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L S O 2012 - Team Two


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#1 Offline Hahli Husky

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Posted Jul 08 2012 - 05:13 PM

DO NOT POST HERE UNLESS YOU ARE ON THIS TEAM AND IT IS YOUR TURN TO WRITE.Thank you. Posted Image Review topic here!This is where Team Two of the Library Summer Olympics 2012 will be posting their story. If you guys come up with a team name and/or story title, PM me and I can edit it into the topic name for you.In this event, entrants will be required to do the following:- Work with a team to write a BIONICLE-themed epic based on a given prompt. Each prompt will be the first sentence from a popular book (that happen to own XP), and can be found below.ScheduleRemember that each team member can post once every 24 hours, creating a cap of 4 chapters per 24 hour period. The chapters can be as long or short as you like. Members will be posting in this order:Pahrak CantusdotcomKakaruNick SilverpenPlease try to let me know if you won't be able to post for more than 2 days' time! If there's an emergency and you are unable to notify me first, that's all right.The topics will be closing July 25th, 2012 at roughly 11:59 PM PDT. If the server is out, the deadline will be delayed accordingly.Team Two's Prompt:(lifted from A Knight of the Word by Terry Brooks)He stands on a hillside south of the city looking back at the carnage.Now continue the story as you please, and have fun! :)

Edited by Hahli Husky, Jul 26 2012 - 12:52 PM.

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#2 Online Noise #0579

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Posted Jul 09 2012 - 01:29 PM

Chapter 1He stood on a hillside south of the city looking back at the carnage. Dozens of Agori lay dead across the landscape, although their numbers were nothing compared to the sea of Matoran corpses they floated in. Villagers of all tribes were represented in this horrific gathering, giving a wide range of color to the blanket of death as if the murderer has swung a paintbrush behind his blade as he massacred them all.Onepu, one of the few survivors of the battle, hung his head in sorrow and turned back towards New Atero. When he and the other Matoran had migrated to Spherus Magna a year ago, he had been full of hope for what the future would bring…but now? Now all the future showed him was more death.At first, things had seemed to go well—there were a few hiccups in blending the Agori and Matoran societies, but those trivial troubles were obliterated in an instant before the nightmare that followed. A mere month passed before it first arrived…the monster known as Marendar. It descended upon Spherus Magna like the Angel of Death, appearing from out of nowhere and slaughtering Toa in moments.Some tried to reason with it, but the machine sought only to fulfill its programming: to destroy all beings with elemental powers. Some tried fighting it, but Marendar was discovered to be invulnerable to any manner of elemental attack. The Toa and Glatorian fought valiantly, but they fell one-by-one before the machine’s might. The conflict would have been over much sooner were it not for Tahu—the Kraata powers granted to him by the Golden Armor gave him a fighting chance against the monster, but as the months dragged on he grew weary, and he lost more and more allies every day. Soon the Glatorian were extinct, and Tahu, the last of the Toa, found himself alone on the battlefield. However, the Toa of Fire did not give up…not even with his dying breath.With Spherus Magna cleansed of those who could manipulate the elements, Marendar disappeared for a time. The Agori and Matoran mourned the loss of their protectors, and they did what they could to rebuild…but the nightmare was not over yet. A month after its disappearance, Marendar returned with a new objective: annihilate the Matoran, for they too had elemental power and could one day learn to use it.No one was sure why Marendar suddenly saw the Matoran as a threat—they were far too busy running for their lives, however, futile it was. The Matoran cried out to Mata Nui, asking him to grant them a defender, but their cries went unanswered. All hope seemed lost…and that was when the energized protodermis beneath New Atero was discovered. Desperate, the Matoran loaded the substance into Zamor spheres and fired upon Marendar, and, to their surprise, they were able to deal the robot a terrible wound. Badly damaged, Marendar fled, and the Matoran and Agori thought themselves safe again. Again, they were wrong.Marendar returned, its wound repaired and its blades sharpened, so the villagers rained energized protodermis upon the machine as it continued to butcher them, eventually forcing it to flee again. Yet somehow Marendar was repaired yet again, and it returned yet again to kill hundreds of Matoran and any Agori who got in its way, and yet again it was forced to flee. This pattern had repeated for almost two months now; the Agori had sustained terrible losses, and the few hundred Matoran hiding in New Atero were the last remnants of sentient life from the Great Spirit robot.Suddenly, Onepu dropped to his knees. “…We can’t win…” he mumbled. “A couple more encounters and we’ll all be dead…we can’t win…”Panic swelled within him, rattling his entire being. Rage took hold next, bringing him to face the sky and curse the Great Beings. Finally, exhaustion ushered out all other emotions, and he fell face-first on the ground.We need some kind of advantage, Onepu thought. There must be some way to survive…
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#3 Offline dotcom

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Posted Jul 09 2012 - 09:27 PM

Chapter 2The city of New Atero had been founded as a place of sanctuary for all people in a time of peace. It had not been designed for war. Ever since Marendar had appeared, however, the remaining Matoran and Agori had to improvise and operate it as a fortress.How ironic that our doom would be brought upon by “Salvation.” Raanu thought this as he surveyed the scene of the last battle from a guard tower. So much death and destruction angered and saddened him beyond words. He felt anger towards the Great Beings; he felt anger towards the universe itself, and most importantly, he was angered at himself. Sitting and watching by while so many lost their lives... it was excruciating for him, but he had no choice. The remaining Agori needed leadership, now that Ackar and all the other were gone. More than anything, he was determined to protect his remaining villagers. He sat back and thought about the Matoran. So far, he felt nothing had been brought by the biomechanical beings but disaster. While Mata Nui’s appearance on Bara Magna had first resulted in a glimmer of hope and a promise of safety, the arrival of his Toa and Matoran had been the calling card for utter hopelessness. Even now, Mata Nui remained dormant. The mask he now inhabited was kept safe by the Matoran, but he was unresponsive to anything they attempted. If he so wanted, Mata Nui could have stopped this a long time ago. The fact that he stood by and did nothing even as his noble Toa were massacred was incredibly perplexing. Raanu turned to the site of the battle again. Those few lucky who had managed to survive slowly made their way back to the city. He spotted one Matoran of Earth, what they called an Onu-Matoran. He recognized him; he had been the leader of a defensive force on his home island, and had been a trusted aide to the elders, the Turaga, before they had fled. Upon insistence from Tahu, the dozen or so Turaga who had inhabited New Atero had fled along with a small company of Matoran after Marendar’s first strikes. Nobody knew what had happened to them, but after their departure, the Matoran became even more disillusioned and hopeless. This Matoran was no different. Raanu had seen him fight in every battle since then, but fortunately (Or unfortunately, as he seemed even more despairing after every battle) he had survived each time. His frame now betrayed nothing but defeat and loss and desperation. Raanu knew it was only a matter of time before everyone gave way to defeat. The Matoran would be annihilated, and the Agori with them. Raanu was not a coward, but he was a leader. Being a leader meant that the decisions he had to make were not easy, pleasant, or right. But survival was all he could strive for, survival and the hope of a brighter future, even if it required sinking to the deepest lows imaginable. This was not a conflict of the Agori. The Matoran were the target. The two groups had been united so far, but Raanu knew Marendar wouldn’t stop until all the Matoran were gone. Standing in the way and dying alongside them didn’t make any sense.He could not abandon hope, and so, he chose to abandon the Matoran.Spherus Magna was a huge planet. Mata Nui had made sure that the planet was rich with resources. He could flee with the Agori, ensure their survival in any way possible. They could hide until everything was over, and then rebuild their society. It was all they could do.

***

Though Raanu did not know it, his thoughts were not private. In the small confines of the guard tower resided another, hidden being, a biomechanical who sat entirely motionless on the stone floor. He prodded into Raanu’s mind and was privy to his every thought. This being was sure Raanu’s plan was the most sensible, and he hoped the Agori would be able to flee safely. This place would not be safe, not for a long time to come.Although the Agori and Matoran in this city did not know it, Marendar visited many other villages, for the beings of the Matoran Universe had scattered all over the globe. Some locations had been more fortunate in their encounter with Marendar than New Atero, while many other had already fallen. The being knew not when or how Marendar would return here, but he was determined to not let it continue its rampage any further.Unfortunately for Marendar, there were many beings from the Matoran Universe whose abilities did not stem from elemental powers...and even more unfortunately for it, not all who derived their power from the elements were dead.The Order of Mata Nui had kept a close watch on every development, bidding its time. Eventually, they knew, an opportunity for a counterstrike would arise. Knowing New Atero was not safe, the Order had taken the Ignika and replaced it with a fake. Only recently, Mata Nui had stirred. At last, he took action. At last, the Order had its chance.He noted Raanu had ceased his pondering, and observed as he left the tower.The being stood and surveyed the now empty battlefield. The corpses of so many he was sworn to protect saddened him. He had had to remain hidden, behind the scenes, while his many comrades died fighting. It ashamed him, but he knew it had been necessary.He turned away and examined one of the stones he carried in his satchel. This sort of object was not unfamiliar to him, although this one glowed with incredible power. He knew (Or rather, hoped) it could turn the tide of this conflict.Toa Krakua put away the Toa Stone. There were deliveries to be made.

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#4 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Jul 10 2012 - 12:26 PM

[Chapter 3]

"We may as well lie down in our graves!"Nuhrii dropped his hammer on the ground and swept his crafting materials off the workbench with a clatter. He picked up his token disc of poison removal and hurled it against the ground. It bounced once and rolled into a corner."Nuhrii." The other Matoran in the room pinched the bridge of his nose, struggling for words. The piles of bodies were still fresh in everyone's mind. Many of the casualities followed in the aftermath of both the Toa and Matoran's destruction as despair, fear, and insanity gripped their waking minds. Those who chose to stay alive struggled against their will to find reasons to stand against the demon Marendar. Some chose fury, the possibility of vengeance. Others secretly degenerated into Stockholm Syndrome, the chance to align themselves with such an immense force. Nuhrii wanted nothing more than see the monster's smoking hulk lying lifeless in the sand, but the method escaped him.The Ko-Matoran picked up Nuhrii's hammer and set it back on the table. "We can't just give up, Nuhrii! There may be others out there! Even if we fight to the last Matoran, we have to know that we were the last ones to suffer this.""Oh, we will be the last ones." Nuhrii smiled grimly. "I'm not giving up. I'm saying that we're not going to destroy it. We can't."The door banged against the wall as a ragged-looking Onu-Matoran stumbled in, his pride barely intact. Nuhrii recognized Onepu immediately. One of the few "veterans" of Marendar's attacks. How he survived time after time--"I need a mask," the Archivist growled, trying to keep his voice from cracking. Tears flooded his eyes and the look of despair was clear on his face. "A great one. We need legendary masks."

***

The sands of the desert wander far and even the best machines cannot keep out the devastating effects of slow corrosion. When you have a hole in your chest you cannot worry about the germs on your hands. A single matoran gasped for air as he heaved the last body off his chest. He sat up and the sun shimmering across the dunes forced him to squint. New Atero rose above the horizon many kios away. Yes, Marendar will keep coming back, but that will be his downfall. The virus is just as deadly as the wound.


Edited by Kakaru, Jul 10 2012 - 07:52 PM.

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「どこに行けばいいんだ・・・」「タ・コロ村はもうおしまいだ・・・」タ・コロ村の村人達


#5 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Jul 11 2012 - 03:06 PM

Chapter 4One Week AgoMakuta was straightforward, in a sense- he had a set plan, a clear, understandable goal. Marendar was the same way, in revealing his intentions. Yet Mata Nui wished for the old deceptions of the master of shadows, which in retrospective seemed like a simple Matoran puzzle compared to what he faced now. Everything is easier once you’ve been through it, the former Great Spirit thought with a sigh. Except this may be the one thing we might not make it through. “The Golden Armor was meant to be a one shot weapon,” he told the Order members in front of him.“Yet Tahu managed to shoot it again and again,” growled Tobduk, tapping the floor with his staff. “It still works.”“Finding the corpse would be impossible,” Axxon said, idly looking to the ceiling, where up above dead bodies carried on like the sands of Bara Magna had once done. “And the Great Beings have probably looted him for more experiments- the armor will be long gone by the time we find him.” “There’s still a chance though,” Mazeka muttered. Tobduk snorted at the Ko-Matoran’s dampened optimism.Looking at his people, his comrades who stood before him, Mata Nui felt heartbroken. Those who had the most faith in the past were now hopeless. The Great Beings- it had all been for them! He mentally screamed, a tear coming to his eye. We helped them to repair Spherus Magna,” for the greater good,” and now they’re pulling this same Scorpio dungheap on us. Well forget the greater good! “Yes, Mazeka, there’s still a chance. As improbable it may be to find Tahu, we can do it. We can’t lose hope. We’ve found help so many times- look at what you accomplished without me, back in the old universe! We rediscovered energized protodermis here! Opportunities keep coming at us, and eventually one will give us the chance we need to defeat Marendar!” he exclaimed, gesturing to Kopeke’s tablets in front of them, detailing the battles between them and the monster. An uncomfortable silence hung about them- Mata Nui’s attempt at boosting their spirits seemed to make the challenge all the more impossible. An uncomfortable silence hung over the four, one fact from the latest reports echoing in their head: the chances were becoming slimmer.The sound of footsteps reached their ears from the hallway, pulling in a gasping Matoran. Though dirty and dented from the past few battles, he straightened himself as he presented his message to Mata Nui. “Marendar sighting!” he cried. “He was spotted on the slopes of Iconox an hour ago, seemingly headed toward Vulcanus. We have a troop of Matoran ready to take off, Mata Nui. Our aims have become sharper, and our zamor caches are locked and loaded.” The eyes of the black and gold ‘Toa’ flew to Mazeka’s, while Axxon and Tobduk both shook their heads. Just north of Vulcanus was Tahu’s last stand, and if they could manage to get there in time…“Don’t sacrifice them needlessly,” Tobduk warned. “Remember what side you’re fighting for.”“Send only half the troop- I have a job for the others,” Mata Nui lied, minding Tobduk’s jibe. “And bring this one,” he said, as he ushered Mazeka and the messenger to the doorway. He clanked their fists, uttering what he hoped weren’t his last words to the pair.“You have my blessing.”As they disappeared into the blackness of underground, Mata Nui wondered if he was doing the right thing. Sending two more of his people out to die did not seem “Great Spirit”-like. Was this the person the Order had been dedicated to for all these years?“May the Great Beings go to Karzahni if we have theirs,” came Tobduk’s remarked, following them out.***PresentMazeka wanted to look away in shame, but he couldn’t, as he scanned the ground for the glitter of golden protodermis. Horrified masks and darkened heartlights were below his feet, the remnants of his brothers and sisters. He had been given instructions not to fight in the battle the troop had been caught in- forced to watch his fellows die, barely avoiding death himself. Only burying himself under a pile of corpses could he protect himself and the mission. This was not a war to lament the dead.He wanted to pray for mercy, but could not think of whom to pray.

Edited by Nick Silverpen, Jul 11 2012 - 03:07 PM.

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#6 Online Noise #0579

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Posted Jul 12 2012 - 12:12 PM

Chapter 5Onepu slowly walked into his hut and threw himself onto the bed. Even if we can make Great Masks, we still have no way to use them…why were Matoran made to be so weak? Did the Great Beings want us to be slaughtered all along?He sighed and rolled over…and that’s when he noticed Krakua standing in the corner. Onepu leapt to his feet and tried to shout, but he found that his voice had abandoned him.“Sorry,” Krakua apologized. “I can’t have attention drawn to myself just yet.”Onepu glared at the Toa of Sonics, thinking, I know you can hear me…how did you get here? We all thought you died in Marendar’s first raid?“The Order of Mata-Nui had me fake my death,” Krakua explained. “We’ve been trying to figure out how to stop Marendar, but we haven’t had much luck so far.”So you just left the other Toa to fend for themselves? You left them to die?! Onepu’s thoughts nearly drowned out Krakua’s—they were so full of pain and anger that the Toa felt stunned.“…I’m sorry,” Krakua said. “I still feel ashamed for not helping the other Toa, but I had orders to follow. My presence wouldn’t have made any difference…but now, we think we may be able to stop Marendar.”Krakua drew out one of the Toa Stones he carried. Onepu’s eyes widened for a moment, but the surprise quickly faded.So what? he thought. Elemental powers have no effect on Marendar.“I know,” Krakua said. “That’s why the team of Toa I’m gathering won’t be fighting Marendar.”Onepu remained silent, clearly waiting to hear more.Krakua went on, “Didn’t you think it was strange, that Marendar keeps getting repaired after every battle? Did you think it did that all on its own? Someone out there is helping Marendar—probably the same person who reprogrammed it to attack Matoran. If we can find this person and remove them from the equation, then Marendar can be taken down for good. The Order wants me to create five new Toa and lead them on a mission to find out where Marendar’s been retreating to.”Krakua held out the stone. “I can’t force you to go take it, but it’s yours if you want it.”Onepu fixed his eyes on the Toa Stone and thought for a moment. Being a Toa while Marendar was out there might as well be a death sentence…but then again, wasn’t being a Matoran just as dangerous? As a Toa, at least he would have some means of defending himself and his people. Besides, he had survived Marendar’s assault thus far…was that because he was destined to stop the machine?Destiny, he silently chuckled. I’ve really begun to doubt that destiny matters on Spherus Magna.Krakua set the stone down on a table. “I’ll just leave it here. If you decide you want to join us, bring this to the abandoned Suva at the center of the city at mid-day tomorrow. If you aren’t there, I’ll come to retrieve the stone, and you can forget this ever happened.”The Toa slipped out of the hut, leaving Onepu alone. He stepped towards the table and tentatively grabbed the Toa Stone, lifting it to eye level. The rock glimmered with pure energy that constantly swirled and changed, preventing its beauty from stagnating. It felt warm to the touch, as if it were alive, and Onepu’s hand began to tremble slightly.“…If I stay a Matoran, I’m dead for sure,” he whispered to himself. “But as a Toa…maybe I can end this nightmare.”
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#7 Offline dotcom

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Posted Jul 12 2012 - 11:56 PM

Chapter 6Krakua waited for only moments outside Onepu’s dwelling, confirming that he would in fact take the stone. After all, it’s not like any of us have a choice. Krakua moved away from the hut, making his way to the center of New Atero, where his next recipient was located. On the way, he thought.He regretted having to lie to the Matoran, and not for the first time cursed that his occupation as an Order member required him to work for the greater good and ignore his own feelings. The new Toa—of which there would be not five, but eight—would in fact have to seek out the being that was aiding Marendar in its murderous mission, but that wouldn’t be all. The new team would, at one point, have to face Marendar. The fact that the Energized Protodermis neither transformed nor fully destroyed the killing machine was puzzling. Mata Nui theorized that the machine was slowly becoming immune to the volatile substance, and that the wounds it received were losing their potency. Every time Marendar was beat back by the forces in New Atero, it always seemed to return slightly sooner than previously. It was only a matter of time before the monster was able to function without help from the unknown being. The Toa would have to face the machine, and they would have to destroy it before it destroyed them. They would need help, and some of it had already been provided. The stones he carried were no ordinary Toa Stones. They had not been created with the energies of a Toa, but with the strength of Mata Nui and his Ignika. The Toa that resulted would have unprecedented amounts of power, even more than what a Toa Nuva had been capable of. He thought again of the three other Toa he was tasked to help create, and that the Matoran were not to know of. He didn’t know whether it was insanity from Mata Nui’s part that he thought of them, but it was truly better that the others didn’t know yet.The Matoran he sought now was one of the three who’d be kept hidden. She had a history with the Toa, and he didn’t imagine she’d be thrilled with the task. Like everyone else, however, she had a part to play. He just hoped she’d play it without resistance.Krakua entered Gavla’s residence, a small house near the center of New Atero. There, a group of Matoran that still had hope guarded the fake Ignika. The hut of the inventor Velike was located there, and Krakua would pay him a visit before the night was through. Before that happened, however, he had less pleasant visits to make. A beam of light ended his pondering mid-thought, as the Av-Matoran detected an intruder in her dwelling.“What do you want here?” She talked brusquely, and she seemed not the least surprised by his presence. Apparently, the fact that a Toa had hidden away to be spared came as no surprise to her. He didn’t have to read her mind; he could easily tell she was incredibly resentful and bitter. Now that everything had turned out so horribly, he had to imagine she thought they’d be better off with the Makuta.Some days, it’s hard even for me to not think the same.“I need your help. We all do.” He didn’t muffle their sounds; he didn’t think he had to, but spoke in whispers. She scoffed. “A mighty Toa hero needs the help of one as lowly as me? I see. You sat by while your comrades died, and since that didn’t appease the monster, you’re recruiting more Matoran to die in your stance.”Krakua tried to not let the truth behind her words get to him, and pulled out one of the stones, one which glowed with a bright golden light. “As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I want from you.” Gavla saw the stone with revulsion, her disfigured mask twisted even more with the expression. “A Toa Stone? You would have me made another target for Marendar? What do you gain by prolonging this conflict? Why do you wish to plunge more into this death trap? If you think for one moment that I desire any part in your heroics, you are even dumber than I’d imagined.”“So you don’t plan to hear me out?” “Why do you think I’d want to take part in this?”“Because I know you want to belong. Because I’ve heard about how you felt among the Shadow Matoran. Because I know that more than anything, you want to have a purpose. I’m offering you a chance to be part of something larger. I’m offering you a chance to be part of a team, to be part of the lead to a new era of peace, when the innocents of this land can finally know respite. It will not be easy, but you won’t be alone.”Gavla said nothing for a moment, then replied, “What would you have me do, then? What is your plan?”Krakua gave a small, humorless smile. “The plan is as simple as it is dangerous. I have been assigned to gather eight new Toa. Five of them will be taking a journey to find whoever is aiding Marendar in its repairs.” Gavla was again unfazed with the news that Merandar was being aided, so Krakua continued, “You and two others, meanwhile, will travel to other villages to gather a force of warriors. Dark Hunters, Skakdi, Order members, anyone you can find. Your goal will be to gather the strongest warriors you can, convince them to fight, and lead them back to the others. Our goal is to face Marendar one last time, and destroy it.”“All our Toa, cowardly present company excluded, fought Marendar, and every one of them was killed. What makes you think we would fare any better?”“It’s simple. You weren’t those Toa.”“You ask for much. Why do you think we won’t run away when we have the chance?”You’re assuming we’ll give you one. “I’m trusting that you won’t, because if you did, you would have the deaths of far too many on your shoulders. You aren’t a coward. Not like me.”Krakua stood and handed her the stone. “Take it. Whatever choice you make, make it now. You and your two first comrades will have the honor of being the first new Toa.” He turned to the door and opened it. By now, it was close to midnight. “Come.”Gavla stood, somewhat reluctantly. “Where are we going?”“Recruitment job.”“Who are we going to get, then?” “He’s not the most popular Matoran around, but...I assume you’ve heard of Ahkmou?”

Edited by dotcom, Jul 17 2012 - 12:02 AM.

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#8 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Jul 14 2012 - 06:25 PM

[Chapter 7]

The two made an odd pair sneaking down the alleyways that night. Rumors of Krakua's survival were starting to circle back room-pubs and groups of frightened survivors in underground rooms. The Toa of sonics didn't have time for the questions that would inevitably arise upon his appearance, so he and Gavla made their way swiftly and quietly to Ahkmou's home.Krakua knocked lightly and stepped back into the shadows, leaving the Av-Matoran to explain, which she did bluntly as the door swung open."Ahkmou. We need toa."Two yellow eyes stared back at her from underneath a black Rau. The years following the Makuta's fall had not been kind to Ahkmou and it showed through blood-red rings around his eyesand a slumped stature."Who­--" he began, then stopped as his mind caught a glimmer of Krakua's psychic impulse. "Never mind. No. The answer is no. Maybe you don't understand what I did. Do you know what's it's like to live with the guilt that everything you've ever done was to betray your fellow--"Gavla gave him a hard look and tightened her jaw. "I couldn't care less what you did, but I know I'm not doing this on my own. This will be an awful, short-lived attempt to stop Marendar. We're going to be slaughtered without meaning one way or the other."Krakua stepped into the light and unveiled the toa stone before Ahkmou had a chance to reply. "Die as a coward, a cheat, and a traitor, Ahkmou."The Po-Matoran flinched at the words."Or join our team, and die as a hero for as long as they will remember you. This may not work, I'm not going to pretend that we're not taking a chance. But this is your last chance to redeem yourself before we're all killed."Ahkmou nodded reluctantly and stepped outside, shutting the door behind him. "Who else is on our team?"Three pairs of footsteps echoed down the street as Krakua replied. "If we're going to destroy a robot, we need someone who knows how one works. Thankfully Midak has gone blind so he was underground for the attacks.""Blind? Wouldn't that put him at a disadvantage?"Gavla gave Ahkmou another hard look.

Edited by Kakaru, Jul 14 2012 - 06:30 PM.

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#9 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Jul 16 2012 - 12:04 AM

Chapter 8Not all of Krakua’s power could prevent the whispers of his survival from spreading throughout the hidden Matoran civilization, dispersed underground all over Spherus Magna. A wave of excitement followed the initial word of his existence, a glimmer of hope in the dreary days between fearful slaughters. Word spread throughout the planet almost like wildfire.The Matoran were not the only ones who received the news, however; there were others who heard, people with darker intentions that caught in the whisper on the wind. Eventually it reached Marendar, but the rumor was merely confirmation. The killing machine could feel Krakua and the Toa Stones he carried, intertwined in the burning rage of the focus of his job.“Soon enough,” cooed the shadowy figure as it worked on Marendar’s programming.***Grabbing his twin repellers, Balta cautiously approached the door at the sound of the knock. Behind him, Midak blindly tinkered with a complex mechanism they had been working on, handling the machine with impossible skill in his state. Marendar was now an excuse for looters, thieves and other inventors to come and create chaos. Not that they were developing anything to defeat the monster, but they still had to protect their belongings.His Kanohi Huna was as equally surprised as the Suletu that stared back at him, as Toa Krakua slipped into the inventor’s home. The Toa of Sonics quickly shut the door, hiding the two Matoran that darted off into the night. Midak heard the shuffling and lack of pleasantries, and laid down his tools. Balta stared at the Toa in disbelief- the rumors were true!“What are you doing here?” the Ta-Matoran asked, keeping his repellers up.“Finding brothers,” was the reply, as he fished out two Toa Stones from his pack; Balta stared curiously at the miniature lava flow that weaved through his, while specks of silver shined from Midak’s. One less Matoran to track down, Krakua thought with a small smile of satisfaction. “You were always the first to have hope in a dire situation,” Krakua told the Matoran, remembering what Axonn had told him. “Isn’t it time to pass on that hope?”“What you’re asking is suicidal,” Midak piped. “I lost my sight when I first saw the sun here, what else will this planet take from me?”“You know how robots work,” Krakua said. “We need someone like you- no, we need YOU- on this team. You’ve examined the scraps of Marendar lost in the fight. What have you found?”“It’s a compound of protodermis and exsidian,” the Onu-Matoran reported.“So have others,” Krakua smiled. “There are others, waiting at the abandoned Suva in the center of New Atero for you. You may be blind, but you’re one step ahead of the game.”“I’ve always wanted to try out this weapon Pohatu named after me,” Midak grinned after a few moments of consideration.***Those who suspected what was going on stayed away from the Suva- it seemed like bad luck, given everything that had already happened. Why come to see the next to be killed? With that, the area lay abandoned, an unwelcome and seemingly foreboding place. The Suva lay under a thin layer of brush that had grown on it recently, almost knowing that its time had come to an end.Ahkmou stared at the Toa Stone once more. With all he had done, with all that he was rumored to have done, it would still come down to this? Did Mata Nui really not pay attention to what had happened over the past millennia, or was he really as just as some said? No matter what, this was sick. Krakua said he would be a hero, briefly- he would never be a hero, for the Matoran would never drop the grudge they had against him, one of their own. A bitter shadow was in his eyes as he put the Toa Stone into the Suva- the universe always did seem to have the last laugh with the Po-Matoran.
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#10 Online Noise #0579

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Posted Jul 16 2012 - 10:06 AM

Chapter 9As Krakua led the blind Midak into the Suva, he saw Gavla and Ahkmou placing their stones into the shrine. In truth, he had his doubts about this secret team, and even Mata-Nui’s justifications could not put his mind completely at ease.First there was Gavla, former leader of the Shadow Matoran, a position she was well-known to have reveled in. A few kind Matoran had tried to forget about Gavla’s past, but her mutations which remained served as a constant reminder. She was too proud to admit it, but she truly did want a place to belong, and perhaps leading this team would give her what she desired.Then there was Ahkmou, by far the most legendary of all Matoran traitors. True, the genocide of his race had instilled in him a deep remorse for his actions, but his remaining brothers and sisters were not quick to forget what he had done. Ahkmou could still have the heart of a traitor, but he seemed more desperate than anything else—desperate to redeem himself, something that gave him potential to be a wild card. However, all this was hidden beneath a deep depression, which Mata-Nui felt lessened his chances of reverting back to his evil ways.Finally there was Midak. When the blind Matoran had been named, Krakua had thought it was a joke. Mata-Nui had explained his reasoning with two factors, the first being that Midak was by far the friendliest of the Matoran suggested. Extreme personalities such as those belonging to Gavla and Ahkmou needed middle ground on which to walk—a peacekeeper to mediate their interactions and keep the team calm and focused—and Midak was intended to serve as that middle ground. The second factor was something Krakua himself did not yet fully understand, but Mata-Nui had hinted that Midak’s blindness could become an advantage once his power over Earth was awakened.Midak felt his way around the Suva until he found a niche to place his Toa Stone. Krakua stepped back and watched as the three stones lit up, causing Gavla and Ahkmou to tremble slightly. The old shrine slowly flared to life, building up energy at its center before spitting out three tendrils of pure light that struck all three Matoran.Well…here we go, Krakua thought. Our hopes hinge on this team…hopefully I haven’t just doomed us all.When the light faded away, there were now four Toa in the room where there had first been one. The three new Toa, imbued with the power of the Ignika, had taken on a form that they found rather unusual—their bodies resembled a mix between Toa Ignika and the form Mata Nui had taken when he walked the sands of Bara Magna, and their Kanohi shimmered more brightly than the average mask.Gavla looked down at her gold and white armor, musing, “It’ll be awfully tough to stay secret with these bright colors…”The new Toa of Light closed her eyes and concentrated, triggering one of the few Light powers she had learned as a Matoran. Instantly, her armor shifted to a dark shade of blue, and when she opened her eyes she smiled at the results. Curious, she peeked inside the Suva, finding a small cache of weapons, and reached inside to grab the first one she could find. What she withdrew was a massive gold mace that was surprisingly light, but when she swung it, it was still capable of smashing a hole in the ground.Ahkmou stumbled back, overtaken with shock. “I…I’m really a Toa?” he muttered. “But I…I didn’t think…”“Just shut up and get a weapon,” Gavla instructed as she continued to test her mace.Ahkmou snapped out of it and looked through the available weapons, eventually finding two marble-white daggers with elegantly designed handles. After spinning the weapons in his hands and making a few jabs and swipes, he stepped away and nodded.Krakua then turned to Midak, who stood perfectly still. Tentatively, the Toa of Sonics reached towards the Toa of Earth.“I can see that,” Midak whispered. Krakua froze.“I…I can see,” Midak continued.Did the Ignika energies restore his sight? Krakua wondered.“If you can see, then why are your eyes still dark?” Gavla bluntly asked.“Well…I can’t see, really,” Midak replied. “It’s tough to explain, but…I can feel the vibrations in the earth now. I can tell where everything is…how they’re moving…it’s fantastic!”Of course, Krakua thought. He felt silly for not thinking of this sooner—being a Toa of Sonics, he knew more about vibrations than anyone. That’s what Mata Nui meant. Now that Midak is connected to the earth, he can feel all the tremors that pass through it, so he doesn’t need his eyes. And with such a reliance on the earth, maybe he can develop into the greatest Toa of Earth we’ve ever seen…Midak took a step forward and reached into the weapon cache, not needing to feel around for the first time in a year. He pulled out a long metal staff and struck the ground with it, smiling as he felt the earth shake.“Alright, this team is complete,” Krakua said. “Now remember, you three are to be a secret. Only reveal yourself when necessary to convince others to join our fight.”“Yeah, yeah, we get it,” Gavla said. “But you do realize they probably won’t listen to two traitors and a blind oddity, right?”“I’m sure we’ll find a way,” Midak said. “This is our last chance to turn this battle around. We have to make it count.”“You’re awfully optimistic,” Ahkmou mumbled.Krakua chuckled and held out his fist. “Well, brothers and sister, I leave you to your mission. I wish you the best of luck.”Midak was first to bump his fist against Krakua’s, and Gavla, with a sigh, quickly followed. Ahkmou was hesitant, but soon he too bumped fists with the other Toa. The final counterattack against Marendar had been set in motion.
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#11 Offline dotcom

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Posted Jul 16 2012 - 11:57 PM

Chapter 10Krakua saw the three new Toa depart from the south of New Atero. They had been instructed to head straight towards the location where most of the remaining Dark Hunters had settled. The Shadowed One hadn’t been sighted for months, and the Hunters that remained could be persuaded to fight, if the Toa could appeal to their sense of greed. With any hope, they would meet up with the others in less than a week’s time. By now, it was past midnight and it would be dawn in a matter of hours. Krakua turned back to the village. Two of the Matoran had been approached. If he worked fast, he could approach the other three before anyone went out to seek him. He didn’t know how his presence had become known so quickly—he had only spoken to two Matoran by the time his presence had begun to make its way through the villagers’ minds. It was likely another telepath was in New Atero, working against him. It was just one more reason to hurry. He turned to the center of the city, and began to walk, again shrouded only in silence, and his thoughts.

***

The Le-Matoran Vican woke up, alone in his hut. Light from the morning sun shined through the window; it was a beautiful day that nonetheless promised to be no less grim than any previous one. He quickly looked under his cot, where the vibrant emerald glow of his Toa Stone confirmed that the events of the previous night had in fact happened. He sat back and sighed. He was scared. When he had allied himself with Mutran, Vican had hoped he would be transformed into something mightier than his Matoran form, like a Toa. Even after being cured of his shadow infection, he had hoped to do the right thing to aid his Matoran and atone for his actions. Ever since he had arrived in Spherus Magna, however, he had seen every one that tried to be a hero die. Toa after Toa, Matoran and Agori...nobody was safe if they opposed Marendar. Ultimately, however, Vican had had to agree. He had been rescued from the shadows and given a second chance. He supposed this was the reason. He got up; he would have to say his goodbyes before leaving for the Suva.

***

Dalu walked in silence in the direction of the central Suva. In her hand was her Toa Stone, its azure glow all too publicly displayed. Matoran and Agori looked at her from their residences, but said nothing. Dalu was not one without hope. It had only been over one year ago that she had helped take down the evil Piraka in Voya Nui. That situation had seemed beyond hopeless, but with the hel of new Toa, they had prevailed. The universe had been saved long enough for the remaining Matoran to escape to Spherus Magna. Many disasters had occurred during the time of Makuta’s reign, and again when they had reached the reformed planet, but she saw these as obstacles to overcome. She mourned her fallen brothers and sisters, as well as those Toa who had once protected her and her friends, but was determined to not let that grief get in the way. She had to stay focused if they ever hoped to defeat Marendar. When Krakua had asked her to become a Toa, she hadn’t hesitated at all. She had no right to have fear or to back down from the opportunity, not when so many had died to protect the rest of them. At least, that’s what she had told him.

***

Krakua stood on the far end of the Suva chamber. Around the circular stone stood Onepu, Vican, Dalu, Velika, and Balta. He had had a telepathic talk with Balta to advise him against mentioning Midak’s recruitment the previous night. Now, all five stood nervously, fidgeting with their Toa Stones and looking at him. “Well, my brothers and sister, let us begin.”The five Matoran tentatively placed their stones on the Suva’s slots. Krakua stood by and watched as the final hope of Spherus Magna was born.

***

Raanu stood just outside the Suva, watching the event with curiosity. So the rumors were true: a Toa was still alive, and he was calling other Matoran forward for a dangerous task. Raanu saw as the five Matoran underwent their transformation with wonder. Nonetheless, the elder could not see how this would change their situation. If these Toa faced Marendar, they would be slaughtered, and their situation would only worsen. They stood no chance.There was no choice. The Agori would have to leave Atero Nui...perhaps, if these Toa somehow survived and succeeded, the Matoran could forgive them. He would have to accept, however, that forgiveness came second to survival.Raanu turned away from the Suva, and went to seek the other remaining Agori leaders. There was much planning to be done.

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#12 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Jul 18 2012 - 04:13 PM

[Chapter 11]

"Eight Toa," the programmer mused to himself. "They must know how many my Marendar slaughtered already. Is this one last foolish attempt to bring him down?" He shrugged and cut the video feed. To each their own, really. He did what he had to survive, they did what they had to. He felt a pang of guilt as a small piece of the larger picture formed in his mind. They simply had no chance and he was commiting genocide against a fantastic group of beings with the ability to control the elements. What power!He stood up, stretched, and stepped outside onto a thin catwalk overlooking a vast hangar. He hadlaunched Marendar back to the planet several hours earlier and it always seemed so desolate afterwards.Ah, not that it really mattered. He never really cared for the company of others, and particularly not that of his own homicidal creations.He cracked his neck and stepped back inside. If things went well, this would be the last time he'd have to see his monster in action.

***

The assembled Toa team stood in an awkward semi-circle outside the Suva, each trying to wrap their minds around the fantastic amount of power rushing through their bodies and the overwhelming, adrenaline-laced urge to take down Marendar.Midak had taken surprisingly well to being paired with Ahkmou and Gavla. He was always a little laid-back and though he hadn't forgotten the tales of horror that emanated from the pair, he was quick to forgive and eager to help. The three of them stood just a little distanced from the rest of the group and Ahkmou shifted on his feet, avoiding eye contact with the rest of them.There was a long pause as they all tried to put words to what they were feeling, and knowing that they were transformed to march to their death put a heavy weight on any feelings of celebration they might have had.Finally, Vican nodded at Gavla. "It's been a long time, Toa-sister."Gavla nodded back but said nothing. What happened in the past was irrelevant now, especially if they wanted to stay together as a team and not tear one another to pieces before Marendar could."So, when do we leave?" The voice was heavy, sharp. New bodies, new voices. It didn't matter who said it anyways, it was what they were all thinking in the end.Krakua smiled grimly. "Marendar will be back within a matter of days. For now, we train."

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#13 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Jul 20 2012 - 01:14 PM

Chapter 12This would be his chance to fight, Nuhrii knew as he immersed himself in the flames of his forge. When Onepu had come seeking Great Masks a few days ago, it had been a feeble wish. With the rumors Agori and Matoran alike were spreading now, it seemed more like a prophecy. The Ta-Matoran now melted down the masks of his fallen brothers and sisters, pouring the protodermis into a giant vat. Somehow it was wrong, to take away the last thing that would remember the Matoran who had already died, but Nuhrii was desperate. There was no more raw protodermis to use, and with the old universe scrapped for shelters, this was the easiest material he could get his hands on. You didn’t die without reason, he promised each mask as they returned to the liquid from which they were forged.Vakama had come to Nuhrii when the Matoran migrated to Metru Nui, seeking to rebuild the legacy of the maskmakers. He had taught the Ta-Matoran everything he remembered, in hopes that Nuhrii would be the forefather in a new age of forging. Masks would always be in demand, and there needed to be someone out there to forge them. Vakama knew he wouldn’t live forever, feeling the age in his Turaga form as he trained the new forger. I’ll make sure you did the right thing, Turaga, training me. Nuhrii had a theory. Marendar was immune to Toa power, but it was unclear whether Kanohi were included in the deal. Kraata powers weren’t the only tools that kept Tahu alive for so many months- his Mask of Shielding had protected him from Marendar’s blades countless times. There were some masks that Vakama knew not how to forge, and those were the ones that Nuhrii was aiming to make. These masks he hoped would give the Toa the edge to finish off this monster. Defeating this creature is like making a good mask, Nuhrii thought with a smile. Just go with the angle they aren’t expecting.Mazeka wandered into the forge, shaking off his shudders his travel through the land of the dead had given him. The memory of Tahu’s corpse was haunting, his dark eyes watching the Ko-Matoran as he stripped the body of the six pieces of golden armor. It was as though the ghost of the Toa of Fire lingered, anxious for the next battle with Marendar, should he return to the spot. Mazeka now looked at his reflection in the shield, wondering about the future- there were barely any names of legend left. How many more lives would be lost before this conflict would end?Another reflection in the shield let the Order agent know that Nuhrii had noticed him, peeking up from his work to acknowledge him. Mazeka skipped the pleasantries, fishing the chest armor out of his satchel. Another memory of removing this from the sunken Toa’s chest crawled through his brain, but Mazeka ignored it as he showed the crack to the forger.“It won’t work unless that’s fixed,” he told Nuhrii, who ran his finger along the line. “We need it immediately- it may work to help slow Marendar.”***Nektann marched around his camp another time, looking out at the direction in which the three Toa had disappeared on the horizon. He had learned about whose side to pick following the clash of the robots, and he judged himself all the wiser for allying with the Order. He would not play the fool twice- warlords did not maintain their positions, or their lives, for long if they did.“You’ll be next,” Galva had warned him, and Nektann hated to admit that for once a Toa was right. With the Toa and the Matoran gone, the Skakdi would be the next significant element wielding species; Marendar would be no less savage in his kills. The blue Skakdi looked at his warriors in their camps, who chattered and grinned their omnipresent smiles. The species had been bred by Spiriah for war, and somehow, they had always made it out of it in one piece. It would be no different this time.“Whatever you are, out there,” he silently spoke to himself. “You’ll never get us.”***Krakua watched them train amongst themselves, seeing if the Toa had learned anything he had taught them; it seemed odd, that he had been a Toa for almost two years now, and was condensing all of his training and experience into a nutshell. Toa had a varied lifespan, provided they made it through all of their missions- the Toa Metru had been in existence for merely weeks, and they had been in some of the most intense fights he had ever seen, while on the other end, the Toa Nuva had existed for thousands of years, and had fought all sorts of enemies. Krakua wondered which end of the spectrum he would end up on in the long run- oh, he had his share of fights with the Brotherhood armies, but this was a new age, a new villain. Whatever it would be, it would be a good run.

Edited by Nick Silverpen, Jul 20 2012 - 01:16 PM.

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#14 Online Noise #0579

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Posted Jul 20 2012 - 02:28 PM

Chapter 13Tarduk scratched his head and sighed. Behind him, Raanu waited for his answer.“I don’t know,” Tarduk said. “I mean, there’s no guarantee that we could even escape Marendar. Maybe it sees us all as enemies now.”“From what we know, it was originally created to protect the Agori from the Toa,” Raanu said. “The only reason it’s been killing us is because we’ve been getting in its way.”“So you’re saying we should just let it slaughter all the Matoran?” Tarduk said. “I seriously doubt that’s the right thing to do.”“Our duty is to our people first,” Raanu argued. “If abandoning the Matoran saves the Agori, then it’s the price we must pay.”Tarduk grunted. “…Let’s say you’re right, and I go along with this. You’ve heard the rumors…what if this new plan the Matoran have works, and they kill Marendar? They’ll never forgive us for leaving them at that thing’s mercy.”“You can’t be serious!” Raanu shouted. “A tiny band of Toa can’t possibly win where almost fifty failed! They’ll bleed the energized protodermis dry in their futile attempts, and Spherus Magna will shatter again.”Tarduk shuddered—he had considered the possibility of another shattering, and in truth, it frightened him. He wanted to help the Matoran, but in reality, there was nothing he could do to help. The Agori, however…they were a people he could help.“Fine,” Tarduk whispered. “You have my support.”Onepu sat silently with his legs crossed, focusing his power over earth to make the soil swirl around him gently. The training was tedious, especially since he was not progressing at the rate he had hoped, but he was doing his best to place the frustration aside. Dozens of well-trained Toa had fallen before Marendar, and he had no intention of going against the creature with no idea of what he was doing.Slowly, he opened one eye to look at his fellow Toa. Dalu, being the warrior that she was, shared his frustrations at being holed up in the Suva for days on end, but she wasn’t handling it quite as well. The Water Toa had an angry look on her face as she stared at the small waterspout in her hand, and her frustration exuded from her to create a field of rage that warned no one to interrupt her.Velika and Balta had more natural patience, plus more experience at exercising their minds, so commanding their elements came much more naturally to them. In fact, Velika had moved on to the more advanced work of unlocking his Kanohi powers, and every now and then those sitting near him would feel a small nudge against their thoughts as proof of Velika’s prodigious efforts.Vican, having had some experience at manipulating elemental energy during his time as a Shadow Matoran, was also a natural, but he was having problems containing his power. Every time the Air Toa tried to summon a gentle breeze, a powerful gale swept in to knock over whoever was unfortunate enough to be in his training area. The other new Toa had not been concerned at first—they were meant to battle, and Vican would clearly be a force to be reckoned with—but when Krakua had brought up the possibility of Vican needing to guide an attack around any allies that had been turned into living shields, they quickly changed their minds.“Alright, that’s enough for today,” Krakua called. He wanted to make sure the others would be ready should an emergency arise, so it was important to not waste all of their elemental energy on these exercises.Onepu unfolded his legs and stood up, although one of Vican’s air bursts caught him and nearly knocked him down. “Sorry!” Vican apologized.Dalu looked up, her eyes still focused into a glare. She turned to Krakua and asked, “Do we really need more training? I’m sure we won’t need this much practice just to track down and kill a programmer.”“Kill?” Balta repeated. “We can’t kill anyone. We’re Toa now.”“Right, ‘the Toa Code’,” Onepu muttered. “A lot of good it did the others. This is a kill or be killed situation, and I certainly don’t want to be killed.”“A game that can only be won by breaking the rules, and one that, indeed, must be won,” Velika offered.“…I don’t know,” Vican said. “I mean, we’re the new generation…don’t we have to set the example?”“If we don’t get the job done, there won’t be anyone to follow our example,” Onepu replied. “Krakua, tell them.”Krakua hung his head. “…The Order also feels that whoever is controlling Marendar must be killed…but personally, I want to see if there’s another option. The Toa Code is something that should be enforced whenever possible.”“If nothing else, we could just throw this person into a Skakdi village,” Dalu chuckled. “Then at least we won’t be the ones doing the killing.”“Just get some rest,” Krakua ordered. “Marendar will probably arrive soon, and we need to be ready.”The Toa dispersed, leaving Krakua by himself. The new heroes were no doubt expecting to join in the battle the next time Marendar appeared…Krakua had not told them the real plan.We need to let the Matoran force Marendar into retreat, and then follow it, he thought. We don’t have time to search for this programmer any other way. I hate to force them to ignore the ones they’re trying to protect…I can only hope they’ll forgive me.
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#15 Offline dotcom

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Posted Jul 21 2012 - 02:36 AM

Chapter 14 Gavla led her team through the desert south of New Atero. Although Mata Nui had rejuvenated most of the planet, making it fertile and habitable to all its inhabitants, old and new, there was still a considerable amount of the planet covered in desert. Many of the people who now roamed Spherus Magna were accustomed to the desert and thrived in it. The three new Toa walked towards the Dark Hunter settlement in silence. They had been distracted for most of the day when they had unexpectedly met a group of Skakdi. Nevertheless, the diversion had been worth the lost time, as now they had several dozen Skakdi to fight Marendar with. Now, they faced a more challenging prospect. Persuading the warmongering Skakdi, who as an extra were likely to be Marendar’s next target, to fight was simple. The Dark Hunters, however, had nothing against Marendar. At least, they were not the sort that would risk their lives needlessly. However, they had to keep these worries for a later time, as their current activities required all of their concentration. As they walked, they had to practice their elemental powers, a task which most of them found difficult. Ahkmou had the poorest control over his element. He had always been cowardly and shifty, much like the sand around his feet. He couldn’t easily control stone, as the element was known for its strength and resilience. He was trying to get a grasp on the rock deep below the top layers of sand and shift it upwards, but his attempts so far had been fruitless. Midak was trying a similar thing, trying to reach the layers of manipulable soil beneath the sand, and although he had met limited success, his grasp on it was very loose. The sand below his feet severely hazed his newly found “sight.” He had difficulty finding his footing, and having to find his way through the sands while trying to concentrate was very frustrating, even to him. The efforts of the two Toa to grasp their element affected their surroundings, however. One of the groups that thrived on the desert were the Vorox, and the Toa’s shifting of the ground disturbed the beasts’ dwelling. They rose periodically from the sands, ready to attack. Gavla’s role, then, was to keep them at bay. She led the way, using her powers to light the way forward, while simultaneously keeping an eye on their surroundings. Of the three, she was the most skilled at using her powers. She had lived as an Av-Matoran for thousands of years, and had had her share of battles as a Matoran of Shadow. When the Vorox rose to attack on her companions, she shot focused beams of light at them, enough to wound, but not kill. Not that she particularly cared for the creatures’ lives, but she thought killing them would only enrage the rest. The constant attacks did nothing but further distract Ahkmou, who quickly became fed up with the work. He didn’t even know what was the point of all this. Despite Krakua’s grandiose words, he had no confidence in their ability to defeat Marendar. If it wasn’t because he didn’t want to have to confront Gavla, he would have considered running. It seemed like the safest alternative. Run...run and hope the monster would never catch up. “We’re almost there.” Ahkmou was startled by Gavla’s words. After hours in silence, the words seemed incredibly out of place. She raised her hand, and the land in front of her was lighted. They could make out a large rock fortress a short distance away. Their trip was finally over. Getting closer, they began to notice the sounds, or, perhaps more specifically, the absence of any. The night was unnaturally quiet. It was a settlement of mercenaries, but nothing could be heard. They finally reached the fortress, its front bare save for a large stone door. “Can you open this?” Ahkmou looked at Gavla and responded, “Uh, sure.” He wasn’t sure. He touched the door, trying to get a grasp on the stone’s essence. He prepared himself to use all of his elemental power to blast it open. Steeling himself, he directed all his power towards the door. Surprisingly, this turned out to be very little power. He could feel only a diminutive amount of energy affecting the stone. As it turned out, however, that was all it took. The door was open. As the entrance was cleared, Gavla shone her light into the building, which seemed to consist mostly of a large courtyard. What they saw shocked all of them. Ahkmou gasped. Midak, whose senses were still muffled by the sand, asked, somewhat alarmed, “What is it? Are the Hunters not there?” “Oh, they’re there. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re going to be much help.” “What? Why not?” Gavla turned away from the door, closing it. She was quiet for some time, but answered: “The dead tend to be particularly poor soldiers.” Ahkmou, panicking, asked, “Who did this? Why them? Do you think whoever did this is still around?” “I don’t know. But this is definitely a setback. I’d have a hard time believing this was unrelated to Marendar. We can’t let this go unknown. We have to tell Krakua about this.” Midak spoke up. “But what about the plan? Shouldn’t we go through with it? Krakua said the mission depended on it.” “Well, without the help of the Dark Hunters, we don’t have much prospect of successfully completing the mission anyway. It’s better that they know, so that we can adjust our plan.” “This is insane. I didn’t sign up to be killed!” Gavla stared at Ahkmou. “It looks to me like you did.” “Well then. We can’t travel in this state. We need to rest.” Ahkmou scoffed. “You aren’t seriously thinking of sleeping in there, are you?” “Unless you can offer a better alternative than going through the desert and fending off more Vorox in the dead of night, I am.” Ahkmou just shook his head.

***

Later, after the Toa had settled into an empty room, the courtyard at the center of the fortress saw unexpected movement. A lone being pulled itself out of the piles of bodies. She was wounded, but not fatally. Somehow, she had survived the attack. Her left arm hung loosely, barely connected to her shoulder. She looked around her, witnessing the destruction that had fallen upon the Dark Hunters, and sighed.

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#16 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Jul 23 2012 - 11:07 AM

[Chapter 15]

With a loud hiss, Nuhrii dipped the finished mask into the water once more and stepped back to admire his work, but felt only remorse. Even if this worked, it would be the last mask ever forged. His legacy was over and his talents would fade into obscurity regardless the destruction of the monster. He sighed and skipped his creation into his satchel. Time to go find Onepu.***As the Toa settled down in the Dark hunter's lair, the sun dipped below the horizon. The sky faded to black, revealing a glimmering light in the sky that, had anyone been watching, would have heralded the final arrival of the Great Demon, Marendar.The earth thundered and with an ear-shattering crack the robot tore through the atmosphere and touched down with all the poiseof a cannonball. Through the billowing dust clouds the vast figure emerged, its armour still white-hot from entry. It craned its neck upwards and gazed with calculated, emotionless hatred upon the darkened city of New Atero. One order flashed constant through its mind.***Several kio away, the thunder echoed through a cave where the Matoran's last hope lay dormant, nigh-oblivious to the imminent destruction of those they were created to protect. Ahkmou was the first to awaken, and through blurry vision spotted a sharp glow on the horizon. He stood up and simply stared in shock, apathy, and resignation as the monster tore through the outer walls. There was no way they could get there in time. Why had they all come out here on such a gamble when they knew Marendar's coming was so imminent? No, he had forgotten. There was only the three of them-- the rest were still in New Atero. He could only watch.MAhkmou reached down to his belt and fingered one of his daggers. Marendar was too powerful. If the Toa lost this battle, if even one Matoran survived, they would live with the nightmarish realization that even the last Toa on earth could not save them. Nobody deserved that. If they lost, it would serve whomever was left to know that the battle was lost because the great traitor and coward was their protector, and he had given up. They deserved to know that he was irreconcilable, that the Toa would have won if not for him. He pulled the dagger out and placed it to his throat. Yes, they deserved to know that there was a reason they lost, and he was it.***Nuhrii ran through the streets, gasping for breath even as dust clouded his lungs and stung his eyes. Rubble and bodies were strewn everywhere, shattered masks and limbs paved the streets. And suddenly, there they were, five Toa mounting a furious assault against the enormous metal creature."Onepu!" Nuhrii screamed, his voice barely carrying about the noise. He pulled the mask out of his satchel and held it above his head. "Use this mask!"Marendar whirled at the voice, and with a short, sharp movement, crushed the Ta-Matoran beneath his foot. The mask skittered across the ground, coming to rest in a darkened doorway. The mask glowed brightly for a second, its unstable force slowly leaking despite the Crafter's best efforts. Several pebbles nearby dematerialized into another dimension.

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#17 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Jul 23 2012 - 02:24 PM

Chapter 16It was all too much for Midak, as the battle raged below him. The chaos of the fight pestered his senses as he sat back, unable to focus; while the screams of his comrades mixed with Marendar’s roars in his ears, the vibrations he felt coming up the building made it impossible to tell who was who. It was utter chaos, and his lack of sight was finally driving him crazy- he wanted to be fighting down there with the others, but knew he would be almost certainly killed. Still, the task he had to do was even crazier than fighting. Ignoring the itch to do something stupid, he remained perched on the rooftop, finger on the zamor launcher’s trigger, as he tried to separate the vibrations.The fact that elemental powers didn’t work on Marendar helped the struggling Toa none as they battled him. The machine stood surrounded, the lone solider determined to fight to the death and take as many of the enemy with him. He slashed at the Toa, who ducked just out of reach. They didn’t fight together, each absorbed in their own personal problems of figuring out their powers, and Marendar knew it would cost them. This was how he had decimated the population; divide and conquer.“Even the toughest chain will snap with the right tug!” called Velika to the others, trying to muster their courage. Ducking underneath a swipe from the machine’s blade, the Toa of Stone charged, using one of Ahkmou’s daggers to stab the beast. The scum of Toa had been found at the gates of the Dark Hunter fortress, as a warning to his team. No note of apology was needed, nor was any tribute paid to him- his daggers were the only thing left of his memory. Made of protosteel, Velika pushed it into what he hoped was a soft part of the underarm, feeling it puncture the outer layer. Raging as it felt the wound, Marendar swung his opposite blade at Velika on his side, slashing into its own abdomen.The Toa of Stone was clipped by the blow, rolling away from the killer machine. Marendar spun to deliver a blow, but his blade was met by an invisible force, and sent swinging backwards, large slashes appearing on its abdomen. As it rebounded, Balta came into sight at his Po-Matoran friend’s aid, scooping him up with the two upgraded repellers. Velika nodded thanks, watching as the machine stumbled and sparked. Onepu, wary of its still swinging swords, delivered a punch to the machine with his Pakari. His hand emerging from the machine with a handful of circuitry, he went for another, denting from the armor. Rage filled the Toa of Earth as he made dent after dent, determined to give the machine payback for the corpses it lay upon. He would not stop, even as the machine swiped him away.Marendar condensed itself and began to roll away, finally retreating. Its internal warning lights were flashing, and functionality was failing with each passing moment. These Toa units were novice, he could tell, and had simply been lucky in this fight. Divide and conquer had been his strategy before. He would adapt, receive new programming, and would soon be back to finish off the mission. But for now, repairs were needed.“Do it Midak!” screamed Dalu, looking up to the rooftop, where Midak blindly pulled the trigger. He could feel the machine moving away, and would soon be out of range. Over their heads the zamor soared, flying toward Marendar. Vican watched in anticipation and worry- the machine, however damaged it was, was veering off course from the path of the zamor. Krakua’s plan would fail in instants if he didn’t do something about it. Giving the glass sphere just a push with a breeze, he helped it on its way, as it passed through the machine’s body. Instants later, it was gone, launching itself into the sky from which it came.The fight over, the injured Toa collected themselves. Velika and Galva had both been slashed, and the others pounded for their efforts. Helping Midak off the rooftop, the seven retreated to a hut to assess the damage.“I can feel him,” the blind Toa said, pointing upward to the sky. “The zamor worked! I can feel the bond from whatever Krakua put in there.”“Let’s pray it’s only detectable by us,” Galva replied dryly, not feeling the same sense of relief that the others felt. They wanted to cheer, to celebrate, but only half the mission was done. “We were meant to track him to wherever he’s going- we did, but there’s a problem, if anyone hasn’t noticed- he launched himself into the sky, and we have no possible way of following him.”“That’s where you’re wrong,” Onepu grinned, holding up the Olmak. “This was in the doorway- the Great Spirit is still smiling upon us. I went to Nuhrii, before Krakua came, and we discussed Great Masks. I guess he did it.”“Midak, you have to get us there,” Dalu insisted. “Use the mask, find out where he’s going.”He wanted to listen to her voice, but was afraid to. While he couldn’t see it, he knew it was an Olmak they talked about, and fear came from the memories of Takanuva’s tales to him- he had landed in a number of dimensions before finally arriving at Karda Nui, who was to say that he wouldn’t send them all headfirst into the same thing? They couldn’t afford any side trips, not when what little lives they had left were at stake.“Those who grab at many things truly only seek one true thing,” Velika cooed. “You can do it- your impulse to control the mask and at the same time feel the zamor are two different things, yet you can make them one.” Nodding, he grabbed the bottom tusks of the mask, placing it over his own. He could feel the portal open, its power blowing across his face. Murmurs of the others could be heard, as they witnessed it too.“Someone help me,” Midak said, feeling a hand grab his own. And then together, they all blindly leapt through into the dark unknown.
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#18 Online Noise #0579

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Posted Jul 23 2012 - 04:23 PM

Chapter 17The programmer strode across his lab, eyes fixed on Marendar. For one such as himself, the machine was something to marvel at—its armor was thick enough to provide protection against all sorts of damage, yet lightweight enough to enable it to make quick and agile movements. Marendar’s limbs ended in claws capable of digging into any surface, although they could just as easily straighten out and function as normal feet or hands, and the bloodstained broadsword the robot used (which currently lay on the other side of the room) attached via magnetism so that it could not be ripped away. The face of the monster was blank to instill further dread into its targets, leaving nothing but a smooth metallic surface spreading out from beneath one round green eye.Marvelous as it was, the machine was still damaged, and damaged badly. Still, the programmer was sure he could fix Marendar—he had undone far worse. The Toa who were on their way, however…they could be a problem. For novices, they had been highly effective against Marendar, and he would prefer not to take his chances in a fight with them. His best chance would be to buy some time…In a distant corner of the lab, a dimensional portal popped into existence, and out of it spilled the remaining seven newly-created Toa. The heroes got to their feet as the portal faded away, and the programmer took a few steps towards them and smiled.“Welcome to my new domain,” the programmer greeted. The Toa had yet to lay eyes on him, but his voice alone made them shudder.Dalu looked up in shock. “…No way…” she muttered. “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead! Lesovikk killed you!”“I am glad you remember me,” the programmer said. “But still, is this any way to repay me after I repaired you—charging into my domain and trying to destroy my weapon?”The other Toa, save Midak, could see the programmer now. They traded glances, making sure that they all saw the same impossible sight, and then they turned to face their foe. Dalu’s remark had confirmed it…the one who stood before them was Karzahni, with gleaming silver armor and the Mask of Creation on his face.“So you faked your own death?” Vican asked. “Why? And why are you working with Marendar?”“So inquisitive,” Karzahni chuckled. “Now, where to start…when I first made my way onto Spherus Magna, I spotted my brother emerging from the forests of Bota Magna. He seemed a bit weary for some reason—perhaps he had suffered wounds from a previous battle—so, naturally, I went to greet him.”“You mean you killed him and took his mask,” Onepu said.“That was implied,” Karzahni chuckled. “As Artakha died, he said something about a ‘Red Star’, and I figured it was worth looking into. Using this glorious mask my brother so graciously bestowed upon me, I constructed a dummy of myself and left it where I knew some pathetic Toa would find it. Once they were off my back, it was far too easy to find my way onto the Red Star and wipe out those strange creatures who were running the place.”He held his arms out, prompting the Toa to survey the lab. “It’s nice, is it not? Took me a while to clean up all the carnage, but you can’t even tell it was there now. I knew a floating battle station like this would be the perfect place to stage my revenge and gain control over this new world…I just needed a weapon.”Karzahni turned to smile at Marendar. “I knew Marendar was what I needed the moment I saw it in battle. Well, you’ve seen him first hand—you know how fantastic he is. Once he was done wiping out the Toa, he decided to go to sleep…but I had other plans. I brought him here and began to fiddle with his programming, just a bit. The Great Beings were sure to make this one very complex.”“And the Mask of Creation lets you fix him every time we sent him running,” Gavla growled. “But why? If you want to control this world, why kill all the inhabitants?”“I’m not killing all the inhabitants, just most,” Karzahni replied. “What’s left will be a weak and discouraged populace, something easy to conquer, and I can supplement the masses by creating my own people. A new race, created by me for the sole purpose of serving me with their every breath…”Karzahni paused to revel in his fantasy. “Okay,” Midak said. “Say you take over the planet and fill it with your people. What then?”“Simple,” Karzahni said, grinning fiendishly. “I use this star to blast off to a new planet. There are a million worlds out there for me to conquer…I figured I would just get warmed up first.”Gavla readied her mace, which radiated light energy as she prepared for combat. “Too bad we’re going to smash Marendar to pieces and break your mask in two.”Karzahni laughed at the Toa of Light. “What do you think I’ve been doing this whole time? Do you think I’ve only repaired Marendar each time he came crawling back? I’ve been working deeper and deeper into his programming, and I’ve finally figured out the perfect way to weaponize him!”It was now that the Toa took another look at Marendar, noticing that its wounds had vanished. They realized that it had been repairing itself the whole time, and now its single, soulless eye lit up as it tore free of its harness.“Marendar!” Karzahni shouted. “Execute your new programming!”A high-pitched whine radiated from Marendar, causing the Toa to clamp their hands over their ears. Marendar walked towards Karzahni, its body shifting and changing, until it reached out and laid one hand on the tyrant. Instantly, the machine disassembled into a mass of metal plates and wiring, and it swept onto Karzahni and began to reform around him.“He’s…turning Marendar into armor?!” Onepu whispered in disbelief.“The butcher’s knife, now in the hands of the vengeful warlord,” Velika lamented.Gavla only tightened her grip on her weapon. “I don’t care What fancy tricks you have up your sleeve, Karzahni…I’m not going down without a fight!”
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#19 Offline dotcom

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Posted Jul 24 2012 - 12:17 AM

Chapter 18 Ahkmou dreamed. He dreamed of another world, one that he felt was far too like his own. Seven Toa, two of which he knew, were in a cold, dark chamber. They fought for their very lives against an enemy he was not familiar with, but who seemed armed with a tool he now knew well. Elemental blasts raged around the room, which he recognized as a lab, though of course they would have no effect. The enemy they faced was deadly, and seemingly unstoppable. There was no power they possessed that could stop him. Or at least, that’s how it seemed. The dream faded away, only to turn to another dream. This dream showed him another world, this one his own, and a scene he was much less proud of. Killing himself...as if he would have the will to do that. Ahkmou was not so noble, and as anyone would tell you, he was a coward. He also knew his teammates would not take their time to inspect his “body.” There were enough dead bodies in that fortress. He only had to change the shape and color of the armor—which, it turned out, he could do. He had reached a point so low he now completely understood who he was. At last his real power had been revealed to him. At last he understood why they had been assigned to this task, and why Krakua thought they could possibly succeed. The eight were not Toa, not in the truest sense. They could manipulate their elements, but that was only a fraction of their power, one that had been magnified due to their innate elemental powers. Their true powers were much more shocking. Of course, it was to be expected. No eight Toa could have defeated Marendar. Mata Nui wouldn’t allow eight novices to fight that monster, but he could grant eight Matoran unbelievable power...and that was exactly what he did. The Toa Stones had been charged with the energies of the Kanohi Ignika, the greatest and most dangerous of the Great Beings’ creations. They were no ordinary Toa Stones, and they weren’t ordinary Toa. Their power was that of Life itself. And because Life manifested itself in every way imaginable, it was entirely possible for them to control their elements—and even those that weren’t theirs. Ahkmou did not yet know the extent of his abilities, but he was not willing to find out, not while fighting an agent of death like Marendar. He was convinced it was useless to try to stop him. So he had faked his death, leaving enough proof to convince the others. He had fled, and left his comrades, who still knew nothing of their true potential, to die. Ahkmou woke. He didn’t want to remember. He wished he didn’t have to. He looked at the heavens and saw a single red star, bright and incredibly imposing on the early night sky, looming over him. He saw it get bigger and bigger, its brightness staggering. Eventually, he realized the obvious: this was no star. It was some kind of vessel, and something had happened to bring it back to the planet. It soared past him, heading in the direction he had left from. It was heading towards New Atero. Ahkmou wasn’t very far from the city—he couldn’t bring himself to truly leave—and so was able to see clearly how it crashed in the sand just outside the city. The giant, translucent red structure was clouded in smoke for some time. For a few minutes, everything was silent, and he could see Matoran looking from the walls of New Atero in wonder. Then the outside shell of the structure ruptured, and a monster flew from the vessel. It was something from his nightmares—in quite the literal sense. Seven smaller figures streamed from the hole the other being had made on the false star, and they began to fire elemental blasts at him. Even when they were so thrown off by the crash, they were determined to not let the being get his bearings on the situation. So far, it didn’t seem like they were accomplishing anything but annoying him.I never did trust the entire hero duty was my destiny. I guess there’s no denying it now that there’s some purpose to my existence. It was then that another mind intruded into his own: So why not go help them? It seems you have finally realized your potential. Why not help them reach theirs?Krakua.Ahkmou.Were you not supposed to lead this team? You’re not fighting.There were more important things to be done. You also have an important role to play, and your team mates need you.There’s no running now.

***

Lariska sat on the highest tower in the Dark Hunter fortress and saw the spectacle with amusement. Earlier in the day she had sat by and witnessed as the cowardly Toa faked his own death and fled. Soon after his companions left, he saw a lone Toa depart form New Atero, going southeast to a camp of Skakdi. Then, Marendar had arrived on New Atero again, and seven new Toa had risen to fight him. Their efforts had been fruitless, of course, but they had eventually succeeded in pushing him back. The land had been quiet for some time, but as the night approached the city of New Atero seen some activity. A steady exodus of Agori had begun to flee from the city, apparently deciding it was no longer safe. They fled from the east, the villagers making one last act towards survival.Just as the Agori were departing, the red star had crashed into the ground, and the Toa that had left earlier was now leading back a large company of Skakdi.The scene was set for a major confrontation.She saw as the monster ripped through the star’s shell, and waited.

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#20 Offline Hahli Husky

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Posted Jul 24 2012 - 11:21 AM

The deadline has been changed to July 25th, 2012, 11:59 PM PDT to adjust for a day of server downtime.
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#21 Offline Kakaru

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Posted Jul 24 2012 - 07:35 PM

[Chapter 19]

Over they years since Mata-Nui's rising, Toa teams from innumerable locations had banded together to seek out Matoran and led the evacuation into space. This exodous had created the population and society that once thrived in New Atero. Sixteen-hundred unique beings amassed from all corners of Mata-Nui and beyond ready to begin anew beyond the grasp of the evil Makuta.Now, as the moon rose high in the night sky; gleaming off the armour of the bodies in the streets, little less than two-hundred survivors hid in the catacombs beneath the city, cowering as the elements raged overhead, shaking the walls and shattering ear-drums. Their thoughts were as one, simultaneously hopeful and resigned to their fate. The Toa would not win.Onepu shifted on his feet and ducked under Karzahni's blow with lightning-fast reflexes, pounding the exterior suit with stone as hard and fast as he could manage. Adrenalin fueled by rage blinded his consciousness of the environment around him and more than once he grazed one of the others with a careless attack.Gavla strafed the creature using short, controlled bursts of energy to specific points around the knees and ankles. The beast faltered, mere inches off balance, and she called out to Midak, who took advantage to reach out to the microscopic grains of sand in Karzahni's armour to inch closer to vital functions; gears, tubes, electronics, anything left vulnerable. It was true they couldn't destroy the Marendar armour with elemental attacks, but if they could force it off its creator they would stand a chance.Their resident Toa of air stood back at a distance, carefully altering the airflow around the environment to guide his team-members to the most strategic attack positions. From the monster's viewpoint, it probably looked like an awful, scattered attempt to kill him with feeble elemental attacks, but all they needed to do was to drive Marendar into a point where he would be forced to charge forward in desperation. If Midak was successful in pulling even a tiny bit of armour off, Karzahni would panic and become careless. Then, if Onepu could pull himself back long enough to create an interdimensional gate...

***

The Agori fled in a straight line towards the cliffs, hauling their tattered, sand-worn belongings; the less scrupulous of them carrying items looted from dead matoran's homes and bodies. Behind them lights flared and screams rose into the sky. The benevolent hid their faces under cloads to hide their horror and shame at their actions wile the cowardly gazed over their shoulders at the spectacle, proud to be safe from their bretheren.Suddenly the train stoped as two cloaked figures stood in their path without light or weapon. "We're all part of this world," the thin one growled with a sickly tinge to her voice. "We live and die as brothers and sisters. To abandon otherworlders to such a fate is irreconcilable. Isn''t that right, Ahkmou?" Lariska pulled back her hood and gave a bright look at the Toa of earth. She was enjoying this far too much. Whether she cared about the fate of anyone was always open to debate.Ahkmou simply nodded, feeling more ashamed that he now had less honour in the company of the infamous assassin than ever before. He was beginning to wish he hadn't simply faked his death.The Agori leader began to protest. "We're not about to--"Lariska stuck a knife between his eyes and shrugged as he dropped to the ground. "There's going to be a massacre one way or another. I don't care if I'm the one to start it."

***

Krakua marched paralell to the motionless line of Agori, his army silent under cover of the night. This was a desperate gamblde to be sure, but so was te creation of the Toa. He only hoped that his psychic power was enough to keep the beasts under control long enough to drive Karzahni back into the portal.

Edited by Kakaru, Jul 25 2012 - 12:14 AM.

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#22 Offline Hahli Husky

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Posted Jul 26 2012 - 02:50 AM

The entry period is over, so I'll be locking the topic for the judging period. After the judging is over, the topics will reopen and writers can continue if they wish. You will be allowed to collaborate, drop out if you want, mix up the order of posting, etc. If you wish to have your epics renamed, please PM me with a decided-upon title. Look for review topics tomorrow! :)EDIT: Judging over, epic reopened.

Edited by Hahli Husky, Aug 06 2012 - 02:56 AM.

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