The Journal: Memoirs of the Dead Entry
Word Count: 2,742(not including dividers)
Reysa stared at the softly rippling airweed, appreciating its strange shape and pocketed surface filled with what some members of Mahri Nui called “Clear Gold,” or air bubbles. Then, a green Hydruka bumped it with its sharp tusks, catching the bubbles for the harvest. To any other Matoran, the pace of the Hydruka would seem painfully slow, but Reysa had worked with them for a few months, and had grown accustomed to their sluggishness. After all, if he forced them along any faster, they might stop altogether, and he couldn’t imagine many other Matoran in Mahri Nui would be happy about that.
He had already learned from experience during his time underwater, which was no place for an Onu-Matoran. He always was envious of his memories of being on the surface, as foggy as they seemed. In fact, all he could remember was the faint sense he was on the surface at one point, but he didn’t know where, or when. Mahri Nui had sunk into the deeps, and only the release of these bubbles from the airweed had saved what few Matoran still remain. The Hydruka came to harvest the air for the Matoran, being their only lifeline in this hostile world, and it could only be harvested for one hour of “safety,” which seemed like a crazy notion when it was introduced, but surprisingly held true for all the time Reysa had been out here.
So, to pass the time, Reysa pulled out a set of tablets. No one else knew about these, as he found them in the wreckage of his previous hut right after Mahri Nui sank. In the pandemonium that followed the sinking of rebuilding, burying, and trying to survive, he had forgotten all about them, but now, with an entire hour to himself, and little to do, he had some time to read them. Among their chipped edges and sometimes fractured corners, he could make out it was a journal of his own memories before coming to Mahri Nui. It started in a small, lonely village of a hundred or so Matoran and their Turaga all trying to survive. Earlier in his shifts as a guard, Reysa had read up to the part where the cave he was mining Protodermis in suddenly collapsed due to a huge, subterranean Rahi seeking food. He was able to be rescued, but the cave-in resulted in his right side being twisted beyond repair, and with such a small island with barely enough to get by, there simply wasn’t enough materials to rebuild him. The Turaga knew their only choice was to send him to Karzahni, the brother of Artahka, to be rebuilt. This next entry started with his journey there.
Today is the day I travel to Karzahni. These weeks of struggling around without the use of half of my body has been difficult, but a fellow Onu-Matoran, Gar, has been helping me along. He will also be accompanying me to our village's boat, and then along the long journey to Karzahni. I hear that he is the brother of Artahka, the Great Creator, and I assume he must be as good at his job. The journey should only take a few weeks by boat, and I can't imagine anything would happen during that time. We're heading out now, and I doubt I'll have time to write any further until I arrive.
I arrived in Karzahni perfectly safe, and the sailing was as uneventful as planned. I walked into a huge dome along a narrow, barren peninsula, and through a gate with a barely visible field across it. Karzahni itself is rather strange, but I suppose I won't be here for very long. It will take me a while to get used to the soft wails that come from underground with every step. I thought I stepped on a small Rahi when I first got off the boat! While waiting for Karzahni, I was also introduced to another interesting part of the island, when a tiny creature someone called a “Dust Darter” suddenly decided my ruined armor would make a nice snack.
With a large amount of jumping and swatting, I drove the creatures away with more agility than I would have thought in my condition. Finally, my turn to be repaired arrived, and I carefully walked up to the door, leaning heavily on Gar. Another Matoran who was so rusted and discolored that I couldn’t tell what element he was from helped me into the operation room while my friend waited outside.
To be honest, Karzahni was not the imposing figure that I always pictured. His dark red and light blue armor was horribly mismatched, and his Mask of Alternate Futures was just as jumbled, it’s spiky and seemingly random patch up looked about as unbalanced as his sanity. Various Matoran pieces littered the room, some twisted beyond repair, others from much larger or smaller beings, and every piece a completely different design and color. Obviously, not the grand genius that I had heard he was.
I was strapped to a table by the Matoran who helped me in, and the “mastermind” asked “So, what seems to be the problem?”I stared incredulously. I thought he was joking, but his bad attempt at looking sincere made me realize he had actually meant it. I explained my accident as best as I could, and he suddenly seemed to notice the twisted and flattened metal down my right side. The ruined pieces were carefully taken off, and Karzahni attempted a casual conversation as he rebuilt it. The straps prevented me from looking down at his progress, but I could slowly feel my body coming back together. Something felt a little bit off, but I attributed that to the new armor pieces he was placing on me. The operation was going on as planned, with little Matoran servants helping to find the right pieces, but suddenly he started on my other side.
“Um, excuse me, Great Mechanic, but I only had some damage on the right side.” He simply nodded his spiked head like he heard me giving great praises, and continued to disassemble my left leg. Finally, I gave up struggling, and Karzahni made a few finishing touches on my other arm, and undid the straps. A mirror was handed up by one of his servants, and I saw what he had done.
My legs were short and squat, random pieces of armor attached all over the place and one arm reached almost to their wide toes, while the other was just about normal size. Nothing matched at all, and the armor plates didn’t even seem to fit my size. I looked up into Karzahni’s lopsided grin, which almost forced me to agree with his optimistic comments.
I suddenly blurted out “It looks awful! What have you done to me?”
His grin quickly vanished, and a huge scowl appeared across his mask. “Awful? Do you know what awful is? I can show you awful, you ungrateful little fireflyer!
The last thing I saw before everything suddenly disappeared was Karzahni’s Olisi begin to glow, and I had the sensation of falling until I hit the table with a thud. Through blurry eyes, I looked down at myself, not even recognizable as a Matoran anymore. I tried to blurt out my objection, but all that came out was a hoarse grunt. Karzahni smiled his crooked smile again, looking like my appearance was a great achievement, getting bigger all the time until it appeared to be the grin of a mad villain who just completed his next super weapon. I threw my ungainly new body at him, but his maniacal laugh swallowed me up, and I suddenly fell onto the table again, this time bouncing off and into a pile of scrap metal. Karzahni’s mask was slowly dimming, but his grin was still in place, just as insane as in the illusion.
“You…you monster!” I tried to form a coherent sentence in my state of shock. “Just look…I mean you…I thought you…” Finally, I just collapsed into the junk heap, too exhausted and surprised to say anything more.
“That’s right, little Matoran, just lie down. Take it all in how you look now, because you’re stuck like that for the rest of your life, which, since I can’t have you going and ruining my little business here, will be spent happily in the Southern Continent. How’s that for monstrosity?” By that time, I was too stunned to even do anything as his rusted servants carried me out. As soon as I could think again, my first thoughts were for my cautious friend Gar. Did he escape Karzahni? Will he miss me? What will my village think?
I soon found out about him. I was sent off to the northern shore of the Southern Continent with little supplies, a small charged weapon, and a whole new, freakish appearance. In my wanderings for food, I came across a small village of other “repaired” Matoran, who had established a firm settlement and a good system of supplying their daily needs. I was welcomed in with open, while often misshaped, arms, and quickly found my place in the village.
A few days later, another Onu-Matoran arrived on the shore. His long legs and arms confused me for a moment, but when I took a closer look, I recognized him as my old friend Gar. Karzahni had captured him to keep him silent, and “repaired” him while he was there, then quickly sent him off to the Southern Continent. I felt horribly guilty about him being trapped here with me, neither of us being able to see our friends ever again, and it was my fault for falling for that ruse. Gar seemed to take it pretty well though, but I could tell he was upset with not seeing through this earlier, with his cautious nature. In fact, I was surprised as well, as Gar was always the first one to question the decisions of our Turaga back home.
Life was simple on the Southern Continent. We would each work to gather food, defend against the usual predators and other dangers, and then relax in our little spare time. I got back to digging a little bit with my new weapons, and my longer arms and shorter body helped in at least that regard. I found spare protodermis for the village, and mined whatever stone we needed, with Gar and a few other Onu-Matoran working alongside. I could actually begin to like it here.
All of the peace of our village changed one day, when a rogue Doom Viper broke through our defenses, spewing toxic breath all around. No defenders could even get near it, especially with the six colorful heads watching in all directions and breathing whenever something came near. Many of our number died before we even realized what was happening.
Gar and I had been in the mine when it broke through, and we came up to discover that our little village was now destroyed, and many inhabitants lay dead. Gar, being as cautious as he was, held me back from quickly avenging their deaths.
“You are too impulsive. Stay back for a while, and we might discover a weakness.”
I knew he was right, but I had to fight hard not to charge straight in while my closest friends suffocated in the fumes. So, I did the only thing that I could, and just watched, and waited, which for me, was extremely difficult. Some of my enemies in the village said that was precisely why I was caught in the cave-in that brought us into this mess. I would charge straight into a cave without checking to see if it was stable or if it was clear of Rahi nests, both of which contributed to my injury.
The Doom Viper was thrashing around, whipping heads all over the place and destroying all of our hard work. Gradually, I noticed that the tail was stuck in a crack in one of the huts, and it was trying to escape.
I looked at Gar to tell him this, but he obviously already noticed, and just nodded to me. I could tell he was formulating a plan right then, and hopefully it would get us out of here alive. All he told me was “Go right now and get to the tail!"
I ran as fast as I could, with Gar outdistancing me with his much longer legs. The viper was too busy smashing a food storage hut to notice the two Onu-Matoran charging it. On my way there, I quickly reached into my ruined hut and grabbed my digging weapons, and Gar grabbed his as well. I reached the tail soon after he did, and braced myself to fire on it.
“Stop!” Gar shouted. “You can’t attack it yet; use that only as a last resort! Your tools would simply free the tail.”
He had a point, I had to admit. He was just about to tell me the real plan when the Doom Viper turned on us. The tall Matoran suddenly closed his mouth and bolted, poisonous gas following close behind. I did the wise thing and ran the other way, half of the heads following my progress as well. It could only chase one of us though, and I suppose it judged Gar the greater threat, and it gave pursuit… until its tail snagged on the broken hut again.
Gar sighed in relief, and ran back to me, keeping his back turned to the viper. Unfortunately, his one lapse in caution had drastic consequences.
The viper reached out a head, slowly entwining it around Gar’s huge legs, tripping him. Instantly, all six heads were on him, gas leaking out of their fanged maws. Gar managed to back away just enough for the gas to pass beneath him, but he was running out of time. I had to act fast, so I ran to the tail. A quick pulse of my weapon shattered the stone encasing it, but did little to the armored Rahi except to draw its attention, and that was enough. All six foul heads turned to me, striking at air as they charged me. I just ran to the only place I could think of, the old mine. Its narrow tunnels kept at least some of the heads away from me, and the viper moving slower than I could run.
I finally reached a particular tunnel that the Matoran had abandoned long ago because of its risk of caving in. I felt it was my only choice, and as soon as those heads rounded the corner, I quickly jumped over them, swinging with my long arms to gain that extra few bio to get to the other side, firing my weapons in mid-air. The tunnel roared as it collapsed, along with the Doom Viper’s hissing, and then all was silent. I managed to limp my way back to the opening to find Gar, with a cracked leg joint, limping towards me, smiling the whole way. I couldn’t help but smile too, but then he collapsed. The fractured leg was giving him much pain, and there was little I could do for it now, so I decided to repay the long-awaited debt of carrying him back to the village. He continued to smile through his pain the whole way. Everything seemed to be just perfect.
Reysa finally set down the tablets to observe the Hydruka harvest, laughing at that last line. Since his city had sunk, nothing was perfect, and so much had happened since the ending of that entry. By now, a few of the Hydruka were leaving towards Mahri Nui, their special bowl-shaped under armor holding huge bubbles of air like liquid mercury, but the rest were still working. Reysa also noticed that it was much darker now in the low light that filtered from the surface, much later than he would usually leave. He stood up to get the Hydruka moving, hurrying them along when a noise stopped him. It was probably just a tool some foolish Matoran left out getting pushed by a current. Still, at the edge of the airfield, there wasn't any sign of a tool. Reysa's eyes suddenly opened wide as a tentacle wrapped around his waist, dragging him into the depths. The only sign he had been there was his journal, now a memoir of the dead.
Edited by Click, Jul 18 2014 - 11:53 AM.
Format reconstructed after a BZP glitch. -bones