I know what you're thinking: What the heck? Didn't Skelly already post an entry? Why does he have two? Is TheSkeletonMan939... a cheater?
In a word, no. After some oversights by bonesii and myself on my previous entry, I was allowed a second chance. If you want to learn more go here.
Alone, Naho looked out to the protodermis falls of Ga-Metru, lost in reflection. Beautiful, she thought. Back home she had never been privileged with this sort of structure. Metru Nui Matoran were spoiled.
She heard footsteps and glanced behind her shoulder. Kodan the Chronicler was making his way towards her, a sack of tablets on his back. “I prefer Po-Metru,” Kodan said immediately. “I work better in loud conditions.”
“I think better in quiet ones,” Naho replied. “Need a seat?”
Kodan pulled up a nearby crate on his own and produced a tablet and writing utensil from his sack. “Now,” he said indifferently, “How did you become a Toa?”
Naho sighed and looked out to the falls. She spoke softly.
I hail from the Tren Krom Peninsula, a part of the Northern Continent. While other peoples of the island were more bellicose in nature, my village was more intrigued on the arts and sciences. I was a scientist myself. I enjoyed learning new things, using my mind to work out nature’s little puzzles created by the Great Beings.
As a Matoran, I was never a convivial or at all social person. I preferred to keep to myself as opposed to going out there and making a name for myself. Subsequently, I never knew anyone especially well beyond my lab partners.
But I did know there was an Onu-Matoran in my village who often traveled abroad to places like Stelt, Xia and Metru Nui. He and I had set up an arrangement that he bring back an exotic type of plant that I believed had intriguing medicinal value, called a harakeke.
I made my way to his hut one morning, curious about the strange little plant. I rapped on his door and looked down at my feet, waiting for it to open. Several seconds went by, and I knocked again. Several seconds later, I knocked a third time.
No answer. I let myself in. “Hello?” I called. “It’s Na - ”I stopped in my tracks.
The Onu-Matoran was sitting against the wall, his cold eyes staring right into mine. He looked chilling. I slowly inched towards him, asking if he was all right. I stretched a hand out and poked him.
He slid sideways onto his chest, revealing a thick blade thrust into his back.
This Matoran was dead.
I jumped back. I was scared. A pit formed in my stomach. I couldn’t breath. What if the killer was still here? Was he going to kill me?
Maybe he was all right, I though. Maybe he was just asleep. I shook the Onu-Matoran and hit him, trying to get him to wake up. He wouldn’t.
A Le-Matoran poked his head in, probably hoping to see the Matoran as well. “Oh, hi Naho…,” he began, his voice trailing off. He walked over to where I knelt, crying. “Mata Nui,” he said quietly. He turned to me, looked at the body, and back to me.
“Listen to me, Naho,” the Le-Matoran said. “I’m going to get the Turaga. I’m going to tell him what’s happened. Everything will be all right.”
I nodded. I was scared. I’d never seen someone dead before.
Why was this happening? I wondered.
The Turaga was of the element of Earth, and wore a Noble Garai. His Badge of Office was a staff with an odd stone on top. He used it more as a cane due to a limp he received in his Toa years. Oddly enough, we never knew his name – he was just “the Turaga” to us.
The service was short. He explained the situation to the village gravely, without suppressing the gravity of the situation.
This was ridiculous, I thought. We were going to be hiding in fear while the killer got away scot-free. I wanted to see him suffer for what he’d done. I wanted to see his body mutilated in the most painful, distressing, ad agonizing way. He deserved it.
There was only one person I knew who’d agree with me.
“No,” Mazeka said with a slight chuckle. “This guy means business. He isn’t going to be taken down by you or me. This isn’t someone we can just fight like that.”
“Is that what you really think?” I asked. Mazeka often acted rude and dismissive to everyone, but I knew deep down he had a firm sense of justice and morality. If I reached that part of him, he was with me for sure.
Mazeka put down the piece of limestone he’s been working with, and sighed. He looked up at me and asked, “Have you got a lead?”
“Well,” I said slowly, “he had a… a knife in his back.” The image flashed before my eyes. I could picture those dead unseeing eyes… I could almost feel the cold hands…
“That’s not a lead,” Mazeka replied. “That’s useless. Was his hut messy?”
“No,” I replied. “It actually looked very tidy.”
“Then he had no time to react to the killer’s stab. There was no fight. And where was the body?”
I took a deep breath and said, “Against the wall. Almost like he was… put there.”
“Okay,” Mazeka said, picking up an odd machine from a pile of junk in the corner. “When did I make this?” he asked himself. He turned to me and said, “You’re right. He probably didn’t crawl over there himself. The killer most likely put him there to ask questions… or something. Maybe just to get him out of the way.”
Mazeka had this talent of insight about him. He thought with intense logic, which made him a good investigator of sorts.
“Now,” he continued, “we can propose that the motive was to steal something. Maybe something the Onu-Matoran brought back from an exotic land? Who knows exactly what?”
I scratched the back of my head and said casually, “Well, the Turaga forced him to always make an inventory of what he brought back. You know, to make sure it wasn’t anything bad -”
“That’s right,” Mazeka interrupted. “He got his hands on something valuable, and someone wanted it badly. Except… we can’t let on to anyone that we’re doing this… investigating the situation.”
“Why not?” I asked. “We’ll need all the help we can get.”
“Naho,” Mazeka said darkly. “He’d only been back one day when he was murdered. No one outside this village could have possibly known he’d returned.”
A dark thought crept into my head. “No,” I said. “Absolutely not.”
“I think that’s the way it is,” Mazeka said. “Someone in this village is the killer.”
I didn’t sleep well that night. Someone I knew was a killer. A disturbing, hate-filled murderer.
But maybe it was the other way around. Maybe the dead Onu-Matoran deserved it. Maybe he was a pirate who stole things from the lands he traveled to. When all was said and done, who was the real victim?
Mazeka and I had planned to approach the Turaga the next day. We both knew it wouldn’t go over well with him. He made over-the-top efforts to keep us safe from harm; the reason the village was so far from trouble was because so many years ago he made us all relocate to a safer and remote area. I had vague memories of our earlier home – they weren’t good ones.
I had to come up with an argument against the Turaga if it turned out to be the anticipated worst-case scenario.
“Absolutely not!” the Turaga said in an exasperated tone.
“Elaborate,” Mazeka said calmly. “Please.”
We were alone with the Turaga in his hut. In was clean and orderly – just like the Turaga himself.
“I’ve already got one dead – I don’t need two of my top scientists gone as well,” the Turaga said. “I wish there was something I could do, but - ”
“But what?” I interrupted. “Someone killed my friend and got away with it. Someone in this village has killed another living being.”
The Turaga’s eyes widened. “You can’t tell anyone that. I’ve worked far too hard for this whole village’s peace of mind to be compromised by one thug.”
“Turaga,” I said quietly. “We can help. We can stop this.”
“No,” the Turaga said. “No, it’s my job. It’s my job to protect you all, my job to find the evil, rotten killer who… who…”
“You’ve done so much for us,” I continued. “Thank you for that. But it’s our turn now.”
In the end, he gave us the inventory, and his blessing. It was filled with odd items I’d never seen or heard of before, but Mazeka had some knowledge of these things.
“I think he kept just about everything he brought back,” Mazeka said. “As souvenirs, I guess. And looking at this stuff, I think we have a motive.”
I looked up at Mazeka. “What? How?”
“Some of the stuff on this list looks quite rare,” Mazeka said. “Look at this – he brought back weapons.”
“Do you think we should talk to Vultraz about this? The weapons?” I asked. Vultraz was an engineer in our village who knew everything about machines. He could tell you how something worked, why it worked, or why it refused to turn on.
“No,” Mazeka said. “No, just the two of us is fine. I don’t want to drag more people into this. It’d undermine our creative control.”
It took me a moment to understand that Mazeka had just told a joke, bad as it was. He never joked. Maybe getting all this fresh air and staying away from his lab for so long was changing him for the better.
“Will we be allowed into the hut?” I asked. “I mean, it is a crime scene…”
“Sure,” Mazeka said. Though I couldn’t help but notice that he glanced both ways before opening the door to the hut.
The body had been removed. The hut was neat and tidy, with things boxed up and labeled. Apparently no one had dared touch his belongings since his body had been found.
“Was he going somewhere again?” I asked.
“Nah,” Mazeka replied. “He had just come back. Probably still wasn’t done unpacking.”
I went over to a box and opened it. Inside were a bundle of outlandish machines I’d never, ever seen in my life. I was about to reach in when I heard a small cry from behind.
Mazeka was on the floor, a knife in his back. And Vultraz was standing over his body.
I tried to get words out of my mouth, but I was too frightened. Too shocked. Too confused.
“You – oh, Mata Nui… Vultraz,” I wailed.
“Yeah… yeah, I killed the Onu-Matoran,” Vultraz said casually. “Mazeka down… and unless you shut up, you’re next.”
“Why? Why, why, why?” I shouted before I could stop myself. For a moment I thought he’d kill me immediately, but he instead smiled. It was a kind smile, a friendly smile. A familiar one. How could someone I know be so wicked?
“I hate it here,” Vultraz confessed. “I’ve always tried so hard to make it to the top, but no matter how hard I tried, it never turned out the way I wanted.
“So I began to think a while back. And I figured out something: Life’s pretty simple – you come on up and do what you have to do. So, with that in mind, I chose to take the quickest route to success – kill the Matoran and take the weapons. Leave this village and sell it on the black market. Make a real living. Everybody wins. Except for the dead guys.”
My heartlight was beating so fast I thought it’d jump right out of my chest. I glanced at Mazeka. He stirred slightly. Almost like he was shivering.
“I really didn’t want to have to kill you two,” Vultraz said. “I’ve decided that I should only kill those I have to. In fact, the morning you found the body, I had to slip out the back window of this hut to avoid meeting you.”
Vultraz sighed, shrugged his shoulders, and walked towards me. I stood stock-still. He was going to kill me.
When Vultraz and I were not one step away from each other, he simply commanded, “Move.” He shoved me out of his way and began taking machines out of the crate I’d looked in earlier. His eyes widened. “An Impact Crystal Launcher! Where’s he get this stuff?”
Out of nowhere, Mazeka jumped onto Vultraz’s back and began to strangle him. Vultraz dropped the launcher and tried to pull Mazeka’s arms away. Mazeka fell on his back, pushing the blade even further into his body. He howled, and Vultraz easily got up from Mazeka’s grasp. He turned Mazeka over, took the blade from his back, and twirled it in between his fingers. “No matter how many stabs it takes…” Vultraz muttered. I realized that Vultraz was going to kill Mazeka for good.
By reflex I jumped between the two Matoran. “Stop!” I said to Vultraz. “Just stop! Please, just take everything and go!”
“You think I’ll let you get away?” Vultraz said angrily. “The last thing I’ll need is having you tell everyone my plan.”
“Please…” I whispered.
Vultraz chuckled. “Did you really think I’d let you get out of here alive? How many dozens of stabbings do you think it’ll take me to kill you?”
A single thought went through my head:
If you’re going to go down, go down fighting.
Using all my strength, I grabbed Vultraz’s wrist and squeezed as hard as I could. I kicked him in the stomach and let go of his wrist. He flew back into the mess of crates and boxes, and the blade fell to the ground.
“Nice kick,” Mazeka groaned. I scrambled over and tried to help him up. “I’m fine,” he croaked. “My back just hurts.”
Vultraz got up slowly, wincing. “You know what it feels like to kill someone?” he asked. He bent down and picked up the nearby blade. “When you’re about to kill someone, you feel numb. And you just do it. And then you realize you never thought anyone could make a scream like that. That scream… is like a reward for being strong enough to do the act… to go through with it.
And knowing you’ve just killed someone… it makes you feel stronger about yourself. Makes you feel like you can do things you couldn’t before,” Vultraz continued, his eyes wild. “It’s like a superpower.”
“You stay away,” I commanded. Mazeka stumbled as I tried to help him up.
Thunder crackled outside. It was raining.
“I’m going to kill you,” Vultraz said matter-of-factly.
“I’m going to kill you!” he said again.
Something was in his eyes.
“I’m going to kill you!” he said a third time.
“No you’re not,” I shouted back. I knelt down and laid Mazeka out onto the floor. I turned to Vultraz. “You aren’t going to kill me. Not now or ever.”
Vultraz was angry. He was losing control over the situation - he wanted to be in control. He had to be in control. I think that was the only way he’d feel the kill was worth it.
He threw his knife to the ground and charged, smashing me like a Kane-Ra. We smashed straight through the door and out into the wet, dark, muddy, raining outdoors.
Vultraz screamed in anger. He beat me with his bare hands.
This was bad. Physically, I was no match for the Ta-Matoran.
But mentally…I was a scientist. I had made a living out of thinking things through, analyzing objects, and making observations.
I knew exactly how to win this fight.
Vultraz had a style of fighting – although at first it seemed as if he was making this as he went along, things fit together fluidly in context. I came up with a mental book of rules for myself.
Vultraz was right-handed, which meant that if he was about to punch me with his left, it’d be a fake punch to distract me. Every hit had to count, and he couldn’t waste hitting me with heat left-handed blows.
Vultraz had a habit of quickly glancing down at his feet before kicking, just to see where things were spacially. I could use that to my advantage.
Vultraz’s left side was hurt from when I kicked him into the boxes. I had to keep hitting that. The pain would at one point be unbearable, and he’d have to collapse.
I finished him off in minutes. By that time Vultraz was on the ground, whimpering and cursing. He was too bruised and beaten to even get up quickly enough. Surprisingly, no one had heard the commotion we’d been making – did they mistake it as sounds from the storm?
“Get out,” I said to Vultraz. “I want you to leave here forever. Never come back. And if I hear you’ve caused trouble somewhere else, I’ll go and rip your heartlight from its socket. Do you understand?”
No reply came. He just stared at me with hate in his eyes.
“Do you understand?”
“Yes!” Vultraz replied hastily, looking away.
I kicked Vultraz again and said, “Leave.”
Vultraz took off and didn’t look back.
Mazeka was fine. He had a bad back for several weeks, but he healed surprisingly well.
The Turaga made the announcement that Vultraz was the killer and had fled. By my request, he made no mention of my fight against him. I didn’t want to be hailed as a hero. I just wanted to start work again.
I looked through some of the late Onu-Matoran’s documents, and found that the reason he’d been holding weapons was that he would be selling them at higher prices when there was much demand and little stock. Seemed like a smart plan, but eerily similar to Vultraz’s. I wondered how much alike the two were – had the Onu-Matoran killed any Vortixx to get the weapons? I never knew.
One morning the Turaga came to my hut and asked if we could talk. Of course we could.
“Naho, I know I’ve been overprotective over you all,” he said, “and I want you to know that your best interests are in mind when I’m like that.”
I nodded, unsure of where this was going.
“But I can’t do it anymore. My days of heroism are done. I was foolish and stupid for thinking I could do it this long.
“Naho… we need someone to look up to. Someone to stop all the Vultrazes in the world. Naho… I’d like you to take this.”
The Turaga took his Badge of Office – his cane – and pulled the stone off. He handed it to me. “That’s a Toa stone,” he said, pointing to it. “It holds my Toa power within it, as well as the power of my old Turaga from my own homeland. Now it’s yours.”
“Turaga…” I said quietly. “Are you sure?”
“Sure I’m sure,” the Turaga said with a chuckle. “You showed bravery and intelligence these past few days – something this world needs a little more of.”
“What about Mazeka?” I protested. “He’d do a better job than me!”
“Maybe, maybe not,” the Turaga said with a shrug. “One would certainly think his destiny would be so… but I do not believe in destiny. I believe in carving your own fate. And that is why I offer you the choice to leave it or take it.
“Besides,” the Turaga continued. “I asked Mazeka. He told me to ask you.”
I looked down at the Toa Stone. It emanated some sort of energy that made my hand numb.
“I don’t know,” I murmured. “Isn’t being a Toa dangerous?”
“Nothing much more dangerous than what you just dealt with,” the Turaga replied. “Besides, you’ll have elemental power. That’ll be worth something.”
I took a deep breath. Toa. Though their bodies could die, their names would live on forever in the tales of Matoran.
The sentence I said next would change my entire life, for better or for worse.
“I’m ready,” I said with steel in my eyes.
Kodan glanced up, ready to hear more, but Naho had already gotten up.
“That’s it, then?” he asked.
“That’s it,” Naho said with a sigh. It was strange; most of the tale she’d forgotten until now.
“Well… that’s that,” he said, getting up. “And the rest of the story is that you heard the call that the Kanohi Dragon required stopping, and you came here.”
“Yes,” Naho said, looking out to the horizon. “And I’m glad I did. This city is wonderful.”
“Another successful quest by the Chronicler,” Kodan said with slight sarcasm. “I now have the origin stories of all the Toa Mangai. Now that, Naho, is true heroism.”
Naho smiled as Kodan dragged his sack of tablets away.
The following is an afterword written by the Chronicler Kopeke.
Time would bring change.
Naho would be called by Turaga Dume – the terrible Makuta in disguise - to aid the people of her homeland against some vicious foe. She arrived and learned too late that it was all a ruse; the Dark Hunter Eliminator killed her and threw her in the sea. Naho’s old Turaga would find the body washed up on shore and would prepare a memorial service for her. Her sprit star fell from the sky.
Still, years later, her name was not forgotten. Nokama would christen the falls of Ga-Koro after her, as well as the bay it fed into.
It all just proved Naho’s point that Toa live on forever.
Word Count: 3,409
Edited by TheSkeletonMan939, Apr 29 2014 - 01:40 PM.