Posted Oct 16 2011 - 12:32 PM
Tamaru walked up to the tent. It was massive, and made him feel even smaller than he already was. Bright yellow and red stripes ran vertical across the massive fabric. He could hear the excited murmur of the crowd inside. The smells of popcorn and cotton-candy wafted into his nostrils. Tamaru smiled. He was nearly bursting with excitement. Once a year, V.T. Buffoon and his circus would come to New Atero. He had attended every single performance since it had first appeared several decades ago. Tamaru went forward, the butterflies in his stomach fluttered about wildly. His eyes adjusted to the dimly lit tent. All around him various beings chatted about with enthusiasm. Tamaru heard them mentioning all the famous performers they would see tonight. They spoke of Turnoc the strongman who could lift a Pachyderm with no effort at all, Riskala the knife-throwing acrobat, and of course, the lovely Lady Akadoor and her Visorak pyramid. Tamaru quickly found a seat and sat down. He gazed out at the three huge rings in the middle of the tent. He glanced down at his watch. The show was due to start any second. The already dim lights began to fade. Tamaru felt the euphoric excitement take hold of him. A gangly Skakdi came in through the back of the tent. He was dressed in a ragged cape that trailed behind him, along with a simple red jacket. His armor was silver and black, and his toothy smile shone with a pearly gleam. Strangely, he had no head-spine as most Skakdi do. He claimed he had lost in his first attempt to tame the dreaded Kardas dragon. Instead a shiny black top-hat was perched upon his silvery skull. Beneath his chin was a bright red bowtie, and in his right hand he clutched a small bamboo cane. The audience applauded as he did a little bow. They all knew him as V.T. Buffoon, the ringmaster of the Circus. All grew quiet as he spoke. “Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to the circus!” He had a reedy, wavering voice. “Are you ready for tonight’s show? I hope so, because we’re ready for you!” The audience cheered again. “First, let’s give a big welcome to the wise, the wonderful, and the glorious Riskala!” Moments after he spoke, a lithe, agile form glided out from the top of the tent posts, swinging on the trapeze. Tamaru stood looking in wonder as the bluish-green being jumped to the next rope, and swung one, two, three times. Then she let go and let the centripetal force carry her to the first trapeze. She landed with her feet on the bar, like someone standing on a swing. Tamaru could now see the limber performer in her entirety. She was very pretty, and he swore she looked right at him and winked. The crowd of onlookers watched breathlessly as she produced three daggers out of nowhere. Their sharpened blades twinkled in the lights. Then, she leapt from the bar into the air, turning a summersault as flew towards the second trapeze. As she spun about, the three daggers zoomed toward V.T. Each of them went through a correlating hole in his cape. Riskala then landed on the bar as the audience erupted into thunderous applause. She bowed modestly. Tamaru clapped wildly as the acrobat swung once more and disappeared into the shadows of the tent. V.T. once again came out into the center ring. “Let’s hear it again for Risakala!” he cried. After another round of applause, the spoke again. “Now I want you to prepare yourselves for the amazing feats of a being who has dwarfed Tahtorak in strength. Here is an entity that has amazed Artahka himself. Brace yourselves for Turnoc!” The crowd cheered wildly as a massive figure came into the tent. He wore a mixture of pale-blue and lime-green armor, and looked extremely fishlike in appearance. He was definitely lacking in the looks department, but he made up for any of his flaws with his phenomenal strength. In his four arms he carried a gigantic Proto-steel bar, about eight yards in length. He grunted as he dropped it on the ground. Tamaru jumped as he felt the ground tremble slightly. The crowd watched in awe as he began to bend it. It was as though he were working with clay instead of metal. The fish-being did not seem to be under any stress at all. Once he was finished with the metal, he held it up for the crowd to see. It was in the shape of the Matoran Virtues symbol. The crowd cheered wildly. Then there was an earsplitting trumpeting noise. Everyone turned and watched as an enormous Rahi started coming into the tent. It was a massive behemoth, covered in thickly-plated gray armor. A long, tentacle-like trunk swung down near its front legs. A smile beamed on Tamaru’s face. He knew without a doubt that this must be Momus, the largest Pachyderm in recorded history. The Matoran could barely contain himself. He knew what would come next. He had seen it several times, but it kept on getting better and better. The beast lumbered up to Turnoc. Even his might seemed to be dwarfed by the gargantuan creature. Turnoc bent down close to the ground, and allowed Momus to set his thick, tree-trunk legs onto his hands. A clamor of shocked cries rang through the audience. Surely even Turnoc’s hands must have been crushed. But the fish-being didn’t even flinch. What happened next could only be described as a miracle. With hardly any effort at all, the fish-giant lifted Momus over his head. The great beast let out another blast from his trunk and the sound echoed for miles around. Even the enthusiastic screaming of the crowd was overpowered. Turnoc flashed a little sharp-toothed grin at the cheering horde. Tamaru felt exhilarated with glee, even as the strongman set the creature down. Then Turnoc crawled up onto the Pachyderm’s shoulders and rode it out of the ring. V.T. returned to address the screeching crowd. “Quite a feat, no?” he grinned, “Well just wait, for we are only beginning! But just let me remind you that a circus is not just about amazing its audience, it’s about making them laugh as well!” Tamaru sat strait up and listened. He knew who the Skakdi was speaking of.“I’m sure many of you have heard of the next performer and her troop,” continued V.T., “Let’s give a great welcome to Kuto and company!” Moments after he spoke, a small vehicle zoomed into the tent. Its brightly painted surface shone as it putted in circles. Finally it came to a stop. The drivers’ door opened, and a petite Ga-Matoran stepped out, twirling a multi-colored parasol. She wore a strange little bell-shaped hat on her head, and a large red nose on her face. The Ga-Matoran put her fingers to her mouth and let out a shrill whistle. Instantly several other Matoran scattered out of the car. Each one was dressed in different attire that was as ridiculous as the regalia their leader wore. A runty Po-Matoran suddenly tripped a willow Le-Matoran. The green being comically fell to the ground and landed on the prankster. The audience laughed. They watched with glee as Kuto hopped up on the roof of the car and pointed her umbrella at a the Le-Matoran. The green-being instantly produced three red balls from nowhere and began to juggle them. Next the Ga-Matoran pointed at the Po-Matoran, who reached into his coat and pulled out a unicycle. He crawled up on top of it and began to ride around the Le-Matoran. The next being who was called upon was a Matoran of gravity. The bells on his jester’s cap jingled as he began to do cartwheels around the unicycling Po-Matoran. Then Kuto leapt from the top of the car into the center of the commotion. She landed on top of the Le-Matoran, causing him to loose control of the balls. One of the red spheres hit the Po-Matoran on he head, causing him to fall in the path of the cart-wheeling Ba-Matoran. The Ba-Matoran tripped and flopped into the pile of Matoran. The audience roared with laughter. Tamaru laughed so hard that his sides ached. He watched as the four Matoran stood up and bowed, then danced back inside their vehicle. The little contraption circled around the ring before exiting the arena. Shortly afterwards V.T.’s reedy voice echoed through the tent. “What a pleasant act that was,” he said as the audience began to calm down, “They’re such a delight. Speaking of delights, allow me to introduce your next entertainer. Please put your hands together for the world-renowned hypnotist, Dr. Dox.” The crowd clapped as the lights dimmed down. Tamaru watched as a tall, luminescent, pale-blue being stepped out into the ring. His insectoid appearance caused a collective shudder among some of the viewers. He very much resembled some sort of great mantis. He looked out at the crowd, and a small grin appeared on his face. Tamaru found himself looking into the beings large, red eyes. It was hard to look away. Though from a distance they seemed unnerving and even menacing, up close they were pleasant and inviting. Tamaru was shaken out of his stupor when the being spoke. “Ladies and Gentleman,” he said in his hissing, raspy voice, “I would like to thank you for attending, and would also like to request a volunteer from the audience.” He scanned the crowd for anyone with raised hands. The volunteers were far and few between. Some were intimidated by his grotesque exterior. Finally Dr. Dox pointed a jagged claw at a Po-Matoran. “Let’s have you,” he said as he smiled his sharp-toothed smile. All eyes were on the Po-Matoran as he descended down the steps toward the ring. Although he didn’t know him, Tamaru felt sorry for the little Matoran. He seemed dreadfully nervous. Dr. Dox bent over to look his guest in the eye. The moment the Matoran met his gaze his anxiety seemed to melt away. His face took on a relaxed, almost blank expression. “Hello there,” Dox asked in a friendly manner, “What might your name be?” “Elt,” he responded in an almost emotionless manner. Dox stood up to his full height. “Well Elt, would you care to help me with my act?” The Matoran replied by nodding vigorously. Dox produced a small stone from his pocket. It was polished and suspended by a gold chain. “Watch the stone,” said Dox as he began to swing it in front of Elt. The Matoran’s eyes moved from side to side in time with the pendulum-like swings. Soon his eyelids began to droop. Dox spoke in a hushed tone to his assistant. “Now Elt,” he began, “Do you see up there in on the top of that post? Up there is a widget. You may have it if you climb to the top. Do you understand?” The Matoran nodded. He turned and marched toward the post and wrapped his arms around it. The audience watched breathlessly as he fearlessly began to ascend the post. Tamaru was amazed by this spectacle because he had always been afraid of heights himself. Elt continued his climb as though he was completely unaware of the situation. That was the essential premise of the act. Getting people to do things that they would never have done on their own. The Po-Matoran climbed for what seemed to be an eternity, but it was only a few minutes. Finally he reached the top. True to Dox’s word, a small coin was located at the top. Elt took in in one hand and began to descend back down the post. Not a noise was uttered as he did. Everyone was on edge. The little Matoran continued to crawl down until his feet once again touched the ground. He shuffled back to the smiling Dr. Dox. “Good job Elt,” he congratulated, “At the count of three, you will wake up. One, two, three-” The moment the last word left his mouth a look of lucidity returned to Elt’s eyes. He glanced around in confusion. This was normal. Tamaru knew that the Po-Matoran wouldn’t remember the experience he’d just endured. Elt looked up just in time to see the audience cheer. He smiled a little, and started back to his seat. Dox bowed and exited the ring. Tamaru smiled as he clapped. He knew who would be next to perform. His excitement grew as he watched V.T. come out to introduce the next act. The Skakdi cleared his throat and began to speak. “Now that was amazing,” he said, “It just goes to show that anything’s possible. Now, allow me to draw your attention our next performer. I’m sure you’ve all heard of her, and I’m sure you’re eager to meet her. I assure you she’s eager to meet as well. I have the grand pleasure of introducing Lady Akadoor and her Visorak!” As he spoke, the lights began to dim slightly. A single spotlight shown near the back of the tent. The attention of the crowd was locked on that single shaft of light. Then, something emerged. A huge, powerful Kahgarak came skittering into the ring. It had vivid blue and gold armor that sparkled like diamonds. But most of the crowd’s eyes were on the rider. A slender Vortixx stood on the creature’s back, looking at the crowd with glittering sapphire eyes. She was stunningly beautiful, and wore a bright purple costume over her silver and black armor. It consisted of a pair of boots, gloves, and a sort of bodice-like garment. Across her face was a mask that was covered in miniscule gems. A single scarlet plume was placed right between the eyeholes. The Vortixx gave the audience a coy glance. As she rode her steed around the ring, a small army of one-hundred Visorak trailed behind her single file. They remained on the outside of the ring as Lady Akadoor rode out into the middle of the arena. The Vortixx then held out her arms. Everyone watched in utter silence as the Visorak started moving toward her. Tamaru was amazed as the spider-like creatures began to crawl beneath the larger Kahgarak. At first it resembled a jumbled mass of twitching legs and pitted carapaces. The tent was filled with a scratching noise as their exoskeletons rubbed against one another. But slowly it began to take on a more defined shape. The crowd dropped their jaws at what they saw. There in the center of the ring was a massive pyramid of living Visorak. On top of it stood Lady Akadoor and her steed. She smiled down at the awed audience. Tamaru heard a thunderous round of clapping erupt throughout the tent. Then in an impossible feat, the lower levels of the pyramid stood up on their legs and began to carry the living structure out of the tent. As they exited, Akadoor gave the crowd a little wink. Tamaru sighed a little. V.T. once again resumed his position in the center ring. The lights seemed to get even dimmer. “Ladies and Gentleman,” he called out, “Allow me to present you with our grand finale. For centuries, there have been legends of a creature so elusive and magnificent that it had been thought of as a mere myth. Yet even when its name is mentioned, people still feel a twinge of fear. The creature you are about to see is none other than the greatest Rahi to ever roam the planes of existence. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Kardas Dragon!” Suddenly a massive beast came charging into the tent. The audience screamed with fright. Tamaru found himself crying out among them even though he had seen the show several times already. In the center of the ring was a massive reptilian beast, a creature that was so terrifyingly monstrous it would have made the bravest Toa give out a shriek. It opened its mouth and roared, exposing dagger-sized teeth. Its muscular body was covered in a variety of red, blue, silver, and gold armor. It beat its bat-like wings and sent a raging gust of wind into the crowd. Tamaru stared into the eyes of the beast. They glowed a bright red-orange color and peered out at the world with surprising intelligence. The dragon looked down at V.T., who still stood in the center of the ring. A purr-like growl sounded from its throat. All eyes were on the beast as it craned its neck down and allowed the Skakdi to crawl on its shoulders. Then it resumed glaring out at the audience. Then it opened its mouth again to let out a second roar. This time a massive pillar of flickering flames shot forth from its toothy maw. People screamed in terror and delight as it blasted only a few feet over their heads. Tamaru felt the searing heat as it passed. Then he saw V.T. as he stood up on the dragon’s back. He twirled his cane around and around, and there was a sudden explosion of smoke. It cleared as quickly as it had appeared, revealing that the both the dragon and V.T. had disappeared. The crowd began to cheer.