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Review (including list of characters)
Taking place in the post-war Spherus Magna world, Enigma is a story that centers around Toa Synheith, a lonesome Toa of Fire, and a troubling incident from his past that he tries to rectify. In pursuit of an old enemy, with a loosely assembled team of heroes behind him, Synheith discovers himself - and his team - at the heart of an ancient plan that slowly and horrifyingly wheels into place.
Chapter titles will be added as they are posted
Chapter I - Scorched Earth
Chapter II - Fortitude
Chapter III - Parting
Chapter IV - Surel's Tale
Chapter V - Rising
Chapter VI - The Enigma Signal
Chapter VII - Black to Move
Chapter VIII - War
Chapter IX - Pawns
Chapter X - The Road That Time Forgot
Chapter XI - Shadows
Chapter XII - Going Solo
Chapter XIII - Phantoms
Toa Synheith, Toa of Fire, stood, shrouded in shadows in his new residence. The only light source in the room was a single window to his left, and now the twilight rays of Spherus Magna's sun were dimming, and whatever light was left glinted off the surface of his armor. Once smooth, his armor was now encrusted with the scorch marks of a hundred battles, as if they were souvenirs from the conflicts he had endured.
Yet despite all that he had seen in the past year, from Teridax's abrupt takeover of the entire Matoran Universe, to the gargantuan fight that had ensued above Spherus Magna, Synheith still was haunted by a singular incident, that, although comparatively inconsequential to all that had happened, left him with a single loose end he had failed to tie up. And he hated that.
1 Year Ago
Destral, Headquarters of the Brotherhood of Makuta
Synheith's head hurt. He had been running through what seemed like thousands upon thousands of corridors, even as the sounds of combat outside the fortress had begun to intensify.
He had been dropped off half an hour earlier covertly outside the south gate of the fortress, just as the Order of Mata Nui had initiated their siege of the fortress. He had been sent on a mission assigned specifically by Helryx: find an artifact within the fortress called the Decryption Crystal, and acquire it before the fortress crumbled or the siege collapsed, or if acquisition was impossible, to destroy it. Normally, a Toa would never be enlisted by the Order to help in their efforts, let alone conduct a task of such importance, but it was clear at this point in time that the Order was running out of fighters. Furthermore, Synheith never had a Toa team - he always operated alone, defending the citizens of a Southern Continent city from threats. So when the Order had turned that city into a garrison against the Brotherhood, he had been recruited into their ranks - his absence from the city deprived no one of support now that the Order was defending it.
His briefing, had been, ironically and fittingly, brief, and all he had to work with was a mere description of the artifact, without knowing what its importance was. He had also been told the artifact's rough location within the fortress. But the halls of Destral were a labyrinth, and he quickly found himself lost in the many corridors and chambers in the interior of the structure. He wondered what would happen to him if the Order's siege failed. Would he be able to find escape from this monstrous place, perhaps even with the Crystal in hand? Or would he be doomed to die running through its winding passageways, where the patrols of the Brotherhood would inevitably find him?
Time to find out, he mused as he stepped out from the cramped confines of the corridor into a large rectangular chamber. On the far end of the room a dark, red symbol was engraved on the wall - a circular shape with eight symmetrical interconnected lines. The room itself had eight hallways leading away from it, he noted, but what occupied his attention were the stasis tubes around him: within each was a sample of a creature the Brotherhood had experimented upon. In one tube he saw a Nui Jaga, warped beyond recognition, and in the adjacent tube he saw...what could have once been a Matoran, or a Kavinika, or some intensely disturbing amalgamation of both. On a table nearby was an assortment of biomechanical parts and what looked like a scalpel.
He had no time to ponder the origins of these experiments, though, as a Rahkshi appeared on his right flank from behind a row of stasis tubes. Swinging abruptly around, he fired two laser bursts at it with his Pulse Staff. The creature roared, shrugging off the projectiles, the Kraata within baring its ugly "jaws". He fired again, this time squarely at the Kraata's head as it exposed itself. The Rahkshi staggered backwards, the Kraata letting out a dying scream, and fell.
Momentarily shaken by this incident, he lost his bearings, and realized that he no longer remembered which door he had come from, or which direction he should proceed to find the artifact. He was too far within the fortress to hear the sounds of combat coming from the outside as well - which had been reassuring. Now he had no way of knowing if the Order had been driven back, something which would leave him alone in the fortress to face his death. Reaching into his pack, he grabbed a compass and attempted to get a rough gauge of the way forward. The device, however, was behaving unusually - the needle jumped back and forth, not giving a consistent direction for his North.
Puzzling he thought to himself, something nearby must be interfering with the magnetic fields in the air.
As those thoughts ran through his mind, a sudden loud thud snapped his attention back to his surroundings. To his alarm, the corridors that led away from the chamber were beginning to slide shut, with hidden grilles of dark energy snapping into place. In mere moments, only a single corridor remained open - the one directly underneath the red symbol he had noticed earlier.
He fought the rising panic within him. This was most definitely an ambush, and he might fare better if he stayed in the current room, which was a good position to hold off any attempts by Rahkshi to eliminate him. However, a dissenting thought floated into his mind - what if the eighth door would eventually seal itself as well, locking him in the chamber with no way out? What if he became one of their monstrous experiments?
Taking a few tentative footsteps forward, he stepped into the sole remaining open corridor, and once inside, he crept slowly through the winding passageway, wary of an ambush at every turn, until he turned around a corner and saw that the corridor widened into a dark, musty chamber. On the other side of the chamber, through the thick smoke that seemed to be the Makuta's preferred environment, Synheith could see a raised dais. And floating a meter or so above the platform he saw a single bright blue, glowing, reflective, opaque stone, which matched the description of the Decryption Crystal!
Now almost certain this was an ambush, Synheith exited the hallway with caution, Pulse Staff primed and ready, yet no foes materialized. He crept, on his knees, slowly to the other end of the chamber. It was then he noticed that the wall behind the dais also was engraved with the same red, glowing symbol he had seen earlier. This made him feel strangely uneasy.
The Brotherhood would never leave such an object unguarded, he thought, something's wrong
"Indeed, something is"
Synheith spun around, but in the split second it took him to turn and face the voice, he was already floating half a meter in the air, bound by chains of what looked like pure shadow. A shape slowly faded into view - an armored dark being roughly twice his height, whose shoulders were adorned with emerald plating and whose breastplate had the same red symbol carved onto it. The being wore a black cloak, as if the shadows of the room were not enough to conceal him.
From the fact that the being had clearly read his thoughts, as well as its command over shadow, Synheith made a mental note this was probably a Makuta.
"That would be correct," the being said , demonstrating his mind-reading capabilities once again, probably just for his own amusement. "To pay respect to a simple formality, my name is Makuta Treperath. What might yours be?"
Synheith fought to maintain his composure as the chains of darknesss tightened around him. He ignored the Makuta's mocking question. "In hours, this fortress will be overrun by the Order. You will surely fail in defending this Crystal from our hands"
Treperath strode over to the dais, and grabbed the Crystal, then hid it within the folds of his cloak.
"Whoever said I was trying to defend it?"
"Oh, now you're trying to run away from us? And to think I used to believe you Makuta were brave fighters!"
Treperath's eyes narrowed. "You do not know what is about to happen, Toa. A storm is coming to this universe, and both you and I are helpless to prevent it. We can only wait it out, find shelter under a rock, or beneath the ground, hoping for it to pass...or we can escape this world altogether."
Synheith, unsure what the Makuta was alluding to, prodded further. "And this Crystal will help you escape?"
Treperath laughed. "More than just that - this Crystal will allow me to bring the world to its knees, once the storm has passed."
"How? its just a piece of stone."
"Oh, So Helryx never told you what this is? Or what it does? Listen little Toa - this is no mere trinket. But I suppose there are secrets you were never meant to find out, and there are places in this world your superiors don't want you to discover. Its a huge universe out there - and the world of the Matoran isn't the only world. So - how can you be sure your Order is telling you everything?"
Before Synheith could think of a reply, the Makuta, with the Crystal safely tucked within his cloak, vanished, teleporting out of the chamber. The darkness chains binding Synheith immediately disappeared, and he fell on the ground.
Later, he would proceed out of the chamber and rendezvous with Order forces. As the night wore on, Destral would eventually fall, and all its occupants either fled or were killed. Synheith eventually would report his mission as a failure to the commander-in-chief of the assault, Tobduk.
"I was unable to find the Crystal," he would say, "I searched the specified wing of the fortress unopposed, except for a single Rahkshi."
Of the dark room and of Makuta Treperath, he made no mention. Yet Treperath's words continued to resound in his mind - haunting his dreams, until a month later, Teridax gained control of the universe, and the words that the Makuta had laid out to him in the chamber became far more consequential than he had ever imagined. The storm did indeed come.
Synheith's memory of this particular mission bothered him for a number of reasons - firstly, it was possibly the only mission he had ever failed in, and failure was something that he could not stand. Back in the Southern Continent, failure to defend his city meant certain death for many unfortunate Matoran, and this cold instinct to succeed was what drove him to perform as a Toa. Secondly, he had the uncomfortable feeling that the Treperath had managed to escape the Matoran Universe before Teridax's takeover and the prompt execution of all the Makuta still alive within the universe. If so, Treperath had almost certainly "escaped this world" to Spherus Magna.
Lastly, what disturbed him the most was the significance of the Crystal - he could not escape the nagging feeling that its powers were still relevant, and somewhere out there, Treperath or someone else was using it for his own ends, to "bring the world to its knees". There was also the revelation of a possible Order conspiracy, as Treperath had hinted to him, that Helryx had not told him everything about what the Crystal was or the extent of its power.
Normally, Synheith was not an inquisitive Toa. But a line is drawn when something is done out of curiousity, and when something is done out of the possible urgency and exigency of the situation. Synheith decided the line had been crossed.
And so, he turned around, exited his room, and went to search for Helryx.
Edited by Karzhani the Utahraptor, Dec 12 2013 - 02:10 AM.