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Escape the Mind

rewrite Expanded Multiverse Barrawahi

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#1 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Nov 02 2012 - 01:06 PM

Posted ImageReview TopicChapter 1 - Fish

Kreth pushed himself to his feet, coughing.He drew his sword and span on the spot, in time to see a single bomber soaring over the south-west horizon.Their attempts to cover their tracks had failed; the Brethren clan had destroyed the selection of tents and shacks that they called a base camp.Kreth turned away from the horizon, examining the wreckage. His close friend Slohaz was clambering out of the rubble, keeping a tight grip on a single fish.Food was hard to come by on Barrawahi, and even then it was mostly crops grown on the coveted fertile land.Slohaz was not bright, and he knew of the value of the food the clan had managed to buy from the Rockfoot Clan.He had personally guarded the food supply once it arrived, and even when the camp was in flames, he had made that last attempt to save one bit of it.Some would have found it amusing Slohaz had gone to such trouble to save a single fish, but to Kreth the sight of the bulky Skrall standing there with the fish was just a depressing reminder of the clans desperation to leave this world, and the deal that had cost them everything they had worked to gain.The clan was a small and informal one. It was known as the Escape clan, with no official title. No coat of arms, or motto, and only one code of honour.‘This is not the way to live’As the clan ‘title’ suggested, they simply wanted to leave the planet-wide warzone for somewhere better.Unfortunately, the clan system was severely flawed.The lack of true honour in the group was inconvenient; there was no sense of comradeship.All the members were determined to leave the planet. Many ended up jumping in Olmak anomalies, while possible, it was considered suicidal.The more successful escapees sold out their clan for a totem trip to freedom, some of the more insane ones thinking they’d be better off on Tanuuk or Izumal.On this occasion, Kreth was the sell out. Not for his freedom, but for the clans well being.He had given information to the Rockfoot Clan in return for food.This was a bad move, as the Escape Clan lay on the borders of the Brethren clan, who up until now they had had a mutual agreement of peace.Kreth became aware that Slohaz was limping towards him, and that his leg seemed fairly severely injured.Kreth quickly bent down and picked up an enormous Protosteel axe out of the dust. He passed it to Slohaz, who used it to take the weight off his injured leg.Slohaz had the look of a true warrior in battle. He had elite Skrall armour, and the enormous axe gave him the look of a Barrawahi champion.As far as Kreth knew at least, he wasn’t.Slohaz certainly didn’t have the skill to be a champion; his combat abilities consisted of swinging the axe as hard as he could at his enemies, usually with no awareness for his own safety or surroundings. Occasionally though, he had surprising bursts of unprecedented skill, but these vanished as quickly as they came.Kreth looked away from Slohaz, seeing the rest of the clan helping each other out of the rubble, one Toa of water was extinguishing a burning tent.He was sad to see some people in the wreckage had been left. On Barrawahi, moving your dead was usually an unwise way to spend your time.He was glad to see an Ice Agori picking his way through the wreckage towards them.His name was Gapii and he had been with the clan for 10 years, having arrived through an Olmak anomaly from Tanuuk.Kreth felt sorry for the Agori, as he was often dwarfed in the area, with very few of his own species for company.Gapii had spirit though, arriving from a place as terrible as Tanuuk, most people would give up hope arriving on an equally derelict planet, but he had a constant will to make his life better.Kreth expected others to join Gapii in gathering around him, Kreth was the leader of the clan, and they should look to him for their next move.Instead, they were walking away, heading north, towards Iron Hawk territory.“Where are you all going?” Kreth yelled after them.There was no response, so he looked to the two beings that were walking towards him.“Some honour still left then,” Kreth said.“We’re all in the same situation,” said one of them, a Toa of fire. “I say we stick together.”The other, a Skrall laughed at this.“I just stayed to do this,” he sneered. And he spat at Kreth’s feet. “You’ve brought this clan to destruction, and you only lead it for a week.”Slohaz hobbled between the two of them, staring his fellow Skrall down.“Bring it on, Brainless!” the Skrall said, laughing manically.He kicked the handle of Slohaz’s axe, and the Skrall toppled onto the floor.“You think you’ll last out here like that?” Kreth said, drawing his sword. “It’s honour that gets you places here, and you don’t have a shred of it.”Kreth was uninjured and armed, and the Skrall could see that. The Toa of Fire was also now standing at Kreth’s side, conjuring a fireball in his hand.Even Gapii had picked up a piece of timber and was glowering at the Skrall.Recognising defeat, he backed away.“Are you coming?” asked the Skrall. This was directed at Slohaz.Slohaz shook his head, and Kreth snapped, “Why would he come with you?”“We’re Skrall brethren. We stick together. And he can’t think for himself, he needs to be with his own kind.”“Slohaz can make his own choices,” Gapii said.“Yes,” Kreth said, though this was not entirely truthful.Anyone else in a campsite would forget their orders to protect the food while it was being bombed, and instead take cover. Slohaz just continued with the orders he was given.“I’m staying,” Slohaz growled. “Wherever Kreth goes, I go.”The other Skrall swore under his breath, and turned and ran after the others who had left.Gapii threw his timber to the floor, and the Toa of fire flicked the fireball away.“Azlok isn’t it?” Kreth said, turning to the Toa.“Yes,” he replied.“I’m grateful for your loyalty,” Kreth said. “You too, Gapii. And I always know I can count on you Slohaz.”Kreth knew that it might have been fear of ‘the reign of Slohaz’ that partly led to most of the clan deserting him.The longest serving member of the clan was always the leader. If Kreth was killed, or forced to leave the clan, Slohaz would be in charge.Kreth wasn’t sure if this rule would stand, but many members probably wouldn’t want to be around to find out.“What’s the plan Cap’n?” asked Gapii, upbeat as ever.“Seek sanctuary in Zien,” Kreth said. “There’s never full on wars going on there, and we might be able to join up with another clan.”“The escapes over?” Gapii said, saddened.“For now, yes,” Kreth said, equally down heartened.Azlok also looked disappointed, but Slohaz simply looked confused.Kreth had concluded Slohaz didn’t really want to escape. Again it was a case of his inability to think for himself, Kreth had recruited the Skrall and explained the clan’s aims and why they were good.Slohaz was part of war-like species though, and was unlikely to find himself any kind of occupation on another world. He was the purest of Barrawahi warriors really, and part of Kreth regretted making him think he would be happy elsewhere.“So Zien?” Gapii said, with only a slight trace of enthusiasm. He gestured to the northeast.The four of them headed that way, aware that the constant slight upward slope would make their life seem much worse.They quickly formed a procession, Slohaz at the front ploughed on at a constant speed, untroubled by the pain in his leg or the irritating gradient.Kreth and Azlok mostly kept pace with each other, occasionally falling back to the rear to walk alongside Gapii, who struggled to keep pace with his longer legged fellows.It was a pretty unique selection of beings, Kreth thought to himself.Slohaz seemed to have some mysterious past, but the earliest thing he admitted remembering was being sent by Hand of Faith to rescue Gapii from Shadow Honour.Shadow Honour had locked up Gapii soon after he arrived on the planet.Matoran and Agori were often used to sneak behind enemy lines, and Gapii’s sudden transportation to Shadow Honour territory had been far too suspicious to just let him leave.Kreth himself used to be a Red Skull champion. He had idolised the Legendary Bajnok, but had fled the clan a few years before the Skakdi champion’s disappearance.He did not like to relive that day.Azlok was a fairly normal Barrawahi inhabitant. A strong sense of honour and loyalty and as a Toa of Fire with a mask of Parabolic vision, he was a strong asset to any side.Azlok was also unique in his choice to very rarely use Toa tools. He was a master of simply conjuring his element and manipulating it to his advantage.The group suddenly came over a crest, and found themselves looking out over a cliff edge.The sight was impressive, not because of the height of the cliff and the view all around, or the imposing archway of Zien to the east.What was impressive was the battle they could see raging below, the Iron Hawk clan locked in a brutal fight with the armies of the Brethren clan.Bombers flew overhead, and the landscape looked like it was on fire.Gapii stood and gaped at what he saw before him, before Azlok dragged him back.“People on top of a hill over a battle field,” he said, “could be on anyone’s side if you don’t know who they are. If I were down there, I’d assume we were the enemy, and fire.”“Agreed,” Kreth said. “We’ll try and stay away from the cliff edge.”The group headed east for a while, but quickly came to a long, rocky, ridge down to the ground, the only way down from here to Zien.By now the echoes and flashes of the battle were distant, but walking along this ledge, silhouetted against the glowing blue sky was incredibly risky.Nevertheless, it was the only option available, so they made as fast a pace as possible over the rough terrain.They were halfway down, when there was a whistling sound, and Slohaz yelled, throwing himself to the ground.They were under fire.

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Edited by Taipu1, Nov 02 2012 - 01:16 PM.

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#2 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Nov 04 2012 - 04:44 PM

Chapter 2 - Strife

Kreth saw Slohaz diving for cover up ahead.He too leapt for the nearest rock.In his panic, Gapii tripped and fell over the edge of the ridge.Azlok dived and caught the falling Agori’s ankle, dragging him back up, then bundled him behind the same rock as Kreth.Kreth popped his head up over the top, saw what he was looking for just in time, and ducked down before the next shot flew over.“There’s a sniper mound out there,” Kreth whispered, although being overheard was really not an issue.Azlok mimicked Kreth, sticking his head up and bringing it back down to gauge the situation.“A few balls of fire down there and he’s out from his cover, and most likely injured,” Azlok suggested.“From this range?” Gapii asked.“I’ll need a clear field of vision,” Azlok said. “Somebody will have to divert their attention.”Slohaz stuck his axe up from his hiding place, and waved it. There was a clang, and he dropped the axe, before the charge of energy surged through the metal.“Not a good way of doing it,” Kreth said. “We need to return fire.”Gapii drew his Fireworks launcher.“The flash from this will be enough to make him duck,” he said. “Then Azlok can take the real shot.”“And if he doesn’t duck?” asked Kreth.“Pessimist,” Azlok said. “I reckon if it happens, I could survive one of those charges.”“Very well,” said Kreth uneasily.He was not a keen leader, and his confidence had been shattered by the events of the past week.Gapii stood up, fired two shots from his fireworks launcher, and then dived sideways theatrically, as Azlok calmly rose, a huge fireball already held in his hands.He pointed his palms outwards towards the snipers dugout. The fireball shot straight towards it, hitting dead on.He summoned another ball, but Slohaz swiftly stood up, and shoved him hard, so that the second ball span off down the edge of the ridge.Azlok looked surprised at this, but lowered his hands.Kreth gestured for them all to hurry down the ridge, before the charred sniper recovered.Gapii was running to keep up with Slohaz.Azlok hung back to talk to Kreth.“What was all that about?” he asked.“Don’t ask me why,” Kreth said, “But Slohaz has always been sensitive about killing people, even your enemies. He doesn’t look the type at all, but he is. And you don’t want to be on his bad side. He knows how to cause pain, without killing.”“I’ll keep that in mind,” Azlok said.“Well done for taking out the sniper though,” Kreth said. “He could have kept us pinned on that ridge, and called for back up to come and flush us out.”It was another hour before they arrived at the ruins at the edge of Zien. The more intact buildings were at the centre.“Keep ‘em peeled guys,” Kreth said. “Full three-sixty for you Azlok.”Azlok responded with a slight glow from his Kanohi. With the mask of parabolic vision, he could see anything coming at them from any angle.The streets of Zien may be free of war, but they were far from safe.As they reached the buildings that had something resembling a second storey, they passed a Skakdi, leaning menacingly against a wall. As they passed, he goggled at Slohaz.The elite skrall was confused by this behaviour.“What was he staring at?” he asked Kreth.“You,” Kreth said. “Why, I don’t know. Lets just hope he thinks you’re a threat, and not an easy target.”“He’s gone,” Azlok said. “He went in the building.”“You didn’t even look round,” Gapii said.Azlok gestured to the mask.“Oh yeah,” Gapii said. “That thing is…disconcerting. I can’t imagine seeing everything around me at once. Everyone should have a blind spot.”

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What the four of them didn’t know, was that the Skakdi had just descended through a trapdoor inside the building, and dropped into a dimly lit room with three others in it.There were two skrall, and a matoran in the room. There was very little to know about the skrall, or the skakdi. The matoran however was a recognised face across Barrawahi.His name was Bruhteck. He was an ex-champion of Shadow Honor. He was one of the finest matoran warriors in the land.He often claimed he could beat Arrik Xell in a fair fight, but everyone scoffed at him, and Bruhteck had never made an effort to prove them wrong.Bruhteck had fallen from grace after encountering a Toa wearing a Kanohi of Mask Coma. The champion of Shadow Honour had instantly become unconscious, and while he had lived to tell the tale, he took too much ridicule from his fellows to stay in Shadow Honour.The matoran now spent his time in this dank room, staring into a lightstone, occasionally taking his anger out on the two skrall and the skakdi.“What is it this time?” snapped Bruhteck.“Slohaz is here!” the Skakdi said, positively dribbling in excitement.“Once and for all, you have proved my point that you are insane,” said Bruhteck. “Slohaz is long dead. That skrall was never fit to lick Zashrau’s feet, and he ended up being executed by Hand of Faith, for sheer incompetence.”“No,” the Skakdi said. “He was just captured, and now he’s back. He’s with a Toa, a Glatorian and an Agori! He’s got the axe and everything.”“And Vorox fly,” spat Bruhteck.“Come out and see,” the Skakdi said.Bruhteck sighed, and picked up his chain mace.The skakdi pulled himself up through the trapdoor again.One of the skrall made the fatal error of offering Bruhteck a leg up. The matoran swung his mace into the Skrall’s chest, who backed up coughing. Bruhteck leapt into the air, jumping off the unfortunate skrall’s shoulders before catching the edge of the trapdoor and pulling himself up.

Posted Image

Meanwhile, Kreth and his team were approaching a heavily guarded food stall. There was no Rockfoot icon on it, but no other clan ever traded their food on the streets.“Can I offer you some wares, sir?” asked the glatorian sat behind the stall. He had his arm at a curious angle under the table, no doubt gripping a weapon of some sort.Trying to do anything public on Barrawahi was tense, and usually involved violence.“We want to negotiate with Rockfoot,” Kreth said in a low voice.“You starting trouble?” asked the glatorian loudly. The guards shifted threateningly. Kreth couldn’t even tell what species they were, as they were so heavily armoured.Thinking fast, Kreth snatched the sorry looking fish from Slohaz, who hadn’t let it from his sight through their whole journey.“I’ll sell you this,” Kreth said. “We just want access to the totem, to get to Atohune.”The glatorian gave a small nod to the guards, as he took the fish from Kreth.One of the guards clanked forwards, and gestured to the building behind, and the group entered through what constituted the door. The guard followed behind.The team descended into the basement, where there was a stone table, two more guards, and another glatorian.“To what do I owe the pleasure?” asked the glatorian, not removing his feet from the table.“These travellers want to get to Atohune.”The guards voice echoed weirdly from inside the armour.“Well tell them no,” said the glatorian. “Strip them down for whatever can be used or sold, then stick ‘em out in the gutter.”Kreth raised his eyebrows.“Seriously?” he said. “We gave the guy upstairs food.”The guard who had escorted them in laughed.“It meant a lot to us,” Kreth said. “You have plenty, we gave you all we had.”“The Rockfoot farmers rarely get access to our totem,” the glatorian said. “Yet you come here waving some scrap of food and think you have some divine right?”“We’re sorry we wasted your time,” Gapii said, gesturing half-heartedly towards the stairs.“Let you leave?” laughed the glatorian, drawing a small knife and balancing the point of it on his finger. “Did you not forget the ‘strip you down for stuff to use and sell’ part of the bargain?”“This is where you get down,” Azlok said to Gapii. He drew his Toa tool, a glowing metal pole.Kreth drew his katana, and Slohaz lifted the end of his axe from the ground, wobbling slightly on his injured leg.Gapii threw himself to the ground, as Azlok smashed his pole onto the table, somehow igniting solid rock.The glatorian yelped, rolling off his stool, his feet scalded by the heat.The three guards advanced, attempting to encircle them.Gapii did an impressive backflip off the ground, at the same time drawing his fireworks launcher.Kreth lunged at the nearest guard, but his sword bounced harmlessly off the armour.Slohaz, his injury apparently forgotten, leapt into the air, spinning with his axe and planting a terrifyingly powerful blow into the nearest guard, who was sent flying backwards into the wall.Gapii fired a few shots into the ceiling, sending sparks showering down on all of them. This was a distraction; in the chaos he made it to the bottom of the stairs.Kreth latched onto this quickly too, running to the door.Slohaz took down the second guard with an identical spinning axe move. The third guard, forgetting the rest of the team, advanced on the elite skrall.Kreth could see a faint glow coming from under the guard’s helmet.“Kanohi!” yelled Kreth, all too late.Slohaz attempted to perform the same move a third time, but this time the power of the Kanohi Garai meant his jump was cut short, and he collapsed to the floor unable to lift himself under his own, amplified, weight.Kreth jumped towards the guard, but flew into the ceiling, gravity apparently acting on him vertically. This usage of the power released Slohaz, who pushed himself to his feet.Before Slohaz could mount another assault however, the guard let Kreth go from the ceiling apparently screaming in pain. His armour was beginning to glow, and Azlok was standing in the corner, his elemental power heating the metal armour to hundreds of degrees.“That’s enough,” Kreth shouted, once he had got to his feet and assessed the situation.Azlok lowered his hand, and walked towards the guard, who was hunched on his knees, still yelling. He flipped the red-hot helmet off with the end of his pole, and then knocked the guard out with a blow to the head.He placed his hand on the armour, and reabsorbed the elemental heat energy, cooling the guard’s unconscious body back to normal.Slohaz grunted in appreciation of this act, but said nothing intelligible.The four of them walked single file up the stairs and out of the door, but stopped abruptly on the threshold.The merchant and his two remaining guards had them surrounded.Kreth leapt forward with extreme speed, bowling the merchant over and drawing his katana as he did so.The merchant just managed to parry the katana with his own blade, but was pinned down by Kreth.One of the guards summoned a cage of ice around the other three, while the second guard ran to deal with Kreth.Before the three of them were encased in the icy prison, Azlok countered the cold energy with his own heat.Slohaz surged forwards, smashing through the ice and colliding with the guard on the outside.The guard’s concentration was broken enough for Azlok to overcome the icecage, which splashed to the floor in a puddle.Slohaz was thrown back by the guard, who had removed his helmet for better vision. This guard was a toa of ice, sporting a Kanohi Sanok.The other guard was apparently a species without elemental powers, Kreth was a blur fighting him and the merchant single-handedly.Azlok sent a stream of fire at the toa of ice, who countered with a stream of ice.The ice melted in the centre of the beam, sending water pouring onto the ground.Slohaz lumbered over to where Kreth was fighting, and swung the flat side of his axe hard into the side of the merchant, sending him sprawling unconscious several feet away.Kreth meanwhile had knocked the guard on their back. He jumped onto their chest and planted a powerful blow with the hilt of his katana against the guard’s helmet.The helmet clanged loudly with the sheer force of the impact, which knocked the guard out cold.Azlok meanwhile absorbed all the heat energy from the water on the ground, refreezing it.The toa of ice was not ready for this, and slipped. As he tried to push himself to his feet, Kreth walked up behind, and knocked him out as well.“That,” Kreth said, slightly out of breath, “Was a big waste of time.”“You’re not finished yet,” said a snide voice from behind him.

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Edited by Taipu1, Nov 04 2012 - 04:45 PM.

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