding snaking paths to different juncture points. It was here where the coolant tubes were located, here where the underground tunnels that connected the many forges of Tapa-Nui intersected. Here where my next task was.I knelt on the rough slag of what was once stone, my armor scraping noisily against the pitted material. Placing a hand on the path I felt the remnants of the heat that had scourged the city—but pushing below that, pushing deeper I felt the ghost of the heat that had once filled the canals beneath. It was this heat I tapped into, causing to warp the tunnels and seal shut the openings to the coolant tubes. This I did all across the city, through the many different junctures located in what was once my home.Exhausted and spent I returned by twilight to the place I had left my compatriots, my brothers in arms. Walking into their impromptu burial pit I gazed at each of them, their once strong bodies now limp and cold. I felt the familiar rage return, threatening to burn through my very skin—and yet I resisted, feeling something much deeper moving within me.Brotherhood.I knelt by each of them, my family, my friends, my world. From each of them I took a gift, something that I would carry with me at all times—something I would hold as I stared into the face of whoever had burned out city. I held these items as gifts—and as reminders of my failure. From my gentle sister, and stern leader, Alea I took her gemstone necklace -- A good luck charm that she wore into every battle—unfortunately it had done her no good. The sight of her shattered Hau rest atop her broadsword on the outer lip of the forge made me feel sick inside.From noble Pheos, Toa of Stone I took a piece of clay he always carried. Pheos was a jokester and a lighthearted spirit who refused to ever sculpt that single of piece of clay—because “then the possibilities were limited” I smiled sadly at his limp form and moved on.Toa Kyr was next. The sharp-tongued Toa of ice, his pure white armor shattered and split in a thousand places. Kyr was a brave Toa, and an intelligent fighter—whatever had attacked our city must have truly been a force to reckon with for him to fall in combat. From him I took his shield, nearly burnt to slag it was a symbolic gesture. Just as he had shielded us in life, I would now shield all of them in death.The dead eyes of Toa Levos unnerved me. In life he had been the Toa of air, a wise and auspicious fighter. The deadliest shot amongst us Toa—to see that spark of life so easily extinguished broke my heart. From him I took a single arrow from his quiver, removing the beautiful feather that adorned the shaft and attaching to my mask. Kneeling next to the body of Toa Jurian, the beautiful Toa of Earth I felt my heart leap into my throat. Jurian had always supported our small group, always helped us in every endeavor—and had always been there for all of us. I loved her more than any other. I felt the rage threatening to overcome me…and instead wept for the loss of such a kind soul. From her I took her gauntlets—a reminder of her to carry always.Still holding Levos’ arrow I walked out of the pit, glancing at the masks at weapons of my fellows. The crushing mace and Pakari of Pheos, the stern Hau and deadly broadsword of Alea, the cracked bow and Kakama of Levos, the now-blackened Hau and Rapier of Kyr, and of course the elegant twin blades and piercing Akaku of Jurian.I ignited the arrow, sending all my rage and sorrow through the flame. Then without turning I dropped the arrow into the pit.The blaze ignited immediately, the raw material feeding the hungry flames as they eagerly devoured everything in their path. I walked away, the sound of the crackling fire giving me some solace in the cold darkness of night. Turning my back on everything that was, I left the broken city of the forge—the fallen city of the Great Spirit and walked once more into the wilderness. At the gate I turned, affording myself one final glance. I saw the explosion tear through the city—followed by the secondary and tertiary detonations. I smiled a grim smile, my work had been successful, my flames would purge the city of the taint it had suffered. My brothers would be proud to have seen that the entire city was alight as their funeral pyre.I shed no tears at the sight of that blaze, only staring deeply into the distant flames. My city had fallen, my brothers were dead…I would avenge them. A grim resolve grew in me and I hoisted Toa Kyr’s shield high in the air, letting out a bellowing scream of anguish and commitment. Whatever had done this to my people would pay!==============================================================================Review Topic or something

Edited by Janus, Jul 08 2012 - 06:25 PM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#2 Offline Janus

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Posted Jun 28 2012 - 12:52 AM

Chapter Two: The WandererThe wilderness welcomed me like an old friend; even in the darkness its foliage concealed no secrets from me. I sighed deeply, breathing in the thick scent of the jungle—it had been here that I’d lurked for the past months. Tracking dangerous Rahi and ensuring they were no threat to my city—of course it seemed the true threat was something far more than a mere Rahi.I plunged myself deeper and deeper into the wood, my weapons held at the ready in case anything was lurking there. Nothing ever came, not even a stray Rahi beast ever crossed my path. Had I been of mind I would have thought something of this—but instead I merely soldiered on.I came across my last campsite, the clearing still held in the state it had been when I left. But something was off, something almost imperceptible tugged at the corner of my awareness and caused me to be hesitant as I entered what I thought to be a safe haven. Weapon at the ready I glared about the silent clearing.“Who’s there?” I demanded, an edge in my voice that even I didn’t know was there.After a few agonizingly long moments there was a soft, panicked reply.“Please, don’t hurt me!” “Show yourself!” I barked, the edge in my voice like a blade that cut through the crisp night air. I felt my anger flare again and barely held it back. I was tired, overreacting would do me no good.There was a rustling amidst the brush, finally a pitch Black Matoran with a charcoal grey Hau emerged. His shining golden eyes wide and fearful.“I’m sorry, great Toa!” He said quickly, almost tripping as he ran towards me. I growled. “Sorry for what?” Had this Matoran known about the attack? Or been involved somehow? Almost as soon as these thoughts came to my mind they dissipated just as quickly, blowing out like a candle in a fierce storm.The Matoran froze“Sorry for disturbing you, great Toa. It was not my intent.” His eyes seemed calmer now, his body stiller. Though his breathing was still erratic he had begun to realize I was no threat.“Fine.” I muttered. Seating myself next to a log and beckoning the petrified fool to sit next to me.“What brings you to the woods of Tapa-Nui” I asked, watching his mask and his eyes carefully. I was still wary around this mysterious figure.“I bring a warning, great Toa.” The Matoran said grimly. “Of a scourge that burns cities and leaves nothing in its wake, of a threat greater than any that has yet faced our world...” The dark figure trailed off into silence.“But it is said It is said that each great city holds many Toa guardians, who defend the will of Mata-Nui. I…had hoped to ask these great Toa to endure against the darkness with me!” He spoke hopefully, full of will and passion.I felt a stab of pain in my heart, unconsciously turning to look in the direction I knew Tapa-Nui still burned.“Then your quest is in vain, little one” I said sadly, looking deep into his golden eyes. “For I am the last Toa of the once shining city of the forge.” The Matoran said nothing, his eyes speaking for him instead. They told of terror and fear, of a hopelessness beyond imagination. I was sure my eyes relayed the same story to him. At last he broke the silence.“Then…will you aid me on my quest, great Toa?” he whispered, his voice barely above a hush.I sighed, leaning my spear over my shoulder and shifting Toa Kyr’s shield to my back. “I have sworn an oath, little one. The scourge that burned my city will suffer the wrath of my blade. If you too seek this end then I will join you in your quest.” The Matoran said nothing, his shining eyes simply studying me. Then he nodded his head, bending down on one knee and holding a single hand over his heartlight. A position of binding.“If I had a name to give you, great Toa, you would have it now. But know that you have lifted a great sorrow from my heart.” He said softly.I merely nodded, bidding him rise from that demeaning position. For now more pressing concerns filled me. How would we fight against an opponent that could incinerate an entire city? These thoughts whirled around in my mind like an angry whirlwind. At last I could take it no more and shut my eyes, leaning against the rough bark of the log. Sleep. I needed sleep. With he morning’s dawn I could worry about how to take on such a fearsome foe—in the meantime I needed to rest.The Matoran seemed to understand and rose from his seat, smiling at me.“Surely it has been a long day, great Toa. Sleep for now. I will keep watch.” I thanked him and closed my eyes, drifting off into blessed darkness.My respite was not to last long, in what felt like moments I was cast into a chaotic vision of my city being overwhelmed by a mysterious force. Fire split the land, causing metal and stone to run molten hot, and the screams of a thousand Matoran could be heard in the air.And in the centre of this maelstrom was my home, gloriously restored and resplendent it stood in the heart of the city, a bastion of security and strength. My brothers, led by Toa Alea fended off the mysterious menace. But all too soon my dream imitated life.Alea was the first to fall, her broadsword shattering in mid strike. Her eyes widened in terror but it was too late. A stream of vicious fire seared through the air, tearing through her armor as if it was nothing. Then she lay still.One by one my brothers Fell, with Alea’s water powers now silent, only Kyr had any respite against the brutal fire that raged against them. First fell Pheos, then Levos, finally only Kyr and Jurian remained—then only Jurian.She fought magnificently, her twin blades flashing and her elemental powers being used to swallow the deadly flames in the heart of the earth. But I knew that soon enough it would end for her as it had for everyone else. Horrified I watched as the scene continued to play out.“Why are you doing this?” Jurian screamed, her back pressed against the stone wall of our tower and her powers beginning to wane. Silence was the only response she received.“At least tell me what you’ve done to the Matoran!” She shouted, her eyes flashing hate at her unseen foe. I didn’t understand, surely the Matoran had all perished in the blaze?Jurian didn’t wait for an answer this time. Running forward with a primal scream she slashed in a brutal downwards arc with one of her kama blades. As if in slow motion I saw her wrist be caught by a crimson-gloved hand, then with a deft motion she was hurled to the side. Her eyes blazed hatred at her attacker as she lay in a crumpled heap, but there was nothing she could do. Her injuries were too severe.“Pitiful” came the voice from her attacker, and with a single sinuous motion he stepped out of the shadows that concealed him. I saw his fire-red armor. Saw his Mahiki, saw his deadly tipped spear. I saw myself.I awoke to the heavy pressing darkness of the woods. Barely suppressing a scream at what my own conscious had shown me.And yet…something remained hidden back in my brain, something that had been dislodged by my terrible dream but would not emerge into the light. I sighed and glanced around the clearing for my newfound companion.I found him a few yards away, tiredly scanning the trees for any sign of a threat. Placing a comforting hand on his shoulder I showed him that I was fully awake now and more than able to take the second shift. “Sleep, friend” I said softly. He was more than willing to acquiesce. I don’t know how long I sat there, my mind half on the task of guard duty and half lost in thought. Though my dreams had indeed tormented me they had also flushed new feelings to the surface. While I was guilty for my perceived abandonment of my allies, there was also a burning rage. Retribution needed to be exacted, not just for my fellow Toa, but for the Turaga—for the Matoran!As though a spark had been ignited in my very mind, my head snapped up. Suddenly I was entirely awake and the last piece fell into place. The Matoran!I mentally replayed my voyage through my desolate home in my mind. Desecrated homes and desiccated streets, shattered columns and singed steel. The bodies of my compatriots---but no bodies of any Matoran….where then had they all gone?My mind was suddenly alight with thought and a newfound hope burned in my chest. Perhaps they had escaped from the torching of the city? Perhaps even found their way to the neighboring island of Koto-Nui? Even if they had been captured by the scourge that razed out city that meant they were still alive.Suddenly I could not wait for my diminutive companion to awake.==============================================================================Reviews go here maybe?

Edited by Janus, Jul 08 2012 - 06:25 PM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#3 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 08 2012 - 06:23 PM

Chapter Three: The SourceBy the first light of the suns we had set off, my companion still sleepily rubbing his eyes. Though at times he questioned where we were going he was mostly content to follow in silence. I appreciated this, for my mind was a whirlwind of thought and action. Perhaps Koto-Nui had been spared from the blaze completely? A full team of Toa would be there to aid us in our quest!By midday we took our first break, basking in the shade of a grove of Madu trees. Finally my companion could stand it no longer and in a flurry of words he began.“Great Toa, while I am eternally grateful for your pledge to help me in my quest. I do not have the stamina to keep up with a hero such as yourself—and for that matter have no idea where it is that we’re going!” I smiled calmly at him. Attempting to slow the flow of thought in my head.“We are going to Koto-Nui. The city of the source” I said slowly. “As for keeping up with me, if need be I will carry you, my friend” The Matoran looked aghast at the very idea and quickly looked at the ground. Then, with a trembling hesitancy he gazed into my eyes.“Great Toa, I would not want to burden you further.” He mumbled. I sighed, shaking my head.“Firstly, my name is Norik. Just Toa Norik.” I said, exasperated. “And secondly you would not be burdening me any further, my friend”The Matoran looked at me with a small smile.“I thank you, Toa Norik. For all that you have done for me.” He said quickly, and then was silent.I paused, lost in thought for a moment, thinking of the possibility of being reunited with my people in the resource satellite that was Koto-Nui.“And what of you, my friend?” I asked gently “What am I to call you?”The Matoran looked at me sadly.“I wish I knew great Toa.” he sighed “As I said last night, if I had a name to give you, it would be yours. But since the attack of my city I cannot seem to recall a single detail of my life before…” he trailed of into silence.I didn’t know what to say. I who had lost everything he had loved, and yet retained his life, his memories—what could I say to this Matoran who had lost everything I had and more? How was I to understand the pain that he bore?“call me wanderer for now” The Matoran said with finality. “Perhaps in the future my memories will return.”Then, without a second of hesitation I found myself on a knee in front of my companion. My spear raised high in the air.“I, Toa Norik, last remaining Toa of the city of the forge and its sworn avenger, pledge myself to end the threat that faces our cities. I lend you my spear, the fire that burns within me. Together we will see the will of Mata-Nui done” I presented my spear to wanderer, my eyes locked to the ground.The Matoran seemed taken aback, barely managing to stutter out“I accept your pledge, Toa Norik….I thank you”With that I rose and we left the safety and shade of the grove behind. Now more than companions, now bound as brothers in a quest.We came upon the entrance to the resource island of Koto-Nui while the suns were still high, their intense heat washing over as we exited the concealing shade of the forest. We entered the small gondola slowly and with a smoothly oiled mechanical whir we were on our way.I gazed intently at the silhouette of the island in the sea mists, desperate to keep my eyes from wandering to the jutting spire of rock that thrust out of the sea no more than 200 Kio from the smaller island—my home of Tapa-Nui.As we came closer to the island, I could see the series of freight elevators that had bound Koto-Nui and Tapa-Nui for many years. The resources of the former being used extensively by the latter. It was for this reason that the small gondola that I and my companion were in even existed. Once used for the Turaga of each city as a form of easy transport, it gradually fell to the wayside as technology marched on. Soon airships dominated the skies of both cities and the Turaga felt more comfortable in those. Luckily for us the small open-air box in which we rode had received careful maintenance from both cities, as part of a backup plan.The gondola dipped, bringing us so close to the water’s surface that we could practically touch it, and the thick smell of sea breeze and oil washed over us. It was at this point that I noticed there were no airships in the skies above Koto-Nui. And the many refining towers stood strangely still. Where they had once belched flame and smoke they now simply watched as silent guardians. I felt my stomach turn.At last we came to a halt, the gears that powered the craft slowly grinding to a stop. With a smooth electronic click the door that held us in swung open, and we entered the eerily silent city of Koto-Nui.I held my weapon at the ready, unconsciously pushing wanderer behind me. This was odd, while we were on the outer ring of the city, this was meant to be a transport hub. Both personnel and shipments should have been flooding through here.I felt my eyes narrow as I glanced around the bare room. Almost immediately I was on the lookout for signs of something similar to what had attacked Tapa-Nui, but could find nothing. The metal plates that made up the brunt of the outer city were untouched by heat, and the various systems that ran throughout the walls seemed perfectly operational. It was as if the entire city’s population had ceased to be.We left the transportation hub quickly, unnerved by the disturbing silence. From there we entered into one of the many refineries scattered around the city. Keeping my weapons at the ready I scanned the area for any threats and found nothing. Yet something still prickled at the edge of my conscious mind, an ominous feeling just beyond the veil of logical thought.With growing trepidation I prowled through the various machines in the refinery. Though normally the air here would be thick with the smell of acrid smoke and filled to the brim with a near-overwhelming cacophony of sound, yet instead the machines were perched in their docks, ever-ready for use—but ultimately silent. It made me uncomfortable.We left the refinery going up a small passage to a main walkway in the city proper. From here we had left behind the industrial sector with its various machines and subterranean systems, and entered what should have been the homes of many Matoran. Instead it was as silent as the previous sector had been. My stomach knotted painfully as I glanced around at the empty streets—surely there had to be a logical explanation for this seeming mass exodus.Unbidden my mind conjured images of a cloaked army descending upon the city. Snatching away Matoran en masse and leaving the city a gleaming metal testament to their deed. Still, I needed to understand what had truly happened. So I reluctantly pressed on, eschewing the rest of the civilian sector and entering a passage to the central mine.All of Koto-Nui was built around various different mine shafts, the largest being in the approximate center of the landmass. From there on the city was constructed, moving from the mines, to processing, to living quarters, to refining, and finally shipping. Luckily for us the city had been constructed in such a way that the central mine shaft was made for quick access from almost anywhere within the civilian sector.At the end of the passage was what seemed to be a platform with a docked tram, it’s legs curled underneath it. Almost as soon as we had seated ourselves it activated, scuttling quickly through the tunnel system, its legs clacking loudly on the track.With a bright flash we emerged from the dimly lit tunnel and into the blinding light of day. I saw then that I had been wrong. Though still some distance away from the central shaft, I could see from the higher altitude that it had undergone an attack. A sea of flames had engulfed all of the machinery and various work stations of the Matoran, and a billowing acrid smoke was thick in the air.The tram scuttled closer and closer to the shaft, and as it did so I recognized the telltale signs of the attackers. The ground all around was distended and warped from the heat, and those few areas that hadn’t changed shape were scorched black. The central shaft itself had almost collapsed, one half of it having almost broken away and driven itself into the other. The smaller shafts all around were in no better shape, several of them having collapsed completely.I turned to say something to wanderer and saw a vacant horror in his eyes. I’m sure I held the same expression…and so we rode on in silence.==============================================================================Reviews are something that might happen

Edited by Janus, Jul 08 2012 - 06:25 PM.

  • 0

NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#4 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 11 2012 - 11:51 PM

Chapter Four: RuinAt last the tram stopped nearest the edge of the great shaft, its legs curling once more into its silver underbelly. The shaft was in even worse condition than it had seemed: The assorted elevators and walkways that the Matoran used were now nothing but liquid metal fused to one side of the shaft’s circumference. All around us the flames still licked the air hungrily, and so I bid wanderer to stay in the tram and set out myself, focusing my powers and dissipating some of the flames nearest to me. Then I walked through the path I had for myself, my feet scraping loudly on the scorched stone.At the lip of the shaft, I gazed in. The devastation was worse than I had thought. Deep in the shaft some earth had already become destabilized, causing tunnels to collapse and the central shaft to fill with a sea of earth and steel tools. There were no signs of life in the darkened pit that had been a mining shaft.We left that place in silence, wanderer and I, the tram’s loud metallic clicking the only sound that could be heard for the entire journey. Even when we disembarked from the small vehicle we walked in silence.It was in this silence that I heard it, a deep low rumbling, as if the city itself were growling its displeasure at us. I whirled around, weapon drawn ready to combat whatever menace had come and found nothing. The rumbling continued to grow louder and louder, it’s crescendoing sound difficult to bear. Atop the din I thought I heard a cry of“Get down!” and so, scooping up wanderer with one arm I hurled myself into the nearby shadows of a deserted alley way.What I saw took my breath away.A vast bloated shadow had filled the sky, blotting out the waning sun and replacing all light in the city with darkness. It was from this gargantuan thing that the rumbling, now a full-fetched growl had come from. As it hovered in the sky it sounded like thousands of nightmare beasts were descending on us. Wanderer stood in place, transfixed with terror, I simply gazed upwards at the terrifying thing above me. Then, all at once countless lights snapped on, scouring the city intently, their bright beams wavering as they swung all about the city, illuminating dark corners and crevices. At one point it seemed they’d had something, all the lights swiveling to shine an intense light on a single location—which was fortunately empty. My breath caught in my throat—was this monolithic thing what had attacked my city? Why had it returned to Koto-Nui then? Was it tracking me? Thoughts whirled crazily in my mind as the massive thing continued to sweep the city, its blazing lights sweeping through the empty streets.Finally the enormous black object seemed content that its search was through. One by one the pillars of light ceased to be, leaving the entire city suffocated in darkness once more. The only sounds being my own erratic heartbeat and the low growling that had seemingly suffused itself into the very sediment of the city.Then that too changed, taking on a slightly higher pitch as the ship—it must have been a ship, began to move on. The sun gleaming brightly as it slowly became exposed from behind the dark carapace of the shipThen, as if it had never been here, the gargantuan ship vanished from sight. Its rumbling form disappearing into the distant skies. The city was quiet again—and somehow that was even more frightening.I turned to wanderer, who had hugged the wall closely the entire time, his golden eyes large and panicked.“Are you all right, friend?” I asked, placing a single had on his trembling shoulder.“I….I will be fine…Norik” He said, with much difficulty. “I had never seen it so…close. To imagine something that…powerful is around. It is frightening” he finished, closing his eyes tightly for a brief moment. “But nonetheless we must continue our quest. We must find a way to end that thing’s conquest!” he said, his fists clenching tightly.“Don’t expect that to be easy, little one” Came a deep voice behind us. Wanderer’s eyes grew wide with fright and I whirled around, blade at the ready…There was nothing there.A quiet laugh broke the silence“It would help if you pointed that thing in the right direction, brother.” As the words came, a body materialized out of nowhere. He stood slightly lower than myself, clad in black armor with dark steely grey undertones, a Kanohi Huna—the mask of concealment hid his face, allowing only his brilliant orange eyes to appear. Toa Bomonga, a friend.“Bomonga!” I shouted, nearly dropping my spear. “You survived! And the others…?”Bomonga’s face fell, his eyes darking as he spoke.“They…did not make it. It was only through my mask of concealment that I survived. And as you’ve seen that accursed thing hasn’t given up on finding me. It’s not content until it’s wiped us all out.” He growled, his eyes alternating between sadness, fear, and anger.It was as though I was looking into a mirror, Bomonga’s gamut of emotions so closely mimicking my own. It would have almost been funny had the circumstances not been what they were.“But tell me, brother” Bomonga said slowly, his rich voice echoing in the narrow alleyway and snapping me out of my reverie. “What brings you to the city of the source?” He almost spat the last few words, the bitterness apparent in his voice.With a heavy sigh I began.“Koto-Nui was not the first to fall, brother.” I spoke, my voice grim. “Before it, Tapa-Nui was incinerated…my team. Alea, Kyr, Levos, Pheos…Jurian….each of them fell before this monstrosity” I heard my voice crack as I finished. A heavy silence fell over the air between us. Bomonga said nothing, but placed one armored hand on my shoulder. I nodded to him, thanking him for this gesture and he returned the nod. This was communication with a fellow Toa, almost entirely nonverbal, built on the bonds of brotherhood and trust.“We should leave.” Came the small voice of Wanderer, his face calmer now than before, but an air of fright still lingering around his frame. “That thing could return any time. And while you and I are sworn to defeat it, Toa Norik…I do not think we can right now. It is…immense” as he said this he trembled, his eyes becoming a vacant stare.“While I do not know your friend,” Bomonga said, speaking loudly enough that Wanderer could hear as well. “I do agree with his choice of action. Koto-Nui has fallen, there is no sense in remaining in her grave. Instead we must warn the others about the danger that threatens us all.”I nodded again, gripping the haft of my spear tightly.“It’s agreed then. We must leave this place before that…thing comes back.”“But where to go?” Bomonga asked. There were four cities remaining, and any one could be the next target…but I had a suspicion.“Gaho-Nui.” I said determinedly. “It’s located in the very center of all the great cities. Not only is it closest to us, but it will serve as an excellent staging ground to for the other cities as well.” I left unsaid the thought that gnawed in my brain. Gaho-Nui was also the city of trade and export, every product that was made was distributed through its canals to each of the other great cities. If the scourge were to destroy Gaho-Nui then the supply of weapons, resources, energy, food—everything would slow to a crawl, and even if the black thing didn’t finish us off, the lack of supplies would.“But how do we get there?” Wanderer said quietly. I felt his fear, we had managed to get to Koto-Nui because it and the elevated island of Tapa-Nui were joined through many routes—but Gaho-Nui was separated by many Mio’s of ocean. There was no way we could simply walk there.“Let me take care of that” Bomonga said quickly, and just as quickly he simply vanished into the air, his Huna taking effect, all that could be heard were his hurried footsteps as he left the area.Wanderer and I stood there in silence, each of us unwilling to meet the other’s eyes. Each of us unwilling to deal with the frightening things that ran through our minds unchecked. What if Bomonga had simply abandoned us? What if he’d been attacked? Seconds turned to minutes and that growing feeling of trepidation peaked in a moment of near panic. Then he appeared again, materializing in front of our eyes.“I saw something when I was tracking you” He said slowly.“…Tracking us?” I inquired, my eyes flashing slightly. Bomonga was unperturbed.“Yes. Using my Huna I tracked both you and your companion from the moment you entered this city. I’ve encountered shapeshifters before, you know, Norik” he said emotionlessly.“Of course.” I said with a sigh. At least now I knew what that discomforting feeling had been, Bomonga was a skilled tracker, but not skilled enough to completely overwhelm a Toa’s sense.“You were saying, brother?” I said with a gesture for him to continue.“In the transport hub there’s an empty ship. Big enough to carry three of us. Right now it’s dry-docked, but we can get it running in no time” he stood completely still as he spoke, a familiar quirk of his. One of the main reasons Bomonga was such a skilled tracker was his near-supernatural ability to stay entirely still for long periods of time.“Well. Let’s go then.” I said quietly, watching as both Bomonga and Wanderer began to move—had they been waiting for my order? I reflected briefly…when did I become the leader of this expedition?As a unit we walked to the transport hub, both Bomonga and I casting a watchful eye around the city. We stuck the shadows and various passages that Bomonga revealed to us—in the end it took longer than it had taken Wanderer initially, but we kept hidden nearly the entire time. Night was falling as we finally reached the hub.Leaving Wanderer in a safe hollow, Bomonga and I set out to find the boat, thankful that though darkness was falling outside, the lightstones of the city ran automatically, ensuring that while dimly lit, the entire dry-dock was still lit.The vessel was of a decent size, a small courier boat, meant to ferry raw resources to various ports in Gaho-Nui and Tapa-Nui. While it was not the most sturdy of all the ocean faring craft, it was nevertheless a useful ship. Unfortunately it was clamped between two heavy docking clamps, its hull wedged tightly between them.Bomonga glanced at me, his eyes full of dark humor.“Christen it. I’ll get it out” and with that said he strode off to one of the many consoles on the side of the vast room and began to manipulate that controls. I glanced toward him, sheepishly, and then slowly raised my spear. With delicate precision I carved a name into the stern of the boat, careful to use just enough heat, just enough pressure to barely singe the metal. Making sure the entire craft stayed structurally sound.There was a loud click that reverberated through the room. The docking clamps slowly began to detach from the sides of the ship, and a loud hissing sound could be heard echoing around.“I’d get in.” Bomonga murmured quietly. “Now.” Then he crossed the room with quick strides, picking up wanderer and hurling him into the back of the tiny ship. I leapt from the steel floor just in time to see that the entire dry dock was built on an elevator that was slowly descending, and as the platform descended water was flooding in. I barely managed to make onto the small vessel before the entire area around us was flooded with water that would have easily been up to my hips.Bomonga sat at the controls of the boat, barely glancing behind him as I made my way to the co-pilot’s seat, moving slowly on the now gently rocking boat.“Nice jump.” He murmured, then without another word he activated the engine and we sped from the dead city of Koto-Nui and into the night.==============================================================================This is definitely maybe where the reviews go

Edited by Janus, Jul 11 2012 - 11:52 PM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#5 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 19 2012 - 02:32 AM

Chapter Five: OnwardWe rode the waves for hours, keeping conversation to a minimum, the only subject being slight changes in direction or whether or not we should stop and rest. The trip was uneventful and soon I found myself slipping off to sleep, relaxing as the lulling sounds of the thrumming engine and the crashing waves met my ears.It was a brief sleep, too brief. Again came the same dreams: Tormenting visions of my city burning, of my allies trying and failing to fight off an inescapable evil—and the source of that evil being me. I awoke with a slight shudder, somehow growing used to this litany of nightmares that seemed to assault me every time I slept. Luckily for me I had far more important things to concern myself with. Off in the murky darkness many spires full of lights jutted out from the darkness, and in the midst of all of them a single pillar drove upwards into the heavens, covered by twinkling lights. We had reached Gaho-Nui, the city of trade.Though still some distance away, Bomonga and I lightly touched fists, a sign of victory amongst Toa. We left unsaid anything else. As our tiny vessel sped through the waves we focused only on reaching Gaho-Nui…and making it in time.But as we came closer we discovered it was not to be. Many of the twinkling lights of the central pillars could be seen to be fires, blazing in the dark. Worse still, screams and the clashing of swords could be heard from all across the island. Now and then a blast of light and elemental energy would punctuate the night air with a flash. Several small explosions ripped across the island and as we slowed the throttle of the ship we saw that vast darkness hovering in the air above. Its enormous bulk crouched over the island like some sort of twisted cloud. Bomonga and I exchanged a glance, each readying our elemental powers and our weapons. I quickly turned to see if Wanderer was still asleep and was thankful to see he was. Then we dialed the throttle up slightly, speeding through the water now lit by flames.Almost silently we docked the boat in a small bay on the outskirts of the city, making sure It was tucked away somewhere the invaders wouldn’t see. Then Bomonga and I leapt from the small vessel, launching ourselves into the air with one quick motion.Landing on the smooth hard stone of Gaho-Nui’s outer barrier wall we could see the devastation that had been wrought. Like Koto-Nui, and Tapa-Nui before it, an immense heat had swept over the city causing many fires to break out, and turning stones to mush.I saw a flash of something, a skull faced creature with brutal spines running along its back. It screamed at us and then lifted a bladed staff, launching a crackling blast of electricity toward us.Unthinking I raised Kyr’s shield, feeling the singing heat sting my mask and eyes, then I raised my spear and launched a blast of heat at the thing, fusing it’s feet to the stone below. It screamed in rage, its eyes flashing. Then it raised its staff again.I had intended to deflect the attack again, had intended to get closer to the strange creature, but without warning I was lifted from my feet by a terrible gale force wind. I tried to resist but the wind tore at me, sending me hurtling through the air and into a nearby wall.Another of the creatures had appeared to support the original, its blue and grey carapace gleaming in the light of the burning city. Regaining my footing I stood, raising my spear and letting loose with a stream of blazing fire.The creature seemed to laugh at me, its slit eyes glaring balefully, then it raised its own staff and launched another tunnel of wind—intercepting my fire and sending it scattering all around the city.I cursed, seeing that the original creature had managed to free itself as well and was charging up it’s staff for a another attack. With a shout I ran towards it holding my shield high and delivered a crushing blow to the thing’s skull. It crumpled.I whirled around to see if the cyclone creature had attacked again, and instead saw Bomonga materialize above the thing, his staff around the creature’s head. It thrashed wildly but did not fall. Bomonga let go with his staff, launching himself from the thing’s armored back and summoning a pit of earth to envelop the creature. Finally it was silent.“They’re not alive.” Bomonga said grimly. “It wasn’t breathing, that’s why my attack did nothing.” I nodded, turning to inspect the creature I had knocked out—and was surprised to see the back snap open with a hiss. A small wormlike creature was doing its best to escape from the armor. I didn’t think, instead blasting incinerating heat at the revolting thing. Whatever they were, they were our enemies.Together Bomonga and I turned to see the city in flames, the sounds of battle dying down now. We both knew the city had already fallen…that there was nothing to be gained from staying. But stay we did, walking shell-shocked through the winding corridors of water and stone. Encountering more and more of the skull faced creatures.When we finally reached the inner citadel of the island, we were exhausted, our armor and weapons being covered with many dents, rents, and scratches. However all that was forgotten the second we entered. Inside was a score of the skull faced things, each of them fighting a single Toa who, like a flash, sped around them with her brilliant blue Kakama.Bomonga and I didn’t hesitate, unconsciously nodding to each other, we both dove into the fray, each of us using just enough elemental energy to coat our weapons. With my flaming spear I hacked and struck at the creatures, constantly moving in a deadly dance, my shield deflecting energy, claws, and brutal blows.Finally the lightning fast Toa was stopped, one of the creatures entwining her legs with what seemed to be vines of ivy. With the last of my elemental ability I fired a brilliant spear of fire towards the vine, scorching it and causing it to wither and die. The Toa glanced at me, thanking me with her eyes. Then in a strong voice she called out“Hang on, Brothers!” and the next thing I knew the entire room was filled with water, picking up the creatures and washing them out into the many canals in the city. I held my breath as the water submerged me, its strong current batting my armored form around as if it were nothing more than a toy.Amidst the maelstrom that swirled around in the once dry chamber I caught sight of the Toa of water, and my ally Bomonga. The new Toa was lithe, her small form making smooth movements through the heavy water that pressed down on Bomonga and I—clearly she was at home here beneath the waves.Still the current dragged us on onwards, the new Toa effortlessly leading the way, stopping only occasionally for a backward glance, as if to say “hurry up” It was then that I realized that the path we had taken was different from the one the spined creatures had. While they had been forced outward into the city we seemed to be plunging deeper and deeper into it.Or rather, going farther and farther under it.==============================================================================Reviews are possibly contained herein

Edited by Janus, Jul 19 2012 - 02:32 AM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#6 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 25 2012 - 03:31 PM

Chapter Six: Beneath the wavesThere was a blinding light and I caught sight of the thin form of the Toa of water gracefully falling through the air. Then I felt the ground beneath me drop away and plunged down into a widened tunnel—this only filled about halfway with water. Bomonga noisily splashed next to me.Gasping for air, Bomonga and I looked around—this was no mere drainage system., that much was evident. The walls were high and smooth with elaborate carvings on them, decorating various ancient Kanohi and Rahi. Even the lighting was far different than had been in the main portion of the city. There was an air of serenity and peace about this place, something that was unexpected after the raging chaos of the world above.The Toa of water surfaced next to us, her eyes narrowed.“You two took long enough. If you had actually bothered to swim maybe you wouldn’t be sitting here gasping for air.” She said, her voice hard. I tried to splutter a reply but found myself being cut off by the Toa’s voice.“I apologize, brothers. It is not your fault that my city has been besieged.” she sighed “Still…I had not expected to enter these halls under such circumstances”“What is this place?” Bomonga asked slowly, his inquisitive eyes glancing eagerly around the room. The Toa sighed.“It’s part of the original city, the ancient city built before we existed. These halls have withstood many attack, and I trust they will withstand this as well.” Bomonga seemed satisfied with this answer and went back to studying the walls. I just nodded politely, my eyes firmly locked with the water below. I studied the ripples and eddies in the current. I studied anything I could in order to avoid looking at her face. Finally I could stand it no longer, and wrenching my gaze away from the depths I looked into the Toa’s eyes. Those eyes so similar to my own, full of heartbreak and sorrow, of weariness and exhaustion. The Toa’s brilliant blue Kakama wore a frown, and a sense of quiet desperation suffused the air around her. I did the only thing I knew how to.“I’m Toa Norik.” I said, extending my hand toward her. The Toa took it, gripping with a strength that belied her size.“Gaaki.” She grunted, wading in the waters.“Gaaki…I apologize.” My voice cracked, then dropped to a whisper. Her eyes narrowed again, their golden sheen becoming more firey.“Why?”“Because my companion…Bomonga,” I said, indicating my brother who was now submerging himself to better study the carvings. “and I were meant to warn you of this. We’ve both seen our cities fa…”“Enough!” Gaaki shouted, whirling around in the water. “I appreciate your apology, Norik. But there’s nothing to be gained from sitting around her and mourning the past. My city is dead, I have to accept that!” she snapped. A silence fell over the wide tunnel, the only sounds being those of the water displaced by Bomonga and my clumsy movements.That silence lasted a good while, permeating the environment of the passage and causing an uncomfortable tension to settle uncomfortably around us. Then at last the water seemed to recede, a smooth stone rising up to meet my feet. I saw Bomonga and Gaaki rising out of the water, Bomonga with the lumbering movements of a waterlogged Toa of earth, and Gaaki with the graceful beauty of a Toa at home in her element. We all slowly stepped up the carved stone ramp, taking a glance at the long passage that had brought us here. Though not apparent while we were in it, the entire passage curved—perhaps wrapping around the whole length of the island.Suddenly I became all-too-aware of the aching in my body: The constant travel, battles, and now this lengthy swim having finally taken its toll on me. I saw Bomonga sag as he encountered much the same. Gaaki walked on, undisturbed.We entered a large round chamber, roughly 20 bios across with a small dais in the center. Above I could see a high peaked ceiling with many different stone supports and a small inset mask—but the walls were what was truly fascinating.Completely translucent they displayed a clear view of the ocean beyond—so clear that it was almost as if you could reach your hand through and touch it.“How is this possible?” Bomonga questioned softly. Gaaki’s response was swift.“Nobody knows. Its been here since the very beginning—perhaps it was Mata-Nui’s gift to our people.” She said offhandedly, shrugging her shoulders.Tearing myself away from the glorious view I stepped nearer to the center of the room.“But what are we going to do now?” I wondered aloud.“This isn’t the end of our journey, brother.” Gaaki returned, shooting me a glance with those flashing eyes.I opened my mouth to speak but found I couldn’t respond. A low rumbling had suffused the chamber, a growling grinding sound that filled the chamber with its great bass. The entire room began to shake, a slight trembling that I could feel in my feet. I saw the others could too. It was the kind of sensation that slid up your legs and took root in your belly, the sickening feeling of something about to drop away. All at once there was a deafening crash and the rumbling stopped. Beyond the protective field all around us we could see fragments of stone slowly sinking into the depths, and above small cracks had formed in the heavy stone ceiling. Gaaki’s face went grim.“It’s over. They’ve taken the tower” was all she said. Then, wordlessly she stepped into the center of the room, lifting one armored glove high in the air. Bomonga and I stared wordlessly, watching as a pillar of light surrounded her form.A Blue glow began to emanate from her closed fist, her elemental powers beginning to show.As the pillar’s glow continued to bathe her body in light, the bright blue energy of her elemental powers washed over her and then suddenly shot up into the air, the stream of energy surrounding the inset mask in the ceiling above. A loud click sounded throughout the chamber, echoing around the clear enclosure.As soon as it had appeared the glow faded and Gaaki stood in the centre of the room, gesturing to Bomonga and I to join her. Almost as soon as we had, the entire raised dais at the center of the room began to descend. It was slow, moving on what I could only assume were smoothly oiled rails. Slowly but surely we began our descent deeper into the heart of the city. I caught one last glance of the beautiful ocean, and then there was only dark walls dimly lit by lightstones.“Where are we going?” I asked, my mind reeling at how expansive and mysterious this city truly was.“Going up to the surface would be sure death.” Gaaki murmured, glancing from Bomonga to me.“This way will be far safer.” With that she lapsed into a melancholy silence.The trip was long, minutes ticking by slowly with only the fading light from the chamber above to gauge distance. I glanced at the stone walls with their inset lightstones, then glanced skyward at the fading pinprick of light that had been the room above.“The rest of your team…what happened to them?” I asked tentatively“Dead.” Gaaki ground out with a harsh tone. “Those creatures killed them all. They were about to kill me too…Thank you, brothers.” She said slowly. I sighed.“Toa Gaaki. I know your loss.”“As do I.” Bomonga said, breaking his silence. Gaaki simply gazed at us both.“Gaaki. I suggest we unite against this…thing. It has threatened the unity of not only your city, but of our entire world. It is our duty to unite.” I spoke passionately, surprising even myself. Gaaki simply smirked, her eyes alight with dark humor.“What, no comment about “Destiny” in there? I know the virtues, Norik. I’m no fool.” I opened my mouth to retort but was summarily shot down.“Still…” she said pensively. “Toa have always been stronger united than divided—I will ally myself with you, Toa Norik, and you Toa Bomonga.”Almost instinctively the three of us touched fists, each channeling a small portion of their elemental powers into the other. A bond of brotherhood had been created.The dais touched down silently, snapping us out of our collective reverie, with a start we each separated and walked off the platform, which almost instantly began its silent ascent. Gaaki led the way, onward through stone corridors reminiscent of the water-filled tunnel. Finally we reached a small stone chamber that seemed devoid of anything but an odd round shape in one of the walls. It was by this that Gaaki stood.“Brothers, this is a closely guarded secret of Gaho-Nui” she began solemnly. “Many of these chambers exist across the city, but those at the deepest depths work the most efficiently.”Bomonga and I said nothing, simply watching and attempting to understand.Gaaki grabbed the stone circle on the wall turned. With that the very stone beneath us began to groan in protest and shake as they split in two, revealing a tube just wide enough for a Toa to comfortably fit through, crouching down on her haunches she pointed at the opening.“This is how we will escape, brothers.” She murmured. Seeing what I was sure were bemused looks on our faces, Gaaki continued to explain.“This tube leads to an outcropping of rock bordering the city. It’s built with an incline that will speed us through there—as for our source of propulsion…” she pointed to the other end of the tube, nearer the farthest wall. There a small metal cap could be seen. “…We’ll use the very waters of the ocean itself.” With that said, Gaaki lowered herself into the tube, closest to the sealed cap.“Bomonga, you’ll have to use your elemental powers to seal the tube from inside—from there I’ll open the seal and we’ll be on our way. Normally we have Matoran down here…but” She trailed off into an awkward silence. Bomonga nodded“Understood”“Norik, climb in.” Gaaki said, motioning for me to join her in the tube. No sooner had I done so, than I felt Bomonga lowering himself in as well. Focusing intently he willed the stones to close again, the gears and metal protesting the entire way. Grunting with exertion the Toa of earth slowly forced the stones to bend to his will, until, with a final click we were left in darkness.“Are you okay, brother?” Gaaki and I asked in unison. Bomonga responded with a pant.“I am fine. I am no Toa of Stone, and so they did not cooperate—but the job is done.”“Hang on, then” Gaaki whispered and in the murky darkness of that tube I heard the sound of the sealing cap being removed.Then I was hurtling through the tube at incredible speeds. The water driving us forward at a pace I had hardly imagined. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder and realized that not only was the water driving us forward, but Gaaki was using her Kakama to keep us ahead of the rushing waters. Then, with a suddenness I didn’t expect, we exploded into the sky, plummeting into the deep waters that surrounded Gaho-Nui.We surfaced to the sun rising over the horizon, illuminating the shoreline from which we had just launched—and illuminating the shattered silhouette of Gaho-Nui. No longer did proud watch towers stand gleaming in the light of the sun, no longer did a mighty pillar reach high into the sky. Now the central tower lay in pieces, a massive cleave splitting the stone. The many watchtowers dotting the island had also crumbled to rubble and brilliant flames burned all across the city.Slowly, mournfully, we swam to shore and entered the dead city. The empty shells of those creatures littered the streets and canals, and everywhere was covered in melted stone—just like Koto-Nui and Tapa-Nui. The city had been ruined by the same scourge that had blackened others before it—and we would see it brought to justice.Gaaki’s face hardened at the destruction, her eyes losing some of their brilliant shine as she gazed around at what was once her home. When her eyes fell on the cleft that was once the central tower of Gaho-Nui—the tower under which we’d stood but a few hours ago, her hands clenched into fists.“Toa Norik, Toa Bomonga. We have to end this plague once and for all.” She said passionately, her body trembling in anger. “We have to stop it from ever attacking another city!” She shouted.I nodded.“Agreed, Toa Gaaki. But there are three cities remaining—how are we to figure out which it will attack?” Gaaki’s eyes gleamed, a hint of humor coming through.“Two cities. The Turaga of Metru Nui in all of his infinite wisdom has decided to seal his city off from the rest of us…then again, maybe that was a smart plan.” She muttered.It was Toa Bomonga who spoke next, demonstrating why he was such an excellent Rahi tracker.“Look at the motives thus far.” He began, his deep voice rumbling. “First they attack the city of the forge—thus depriving us of weapons and armor. Then the city of the source, removing our raw materials for more weapons and armor, next they take the city of trade: Ensuring that our distribution routes are cut.” He paused, allowing this information to sink in. “Whatever it is that’s attacking us. They’re smart, they’re slowly chipping away our resources, taking away any sort of fall back—given that information I would think they’d go for Ava-Nui—the city of the warrior. If Ava-Nui falls, we’re defenseless.”Gaaki seemed to mull this over in her mind. “That’s possible, Bomonga.” She began. “But if you’re wrong then we’re dooming the inhabitants of Kura-Nui to the same fate as our islands…can we really take that risk?”“What would you suggest, sister?” I asked, turning to face her as we walked through the ruined streets.“We need to find a way to split our forces—to have each of us visit an island and give warning.” She said strongly. I considered this, reluctant to divide our already small group.“It is an option, sister. But even with three Toa we may run into resistance—would you have us split our forces further?” I questioned. Gaaki’s eyes flared.“I’ll not condemn another city out of fear!” she growled. “I’ll not allow another city to fall just because you’re scared. I’ll not allow this tragedy to repeat itself!” She shouted, a mixture of sorrow and anger colouring her words.I sighed.“Toa Gaaki. We have but one vessel.” I explained “While it can barely fit the three of us, it can—do you really think that with the destruction wreaked here,” I said, indicating the ruined city with one arm “there would be any form of working boat left?”Gaaki’s eyes narrowed and she pierced me with a gaze but stayed perfectly silent as she walked on.All around the city burned, ashes flitting lightly through the air like some demented form of snow. It was a scene of ruination and tragedy. Even through Toa Gaaki’s anger and pride I could see from the slump of her shoulders that she was mourning inside. I said nothing, knowing all to well how that felt.At last we reached the dock where this journey had begun, the shell of the creature that had attacked us marking our point of entry. Just out of sight I could see the rhythmic motions of the ocean’s waves bringing our small boat above the stone lip that bordered the city, and then dropping it below again.Even I could feel the grim look in my face as my companions and I walked slowly, tentatively towards the small niche in the wall. Suddenly everything took on a new poignance: The hollow way our feet echoed on the stone, the furious red of the flames that burned everywhere, even the thousands of ashes that filled the air all somehow seemed to be a grim spectre of things that were yet to come.We crossed the lip and my heart fell. Our tiny vessel was empty. Wanderer was gone. And I knew in that instant he was not merely gone, he had not simply left the safety of the dock, or fallen overboard. I saw in my minds eye the vision of one of those accursed spined creatures looming over him, saw the terror that crept into his golden eyes, and saw his capture. Wanderer was aboard that black ship. I knew it.Bomonga knew this too, his eyes falling and his body sagging as he looked into the vacant boat. I had the opposite reaction, a profound rage filled me, a burning molten feeling that seared through to my very core. I screamed in anger, a primal scream that echoed out into the night. Unthinking as I did so, I released my tightly held control of my element. My flame burst into the air, a brilliant beacon that rocketed into the sky, bathing the docks in a brilliant red.Bomonga and Gaaki stared at me with mixed expressions. Gaaki’s Kakama knitted into a stern look that told me I was a fool, that I would lead them back here. Bomonga’s Huna simply spoke of concern, and of shock. Neither of them understood, neither of them had sworn and oath of brotherhood with him. To swear such an oath, to declare him an ally—and then to fail him…as I had failed my brothers on Tapa-Nui, it was unacceptable!I felt the rage simmering within me, barely contained and threatening to burst to the surface. But it was in this state that I felt my objective crystallize. Not only would I save the Matoran, and the other cities from this menace…but I would destroy it as well, and take incredible pleasure from doing so.I apologized to my companions, bowing my head low in shame, even as I visualized that great black thing collapsing under its own weight as thousands of explosions tore across its hull. I would succeed, I had to!“It appears the time for a decision has come.” Bomonga said, glancing from me to Toa Gaaki. “Will you join us in our quest to save Ava-Nui, or seek your own vessel and venture to Kura-Nui?” He questioned. Gaaki stayed silent, her fierce—and yet tired eyes, firmly locked with Bomonga. Finally, she sighed.“I do not begrudge you in your task, brother. Nor you, Norik.” She said slowly. “But what if you’re wrong? What if that plague attacks Kura-Nui while we’re busy protecting Ava-Nui? I’ll not let another city die—not like mine has…” she trailed off into silence.Bomonga said nothing, nodding his head slowly. I sighed.“I understand, Gaaki. I wish you well in your quest and may we meet again.”“I don’t want to abandon you brothers, understand that.” She said firmly. “But I cannot allow this tragedy to repeat itself” she waved at the wreckage of a city that remained behind her.“We can help you find transport, sister.” Bomonga said slowly, putting an arm on Gaaki’s shoulder.“No.” Gaaki looked him straight in the eyes. “Brothers, you have your own quest and I will not hold you here. Go, save the people of Ava-Nui.” As she spoke she turned away, looking at the expansive ocean that stretched out in front of us, its blue surface burning a brilliant gold as the light of the suns struck it.“Toa Gaaki, be reasonable!” I shouted, turning to face her. “With the destruction that has taken place here, there will be nothing to convey you to Kura-Nui…I understand that you wish to help them, but we have no choice but to stick together—unless you plan to walk across the water!”Surprisingly Gaaki didn’t retort immediately, instead bowing her head, a thoughtful expression in her eyes. She smiled“Toa Norik, you may just have something there.” Then, without another word she leapt from the ledge, spinning and flipping through the air and landed perched perfectly still on a wave she had summoned. She gave a brief nod to Bomonga and I, and then activating her Kanohi Kakama she darted into the distance.Bomonga and I turned to look at each other, a slight grin on our otherwise weary faces.“I guess she didn’t need a boat.” Bomonga laughed.“I suppose not, brother.” I chuckled, the sound seeming unfamiliar to me. “Regardless, we should leave at once—who knows what we’ll find when we reach Ava-Nui…” I let myself trail off into silence, all-to-aware of my grim tone. Bomonga nodded, clambering into the boat docked below. I joined him, for once my mind not a whirling cacophony of thought and sound, now instead it was focused, harnessed. Only one end goal was in my mind and all of my energy would be dedicated toward that end. It was with this thought that I seated myself in our small seafaring vessel, unconsciously nodding toward Bomonga to go, and with a slight roar of the engine, our small ship pulled out from the docking port, speeding out into the sunlit ocean. ==============================================================================Eventually there might actually be reviews here!
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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

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You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#7 Offline Janus

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Posted Aug 02 2012 - 01:36 AM

Chapter Seven: The CaveThe journey this time was smoother, the waves less tempestuous and the brilliant light of the twin suns guided us safely on our way. We sped across the waves, occasionally checking our various landmarks. There the Spire Mountains jutted up into the clear blue sky, their jagged peaks showing the way to Ava-Nui.Still our small craft weaved through the waves, its engine groaning in protest as our bow cut through the waters. Bomonga and I rode on in silence, our masks grim and our eyes seeing nothing that was before us.I let myself think back to the beginning, reclining in the cold metal chair of the small boat. It had only been two days now, two days since my world had turned upside down. My city destroyed and my people nowhere to be found. Now I found myself with a companion Toa--perhaps two, should we meet up with Gaaki once more. However I still felt the loss of my people, and my ally Wanderer. I felt my will strengthen as I thought of my small companion. I would rescue him, I would succeed in my quest.I sighed deeply, the hard journey up until this point taking its toll on me--however the journey had not ended, and I could not succumb yet to the darkness that so pressed on me. Turning to my ally Bomonga, I took the controls, allowing him to sleep, as he had done for me as we sped to Gaho-Nui. I hoped that his dreams would be better than mine.I carefully monitored all the equipment in the boat, watching the various dials and readouts as I had watched similar in my home city. Though I had never driven a boat until this point, I had inspected forges with similar readouts--I imagined it was much the same. In the distance I saw another landmark that led the way to Ava-Nui, a strange formation of stone we called the cave: It was a massive dome shaped island that sat in the middle of the ocean, made of a smooth brown stone, it almost resembled a massive boulder. However, through the very center of this strange rock face there was a small tunnel just narrow enough to fit our boat.I had heard the legends of the cave, of the strange tales that had been whispered by many a Matoran. How the tunnel seemed perfectly straight and the light could be seen at all times. And yet how Matoran had been stuck in there for hours on end, seemingly speeding on to a destination they would never reach. Still other tales told of Matoran shippers who were through in mere seconds, seemingly entering and exiting near-instantaneously. It was a strange and mysterious place, and one that marked the boundary of territory for Ava-Nui. After one had completed the circuit of the cave, they had officially entered into Ava-Nui's waters--waters that were fiercely guarded.I turned the wheel I was holding, angling the boat towards the small entrance. Legends were one thing, but this was the fastest way to reach the island--and time was of the essence. I glanced at the dark pit that was the entrance to the pit and hesitated for but an instant, my mind filled with the stories and whispers. Then I cranked the throttle as I had seen Bomonga do the night before, and our small boat sped into the darkness of the cave.It was lighter than I expected, and more expansive. The walls seemingly tapering away into darkness as soon as you crossed the entrance. However I could see the brilliant glow of the twin suns at the end of the tunnel, and ensuring the boat maintained its course I continued my journey there. As we continued, we seemed to get no closer to the mysterious light source I had sworn was the exit. Frustrated and tired I sent a burst of flame to the ceiling--and saw a metal plate and hundreds of different tunnels. Curious, I dialed down the throttle, controlling the small ship with one hand as I made a small sphere of fire in the other. What I saw amazed me. The cave wasn't a single tunnel that drove through the center, it was a myriad of labrythine tunnels, each with its own strategically placed pieces of metal to reflect the light from outside. It was a trap. I smiled, clearly the island of Ava-Nui had more than just physical defenses. They had intended this as a delay for anyone attempting to speed to their island quickly--surely they must have thought that anyone who would want to make haste was an attacker. I imagined they were the ones who spread the rumors and tales, building up the reputation of this mysterious location so that all others feared it. Naturally only someone who had nothing left to lose would dare enter such a fearsome place.Lit by the fire in my palm, I guided our small vessel through the tunnels, careful to avoid the false exits that reflected light--but were nothing more than stone. At last I reached the true exit, and with a shout of jubilation our vessel sped out into the light of the twin suns. And in the distant, gleaming brightly in that light, was the armored city that we had so desperately raced towards.At last we came upon it, the towering fortress city of Ava-Nui. The city of the warrior. ==============================================================================Short Chapter? Leave a review to tell me you hated it!

Edited by Janus, Aug 02 2012 - 01:37 AM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#8 Offline Janus

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Posted Aug 08 2012 - 11:34 PM

Chapter Eight: WarriorsThe city of Ava-Nui rested on a broad plateau, surrounded by a massive armored wall with various watchtowers. And from behind the wall many smaller towers could be seen. Inside only the best warriors were trained, and each of them was supplied with only the best weapons. It was a brutal and rough city, a city made of sand and rock, a sun-parched city where only the hardest survived. Our small craft cut through the water, coming nearer and nearer to the city until at last we reached the first of the barricades. a field of rocks had been set up with a mechanism that allowed them to surface and submerge in a pattern. Only someone who knew the pattern could pass safely--someone who didn't would end up with hundreds of punctures in their vessel--and the field was far enough away from the island that swimming was an impossibility.I, like every other Toa, had been taught the pattern--however I had never had to use it. a sickening feeling of nervousness came over me, shaking my nerves and causing a shudder to run through my body. Then the vision of that black ship came to my mind and my thoughts crystallized. I saw the pattern in my mind as I saw it in the waves. Nudging our ship forward into the first of many safe zones I continued to watch the stones surface. Waiting for my next opportunity.There! Driving the throttle forward I sped our ship into the next safe zone, gazing around at all the stones that continued to rise and submerge. We were almost near the center now, only two more safe zones to go, and as we got further in the pattern became more complex, the motions more calculated to scuttle any sort of invading vessel. I let loose a bitter laugh at the black humor of it all.Another opportunity came and I drove the ship forward, narrowly nicking of the stones before making it into the safe zone. It wasn't enough to cause any real damage to the ship, but it was enough to concern me. From here I could see the pattern completely, watching the massive rocks rise and fall in different timed bursts. Only one more safe zone remained, and then we would be in the bay of Ava-Nui.I saw my chance and upped the throttle, gliding slowly into the safe zone. I remembered that this part of the pattern was trickier than most, if I had sped through as I had on all the others, a secondary defense mechanism would have activated, hurtling a stone spear upward through the center of our ship. Breathing a sigh of relief I nudged our ship completely out of the pattern and into the expansive bay of Ava Nui.The bay was shaped like a crescent, two bladed bits of the island sweeping forward like claws ready to attack. In the very center of these two claws was the plateau that held the city--and in front of that plateau was an enormous wall armed with Kanoka disk launchers. It was an intimidating sight, and one that almost made me feel hope--perhaps the defenses of Ava-Nui would be enough to vanquish the black ship?Pushing through, past my fear and past my hope, I allowed my mind to work on autopilot. Hope, fear, sadness, anger. None of that mattered right now, all that mattered was making it to the fortress before me and warning them--so that we might conquer the black ship together, and rescue all the many Matoran it had stolen.At last we came close to the shore and I saw a sight I had not seen for some time--Matoran! They were armed with smaller Kanoka launchers, and bore the mark of Ava-Nui's defense force. They beckoned us to come closer to the docking station, their eyes careful to never leave our small vessel.I guided the boat to where they had indicated, and with a slight bump we docked up against the small pier. Instantly the Matoran had attached chains to our vessel and to the posts on the pier. Then they looked at us with harsh eyes."Toa. What is your purpose here?" Their leader said slowly, his Kanoka launcher pointed at the ground--but I didn't doubt for a second that he couldn't have it aimed at me incredibly quickly."I am Toa Norik, this is Toa Bomonga." I said, indicating my now-rousing companion. "We bring a warning to your island, and must speak with your Turaga immediately!" The Matoran turned to talk amongst themselves, their leader keeping his eyes firmly on us. He wore a reddish brown Noble Huna, a large scar dominating one side of his mask, and several smaller scars gracing the rest of his mask. One of his soldiers turned to him, whispering something in his ear, then immediately stepped back. The leader gazed at us cooly."Our Turaga is currently busy, however we have been instructed to bring you to the island.""We must see your Turaga!" Bomonga shouted, now fully awake. "Please, it is a matter of the utmost urgency! The safety of your city is at risk!"The leader glanced at his soldiers and hoisted his Kanoka launcher over his shoulder. Then he laughed a harsh laugh and pointed at our boat."Not even a Toa who knows the pattern can make it through unscathed" he laughed, indicating the small dent in the bow of our boat. "And yet he thinks that something can actually threaten our island?"His soldiers laughed uproariously in response to their commander's words, clutching their sides as they did so. The commander turned back to us, his face deadly serious and his eyes lacking any humor."No Toa, as Matoran we are in your debt. But as soldiers we have our orders. You may not see our Turaga." I sighed and shook my head, hoisting myself from the boat and helping Bomonga to do the same. There was nothing we could do as of yet--still, my heart swelled just a bit. I was around matoran once more, and the fact that there were Matoran here meant that the Black Ship had yet to arrive.I allowed the Matoran guard to lead us down the pier and toward the massive defense wall, listening to his soldiers chatter amicably amongst themselves.Then one fell. Struck by a vicious streak of lightning that seemingly came from nowhere. Another fell to a deadly metal blade that hurtled from the air. In front of us I saw the spined creatures from Gaho-Nui--how had they appeared so quickly? Behind the two creatures was a third, seemingly uninterested in combat it left the two for our small vanguard to deal with.I yelled angrily at the creature, blasting the first with a brutal stream of fire, it simply walked through the blast, seemingly shrugging it off, then launched another of its spinning blades, cleaving one of the Matoran in two.The commander rallied his troops, yelling at them to get in formation as he raised his Kanoka disk. A hail of disks assaulted both creatures, but their pupilless eyes displayed no sign of fear or pain. Instead they simply came closer, each raising its respective staff and launching steel and lightning towards us.Bomonga stood tall, twirling his staff quickly around him he used his element to form a hammer of solidly packed earth at one end. With this heavy weapon he struck the closest creature on top of its skull-like head and was rewarded with a satisfying crack. The creature's skull detached from the rest of the body and dropped like a rock to the stone pier below.Kicking the headless body into the ocean I hurled my spear directly toward the second creature, channeling my elemental powers through it. It struck a clean blow, striking the creature just below its armored carapace and releasing a sea of flames that tore through the beasts body with reckless abandon. It screamed, a metallic whining sound that pierced the air, and then it crumpled to the ground.I waited for the carapace to open, for the small slug thing to worm its way out as it had in Gaho-Nui and was shocked to find nothing in the end. Slowly making my way close to the thing, I closed one armored hand over its slick carapace and heaved it open. The worm inside had been pieced by the spear and blasted with fire--it was nothing more than cinders now. I felt a slight sense of victory. They had attacked and we had repelled themBut just as I was feeling that a low rumbling overhead came and I saw it. Seemingly tearing itself out of thin air it came, its massive form hanging like a marking in the sky it shadowed all the light of the twin suns, bathing us in a darkness deeper than even night. The Black Ship had come.==============================================================================Long night. Tired. Review?
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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#9 Offline Janus

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Posted Aug 16 2012 - 02:04 AM

Chapter Nine: The FallI gestured to the commander to gather his men and see to the wounded. Then Bomonga and I were off, running toward the massive guard wall. I ran with a speed I didn't know I had, bounding across the stone surface of the pier and leaping high into the air, to land on one of the many ramparts of the defensive wall. Bomonga joined me shortly thereafter.Above us I could hear the sounds of conflict, the whine of the creatures as they perished and anguished screams of dying Matoran. With the fire of anger burning brightly within me I hurled myself into the sky, turning once so that my blade pointed downwards, then, with a supreme blast of energy I allowed my element to launch from my spear, hurtling myself high into the air and onto the outer wall of the inner corridor. I glanced downard at Bomonga, having not even thought of how he'd make it up here, and saw him riding a pillar of raw earth casually. With a flip he launched himself from the platform, allowing it to disintegrate, and joined me on the wall.The courtyard was a scene of chaos, spined creatures lurking in every corner and hundreds of Matoran clothed in armor and weapons streaming out to meet them. Across the courtyard, nearest to the central compound I saw a Toa of fire battling a creature that launched blasts of ice. The Toa dodged nimbly, his sword flaring brightly as he slashed at a pointed icicle hurtling towards him. The creature screamed in rage, its spines rattling angrily, and launched itself at him, cutting the Toa deeply with its bladed staff. The Toa struck the thing multiple times, his sword blazing brightly even in the darkness that the ship had brought, and with a blinding flash, split the creature in two. I felt my heart rise and leapt down to join the fray just in time to see another creature with a hooked staff ram it through the Toa's undefended back. He fell and did not move.I felt the rage take me, and blasted a stream of fire from my spear, striking the creature full on in the chest. Half expecting it to walk through unharmed as the other hand, I was amazed to see the entire thing begin to melt into a pile of sludge. The heat of my fire simply being too much for it to handle.I didn't allow myself to celebrate this time, turning my spear behind me and ramming the point into another creature where the head met the body. The creature screamed and gurgled as it fell. A blast of elemental energy and it fell silent.Bomonga joined me on the ground, rage evident in his normally calm face. He brought up the earth to form barriers for the still fighting Matoran and to form enormous hands to crush the creatures that swarmed everywhere. I ran onwards, my blade flashing and my shield taking many blows.So blinded was I by anger that I didn't even realize the head of my spear was lodged in the neck of the fallen creature behind me. Swinging madly with the haft I struck the creatures repeatedly, desperately hoping with each strike they would fall. Instead my handle shattered and I found myself surrounded.For a brief moment I felt fear as I saw the creatures closing in on me, their hissing breaths seeming like laughter. Then I saw the image of my dead brothers in the funeral pyre that had once been our city and remembered what these things had taken from me. No longer did I feel anger, instead I fought to avenge my brothers. I struck with Toa Jurian's gauntlets, blasting one of the creatures heads so hard that it simply hung limply like a metal ball on a string. I whirled, facing the rest of the creatures that surrounded me, and delivered a brutal backfist to the closest one to me, allowing my fire to channel through the heavy gauntlets. The metal became like a heated blade, cutting through the torso of the creature and dropping it like a rock. The other creatures shied away, their spines rattling anxiously and their staffs dropping slightly. I didn't allow them to escape, instead surrounding us with a ring of blazing fire. The creatures hissed angrily and launched themselves at me, attacking me with creeping vines, and gale force winds.I ducked, raising Toa Kyr's melted shield and kneeling behind it. The wind struck me full force and knocked me back, but did not lift me as it had in Gaho-Nui. I then allowed my flame to suffuse my entire body, watching as the vines shriveled and died the second they touched me. Without giving the creatures a second chance I hurled Toa Kyr's shield, suffusing it with just enough elemental energy that it became like a whirling blade. It severed the top of the wind creature's carapace, revealing the worm inside. I struck it with one gauntleted fist, relishing the feeling of it being crushed.The vine creature, realizing it was outmatched attempted to escape from the ring and found itself trapped. It screamed angrily and launched several vines at me at once, not attacking my body--instead attacking my mask. I beat at the vines with my fists, allowing the blazing heat to turn them into ash. Then I leapt high in the air, driving one armored fist into the creature's skull, driving it so hard into the ground that the creature left a small hole. I blast of fire directly into its back and it lay still.I allowed the ring of fire to fade, running forward to see any other foes, and found that the courtyard was disturbingly silent. There were no longer any sounds of combat--no screaming of the creatures as they fell, no shrieks of metal-on-metal, not even the whistling of Kanoka as they flew through the air. Everything was disturbingly still and silent.That's when I realized that it was bright, moreso than I remembered. Glancing upwards I saw that the ship had gone--had we beaten it?No, I saw now that the ship had succeeded in its task. The city of warriors hadn't completely fallen, but its Matoran--its warriors, had been taken. The city was now as empty as the others before it. A silent tomb for those who had fallen.==============================================================================Long night. Tired. Review?
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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

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You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#10 Offline Janus

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Posted Aug 22 2012 - 10:26 AM

Chapter Ten: BrothersI bowed my head low and walked slowly through the dusty courtyard. With luck, Gaaki had managed to warn those of Kura-Nui--but even then, what chance did they have against such a foe? I sighed heavily and bent to retrieve Toa Kyr's shield...and then I heard something. A muffled yell that sounded as though it were close. I pivoted on my heel, glancing around warily, attempting to avoid any trap the creatures may have laid for us. Instead I found an unexpected sight: Just inside one of the training barracks there was a sheet of solid ice--and it was from that ice that the yelling came.I placed one hand on the ice, feeling its chilling cold, and allowed a very small amount of my flame to emerge, slowly burning through the enormous sheet. As I did so I walked forward into the cold tunnel created by my flame.The entire barracks it seemed had been filled with ice, from the entrance all the way to to the resting quarters--and somewhere in here was what I assumed was a Matoran who had tried to escape. I continued my journey through the dripping corridors of ice, ignoring the drops of water that landed on my armor and evaporated.I could hear it clearer now, almost distinctly enough to understand the words--but not quite. I knew I was headed in the right direction and so I shouted down the corridor."I'm coming!" allowing my heat to melt more of the frozen substance.At last I came upon the room he was in, it was solidly blocked with ice and what appeared to be stone inside--perhaps part of the building had collapsed upon the Matoran? He had been silent since I had shouted...perhaps he had been knocked unconcious! Frantically I applied heat to the ice, allowing it to melt and reveal a large stone boulder in front of the door. I heard the shout, and understood it."Finally!" came a rough voice, and the boulder crumbled to dust. There, standing in the fragmented stone and dust was a Toa.The Toa extended his hand, his light brown Pakari scrunched into an insructable look. I took his hand with my own and shook once."Toa Pouks." He said gruffly, releasing my hand and turning to sigh."I'm guessing the exercise is over?" He muttered, running one hand across the top of his mask agitatedly. confused, I grabbed his shoulder and asked."Exercise?" The Toa smirked over his shoulder and looked me in the eyes, his green eyes twinkling with humor."You don't actually expect me to believe that something assaulted the city of the warrior, do you?" He said, waving airily with his hand."I'm not that foolish. This," he pointed, indicating the still melting ice "was just Toa Ithena having fun with us, adding a bit of a challenge to the game." he said with a matter-of-fact tone.I goggled at him, my eyes feeling like they were going to burst out of my head. A...training exercise? That's what this Toa thought had happened? I sighed and turned him to face me, one arm on each of his shoulders."This was no exercise, Toa Pouks." I whispered grimly. "This city has fallen, just as Tapa-Nui, Koto-Nui, and Gaho-Nui have before it."Pouks glanced at me, suspicion reflected in his pale green eyes. Then, seeing the seriousness in my face he gaped."No. That's not possible. There's nothing in this world that would assault a Great City--let-alone four of them!" "Unfortunately there is. An army of hissing, spined creatures that control the elements as we do, and a jet black ship that looms overhead while they do their work. They have come to your island as they came to mine." I whispered, my voice close to cracking, but staying strong.Pouks went silent. Absentmindedly pushing me to the side as he began to walk through the now-damp corridors that led outside. I heard him go, his footsteps echoing noisely on the wet stone. Then they sped up as I he burst into a run, finally stopping completely as he stepped outside into the silent courtyard.I followed him slowly, watching as he desperately looked around the vacant courtyard in vain. Finally coming up behind him and turning him forcefully. "Look." I said, brandishing the necklace I had taken from Toa Alea "This is all that remains of the leader of my team, Toa Alea of water." I then silently pointed at the feather still in my mask and the gauntlets and ruined shield that I wore. "Each of these too came from my brothers." I sighed. "I have felt your loss, Toa Pouks of stone. And I understand more than anyone else why we should band together and fight this plague that sweeps across our land."Pouks glanced at me, his green eyes burning with sorrow and anger, and opened his mouth to speak. However as he did a cry broke through the silence."Norik!" came the booming voice of Bomonga.He was limping slowly, putting almost no pressure on one of his legs. One hand tightly clutched the opposite shoulder where I saw a brutal puncture wound through his armor. I felt his pain and greeted him warmly as he approached. I was shocked when his mask turned from one of exhaustion to one of anger."Norik, you fool. What are you doing?" he shouted, his eyes flashing brightly as he stood face to face with me. I silently pointed at Toa Pouks and attempted to explain, but Bomonga wouldn't let me speak."No, Norik. Not about him. About yourself." he said slowly, allowing his anger to fade--Bomonga never was one to stay angry long.I paused to think about what he was talking about, and suddenly felt the driving pain all across my body. Glancing down I saw the great puncture wound directly through my stomach armor, and saw the various blades from the metal creature sticking out from all across my body: Circular blades lodged in my legs, shoulders, and chest. I grunted as the pain washed across me, feeling everywhere I had been struck only now that the danger had passed. Toa Pouks turned and stared at both Bomonga and I."I...thought for sure this was just the usual training exercise the Turaga put on. An elaborate mock battle to ensure that both Matoran mind and steel are sharp--the Toa usually get to join in as well...I thought that's all it was..." he trailed off into silence. "But now...now I see you....actually see you. Those are no false wounds, you're not acting--something truly happened here. My city has fallen." With that Pouks turned and wept.Bomonga and I let him be, both looking at the other uncomfortably. Was it discomfort at the fact that we couldn't help him, or at the fact that we weren't sure if we could weep anymore? I honestly don't know.The last of Toa Pouks sobs trailed off into silence and he raised himself from the ground, a newfound strength in his eyes as he turned to look at us."My city has fallen." He repeated slowly, his eyes narrowing as he said it. "But I am a warrior of Ava-Nui and that will not stop me." he said proudly, walking towards us."Toa Pouks." I extended my hand as a fist. Bomonga did the same."Will you join us in our quest to rid the land of this plague that has swept across your city?" I asked. Pouks didn't hesitate for a second, lightly touching our extended fists with his own and channeling some of his elemental energy to us, as we channeled some to him.Then he softly spoke "Brothers." ==============================================================================I hate that last sentence. Do you hate that last sentence? Tell me how much you hate it in the review topic.
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#11 Offline Janus

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Posted Aug 29 2012 - 03:40 PM

Chapter Eleven: EscapeWe made our way down from the central plateau of the island through a network of tunnels. Toa Pouks leading us through quickly. Every once in a while he spoke."Through here." He'd mutter, pointing at a doorway. "The other one is a trap." then he'd stay silent for another period of time as we walked. Bomonga and I didn't know exactly where we were going or why, but we knew that Pouks was helping us. It was shortly after we had declared ourselves brothers that Bomonga mentioned the ship, and our sister Gaaki at Kura-Nui. Pouks shook his head and muttered."No. Kura-Nui is too far from here by boat..and the defenses that surround here are still active. It would simply take far too long to even attempt." Then without another word he set off through the darkening courtyard to the entrance to the network of tunnels we now in. That had been over an hour ago.Finally Pouks stopped walking, stepping through an portal and exclaiming happily."Found it." As Bomonga and I followed, trying to discover exactly what "It" was we found Toa Pouks in a massive underground hanger lit dimly by lightstones--and in the center of the hanger was row of airships, fueled and ready for departure. Bomonga and I exchanged grins and together with Pouks we clambered aboard the nearest one.With Pouks at the controls we slowly began to rise into the air, the Kanoka engine driving us closer and closer to the peaked ceiling. Pouks cursed loudly, glaring at the controls of the machine. "They somehow manage to damage the hanger door." He grunted. "We're stuck." Bomonga and I looked at each other, then to Pouks. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, Bomonga spoke."Where is the hanger door?" He murmured. Pouks silently pointed toward one of the vast walls lit by lightstones.Bomonga stood up, eyes locked with the distant wall and warned us."Hold on." then he raised his arms high in the air and began to manipulative his elemental powers, clenching his fingers into tight fists as the wall began to rumble ominously. With a grunt of effort Bomonga drove his hands to sides, and Pouks and I watched as the earth surrounding the hanger door separated in a spray of dirt. Then Pouks glanced at the remaining stone and raised his arms pointing a palm toward them. A spiderweb of cracks began to split the stones, and then, with a mighty effort a gaping hole appeared, allowing the twilight to shine into the hanger. Bomonga and Pouks grinned at each other and bumped fists, replenishing some of their spent powers. Then Pouks banked the small craft towards the newly created hole, and we were off.The journey from Ava-Nui by air was far easier than by sea. While still heavily guarded from any aerial assault, the islands defenses had been crippled by the Black Ship. Where once many Kanoka towers and defenses stood, now there was only ruined bases and shattered foundations. Pouks saw this and said nothing, but I saw the green fire alight in his eyes.We glided effortlessly above the ocean, gazing downward at the distant waves below. While the airship would get us to Kura-Nui far quicker than our small boat, it would still be quite some time before we arrived.For a time we rode in silence, each of us wrapped up in our own respective thoughts. Finally it was Toa Pouks who broke the silence.“What do we know about this thing?” He whispered soberly. I lowered my head, thinking, and saw Bomonga close his eyes to do the same.“It can seemingly appear out of nowhere.” I murmured absentmindedly. “One second everything is normal, and then it’s there.”“Then there’s little chance of accidentally running across it mid-flight.” Pouks said, his voice dripping with black humor. I laughed darkly.“I suppose so.”“It has a weapon.” Bomonga said suddenly, his eyes staring into space as he spoke. “A weapon that can burn a city in mere moments.” He whispered. Pouks said nothing, but I saw a shiver run through his body.“Why didn’t it use it on Ava-Nui, then?” he asked. Almost more to himself than to us.“I…I think we were the cause of that.” I said, speaking up. “The other cities it seemed to crush all resistance and then blast them with its weapon—but this time the resistance wasn’t crushed. I think we frightened it away.”“But it still succeeded in its task.” Bomonga reminded.“Yes.” I responded slowly. “But in the other cities it would take the Matoran, kill the Toa, and then burn the city—here it only managed two of those tasks. One city remains intact….I think that it was concerned.” Pouks said nothing, simply nodding at our conversation. Below us the ocean continued to crash and the wave continued to flow. We passed over a few more defensive constructs of Ava-Nui, each seemingly in perfect condition—including those meant for aerial defense. This lent credence to my thought that the Black Ship could seemingly appear and disappear at will.Finally we passed out of Ava-Nui’s defensive space and there was nothing but ocean below us. Again we rode on in silence, only the radiance of the moon and the glow of the various dials and instruments giving us any light in the darkened night.“I wonder if Toa Gaaki is all right” Bomonga worried aloud, sighing as he watched the waves pass below us. I stayed silent, bowing my head and glancing at the darkened waves below. Toa Gaaki was a strong one, of that there was no doubt--but the dark force that we were facing had proven to be so far insurmountable. Every one of our defenses succumbing to its seemingly overwhelming strength. With a sigh I turned to look Bomonga in the face."I can only pray that our friend is doing well, Bomonga." I said quietly, laying a hand on my friend and brother's shoulder. "She has undertaken a great task, and a dangerous one as well."Bomonga said nothing, his eyes gazing past mine and into the starlit night. He shifted himself in his seat, hunching himself over into a compressed ball. As he did so he let out a heavy sigh, the sound seeming like a grim omen in the narrow confines of our airship."Do you think that Kura-Nui will be...intact by the time we arrive?" He let the words hang there. Toa Pouks and I exchanged glances nervously, each of us meeting each other's eyes and then quickly turning away. Bomonga's question had been the unspoken question that had hung in the air since we had set off on our aerial sojourn--had the island of knowledge, Kura-Nui, survived the devastation that had been wrought to so many others? An uneasy silence filled the air in our small craft, and each of us three Toa turned our attention elsewhere. Toa Pouks busying himself with the instruments on the panel, Bomonga taking in the sights of the ocean below, his head sagging and his shoulders slumped--and I, my own eyes fixed on the darkness that was in front of our tiny airship, for any small hint that we were near the island we so sought--and for any sign that the island had been attacked.We rode on in silence for some time, each of my two compatriots continuing to occupy their attention elsewhere. I remained fixated on the pressing darkness that surrounded us, squinting my eyes against the rushing off the wind and the thick inky black of the night sky. Then at last I saw it, a tiny pinprick of light on the horizon, barely visible amidst the field of stars that lay in the sky.It was of a different colour than the other skies, a muted red glow shining out from it like a beacon, and unlike the other celestial bodies in the sky it did not twinkle or shine, instead it seemed to emanate. A glowing beacon that signaled the entrance to the land of Kura-Nui. ==============================================================================This glowing link signals the entrance to the land of the REVIEW TOPIC. JEESE..
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#12 Offline Janus

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Posted Sep 05 2012 - 02:49 PM

Chapter Twelve: The StormPouks saw the light too, glancing back at me and flashing a small smile, then with a slight shift of the controls he began a very slow descent; the airship's small frame creaking loudly in the vastness that was the sky. The light we had seen was nothing more than a viewpost, a large tower errected from stone and steel and housing a single massive lightstone. It was kept stoked by hardworking Matoran at all times, the heat from the flames lending the lightstone its reddish hue. It was this hue that allowed hope to return to my heart.The Matoran of Kura-Nui, holding all the knowledge of the world, had created an early warning system for their isolated island. A viewpost existed on every possible path toward the island, and each viewpost was kept in contact with the central island through an unknown means. During the night the lightstone was kept stoked to ensure the red glow, which signaled that all was well on the home island--during the day the stones were instead kept in subzero temperatures to create a cool blue glow--if anything was to happen to the island the Matoran were under strict orders to stop doing anything to the lightstones, allowing them to revert to their natural tone. In this way the Matoran of Kura-Nui ensured that the outside world was kept informed of their safety.I remembered being told of this as a young Toa, and shrugging it off as something ridiculous. After all, the other great cities had no such system, and everyone was aware of their status, what made the island of Kura-Nui so special that it required such a system?It was Alia who took me aside and explained, having been to the island once before. "The knowledge towers of Kura-Nui are very different from those of Metru Nui." She began. "Those of Metru Nui are formed from protodermis and kept in a constant state of cooling by an elaborate system of hydroulics." she explained, allowing me to visualize the system in my mind. "However, the island of Kura-Nui is completely natural." she said with a smile, taking my shoulder in her hand. "The Great Spirit Mata-Nui described to us the best way to hold knowledge was to form crystals of it. And upon giving us this gift he declared that the frozen peak of Mt. Tohu on the island of Kura-Nui would be the best place to store it. From there the city of knowledge was created." I remember frowning, turning around and looking my gentle, yet strong, leader in the face. "But that doesn't explain the viewposts." I whined.Alia laughed her musical laugh. "Of course it does, Toa Norik." she smiled."The system is not for the people of Kura-Nui. It is for us outsiders. To know if the knowledge that is held within its walls has been compromised--for if it has then it would surely mean war. Kura-Nui holds within its vaults the sum of all knowledge in our world, and anyone who would dare profane that would be an enemy to our people."Her words rang in my head as we soared over the viewpost, its red light still burning brightly. I only hoped that we were in time to stop such an enemy, not only of our people, but of the entire world in which we lived.There was jolt throughout the craft, and Bomonga sat up with a startled expression in his eyes."What happened?" he asked inquisitively, having realized that we were in no danger."Just the normal descent." Pouks responded nonchalantly. "The skeleton of these things always shudders as we get closer to such a frozen place. They're just not built for the cold." he murmured.And indeed he was right, while there had been a natural chill in the air from the night wind, a near omnipresent cold could now be felt in the small craft. Though we still had quite some time left before we docked in Kura-Nui, the temperature had already dropped severely.Another shudder wracked the airship and the large balloon that held us aloft shook disconcertingly. This time it was both Bomonga and I who looked up in alarm, not entirely trusting this somewhat flimsy craft to see us safely to our journey. Pouks just grinned at our nervousness."I understand how nerve wracking it is, brothers." He said with a smile. "One of the many training exercises we had to run through was to load these things with a contingent of Matoran and try a rapid descent to Kura-Nui." he let his words sink in, turning to glance at Bomonga's and my expression."Let me tell you something, brothers. You haven't experienced true fear until you've been in a rickety airship filled with twelve Matoran that's bucking and jerking as you're floating overtop icy cold waters." he laughed, and turned his attention back to the controls, content to relive old memories.On the other hand, his words struck me...not so much his tale of the absolutely insane journey from Ava-Nui to here, but the admonishment of "you haven't felt true fear until." I felt my mind groaning into action, asking myself the question--had I felt true fear before the moment that Black ship had carved its horrible impression on my mind? Had I ever experienced anything so...real before? Somehow I knew I hadn't, and the realization of that came as a soulcrushing horror--how could I, a lone Toa who had allowed his team to perish stand up to something like that? How could I, who didn't even understand fear, even begin to comprehend the utter horror that was the Black ship? And if I couldn't comprehend it, how could I possibly beat it?It came as a shock then, when my mind began to rebel against these notions. Unbidden came to mind the images of those spined creatures with their frightening skull-faces and dead eyes. "This." said my mind "this is the face of fear, and this is its birth." and for the briefest of moments I saw the Black Ship highlighted in the sky, seeming to be mere inches from my position. If I had not been assured that it was a figment of my mind I would have reached out and grabbed hold, for how close it seemed. The image faded and my mind began its spiel once more. "You have succeeded in the face of fear time and time again, refusing to back down against overwhelming odds." Flashes of the battle at Gaho-Nui and the fierce confrontation at Ava-Nui ran through my mind, then even further back to flashbacks of fearsome Rahi that I had tracked and hunted. "You are a Toa, a warrior, and the last of your city. How can you do any less?" and in my mind I saw them, the faces of Toa Jurian, Toa Levos, Toa Kyr, Toa Pheos, and Toa Alea. In life they had been my family, and my allies--and in death they supported me still.It was with this heavy weight lifted that I looked down and saw the ice-coated plains of Kura-Nui but a short distance away. We had almost made it.The cold wind tore at us, making speech nearly impossible and making me wish I could activate my elemental powers, for even through my armor I shivered at the cold bite. I glanced at Bomonga, shielding my eyes against the driving wind and frozen flakes of snow that had begun to assault us mere moments before. He too was shivering, his body compressed into a small ball for heat.Toa Pouks cursed, a sound that was barely heard as the wind tore it from his mask. He turned to glance at Bomong and I and I saw that while there was no fear in his eyes, there was a knowledge that something could go very, very wrong. I brushed the snow from my mask and prayed to the great spirit that nothing did.Pouks grabbed the controls tightly in both hands, attempting to steer our listing airship toward the growing island in the distance, the harsh biting winds seeming desperate to drive us away from the city before us. While we made some headway into the storm, the chips of ice and the driving winds made it nearly a insurmountable goal. It seemed like we would never make it to the our destination--despite the fact that it was so close.It was this thought, and the reminder of my companions that drove me. Grasping the necklace of Toa Alea with one hand I bowed my head, saying a prayer of thanks to my companions. Then, reaching into my armor I withdrew the small lump of clay that Toa Pheos had always carried, this I fashioned into a small sphere, perfectly smooth and round; using all of the skills that Pheos had taught me for carving.Holding this sphere in both hands I channeled my element into it, feeling the stone harden in my fingers, and feeling the warmth emanate from the small object. I passed it to Bomonga, knowing that the heat inside would last for quite some time.I stood, shaking the detritus of snow from my shoulders and carefully maneuvered myself toward the year of the craft. With a shout I called to Pouks."Hold on!" I yelled, the wind taking my words nearly the second they were from my mouth. Still, Pouks turned and nodded, his eyes grave.With a heavy breath I turned to the rear of the shuddering craft, carefully inching my away along the open-aired ship's hull until I finally reached the rudder that jutted from its aft. Once there I carefully grabbed a central post in the ship and lowered myself carefully into a crouch, grounding myself against the blustering winds; then slowly, carefully, I removed one hand from the post, feeling the wind tear at it instantly.I ignored the pain in my hand, the wind chill and ice fragments ripping at it brutally, and instead focused my thoughts, drawing the element of heat not just from the deep inside myself, but converting the subzero temperatures in my domain to a slight warmth as well. I gathered the heat in my palm, feeling the warm glow suffuse my arm and fill my hand, I felt it grow as I channeled more and more energy into it, allowing the sphere of flame to burn hotter and with more intensity.I held onto this growing sphere of fire until my focus was at its limit, and my arm nearly numb from the combination of my own elemental energies and the harsh gusts of wind that assaulted it. Then, with one enormous effort, I released it into the air, channeling the force through not only my arm, but my body as well.The airship lurched forward violently, the blast of flame jetting it through the air with a quick jerky motion. For a moment the ice and wind was ten times more violent than it had been before, threatening to tear our small craft asunder--and then...Then we were through, and with a suddenness that rivaled its coming, the storm suddenly ceased. The skies were calm and clear, only the occasional cloud drifting by in the darkness. I heard Pouks and Bomonga gasp as we cleared the tempestuous storm and entered the tranquil skies just bordering the island of Kura-Nui. Only I, who could see behind our wobbly craft was able to see the receding traces of the freakish weather that had assaulted us. It hadn't been random, it had been a defensive measure!I returned to my previous seat, slowly inching my way back toward the main compartment of the ship. The howl of the wind still ringing clearly in my ears, despite the fact that it had settled to a gentle breeze."Well...that was interesting" Pouks muttered darkly, steering the ship gently towards the island that suddenly seemed so much closer than before."Yes." Was Bomonga's only reply, his hands still clasped tightly around the sphere of clay I had given him."It was a barrier." I interjected, flopping weakly into my seat and sighing."A barrier?" Bomonga and Pouks said simultaneously, both of them turning to look at me."Yes." I stated, breathing heavily. "I'd imagine it was our sister Gaaki instructing the people of Kura-Nui to create some sort of defenses against the black ship. That was no normal weather pattern, you both know that much, brothers."They both nodded in silence, then turned back to what they had been doing before. Bomonga seeming to stare off into space, and Pouks beginning to nudge the ship into a gentle decline. I slumped in my seat, allowing myself to relax and drift into a comfortable numbness, a state that wasn't quite sleep and yet wasn't consciousness either--rather a middle ground, a vague indistinct blurring of the lines between the two. In this I rested comfortably while my companions kept us on our journey.==============================================================================This journey ain't goin' nowhere, so why not review it a litltle?
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#13 Offline Janus

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Posted Sep 12 2012 - 03:18 PM

Chapter Thirteen: Kura-NuiAfter what felt like aeons, but was in truth only about ten minutes, I was awoken from my bizarre mishmash of sleep by the hand of Toa Bomonga on my shoulder."We're almost there." he whispered quietly, and then turned away, gazing into the night like some sort of watchful spectre. Stretching in my seat I glanced around my surroundings: Toa Pouks was fiddling absentmindedly with the controls on the panel, continuing the ship's gentle descent to the island that was now directly below us, in the sky the moon was sinking slowly, its descent almost mirroring our own.Toa Bomonga sat up with a jolt, turning around slowly to face me his mask wearing a look of intent focus."There are ten hunters below us." he whispered, his voice low and steady. "I'd imagine they intend to verify whether we're friend or foe--they seem to be ready to surround the ship, so I suggest you stay calm." he finished, looking deeply into my eyes with his own, their brilliant orange glow alight with concern. I nodded purposefully, deliberately lowering my shattered spear to the ground beside me. I had sworn an oath to never hurt a Matoran, and I would honor that oath.The towers of Kura-Nui rose up all around us, their crystalline forms glittering in the wan light of the moon, for a moment it almost seemed as if we stood still and the towers around us were growing to monolithic proportions, but then the moment had passed, and we continued our slow descent.Our ship met the ground with but the slightest of bumps, the balloon gently bouncing as we landed. Almost immediately there were shadowy figures moving around in the peripherals of my vision, their weapons practically invisible were it not for the reflections from the towers, and the pale light from our own control console."Identify yourself!" came a harsh voice to the right, turning my head, I could barely make out the silhouette of a tall Matoran, a large saber in her hand. Bomonga stood up, raising his hands into the air as he did."I am Toa Bomonga of Koto-Nui." He said slowly, his booming voice carrying across the open landing field. "These are my companions, Toa Norik of Tapa-Nui and Toa Pouks of Ava-Nui. We have come in search of our companion Toa Gaaki of Gaho-Nui." he continued, his voice cutting clearly through the chill air. "We are here to defend your island from the threat that threatens us all. The black ship that has scourged so many homes." he finished, stepping from the ship and onto the cold stone ground beneath.His only response was silence, falling across the expansive field where we had landed. I could hear the slight rustling of the wind, and the steady clinking of their armor and weapons, but was unable to see them, as I peered useless into the murky darkness. Only Bomonga, with his keen tracker's eyes was able to witness their silent march."They're coming closer." Was all he said, absentmindedly pushing me back with one hand. I hadn't even realized I'd begun to stand up.Bomonga continued to survey the darkened airfield, watching as I could only assume, the Matoran stealthily moved their way toward our location. He relaxed his body, peering through the veil of night that shrouded us, and seeing the Matoran though they attempted to be unseen. Then he turned and glanced at me, his eyes showing no sign of worry."They're here." he stated calmly. I saw their dimly lit figures surrounding our airship, their blades glowing in the pale light of our control panel."Toa Norik, Toa Pouks, and Toa Bomonga." Came that harsh voice, as the Matoran came to the front of the cue, allowing herself to be seen in the light. She had pale blue eyes that were cold and hard, like those of a warrior. Surrounding those eyes was an ashen noble Ruru--the mask of night vision, and across her body I could see dappled shades of blues and whites intermingling in some sort of camouflage pattern. The Matoran's eyes met my own. "You are to come with me." She said bluntly, her blade raised high.Bomonga was the first, stepping from the slight incline of our grounded ship he landed with a loud click on the stone airfield outside. I came next, slowly allowing myself to step carefully from the ship, diligently not making a sound. I had no desire to agitate the Matoran further. With a grumble, Pouks shifted himself from his seat, turning to glance first at Bomonga, then to me. I nodded my head slightly, and with another grumble escaping him, he heaved himself out of the ship.I don't know what I was expecting the Matoran to do as we stepped out of the ship--were they going to take us to a prison? Were they going to surround us with weapons and force us to give up our own? Perhaps my mind thought these things because our landing had been anything but the heroes welcome I had envisioned beforehand. Thankfully these turned out to be nothing more than the deluded ramblings of a mind full of unease.The female Matoran walked closer to the ship, grabbing the side and hoisting herself into its confines. Meanwhile, Bomonga, Pouks and I were held in an odd state of not-quite-captivity. While each of us remained surrounded by three Matoran, they did not draw their weapons, merely form a sort of barrier around us.There was a rustling from the ship's exposed innards, then a dark chuckle carried across the cool night air."Some Toa you are." came the sardonic voice. I could vaguely see the outline of the female Matoran standing in the airship and holding...our weapons! "I was led to believe..." the mocking voice continued. "that Toa never surrendered their weapons, no matter the circumstances. I guess I was wrong." With that the silhouetted figure moved, hurling our weapons towards us. Bomonga nimbly caught his, and with slight hesitation replaced it in the holster behind his back. Pouks leaped into the air, catching his swinging chains and twirling them high above his head before he attached them to the clips on hips. I simply grabbed Toa Kyr's...my shield as it came toward me and stood silently.The Matoran female clambered out of the ship, moving closer to my group. Then, raising her arm she barked."March!" and each of the groups began to move, their respective Toa having no choice but to keep up with them. The female Matoran did not join any of the groups, but remained closest to mine, staying just abreast of the three hunters that surrounded me. I saw her eyes carefully studying everything in the darkness, planning, strategizing--whoever this Matoran was, she was a talented hunter, and soldier.Soon the two groups containing my brothers moved closer into the shadows, beyond the scope of my vision, then all I could see was the Hunter's leader, her dappled armor seeming ineffective in the darkness. I allowed my mind to go blank, hearing only the loud click of my feet on stone and the steady tromp of the Matoran who led me. Then a new sound entered my ears, and, refining my focus and allowing myself to snap to awareness I found that we had exited the airfield and were now crunching across hard-packed snow on what seemed to be a well worn path.I turned my gaze to one of my holders and saw that each of them in turn bore the same mask as their leader, a noble Ruru in various different shades. Each of them too was cloaked in the same pattern of enmeshed white and blue. I saw now why: In the snow it would have been virtually impossible to see them if they had stopped moving. This wasn't just a team of hunters, this was an elite squadron."Where are you taking us?" I asked slowly, careful not to allow any note of resentment slip into my voice. My holders said nothing, their gazes firmly set forward, they didn't even hesitate in their steps. I felt a wave of frustration wash over me, but pushed it aside and tried again."Please tell me, my friends. Where are you taking us?" I whispered. Their response was the same: Absolutely nothing. Instead a different voice cut through the air with alarming speed and clarity."They won't tell you anything, Toa Norik." came the voice of their leader who now walked in short strides directly to my left. "They've been trained not to. Regardless of who asks." she said with a smile, her eyes glowing with pride. I sighed."Perhaps you can then illuminate me?" I asked, careful to keep my frustration out of my voice. In return she simply laughed."And ruin the surprise?" She laughed, an expression of mock horror on her face. "Never." and just like that the masquerade of joy was gone, and her face became a mask of stone, with only her cold eyes peering out.We marched for what felt like hours across that pathway, small posts that bore lightstones being our only source of light for most of the journey. Then at last I saw the towering city of Kura-Nui in the distance, its many spires twinkling brightly in the fading darkness. I felt my burdens grow lighter as we marched ever-closer. We had made it! We had reached the city before that accursed ship!We entered the gateway of the city as the sun began to crest on the horizon, its warmth not yet reaching our small groups. Then, walking down one of the many snowy streets we came to a rest in front of a small spire. Wordlessly my escort stepped away, their camouflaged armor making it almost impossible to see them in their native environment. Toa Pouks and Toa Bomonga were already waiting for me there, and we silently greeted each other, all too aware of the silent sentinels watching our every move.==============================================================================This is a review topic.

Edited by Janus, Sep 12 2012 - 03:19 PM.

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#14 Offline Janus

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Posted Sep 21 2012 - 02:15 AM

Chapter Fourteen: RespiteAfter what seemed like an eternity of uncomfortable silence, the hunter's leader slowly approached. Her hunters materializing upon her arrival. She nodded silently and a door in the spire opened, it was in here that we were directed."Glad you could make it, brothers." Came the airy voice of Toa Gaaki, who stood fully armored on one side of the small room. I made my way to greet her, but instead found myself bouncing off an invisible barrier. Toa Gaaki looked at us cooly."Apologies, brothers." She said slowly. "But with the abilities of these creatures completely unknown, I refuse to take any chances with the lives of those in Kura-Nui. Until you can prove to me that you are Toa Norik and Toa Bomonga, you'll remain here. As for you." her eyes narrowed as she pointed at Toa Pouks. "I don't know you, and I don't trust you."I sighed, Gaaki had done an incredible job of readying the Matoran of Kura-Nui to deal with the black ship--but it seemed that she hadn't slept since we had parted ways with her. Her eyes flickered tiredly, and her face showed nothing but weariness. She was running on the last vestiges of her own energy, and seemed moments away from collapse--yet her drive and determination to save Kura-Nui kept her awake--barely."Toa Gaaki." I began slowly. "I am Toa Norik of Tapa-Nui. I was with you in the caverns under Gaho-Nui where you scolded me for not swimming quickly enough." Gaaki simply stared at me, her eyes cold, then she nodded to Bomonga to begin."Toa Gaaki, I am Toa Bomonga of Koto-Nui. I was with yourself and Toa Norik in the caverns under Gaho-Nui where I studied the carvings in the wall." Bomonga said slowly and clearly. In response Gaaki hissed to silence Bomonga and allowed her cold eyes to settle on Pouks. He began nervously."Toa Gaaki, I am Toa Pouks of Ava-Nui. I do not know you and have never met you...my city fell before the scourge of the black ship, and these two rescued me. You have no reason yet to trust me, and I understand your hesitance to welcome me."Gaaki cocked her head to the side, glancing from Bomonga, to Pouks, and then to me. Then, with a sudden movement she strode forward to a small hollow in the wall, and placed a small crystal of quartz there. Instantly the barrier dissolved and we could cross the room."My apologies, brothers." Gaaki said slowly, her eyes lowered to the ground. "There was no need for such measures. You are Toa, as am I. I should not have treated you as I have." her voice was filled with shame as she spoke. Surprisingly it was Toa Pouks who responded almost instantly."Toa Gaaki, as I said before, I do not know you...but I respect you. You have done what you felt was necessary in order to ensure the safety of the Matoran here, and I cannot hold that against you." Gaaki stared at him, her eyes widening slightly. Then she collapsed, her tired frame finally unable to hold her up.Bomonga caught her in his arms, gently laying her down on the ground, and then turned to me."What do we do now?" He inquired, his eyes showing his discomfort. I glanced around the small room, it was round, with one obvious exit and one obvious entrance--the one we had come through. I was about to suggest that we gather Gaaki and carry her out the exit when suddenly it burst open and armed Matoran flooded into the room--and at their head was the female Matoran who had brought us here. For what seemed like forever the air was tense and the weapons of the Matoran were held high in the air, then their leader clucked, her eyes calm and gentle."She finally exhausted herself, did she?" she said with a small laugh, watching as Bomonga stood up quickly, his nerves evident. "Don't worry, Toa. I'm not here to attack you. Rather to bring all of you to our headquarters now that you've passed Toa Gaaki's examination."Pouks, Bomonga, and myself made no move, our feet seeming rooted to the spot. The Matoran simply laughed again."Please don't make me have to take you there by force, Toa. Not again." Then she turned and began to exit the room, her hunters following her. About halfway through the door she languidly turned her head to gaze at us out of the corner of her eye. "Well?" She demanded.We moved quickly, Bomonga and I gathering the fallen body of Gaaki carefully. Then we again set off into the snowbound city. The sun was slightly higher now, the first tendrils of warmth creeping across the chilly grounds and bringing pale light to the glittering city.This time we walked as a unit, Toa and Matoran alike walking side-by-side to the central spire that drove upwards from the center of the city. Discussions were kept to a minimum amongst the hunters, and Pouks remained silent the whole time--naturally Bomonga and I were too busy carrying Gaaki to speak.The distance was less this time, and in almost no time we were ushered through massive double doors and into a beautifully carved foyer. Bedecked with various shades of blues and golds. From here our group was taken down a flight of spiral staircase and into a large chamber that had been divided into multiple smaller rooms.In the first room we found beds, and gently lay Gaaki down on one, as we had been directed to by the Matoran leader. Then our entourage passed below a curved archway and into what looked to be a relaxation chamber. Carved in a roughly circular shape, there was a pillar of ice in the very center that connected to both the ceiling and the floor, all around the perimeter of the room were elegantly carved benches. With no order from their leader, the Ruru'd Matoran walked over to these and leaned against the wall. Pouks, Bomonga and I did the same, being slightly shocked when their leader came over nearest to ours and sat down."I'm Neith." She said, extending a hand. Pouks took it first, shaking and then returning to his relaxed state, then Bomonga shook it, leaning over to whisper something to her. Neith thanked him and then turned to me. I took her hand, but was obviously unable to keep a skeptical look out of my eyes."I suppose I deserve that look." Neith said good-naturedly. "After all, I don't imagine this was the greeting you were expecting when you showed up with two other Toa for the benefit of our city.""No." I responded dumbly, I hadn't expected her to react like this."My apologies then, great Toa." she sighed. "My Night stalkers and I were only doing what we had been told to by Turaga Elyai.""Night stalkers?" Bomonga asked inquisitively. Neith smiled and turned to face all three of us."My unit is called the Night stalkers, that's why we each wear a Noble Ruru for a mask--while we know that our masks don't grant us powers like yours do, they mark us as members of the elite squadron that keeps Kura-Nui safe from Rahi and other threats. We have trained extensively in the darkness, and know exactly how to move around silently. Only you" she said, pointing at Bomonga "have been able to see our movements in the dead of night."Bomonga nodded humbly. "I too am a tracker." he said simply. "I know how to track movement, were it not for that you would have been invisible to me as well." Neith seemed satisfied with this answer and kicked her feet up on the stone bench, leaning against the cool wall."What exactly is the point of this room?" Pouks asked, somewhat bluntly. Neith, and a few of her Night stalkers laughed in response."It's a room for relaxation and peace." Neith said. "However..." she slid from her seat, walking to the hewn pillar in the center of the room and placing both hands on it. "This is part of the knowledge towers, and so we can use this room not only for intelligence purposes, but also for entertainment." As she said this she squeezed her eyes shut and gripped the pillar tightly.For a second nothing happened, the only sounds in the room being the breathing of the Matoran and my fellow Toa. Then the crystalline spire began to glow brightly and an image of a fearsome Kane-ra appeared on the surface of it. The beast roared and screamed as the image of the Night stalkers carrying ropes and nets also appeared. Within moments the creature was subdued and the crystal returned to its normal sheen.Neith stepped away from the pillar with a small smile on her mask. "We use this to review previous journeys of ours--as well as whatever else is on our mind." she said."How does that work?" Pouks asked, his eyes alight with confusion. Neith laughed again."Basically it takes what you give to it. I thought of the mission we had against the Kane-ra and it just displayed what was in my mind. It really is a simple system."Without intending to, I found myself standing and walking to the crystal spire."You mean this thing can display anything that we have in our mind?" I asked, my voice unsure."That's correct." Neith responded, her eyes slightly wary. I stood there silently, my hands clasped by my side, and stared at the smooth surface of the crystal in front of me."Gather the Toa of this island here." was I all I said, my voice dropping to a hush. Neith nodded, her eyes full of confusion and showing a glimmer of fear--then she and the other Night stalkers rushed out of the room to find the Toa of Kura-Nui. When they had all left, I heard Pouks let out a low whistle."What exactly are you planning, Norik?" he asked, his bewilderment evident in his tone."Just what needs to be done." I responded vaguely, my mind more focused on what would happen when the Toa arrived."And what exactly would that be, Norik?" Pouks grunted, clearly not in the mood for my vagaries."To show them what we're up against." I said, my voice almost a whisper. "To show them the black ship."==============================================================================Insert Passive-Aggressive attempt to get someone to actually review here
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#15 Offline Janus

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Posted Sep 26 2012 - 11:34 PM

Chapter Fifteen: NeithNeith returned shortly, leading a group of five Toa: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Stone. Each of them sat down wordlessly on one of the many benches surrounding the spire. Neith moved to the center of the room and addressed all the assembled Toa."I have brought the Toa of Kura-Nui...however their leader, the Toa of ice is a difficult one to find should she wish it. My stalkers are tracking her as we speak, but it is unknown when...or if she'll be found." The Toa of air gave a snort of laughter at this. Neith continued as though nothing had happened."Toa Norik of flame, Toa Bomonga of earth, and Toa Pouks of Stone, please allow me to introduce the guardians of the great city of knowlege." Neith said slowly, glancing around the room once."Toa Dameya of stone." as she spoke a brown-armored Toa stood, her Hau, and eyes both showing the fierce spirit of a warrior. On each of her arms was a long deadly blade, attached along the forearm. She walked toward our small trio then bent to one knee."Toa Iruini of air." A Toa clad in deep green armor stood this time, his glowing orange eyes shining behind a Kualsi, the mask of quick travel. In one hand he clasped the haft of a strangely curved spear. He too walked forward and bent to one knee, his eyes staying on us until his sister Toa Dameya nudged him."Toa Seres of water." A lithe Toa bedecked in different shades of blue stood, a great Ruru, the mask of night vision adorning her face and framing her calm green eyes. I saw no weapon as she walked forward and took position next to her sister and brother."Toa Entres of earth." A stocky Toa with jet black armor stood, her deep blue eyes radiating from underneath a Kakama like Gaaki's. On each wrist she bore a small shield roughly the size of my own. Toa Entres stepped forward and joined her sisters"And Toa Adena of fire." A Toa painted in brilliant hues of gold and orange raised herself from the bench, her intelligent eyes twinkling from behind her great Matatu, the mask of Telekinesis. A brilliant red shroud covered both the top of her head and her shoulders, and walking slowly she joined her companions in kneeling. When all of the Toa of Kura-Nui were assembled before us, each of them placed their right fist on the ground, their other hand held behind their back. At last they rose, their eyes gleaming with pride and strength and their armor shining brilliantly in the multifaceted light of the crystal.My brothers and I stood as well, introducing ourselves and shaking hands with the guardians of Kura-Nui. For the briefest of moments we chatted as only Toa could, forgetting all else that had come before. Then the moment passed and I saw Neith standing awkwardly off to the side. I left the group to their discussion and walked to where she stood, kneeling down next to her."Thank you." I said warmly, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You have no idea how much this means to us." Neith smiled "Of course great Toa." she responded humbly.I heard the discussion pause and turn to me and knew that the time had come. Leaning close to Neith I whispered."It would be best if you leave for this. This is not something I would wish on anyone, let-alone a Matoran." Neith's tone instantly cooled."I thank you for your concern, great Toa." she responded sharply. "But I can handle myself." and with that she took a seat on one of the many benches that bordered the spire.I sighed and raised myself from the ground, slowly walking back to where the other Toa stood."Sisters, brothers." I said loudly, gathering their attention. "I thank you all for coming here. However now the time has come to show you exactly what it is that we are up against." I spoke deliberately slow, doing my best to keep my nerves calm--I had no desire to return to these memories, but what must be done must be done. I beckoned my fellow Toa to be seated and walked closer to the crystal, seeing my scared and weary mask displayed in its gleaming surface.Then I placed by hands on the cool surface, pressing my palms flat against it and closing my eyes. Almost instantly the images leaped into my mind, and I can only assume to the pillar as well. Images of the devastation of Tapa-Nui, of the fate of my brothers, of my meeting with Wanderer and my trek through the silent city of Koto-Nui--and then the first image of the black ship.More than seeing this image, I felt it. I felt the menace and darkness it radiated throughout the room, effecting not just me, but my fellow Toa as well. I felt the familiar sickness and dread welling up in my stomach as the ship hovered high in the air above the empty city of Koto-Nui. I relived the terror I had felt that day as I saw it above me, its black hull blotting out all the light in the sky.Still I pressed on through my memories, allowing those assembled to see our passage from Koto-Nui to Gaho-Nui...and to witness the ruination that took place there. I showed them the skull faced creatures with their jagged spines and cruel teeth. I showed them the way they moved, the way they used their powers--and the way we eventually defeated them. In my minds eye I saw the downed creature's back hatch open up and the wormlike thing attempt to make its escape. I even swore I could almost smell the putrid smell of the thing as I burned it.From there my memories took us through the catacombs of Gaho-Nui and to our eventual escape. Then through the cave to the bay of Ava-Nui. These I showed them rapidly, focusing only on the enemy that we faced. At last I reached that open courtyard in my mind, and saw the black shadow hanging over my head. All around I could hear the screams again, hear the shrieks of those horrid creatures, and see the devastation they were wreaking. I saw myself surrounded and felt my heart rate climb as my spear was shattered, I saw everything as it had been. Then I opened my eyes.The Toa were agog, even Bomonga and Pouks who had seen some of what I had were shocked by what they had seen--had it been the death of my team? Or the state of my city that unnerved them so? I didn't know.Toa Adena rose, her shroud slipping loosely around her shoulders, and her Matatu grave."Toa Norik...never before have we faced such a foe." She said, a hint of fear tainting her voice. "But the Toa of Kura-Nui stand with you, united against this enemy of all." Neith, who had previously stayed silent walked next to Adena and nodded. All of a sudden the Ruru'd Matoran was gone and in her place there stood a Toa clad in white armor dappled with blue. A pure white Great Mahiki, like my own shone brightly on her face, and in her clear blue eyes there was a great sorrow. Holstered along her back as an elegant glaive, its point seeming to be carved from the finest crystal."Toa Norik. I apologize for my deception." Her voice remained unchanged, but somehow there was a different tone to it now. "I am Toa Neith, leader of the Toa Kura. And as Adena has said, we will stand by your side in duty."I nodded dumbly, unable to take my eyes from Neith's own. I felt a mixture of emotions, betrayal, shock, and something else I couldn't quite understand. I let it be, I had far more pressing concerns to worry about."These visions were not just to frighten you all." I said, regaining control of myself. "But rather that we might form a strategy to vanquish this accursed thing." The Toa Kura nodded slowly, each glancing to other and then to Neith and Adena."The crystal spire is a memory crystal" Toa Neith explained. "That means that whatever is placed in it can be called upon at will. Your memories are now part of the very fibre of the crystal and can be viewed whenever you so desire. For now, I suggest you rest. You have had little time for this, judging by what you've shown us.""I will rest when that pox upon our land is no more!" I said firmly, fire alight in my eyes. Bomonga and Pouks stood and came to my side. Neith, however, sighed."Toa Norik, while the fire that burns within you is admirable, you are worn beyond belief. Would you rather collapse on your way to battle, like your companion, Toa Gaaki?"Her words stung me deeper than any blade could and If felt myself deflate, the fire in my heart flicking and becoming a dimly lit flame. I was exhausted, and I knew it. I could see the weariness of my face reflected back in the crystal--and could see my own weariness mirrored in the eyes of my companions. I ceded my fight."You are right, Toa Neith. There is no purpose in exhausting myself before battle. I will rest and leave you and the rest of your team to plan. Please awaken us should anything happen. Neith nodded, her eyes gentle."Of course, Norik." And with that I allowed myself to be led from the room by Toa Adena, who quickly took us to the same room as Toa Gaaki."Rest here, brothers. We will wake you should we discover anything." She said smoothly, and then in one simple motion she vanished behind the arch.==============================================================================There's no point in putting this. Review anyhow.
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#16 Offline Janus

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Posted Oct 04 2012 - 10:41 AM

Chapter Sixteen: The DreamI watched as Bomonga and Pouks both stood awkwardly, and I realized I was doing the same. We were used to being warriors, to fighting to protect the Matoran--and what we were now facing was beyond our imagining. It had stretched us to our limit, forced us to adjust to a life harder than we had ever envisioned, and it was due to this that we now stood still as statues. Knowing in our heart of hearts that the best possible thing for us was to sleep, and yet resisting it out of some misguided sense of duty.At last I decided that my brothers and I had come through far too much to allow ourselves to deny our respite. I lay down my shield and removed Toa Jurian's gauntlets, laying them both respectfully on the floor next to me. Then I allowed myself to lay on one of the many beds across the room from Toa Gaaki. From here I watched my brothers as they stood awkwardly. Finally, seeing my example they too allowed themselves a rest, each lowering their weapons with reverence and clambering onto a bed. I watched them carefully to make sure that they didn't attempt to get up, to make sure that they truly gave themselves the rest that they deserved. Then, when I was satisfied that they were truly sleeping and not about to try and deny their rest, I allowed myself to fall back and drift into a true sleep.My dreams were many, and chaotic--but less so than they had when I had traveled with Wanderer. No longer did I dream of the razing of my city, or of myself being the one who cruelly struck down my brothers. Instead I dreamed of the twilight world of Kura-Nui, and the strange dichotomy of the Matoran/Toa Neith. I knew that she was truly a Toa who simply masqueraded in the guise of a Matoran, but somehow that was not so in my dreams, she was both and she was neither.In my dreams I saw her standing atop the tallest knowledge tower in Kura-Nui, her cool blue eyes gentle and inviting. She had no weapon here, and simply stood as though waiting for something. I moved toward her, to ask for what she waited--and then the terrible shadow of the black ship fell atop both of us and the city was assaulted by the creatures I had encountered too many times before. Both my brothers and Neith's sisters appeared, valiantly attacking the invading forces, but none of us were able to stem the flow of the accursed things. Each of them fell one by one until it was just Neith and I alone and surrounded by the skull-faced creatures. they hissed cruelly and moved forward, then a blinding flash of light came towards me and I froze."Norik!" Neith screamed, and with a speed I couldn't believe leapt in front of me, taking the blow on herself. "Neith!" I gasped, grabbing her body as she fell. Then the world began to fade to grey, and I awoke to find myself holding tightly to Toa Neith's wrist."I gather you're awake then?" she said sardonically. I averted my eyes and said nothing, climbing from the bed and gathering my weapons. Unfortunately for my pride, Neith wasn't quite as passive as I'd hoped and instead decided to nudge me further."Why Toa Norik," she wheedled, drawing closer to me. "Where did this enthusiasm come from?" I looked anywhere but her eyes, snapping my shield to the holster across my back and moving to awaken both Toa Pouks and Toa Bomonga. Neith's persistence increased."Come now, Norik." She said, her voice smooth. "You must tell me why you had such a reaction. From one Toa to another?" I sighed and roused Bomonga from his slumber, doing my best to ignore Neith's words.Bomonga groggily rubbed his eyes and rolled off the small tablet, his eyes shining weakly. With that done I set to waking Toa Pouks, who seemingly resisted my every attempt, simply turning and writhing away every time I went to lay a hand on his shoulder. Amusingly enough it was Toa Neith who assisted me here. Raising her palm, she nodded to me. Then, with one swift movement she created a long path of ice that stretched from her open hand to rest above Toa Pouks still body. I used but a fraction of my power and watched as the ice began to melt, great rivulets of water running off it and on to the prone Pouk's face. He awoke with a splutter."Norik?" He mumbled blearily, his shoulders slumped with the weight of sleep.I paused by Toa Gaaki's bed, my mind still undecided as to whether to wake her. While she would need to be briefed, perhaps it would be best for her to stay resting for now--after all, she had worked far more thoroughly here than any of my companions. Toa Neith seemed to read my thoughts and came over to where I stood, placing one cool hand on my shoulder."Let her sleep for now, Norik. She's done enough." she said, her tone gentle and her touch soft. I turned my head to glance at her and nodded in agreement."Let's get going." I murmured, watching as Bomonga and Pouks grabbed their respective weapons and attached them. Then we once again set through the archway, our small group entering a room with a completely different atmosphere.============================================================================== I love Toa Neith. If you also love Toa Neith let me know by reviewing.
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#17 Offline Janus

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Posted Oct 12 2012 - 12:28 AM

Chapter Seventeen: The PlanThe chamber looked completely different: While still almost identical as we had left it, something had changed. Not only the emotions and thoughts of those inhabiting it, but something else.Then I noticed that while the crystal pillar was silent, the walls all around the chamber were broadcasting various images of our enemy. images taken from my mind that demonstrated the cruelty of our foe. On one wall I saw the devastation that had been wrought on my home island, the towering grave I had erected for my city standing tall amidst its ruins. On another I saw the hovering black shape looming above the silent streets of Koto-Nui--and on yet another I saw the cloven tower of Gaho-Nui jutting forth from the darkened waves. The chamber was now a war room, preparing soldiers for combat.All around the room the various Toa of Kura-Nui gazed at a different display; surrounding them were Matoran from the Night Stalkers, and some that seemed to be from a different militia unit. The room was filled with a brisk energy and a frantic tension: Each image being viewed by small groups that seemed to be strategizing on the best ways to defeat this enemy.Toa Neith walked us over to where Toa Iruini stood briefing a group of Night Stalkers, his dark green Kualsi grim."As you can see, it uses heat as a weapon." He stated, pointing at the image of the ruined streets of Tapa-Nui. "This cannot be used here--if it is then not only will each of us perish, but the entirety of our stored knowledge will be destroyed. That is unacceptable." Upon seeing us, Iruini ceased his lecture and stood at ease."Toa Iruini, please take Bomonga and Pouks to the surface and brief them." Neith stated, her tone cold, formal, and military. Iruini nodded sharply, and, glancing from Pouks to Bomonga, set off at a brisk pace. Making sure that each of them followed him."Night Stalkers, you already know Toa Norik." Neith began, waving me toward the image with one arm. "He has had the most experience with the black ship, so I'd like you to work with him on identifying possible weaknesses. Go over every image if you have to." The Night stalkers nodded as a single unit, their Ruru's focused on Toa Neith. Then it was time to go to work--different images of the black ship began to appear on the wall, its surface luminescent. As each appeared the stalkers and I studied each carefully, looking for anything that could be used against it--the angles it held, the way it appeared and disapeared, even possible weak points along the hull. We found nothing until the final image from Ava-Nui."You said that it didn't use its primary weapon at Ava-Nui?" A matoran named Khalsa said, her intelligent eyes twinkling."Correct." I responded, still trying to figure out why it had happened."Is it possible that the ship is weak to elemental powers, and so when you defeated its army, those on board were frightened that you could attack them directly?" I paused, my mind focused on the events of Ava-Nui--while my memory was slightly hazy, I remembered the ship fleeing as quickly as possible--what Khalsa said made sense."That is a distinct possibility. Put that into our defensive plans." The stalkers nodded and began drawing up detailed defensive plans under my supervision. As they worked Toa Adena came over to where we stood, sidling up to my side and asking"How goes your process, brother?" quietly."Quite well, sister." I responded. "We will be positioning Toa atop the tallest towers in the city: Not only is it unlikely they'll be attacked by those creatures here, but it will also give them a far higher chance of striking the ship directly." I said, detailing the portion of our plan that we had just worked out. Toa Adena nodded, a small smile playing in her eyes."An excellent strategy, brother." she murmured."And what of you?" I inquired, one arm gesturing to where more matoran and Night stalkers stood by another image of the spined creatures."We have determined that the creatures have heavy outer armor and that only a direct elemental strike will do anything to them. As such the Matoran will be using special made Kanoka and firing from the towers--with luck this will puncture their armor and make them easier to defeat." I nodded in return, my mind already seeing those creatures with rents in their armor falling before the Toa's elemental blasts."Then we'll need two separate teams of Toa." I stated slowly. "One for the towers, and the other to hold off the creatures.""That's correct, Norik." came the voice of Toa Neith from behind me. Pivoting on my heel I found her standing next to the still image of the black ship over Ava-Nui, her body language indicating she'd just been studying it."You, I, Toa Iruini, Toa Adena, and Toa Pouks will be positioned on the towers. It's our job to scuttle that ship. Toa Gaaki, Toa Bomonga, Toa Entres, Toa Dameya, and Toa Seres will be dealing with those creatures." I glanced at her skeptically, noting that there were two Toa of earth and two Toa of water on the ground. As if reading my thoughts she responded."The powers of earth and water will be far more useful in dealing with a landborne enemy. They can flood them, or crush them in an earthquake--but there's very little good they can do for attacking a target such as the ship." I pondered what she said, then, realizing that she was correct, agreed to her plan."Adena, Norik." Toa Neith said, gesturing to the two of us. "Now that we have the beginnings of a plan, it's time to put something practical into place. Iruini has already taken Toa Pouks to begin looking at towers--now I suggest that we three go do the same." Toa Adena said nothing, smoothly falling into step behind her leader. I joined her, walking quickly in order to keep pace as we left the room.When we exited the grand foyer of the central tower, I saw that the sun was now about midway through its ascent, its warm glow filling the cities cool streets. Putting a hand atop my mask to block out its glare I glanced around at the glittering towers all around me. Each stretched to a different height, and as I had been told, each had its own unique purpose. I felt the fire burn deep within me as I saw the beauty of this city--I would not let this city be ruined as so many others had!Toa Neith took us from the center of town to somewhere just west of there, leading us to a thinner spire that wound its way high above the city. We entered the tower, mindful of all the busy scholars who were busting around, and took the lift to the very top--it was an uncomfortable ride: The lifts were made for Matoran, and squeezing three Toa in was, while possible, very cramped and awkward.At last the small lift hummed to a stop and we three walked out from the small antechamber and onto the slightly angled roof of the tower. Below us I could see the city stretched out, twinkling as though it were made of precious gemstones. Beside me, Toa Neith just nodded."This will do." She murmured, glancing around at the tower. "We'll position Two here. Two there." she pointed directly across from this tower at another one of similar height of build. "And I'll take position on the central tower. We'll create a triangle position to take this foe down." she explained, drawing the shape of a triangle, then indicating each tower in turn.As she spoke, I watched the two towers, running mental calculations in my head about exactly how this would work--not only did this have to be well planned, but it needed to be smoothly executed. The risk was simply too high to allow for anything else. Across the way I saw movement, and with a quick snap of my head I saw two figures walk on to the tower directly across from ours: Toa Pouks and Toa Iruini.Iruini raised his his spear high in the air in a wave and then vanished...and reappeared directly in front of us, one hand still on Toa Pouks shoulder. "Position checked." Iruini said swiftly, his hand and spear snapping to his side as he addressed Toa Neith. Neith smiled at him in return, her cool blue eyes glowing."Excellent work, Iruini." Iruini simply nodded, holstering his spear to his side. Toa Neith turned to me."Iruini will be a crucial part of this plan, Toa Norik." she said solemnly. "His Kualsi--the mask of quick travel allows him to transport himself and one other to any location visible." Suddenly I understood the plan, and everything clicked into place like a solid blow. We weren't just going to defend against the black ship, we were going to attack it directly! Neith saw the dawning of realization on my face and confirmed my suspicions."That's correct." She said with a grim smile. "Toa Iruini will use his Kualsi to transport both you and himself to the black ship--we don't know whether it will be inside, or on the hull...but once you're in there..." she smiled a grim smile "Make them regret everything they've done."==============================================================================Review Topic. For Reviews. And hatemail.

Edited by Janus, Oct 14 2012 - 12:35 PM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

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You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#18 Offline Janus

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Posted Oct 17 2012 - 11:54 PM

Chapter Eighteen: Prelude to warA short time later we walked away from the towers, the plan firmly entrenched in our minds--for each of us had a crucial role to play: Adena's flames would be directed at the ship itself, hopefully damaging it enough that it was unable to flee as it had at Ava-Nui. Neith would be splitting her attention between the ship and the city, using her ice to freeze the waters of Gaaki and Seres, and also as a shielding agent for those of us on the tower. If need be she would also act as a secondary transport to the ship.Pouks would be our artillery, hurling shells of stone at the hull of the ship and with luck, breaching it. The more holes in that ship, the better. Naturally, Iruini and I were to stay back out of the conflict for the most part, striking only when able and waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack the ship from within. It was imperative that he and I learn to operate as a single unit for this mission. Not even a second's delay would be acceptable--especially in the event that the ship warped itself away before the conflict was ended.And that led us to where we now stood—atop a tower slightly shorter than those we’d been on before, this one with a row of crystalline pillars that prevented anyone from tumbling over the edge. Luckily for us.He came at me, his spear raised for a deadly thrust, I weaved to the side and brought my shield up for a backhand—which he quickly paried, sidestepping and leaping agilely overhead. Tracking his movement I hurled my shield at the point where he landed, watching as he just barely managed to duck and roll away, my shield whistling through the air and embedding itself in the cold ice pillars that bordered our battle ground.“Nice Try.” He grunted as he stood, his eyes hard. I opened my mouth to reply, but had to quell my thoughts as he came rushing forward, using his wind powers to give himself an extra burst of speed and power. Pivoting my body to the side I watched as he came hurtling past, his blade mere inches from my mask. I struck with my gauntlets, attempting to unbalance him…and watched as he activated his Kualsi, transporting away. I looked around in vain, desperately searching for my opponent—only to see him leap into being above me, his spear pointed down toward my head; I lunged out of the way, falling into a roll and with a quick jump landed next to where my shield stood, still embedded in the pillar. Iruini watched me carefully, his eyes tracking my movements as he stood from where he had landed, his spear also stuck deeply into the tower. Something passed between us, a momentary flicker of something that went through our eyes, an unspoken challenge and an equally silent answer.He charged, fist raised, and using his wind powers blasted himself high into the air, spiraling into a whirling backfist. I held my ground, raising my arms and letting my fire element flow freely and forming a shield all around me. For a moment Iruini saw nothing but my flames—and then….I saw him look around the seemingly empty rooftop, his eyes full of confusion. I remained stationary, focusing only on the power of my mask. He hesitated, pivoting slowly on one heel, his movements slow and deliberate and his mask etched with suspicion. He was no fool.I felt it before I saw it, a gathering of energy focused on one spot—Iruini. He breathed deeply, letting his power flow through him—and then in one quick moment, allowed it to explode outward with enormous force. I waited and then leapt, my mask power fading and the form of the pillar I had taken vanishing. The wave of air pressure blasted out across the rooftop, and I barely managed to clear it with my jump, igniting my flames that were fanned by Iruini’s wind, I drove my fist downward directly on where he stood and…watched as his Kualsi glowed faintly and he disappeared from sight.He appeared again across the way from me, his body bent and his breathing heavy. I too felt the exertion taking its toll on me, and was all-too-aware of my own laboured breathing. Then a faint clapping filled the air.“Congratulations, you two.” Came the voice of Toa Neith, who leapt from a taller tower and downward into the center of ours.“You’ve done it. Your movements are synced.” She smiled as she spoke, her eyes glowing.Iruini had snapped to attention the moment she had appeared, his hands coming neatly to his sides and his eyes alert and focused on his leader. He stayed silent.“Thank you for such praise, Toa Neith.” I responded slowly. “I apologize that I was not at my best—I am still adapting to this.” I explained, prying my shield from its deep recess in the pillar.Neith’s eyes glowed curiously.“Adapting?” she queried. Iruini’s eyes reflected her own, but he still remained silent.“Yes. My lava spear was shattered in Ava-Nui fighting against those spined beasts.” I said, the memories of the event flashing through my mind. “Luckily for me, my brother Toa Kyr protected me well.” I said reverently, hefting the shield high and watching the light reflecting from its ruined surface.This time it was Neith who said nothing, her cool eyes simply studying me, then with a sharp nod she turned to Iruini.“You’ve done very well, Iruini. To have kept pace with a Toa such as Toa Norik is admirable.”“I think you give him too much credit.” Iruini said shortly, his eyes glowering. I looked away, already feeling uncomfortable.“Oh?” Came Neith’s soft voice, but it cloaked something much sharper. Iruini heard this too and his tone changed rapidly.“That is to say, he has done well battling this menace, but I do not believe his training could match ours.” He said carefully. Neith laughed.“Your respect for your sisters and I, and your pride for the method in which you trained is commendable, Iruini.” She said warmly. “However, do not mistake pride with competence. Toa Norik has fought the odds time and time again, surviving the fall of not one, but five great cities. Each time he has clashed with our enemy and gained more ground than before—were it not for his help in Gaho-Nui it is possible that Toa Gaaki would not have been able to warn us at all! He is a skilled warrior to have been able to accomplish all of this, not to mention keeping you on your toes with an unfamiliar weapon!” her tone turned cold as she continued, and I saw Iruini visibly flinch at her harsh words. In the end he simply stood as he had before.“I apologize, Toa Norik.” Was all he said, then, with a slight glow his Kualsi activated and he had gone.“I too apologize, Toa Norik, for my pupil’s outburst. He is a young Toa, and though a skilled combatant, he lacks discipline.” Neith murmured aloud, turning to face me. I waved a hand at her, dismissing such thoughts.“Please don’t worry, Toa Neith. He has valid points. He is a skilled warrior and a valuable ally—he is but young and headstrong, as we all once were.” I put an arm on one of her armored shoulders and smiled. “Besides, he has reason to be confident in his abilities. He was more of a challenge than I would care to admit” Neith nodded slowly.“He has a strong sense of commitment to his training, and to his sisters and I. He will be a fine Toa one day.” She murmured somewhat sadly, her gaze lowering to the ground.“His duty is commendable. As is his training.” “He has strong unity with his sisters, and he will have strong unity in the future. It is his destiny.” She said in an oddly emotionless tone. Concerned I let go of her shoulder and bent down slightly, looking her in the eyes.“What do you mean by that, Sister?” I questioned, my voice soft. Neith stared hard into my eyes, and I saw a weariness deeper than my own her own, an exhaustion not of the body, but of the spirit.“We talk of the three virtues, brother, as though they are merely a code passed down from the great spirit. As though they are something to clothe ourselves in and to fly from the tallest peak. We speak of them as if they are merely concepts of thought and dreams, rather than reality.” As she spoke I saw her eyes taken on a glassy sheen, as though she was staring past me and into something else entirely.“Perhaps this is so for Unity and Duty, but for Destiny it is not so simple. Destiny is an active and living thing, it flows through all of us and decrees where it is that we will go, how we will live. Each of us is completely unaware of our own preset destiny, living our life in what we feel is our own path—but each of us is simply constrained by the great pattern.” I listened carefully as she spoke, a great rush of words and concepts… but she was dancing around the actual subject, avoiding something. I grabbed her shoulders tightly and somewhat dazedly she looked into my face.“Sister, you’re speaking, but there is no meaning there. What is it that you are trying to say?” I pressed, my eyes firmly locked with her own.“I’m going to die today, Norik.” She said suddenly, her own eyes not moving from mine. “The city will fall, Adena, Seres, Entres, Dameya, and I are all going to die. Only Iruini and your companions will survive—and you’ll succeed.”==============================================================================Say Stuff here, if'n you want to
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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#19 Offline Janus

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Posted Oct 25 2012 - 01:15 AM

Chapter Nineteen: DestinyI stood there with my mouth agog. Not only was she saying that we would manage to beat the black ship—something that seemed completely unlikely, but also that her and almost her entire team were going to fall in the upcoming conflict? How in the name of the great spirit could she possibly know that?“How…” I began, my voice faltering.“I told you, Norik. We’re all pawns of Destiny. And my destiny has always been to be able to see mine—and others. Today is the day I die, this is as the great spirit has decreed.” I felt a warm flood of anger welling up inside of me—how could Toa Neith accept this? Toa Neith who had helped to mobilize this entire city and ready us for war? How could she be so eager to give up? My hands, still resting on her armored shoulders, began to tremble, my anger taking hold. Neith simply smiled passively and reached up to grip one with her own hand.“I know you’re angry, brother. But everything has been exactly as it has been decreed by Destiny. You are bound to yours as much as I am bound to mine.” I said nothing, turning away from her and walking to the edge of the tower to glance at the city below. The preparations were now in full swing, Matoran and Toa walking side by side as they geared up for the coming conflict. I sighed.“Do you ever wonder why Mata-Nui would allow such a thing?” I wondered aloud, asking the sky more than I was asking her.“No.” came her simple response. “Mine is not the place to question the will of Destiny. Simply to accept it.” I heard her footsteps behind me, the smooth click of metal on ice, and then I felt her presence beside me, somehow sorrowful and relaxed at the same time. With trepidation I turned my head and saw her as she stood: Her armored form bathed in the light of the suns—she was beautiful. Almost as beautiful as Toa Jurian before her fall, but hers was a different beauty, the beauty of a proud warrior who has served her time and earned her scars, the beauty of a brother in arms, and the fleeting beauty of a flower before it wilts.“Destiny is like a river.” She said, more to herself than to me “It marches on unimpeded by the stones that may attempt to interfere with it—and should it be stopped by a dam, over time it will wear away until finally it bursts forth.” I nodded my head, my throat dry. She made no attempt to respond, and so we stood in silence.“I’m not scared, Norik.” She whispered suddenly. “It’s almost a relief.” I was unable to stop myself this time, turning to look her in the eyes—which were strangely alight with what almost seemed to be joy.“How?” I blurted out. She stared at me without ever staring at me, and spoke quietly.“Its been like this ever since I became a Toa, brother.” She began “Being able to see the flow of my life, and the lives of others, and seeing, feeling when and where my end would be…in the beginning it was but a vague uneasy feeling, but over time I learned to understand my ability—not a gift, and not a curse, but an ability I had been given. Over time I learned how to determine what would happen and when. I tried to stop it, occasionally. Relenting against what I felt was injustice…I invariably failed. Eventually I learned: What shall be, shall be.” Again I nodded in silence, feeling somewhat like a broken puppet unable to do anything else. I felt like a young Matoran caught in a flood, this torrent of information and emotion nearly overwhelming me—finally I clung on to the first thing that came to mind and without thinking, spit it out.“So you were a Matoran, once?”“Yes.” Was her only answer, her eyes sparkling as she thought about the past.“Then your disguise. The one you used your Mahiki for…?” I sputtered out.“That was me, Norik. I used to lead the Night Stalkers before I was chosen to become a Toa—or rather, before I was aware of my destiny to become one.” I sighed. There was no bitterness in her voice, no sorrow, or even resentment—but the way she spoke of Destiny filled me with a feeling of hollowness. In anger I lashed out.“And were you destined to have this conversation? Was I destined to ask you this?” I felt my frustration rising. Neith laughed.“Norik, you speak of Destiny as though it were a trifle, as though it meticulously plans every event in every life. I spoke before of a river—does a river care what small pebbles you may toss into it? In the grand scheme this conversation doesn’t matter in the least. So to worry about whether or not it was destined to happen is an exercise in futility. It has happened, and that’s all that matters.” For a long time we gazed at each other, and I can only assume her mind whirled with thoughts as mine did—perhaps if I used my Mahiki to disguise myself as her, I could alter her destiny? This and a thousand other thoughts danced through my head, culminating in nothing more than an empty silence. Finally I spoke.“It has been an honor to meet you, sister.” I said, my gaze returning to the city below. It too shone in the ethereal glow of the suns, its walls and towers sparkling brightly.“And you, brother.” She murmured, her eyes fixed on the city as well. “You are a brave warrior, Toa Norik. I thank you for all you’ve done, and all you will do.” She sighed, but there was no sadness in her voice, not even resentment—there was just acceptance. She had seen this coming for some time…perhaps this was almost a relief for her?“I would have liked to have spent more time with you.” She said, turning to face me, her mask curved into a slight smile. I said nothing, my throat closing on me as I thought of the tragedy of it all—knowing that you were to die before that moment was to happen—how could the great spirit do this to one of his people? How could he strike down such a Toa in her prime, and make her know in advance? I shook my head in disgust.“Me as well.” I finally forced out, my throat dry. Neith just smiled at me.“Don’t mourn me, brother. This has always been my path. In a way I welcome it.”I said nothing and she returned her gaze to the city below. We stood together for hours, simply watching the beautiful city as it was transformed from a repository for knowledge into an agent of war. Then, together in silence, we left to join our companions.==============================================================================And this is where I'd put the reviews. IF I HAD ONE. (DINKLEBUUUUUUUUUUURG!)
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#20 Offline Janus

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Posted Dec 07 2012 - 02:28 AM

Chapter Twenty: The GiftWe met in the centre of the city where the siege machines, created by the Matoran under Toa Pouk’s watchful eyes, were being placed.  They were large and squat, ugly machines created of rough metal and what I could only assume was the flame of Toa Adena, they stood out as an eyesore in the city of crystalline beauty and only seemed to underscore the peril we all faced.  Our companions were gathered around these machines in silence, and before each of them stood a regiment of armed Matoran, ready to take the fight to the black ship.  We entered the circle that had been created and greeted everyone there.  Then Toa Neith left to speak with Toa Gaaki and I watched as a separate regiment of Matoran formed up in front of me.  Each of them bearing a crimson mark brightly on their chest.“People of Kura-Nui!” came the voice of Toa Neith, who now stood atop one of the ugly machines, her pure white form contrasting starkly with the darkened metal that made up its form.  To her side was Toa Gaaki, who stood and surveyed the crowd from behind her Kakama.“We stand now at the precipice of war.  This is a war that none of us wished for, but it bears down on us nonetheless, relentless and unstoppable.  We fight an opponent that seeks to take from us everything that we are as it has taken from our brothers and sisters in arms” at this, Toa Neith pointed at each of us in turn.  Myself, Toa Bomonga, Toa Gaaki, and finally Toa Pouks.“But we cannot let it take from us.  We are the great city of knowledge, in our repositories reside all the knowledge of the universe—all the knowledge that great spirit has given us.  We cannot allow this to be taken from the world—and so we will fight.” She paused a moment, letting her words sink in as she looked around at the assembled crowd.“You know Toa Gaaki, who has warned us of this coming scourge, and who has helped us prepare for this encounter.  So I will allow her to speak to you as we make ready for war.”  Toa Neith stepped aside, allowing Gaaki to take center stage.  Gaaki walked slowly and deliberately, the inner passion that she’d had in Gaho-Nui evident in her every movement.  She hadn’t been diminished by the stress of this, instead she had seemingly thrived.“I do not know you.” She began slowly, her voice calm. “I have lived amongst your people but a brief time and while you have been kind to me.  I do not know you.  I cannot say as I truly understand you in any way as I have understood my own people.  I ask you to give me that chance.  Fight!  Survive!  And when the fighting is over and this city yet stands I will come to know you as I have known your brave sisters who guard this city.”  At this the assembled Matoran gave a tremendous cheer, thrusting their weapons into the air and allowing the fading light to reflect off their blades.A cheer started in the crowd, soft and subtle at first, it picked up speed and energy and soon the entire group was chanting it “Unity! Duty! Destiny!” I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, the chant, once a Toa oath that swore us to the great spirit, now seemed like nothing more than a bad joke.  I wondered if the Matoran had any idea what destiny was.After the cheering had stopped and the group dispersed, each contingent moved to their own established area to wait for the inevitable enemy.  It was here that I found myself approached by Toa Neith and two Matoran bearing a long parcel wrapped in rough cloth, something I could only assume it was a piece of one of the machines.  Neith put a hand on my shoulder and held my eyes with her own.“Toa Norik.” She said calmly, a hint of warmth in her voice.  “When we last spoke you mentioned that you were using a weapon unfamiliar to you.  A weapon bestowed onto you by another of your brothers…while this is honorable, we of Kura-Nui believe that a Toa’s weapon is their soul…it would not do to wield a weapon that you haven’t trained in.”  I shot Neith a questioning glance but she continued unhindered.“While we are not your brothers, and your Toa family.  I hope that you accept our honors and this gift.”  As she finished the Matoran by her side removed the cloth and revealed an elegantly carved spear.  The handle was made of a single shaft of polished steel and surrounded by a grip of a gorgeous red wood.  The blade itself was forged differently than the blade I’d held before, the head splitting at the top and forming two deadly curves on either side that formed a twinned point at the very tip.  And in the center of it was a impression of an elegant flame.  The symbol for Tapa-Nui.  As I studied the weapon I felt my eyes grow wide and felt a warmth spread throughout my body.  “Toa Neith.” I spoke softly “I, Toa Norik of Tapa-Nui accept the gift and honor of Kura-Nui and will proudly bear It into battle.  I thank you.”  With that I knelt before the two Matoran, thanking each of them in turn before gently gripping the haft of the weapon.  It was light and well-weighted, clearly the work of a skilled craftsmatoran and as I felt the weapon in my hands I felt something more, I felt a sense of pride and of hope—if such a weapon had been crafted that meant that even though my city was lost, its craft had not been.  I took some form of solace in knowing that even though many would die on this day, their legacy would live on in one form another.  Just as the work of Tapa-Nui had been transmuted into the spear I now held.  With a smile I turned to Toa Neith“I thank you, sister.  You may not have been with me on Tapa-Nui, but you are just as much my family as any of my other companions.  I won’t forget this.”Neith simply smiled and gestured to her companions and within moments they had left to join their own contingent on their way to their positions.  Then all that was left was to wait for the attack that was soon to come.

 

Review Topic.  Where people talk about how awesome DeeVee and Nukaya are!


Edited by Janus, Jan 14 2013 - 01:18 AM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#21 Offline Janus

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Posted Jan 14 2013 - 01:17 AM

Chapter Twenty-One: WarWe didn’t have long to wait.  It was shortly after night fall when the first klaxons sounded, warning us of something caught in the storm that bordered the city.  Inside me I felt a leap of hope, Gaaki’s idea had worked!  We began to prepare then.  My small group beginning to fan out and man the many siege engines that had been left in our care.  I was to remain with them long enough to send the signal that our assault had begun, and then head to my assigned position atop the tower along with the others.  Oddly the air around us stayed silent, the first warning klaxon having long since sounded and fallen silent.  I saw the nervous looks on the masks of the Matoran in my care and knew that a similar feeling resided in me, even if it did not show on my mask.  As the hours ticked away slowly I began to doubt myself--had the black ship simply given up in the face of the torrential storm?  had it fled to attack some easier target?No.  Of course not.  If three Toa on an unarmed airship had managed to persevere through the storm what was the chance that goliath had fled?  Clearly it was waiting to catch us unaware, hoping to take the city and end our resistance in one fell blow.  As thoughts like this whirled in my brain I alternated between watching the faces of my troops and watching the night sky for any sign of the enemy.Approximately three hours had passed from the first warning klaxon when we heard it.  A mechanical shriek that echoed around the city.  I knew that sound well, it had been the beasts that had attacked our cities, the horrid spined monsters that used the powers of the elements against us.  The fight had finally come.  I ignited my newly created spear and shouted to the Matoran in my charge.  A blast of flame and hundreds of small lights rocketed from our position and in the deep black of the night I saw a form ignite and tumble to the ground.  The first enemy had fallen.Unfortunately for us, by the light of the still burning shell we caught a glimpse of the scope of our enemy's forces.  Scores of armored carapaces gleamed in the light of their burning compatriot, marching as a single unit toward our position.  This had been why the ship had taken so long for an assault--this must have been its full contingent of soldiers.  No longer just small invasion forces, we were dealing with a full scale army!  My eyes narrowed and I gripped the haft of my spear tightly as I watched the first wave of the enemy reach their fallen brother.  They did not stop, no respect was shown toward their ally, instead they simply marched forward, closer and closer to our position.  I watched them carefully, studying their movements with steady eyes.  At last they stepped close enough that I could see their brilliant eyes flaring in the darkness.  I raised my spear high in the air, igniting the heat around its tip and shouting:"Fire!" and again the night filled with flame and pinpricks of light as the Matoran fired their weapons.  Two more of the advancing five fell, their bodies crumpling into the snowy hill.  The other two continued to walk slowly, their weapons drawn and crackling with energy.  With one smooth movement I drew back from where I stood and gave signal to the Matoran manning the siege machines.  The night lit up with brilliant flares of light as the machines fired, great spheres of energy vomiting forth from the long muzzles and blasting into the enemy ranks.  The remaining three fell and so did many others who remained behind their advancing fellows.  Slowly but surely their ranks were being culled--but still the greater army marched on, unhindered by the suffering of their fellows.  Again I commanded the machines to fire, and again I saw those luminous spheres burst forth and devastate the enemy ranks.  The first four contingents, each consisting of five of the creatures were completely obliterated in those three strikes.  Finally the remaining monsters became still, ceasing their march.I watched the creatures warily, peering through the darkness to try and discover what it was they had planned.  I saw nothing.  The creatures were now out of our range and so we simply waited, occasionally glancing at the sky to make sure the black ship hadn't arrived--I knew inside that it hadn't, I knew that rumbling and that feeling of dread anywhere.  Still, I wanted to be sure that it hadn't so I would make to my post on time.  Sighing deeply I glanced into the faces of the Matoran who served under me, their eyes hard and weary--they hadn't seen a war before and it was evident that they had little desire to see one ever again.  Still, they had decided they would fight for their land, and they stood tall and proud for this.  I  gave them a quick smile as I turned to look at the advancing army.  They had not moved.Suddenly a burst of some dark energy blasted from the darkness, jetting over our heads and crashing into one of the many towers behind us.  The tower still stood, but a hole still crackling with energy now stood in its side.  I saw one of the creatures standing above the others, its staff raised and still glowing faintly in the darkness--they had longer range than us!Then I heard it.  That ominous low rumbling that signaled the coming of our true enemy.  Looking skyward I saw it appear, its black hull gleaming brightly in the moonlight and its aura of darkness near overpowering.  I cursed quietly, knowing that I had to leave for my post, but reluctant to leave my troops.  Angrily I hurled myself over the lip of our fortified position and, charging my spear up with all the elemental energy I could, let loose.A torrent of flame erupted from my blade, striking the creature who had fired in the chest and causing it to topple out of sight.  Those surrounding it soon became engulfed in flame as well, and soon the cries of the creatures echoed shrilly through the night.  Satisfied that the Matoran could finish what I started, I left to take my position: running breathlessly through the cold streets of the city.  All around me I saw situations similar to the one I had just left, there stood Toa Bomonga and his troops, countless numbers of the creatures trapped in a landslide of earth all around their position.  To the left of me was Toa Seres, her waves washing the creatures down one of the many slopes that made up the city--it seemed that we were succeeding in repelling the invaders!  That we might actually win this!At last I reached the mouth of the tower, without hesitation I threw myself through the door and sprinted as quickly as I could up the stairs, gasping as I arrived at the top of the tower.  As I exited onto the roof of the spiral tower I saw Toa Iruini standing to at the edge, his blade at the ready."Glad you could make it, brother" he said, a tinge of humor in his voice.  Was he also confident that we could win this?"Toa Adena and Toa Pouks are in position as well.  We're simply waiting on Toa Neith's signal." he explained, his eyes never leaving the gargantuan shape that filled the sky.  As if she had been waiting to hear that, a sudden burst of crystalline ice erupted from the ground and encased the rear of the ship, coating the slick black hull in a thick layer."Open fire?" I questioned of the figure in front of me, already charging my spear with elemental energy."Open fire." Iruini retorted, letting loose with an enormous cyclone that struck the ship's underside, seemingly doing little damage.To the side of us I saw Toa Adena and Toa Pouks launch their assault as well, Pouk's boulders being set aflame by Toa Adena's powers.  Each of these projectiles was then hurled at the ship startling accuracy: The ship's hull soon bearing the mark of many pockmarks along its side--still nothing penetrated.I fired my energies as well, striking the ship at the already weakened areas but seemingly causing little damage.  In desperation I turned to Iruini who I saw was thinking the same thing--how could we defeat an enemy who we could barely scratch?  Below us I saw that our ground forces conflict had taken a turn for the worse as well.  Toa and Matoran struggling against the seemingly never ending waves of creatures.  The air was thick with the stench of smoke from destroyed weapons and the feel of elemental energy.  "...Perhaps if we all fired at once?" I wracked my brain, attempting to find something that could be done to bring the massive ship down.  Iruini nodded slowly and activated his Kualsi, disappearing to tell the others of my plan.  Within moments he appeared before me again, his eyes grim."We may only get one chance at this, brother." He muttered.  "Those things are scaling the walls.  They'll be on us in moments."  I glanced over the side of the tower and saw that he was right.  Countless creatures were now using their razor sharp claws to slowly ascend the tower walls.  I nodded sharply."Give the signal."A short blast of wind burst forth from Iruini's spear, barely visible if you weren't looking for it.  Luckily those who stood on the towers were."Five...four...three..." I muttered to myself, channeling all my power into my spear and feeling its body grow warm in my hands."two...one..." I heard Iruini chanting, and saw his eyes closed in concentration as he did the same."Fire!" We both shouted, hearing a chorus from the other towers as well.  As a single unit we fired, out elemental energy merging and melding mid air before finally striking the side of the ship hard.  With an enormous explosion the hull punctured, and then split: Revealing a dark gaping hole in the once impenetrable armor.

 

==============================================================================Everyone should go tell Micah how cool he is.  Not in this topic, though.  This is the topic for reviews.


Edited by Janus, Jan 14 2013 - 01:19 AM.

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#22 Offline Janus

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Posted Jan 27 2013 - 06:46 PM

Chapter Twenty-Two: ShowdownFor a moment time seemed to slow to a crawl as we stared in unison at that dark hole, its rough edges and blackened walls seeming to invite us inward.  Then, as if a page had flipped, time returned to normal and the chaos on the ground bubbled up to the surface.  The creatures had finally reached the tips of the towers, energy crackling from their staves and eyes burning red.  They didn’t even glance at the wounded ship again, simply glaring at Iruini and I—I could only assume that the others were facing similar circumstances.There were about six of the creatures in front of us, varying only in hue and the weapons they carried—but from each of their staves came the strong glow of elemental energy, and each of their narrowed, fiery eyes, was death.  Iruini’s Kualsi flashed and in the blink of an eye he had vanished, appearing another blink later behind three of the creatures and sweeping at their legs with his spear.  Taking this distraction I launched myself at the other three, channeling elemental energy through both my spear and my shield.With a loud “crack!” my shield met the head of one of the creatures.  Without pausing for a second I whirled around, thrusting my staff into the already wounded creature and letting my fire flow through the haft of the spear, watching as the creature erupted into flames.  Its fellows ignored the things piteous screams and instead hissed viciously, their spines rattling and their staves glowing brightly.  I ducked as a large stream of energy flashed overhead and used my leg to sweep out the leg of one of the remaining creatures—its shot went high and wide, blasting into the air and slowly fading into the night sky.Regaining its footing the creature lunged at me, no longer attempting to use its energy to attack me, it seemed content to try and impale me on its razor sharp staff.  Its companion on the other hand began to power up its staff again, a brilliant glow suffusing the head of the staff.  I watched as the first creature came toward me, its staff point aimed at my chest, and threw myself from the ground, both of my feet crashing into the creature’s weak midsection.  There was an earsplitting crack and the creature fell, ooze leaking from its fractured body.  The other fired and I narrowly avoided the blast, watching as the area where it struck turned into a spider web of fractures and then finally gave way, crumbling inside the tower.My eyes widened behind my mask.  This creature had the power to fragment any object it touched—imagine what that could have done to me, or Iruni!  I caught a glance of my brother, still dealing with the three he had tripped.  The element of surprise lost, they were now beginning to gain the upper hand over the inexperienced Toa.  I shot myself upward, thrusting wildly with my staff and hoping to strike the creature before it fired again.  Lucky for me my blow just happened to knock it over the lip of the tower, sending it screaming into another group climbing the tower, and sending its charged shot directly into the ship above us.From the corner of my eye I saw the hole we had formed widen from the effects of the creature’s fragmentation staff, but I was too focused on edging my way around the wide hole in the roof to see any more.  Stepping carefully I made my way nearer to where Iruini was struggling with the three creatures.  Aiming carefully I fired a stream of fire just above him and struck one of the creatures in the chest—it wasn’t enough to damage it, but it was enough to distract it.  With a hiss it threw itself at me, its staff already glowing brightly.  With a single calculated move I channeled power into the edge of my spear and swung in a brutal upwards curve, catching the creatures staff in the middle and halving it immediately.  The effect was instantaneous, the creature began to scream loudly as its own elemental powers began to tear into its body.  Soon it was nothing more than a pile of slag on the ground.With my help, Iruini managed to defeat another of the creatures, its severed head preventing its deafening scream from assaulting us again.  Only one remained, its odd golden carapace gleaming in the light of its fallen fellows and the occasional bursts of weapon fire from the siege.  The creature hissed and took a step toward us, its staff raised.  Iruini was the first to react, launching a cyclone at it that threw it from the top of the tower.  I sighed in relief and bent over to assist him when I saw the creature’s red claw gripping the side of the tower.  With a malicious slowness it ascended to the top again, its eyes flaring brightly in the darkness of the night.  Iruini struck again, summoning a massive gust of wind to assault the creature.  This time it didn’t budge, simply standing in the midst of the gale with what looked like an evil smile on its skull like face.  Then it took one step forward with a hissing laugh.I struck this time, launching a blast of fire that enveloped the creature’s carapace.  For a brief moment it screamed and thrashed, but then it stood unharmed—subsequent bursts of fire were met with the same result.It was Iruini who figured it out first, whispering to me as he held out his spear to ward of the creature.“It adapts!  If our attacks don’t kill it in a single blow it adapts to them and becomes stronger!” I nodded grimly and watched the creature take another step forward.  It was playing with us!“Got a plan?” I murmured.  This time it was Iruini’s turn to nod.“Unity.” Was all he said, his spear beginning to glow with a brilliant sheen as the harnessed power of the wind was channeled through it.  I began to do the same to my own spear, watching as the blade glowed white-hot and flames began to lick at the edges of the metal.  We both watched the creature carefully, its own calculating eyes studying us.  I had no idea if this plan would work, but it was worth a shot.  After all, while out assaults had been dealt with individually, a combined strike might work!Iruini shouted something and we both released our carefully maintained grip on our elemental powers.  Fire and Air surged out through our outstretched weapons and into the body of the creature before us.  Then, before I could react, Iruini dove forward and drove his spear directly into the skull of the creature.  It crumpled to the ground, its golden carapace going limp.Iruini and I gave a quick tap of our fists for victory and then raised our spears, looking warily around the top of the ruined tower for any more foes.  Thankfully no more came.  I spared a quick glance over the edge of the tower and saw that the ground still swarmed with various battles, but it seemed to be locked in a virtual stalemate, neither the invading creatures nor the defending Toa and Matoran gaining the upper hand.  I resisted the urge to leap from the tower and assist my brothers and sisters, knowing that my place was not with them, and that I had an important mission that could not be forgotten.  Sighing heavily I put my hand on Iruini’s shoulder and watched as his Kualsi began to glow with a shining white light.  Then I blinked my eyes and the tower was gone.  Instead replaced by the tower where Pouks and Adena stood.They too were in the midst of combat, four creatures surrounding them and hissing viciously.  The creatures gave no indication they had seen Iruini or I arrive, and so with blinding speed and accuracy we struck, each of us leaping high into the air and striking downward with our long spears.  The two creatures fell to the ground, their spined carapace pierced by the metal points of our spears.  The remaining two backed up, hesitating slightly as they saw their easy victory become far more difficult.  They may have attempted to flee, I honestly don’t know.  All I do know is that Toa Adena unraveled her shroud and sent it swirling into the air, wrapping around the creature’s limbs and bodies.  When they were firmly entangled she allowed her flames to run through them, streaming across their surface and into the still thrashing bodies of the creatures stuck in them.  With a synchronized scream they both fell, their backs snapping open with a loud click and steam billowing out as the worms tried to make their escape.  Pouks took care of each with a fair sized stone.“What are you waiting for, Toa Norik?  Iruini?” came Adena’s harried voice.  “The ship could leave at any moment.  Leave the combat to us and go to that ship now!” she shouted, her eyes wild and frightened.  It wasn’t the combat she was scared of, I realized, but the thought of the combat being in vain—Iruini and I needed to get aboard that ship as soon as possible.“Understood sister.” Iruini said softly, turning to me and placing a hand on my arm. “We’d best be off, brother.” He joked without much humor.“Wait!” Adena shouted, taking hold of Iruini’s shoulder with her hand and gazing deeply into his eyes.  Without hesitating she pulled him forward into a strong hug, his eyes widening at the sudden gesture.“Come back to us, brother.” Adena said strongly. “And see Toa Neith before you go!” That was all I heard.  One second we were on that tower, and the next we vanished, appearing on the top of the final tower amidst what could have been a frozen sculpture garden—were it not for the fact that each sculpture was of some grotesque monster.  No less than ten of the creatures had been frozen solid, a menagerie of fearsome poses decorating the once bare tower’s peak.  In the center of all these bizarre ice statues stood Toa Neith, her calm eyes carefully surveying the battlefield below.  Occasionally she raised her glaive and fired a bolt of ice into the fray below, but for the most part she simply stood still.She gave no indication that she was aware we had arrived, no slight movement of the eyes, no smile.  Yet somehow she knew exactly where we were.  Pivoting on her heel as we began to walk toward her.“Excellent work you two.” She smiled, holstering her glaive across her back. “You’ve not only managed to create an opening into the ship, but you’ve also struck a serious blow to the invading army.  Losing the one with the ability to adapt seems to have lessened their morale somewhat.”  Iruini and I wordlessly nodded.  I was amazed at the grace and calm that Neith displayed—she had taken on at least ten of the creatures and yet she seemed as though she’d done nothing more strenuous than go for a mild walk.  Iruini and I on the other hand were exhausted, our armor covered with rents and pockmarks where the creatures had struck us.  I even had some of the one creature’s ooze still clinging to my armor.“You’ve succeeded in the first part of your mission” she murmured, looking skyward at the still looming black ship. “now we need to take the fight to them.”  Iruini nodded sharply and I put my hand on his shoulder. “Understood, sister.  May the great spirit guide you.” Neith just smiled at this.“And you as well, brothers.” Then Iruini activated his Kualsi and we disappeared.

 

==============================================================================Things happen in this topic!  Reviews?  Maybe!


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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#23 Offline Janus

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Posted Feb 06 2013 - 03:22 AM

Chapter Twenty-Three: The Belly of the BeastWhere we actually were I could not tell.  For the briefest of seconds we existed neither on the tower, nor inside the belly of the ship.  We were in a plane of pure black with a cold wind that tore at us—Iruini faltered briefly but continued to push on, his entire body focused on only one goal.  Then suddenly I saw the opening in front of us.  Iruini stood, exhausted just inside the opening.  I wasn’t so lucky, while my hand was still on his shoulder he had only enough power to get himself inside the ship, in the blink of an eye my feet went from standing on air, to plunging down and just barely managing to grab the outer lip of the opening we had made.I glanced down with a feeling of terror roiling inside of me.  While I could barely see the combat from here, I could see the occasional flashes of weapons being fired, and the frequent uses of elemental powers—but I couldn’t see who it was that was using them.  Not that I particularly wanted to at that time.  My mind reeled, losing its calm and reacting in sheer terror, showing me scenario after scenario where I fell to my death.  I stared intently at the black stone that made up the outside of the ship, desperate to take me mind off the fear that now tore through me. I barely pushed down a scream as I tightly gripped the edge.I looked upward with wild eyes, barely catching a glimpse of Iruini moving to grab me, before my hand lost its grip and I plummeted from my vantage point…and promptly struck a cool, slick surface.  My head whipped around as I disjointedly tried to gather my bearings.  Luckily for me I didn’t have to do it by myself.  Toa Neith extended a hand to me, and as I took it, helped to hoist me to my feet.  “I thought you might appreciate some help, brother.” She said pleasantly.“I thank you, sister” I responded, my breath coming in ragged breaths.  Neith directed her glaive to continue to make her ice slide, using her own elemental powers to stay stuck to the slick surface.  I held her hand to make sure I was able to do the same.  Finally her slide appeared at the side of the ship and we stepped off and into the darkened interior where Iruini stood panting.“What happened?” Neith asked of Iruini, her face full of concern.“I’ve never…had to use my Kualsi on an object….so far away.” He gasped.  “I was able to make it inside…barely.  Norik wasn’t so lucky.” He looked toward me apologetically, his mask contorted in pain and exhaustion.  Toa Neith put her hand on Iruini’s shoulder and gently guided him to the ground.“Sit here for now, brother.” She stated. “Regain your strength.  Norik and I will continue alone.” He nodded thankfully, breathing hard, and leaned his back up against the cold metal wall of the ship.With that we left him, and continued on through the narrow corridors of the ship.  It seemed as though it were as dark inside as it was outside, the only lighting coming from pale light stones inset in the low ceiling—but even they gave little actual light, only seeming to paint everything in a dark shade of grey.  We wandered for what seemed like an eternity through the labyrinthine corridors that stretched through the ship and seemed to go nowhere.  Finally, after another dead end, I remembered my experience in The Cave that bordered Ava-Nui.  Was this a defense mechanism as well?  To prevent any invaders from reaching the central part of the ship?I allowed some of my elemental energy to coalesce in my palm, creating a brilliant sphere of light to guide us.  With this I could see that had been correct, and that the corridors had been designed to confuse and delay an enemy who was stuck in them.  The dim lighting only aided in this.  I led Toa Neith through the corridors slowly, both our weapons drawn, looking for something that marked an entrance to the central ship.  Finally I found what looked to be a broad steel wall with a small control dome next to it.  The control panel was made of the same black material as the rest of the ship, and without the light gleaming over its surface, it was practically invisible.   I tentatively placed one hand over the dome and pressed down, a warm glow filled my fingertips but the door did not slide open.  Instead a blaring alarm began to screech throughout the ship, echoing through the many corridors.Barely holding back a curse I allowed my elemental energy to flow through me, and with one quick motion I slashed both the control dome and the door, splitting the dome in two and creating a brutal gash in the metal of the door.  I was just able to see through the hole I had made into the next room.  Two creatures stood there waiting for us, their staves not yet crackling with energy.  Without a word, Neith touched the tip of her glaive to the door, and I watched in amazement as the entire thing froze solid.  Not just the door, but the entire chamber beyond it, and the two creatures inside.“After you” She said with a small laugh.  I struck the door again, widening the hole, and then, as I had done in Ava-Nui, I scaled back my power and allowed a small tunnel to form out of the ice.  We walked slowly through the tunnel of dripping ice and kept our eyes open, always on the lookout for more attackers.  I suppose that’s why it was so shocking when a claw burst out just in front of my face, followed by another and then an angry face behind the ice.  It was moving!While its partner remained frozen in the ice, this creature was able to move around as though it were water, and it seemed it was close to escaping!  The creature glowed with a sickly yellow pallor and splotches of dark green were evident all over its body.  It looked like a diseased thing—but it moved like a young Toa and had the power of a Rahi.  Pulling back its fist it struck the ice again, causing a spider web of fractures to appear.  Neith raised her glaive and applied a fresh layer of ice, but the creature’s angry eyes seemed to laugh at us.“Pointless.” I heard a dark voice in my head.  Whirling around I stared in silence at the empty ice catacomb all around me.  “I heard it too, Norik.” Came the perturbed voice of Toa Neith as she stared at the creature behind the ice.  It was deadly still now, its eyes boring into her own.“Pointless.” It said again, not in any audible voice, but in a piercing sound that somehow penetrated directly into your mind.  The creature suddenly drove its fist directly through the fresh coat of ice and glared.“Ice Resistance.” It growled, pointing at Toa Neith with long clawed finger.  Then, with superhuman strength it grabbed the edges of the hole It had created and tore a massive opening, stepping through with ease.“Die!” it screamed, the voice in my head keeping perfect time with the creature’s own high pierced shriek as it launched towards us.Neith’s eyes widened as the monster lunged toward her, a moment of quick panic gripping her.  Then, regaining control of herself, she inverted her glaive, allowing the blade to point downward.  With a momentous swing she lifted the glaive high in the air in a strike that should have bisected the creature.  Instead it leaped away nimbly, its hissing laughter filling the air.“Pathetic.” It laughed in my mind, and I could only assume in Neith’s as well.  I paused, taking scope of my surroundings—if I used my fire powers it was possible I could release that thing’s companion…but in such a close quarter’s situation the thing was able to dance around our long weapons.  I mulled these thoughts over, watching Neith desperately trying to land a blow on the creature as it danced away laughing.Finally a thought occurred to me.  I hurled my spear at the creature with all my might, watching as it agilely dodged the projectile and hissed angrily, its spines rattling.  Using that momentary distraction I slid behind Neith and whispered to her.“Throw your glaive at it!” watching as a look of confusion passed across her face.  Nonetheless she complied and hurled her bladed weapon at the creature.  Again it dodged and hissed, this time mockingly.“Bad Aim!” it crowed smugly.  I smiled predatorily.  With the two weapons jutting out of the ice behind it, the creature’s movement was limited.  My fists tightened inside the gauntlets I wore and I lunged forward, striking the creature square in its head.  It recoiled and hissed angrily, drawing its stave up and blasting a jet of flame at me—but there was something different about this flame.  I couldn’t absorb it—and it hurt!I pushed past the pain, using my left arm to strike a powerful uppercut on the creature’s jaw.  It screamed and fell backwards, trying to move around and finding its movement blocked.  Behind it our two weapons acted as a gate—and in front of it: Me.  A panicked glow entered the creature’s fierce eyes and it attempted to fire its stave again, bright yellow flames leaping from the metal point.  I narrowly avoided it, dodging to the side and feeling the ice compress under my weight.  The creature moved away from the blocked entrance, trying to circle me in the narrow corridor, its spines rattling nervously.  I lunged and struck a blow on the creature’s midsection, hearing a satisfying crack.  I pulled away and saw with satisfaction that a large fracture had begun to form where I had struck.  The creature screamed in anger and fired it stave wildly, yellow flames sparking out and filling the air.  I ducked low to the ground and was relieved to see that Neith had done the same.  We raised ourselves from the ground, Neith assuming a martial arts stance and me putting my gauntlets up ready for combat.  The creature simply smiled at us, its eyes glowing with dark humor.“Fools.” It hissed.  Suddenly from behind us there was another shriek and something launched itself at me, clawing at my back and my throat.  Rough claws scratched their way across my throat scrabbling for the edges of my mask. Then I felt that sickening greyness as they caught the edges of my mask and pulled—not completely removing it, but weakening me nonetheless.I threw my body backward, landing heavily on the creature who had attacked me.  With a heavy exhale the creature let go and I quickly replaced my mask on my face, regaining my footing and standing between the two creatures.  This one was different, its body painted in a mottled red with splotches of black all across it.  It stood and glared at me.“Foolish Toa.” Came a shrieking in my mind, then it lunged at me with its claws open, its stave laying forgotten beside it.  I leapt to the side, and threw a punch at the creature.  It struck its armored carapace and had no effect except causing the creature to laugh.  There was a sudden clattering sound, and whirling around, I found that the ice holding our weapons had completely melted—meaning the other creature was free to move around.  I cursed, and narrowly avoiding a brutal slash from the red and black creature’s claws, leapt towards our fallen weapons.Toa Neith had the same thought, lunging in from the side and just barely avoiding another surge of flame from the yellowy creature’s stave.  Now sopping wet, we both stood, weapons in hand.  “Ready?” I murmured, glancing at her armored form.“Ready.” She nodded, launching herself at the red and black creature and releasing a torrent of ice from her glaive.  The creature stumbled and fell, its legs encased in solid ice.I leapt forward, driving my spear upward toward the weak point in the creature’s armor, and was unsurprised when it nimbly slid to the side, its baleful red eyes shining.  We continued this dance for some time, my blade just barely grazing the creature’s skin, or missing altogether, and its flames only singing my armor.  Finally I remembered the creature’s words to us.  It had said it was “Ice Resistance.”  Which meant…I stopped swinging my blade and focused inward, allowing a massive circle of fire to envelop the two of us.  The flames crackled loudly and reached high all around us, creating an inescapable arena for the two of us.  It also blocked off the sight of Toa Neith, but I could still hear the sounds of her conflict from just beyond the barrier.  The creature’s eyes widened with fear as it looked around at the tall pillars of fire surrounding it.  Then it angrily launched itself toward me, its stave glowing as brightly as its hate-filled eyes.  I sidestepped the creature’s lunge and allowed my spear to drop to the ground, catching the thing’s long legs and causing it to tumble into one of the walls of flame.  It screamed horridly as its carapace began to burn, molten metal from its head dripping to the floor.  Furiously it launched a blast of its own yellowy flame at me, attempting to catch me off guard.  Luckily for me I had already unholstered Toa Kyr’s shield and though nearly useless, I was able to stand safely behind it, the blaze simply glancing off the shield’s mangled surface.  With another cry the creature came at me, swinging its stave like an axe.  Barely dodging the gleaming blade I fell to my side, swinging my spear in a low arc and striking through the creature’s leg.  Unbalanced with only one leg, the creature fell to the ground screaming in rage.  I wasted no time, striking downward at the exposed weak point in the chest and fracturing the remaining armor.  There was a small explosion and the thing’s chest began to leak that familiar greenish ooze.Then the worm thing inside attempted to crawl its way out. Screaming inside my mind as it slid out of the damaged carapace.  I bent to retrieve the piteous thing, gripping in tightly in my hand—and was amazed to find the hate-filled screaming increase.  These creatures, whatever they were, weren’t merely a partner of the larger beasts—they were the creatures themselves…some sort of neural network allowing them to control the large suits of armor that we fought against.  I squeezed the soft thing tightly and listened to it cry out in my mind.“No!  Stop!” it screamed plaintively inside my mind, its small form writhing in my hand as it desperately tried to escape.  I looked towards its fallen shell, the mutilated skull-face still staring blankly upward.  I saw in my mind what things like that had done to my city…Gaaki’s, Bomonga’s, Pouks’—what they were doing to this city.  I didn’t hesitate, instead hurling the pathetic creature into the nearest wall of flame.  I flinched as I heard the creature’s final scream of pain, remembering the oath I’d taken to never kill—but pushed it from my mind, focusing on the most immediate task at hand.With a wave of my hand, the towering walls of shimmering flames ceased to be, seeming to fold in on themselves as they slowly lowered their spitting tongues to the ground, finally disappearing altogether.  As they faded I was able to see Toa Neith crouched over the prone form of the spined creature, its back hatch sticking high in the air and the hollow compartment completely empty.  She turned to glance at me, her expression unchanging, but her eyes showing relief.  In her hands she held a cube of ice, and in it was the worm thing, its liquid like eyes staring vacantly into space.  It did not speak, or scream—instead it simply stared.  Completely frozen.“I’d prefer we not have to do that again.” Neith said good-naturedly, still holding the cube with the parasite.  “I’d imagine you feel the same, brother?”“I grow tired of these things, sister.” I said truthfully, wiping some of the slime from the fallen creature off of my armor.  “So I see.” She said, her tone darkening as she saw the disfigured armor lying beyond me— and its lack of a pilot.  “Remember, brother.  You are sworn  to an oath as are we all…”“I know.” I interrupted, holstering my spear across my back. “But those are pure evil.  There is nothing that can be gained from allowing them to live a day longer.”  Neith opened her mouth to retort, but I beat her to it.“Sister, I know of the oath.  I am aware I have broken my oath—but I’m also aware that I’ve felt that thing in my mind…there was nothing but darkness and hate inside of it.  Can you truly tell me that anything could come of such a thing living?  When so many of our own have fallen?”Neith fell silent, her eyes gazing intently at the ground.“No, brother,” She said slowly. “there is nothing to be gained from allowing such a creature to live—but it is not we who are to decide who is to live and who is to die.  All we Toa are is sworn guardians of the Matoran and those who serve Mata-Nui.  We are not executioners!”  I paused for a moment, allowing her words to sink in, and studying her carefully.  She stood in a defensive position, her arms clenched to her sides and her legs barely shoulder width apart.  Her white armor was scarred and scorched from the creatures and her mask too had taken some slight damage.  Her chest heaved, though she tried to disguise her heavy breathing, and though attempting to stand evenly, she leaned slightly to the left side, her right side having obviously been struck during the conflict.  The sight of this proud warrior covered in filth and grime—like that that covered my own body, caused a flame of anger to be fanned in my belly.“Maybe it would be best if we were.” I said coldly.  “If evil creatures face the Matoran perhaps we should strike them down.  To protect those that we are sworn to protect!  We made the oath before the tides of war had come upon us, now that they have the oath is essentially…” I trailed off, unable to complete my sentence.  A sickness stirring inside me already and a feeling of hollowness in my heart.“I pray that you never finish that thought, brother.” Neith murmured, her tone sorrowful.  “When you do, I’ll know that you’ve lost more than your city, and your brothers.  You’ll have lost your very spirit.”  I felt warmth flush in my mask and felt the sting of embarrassment.  She was right, of course—I didn’t understand why I’d even said what I had.“You are right, sister.  I apologize.  I don’t know what came over me.” I murmured in return, my head bowed in apology.I felt a light touch on my shoulder and looked up to see Toa Neith’s calm blue eyes.“Forgiven, brother.” She whispered, her mask serene and still.  I nodded to her and gripped the hand that rested on my shoulder, thanking her for strength.  “Now how best to continue?” she murmured, more to herself than to me.   I glanced around the large chamber where the two hollow armor suits lay…to the rear of us was the entrance to the tunnels we had been lost in, and just ahead of us a few bio was a large steel door—obviously the entrance to a deeper part of the ship.  But how best to make our way through the ship?  Already we’d encountered two opponents who matched—and almost surpassed, our strength.  It was madness to think we could take on an entire vessel full of them!My gaze fell on the shattered shell of the creature I had destroyed, the damaged face staring eerily forward.  I shuddered and turned my head to look at Toa Neith, my glance lingering on her scarred Mahiki.  Finally the two pieces clicked in my mind and with a whoop of elation I turned to Neith.“I’ve figured it out, sister.  How we’ll pass through the ship!”  Neith glanced at me, an inquisitive look colouring her eyes.“Oh?”  I smiled and nodded, activating my Mahiki and feeling its power surge through me.  Then I stood in my changed form, feeling the strange new limbs that now replaced my own.  Neith’s mouth opened in shock and I laughed, my voice coming out as hisses.“Brilliant, Norik,” Neith said briefly, activating her own Mahiki and transforming into a mirror image of the creature she had defeated.  I felt a shudder of revulsion seeing the beautiful form of Toa Neith morphed into such a cruel and twisted form—but if we were to get around the ship as quickly possible, it was something that had to be done.  We needed to rescue the Matoran.Where we actually were I could not tell.  For the briefest of seconds we existed neither on the tower, nor inside the belly of the ship.  We were in a plane of pure black with a cold wind that tore at us—Iruini faltered briefly but continued to push on, his entire body focused on only one goal.  Then suddenly I saw the opening in front of us.  Iruini stood, exhausted just inside the opening.  I wasn’t so lucky, while my hand was still on his shoulder he had only enough power to get himself inside the ship, in the blink of an eye my feet went from standing on air, to plunging down and just barely managing to grab the outer lip of the opening we had made.I glanced down with a feeling of terror roiling inside of me.  While I could barely see the combat from here, I could see the occasional flashes of weapons being fired, and the frequent uses of elemental powers—but I couldn’t see who it was that was using them.  Not that I particularly wanted to at that time.  My mind reeled, losing its calm and reacting in sheer terror, showing me scenario after scenario where I fell to my death.  I stared intently at the black stone that made up the outside of the ship, desperate to take me mind off the fear that now tore through me. I barely pushed down a scream as I tightly gripped the edge.I looked upward with wild eyes, barely catching a glimpse of Iruini moving to grab me, before my hand lost its grip and I plummeted from my vantage point…and promptly struck a cool, slick surface.  My head whipped around as I disjointedly tried to gather my bearings.  Luckily for me I didn’t have to do it by myself.  Toa Neith extended a hand to me, and as I took it, helped to hoist me to my feet.  “I thought you might appreciate some help, brother.” She said pleasantly.“I thank you, sister” I responded, my breath coming in ragged breaths.  Neith directed her glaive to continue to make her ice slide, using her own elemental powers to stay stuck to the slick surface.  I held her hand to make sure I was able to do the same.  Finally her slide appeared at the side of the ship and we stepped off and into the darkened interior where Iruini stood panting.“What happened?” Neith asked of Iruini, her face full of concern.“I’ve never…had to use my Kualsi on an object….so far away.” He gasped.  “I was able to make it inside…barely.  Norik wasn’t so lucky.” He looked toward me apologetically, his mask contorted in pain and exhaustion.  Toa Neith put her hand on Iruini’s shoulder and gently guided him to the ground.“Sit here for now, brother.” She stated. “Regain your strength.  Norik and I will continue alone.” He nodded thankfully, breathing hard, and leaned his back up against the cold metal wall of the ship.With that we left him, and continued on through the narrow corridors of the ship.  It seemed as though it were as dark inside as it was outside, the only lighting coming from pale light stones inset in the low ceiling—but even they gave little actual light, only seeming to paint everything in a dark shade of grey.  We wandered for what seemed like an eternity through the labyrinthine corridors that stretched through the ship and seemed to go nowhere.  Finally, after another dead end, I remembered my experience in The Cave that bordered Ava-Nui.  Was this a defense mechanism as well?  To prevent any invaders from reaching the central part of the ship?I allowed some of my elemental energy to coalesce in my palm, creating a brilliant sphere of light to guide us.  With this I could see that had been correct, and that the corridors had been designed to confuse and delay an enemy who was stuck in them.  The dim lighting only aided in this.  I led Toa Neith through the corridors slowly, both our weapons drawn, looking for something that marked an entrance to the central ship.  Finally I found what looked to be a broad steel wall with a small control dome next to it.  The control panel was made of the same black material as the rest of the ship, and without the light gleaming over its surface, it was practically invisible.   I tentatively placed one hand over the dome and pressed down, a warm glow filled my fingertips but the door did not slide open.  Instead a blaring alarm began to screech throughout the ship, echoing through the many corridors.Barely holding back a curse I allowed my elemental energy to flow through me, and with one quick motion I slashed both the control dome and the door, splitting the dome in two and creating a brutal gash in the metal of the door.  I was just able to see through the hole I had made into the next room.  Two creatures stood there waiting for us, their staves not yet crackling with energy.  Without a word, Neith touched the tip of her glaive to the door, and I watched in amazement as the entire thing froze solid.  Not just the door, but the entire chamber beyond it, and the two creatures inside.“After you” She said with a small laugh.  I struck the door again, widening the hole, and then, as I had done in Ava-Nui, I scaled back my power and allowed a small tunnel to form out of the ice.  We walked slowly through the tunnel of dripping ice and kept our eyes open, always on the lookout for more attackers.  I suppose that’s why it was so shocking when a claw burst out just in front of my face, followed by another and then an angry face behind the ice.  It was moving!While its partner remained frozen in the ice, this creature was able to move around as though it were water, and it seemed it was close to escaping!  The creature glowed with a sickly yellow pallor and splotches of dark green were evident all over its body.  It looked like a diseased thing—but it moved like a young Toa and had the power of a Rahi.  Pulling back its fist it struck the ice again, causing a spider web of fractures to appear.  Neith raised her glaive and applied a fresh layer of ice, but the creature’s angry eyes seemed to laugh at us.“Pointless.” I heard a dark voice in my head.  Whirling around I stared in silence at the empty ice catacomb all around me.  “I heard it too, Norik.” Came the perturbed voice of Toa Neith as she stared at the creature behind the ice.  It was deadly still now, its eyes boring into her own.“Pointless.” It said again, not in any audible voice, but in a piercing sound that somehow penetrated directly into your mind.  The creature suddenly drove its fist directly through the fresh coat of ice and glared.“Ice Resistance.” It growled, pointing at Toa Neith with long clawed finger.  Then, with superhuman strength it grabbed the edges of the hole It had created and tore a massive opening, stepping through with ease.“Die!” it screamed, the voice in my head keeping perfect time with the creature’s own high pierced shriek as it launched towards us.Neith’s eyes widened as the monster lunged toward her, a moment of quick panic gripping her.  Then, regaining control of herself, she inverted her glaive, allowing the blade to point downward.  With a momentous swing she lifted the glaive high in the air in a strike that should have bisected the creature.  Instead it leaped away nimbly, its hissing laughter filling the air.“Pathetic.” It laughed in my mind, and I could only assume in Neith’s as well.  I paused, taking scope of my surroundings—if I used my fire powers it was possible I could release that thing’s companion…but in such a close quarter’s situation the thing was able to dance around our long weapons.  I mulled these thoughts over, watching Neith desperately trying to land a blow on the creature as it danced away laughing.Finally a thought occurred to me.  I hurled my spear at the creature with all my might, watching as it agilely dodged the projectile and hissed angrily, its spines rattling.  Using that momentary distraction I slid behind Neith and whispered to her.“Throw your glaive at it!” watching as a look of confusion passed across her face.  Nonetheless she complied and hurled her bladed weapon at the creature.  Again it dodged and hissed, this time mockingly.“Bad Aim!” it crowed smugly.  I smiled predatorily.  With the two weapons jutting out of the ice behind it, the creature’s movement was limited.  My fists tightened inside the gauntlets I wore and I lunged forward, striking the creature square in its head.  It recoiled and hissed angrily, drawing its stave up and blasting a jet of flame at me—but there was something different about this flame.  I couldn’t absorb it—and it hurt!I pushed past the pain, using my left arm to strike a powerful uppercut on the creature’s jaw.  It screamed and fell backwards, trying to move around and finding its movement blocked.  Behind it our two weapons acted as a gate—and in front of it: Me.  A panicked glow entered the creature’s fierce eyes and it attempted to fire its stave again, bright yellow flames leaping from the metal point.  I narrowly avoided it, dodging to the side and feeling the ice compress under my weight.  The creature moved away from the blocked entrance, trying to circle me in the narrow corridor, its spines rattling nervously.  I lunged and struck a blow on the creature’s midsection, hearing a satisfying crack.  I pulled away and saw with satisfaction that a large fracture had begun to form where I had struck.  The creature screamed in anger and fired it stave wildly, yellow flames sparking out and filling the air.  I ducked low to the ground and was relieved to see that Neith had done the same.  We raised ourselves from the ground, Neith assuming a martial arts stance and me putting my gauntlets up ready for combat.  The creature simply smiled at us, its eyes glowing with dark humor.“Fools.” It hissed.  Suddenly from behind us there was another shriek and something launched itself at me, clawing at my back and my throat.  Rough claws scratched their way across my throat scrabbling for the edges of my mask. Then I felt that sickening greyness as they caught the edges of my mask and pulled—not completely removing it, but weakening me nonetheless.I threw my body backward, landing heavily on the creature who had attacked me.  With a heavy exhale the creature let go and I quickly replaced my mask on my face, regaining my footing and standing between the two creatures.  This one was different, its body painted in a mottled red with splotches of black all across it.  It stood and glared at me.“Foolish Toa.” Came a shrieking in my mind, then it lunged at me with its claws open, its stave laying forgotten beside it.  I leapt to the side, and threw a punch at the creature.  It struck its armored carapace and had no effect except causing the creature to laugh.  There was a sudden clattering sound, and whirling around, I found that the ice holding our weapons had completely melted—meaning the other creature was free to move around.  I cursed, and narrowly avoiding a brutal slash from the red and black creature’s claws, leapt towards our fallen weapons.Toa Neith had the same thought, lunging in from the side and just barely avoiding another surge of flame from the yellowy creature’s stave.  Now sopping wet, we both stood, weapons in hand.  “Ready?” I murmured, glancing at her armored form.“Ready.” She nodded, launching herself at the red and black creature and releasing a torrent of ice from her glaive.  The creature stumbled and fell, its legs encased in solid ice.I leapt forward, driving my spear upward toward the weak point in the creature’s armor, and was unsurprised when it nimbly slid to the side, its baleful red eyes shining.  We continued this dance for some time, my blade just barely grazing the creature’s skin, or missing altogether, and its flames only singing my armor.  Finally I remembered the creature’s words to us.  It had said it was “Ice Resistance.”  Which meant…I stopped swinging my blade and focused inward, allowing a massive circle of fire to envelop the two of us.  The flames crackled loudly and reached high all around us, creating an inescapable arena for the two of us.  It also blocked off the sight of Toa Neith, but I could still hear the sounds of her conflict from just beyond the barrier.  The creature’s eyes widened with fear as it looked around at the tall pillars of fire surrounding it.  Then it angrily launched itself toward me, its stave glowing as brightly as its hate-filled eyes.  I sidestepped the creature’s lunge and allowed my spear to drop to the ground, catching the thing’s long legs and causing it to tumble into one of the walls of flame.  It screamed horridly as its carapace began to burn, molten metal from its head dripping to the floor.  Furiously it launched a blast of its own yellowy flame at me, attempting to catch me off guard.  Luckily for me I had already unholstered Toa Kyr’s shield and though nearly useless, I was able to stand safely behind it, the blaze simply glancing off the shield’s mangled surface.  With another cry the creature came at me, swinging its stave like an axe.  Barely dodging the gleaming blade I fell to my side, swinging my spear in a low arc and striking through the creature’s leg.  Unbalanced with only one leg, the creature fell to the ground screaming in rage.  I wasted no time, striking downward at the exposed weak point in the chest and fracturing the remaining armor.  There was a small explosion and the thing’s chest began to leak that familiar greenish ooze.Then the worm thing inside attempted to crawl its way out. Screaming inside my mind as it slid out of the damaged carapace.  I bent to retrieve the piteous thing, gripping in tightly in my hand—and was amazed to find the hate-filled screaming increase.  These creatures, whatever they were, weren’t merely a partner of the larger beasts—they were the creatures themselves…some sort of neural network allowing them to control the large suits of armor that we fought against.  I squeezed the soft thing tightly and listened to it cry out in my mind.“No!  Stop!” it screamed plaintively inside my mind, its small form writhing in my hand as it desperately tried to escape.  I looked towards its fallen shell, the mutilated skull-face still staring blankly upward.  I saw in my mind what things like that had done to my city…Gaaki’s, Bomonga’s, Pouks’—what they were doing to this city.  I didn’t hesitate, instead hurling the pathetic creature into the nearest wall of flame.  I flinched as I heard the creature’s final scream of pain, remembering the oath I’d taken to never kill—but pushed it from my mind, focusing on the most immediate task at hand.With a wave of my hand, the towering walls of shimmering flames ceased to be, seeming to fold in on themselves as they slowly lowered their spitting tongues to the ground, finally disappearing altogether.  As they faded I was able to see Toa Neith crouched over the prone form of the spined creature, its back hatch sticking high in the air and the hollow compartment completely empty.  She turned to glance at me, her expression unchanging, but her eyes showing relief.  In her hands she held a cube of ice, and in it was the worm thing, its liquid like eyes staring vacantly into space.  It did not speak, or scream—instead it simply stared.  Completely frozen.“I’d prefer we not have to do that again.” Neith said good-naturedly, still holding the cube with the parasite.  “I’d imagine you feel the same, brother?”“I grow tired of these things, sister.” I said truthfully, wiping some of the slime from the fallen creature off of my armor.  “So I see.” She said, her tone darkening as she saw the disfigured armor lying beyond me— and its lack of a pilot.  “Remember, brother.  You are sworn  to an oath as are we all…”“I know.” I interrupted, holstering my spear across my back. “But those are pure evil.  There is nothing that can be gained from allowing them to live a day longer.”  Neith opened her mouth to retort, but I beat her to it.“Sister, I know of the oath.  I am aware I have broken my oath—but I’m also aware that I’ve felt that thing in my mind…there was nothing but darkness and hate inside of it.  Can you truly tell me that anything could come of such a thing living?  When so many of our own have fallen?”Neith fell silent, her eyes gazing intently at the ground.“No, brother,” She said slowly. “there is nothing to be gained from allowing such a creature to live—but it is not we who are to decide who is to live and who is to die.  All we Toa are is sworn guardians of the Matoran and those who serve Mata-Nui.  We are not executioners!”  I paused for a moment, allowing her words to sink in, and studying her carefully.  She stood in a defensive position, her arms clenched to her sides and her legs barely shoulder width apart.  Her white armor was scarred and scorched from the creatures and her mask too had taken some slight damage.  Her chest heaved, though she tried to disguise her heavy breathing, and though attempting to stand evenly, she leaned slightly to the left side, her right side having obviously been struck during the conflict.  The sight of this proud warrior covered in filth and grime—like that that covered my own body, caused a flame of anger to be fanned in my belly.“Maybe it would be best if we were.” I said coldly.  “If evil creatures face the Matoran perhaps we should strike them down.  To protect those that we are sworn to protect!  We made the oath before the tides of war had come upon us, now that they have the oath is essentially…” I trailed off, unable to complete my sentence.  A sickness stirring inside me already and a feeling of hollowness in my heart.“I pray that you never finish that thought, brother.” Neith murmured, her tone sorrowful.  “When you do, I’ll know that you’ve lost more than your city, and your brothers.  You’ll have lost your very spirit.”  I felt warmth flush in my mask and felt the sting of embarrassment.  She was right, of course—I didn’t understand why I’d even said what I had.“You are right, sister.  I apologize.  I don’t know what came over me.” I murmured in return, my head bowed in apology.I felt a light touch on my shoulder and looked up to see Toa Neith’s calm blue eyes.“Forgiven, brother.” She whispered, her mask serene and still.  I nodded to her and gripped the hand that rested on my shoulder, thanking her for strength.  “Now how best to continue?” she murmured, more to herself than to me.   I glanced around the large chamber where the two hollow armor suits lay…to the rear of us was the entrance to the tunnels we had been lost in, and just ahead of us a few bio was a large steel door—obviously the entrance to a deeper part of the ship.  But how best to make our way through the ship?  Already we’d encountered two opponents who matched—and almost surpassed, our strength.  It was madness to think we could take on an entire vessel full of them!My gaze fell on the shattered shell of the creature I had destroyed, the damaged face staring eerily forward.  I shuddered and turned my head to look at Toa Neith, my glance lingering on her scarred Mahiki.  Finally the two pieces clicked in my mind and with a whoop of elation I turned to Neith.“I’ve figured it out, sister.  How we’ll pass through the ship!”  Neith glanced at me, an inquisitive look colouring her eyes.“Oh?”  I smiled and nodded, activating my Mahiki and feeling its power surge through me.  Then I stood in my changed form, feeling the strange new limbs that now replaced my own.  Neith’s mouth opened in shock and I laughed, my voice coming out as hisses.“Brilliant, Norik,” Neith said briefly, activating her own Mahiki and transforming into a mirror image of the creature she had defeated.  I felt a shudder of revulsion seeing the beautiful form of Toa Neith morphed into such a cruel and twisted form—but if we were to get around the ship as quickly possible, it was something that had to be done.  We needed to rescue the Matoran.

 

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

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You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#24 Offline Janus

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 08:15 PM

Chapter Twenty-Four: CaptivesWith slow, plodding steps we walked toward the massive steel shutter that marked the exit of the current chamber.  Not foolish enough to touch the sensor pad this time, I simply raised my staff and let the flames flow out, turning the heavy door to a pile of molten slag—luckily enough there were no more creatures beyond it.  Even luckier still it was a straightforward, decently lit corridor that seemed to lead directly to the heart of the ship!We walked slowly, awkwardly, unaccustomed to the bodies that we now wore.  Since we had taken on the forms of the creatures the ship seemed strangely quiet—either the creatures thought they recognized us as their own, or the ship truly was deserted.  I refused to allow any of the darker thoughts that passed through my mind to truly manifest themselves.  Simply allowing them to glide through my conscious and quickly out again.  Finally we came to an juncture where several other corridors and rooms attached to the central one that we walked along.  Glancing through the smoky glass on some of the chambers I could see captured Matoran with creatures guarding them.  In very few it was simply creatures guarding supplies or armor.  At the very end of the corridor was a door to the left of the central one, a strange carved symbol imprinted on the metal and no window to allow any view into this room.Together, Neith and I pushed open the exit of the corridor and entered a room full of motion and sound, overwhelmed we almost drew our weapons to combat whatever menace it was that stood before us—and instead found massive holding chamber, filled to the brim with captive Matoran. We had finally arrived.It was a multi-segmented holding cell—the cell being separate from the actual room itself, with each Matoran having but a tiny, cramped space to call his or her own.  Catwalks connected from various openings around the chamber to different ‘blocks’ of five cells, probably for the ease of those policing them—which were likely those creatures.The Matoran themselves didn’t look too bad off, while obviously not energetic or lively, they also didn’t seem to have been mistreated.  No markings on bruises stood out on any of the prisoners as far as I could see.“Norik.” Neith whispered under her breath to me.  I turned and nodded, doing my absolute best to stay silent.  The second the Matoran started to realize something was wrong about these two creatures in front of them…the second the other creatures would realize as well.“We have to get them out of here!” she hissed, anger and disgust evident in her voice.“I know.” I responded in tones equally as hushed. “but we can’t do it alone.”  This time it was her who nodded, the serpentine head that currently replaced her own bobbing awkwardly.  I looked at the cell one more time, carefully cataloguing each entrance and noting that there were currently no guards to be seen.  Then I stepped off to the side of the main path and drew the creature’s body which I currently held up to its full intimidating height, attempting to look like a guard.Neith clued in on my plan immediately.  She turned, pivoting on her heel, and walked from the room with broad steps.  Two Toa might not be able to do anything—but three Toa might just have a chance.Left to my own, I inspected the cells carefully: They were small and compact, with each Matoran having a space of only about half a bio by half a bio to reside in.  The floors and ceilings were carved from the same black stone as made up the outside of the ship, and the walls were solid metal bars arranged so closely together that escape was an impossibility.  I stalked closer to get a closer look at the workings of the prison—and also to hopefully find some of my own people.  As I neared the monolithic thing I became aware that I only see a fragment of it. Due to the overhanging ledges above concealing its full size…I imagined it jutted all the way up to the very roof of the ship.  Such a massive prison system could only mean one thing.  This ship had all the Matoran, from my city and all the others!  I felt my heart leap into my throat and quickly quashed my enthusiasm, maintaining a strict control of my face and body as I walked closer.“Norik!” I heard a hissing whisper.  Raising my weapon, I whirled around to face the sound—but found nothing.“Norik!” I heard it again, from just above me.  Craning my neck upwards I saw the form of the mysterious whisper.  In a cell just two above the one in front of me was Wanderer.  I put one clawed finger to the front of my face, mimicking silence.  Wanderer understood immediately and fell quiet, moving his body away from the edges of the bars where he had stood.“Soon.” Was all I said, careful to keep my voice quiet.  Then, with deliberate steps, I walked away from that cell, inspecting the entire lower row before looking for a means of transport to the upper levels.It wasn’t that hard to find, a small elevator tucked away in one corner, the metal of the machine matching the metal of the prison and everything else aboard the ship—a dark mottled metal with a rough, almost scarred, surface.  I shuddered at its touch, but nevertheless moved onward, boarding the small contraption and allowing myself to ascend to the upper levels of the prison.  What I saw took my breath away: thousands of Matoran imprisoned in cells with only a few creatures acting as guards.  While the overhang had hidden much of the prison, I could see it now, massive and vast—stretching to the very walls and roof of the ship.  While it was a separate compartment, it nevertheless filled the entire massive bay of the ship.  Now able to see the entirety of the detention centre I barely held back a gasp.  I had never seen this many Matoran in my life…and to see them in such conditions: trapped in small black cells and overseen by hideous lizard-like suits of armor piloted by worms…it made me sick.It was lucky for me, then, that at that moment there was a clamor below me that drew the attention of the guards.  Each of them grabbing the guardrail in one hand and effortlessly leaping over the edge, only to land in a crouching, predatory stance on the floor below.  I followed suit, hurling myself to the ground and landing crouched out of sight.  What I saw would have under any other circumstances sunk my heart—but in this situation it was all I could do to keep the broad smile of my face.One of the creatures was roughly driving a Toa through the room, its stave stabbing into the Toa’s back brutally, and forcing the Toa to move quickly.  The Toa’s armor was a deep green, and mostly clear from blemishes, only a few nicks and scraped evident—but his Kualsi was easily recognizable.  And that meant that the creature holding him captive was Toa Neith.  One of the guard creatures hissed viciously and moved toward the ‘captive’ Iruini, raising its stave high.  Neith hissed back, her spines rattling as she shoved Iruini forward, driving him to his knees.The guards and creatures who had come in with Neith laughed maliciously, their hissing filling the air as the formed a circle around the weakened Toa.  I joined them, getting as close to Neith as was possible.  The creatures moved to attack Iruini, striking him with brutal kicks and strikes of their staves—but found that he had vanished from where he had previously lain!  Growing agitated they whirled around, stretching their necks to find their ‘captive’ who appeared only a few steps away.“Duck!” Neith whispered in my ear, and I complied, flattening myself as low as I could go the ground and watching her do the same.  The next second I felt a torrential wind blast overhead and saw the creatures go flying over my head, crashing into the wall behind us with a sickening thud and sliding to the ground.  The impact snapped their carpace’s open and sent the worm things inside splattering into the ground.  Iruini grinned tiredly, hefting his spear over one shoulder.“Well, that was easy.” He grunted, attempting to stand on unstable legs.  I laughed and regained my footing, moving to help support him.Together as a team we quickly touched fists, scanning around the massive room for any sign of other creatures.  Lucky for us we didn’t find any.“How do we do this…?” Iruini questioned, his voice filled with a dark awe at the incredible…yet terrible thing that had been done here.“We can’t.” Neith said simply.  “Not yet.”“Why not?” Iruini practically shouted, his arms flailing in anger.“They could follow us too easily.” Neith stated curtly.  “Unless we do something to this ship they’ll come back with more reinforcements.  We need to stop them here.”  Iruini nodded slowly, seeing the logic in her words.  “But regardless, we need to get started.” I spoke, almost surprising myself.  “If we focus on trying to damage the ship alone, we could lose our chance to rescue the Matoran.”“What do you suggest?” Neith asked, calmly.“I’ll explore the ship…find a way to cripple it.  You and Iruini focus on freeing the Matoran and getting out of here.  We’ll meet up after that.” I said, formulating the plan in my head as I spoke.  Neith hesitantly nodded.“I can make an ice slide to get them to the ground.” She mused.  Iruini looked upwards toward the peak of the prison complex and nodded.“My wind can help them escape as well.  We’ll be fine, brother.”“Good luck.” I murmured, turning my back to them and looking at the corridor we had come from.“We don’t need luck.” Iruini laughed.  “We’ve got destiny on our side.”

 

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