1Silence. There was nothing. Nothing but silence. Not even the birds made a sound as they flew by.Vakama watched as Toa Lhikan’s lifeless body hit the floor. He watched as the trembling little Po-Matoran withdrew his knife from its back of the Toa’s head. The crowd didn’t cheer. The music didn’t play. There was nothing. Noting but silence.Turaga Dume stood at the balcony of the coliseum. Around him, he saw the thousands of Matoran in their seats, shocked at what they had just witnessed on the stadium floor. His eyes had changed in demonic versions of their former selves. Not so much literally, but there was something that had changed in them that made Vakama feel uneasy. There was a certain monstrousness feeling about them. No Matoran had ever seen them like this before. This was what appeared to be a new Turaga Dume; however it had been there all along, just hiding and waiting for the right moment to strike.To the Turaga, the Matoran were nothing to him but his minions. Mindless drones who would obey his every word; if he couldn’t get them to follow it by loyalty, he would use fear instead.“Today Metru Nui!” he said, his eyes narrowed. “Today, you have witnessed the Death of a traitor!”His voice was load and authoritative, but not so much a shout. Vakama knew Lhikan wasn’t a traitor, he just didn’t know why the Turaga would lie. The crowd was silent from both the Death of their once, and the fear they had for their new Turaga.“Do you know what a Turaga is my Matoran?” He asked them. His voice echoed coldly around the silent coliseum. His back was straight but he had positioned his neck to look down at them. “A Turaga is the leader of your city. You should obey his every word without question. As leader of this city I order you to make no attempt to cross me”, He lifted his arm and pointed to the now deceased Toa Lhikan. His hand was struggling to stay up because of his age. “Toa Lhikan was not your leader, but I was his leader, and he went against me. He was a message!” The Turaga’s last sentence was a ragged shout. It made every Matoran in the crown shudder. “I assure you, the Vahki will not give up until they find every single last traitor in Metru Nui. You do not question their actions. You do not question their words. You do not, for any reason get in their way. They are your superiors”, A slight smile of satisfaction crept across the Turaga’s face. He had the Matoran where he wanted now.The coliseum emptied. Matoran’s bowed their heads in sadness. Some were crying. Some were silent, some were shouting but all knowing their hope and freedom was now gone. No one knew what Toa Lhikan had done or why he had been executed by Turaga Dume of all people. Vakama was almost certain of one thing though: That no one else would dare think differently about it. The streets of Ta-Metru were filled with sadness and hopelessness.“Vakama!” it was Nuurakh, the Ta-Metru Vahki. One of the six left from the Dark War. “Where are you going?”“Home”, Vakama Lied. He didn’t know if Nuurakh had spotted this. Nuurakh knelt down so he was eye level with Vakama. His abnormal head faced towards him. His disk launcher moved like a mouth, but this was purely for show to make them seem more Matoran.“Look.” He said. “I know Toa Lhikan meant a lot to you, and I know you meant a lot to him, but don’t do anything stupid. You and I both know that he must have been a traitor, for what reason would the Great Turaga lie?”“Yes, for what reason?” Vakama asked rhetorically. His eyes were looking down at the ground as he didn’t feel up to looking Nuurakh in the eye.“Vakama?” Nuurakh’s tone was more concerned than angry. Vakama was going to carry on the conversation but he stopped himself. He didn’t know whom to trust anymore. He thought he trusted Nuurakh, but he also thought he trusted Turaga Dume. It was hopeless. He felt as though this day would change him forever. The Vahki were no longer the approachable respectable figures they had been before he had entered the coliseum. They were too loyal to the Turaga, and not the Matoran.Vakama didn’t really know what had changed Dume, but after the Dark War the Turaga had been acting a lot more strangely. He had a lost a lot of power and respect in the war as people started to see Toa Lhikan as a greater hero and leader.“Vakama, you are aware of the new rules around the city starting from today aren’t you?”“Not really”, Vakama’s voices was emotionless. He moved the dirt around on the floor with his foot showing the grey rocky surface underneath.“Here.” Nuurakh handed out a folded piece of paper. Vakama opened it to read it:The Great City of Metru Nui: RulesAs you should have been aware, the Great City of Metru Nui is to undergo some changes in rules. These rules are as follow:1. Do not disrespect a Vahki Officer.2. Under no circumstance should you attempt to question a Vahki Officer if you commit a crime.3. Do not stay out after dark. You must return to your home when you hear the Night bell ring.Failing to comply with these rules will mean punishment decided by the Vahki officer of the Metru where the crime was committed. If the crime is serious enough or is repeated, the punishment will be decided by the Great Turaga.“Just follow the rules Vakama and you’ll be okay. I don’t see you as being the type to play up”, said Nuurakh. With that he stood up straight and walked away into the evening. The dark grey smoke from the Ta-Metru factories seemed to consume him as he walked away.Vakama was sitting with his back against the wall of one of the massive sky scrapers in Ta-Metru. It was night time but he didn’t feel like going home just yet. The night bell had rung just over an hour ago now and the sky had gone a dark orange colour. He looked in his back pack for some food to eat. Then he saw it. A brown piece of paper scrunched at the bottom.The day before Toa Lhikan disappeared he had come to see Vakama at his home. Lhikan seemed his usual self. He had his heroic posture where he would stand up straight and put his hands on his waist. He always stood like that. His voice was also unchanged as well; calm and reassuring. He was the perfect Hero. Vakama wished he could one day be a hero like Lhikan once was. He wouldn’t have really even guessed anything was wrong if Lhikan hadn’t of given him the note. Lhikan must have known something was up or he wouldn’t have given it to Vakama.Vakama reached into his backpack and grabbed the note. He pulled out a crumpled up piece of paper. The touch of it was almost cloth like. Printed on the back of it was the Unity, Duty and Destiny symbol. Values which Vakama had felt were long forgotten. He straightened the note on the floor and read it:Dear Vakama,I see a lot of my young self in you. You have fire in your heart like a true Ta-Matoran. You must never doubt yourself, even when times are tough. You will be called upon for great responsibility; a responsibility that you will not think you are ready for, but trust, you are. I will one day reach the end of my destiny, but on that day, you will find yours. And when that day comes, all I need you to do is follow the stars.Toa Lhikan.Vakama looked up at the diming sky not really sure what the note was trying to tell him. The stars were coming out. He wondered if there was a message in them somehow, that Lhikan had left. He didn’t see anything unusual about them. Then it hit him. That was the point. There was nothing unusual about the sky. Toa Lhikan’s Toa star was still there, burning as bright as ever. It was hovering directly above the Great Temple. “Follow the stars” Vakama whispered to himself.The Great Temple was sacred to all Matoran. It was where all the Metrus met up. A Metru was a district for each race of Matoran. Ta-Metru was a fire district, Vakama’s home and Lhikan’s former. Le-Metru was the air district, Ga-Metru was the water district, Po-Metru was the stone district, Ko-Metru was the ice district and, Onu-Metru was the Earth district. Matoran from each Metru had their own characteristics and traits: some mental, some physical.They were the main inhabitants of Metru Nui. Most Matoran stuck to jobs that were popular in their Metru, although some did other jobs that didn’t belong to it. Some Matoran were destined to be Toa.Traditionally, a Toa would guard a designated Metru (generally their own). They could control great amounts of elemental energy and were able to access their mask powers through the use of their Great Kanohi. They served as fighters and protectors for Metru Nui. They were typically taller than the Matoran and Turaga. Vakama wasn’t sure if it was possible to be a Toa without being a Matoran first. He wasn’t around when Toa Lhikan was a Matoran, but he had been told many stories. Toa Lhikan had been the last Toa of Metru Nui. Its last hope.The other Toa had either died or joined the dark hunters: A top-league mercenary organization. Most of the Toa that had done this had been mutated or merged. Because of the shortage of Toa in the Dark War, against Sidorak’s Kingdom, Turaga Dume got some top scientists to create an AI/organic hybrid known as the Vahki. They were slightly shorter than the Toa and they were not as strong or powerful as them either, but their sheer strength in numbers was not to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, only six remained alive at the end of the war. They now acted as a mix between Protector and law enforcers.He walked towards the great temple in silence, making sure not to make any noises that could alert the Vahki. There were only six left, but all it took was one to notice him and he was done. It was dark now. The sky had turned beautiful purple and the stars burned brightly. He was in Ta-Metru. It was a very industrial zone and had factories of all sorts, such as masks, tools and amour. Ta Metru was also known as the unofficial capital of Metru Nui. The air there was dirty and thick, especially around the heavily industrial sites, filled with massive factories and power stations. The residential areas were dotted with massive glass towers that appeared to reach the sky. It was by no doubt the richest Metru of Metru Nui. Most people chose to walk because instead of taking transportation shoots, as they were always clogged with congestion from the huge vehicles that carried all of Ta-Metru’s exports around the city.Vakama crept through the streets of Ta-Metru, the deep purple sky reflecting off the glass of the sky scrapers. The roads were eerily quiet. Normally they would have been buzzing with life but the new rules had made it a ghost town. He heard shouting, and it was close“No please! Please! I’m not a traitor!” It was a Ta-Matoran. He was blocking the door to his apartment“Don’t make this harder on yourself, Tamehk. We have reports of you doing deals with the Dark hunters”, this was Nuurakh. His tall body towered over Tamehk like a sky scraper. Vakama was hiding behind a wall. His heart was pounding in his chest. It was so load he worried that Nuurakh would hear it.“What? And you believe that?” said Tamehk. He was still standing strongly in front of his door and looking Nuurakh directly in the eye. That didn’t stop him from shaking though.“I have no reason to believe otherwise.” Nuurakh said. He was standing straight. He wasn’t sure why the Matoran was standing in front of the door. If he wanted to go in he could just pick him up and chuck him to one side.“Oh”, Tamehk laughed. “Oh now I see it”, he changed body to a more relaxed posture . He knew he wasn’t fully in control, but he understood the situation better now. “It’s the election right?”“Tamehk, what are you talking about?” Nuurakh’s eyes were narrowed in confusion. He un-straightened his body a little bit too, it was getting late and he couldn’t really be bothered to listen to the Matoran’s excuses or conspiracy theories.“The election!” Tamehk said. “Turaga Dume doesn’t want me to win the election against Ahkmou to be his right hand man”Nuurakh genuinely didn’t know what the Matoran was going on about. The Great Turaga had told him himself that Tamehk was a traitor.“Alright, enough of this now. Come with me” He rolled his eyes and grabbed the Matoran by the wrist. Tamehk tried to resist at first but gave up when he realised he was no way near strong enough.As Nuurakh got the end of the front garden he saw Vakama running down the road away from them. “Poor Matoran. He probably believed Tamehk and went racing off out of fear. There wasn’t really much use in chasing him. It would only go on Vakama’s record and which would ruin his life. What harm could he do anyway?” Nuurakh thought.Vakama ran as fast as he could. He couldn’t believe it. This night bell was only put in place so the horrors the Vahki did stayed quiet. Matoran would here the commotion but they would never have enough evidence to make a solid case. Besides, it was almost funny the secrets people kept in fear.The Great Temple was close now. He didn’t care about the Noise he was making, he had to get there. He was panting as he wasn’t use to all this running about. The he saw it: The Great Temple. He didn’t see it often as he didn’t live or work anywhere near it. It was magnificent. The four giant towers towered over the city. Fire was lit at the top of each of them which made them look like massive torches lighting up the sky. The temple its self was a massive dome shape. Vakama didn’t know how old it was but he knew it was very over million years. It was light grey but green moss grew around it like a wild fire. The two moons hovered over either side of the temple, as if watching over it like two eyes. Around the temple was a huge lake with several bridges crossing over it. Vakama gasped in amazement.Vakama had only been there once, when Toa Lhikan had taken him back in the days of freedom and before the Dark War. He had showed him everything there. Vakama nearly began to weep at the realization that he actually was gone. Toa Lhikan truly had been a great friend and mentor.He lightly walked into the Great Temple and kept looking over his shoulder for fear that someone was following him. His eye darted around quickly in the dark room, fearing that something was in the shadows, ready to pounce. The Huge Statues of previous once a great and powerful Toa loomed over him. Their eyes seemed to watch him enter which made him feel safer. Although Vakama knew they were just lifeless stone statues, he couldn’t help but feel that there was some warm presence about them. The entrance room was dark and cold. Moss grew all around it and it was the same light grey stone used on the outside of temple. His footsteps echoed no matter how lightly he stepped.He turned a corner and came across a massive hallway. The sign read: Welcome to the hall of all great Toa of fire. The hallway was well light with torches. There was a dark red velvet carpet that spread the entire length of the hallway. Pressed back against the walls were statues of previous Toa of Fire. Toa Norik, Toa Vulass, Toa Kavara, Toa Marikan, Toa Rezan, Toa Dume… Toa Lhikan. Vakama looked at the statue of his former friend. He was standing in his usual hands on waist pose with his head straight looking straight ahead. Although it was made of stone his face seemed so alive. He wondered how long it would be before Dume would have this statue removed. It was horrible to see that thousands of years in the future the great and noble hero would be looked down upon. Vakama’s moment of thought was interrupted by a loud crash. Curious, he ran across the long hallway to find a disorientated white Ko-Matoran on the floor. Vakama could see he had fallen from a broken stair banister. The old stone wasn’t that stable any more so all it would take was someone to lean on it and “crash”. A tan Po-Matoran was standing over him, unable to control his laughter.“So this is why I never see Ko-Matoran’s outside because they break everything they touch. Makes me wonder why you make everything out of ice”, The Po-Matoran stood there, whipping the tears of laughter away from his mask whilst still laughing.“That’s it, Onewa! I’ve had it with you!” The Ko-Matoran got up from the floor. His face was shaking in anger and determination. He raised his fist to punch Onewa but the Po-Matoran’s reactions were too quick and he grabbed it, pulled it hard and then kicked the Ko-Matoran to the ground. Onewa’s face had been consumed in anger. His eyes were narrowed and pointing like daggers into the Ko-Matoran. It was almost as if he was disgusted about how the Matoran even dared do cross him.“Si’ down, Nuju”, at first Vakama though these two might have been friends joking around, but he had just witnessed made him think otherwise.“Hello there, I’m Vakama”, said Vakama. Nuju, just noticing him, gave a sigh of relief as he realised he wasn’t just about to be beaten up by Onewa.Nuju got up from the floor again and dusted himself off. He hated dirt. Vakama could tell it was a painful effort for Nuju to raise his hand for Vakama to shake it.“Nuju” He said. Onewa shook his head. He held his fist out to Vakama. Vakama mirrored it. “I’m Onewa”, he said, he made an effort to straighten himself to appear taller. Vakama didn’t know what to make of him, especially what he had just seen. The three of them heard voices and turned around. Two Matoran walked down the opposite staircase to the one Nuju had fallen down.“Wow, look at the place”, said the dark green Le-Matoran. “Not bad for a first date, ay Nokama?” he joked.“Oh, Matau”, The Dark blue Ga-Matoran shook her head but still smiled at his charm. Too Vakama, she was beautiful. Her eyes seemed to illuminate the room.“Oh hey look!” Matau said. “We’ve got some third wheels”. He had a huge smile on his face. Like a young Matoran on Gift-day. He leaped from one step to the other until he got to the bottom one, did a summersault and then took a little bow. Vakama wondered what was going on in his head. He seemed pretty content so he wasn’t going to judge.“I’m Vakama.” He said to Nokama. He held her hand in his for a moment. It felt small and light in his. He could tell she was the peaceful type.“Nokama”, she smiled and fluttered her eyelids once.“I’m Vakama”, he said, not realising he had already said it. Their eyes met. Just for moment he forgot all about what had happened to today, and his grief for Toa Lhikan disappeared.“Ahem.” It was Matau “and you might be?” Vakama let out and embarrassed laugh and let go of Nokama’s hand immediately.“Sorry” He said. “I’m Vakama”. He shook his hand.Matau squinted his eyes and looked up “I know, you’ve said three times now” “I’m sorry” Vakama looked down at the floor ashamed. “This is Onewa and this is Nuju”“Nice, I’m Matau”“So it appears we almost have a full house, save an Onu-Matoran” Said Onewa“Actually, you do”. A Matoran stood out from the shadows where he had been hiding. His black amour made his dark green eyes even more vivid. He spoke carefully and clearly; his voice was deep but friendly. He was stocky and stood straight with his hand behind his back as if he was standing at attention. “I’m Whenua by the way. Sorry for appearing so rude. Seeing as you all seem like no apparent threat, I thought I would show my face”. He smiled politely.“No apparent threat?” questioned Onewa in disbelief. “What about me?” Nuju grunted but it came out louder than he intended. Onewa punched him in the arm, hard. Whenua walked towards Onewa, grabbed him with one hand, and thrust him against the wall.“That’s right, no apparent threat.” Whenua smiled.“So I take it all of you are here because of the note, right?” asked Vakama as he got out his note. The other Matoran did the same.“Why do you think Toa Lhikan sent all of us here?” Asked Nokama“Don’t ask me”, Said Onewa, rubbing his shoulder where Whenua had grabbed him. “I just want to get out of here, so can we hurry up please?”Led by Whenua, they walked in silence through the long corridors of the Temple. It was a long walk. Vakama didn’t even realise the temple was this big. They were in what seemed to be maze of corridors yet Whenua seemed to plough through them without hesitation. The walls were made of a dark grey stone, carved like bricks. A red carpet had been laid in the middle of every corridor like the one in the hallway. The Temple was filled with giant carvings of heroic Toa, Turaga and, Matoran done by ancient Po-Matoran. Onewa gazed in amazement at all of them. Sculpting was a big part of his culture. The corridors were well lit with torches. The group kept on hearing random echoes and creeks, which was most likely because of the temples age.The six eventually got to a room with a dead end. It was a fairly small cylinder shaped room. The spaces in-between the stone bricks were laced with gold and a circular red carpet sat in the middle. A single huge light stone was placed at the centre of the ceiling. “Great!” said Matau. “The miner brought us all this way, just to find out that we took the wrong turn.”Whenua gave off a slight huff. “When will you all realize that mining has become a fairly small part of the Onu-Metru job industry? We do jobs like engineering and archiving, like myself” Whenua pushed his shoulders back and pointed to himself with his thumb.“So you’re either swinging tools when engineering or going down into deep dark scary holes when archiving. Sounds pretty much like mining to me” Said Onewa.Whenua glared at him. “So explain to me what sculpting is? Oh wait, swinging tools”,“Yeah well…” Onewa tried to speak “And how do you think you’d get those fancy rocks to sculpt with if we didn’t mine them for you?” Whenua interrupted him.“But you…” “And all the machinery you use to make you sculptures? All invented by us.”Well of co…” And let’s not forget about what most of you carve? Its ancient history, right? Well I’m pretty sure archiving plays a big part….”“Okay, okay!” said Onewa folding his arms and sighing. Whenua had won this round.“Look” Said Nuju. “None of this bickering is going to help the fact that we’re all still lost.”Whenua looked at him. A vague smile formed on his face. “Lost? You underestimated me.” He pulled back the red carpet covering the floor of the room. Vakama had never seen anything like it. It was a giant manhole, covered in wires and circuits. It was bright gold and had strange engravings scratched into it. Whenua wondered if it told a story. He studied it for a short moment. Wires were covering most of the intricate detail but he could distinctly a humanoid figure holding some sort of small halo like shape, engraved at the top of some sort of mountain whilst a battle was raging on bellow.“I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Nokama stole the words right out from Vakama’s mouth.“I…I have.” Nuju raised his hand in a way that wasn’t sure if it actually wanted to come up. It kept on moving down a little bit every time it made its journey upwards. Onewa rolled his eyes. “It’s an old Ko-Matoran manhole system. It was used centuries back as bunker doors when the Great Ice Rahi, The Komasa attacked Ko-Metru. They were both clever and strong, but neither their intelligence nor strength could overcome this lock. All Komasa eventually died out of starvation.”“So how do we open it?” asked Vakama.“You don’t. At least not from the outside.” Nuju replied. Nuju’s eyes then lit up like a fire. “There is one way we can do it, although, if I get it wrong, I could fry us all.” He shrugged like it was no big deal. To Nuju, it was just of the many possible outcome of a decision. Every decision had one.“Well then, we’re all screwed” Said Onewa. Nuju ignored him“Who is the strongest here?” he asked.“Me.” Onewa folded he arms and pushed his shoulders back. Whenua laughed and strolled slowly towards the manhole, shoving Onewa with his shoulder as he walked past.“Where do you need me?” He said.“Over there by that lever. I need you to pull it when I say go. I hope you’re strong enough, it would usually be done by a machine”, said Nuju, frantically looking at the wires on the manhole, trying to figure it out.“I am a machine”, joked Whenua. He walked over and held the lever.“Okay, Onewa. Seeing as you want to be useful you have the most important job of all!” Said Nuju.“Don’t patronise me. What do you want me to do?” Nuju didn’t answer, still looking at the wires and circuits “I said what do you want me to do? Don’t take all day about it!” said Onewa aggressively. Nuju snapped out of his concentration, looking shocked and scared for a moment. He looked at the other Matoran. They all gave him encouraging looks so Nuju chose to ignore Onewa’s immature behaviour.“If you want to help, you’ve got to stop that bar from touching the floor. It’s going to want to do that when Whenua pulls the lever. If it touches the floor we’re all going to be in bits. If you actually grew up, you’d know that I wasn’t being patronising and actually is the most important job. Got it?” Vakama was amazed how in control Nuju was over Onewa. I didn’t seem like it would normally role that way between the two of them. Onewa looked dumbfounded; his eyes were wide like a shocked energy hound pup, not used to Nuju talking back at him.“Okay man, just calm down, your embarrassing yourself” Onewa joked trying to catch everyone’s eye, but failing to get the other Matoran to laugh.“Onewa?” said Matau.“What?” Onewa shouted. He tried his “dagger eyes” on Matau but failed to get past his tough mental exterior.“Just shut up and hold the bar so we can get the Karzahni out of here”. Onewa held the bar firmly in his hands. Nuju started the count down.“Three. Two. One. GO!”Whenua stated pulling down the lever. Nuju was frantically fiddling around with the different wires. Suddenly the metal bar started to travel downwards.“Guys…guys I don’t think I can hold this. Onewa was struggling to hold the bar. If he held on, his fingers would be crushed between the bar and the floor, but if he let go, all of them would be in pieces all around the temple. A snapping noise was heard. It was Onewa’s fingers.“Nuju for Atakha’s sake turn it off!” Onewa screamed. He had his eyes closed shut so he couldn’t see his fingers breaking. Vakama didn’t know whether Nuju was ignoring him, or was just too concentrated to hear anything. A horrible scream started coming from Onewa. Vakama didn’t blame him. His fingers were literally being crushed, and slowly. Whenua looked concerned but continued to pull the lever. Everyone was covering their ears from Onewa’s screaming. Nokama was crying so Matau put his arm around her to comfort her. Although Vakama knew this was the wrong time, he couldn’t help but feel jealous.“Nuju!” Onewa shouted. Nuju was still too fixated on the wires to notice anything.“Nuju please!” Onewa was stamping his foot on the ground to grab Nuju’s attention.Vakama felt like he was going to be sick. The snapping noises weren’t stopping. The bar would go straight through his fingers if Nuju didn’t hurry up. Matau closed his eyes to avoid witnessing the horrors any longer.“Nuju!” The final shout was Whenua’sThe lever Whenua was holding shot back and the bar crushing Onewa’s finger lifted.“Done.” Said Nuju. He shook the dirt off his hands, looking at the masterpiece.“You psycho!” cried Onewa. “Could you not here me screaming?”“Of course I did” Said Nuju. “But I didn’t expect much else from the feeling of a 40 ton weight crushing down on your fingers.”“You knew this would happen?” Shouted Onewa, looking at his damaged fingers; they were all bent and crooked.“Sure I did”, said Nuju. “Don’t cry though. You want to look manly in front of all the guys don’t you?” Shock came across Onewa’s face.“W…what?” he trembled “How did you…?”Nuju smiled. The other Matoran seemed confused on what he was implying. Every one besides Onewa, that was.Onewa, Nuju and Whenua stepped off the manhole. They all took a part in lifting the manhole, whilst Onewa sat at the back of the room, tending to his broken hands.The manhole sprung open, revealing a dark spiral stair case.“Allow me” Said Matau, smiling. “I’m an expert on dark holes”.
Edited by Alterego, Sep 16 2012 - 08:27 AM.