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Different Ignition


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#1 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 22 2013 - 10:39 AM

I've been seeing a lot of opinions fly lately that the Chronicler's Company should have been Toa Inika instead of the ones who were. This gave me an idea and therefore I present: Different Ignition. Let's see how the Chronicler's Company would do as Toa.

 

Also, please post in the Review Topic to let me know how you like the epic! :)

 

Posted Image

 

Chapter 1 - Betrayal

 

Takanuva stared solemnly at the silver sea surrounding Metru Nui, his home city. It was hard for him to accept what he knew - that this very sea and his home would be history in a couple of weeks or months. Mata Nui, the Great Spirit of the universe, was dying. And there was nothing Takanuva could do.

 

Not that no one had taken action to save the universe. The elders of Metru Nui, the Turaga, had dispatched the Toa Nuva, six great heroes, to an island  called Voya Nui. A Mask of Life was said to exist on this island and it would be the only hope for the Great Spirit. Being a Toa protector himself, Takanuva would have wanted to join his comrades on this journey. The Turaga, however, had insisted that he stay behind to protect the city from other threats in case the Toa Nuva succeeded.

 

Nothing had been heard from the Toa Nuva in many days. Takanuva felt frustration over this. Something had obviously gone wrong, or else the Toa Nuva would have returned. He felt responsible for all this. Perhaps he could have made a difference in whatever battle the Toa Nuva had gotten themselves into, and saved a universe. Now all was doomed to destruction.

 

"It's not like you gazing at the sea like this", Macku said a bit playfully. Takanuva turned to meet eyes with his friend. None of the Matoran on Metru Nui knew about the inevitable doom of the universe. The Turaga had wanted to avoid mass hysteria. Thus Macku was as happy as always, cheerfully consulting her friend.

 

"I know... these are not ordinary circumstances", Takanuva replied, trying to hide his worry. But Macku was too good at seeing through others. She immediately grasped that something was wrong.

 

"You haven't looked like that since Jaller died... did someone die?"

 

"No...", Takanuva began. Then he suddenly got an impulse. This was very usual for Takanuva, for he was a very impulsive thinker. But this impulse made a lot of sense. Why should he keep secrets from his friend?

 

"Someone is about to die, Macku", Takanuva said. "The Great Spirit. Mata Nui is dying."

 

Macku wasn't sure what to make of Takanuva's words. They had come suddenly, out of nowhere. Was this related to the fact that the Toa Nuva had not been seen in a long time?

 

"The Toa Nuva?" Macku asked. "Are they..."

 

"On a mission to save the universe", Takanuva replied. "But they should be back by now. And all because I wasn't there to help them... I feel bad, Macku. I'm sorry I told you all this."

 

"I feel you haven't told enough yet", Macku said. "I still don't understand. Why is Mata Nui dying? How do the Toa Nuva think they can save us?"

 

Takanuva hesitated for a moment, then told Macku everything. Everything about the signs in the stars the Turaga had spotted, signs that proved Mata Nui was in bad health. He also told about the Mask of Life and Voya Nui, and the Toa Nuva's departure. When he was done, he looked at Macku. Instead of panic, Macku's mask displayed determination.

 

"Then there is only one thing to do", Macku said. "If we are all about to die anyway, there is nothing to lose. Someone has to go that island and save the Toa Nuva... or get the Mask of Life."

 

"I will do it", Takanuva said. "Despite what the Turaga think, I should help my friends."

 

"You can't do it alone", Macku insisted. "You are a powerful Toa, yes, but unity is what makes us strong... don't worry, I will arrange some help."

 

"I can't imagine who you could ask", Takanuva said. "Certainly not the Turaga."

 

"You'll see...", Macku said, with a hint of playfulness in her voice. "You might not be that surprised once you see."

 

 

Is this story worth continuing? Please give some feedback in the Review Topic. Next: Chapter 2 and a travel into the darkness...

 

Review Topic


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Oct 31 2013 - 01:39 AM.

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#2 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 22 2013 - 04:05 PM

Chapter 2 - Into the Darkness

 

"This is incredible!" Taipu said with enthusiasm. "I can't believe we're actually doing this."

 

"This is not a chill-journey", Tamaru said uncharacteristically sternly. "The universe is in dark-peril. The dark-sleep threaten Mata Nui, and us too."

 

Macku could see Taipu's disappointment in the seriousness of others, but could not help agreeing with Tamaru. The Chronicler's Company was once again whole, sure, but the reason for that was dark and not at all pleasant. They had decided to go to Voya Nui themselves to save the Toa Nuva.

 

"This brings back memories", Takanuva said. "The six of you and myself, together again. If only infected Rahi were the most of our problems now."

 

"Whatever we will face now, we can handle", Hafu said. "If you get scared, Taipu, stay beside me. I'll not let one single attack get past me."

 

"I am fine with self-defence", Taipu replied. "Turaga Whenua says that my strength is unmatched among the Onu-Matoran. And Onepu always makes me do tasks that require strength."

 

"Yeah, because you agree to do it", Hafu said.

 

Takanuva suddenly stopped. Taipu didn't notice and hit the Toa of Light, then fell back. Hafu, Tamaru and Macku laughed gently. Kapura gave a smile. Kopeke was not paying attention to Taipu at all. He was looking at the same thing Takanuva was.

 

"A tunnel", Takanuva reported. "A dark one. We will have to go through it. There's no other way."

 

"Sounds dark-gloomy", Tamaru commented. "Why did we choose this route-path anyway?"

 

"The other choice would have been to go back to Mata Nui and use a boat to sail to Voya Nui", Macku said. "It's supposed to be in the sea above, the island."

 

Hafu shuddered a little. "Yeah. Sailing and water. Maybe this way will be more dry, at least. I'll take a few dark, dangerous tunnels over getting wet any day."

 

"I will go ahead and investigate", Takanuva told the others. "I am the Toa of Light, and so I am better equipped for the task. You stay here."

 

The others nodded. Takanuva used his power to create an aura of light around himself. Then he entered the tunnel, senses at alert. As soon as he was inside the tunnel, the aura of light vanished and nothing could bring it back. Takanuva shuddered. How was this possible?

 

The Matoran noticed the same phenomenon.

 

"Wasn't he supposed to be one of the most powerful Toa around?" Macku wondered. "Shouldn't his light penetrate any darkness?"

 

"The light must be absorbed", Kapura analyzed. "Hunger can consume everything, from food to hope... and light."

 

"Yeah, whatever", Hafu said. "I think we should go in after him. If he's gone, we'll want to know what he's gotten into, at least."

 

"After you", Tamaru joked. Hafu made a posture and was about to walk right in, when he was stopped by Kopeke.

 

"Don't", he said. Everyone turned to look at him. Kopeke rarely spoke, which was often interpreted as being rude. However, Kopeke was just quite shy. Kopeke speaking up meant that he had something important to share. "We should take precaution. So we don't lose each other."

 

"He's got a point", Taipu said. "If we lose unity, we lose everything. Maybe we should hold hands or something?"

 

"Let's do it", Macku agreed. "We will go in together."

 

The Matoran held hands and entered the tunnel. As soon as they entered, they could not hear anything. It wasn't only light that was being extinguished. Sound was consumed as well. The Matoran continued on, regardless. Kopeke could not help feeling cold, despite being a Ko-Matoran. Something about this place seemed out of place. He knew they were walking into something dangeorus, maybe incredibly so. Soon they saw light ahead, however, and found themselves on the other side. Takanuva was already there, happy to see his friends emerge from the darkness.

 

"I was about to turn back to get you", Takanuva said. "But you are resourceful as always, it seems."

 

"What is this place?" Taipu wondered aloud. "It looks so barren, so ancient! It's so fascinating!"

 

The area they were standing in was surrounded by a violent sea. Ahead of them was a bridge leading across the sea to a landmass on the other side. Behind them, the tunnel of darkness stood as it had been.

 

"I'm not going back into that tunnel", Macku said. "Might as well continue."

 

"Let's go then", Takanuva said. "But be alert. This place is unknown to us. We could encounter anything."

 

To be continued. Please review and give some criticism. It's what I feed on. :)


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#3 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 28 2013 - 02:12 PM

Chapter 3 - Path of Darkness

 

"I don't understand", Takanuva scoffed. His hand was touching an unseen surface, an energy field of some sort. The Matoran were on the other side. They had passed through with no problems, but Takanuva could not find a way to join his friends. They were effectively separated.

 

Kapura stared at the archway under which the barrier was. He mumbled to himself for a while, then said: "It doesn't allow Takanuva to pass... perhaps because he is a Toa?"

 

"Or a being of bright-light", Tamaru suggested. "Look around. Everything is deep-dark. There is no sun in the sky, no stars to bright-shine the ground." 

 

"I'm afraid you may be correct", Kopeke commented. "Look at the symbols carved in the archway. Turaga Nuju used similar to describe shadow and death."

 

"Let's go back", Macku said. "It's too freaky. And if Takanuva can't pass..."

 

Macku was stopped from returning by the invisible barrier. Her heart sank. If the barrier kept the Matoran from getting back, that meant they would have to go on without Takanuva. And that might be suicidal."

 

Hafu took a running start and jumped at the barrier. He bumped into the invisible force field and fell back, cursing. Taipu stiffled a giggle, but returned solemn after that. "We can't get back", he said, repeating the obvious.

 

"Stay here", Takanuva said. "I'll go get help and maybe..."

 

"No, don't bother", Macku said. "I think we should go on despite this. There's no way across the barrier, so we're stuck here anyway... we might as well make the best of it."

 

"Yeah", Taipu added in agreement. "We are strong because we're together. We can face whatever is ahead of us."

 

Takanuva found this hard to accept. It was Kapura who finally managed to convince him. "If we stop here, our past efforts will be in vain. The Turaga have taught us much, including the importance of going on despite setbacks. Go back to Metru Nui and tell the Turaga what has happened. We will move on and take whatever we must face with honor."

 

"Then... good luck to you all", Takanuva said, struggling to hide the sadness from his voice.

 

"We won't need luck", Hafu bragged. "Now go."

 

"Speed to your journey, Toa of Light", Kapura added.

 

No more goodbyes were shared. Takanuva turned back after taking one last look at the Matoran he had befriended so long ago and who he had had so many adventures with. They were all good Matoran, and now he could only hope and ask for the Great Spirit to keep them safe. It was no easier for the Matoran, especially Taipu, who had often looked up to Takanuva as an idol. He loved adventure, but without one of his best friends, much would be taken out of the excitement.

 

"We don't have all day", Hafu said. "Let's get going."

 

*

 

The Matoran had walked only a short while when they saw something ahead of them, in the middle of the path. It was another Matoran, battered and twisted in a horrible way, but still a Matoran.

 

"Who is that?" were Taipu's words. Macku decided to take another approach.

 

"Hey! Who are you?" she cried out to the stranger. The Matoran, obviously frightened, ran away along the path.

 

"Oh great, you scared him!" Hafu snorted. "You don't deal with new contacts like that."

 

"Yeah, you're so great with Matoran yourself, Hafu", Macku snapped. "How was I supposed to know he would scurry off like that?"

 

"He's climbing up the mountain", Kapura said. "There's one ahead."

 

"How do you know?" Taipu asked.

 

"I was there", Kapura said. "It is useful to be able to go there where you are not. There is something for you others to learn as well."

 

*

 

Kapura had been right. Just a short walk took the Matoran to the base of a mountain. They started climbing it, although not seeing the top made it feel like an endless ordeal. Taipu and Hafu had no trouble scaling the mountainside, but Tamaru was very reluctant by every cliff he got on top of. Kopeke realized the reason for that: Tamaru was afraid of heights. Even in their quest to find Kini-Nui back on the island of Mata Nui, Tamaru had been very nervous about swinging on a vine across a chasm. He had done it in the end, however, conquering his fear. He still had it, though, and the mountain was much higher this time.

 

"Don't worry, Tamaru. I'm right behind you", Kopeke said reassuringly. This shook Tamaru on the inside. Kopeke nearly spoke much, especially something with so much comfort and care in it. The fact that Kopeke was showing his support for the frightened Le-Matoran was very touching. Tamaru tried to say somethin gin response, but the heights made it too difficult.

 

"No need to answer", Kopeke said. "Sometimes words are useless."

 

"You hear that?" Macku interrupted the moment. "I can hear some scuttling sounds... like crabs or something."

 

"No crab sounds like that", Taipu said. "Believe me, I know Ussals."

 

"There are other crabs that Ussals, miner", Hafu said sternly. "This sounds like something big, though. Maybe if we can find its hiding place, I can take it on."

 

Any theories on crabs were instantly forgotten as the Matoran they had seen earlier appeared on a ledge. Hafu gave Macku a harsh looking, signaling for her to be quiet. Macku simply snorted in return.

 

"Hello", Hafu said to the Matoran who was still quite far higher than they were. "I am Hafu, master carver from the great City of Legends and this is my group. Who are...?"

 

"YOUR group?" Taipu said. "Haha, if Takua... I mean Takanuva were here to hear this..."

 

"Whatever, I'm just trying to consult him, okay?" Hafu said, annoyed. The strange Matoran beckoned for them.

 

"See? He's already more receptive", Hafu said. That was when the scuttling noices grew louder. Soon three Manas crabs appeared underneath the Matoran, regarding them as they were sandwiches on a plate. That was enough to make even Tamaru scurry higher up on the same level as the strange Matoran.

 

"Manas... incredible", Kapura said. "The Toa Mata defeated a horde of Manas, I remember. Down in Mangai, as Toa Kaita."

 

"We are not Toa, and certainly not Kaita", Tamaru said. "Let's get away from them."

 

When they were all on the same cliff as the strange Matoran, more Manas appeared behind them. The Matoran beckoned for the Chronicler's Company to follow him through a path winding down the other side of the mountain.

 

"Looks like we don't have many options", Macku said. "We'd better follow this Matoran or else face the Manas behind us. I wonder why they aren't attacking, though."

 

"Just be happy about that fact", Tamaru said. "Now let's mountain-walk."

 

Next: Karzahni! And as always, reviews are appreciated. :)


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#4 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 30 2013 - 10:33 AM

Chapter 4 - Realm of Rebuild

 

It was horrible. More than horrible... it was sickening and beyond anything the Matoran had ever seen before.

 

The Chronicler's Company had been following the strange, twisted Matoran for some time before arriving in this dark canyon. Waterfalls with dust instead of water roared in the distance. The ground screamed at each step taken. Twisted Matoran with hollow eyes labored ceaselessly and silently all around. A volcano that erupted solid ice was nearby. In the middle of all was a castle that looked like it had been drawn from a nightmare or Makuta's darkness.

 

"Nice", Tamaru said. The others looked at him in disbelief. "I was being deep-sarcastic, come on!"

 

"Well, we would be getting out of this place the first thing if the Manas still weren't blocking our way back", Macku said. "As things stand, we can only travel ahead and hope there's another cavern leading out of this place."

 

"They are without hope", Kapura said.

 

"Who?" Taipu asked.

 

"He's talking about the Matoran, miner", Hafu said. "And they do seem a bit... depressed. Or mentally absent."

 

"No. They have lost hope and thus have lost everything", Kapura said.

 

"Okayyyyyy, let's get out of here!" Taipu said. "Before something or someone decides to steal our hope as well."

 

"That would be me, Matoran."

 

The Chorincler's Company turned towards the castle in the middle of the canyon. A huge being was approaching from that direction. He was a hulking brute with silver armor, obviously scorched by all the heat around. He carried a long chain that seemed to burn all on its own. The worst of all was the Kanohi mask the being wore, which looked like it had patched up from four different masks. Behind the mask, dark-red eyes glowed expressionlessly. His voice was very quiet, almost as if he hadn't been using it for a long while.

 

"Welcome to Karzahni, Matoran", he said with a whisper. "No one has come in thousands of years... they must have forgotten this realm."

 

"K-Karzahni?!" Taipu exclaimed. "I know that word. I'm sure Turaga Whenua has mentioned it once or twice..."

 

"The opposite of the Great Refuge", Kapura said grimly. "A place of ending plight and flame..."

 

"We are on our way to Voya Nui", Hafu said, stepping forward boldly. He did fear the bizarre realm and its even more bizarre ruler, but he was not going to show it. After all, he was THE Hafu, master carver of Po-Koro and later Po-Metru. He would not falter under any circumstance or danger.

 

"Voya Nui?" Karzahni wondered aloud, though silently.

 

"Yes, an island south from Metru Nui, above in the ocean", Hafu continued. "We do not wish to stay in your realm, we are..."

 

"But you shall", Karzahni whispered. "You are here for a reason, Matoran. You will not leave. As for the strange names you mentioned... what is Voya Nui? Or Metru Nui?"

 

"Have you been living in a cave?" Hafu retorded. Then, after glanicng around, he added: "Oh, I guess you have..."

 

"Won't it be nice to wipe out that arrogant attitude out of you along with your mask", Karzahni sighed. "It is the first step of you settling here. I must change your masks, to make you part of my workforce."

 

With that, another twisted Matoran approached, carrying six strange masks that seemed organic rather than metallic. They looked like creatures, and ugly ones at that. Putting on one was the last thing any of the Chronicler's Company wanted to do. None of them believed that they had any other choice, however.

 

"No way I'm putting one of those on", Macku said, disgusted. "You call those masks?"

 

"Switch your masks", Karzahni commanded. "Or suffer the consequences."

 

"I always did want a new head-style...", Tamaru murmured, taking off his mask. Others followed him, except for Hafu.

 

"You... you cannot tell me what to do", Hafu said, trying to appear fearless. Without saying anything, Karzahni fixed his gaze on Hafu, even as his mask began to glow. All of a sudden, Hafu found himself back on the island of Mata Nui, on Kini-Nui. He looked around and saw his comrades, the Chronicler's Company, dead. A huge swarm of Nui-Rama was assaulting the Kini-Nui. Muaka, Nui-Jaga and Tarakava attacked from the woods, all bent on destroying the Great Temple. Hafu tried to throw disks at them, but it was no use. The Rahi pushed past him and assaulted the temple. The great structure fell as it was being pounded by the Rahi. Hafu screamed in protest.

 

That was not the end of the vision. Hafu could see into the future of this alternate world. The Toa Mata, with their only escape route blocked, were trapped in Mangaia. They succesfully defeated Makuta, but that was not enough. The Bohrok were awakened and released on Mata Nui. The Toa Mata were killed while trying to stop the swarms from reaching the surface. The Matoran, on the other hand, soon found themselves being assaulted by the Bohrok. They brought down mountains, dried rivers, burned forests... and they destroyed the Koro. In the end, the Matoran were left homeless... and eventually died slowly and painfully due to the lack of resources available.

 

Hafu woke up from the horrifying world he had been in. He was shaking. Never had he known that the mission of the Chronicler's Company had been so vital... he had never even suspected that their failure, just of six Matoran, would result in such a horrifying alternate timeline.

 

Shaken from the vision, Hafu silently took off his mask. Kapura, while feeling sorry for his Po-Matoran friend, silently hoped that he would at last learn some humility from this experience.

 

Next: The Company finds a secret and escapes Karzahni!


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Mar 30 2013 - 10:34 AM.

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#5 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Mar 31 2013 - 03:40 AM

Chapter 5 - Salvation

 

The Company was directed to a huge forge with blazing flames reaching out from its depths.

 

"You are to tend to the fires", Karzahni whispered. "You will relieve the Matoran working there from their duties."

 

"Why all this fire?" Macku asked. "What are you using it for?"

 

"You are but the first of many", Karzahni replied. "I must prepare for the new waves to come."

 

"That made no mind-sense at all", Tamaru said under his breath.

 

The Company had no other choice but to enter the forge. Kopeke especially had a hard time adjusting to the incredible heat. Macku too was having a hard time breathing.

 

"We can't... do this... forever", Macku stammered. Taipu looked at her, concerned.

 

"We haven't even started", he said. "This place is giving me the creeps. And these new masks... ew. They feel alive, somehow."

 

"We should get out of here", Macku continued. "We need to make a plan... where's Kapura?"

 

Taipu smiled. "Kapura, that good old fire freaky. He's scouting again, I'm sure. Or being somewhere where he's not... I'm not sure how that works, though."

 

"Turaga Vakama taught me well", Kapura suddenly said. No one was quite sure how he had gone and returned without anyone noticing, but that didn't quite matter, for Kapura had some good news.

 

"There's an old workshop nearby" he reported. "I met a Matoran there, and he spoke to me about Toa Canisters... are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

 

Macku nodded. "The Toa Nuva. Maybe they landed here?"

 

"If we can find the Toa, everything will be fine", Taipu said. "They can face Karzahni and the Manas."

 

During all this time, Hafu had been unusually silent. The others noted this but decided to keep quiet about the matter. There was some inner contemplation Hafu was going through. Now, however, he spoke again.

 

"Let's get going then... and quickly, before Karzahni knows we're gone."

 

*

 

Kapura lead the team to the old workshop. As the group entered, they found it completely abandoned except for one twisted Matoran waiting for them. "Where are the Toa?" Taipu asked with excitement.

 

"Toa?" the weird Matoran repeated. "Oh, you mean the canisters."

 

"We are talking about the contents", Tamaru said. "The ones who quick-travelled in them?"

 

The Matoran laughed. "The canisters were made by me and my brothers, and since then, no one has entered them. They are not for any Toa to enter, but for the six destined ones: Lewa, Gali, Onua, Pohatu, Kopaka and their leader, Tahu."

 

"Those are the Toa we are looking for", Macku silently gasped.

 

"Can we see the canisters?" Hafu asked. "They must be something spectacular, having survived all these years... and pristine, since no one has entered them."

 

"Oh yes! Yes!" the twisted Matoran said. "They are still as good as new, for I have been maintaining them, in secret from the Karzahni. You never know when a Toa will need to travel."

 

The Matoran lead the Company down a staircase into a small cavern. There six Toa canisters floated on the water, looking indeed as good as new. A waterway tunnel was leading from the cavern to... somewhere. As things stood, the Company demmed every alternative place better than this one, so it made little difference where the tunnel lead.

 

"We can use these to escape!" Taipu cried in delight.

 

"No one escapes Karzahni", Karzahni's silent voice managed to boom in the small place. The Matoran turned to see the hulking figure in the same cavern with them, eyes filled with rage. His chains were burning brighter than ever.

 

"Thank you for leading me here", he continued. "Now that I know about this place, I can easily destroy those canisters and reclaim you. You are mine. You belong to me."

 

"We will not surrender at this stage!" Taipu said defiantly. He decided it was his turn to face Karzahni's wrath, sparing Hafu from such a thing again. Hafu realized this and regretted all the times he had insulted the miner. He was truly his friend. 

 

"Beware", Karzahni bellowed, his voice growing louder. "I could easily give you visions that would be enough to tear your feeble minds to shreds!"

 

"Then do it!", Taipu pushed on. "Give us the most horrifying vision you can think of! Prove that it actually means something!"

 

"He's lost his mind...", Kopeke said, dumbstruck.

 

Karzahni's eyes flashed with rage as he activated his ancient Kanohi Olisi, Mask of Alternate Futures once more, enveloping everyone present in a vision.

 

The Matoran found themselves back on Metru Nui. The twin suns had gone dark, the only light coming from lightstones scattered around the city, but fading fast. The sea was roaring and trying to swallow the city. The ground beneath the Coliseum cracked and gave away, consuming the great structure along with the Turaga who dwelled inside.

 

Lightning crackled and the earth shook. Matoran were crying in panic and running here and there, trying to escape their doom.

 

Mata Nui was dead.

 

Some Matoran would survive for a while, some would die immediately. Many took boats and tried to sail away to find a safe place, but it was all in vain. A group of Matoran hid in the Great Furnace of Ta-Metru, trying to keep the fires alive. Eventually they too were swallowed by the hungry sea.

 

The universe was ceasing to be and even Takanuva's power could not save one single life. He too gave up in despair, surrendering himself to the currents...

 

The vision adruptly ended. The Matoran felt heartsick. The vision had been so horrible, and the possibility of it becoming reality was too much to take. More than ever the Chronicler's Company gained determination. The Toa Nuva had to be saved, or else there would be no one to find the Mask of Life. Or if the Toa Nuva were dead... the Company would do all it could do continue the mission.

 

Surprisingly, it was Karzahni who was most shocked by the vision. "Mata Nui...", he breathed. "Such power... such influence... if he dies, everything will... even my realm..."

 

"Quick, get into the canisters", Kopeke ordered. Due to years of meditation and training at mental discipline, his mind came through the vision fairly unscathed, though it had sickened him as well as the others. For similar reasons, Kapura was the first to enter a canister.

 

"Come with us!" Macku urged the twisted Matoran who had lead them here.

 

"No", the Matoran replied. "It is not my destiny, but yours. Go and do whatever you can to save the Great Spirit. As horrible as the vision was, there remains hope. Mata Nui is still alive, and something can be done. My part has been done, when I showed you these canisters. I will be waiting for the future. Now go!"

 

"Come on!" Tamaru shouted from his canister. Macku was running to the last empty one when Karzahni gained his composure. "You will not leave!" he yelled. "You tricked me!"

 

Karzahni swung his chain at Macku and her canister, but the twisted Matoran suddenly bolted forward and hit the chains. The impact was enough to hurl the chain from its course, sparing Macku and giving her time to crawl into the canister. But everyone present also saw that the Matoran was died. He had sacrificed his life to save a stranger.

 

"No...", Macku whimpered.

 

"Let's go!" Hafu shouted, closing his canister and speeding away. The others followed, with Macku silently asking the Great Spirit to watch over the dead Matoran's spirit. He had done as much as anyone else to save the Great Spirit that day, and Macku vowed he would not be forgotten.

 

Next: Arrival to Voya Nui and the Chronicler's Company as TOA INIKA!

 

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Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Mar 31 2013 - 11:13 AM.

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#6 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Apr 01 2013 - 02:37 PM

Chapter 6 - Toa Inika

 

The crackling of lightning.

 

Roaring sea.

 

Hafu felt sick inside his canister. As a Po-Matoran, he was not used to being around water. Travelling this way was more than he could take. The canister heaved this way and that as the violent seas tossed it around. Outside, Hafu could hear the storm growing in intensity. He had never experienced such a violent storm beofre, even on the island of Mata Nui.

 

Up in the cosmos, where none of the Matoran could currently see, the Red Star that had been used to predict prophecies glew bright. A thunderbolt shot down from its direction, splitting into six forks of lightning midway. Each bolt struck one of the canisters in the sea.

 

Hafu felt a jolt of pain, as electricity coursed through the canister and his body. The sensation changed soon, with his whole form seeming to grow in size and strength. He felt himself being drastically energized.

 

The last sensation was that of the canister hitting the shore of an island.

 

Hafu expected himself to be injured or paralyzed, but it appeared that was not the case. He actually felt more powerful than ever before. Opening the canister lid, he crawled out to find himself standing on an icy beach, with a storm raging on around him, It was dark, but he could see his friends coming out of their own canisters. He could swear he had never seen them before, however. Once they had been Matoran, but now they were much taller, clad in shining, sleek armor and carrying huge weapons found from within the canisters themselves.

 

"T-Toa?" Hafu wondered aloud. "You have become Toa?"

 

"I can say the same thing about you", Kapura said.

 

Hafu looked down at himself. It was true - he had become a Toa as well. He carried a huge axe in his hands, which seemed to crackle with energy. His Kanohi still felt organic, but it fit his face much better.

 

"I can't believe this!" Taipu exclaimed in awe. "I'm a Toa! How is this possible! I'm really a Toa!"

 

"We can be sure about one thing", Kapura said. "Whatever we have faced as Matoran will be nothing compared to what we are going to face now. For it is the burden we must carry for destiny."

 

"Why so negative?" Macku asked. "Aren't you excited? I mean, we have watched the Toa Nuva perform heroic deeds for so long... haven't you ever wished for the same kind of power? Now we can explore places no Matoran could ever hope to."

 

"That's right!" Taipu shouted and swung his Laser Drill at the ground to try out his powers. The drill slammed into the icy ground and created a violent explosion with rocks flying in every direction. Taipu withdrew his drill and took a step back in awe.

 

"As Taipu demonstrates, we do not only have the power, but responsibility with it", Kapura said. "I assume we are on Voya Nui now... and whoever stopped the Toa Nuva must still be here as well."

 

"We don't know what happened to the Nuva", Tamaru said.

 

"They didn't return", Macku said grimly. "So I doubt they succeeded."

 

"We must be on guard", Kopeke said quietly.

 

"And explore this island!" Taipu added. "Imagine, a whole new island we've never seen before."

 

"Let's get to it, then", Macku said. "I think we should find shelter first, though, where we can analyze all that has happened."

 

*

 

The new Toa walked further inland through the icy beach area. They soon found themselves in a desert filled with canyons and craggy surfaces. It was a terrain only a Rahi goat could love.

 

"So much stone to carve from", Hafu mused. "The carvers here must have material for great sculptures... if there are any Matoran here, that is."

 

"I found a tunnel-cave we can sit-rest in for a while", Tamaru said.

 

"Okay, but not for long", Taipu said. "I wanna see this island as quick as possible."

 

Once in the cave, Macku spoke up. "It's very stormy outside. Maybe we should wait here till it's over so we can see better?"

 

"A little storm is not going to stop us, now is it?" Hafu said, his old self penetrating his behavior for the first time since seeing Karzahni's vision.

 

"Every Ga-Matoran knows that sailing in a storm may be your last", Macku said. "And that might as well apply with walking."

 

"I wonder what mask powers we have", Taipu wondered aloud. "And how long it will take us to find out about them. I mean, the Toa Metru were said to have to learn them the hard way."

 

"These are unlike any masks I have seen before", Kapura said. "They are all mushy and of strange shapes... probably exclusive to Karzahni's realm."

 

"I just can't wait to find...", Taipu started, then screamed as he was apparently hurled straight at the ceiling of the cave. He hit it hard, but wasn't seriously injured, being of a tough sort. The others gasped, though.

 

"What was that high-jump?" Tamaru asked. "How did you do it?"

 

Tamaru suddenly staggered back. He could hear Taipu's voice telling about how he had no idea why he had flown against the ceiling. The problem was, Taipu was not speaking those words. He was still cradling his head. Though Tamaru could hear him. At the same time, he could hear all of the other Toa and their thoughts. It was even a little maddening.

 

"What's with him?" Hafu asked silently. "Tamaru... he's got a problem or something."

 

"Their mask powers", Kapura suddenly said. "It must be."

 

"But how?" Macku wondered. "Toa do not learn new mask powers that quickly if they have no one to guide them."

 

"But we do", Kapura said. "These masks felt like alive from the start... it is possible they are guiding us."

 

"They're alive, then?" Kopeke asked.

 

"Could be", Kapura said. "It explains what's going on around us... Kopeke!"

 

Everyone turned to look at Kopeke, who had apparently fallen unconscious.

 

"What happened to him?" Hafu asked. "And how can we stop all this madness?"

 

"Guys, can't you see him?" Macku asked. "Floating in the air?"

 

Hafu stared at Macku with disbelief. Kapura seemed to understand, though. "You can see him?"

 

"Yeah!" Macku said. "He's telling me that his spirit suddenly took on a form if its own, separate from his body. But he can't control it. Says it must be his mask power or something, but he's having difficulties turning it off."

 

"As am I", Tamaru muttered, struggling to stop the thoughts of everyone present from filling his mind.

 

"Well this is going to get interesting...", Hafu muttered.

 

Next: The Toa Inika's first confrontation with Piraka! Don't miss it.


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#7 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Apr 10 2013 - 10:21 AM

Chapter 7 - Face of Evil

 

To the surprise of the Toa, mornings on the island of Voya Nui were no more peaceful than the storym nights. The rain and thunder had calmed down, but clouds still blocked the sun.

 

"I long-miss Mata Nui", Tamaru sighed. "Even with Makuta-shadow, we had tree-bright days."

 

"Everything is clear", Kapura said. "Let's go."

 

The company walked along the rocky terrain of Voya Nui. In the distance they could see a volcano, apparently active. Beside that, there was not much on the island. Kopeke doubted anyone lived on this miserable rock. Then again, something had stopped the Toa Nuva. Or maybe the island itself had defeated them?

 

"That's a neat mask power you got", Taipu told Kopeke. "To soar in the sky as a spirit! Mata Nui, I'd love to try that!"

 

Kopeke didn't say anything. It was not his thing to have conversations. He did give Taipu a smile, though. But an expression of worry soon took over.

 

"This isn't about cool mask powers", Macku said. "We must find - AGH!"

 

The other Toa grouped around Macku. She shook them off.

 

"No, it's alright... I just... had this sudden pain in my head."

 

"The same type Taipu gets from trying to think?" Hafu teased. Taipu gave him an annoyed glance.

 

"I'm sure it's nothing", Macku said. "Let's keep going."

 

Although the group resumed their journey, Macku's headache was not forgotten. Perhaps something had attacked her telepathically? It was certainly a possibility. Macku herself had a strange feeling the pain was connected to her mask, though she was not sure why... maybe it was the fact that the mask seemed to cling onto her if she touched it?

 

*

 

Nearby Piruk, one of the last remaining free Matoran on the island, ran for his life. He could hear Reidak and Vezok chasing him. Not long ago, those two Piraka had let all of the six Voya Nui resistance team members escape, due to an accident. Piruk had gone spying on the fearsome Piraka Stronghold, but had gone too close. Reidak had spotted him with his infrared vision, and Vezok had joined the hunt.

 

Piruk had tried hiding behind rocks, but the Piraka knew where he was all the time. He was not sure how. He was sure, though, that eventually he would end up Piraka-bones.

 

*

.

"Who is that?" Macku wondered as Piruk appeared from behind a large boulder.

 

"A Le-Matoran!" Tamaru recognized. "Brother Matoran, who are you?"

 

Piruk tripped over in surprise at the new Toa. Before he could say anything, Reidak and Vezok dashed into sight. Piruk shouted "Help!" in desperation.

 

"Bad guys!" Taipu said. "At least, I think so."

 

"With those glowing teeth and sharp-edged spines... and the fact they are harrassing a Matoran... I'm ready to bet that much", Hafu said.

 

"Can we defeat them?" Kopeke stammered. "We just became Toa..."

 

Hafu was already charging at the two Piraka, Laser Axe at the ready. Vezok and Reidak paused in their tracks. A new team of Toa was a very unexpected and unwelcome sight. Not long ago the Piraka had defeated six Toa Nuva who had come looking for the Mask of Life. The Piraka, thieves and murderers who had enslaved the Matoran of Voya Nui, were also after the mask. With them controlling the island without interference from anyone but six free Matoran, the only thing keeping them from the mask was the secrecy of its location. Still, on an island without considerable opponents, the Piraka seemed to have all the time they needed.

 

"What is it with this island becoming a gathering spot for wannabe-heores?" grumbled Vezok.

 

"Beats me", Reidak said. "But it matters not... remember what we did to the previous ones."

 

Hafu stopped in surprise. "The previous ones? There are Toa here?!"

 

"Were", Vezok said with a grin. "And soon you will be joining them, unless you heed my advice now and turn back. This is not an island for weaklings like you."

 

Hafu's eyes blazed like they were Ta-Matoran's. He was a master carver, he had helped the Toa Mata at Kini-Nui against Rahi, he had saved Po-Koro from a swarm of Bohrok. There was no way he would let himself being treated a weakling. He suddenly felt his mask unlocking its power for him. Then, with amazing accuracy, he swung his axe and caught Reidak in the chest, sending him crashing into Vezok and making both fall.

 

"Never weaklins", Hafu said. "You sure were in for a surprise, weren't you?"

 

Vezok pushed Reidak off him and gazed at Hafu. His impact vision did its magic, making Hauf feel like he was being punched by Onua Nuva himself. Hafu yelled and fell. Although it was only a sensation of an impact, not an actual physical attack, it made him lose his concentration.

 

"We must help him!" Taipu shouted and leaped forward. Due to his increased size, he tumbled face-first into a pile of mud. Reidak stood up and walked beside the new Toa of Earth, laughing.

 

"You make good comic relief Toa, although you lack in heroism."

 

Taipu stood up, spitting mud as he did so. Reidak did not wait for him to regain his senses. Instead, he punched the Toa of Earth with great force. Amazingly, Taipu did not fall this time. He simply shrugged off the impact.

 

"Once a lot of rocks fell on my head", Taipu said. The tone of his voice was very serious, contradictory to the actual content of the words. "They did not hurt me much. You think you can?"

 

Reidak punched Taipu again in the stomach. This time Taipu felt pain, but would not topple down that easily. As a Matoran, he had been the most powerful one around and would not falter even when fighting a Rahi ten times his size. He was able to lift boulders easily five times his weight. As a Toa, his power had dramatically increased, and the new Toa armor gave him even more resistance against attacks. He had become a powerhouse.

 

Taipu made a move himself, pushing shoving Reidak with his powerful claws. Reidak was surprised at the strength of this Toa as he fell on his back. He got up quickly again, however, and used his drill to soften the ground under Taipu. Being very heavy, Taipu started sinking into the ground. Taipu cried out.

 

The other Toa leaped into action now. Kapura used his ability to move fast by moving slowly to collide with Vezok and send him sprawling. Macku advanced, remembering that all Toa had elemental powers. She struggled to call upon for the first time the forces of water. To her shock, when she managed to launch a sphere of water at Vezok, it was not only water but also electricity that splashed the Piraka. Vezok had been prepared for a water blast, but the lightning within the attack jolted him powerfully.

 

Macku herself was as shocked as anyone. "What was that? I shot electricity at him, although I should only control water."

 

"You did shot water too", Kopeke said. "You used both. I wonder..."

 

Kopeke tapped into his newfound powers as well, aming it at the ground under Vezok. His power formed a sheet of ice under the Piraka, that made him slide against a rock. All the while the ice kept zapping him. Kopeke's elemental powers were interlaced with lightning as well!

 

"That's strange", Macku said. "We have living masks and lightning powers with our normal elements. I surely never thought being a Toa would feel like this."

 

Meanwhile Taipu was almost completely swallowed by Reidak's quicksand pit. Then he remembered that he had a mask power that might offer escape. A moment's thought sent Taipu flying out of the pit above the Piraka. Reidak gasped in surprise. A Toa of Earth who flew? That was something new, even to him.

 

Taipu cut off the power of his mask and landed on Reidak. Reidak rolled, dislodging Taipu, and swinging his drill. Taipu used his own Laser drill to block the blow and tried blasting with it under Reidak. The laser beam hit the ground and formed a small fissure, into which Reidak fell with a scream.

 

Vezok rose to his feet. He saw Reidak trapped in a hole and the Toa advancing at him. Only Tamaru remained behind, tending to Piruk and concinving the Matoran that everything would be all right.

 

I have battled Toa before, but these six are so strange... Vezok thought. And I'm all alone against them... screw Reidak, I'm out of here.

 

"It sure was nice to meet you", Vezok said. "But I'm afraid I'll have to take my leave. We'll meet again."

 

"Oh no you're not", Macku said. "We are capturing you."

 

Vezok grinned. "I make a difficult prisoner, Toa. Might want to rethink that."

 

With that Vezok ran off. Inexperienced as the Toa were, they could not stop him quickly enough.

 

"We still have the black one", Kapura said, but Taipu shook his head.

 

"He's gone", he said. "He must've drilled his way out."

 

"It's all right", Tamaru said to Piruk. "They're gone. You're true-safe."

 

"The Le-Matoran is shaking", Macku remarked. "We should take him someplace safe first. Maybe he will help us after that."

 

"I - I can help you", Piruk said. "I'll lead you to my friends... I'll let Garan explain everything to you."

 

"More of you?" Hafu said, getting on his feet. "Garan? Wow, we sure are getting a lot out of being Toa."

 

Next: The Toa Inika meet up with the resistance team, make up the name "Inika" and get their EP Zamor Launchers! Don't forget to review the latest chapter. :)


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#8 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Apr 11 2013 - 05:54 AM

Chapter 8 - Star Toa

 

Piruk lead the new Toa to a cave well concealed by a stone door. There was a mechanism to move it aside. The Toa stepped into the small cave and saw five other Matoran there, waiting. Tamaru expected them to gasp in surprise with the appearance of six Toa. Instead, they looked on with concerned eyes, obviously not shocked to see Toa on their island. Why that was, Tamaru had no idea.

 

"Piruk, you're safe!" Garan said. "And I see you brought us some souvenirs too."

 

"These guys are Toa", Piruk said. "They saved me from Reidak and Vezok."

 

"We had Toa before and they lost", Dalu retorted. "Why would these new Toa be any better?"

 

"Excuse me", Hafu broke in. "How dare you talk to Toa like that?"

 

Dalu gave Hafu a harsh look. "We have had quite enough of Toa here. The first patch turned out to be a group of imposters. The second group was real all right, but they were battered to oblivion. This island is too tough even to Toa."

 

"The Toa Nuva? Battered to oblivion?" Taipu gasped. "Oh no, I never thought..."

 

"They may be dead", Kazi said. "But if a new Toa team has come to help us, I'm all for it. Six Matoran will not save an island without some muscle to back them up."

 

Dalu kept quiet. Velika nodded, seemingly deep in thought. It was Balta who spoke up next.

 

"If you are going to help us, it would be nice to know the name of your group."

 

The Toa exchanged glances. They had been so busy this day they had not thought about names. Their Toa team needed a name but none of them had any good suggestions. Toa Voya would sound ridiculous and its meaning was not a pleasant one. Finally, Kopeke came up with a name.

 

"We were hit by lightning from the Red Star... I think we should be called Toa Inika."

 

The other Toa accepted with nods. Inika meant a star in the Matoran language. Their weird attributes such as organic masks and lightning mixed with their powers had been caused by the Red Star, so the name was fitting.

 

"We are happy to have you, Toa Inika", Garan said. "But I must warn you. A Toa team already fell before you came and our people are enslaved by the Piraka. Plus, the Piraka have a strong ally, Brutaka, to aid them. If you decide to help us, you may perish here. So I am warning you before you decide to stay."

 

"The Toa Nuva must be avenged", Hafu said. "Some Toa we would be if we just ran away from danger. No, at least I will stay and fight."

 

"A lone bee is easy to swat, but a swarm can fell an Ash Bear", Kapura said. Velika glanced at him, surprised that someone else spoke in riddles like he did. He would keep an eye on this one.

 

"Yeah, we're friends", Taipu said. "We will stand by each other together."

 

"Our journey here was for nothing if we don't finish it", Macku said. "I'm with them."

 

"We shall hard-fight for a better leaf-dawn", Tamaru said.

 

Kopeke said nothing, but smiled and nodded when the others looked at him. He was in as well.

 

"So, then", Garan said. "Prepare for your greatest adventure ever... or your worst nightmare."

 

*

 

The Toa Inika and the Voya Nui resistance team made some careful planning in the hideout. There were several problems to be addressed.

 

1. The Matoran of Voya Nui who were enslaved would have to be freed. However, no one knew how this could be done.

2. The Piraka would have to be confronted and banished from the island.

3. Brutaka should be separated from the Piraka's alliance and defeated.

4. The Toa Nuva were to be found from the Piraka Stronghold, even if they were already dead.

5. The Mask of Life would have to be found before the Piraka did.

6. The mask should be used to heal Mata Nui.

 

The group decided to put saving the Matoran first, since they were who Toa existed to protect in the first place. For that they would need to find a cure. Velika stated, in riddles as always, that he might have an idea on how to do this. One Toa would need to test it out first, though. Velika crafted six Zamor launchers with extra storage room for Zamor spheres. Each Toa took one, with Taipu mounting his on his shoulder due to the heavy drill he carried with two hands.

 

"A hammer is redundant without a tablet", Velika had said. Kapura had understood this to mean that the Zamor launchers needed Zamor spheres to be useful. Although the Matoran had some stolen ones in storage, they would need more.

 

That was why Taipu, Hafu, Kapura and Garan were on top of a ledge looking down at the Zamor crystal mines. The Piraka had carved a special crystal from within the earth that they had used for making their multiple Zamor spheres. The Toa Inika would need some of those as well and that meant breaking into the mines and stealing some crystal.

 

The Zamor spheres that the Matoran already have had been filled with Energized Protodermis from a lake on the island. Velika had instructed the Toa to cautiously use them at one enslaved Matoran first, then the rest if their plan worked.

 

"Energized Protodermis is nasty stuff", Taipu said. "If we shoot these spheres at Matoran, they will transform or die!"

 

"Your poison may be my medicine", Kapura said. "Velika explained to me that whatever is enslaving the Matoran might be destroyed by the Energized Protodermis. Not sure why, but he seems to know more about the nature of the Piraka's virus than anyone else."

 

"Let's do this then", Hafu said, getting closer to the Matoran slaves laboring in the mines. They seemed oblivious to the Toa's presence, so he crept closer. Suddenly, though, something else emerged from the mines. Five small robotic beings beeped and turned their focus at Hafu.

 

"What are those things?" Hafu wondered. One of the robots suddenly launched some ropes out of it, binding Hafu and pulling him closer. He was released, but another robot blasted him with some sort of burning energy.

 

"The Piraka call them Nektann", Garan explained. "They are robotic guardians built originally by my people."

 

Kapura was with Hafu in no time, appearing next to the Toa of Stone. Taipu used his Kanohi Kadin to fly closer to his friends. He was very unexperienced with flying, however, and crashed into one of the robots. The robot was smashed beyond repair.

 

Kapura tested his new fire powers on the robots, melting two of them to slag. Afraid to unleash more in case it went out of control, Kapura held back. Hafu smashed rest of the robots with his axe.

 

"Good job", Garan said, arriving to the scene. "But they may have alerted the Piraka. We must be quick. Try one of the Zamors on the Matoran.

 

Kapura hesitated, but did shoot a Zamor sphere at one of the working Matoran. The sphere passed through the Matoran, releasing its contents. Kapura held his breath and watched the scene unfold. The sick glow all of the enslaved Matoran had was fading. The Matoran looked like he was waking up from a coma. He looked around in surprise.

 

"Where am I? What happened?"

 

"It works!" Garan exclaimed. "We can free my friends now, as soon as we get some of that crytal!"

 

The Toa Inika worked fast. Kapura kept launching Zamor spheres at enslaved Matoran while Taipu and Hafu, both experienced with mining and carving, went into the mines to find Zamor crystals. What they found was a rocky wall covered in glowing crystal... and a lot of disturbed Nektann.

 

*

 

While three of the Toa Inika and Garan were busy at the mines, Macku and Tamaru were scouting the Green Belt with Kazi.

 

"The Green Belt should not exist", Kazi said. "But it does, and Mata Nui knows how. It has kept the Matoran alive here for centuries though, so we have not been complaining." 

 

"The Mask of Life", Macku said. "Could that cause all this plantlife to appear on a barren island? Maybe it is hidden somewhere here."

 

"We have never known of any Mask of Life", Kazi said. "The Piraka want it too, though, so it probably does exist here. But if it was easy to find, we would have found it long ago. No, the mask must be well-hidden and probably heavily guarded."

 

"Below the earth-ground?" Tamaru suggested. Macku held her head as those words caused a headache.

 

"What's wrong with me?" Macku wondered. "I get these weird headaches... and I think it's my mask that is causing them. While my friends get these awesome mask powers, I get one that keeps disturbing me."

 

"I don't know much about masks", Kazi said. "But from what you have told me, the masks are organic and alive somehow. Some weird Toa you are."

 

"It's talk-chatting with you?" Tamaru wondered. "Maybe it's telling you something?"

 

Macku thought about that possibility. It was plausible, but what could a mask have to say to her?

 

"I'm sure we'll find out eventually", Macku said. "Let's continue with what we came here for - looking for supplies."

 

"We had a lot of food and water barrels in the hideout", Kazi explained. "But lately we have been too busy to collect more. We should stock on fruit and some wood and get back before the Piraka find out we're here."

 

The Toa Inika got to work. Tamaru had spent a lot of time in Le-Koro gathering fruits in the forest. He was afraid of heights though, so he mainly collected berries from bushes on the ground. As a Toa, he felt that he had to conquer his fear in order to become a better fighter. Deep down, he thanked Mata Nui for giving the mask of flight to Taipu, however.

 

Macku occupied herself by collecting wood. It reminded her of her time as a Matoran, when she had built boats for Ngalawa canoe racing competitions. Macku had excelled at the sport, even winning a copper mask trophy.

 

"How are the waters around the island?" Macku asked Kazi.

 

"Bad", Kazi replied. "The sea is violent. The only safe way is through the lagoon entrance. Every other way is lethal."

 

Their conversation was cut off by a scream. It was Tamaru's voice! Macku and Kazi ran towards the sound and saw Tamaru fending off several Dagger Spiders and Burnak all by himself.

 

Macku launched her new Energy Harpoon at the ground between Ramaru and the Rahi. It caused an explosion that scared off the beasts.

 

"I'm sorry, I almost hit you", Macku said sadly. "I am not yet used to my new weapon... it's so destructive I actually fear carrying it."

 

"Well, it saved my mask now", Tamaru said. "Those were some quick-angry Rahi. And I didn't spot-see any Makuta-masks on them either."

 

"The Rahi here can be aggressive when you invade their territory", Kazi said. "The Matoran have learned to move around so as not to attract their attention. You need to so some learning as well."

 

"That's what being a Toa is, I guess", Macku said. "Learning new things everyday to survive the tomorrow."

 

Next: The Toa Inika continue their mission to free Voya Nui! Please remember to state your opinion about the latest chapter in the review topic. Link in first post.


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#9 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Apr 13 2013 - 03:10 AM

Chapter 9 - Who Will Help?

 

Back on the island-city of Metru Nui, Takanuva sat on a rock in Po-Metru and sighed. It had not yet been long since he had returned to Metru Nui. He regretted the decision, since every day was filled with concern for his friends. Takanuva knew each one of those Matoran well and had developed strong friendships with them. Not knowing if they were alive and what they were doing stung at Takanuva. For now he did his best to set aside his worry by concentrating on the reconstruction of Metru Nui. Many Matoran had noticed that Takanuva had suddenly grown into harder a worker than he had originally be.

 

Takanuva saw Hahli walking towards him. What was the new Chronicler doing here?

 

"The Turaga request to see you", Hahli said. "They say it's important."

 

"That's strange", Takanuva muttered sarcastically. "Their news have always been so joyous before."

 

Hahli looked concerned. "To me, it seemed like they were very upset in you. I don't know why, though."

 

Takanuva gulped. What could this mean? He didn't want to go to the Coliseum, but knew he could not avoid it. So he left with Hahli and took a chute to the most revered building in Metru Nui.

 

Once inside the Turaga's chamber, Turaga Nokama asked Hahli to leave, leaving Takanuva alone with the seven Turaga of Metru Nui.

 

"You have acted very differently later", Dume said sternly. "Everyone has noticed this."

 

"I have felt like working", Takanuva tried.

 

"Six Matoran have disappeared from Metru Nui", Dume continued. "Matau's left-hand Matoran Tamaru, Nokama's right-hand attendant Macku, Whenua's left-hand and strongest worker Taipu, Onewa's left-hand master carver Hafu, Nuju's left-hand ice sculptor Kopeke and Vakama's left-hand Kapura. One from every Metru..."

 

"And conveniently the very same Matoran we let join your Kini-Nui company back on Mata Nui", Onewa said. "What do you know?"

 

Before Takanuva could answer, Dume added: "We suspect you told them of the Toa Nuva."

 

Takanuva looked down. He was feeling very uncomfortable. "We are going to die anyway", he said flatly. "The Toa Nuva have not returned. I thought we could do something..."

 

"We agreed to keep it a secret", Dume said angrily. "If we can't trust a Toa of Light to keep to his words, is there anyone in this universe we can?"

 

With that, Dume walked away from the chamber. Takanuva watched him go, wondering if he had failed his duty by telling a forbidden secret.

 

*

 

Toa Kopeke sat in the Matoran hideout with Dalu, Velika, Piruk and Balta. Dalu had insisted she be sent with Garan and the three Toa who went with him, but Garan had insisted she stood in the hideout. The Matoran told Kopeke about the history of Voya Nui, what the Piraka had done and every bit of detail that might be useful for the Toa's quest. Seeing as Kopeke was the most silent of the Toa, he made the best listener.

 

"You have to learn to speak out more, though", Balta said finally. "You know much about Voya Nui, but you must share that knowledge with your friends. That's why we wanted you to stay here - to learn."

 

"I will", Kopeke said quietly. Dalu shook her head.

 

"This one is still too shy. We must teach him to be more outgoing."

 

Kopeke did not appreciate the attitude of the heisty Ga-Matoran. Where he came from, Ga-Matoran were more like himself: quiet and contemplative. Here, apparently, they were rude and aggressive.

 

"I'm sure he will speak up when the time comes", Balta said. "Before you can obtain the Mask of Life, you must -"

 

The mechanisms of the hideout door creaked. Macku, Tamaru and Kazi entered with lots of supplies.

 

"Mission accomplished", Macku said, smiling. "These fruits will keep everyone nourished for a long time and with the wood you can build better defences against Nektann."

 

"Splendid", Balta said. "Now that you are all here, there is another thing you must do."

 

"What would that job-task be?" Tamaru asked.

 

"I will accompany you to a cave in the Desert of Sorrows", Balta said. "At this time of the evening, the desert is not as hot as it usually is, so even a Toa of Ice will not feel too bad there. Macku and Kopeke will come with me. Tamaru, you will go with Piruk to the Green Belt again, to map it."

 

Tamaru was surprised by his task. "Why?" he asked.

 

"We heard you used to be a navigator in your old home", Balta explained. "The Green Belt is a tactical point on this island. It is not very large, so mapping it should not take a long time. Once we have detailed information about its shape and location, we can be more secure with operating in that place."

 

"I will do it", Tamaru agreed, though he suspected the Ta-Matoran was not telling him something.

 

*

 

"This is bad", Taipu said as the Nektann-robots opened fire. Too bulky to dodge, Taipu was repeatedly hit with the blasts. Fortunately, his strong armor let him stand almost unaffected. He fired his laser drill at some of the robots, imploding them.

 

"We need the crystal in this cave", Hafu pointed out. "But we can't mine with these things in here. We will have to destroy all of them."

 

"Shouldn't be too hard", Taipu said, focusing his elemental power on the earth all around them. The mine started to shake and collapse.

 

"What are you doing, you kolhii-head?!" Hafu shouted. "You're bringing the whole mine down!"

 

"I - I didn't know I have so much power...", Taipu said with fear in his voice. He had sought to control the earth to crush the robots, but he had underestimated the amount of power he now possessed. The whole place was coming down because of him.

 

"The crystal!" Hafu exclaimed. "If this place is buried, we will lose the crystal!"

 

"The Matoran!" Taipu shouted. "Slaves they may be, but we cannot let them die!"

 

Together, Hafu and Taipu grabbed the zombie-like Matoran slaves working in the mines and carried them out of the collapsing cavern. The presence of Nektann and their constant attacks did not make things any easier. Luckily, there were not many Matoran around. Hafu was keeping them from returning into the collapsing cavern, blocking the way in the narrow tunnel with his body. However, Taipu actually returned to the cavern and started to burrow into the crystal.

 

"No! Taipu!" Hafu shouted. The mission was already lost, why was Taipu staying in there?

 

The cavern collapsed completely. Hafu shouted in horror and Taipu was lost from view.

 

*

 

Outside, Kapura had freed many Matoran before he had ran out of zamor spheres. The remaining slaves did something very unexpected - they started attacking the Toa of Fire. Before, they had been more than happy to ignore anything going on around them.

 

Garan gasped as Reidak, Avak and Hakann entered the scene. He then understood the change in the behavior of the Matoran slaves. The Piraka had commanded them to attack.

 

"Toa Kapura!" Garan shouted. "Three Piraka!"

 

Kapura was fending off the attacking Matoran, doing his best not to hurt them. He would have no chance to concentrate on the Piraka with all these wannabe bad-guys harrassing him.

 

Hakann Avak fired a Zamor sphere at Kapura. Nobody was sure what happened next. Kapura was fighting the Matoran, noticing the sphere too late to dodge it. Then his mask seemed to take control over his body, allowing him to get down incredibly fast. The Zamor sphere struck a rock.

 

My mask... it let me dodge the sphere, Kapura thought. A mask of dodging? Or something else?

 

"Impressive", Hakann sneered. "The last great deed you will ever do."

 

Garan would not let these Piraka get them without a fight. He fired a ball of energy with his pulse bolt generators. The blast grew bigger as it traveled, eventually hitting Avak with considerable force.

 

"Get the Matoran", Hakann said to Reidak. "I will get the Toa."

 

"Why do you get the Toa and I the Matoran?" Reidak complained. "I want a challenge, you hear..."

 

Another pulse bolt struck Reidak, sending him flying.

 

"You already have a challenge you can barely handle", Hakann snorted. "Just get the Matoran!"

 

Kapura tried creating a barrier of fire around himself. Due to his nature, the wall was also electrified, making an effective barrier. However, the Matoran simply walked into the electrified fire, heedless of the danger. They burned and got shocked and Kapura gasped. He had specifically avoided hurting the Matoran. He quickly cancelled the barrier.

 

Hakann was approaching when Hafu suddenly darted out of the mine tunnel, followed by few surviving Nektann. The Matoran slaves had stayed in the tunnel, confused with the disappearance of the mines where they were supposed to be.

 

As soon as he saw Hakann, Hafu activated his Kanohi Sanok and used his Laser Axe as a sort of Kolhii stick to throw a boulder at the Piraka. The boulder struck naturally and felled Hakann. Hafu then proceeded to save Kapura from the Matoran slaves.

 

"I ran out of zamor spheres", Kapura explained. "But you still have some left. Free these slaves!"

 

After saying that, Kapura used his unique abilities to appear beside the now-recovering Hakann. Kapura pointed his energized flame sword at the Piraka. "Stay down or I will burn you."

 

"You would not do that", Hakann laughed. "You are a Toa. I know their stupid rules... they never kill."

 

Kapura realized he could not bluff with these foes around. They were obviously more skilled with hunting Toa than he realized.

 

Hakann didn't even bother firing his lava gun at Kapura. He knew Toa of Fire were resistant to fire and heat. Instead, he struck with a mental blast, staggering Kapura. If he expected that to defeat the Toa of Fire, however, he was going to be disappointed. Kapura had thousands of years of experience in mental discipline and training. Although the mental shock was powerful, it would not defeat Kapura.

 

Nearby, Garan dodged Avak's zamor spheres and Reidak's blows. He considered calling the other Toa for help, but knew they would help him as soon as they were ready with their own problems.

 

You don't need to be a Toa to be a hero, Garan reminded himself. A pulse bolt distracted Avak while Garan slipped underneath Reidak and hit his legs, toppling the Piraka.

 

Garan was about to rise, but Reidak quickly got back to his feet and grabbed the Onu-Matoran. "It's time I broke your neck!" he growled. A perfeclty aimed rock hit Reidak's hand, forcing him to let go of the Matoran. Hafu stood by his Matoran friend now, laser axe charged and ready for combat. Nearby, the freed Matoran hid behind big boulders, watching the conflict. None of them were enslaved anymore, sparing the Toa from additional trouble.

 

However, the Piraka were not concerned by this. Avak leaped to the nearest Matoran and grabbed him, shouting at the Toa: "Surrender now, or we will see to it that these Matoran will be killed!"

 

Some of the Matoran tried to run away, but Avak launched zamor spheres at them, re-enslaving them. The rest wisely stood still.

 

This was a threat the Toa had to take seriously. Protecting the Matoran was their sworn duty. If they kep fighting, Avak could doubtless kill many Matoran. Even if the Matoran were enslaved, they would still be alive - but from death, there was no turning back.

 

After hesitating for a long time, Kapura, Garan and even Hafu dropped their weapons. None of them wanted to do it, but duty dictated otherwise. 

 

"It has always been true and still remains so today...", Hakann said. "Duty creates the strongest of chains."

 

Next: What happens to Kapura, Hafu and Garan? What happened to Taipu? What of the fate of the universe? What is cheese really made from? Please review this chapter to let me know what was good and what needs to be improved.


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#10 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Apr 24 2013 - 01:21 AM

Chapter 10 - Trouble

 

Piruk watched passively as Tamaru looked at his surroundings and carved notes on a tablet. Mapping the Green Belt wasn't a quick process, even with the small size of the forest. On the island of Mata Nui, it had taken Tamaru several years to map certain parts of Le-Wahi. Back then, though, he had had the option of flying a Kahu to get a better view of the island. His fear of heights had denied him that.

 

"What was life like here in past-before?" Tamaru suddenly asked while mapping. "Before the Piraka came?"

 

Piruk shrugged. "Not that great, really. We... we lived in a village in the desert. And, you know, trying to survive."

 

"Why did you come here, on this dark-gloomy island?" Tamaru continued, mapping furiously.

 

"We didn't", Piruk answered. "The island came here."

 

Tamaru stopped mapping and looked at Piruk in surprise.

 

"Crazy, isn't it?" Piruk said. "Some thousands of years ago we lived as part of a continent... I think it was inside a large cave or something. Nowadays we call them Nui Caves. They still exist, but only partly. Anyway, then something happened... Balta says the Great Spirit suffered from an attack or something. And bam, we heard a huge crash and most of our people died as the caves shook. After the shock was over, we used cracks in the walls to travel up here, where this island was."

 

Tamaru could hardly believe what he was hearing. "If you had a life-home down below, why did you choose to be up-ground? This place is not very hospitable."

 

"We had no choice", Piruk explained. "The home down below was gone. We could not live there any longer. The quake damaged it too badly, and it was overrun by Rahi. Up here we at least had a chance to fend off creatures and such. More place to move, and a sun that shines on us. Even if it's a merciless one."

 

Tamaru thought for a moment. Piruk's story sounded very much like the one the Turaga had told him. The Great Spirit had fallen asleep due to Makuta's actions. Matoran had been saved by transporting them out of the boundaries of the underground world of the Matoran, through cracks.

 

There was no more time to ponder, as a blast struck Tamaru behind. It was an icy blast that gave him frostbites. Piruk screamed and scrambled off. Tamaru rolled over and saw a white figure emerging from the woods. It was similar to the other Piraka, but had an ever broader smile and an ice gun. Frost still drifted from it. Thok's eyes glowed and suddenly Tamaru felt his world spinning.

 

"Too easy", Thok said. "I thought Toa would be more of a challenge, but apparently they grow them weak here."

 

Despite the world spinning, Tamaru managed to use his mask - or perhaps the mask was using him? - to sent telepathic messages to Thok. Confused, Thok's concentration was broken, allowing Tamaru to rise.

 

Tamaru followed with a tornado lanced with lightning. Thok spun around and around while being jolted by powerful electric shocks.

 

Piruk emerged from the darkness. "You caught Thok!" he exclaimed.

 

"Thok?" Tamaru said. "A Piraka-villain."

 

A fist of earth knocked Tamaru on the ground. The tornado dissipated and Thok advanced again. "You underestimated the power of Thok", he growled. "Now say goodbye to your free will, Toa. I have always wanted a personal slave."

 

Thok launched a Zamor sphere at Tamaru. Piruk gasped in horror. Knowing the power of the spheres, Tamaru would be nothing more than a servant of the Piraka.

 

Next: More on the other Toa. I know, this was a shortie. Next ones will probably be longer.


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#11 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Apr 24 2013 - 01:23 PM

Chapter 11 - Friend or ally?

 

Macku and Kopeke remained quiet as Balta led them to a desolate village on a cliff. Items were scattered here and there and the place was deadly quiet. Everyone who had lived here were now working for the Piraka at the Valmai.

 

It was not an easy trek for Balta either. The village filled him with memories of his friends, now nothing more than mindless slaves. Balta had lived here for thousands of years, ever since the Great Cataclysm had wrekced the universe. The Matoran hadn't had much, but they had survived by working together. Now there was nothing left.

 

"We are here to gather some equipment left over by us", Balta explained, trying to shove his memories aside. "The Piraka enslaved everyone by surprise. There was no time for us to collect stuff when me and the other resistance members fled."

 

"But why didn't you come back later?" Macku asked. "There's nothing here to stop us."

 

A dozen small robots scuttled out of a house and targeted the Toa.

 

"Guess again", Balta said. "Those are Nektann, Piraka's guardian robots. They have stationed some here as well, to keep us out."

 

"Well, small robots like those cannot keep Toa out, right Kopeke?" Macku said. Kopeke nodded as he drew his energized ice sword.

 

The Nektann fired. A blast hit Macku, causing surprising pain even though her Toa armor was more than enough to reduce the damage. Kopeke heistated, but fired ice energy from his sword, both jotling and freezing the robotic guardians. The combination was deadly for robotic creatures and most of them fell.

 

A Nektann sneaked up on Balta and fired. Balta turned at the sound and used his repellers in time to send the blast back at the robot, shattering it. Macku got up and fired her energy harpoon at the remaining Nektann, effectively demolishing them.

 

"That wasn't so hard now was it?" Macku said. "With this kind of power at our disposal, we should be able to save your island and the Great Spirit pretty soon."

"Perhaps", Balta said. "But the Piraka are not robots. They are powerful, cunning and deadly."

 

Kopeke looked at the defeated machines. A lot of things were going on in his mind, not the least which was fear of his own power. It was so devastating, even more so than with normal Toa. Macku might see the power as a blessing, but for Kopeke it was a reason to fear and to watch out for himself. If he was not careful, he might end up the doom of the Matoran, instead of their savior.

 

Balta visited several of the abandoned huts while Macku and Kopeke kept watch. Balta collected all kinds of supplies and valuable items and gave them to the Toa to carry. They then headed back to the hideout in silence, each with their own thoughts.

 

*

 

Kapura grumbled as Reidak slammed the cell door shut. He had been taken deep under the Piraka Stronghold, while Hafu had been taken elsewhere. Kapura suspected this to be because of Hafu's element. A Toa of Stone was generally hard to keep captive. Kapura had almost decided to try to escape at that point, but had kept calm. After all, the reason the Toa had surrended was the safety of the Matoran. Sure, the Piraka would enslave them again, but at least they would be alive. Trying to escape would provoke the Piraka to kill Matoran, which the Toa could not risk.

 

"We have to free the Matoran and get them to safety before the Piraka realize", Kapura said to himself. "But first, getting out of here..."

 

Kapura examined his cell. It was hard, smooth stone with no windows around. The cell was completely empty except for a lightstone hanging from the ceiling, giving some dim illumination to the place.

 

"I wonder why they thought a Toa of Fire couldn't escape this cell", Kapura murmured to himself. His flame sword and zamor launcher had been taken away from him, but he still commanded fire. As for his Kanohi, the Piraka had given up trying to pry it off his face as the mask itself had protested. It had been a disturbing experience even for hardened Piraka.

 

Kapura concentrated his fire power on the door. The electricity would not affect rock, but enough heat might be able to melt it. Hopefully Reidak would be far from the prison corridor by the time Kapura succeeded.

 

*

 

Avak handled Kapura's flame sword with extreme care. It was like nothing he had ever laid his hands on before. It was designed like a regular sword, but the energy coursing through it was unnatural. It could actually amplify existing powers, which intrigued Avak.

 

Reidak entered the chamber. It was mostly used by Avak as a mixed storage room and lab. He hated it when any of his allies disturbed his work.

"Don't even think of taking that laser axe", Avak said, referring to Hafu's weapon laid on a table nearby. "I'm not done with these things yet."

Reidak growled. "You cannot tell me what to do. I'm here to check on you. Zaktan told me to do so."

 

"So you are a pawn of Zaktan, then?" Avak snarled.

 

"No", Reidak said. "Only until the Mask of Life is in our hands. I'm obeying him to create trust. Then, when the time is right, I will use that for my own ends."

Avak was more than slightly worried about Reidak's cunning. He could seem to brainless at times, yet he possessed incredible tactical skills. "You fool. Zaktan trusts none of us", Avak said. "Especially after that attempt to overthrow him..."

 

"That's your problem, not mine", Reidak said. "It was you who caged him, not me."

 

"Didn't you check up on me enough already?" Avak snapped, tired of the black Piraka's presence. "Get out. I've got to hurry if I want to check out that axe too..."

 

Avak stopped in mid-sentence. The laser axe was gone. Moments ago, it had been between the two Piraka on the table. Now it had vanished.

 

"Give it back", Avak ordered. Reidak shook his head.

 

"I didn't take it, you dunce", Reidak growled. "What would I do with a Toa's axe, anyway? I've got my muscle."

 

Avak was about to make a remark when he suddenly realized the flame sword was gone as well. There was no way Reidak or anyone else could have grabbed it from right under his nose. This made him worry. Another glance revealed that the zamor launchers were missing as well. All of the Toa tools had been taken, though it should not have been possible.

 

"I think I'm going insane...", Avak said, earning a chuckle of approval from Reidak.

 

*

 

Kapura traversed the hallways of the Piraka Stronghols silently, holding his and Hafu's Toa tools. Given his strange abilities, it had been easy for Kapura to sneak into Avak's chamber and take back what was rightfully his and Hafu's. Now the only thing he needed to find was Hafu himself. And Garan.

 

It did not take long for Kapura to reach the central chamber of the stronghold. There were no Piraka present. Instead, a huge vat of greenish gas stood in the center, looking imposing and dangerous. The substance inside it was swirling furiously, almost as if it were... alive.

 

Kapura was about to examine the vat closer when he heard sounds nearby. Kapura was gone in seconds, well before Zaktan entered and began talking to the vat of Antidermis...

 

"Do not fret, great one... soon the Mask of Life shall be ours. Just after I have disposed of those new Toa

 

Next: More excitement and battles!


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#12 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted May 03 2013 - 03:11 AM

Chapter 12 - Who Falls for the Universe?

 

"Simple questions", Vezok snarled. "Speak the truth and you shall live another day."

 

Garan gulped. He had heard plenty about this room, called the chamber of truth. It could detect lies and tilt the floor accordingly, eventually exposing the person inside to molten lava. It was not a fate he was eager to meet, but he would not rat out on his friends.

 

"Where did those new Toa come from?" Vezok asked.

 

Garan had heard from the Toa Inika that they had come from a city called Metru Nui, just as the Toa Nuva had. He would never tell that to Vezok, though.

 

"They came from an island where your kind once thrived, till the Toa took care of that kind of junk."

 

The floor tilted, revealing searing lava.

 

"Your defiance will cost you your life", Vezok said. "More junk to be rid of."

 

*

 

Kapura and Hafu looked at the wall of the Piraka's trophy room, stunned. The masks of the six Toa Nuva were nailed on the wall, no doubt signs of triumph.

 

"Mata Nui", Kapura breathed. "The Toa Nuva... I'm not so sure we can rescue them anymore."

 

"The Piraka will pay for doing this to them", Hafu scowled. "We will defeat them and tear down this stronghold of theirs..."

 

"First we have to find Garan", Kapura said. "It was easy finding you and our weapons, but I think Garan is being questioned in the chamber of truth. That's what the Piraka talked about when they captured us. As for the Toa Nuva, we will avenge them if they're dead... if alive, we will find them."

 

"Right", Hafu said, sounding defeated. He had always looked up to the Toa Nuva. Even though he was now a Toa himself, the defeat of his reverred heroes was not easy on him.

 

*

 

"You have given me three lies already", Vezok said to Garan, who was on the verge of plunging into lava. "One more and your time is done."

 

"Try it", Garan said. "Try and get your answers from me. I will not speak."

 

"I doubt your friends will be so foolishly loyal to your little group of rebels", Vezok answered. "Piruk, for one, will chicken out even before we have to take him here."

 

"That's not true!" Garan snapped. "He may not be the bravest of Matoran, but he is trustworthy to the core!"

 

Vezok laughed. "All Matoran are cowards. Some just decide to pretend to be more, like yourself."

 

"Just ask the last question, you freak", Garan said. "Let's get this over with."

 

Vezok suddenly yelled as a fiery cage imbued with lightning surrounded him. Hafu used the controls of the chamber of truth to move the floor back into place. Soon after, the door opened, letting Garan out.

 

"We have to return to the others", Kapura said. "We are not powerful enough for this fortress yet. We need our whole team."

 

"But how about my friends?" Garan asked. "The other Matoran!"

 

"They're enslaved again", Kapura replied sadly. "But the time will come when we free them again."

 

"Let's take this blue one as a hostage", Hafu suggested, referring to Vezok. "We may use him."

 

Vezok had heard enough. He hurled water daggers at his prison, extinguishing it. However, the electricity of the prison jolted Vezok as he made his escape.

 

"Don't let him get away!" Garan shouted, but Kapura held back. "Let him go. We will meet him again. For now, though, we have to go!"

 

With that, Hafu reluctanctly blew a hole in the wall of the stronghold. Sneaking past several Nektann, the trio made their escape.

 

Next: More on the other members of the resistance.


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#13 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted May 23 2013 - 02:42 PM

Chapter 13

 

Kapura, Hafu and Garan walked to their hideout in silence. As far as any of them were concerned, their mission had been a failure. They had failed to obtain the crystal, permanently freed the Matoran - and Taipu was gone.

 

At least, that was what the trio was prepared to tell the others. Instead, when they arrived at the hideout, they could see a huge slab of the Zamor crystal and Taipu himself talking with Kopeke and Macku.

 

"Taipu!" Hafu exclaimed in total disbelief. "What - you're here? You survived!"

 

Taipu chuckled. "They don't get me that easily. It's not like I haven't been in a cave-in before."

 

"And how did you get that much crystal here?" Garan asked, not able to comprehend what was happening. The other members of the Matoran resistance team smiled and even chuckled a bit at this.

 

"Oh, once I cleared the cave, I carved this chunk out of the bedrock", Taipu explained. "And I carried it here. Wasn't that heavy."

 

"Now it's your turn", Macku said to Hafu and Kapura. "Where have you been? What happened?"

 

Hafu, Kapura and Garan briefly explained their ordeals at the Piraka Stronghold.

 

"Well, you were lucky to survive", Kazi said. "You were ridiculously underprepared to go there - and just the two of us."

 

"Those who expect the rain to fall will eventually get their wish", Velika said thoughtfully, which earned nothing but a sigh from Kazi.

 

"I think he means that pessimism will do nothing but bring to you what you are already expecting", Garan explained. "In this case we survived, so we should not dwell on that. Instead, we should concentrate on what happens next. We have enough Zamor crystal for a long time, so Velika will start crafting some more Zamor spheres for you, Toa. Then we will fill them with Energized Protodermis and free the Matoran."

 

"By the way, where are Tamaru and Piruk?" Dalu asked. "They've been mapping for a pretty long time."

 

*

 

ZAP

 

The Zamo sphere hit Tamaru, turned intangible, and passed through the Toa. The contents of the sphere would now affect Tamaru, making him a slave of the Piraka. Tamaru waited. Thok waited. And so did Piruk.

 

Nothing.

 

"What is this?" Thok snarled. "You should be enslaved."

 

Tamaru was as surprised at Thok. He had heard plenty about the enslaving Zamor spheres from the Matoran. But he seemed to be immune to the effects.

 

Taking advantage of the confusion, Tamaru sent an electrified tornado at Thok, knocking him off his feet. Tamaru then advanced.

 

Thok wasn't about to give up. His power brought plants, rocks and trees alive around the Toa of Air, which then proceeded to attack him. Tamaru panicked, for there was no way he would be able to defeat so many unliving opponents, and Thok.

 

But maybe he wouldn't have to?

 

Even before Tamaru had made his decision, his organic Suletu activated on its own. Tamaru seized the moment and sent mental gibberish into Thok's head, effectively disturbing his concentration. Soon enough, the plants and rocks became unliving and unmoving again.

 

Thok had seen enough. He used his spellbinding vision to make Tamaru fall, off balance. Instead of continuing the fight though, he escaped into the woods of the Green Belt.

 

"He left!" Piruk shouted, running to help Tamaru. "Are you okay?"

 

"Yes, I am", Tamaru said. "We have learned something ever-useful, little brother. I think all of us Toa-heroes are touch-immune to the zamors."

 

"I was amazed at that", Piruk said. "Maybe it's the electricity in you?"

 

"Could be", Tamaru said, now up and recovered. "We have mapped the most important spots of the Green Belt now. Let us return to the other Toa. We have a lot to discuss with them."

 

To be continued. Please review, it's been so long. :3


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#14 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jun 02 2013 - 02:40 AM

Chapter 14

 

Tamaru and Piruk returned to the hideout to find everyone else in deep discussion. Joining in, the Toa Inika and Matoran resistance group as a whole planned their next steps. It was time to speed things up and get to the ultimate mission - beating the Piraka and obtaining the Mask of Life.

 

"We have yet to complete the first part of our list of tasks", Garan explained. "That was freeing the Matoran. We failed the first time, but now we know how it can be done. Velika has been tirelessly crafting Zamor spheres for you with the crystal Taipu got us. Balta and Kazi will go fill them with Energized Protodermis, which you can use to free the Matoran."

 

"There are enslaved Matoran in various places", Macku pointed out. "The ones working at the volcano and the mines should be easier to free than those at the Piraka fortress. But we will do it."

 

"This brings us to the next task", Balta said. "Banishing the Piraka from the island. They are the core challenge here. Once they are gone, you may complete your mission and save the Toa Nuva, as well as recover that mask."

 

"Don't forget Brutaka", Kazi broke in. "He is still a viable threat."

 

"We haven't even met this guy before", Hafu said. "Why don't you tell us more about him?"

 

*

 

Meanwhile somewhere in the Desert of Sorrows, a huge axe and enormous blade clashed together furiously. It was the sight of two former friends, both incredibly powerful and tasked with an important mission, fought for either justice or greed.

 

"Why did you do this?" Axonn asked in desperation as he blocked another blow from Brutaka. He created a ball of magma and threw it at his enemy, who deflected it.

 

"Mata Nui is dead", Brutaka snarled, sending a blast of energy in response. Axonn dodged and struck the ground with his axe, creating a crevice which threatened to consume Brutaka. Brutaka leaped out of the danger just in time. "The Mask of Life will give me the chance everyone is looking for."

 

"It is not for you to use!" Axonn shouted and, in rage, rammed into Brutaka. Brutaka fell but was up again quickly. A swift blow from his blade sent Axonn a few steps back, giving Brutaka room to maneuver and strike another blow.

 

"I help the Piraka, but in the end they will be doomed. It is I who will walk with the Mask of Life... but they can be the ones to face the dangers of the 777 stairs first."

 

"That is madness!" Axonn growled. "Mata Nui is not dead, he is sleeping. But if the Piraka get the mask, everyone will! And if you get it, same result!"

 

Brutaka sent another blast of energy, this time more powerful than before. It knocked Axonn on the ground, badly damaging him.

 

"You are a fool, old friend", Brutaka said. "The future is in the hands of those who are ready to change in order to do so."

 

With that, Brutaka left, leaving the beaten Axonn behind. Axonn struggled to stand up. How could Brutaka have fallen so deep?

 

*

 

Not far away, the Toa Inika prepared for a potential battle as they looked at the enslaved Matoran working in the mines. Each of the Toa now carried a zamor launcher with spheres filled with energized protodermis. This time they had plenty of spheres to use. It was time.

 

The Toa leaped into action, launching their spheres at the Matoran. Many of them, on noticing the Toa, charged in an effort to attack them. As soon as the spheres struck them, however, they were freed from the influence of the Piraka's virus and calmed down. The Matoran resistance team was right behind the Toa, guiding away the freed Matoran.

 

Things were proceeding as planned. From the mines, the Toa Inika split up in order to find all the Matoran. Kopeke found himself freeing Matoran near the ice ring of the island, where surprisingly many enslaved Matoran were tending to immobile Nektann-machines, constructed by the Piraka to monitor the island.

 

Dalu was accompaning Kopeke in the cold environment. As soon as the Nektann spoted the pair, it began shooting at them with destructive missles. Kopeke grabbed Dalu and went behind a frozen tree.

 

"Hopeless", he said, but Dalu shook her head.

 

"No. We will not solve anything by hiding, Toa. We must act. You have the power of ice, remember?"

 

As hesitant as he was about using his newfound powers, Kopeke obliged. He went from behind the tree and charged at the Nektann, firing his ice powers at it. They froze the machine, simultaneously jolting it with electricity. Knowing what that meant, Kopeke hastily freed the Matoran slaves and guided them away with Dalu, just before the whole machine exploded and sent ice shards flying in all directions.

 

*

 

Back in the stronghold, Zaktan was holding a meeting between the Piraka.

 

"I have heard... disturbing news", he began. "Some of our Matoran have disappeared, and Nektann have been destroyed. Am I right?"

 

"How the Karz should we know?" Avak scowled. "This comes as a -"

 

"Actually you would know, if you didn't spend all your time inside with your tinkering", Vezok growled. "It's the new Toa, naturally."

 

"The ones you failed to destroy", Zaktan retorted. "Our mobile Nektann have given reports all over the island. The Toa have split up, freeing our Matoran somehow. I'm sure you all know when Toa are at their most vulnerable - when they cannot rely on each other. That is their problem, being  reliant on each other."

 

Zaktan gave a savage grin. "But we are not."

 

"If we leave to deal with the Toa, who is going to watch the stronghold?" Hakann interrupted.

 

Zaktan laughed. "What a silly question. Me of course. A Toa is bound to come here eventually. I will be waiting. I shall also message Brutaka. He will bring down all of them, if need be."

 

Zaktan turned at the Antidermis vat. "This island is already ours. The Toa cannot survive on our ground. And when it is all over, we will find the Mask of Life."

 

To be continued.


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Jun 02 2013 - 02:41 AM.

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#15 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jun 07 2013 - 08:29 AM

Chapter 15 - The Entrance

 

Macku and Balta were in the Green Belt, looking for enslaved Matoran and Nektann-bases. They had found quite a few, when Macku had suddenly started experiencing strong headaches. The deeper she travelled into the Green Belt, the more her head was hurting.

 

"Why is this cursed mask doing this to me?" Macku said, holding her head with both hands.

 

Balta seemed intrigued. "It is the mask, hmm? I know your masks are unique and alive... could this one be telling you something?"

 

"What could that be?" Macku asked. "This is so unfair... Taipu can fly, Tamaru can read thoughts, Hafu can strike anything with pinpoint accuracy... and I'm being pressured by a stubborn mask."

 

"There has to be a reason for it", Balta said. "Tell me... have the headaches increased in volume the more we walk in... this direction?" Balta gestured to the direction they had been heading for.

 

"Yes", Macku said. "I started having them at the edge of the Green Belt, and since then it has grown worse. The more we go towards..." Her words drifted off.

 

Balta smiled. "Let us make a little test, Toa. Walk some distance back the way we came and tell me how you feel."

 

Not being able to think of any objections to this plan of action, Macku walked back the way she and Balta had come. Balta followed her close behind, both waiting for a reaction from the Toa of Water and looking around for possible danger. The Piraka had a tendency to strike when least expected.

 

Finally, the Toa of Water came to the expected conclusion. "My head doesn't hurt as much as when we turned back. It's... it's trying to keep me out from that place."

 

"Or, rather, directing you towards something", Balta said. "It must be a mask of detection of some kind. Now the question is: what are you supposed to find with it?"

 

"Let's find out", Macku said, already walking back to where the headaches grew stronger. "It's not - ouch - easy to me, but we should find the reason for this mask already."

 

*

 

Avak scanned the forest with his X-ray vision, detecting Macku and Balta short distance away. The Toa was clearly in pain, which suited Avak just fine. He had no wish to prolong the fight that was due. He was an inventor, not a soldier. Therefore he kept himself hidden, stalking the two beings and preparing his new-built weapon for a strike of ambush. He would take out the Toa first, then imprison Balta in one of his inpenetrable cells.

 

Avak was about to attack when a realization hit him. Macku and Balta seemed to be looking for something. Perhaps there was something to be learned from this? He refrained from attacking just yet, and followed in silence.

 

*

 

Macku held her head and cursed, which earned a disapproving glance from Balta. He did understand the Toa's condition, but cursing was still not something a hero succumbed to.

 

Next to a cliff, Macku suddenly cried out and fell to her knees. Balta went to help her up, but in just a few seconds Macku seemed to have recovered. Even more strangely, she seemed to have lost her headache.

 

"It's gone", Macku said. "The headache. My head doesn't hurt."

 

Balta looked around. He saw nothing out of the ordinary. Had the Kanohi Elda been playing around with Macku? Or had it purposefully attracted her to this spot, where nothing if importance seemed to be?

 

While Balta was pondering their predicament, Macku was having some sort of an inspiration - maybe created by the Elda? - and turned to look at the side of the cliff next to her. Something beckoned her to wipe out a layer of moss on the rock. When she did it, Macku became certain that the mask had told her to do so - for behind the moss had been a carving of the Kanohi Hau and another carving representing a stick figure with stretched-out arms.

 

Balta noticed Macku's find and came closer, examining the carving. "Your mask lead you to this carving", he said in awe. "But why?"

 

Macku didn't say anything. She had a hunch on what this meant, but she had to  try it out herself. Her hand touched the carving and passed over it, trying to find something unusual, our of place... there! The mouthhole of the Hau carving was a separate piece. Holding her breath, Macku pushed the spot. After a while, the carving opened up with a metallic hiss to reveal a staircase leading somewhere underground.

 

"That's it!" Balta yelled in excitement. "You must have discovered the path to the Mask of Life! It makes sense now."

 

Before she could answer, Macku was struck by a bolt of energy that flung her at the cliffside and magnetized her to it. One second later, a spherical prison appeared around Balta, one that resisted his efforts to break free with his twin repellers.

 

Avak appeared from behind a tree, chuckling. "You did a huge favor for me today, Toa. Now nothing can keep me away from the mask of life... not even the other Piraka, for they won't have to know."

 

*

 

At the lava reservoirs of the Piraka, Kapura, Tamaru, Hafu, Kazi, Velika and Garan were locked in fierce combat with someone whose power was incredible compared to that of any of the combatants - Brutaka.

 

Kapura had been the first to reach the reservoir, using his Zamor launcher to free the Matoran working there. Tamaru and Hafu had soon joined him after liberating all Matoran slaves in the Nui caves. They and their Matoran friends had been ready to destroy the lava-draining equipment of the Piraka when Brutaka had appeared out of nowhere. Only Kapura's Kanohi Calix had allowed him to dodge the first blow just in time.

 

Now sounds of battle echoed in the reservoirs alongside that of the bubbling, molten protodermis.

 

"You must be a fool to challenge three Toa at once!" Hafu bellowed, throwing rocks at Brutaka with accuracy provided to him by his Kanohi Sanok. However, though the rocks struck their target, they seemed to make little difference in Brutaka's confidence and power.

 

"You are clearly oblivious to who you are fighting with", Brutaka responded. "I have cut the likes of you in half before this miserable island even existed on its own. You cannot stand between me and the mask of life!"

 

Tamaru called on the power of his Suletu in order to probe Brutaka'd mind with distracting thoughts. He had at first had problems with controlling the mask, but over time he had gained the ability to switch it on and off, though it seemed to be up to the mask itself whether to obey or not. To Tamaru's surprise, he could not reach Brutaka's mind no matter how hard he pushed his Kanohi to try. His mind probe met an invisible barrier he couldn't pierce.

 

"This won't end well!" Kazi cried out. Although he had been known to be overly pessimistic at times, everyone present knew that he was right this time. The fight was taking place on top of the lava dam. A slip would be fatal, for there was only molten protodermis to greet you down below. The edges of the dam were secured by several mobile Nektann that kept the Matoran busy while the Toa held their own with Brutaka.

 

For Kapura, fighting near lava meant an advantage. He had greater resistance to the scroching heat than anyone else here, and it had already proved useful. Even Brutaka's skills were hindered by the overly hot conditions.

 

Kapura concentrated on using his elemental energies. Heat and flame from the lava were absorbed into his frame even as Hafu had Brutaka focused on him and his bragging. Once Kapura had absorbed enough fire, he channeled it in order to create a fire cage around Brutaka. His power added electricity into the cage, making it enough to stagger even someone as mighty as Brutaka.

 

Hafu and Tamaru ran over to Kapura. "Will that be enough to trap-hold him?" Tamaru asked.

 

Kapura shook his head. "No, it is just a temporary solution. A fire brings you warmth and comfort, but can so easily be extinguished. Never rely on brother flame to do everything for you."

 

Hafu rolled his eyes, but Tamaru would not lose patience with Kapura that easily. "Piruk has quick-led the Matoran we trap-freed to safety. Our brother-friends should be ready with their tasks soon as well. They will join us in brief-time."

 

Garan and Kazi used the combined power of their tools to blast the rest of the Nektann into oblivion. The way being clear, Velika raced over to the controls of the reservoir.

 

"Get out of there!" Garan yelled to the Toa. "Velika is going to disable the mechanisms, but that will make the dam unstable."

 

Kapura was off the dam in no time. Hafu and Tamaru followed soon after, only to be stopped by Brutaka who stepped in front of them through a dimensional portal.

 

"Quick-run!" Tamaru shouted. Hafu would not take that. Instead he tore a chunk off the rock of the dam and hurled it at Brutaka. Brutaka batted it away with ease.

 

It was left to Kapura to race with his super-speed and grab both Hafu and Tamaru to safety even as Velika used the reservoir controls to open the dam, sending Brutaka toppling off it and towards the lava. Before he would have hit it, he used his Olmak to create another dimensional gate than transported him somewhere else.

 

"That was a close one", Kazi said, brushing his forehead with his arm. The heat was making him dizzy.

 

"We survived for now", Hafu said. "The Matoran are finally free, that's what matters. The others will be here soon, we agreed to meet here. In the meantime, let's bash some Piraka-machinery."

 

No sooner had the words left his mouth than a blast of heat vision struck him from behind. The Toa and Matoran saw Hakann and Vezok, along with some assorted Nektann, approaching.

 

"That is so inconsiderate of you, wanting to ruin our great creations", Hakann chided. "For that we will take the priviledge of ruining something of yours in return. It is only fair that way."

 

*

 

"Wooooohhhooooo!!" Taipu shouted as he flew yet another freed Matoran to the Matoran hideout. He decided he really enjoyed his new mask of flight, former earth-dweller or not. It wasn't just the power itself that made it such a blast to use, but the knowledge that everything was accessible to him made Taipu gleeful.

 

Taipu and Piruk had freed the last of the Matoran and worked hard to lead them from all across the island to the Matoran hideout. Many of them had begun enlarging it already in order to fit the whole population of the island, as well as building walls to reinforce it against attackers. Many Matoran had already grown to like Taipu with his agreeable yet gullible nature.

 

"Thank you for this, Toa", Piruk said as Taipu led the last Matoran to safety. "You and your brothers have done us a great service. Our friends are free at last, and I swear, we will do anything to repay you."

 

"Very kind of you", Taipu said with a chuckle. "Though it was us just doing our jobs, I guess. I wonder why Onua was always so silent with all those opportunities to explore and help others. For now, however, I have to go. My brothers and sister wanted me to go to the lava reservoirs after I'm done with you guys."

 

"Good fortune to you, Toa", Piruk said as Taipu took off.

 

Nearby, Reidak watched Taipu fly away and set off in the same direction...

 

 

To be continued! Next, we will see more intense battling and more about the secrets of the mask of life! Please review, for I feed on feedback.


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#16 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jun 08 2013 - 03:19 PM

Chapter 16 - Traitors

 

Kopeke dodged just in time our of the way of one of Thok's icy blasts. The Piraka had appeared from behind a large boulder and had immediately began an assault. Clearly he had been looking for him.

 

Thok laughed. "I bet you could dodge all day. Running and hiding - that it what true Toa are made of."

 

Kopeke did not respond. Instead he gambled that Thok wasn't as resistant to ice as a Toa of Ice was and strained his newfound powers to create a blizzard. Dalu leaped out of the way of the storm to see Thok being zapped by lightning bolts amidst it all. Kopeke's peculiar nature as a Toa Inika was proving an edge once again.

 

As Thok fell to the ground, Kopeke ended the storm. He had assumed victory too soon, however. Thok lifted his head from the snow and used his spellbinder vision to make Kopeke fall into a state of vertigo.

 

Dalu leapt into action then. She ran at Thok, twin chargers at the ready. Thok was not prepared for an assault by a Matoran and fell as the Ga-Matoran warrior ran into him. This caused his concentration to break, freeing Kopeke of the effects of his vision powers.

 

Thok rolled over and launched a Zamor sphere at Dalu. Dalu barely dodged the projectile that would have enslaved her. By then Kopeke had made it to the two and held his sword over Thok.

 

"Surrender. You cannot win against both of us", Kopeke said in a tone of voice he imagined would frighten the Piraka. Nothing would frighten Thok, though. The white Piraka nodded, but as soon as Kopeke lowered his weapon, he brought nearby rocks alive to assault the Toa and Matoran. Thok laughed as he saw his creations batter the duo.

 

"You have not yet learned that we don't play clean, Toa. If we did, the Toa Nuva may have defeated us in the first place."

 

Kopeke froze a nearby rock and then shattered it. He couldn't help thinking that maybe Thok was right. If the Toa Nuva had not been so virtuous, perhaps they would have recovered the mask of life by now, and saved the universe?

 

No, he thought. Some moral standards are never worth sacrificing. When you lose your virtues once, you may lose them forever. And after that you are no longer useful in this world.

 

Dalu activated her chargers to increase the willpower of Thok drastically. Having way more mental capability to use his power than ever before, Thok lost control over it. Around him, every molecule came alive, bringing every single pebble and piece of shrub to life. With no experience of controlling so many being at once, Thok was overwhelmed by his own creations. He fell down and every inanimate object went still once more.

 

Taipu would perhaps have applauded Dalu's achievement, but Kopeke simply aimed his sword and made an electrified ice prison around Thok.

 

"That should hold him for a while", he said.

 

"Let's take him prisoner", Dalu suggested. "He may have information on the mask of life... and we can't let his kind roam freely on the island of my people."

 

Kopeke had his doubts. With all of his teammates at the stronghold - surely they had finished their missions by now - there was nowhere to take and hold Thok. Caging him in the Matoran hideout was out of question. Resourceful the Matoran were, but they could not be tasked with keeping a monstrous Piraka in place.

 

"Make sure he doesn't escape", Kopeke said to Dalu. "I'm going to check with the other Toa, see what their status is."

 

Before Dalu could respond, Kopeke activated his Iden and separated his spirit from his body. Kopeke's went limp, leaving Dalu waiting for his return and guard the Piraka. Kopeke's spirit soared through the air at magnificent speed. Eventually he reached the lava reservoirs and saw a terrifying sight. Kapura, Hafu, Tamaru, Garan, Velika and Kazi were there, fighting against Hakann, Vezok and several Nektann. The numbers would have been on the Toa's side, if not for the fact that Tamaru, Kazi and Garan had all ben felled already by Hakann's mental blasts.

 

Kopeke realized then that Macku was missing. She was the only one who could see Kopeke's astral form, but she was nowhere to be seen. Had she still not completed her mission?

 

Kopeke sent his spirit towards the Green Belt in search of his friend.

 

*

 

"In case you're wondering, this little gun of mine can fire blasts that magnetize you to the nearest physical construction", Avak explained to Macku, who was trying to  pull herself free from the cliffside in vain. Avak tapped his magnetic gun and chuckled. "Now I'll just have to walk over to you and finish you off. When you're done with, I can butcher this annoying Ta-Matoran at my leisure. Then I'll walk down the staircase you so generously opened up for me, and take the mask of life. Perfect crime, with all profit remaining in my hands."

 

"Do you really think the other Toa won't find a way to stop you? Or even your treacherous friends?" Macku said. She was really stalling, preparing her elemental energies for an attack.

 

"The Toa? They will be too busy mourning your corpse to pay attention to anything beyond. As for the other Piraka, by the time they realize what is happening, I'll be long gone already."

 

Avak lifted his other tool, the seismic pickaxe, in preparation of the final blow. Macku chose this moment to act, seizing control of the underground waters and sending them through the ground to blast the brown Piraka from down below. Avak had not been expecting an attack from underneath. He toppled over and suddenly found himself sinking into mud. Macku had increased the moisture of the soil.

 

The magnetic effect of Avak's launcher wore off, releasing Macku. Balta was free now as well, Avak's concentration having been broken.

 

Kopeke's spirit arrived at the scene. He was surprised to see a hole in the cliff with a staircase inside.

 

Macku could see Kopeke's spirit, thanks to a side-power of her mask. "Kopeke! What are you doing here?"

 

Balta looked around for a while, then remembered what Kopeke's mask could do.

 

"The others are in trouble!" Kopeke told Macku. "And I caught a Piraka as well. But... what is that staircase for?"

 

"It's the entrance to the maks of life, Kopeke", Macku answered. "But now Avak knows about it too. We have a little problem here."

 

"We have no way to - look out!" Kopeke suddenly shouted. Macku turned around to see Reidak leaping at him from behind. Macku rolled on her back, caught Reidak with her legs, and sent him flying over the Toa. Balta was ready with his twin repellers. Reidak fell on the Ta-Matoran's tools, sending him flying back again.

 

Avak managed to free his pickaxe and used it to knock Macku off her feet. Kopeke watched the battle unfold, shouting wanrings to Macku. Thanks to Kopeke's spirit guiding her, Macku managed to evade most of Reidak's attacks and deliver well-timed ones herself. Avak succeeded in finally dragging himself out of the mud and joined Reidak, only to be distracted by Balta. Although not a match to the Piraka physically, the Ta-Matoran was able to keep him from joining Reidak.

 

Kopeke realized the battle was futile. One Toa and Matoran could not possibly beat two Piraka, especially since Reidak had one of the most unusual and powerful abilities - adapting to all defeats and rising more powerful than before.

 

"Retreat!" Kopeke called out to Macku. "We have to regroup."

 

"But the entrance..."

 

"We will get to it later", Kopeke said. "We will go after the Piraka and stop them, but we cannot do it without the others."

 

Macku understood, but was still tempted to argue. She didn't, reasoning that they didn't have the time for that.

 

"Balta, we need to go!" she shouted and grabbed the Ta-Matoran. Balta protested, but Macku took her away from the entrance and towards the lava reservoirs. She did not hear Reidak and Avak behind her, so she had to assume they were taking advantage of being the only Piraka to know of he entrance to the mask of life. It saddened her, but trusted Kopeke's words.

 

Kopeke was about to return to his body far from here, but decided to linger a bit longer to overhear Reidak's and Avak's conversation.

 

"They're gone", Avak said. "There's no one here but us... we can go down the staircase and retrieve the mask of life! Just the two of us, Reidak."

 

Reidak grabbed Avak by the chin and held him in a grip. "You fool!" he spat. "You would lead me into that tunnel to burn with you. You and I both know that the staircase is guarded and booby-trapped. That's why we Piraka have decided to stay a team all this time - so we can reach the mask at all. Go by yourself and you will be turned to ash for sure."

 

Avak struggled to breathe in Reidak's grip. Even as the black Piraka released his grip, Avak understood that he was right, however. Charging in would be suicidal right now. Besides, there was a battle going on near the stronghold. They would be needed there.

 

They were about to go there when a huge axe-wielding figure emerged from among the trees. Reidak had seen him once before.

 

"You", he said. "I thought you would've learned something from last time."

 

Axonn's eyes were full of hatred. The Piraka had never stood a chance against him - it was Brutaka who had beaten him. Reidak was boasting, everyone present knew that.

 

"Uh, we were just on our way...", Avak said. Axonn lifted his axe in response.

 

"You had better. I would crush you now if not for... my own purposes."

 

"Then why are you here?" Reidak asked, his eyes narrowing.

 

"Don't tempt my wrath", Axonn said. He was clearly very tensed up. Avak took that a sign that it was best to retreat while they were being offered the chance. Grabbing Reidak, he dashed in the direction of the stronghold. Axonn watched them leave, then grabbed ont a nearby tree for support. He had been bluffing. His strength had not yet returned. It would take a while for him to recover from his fight with Brutaka. For now he would stay at the entrance of the 777 stairs and guard it against the Piraka. There was no way he would let them get by him if they came before the Toa Inika.

 

*

 

Hafu coughed heavily. The entire lava reservoir was surrounded by smoke. Vezok and Hakann had decided to use teamwork for a change, to use elemental powers. Fire and water had resulted in smoke that covered the entire place. This was very bad news for the Toa. They knew Hakann could probably see well even in these conditions. He would strike by surprise and take down each of them.

 

Hafu spotted someone in in the fog. He squinted, but realized too late it was Vezok with one of his water daggers ready. Vezok struck at Hafu. Being a Toa of Stone, Hafu was especially vulnerable to water attacks, which did not bode well for him. Before Vezok could make a follow-up attack, however, someone grabbed him and flew with him high in the air.

 

Taipu! Hafu thought as he rose back to his feet and struggled to find his way out of the smoke.

 

Nearby, Vezok had blasted Taipu with impact vision, causing both of them to fall. Taipu's stout body made the impact fairly easy to bear. Vezok did not receive much damage either, and was on his feet soon... only to be swept off with a tidal wave that gave him electric shocks at the same time. Macku arrived at the scene with Balta.

 

"Sister!" Taipu exclaimed. "It is nice to see you again, especially now."

 

"We have to hurry", Macku said, not sharing in the enthusiasm. "We've got to regroup and head out again, Taipu. Where are the others?"

 

Hafu emerged from the smoke nearby, carrying an unconscious Kazi. Balta gasped as he saw this and immediately went over to help his Ko-Matoran friend.

 

"Kapura and Tamaru are still there", Hafu said, panting. Even for a fit being like himself, all this fighting and running was taking its toll. "Tamaru was out, last I saw. Not to mention Garan and Velika."

 

"The smoke is dissipating", Macku noted. "Wait... is that... Hakann?"

 

Hakann charged at the assembled Toa, firing lava blasts from his lava launcher. Athletic as she was, Macku dodged them while Hafu used his Sanok to shoot a laser beam from his laser axe at just the right spot underneath Hakann. The stone cracked, trapping Hakann in a small crevice.

 

Taipu looked around, trying to find Vezok. The blue Piraka had obviously fled, which was probably smart of him. The wall of smoke had completely disappeared now, revealing Tamaru, Kapura, Garan and Velika, all of them battered by Hakann's attacks. They were easily revived though.

 

Hafu was about to capture Hakann, but the Piraka had used his heat vision to burn a hole inside the crevice, allowing an escape route. The Toa decided not to track him. There were more important things to deal with.

 

"As soon as Kopeke arrives here, we should get moving", Macku said. "You won't believe it, guys... I found the entrance to the mask of life."

 

The other Toa and Matoran were indeed surprised by the news.

 

"My guess is that Avak and Reidak are already going down the staircase", Macku continued with resolve. "We had to leave them, but we will catch them and prevent them from taking that mask."

 

"Wait a second!" Taipu interrupted. "This is all so sudden! What about the Toa Nuva? We need them to help us down the staircase! And to stand up to the Piraka."

 

"They are being held at the stronghold", Garan said. "The Piraka are all scattered at the moment. Now is our chance to storm that fortress and save your friend... as well as destroy some important equipment the Piraka may be using."

 

"There's no time!" Macku insisted. "What if Avak and Reidak actually make it down there and steal the mask of life? All hope will be lost."

 

"The other Piraka are still a threat", Hafu reminded. "They will certainly go after the Matoran once they see we are somewhere else... or worse, find the entrance themselves and descend after us. Then we'll be trapped between two groups of Piraka. Not to mention that Brutaka guy, who may be anywhere at the moment."

 

Macku sighed. The search for the mask of life was urgent, but without the Toa Nuva to help them out, their chances were not good. As much as she hated to ignore Avak and Reidak, they would need to attack the stronghold and help the Toa Nuva. Twelve Toa would actually stand a chance against the Piraka and even Brutaka.

 

"Let's make it quick, then", Macku said. "Kopeke is on his way here, with Dalu. Then we'll move in."

 

*

 

Zaktan heard the sound of a dimensional portal opening up behind him. Leaving the vat of sntidermis alone for a while, the Piraka-leader turned to see a grim-looking Brutaka.

 

"I need more of that stuff", Brutaka said, referring to the antidermis. That strange substance was known to increase Brutaka's strength instead of slaving him, which none of the Piraka could understand. Consuming too much antidermis would make Brutaka feel sick though, which was why he only fed on it occasionally.

 

"What happened?" Zaktan asked, then turned at the sound of Vezok, Hakann, Reidak and Avak walking inside the central chamber. None of them looked very well.

 

"This is the last time you send us in battle without participating yourself", Vezok growled. "You may be the leader of this group, but that doesn't give you the right to step aside and watch us being beat down."

 

"We defeated the Toa Nuva", Zaktan responded. "They were more powerful than these new Toa. What makes you unable to deal with them, may I ask?"

 

Reidak gave Zaktan a glare. "They're immune to our spheres, for one thing. They also have those weird lightning powers and that cursed Matoran team to help them out."

 

Zaktan scoffed and walked around the room, waving his arms. His body seemed to be constantly shifting, as the protodites that made up his body readjusted themselves. The Piraka had gotten used to this weird sight, but for anyone else it was sickening.

 

"All we need to do is to beat those Toa, find the mask of life and we're done", he said, exasperated. "While you were fighting the Toa, I was gathering information delivered to us by our Nektann. You know they are monitoring the island and looking for the mask as well."

 

Reidak glanced at Avak, who nodded.

 

"Zaktan", Avak began. "I found the entrance in the Green Belt. Yes, while fighting one of those Toa, I actually achieved something you were supposed to."

 

Zaktan froze, even his protodites stopping their movement. For a moment, all was silent. Even Brutaka was surprised. He had known where the mask of life was all this time, but had never actually encountered the entrance. If he had, he would have stolen the mask long ago.

 

"Where is Thok?" Zaktan asked.

 

"We haven't seen him since you sent him after the Toa along with us", Hakann said. "I hope the Toa burned him down."

 

"Doesn't matter", Zaktan said. "We will move out immediately. Brutaka, you will transport us to the Green Belt. Then you'll -"

 

Brutaka grinned. "Guess again."

 

With that he opened a portal with his Olmak and stepped through, vanishing.

 

"That traitor!" Zaktan scowled. "He must be going for the mask himself! We must go after him!"

 

"Uh, I'd gladly do that...", Hakann said, looking out the window. "But we have company."

 

 

Wow, this was a long one! To be continued... be sure to let me know what you think about this chapter and the epic as a whole.


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Jun 15 2013 - 02:03 AM.

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#17 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jun 11 2013 - 07:56 AM

Chapter 17 – Free the Evil

 

 

Piruk, Garan, Balta and Kazi and Macku stood at the rear entrance of the Piraka stronghold, waiting. The others would raid the building from the main entrance while Macku’s group were to look for the Toa Nuva and free them. The Toa and Matoran had been sure most of the Piraka were away from the place, meaning little opposition. Maybe Zaktan and some Nektann, but nothing else.

 

*

 

On the other side, the Toa were preparing to ambush the stronghold with Velika and Dalu. They had arrived at the outer gate of the place after destroying a couple of immobile Nektann towers.

 

“Do your magic, Tamaru”, Taipu said and watched as the Toa of Air aimed and fired his laser crossbow at the lock of the gate. The lock was effectively reduced to atoms, without even making a sound. Tamaru silently thanked Mata Nui for his tool, but hoped he would never accidentally obliterate someone with it. The more power you have, the more responsible you are.

 

The gate opened and the Toa and Matoran  stepped inside. As soon as they had done that, Kopeke used his Iden to fly his spirit over to Macku.

 

*

 

“We’re in”, Kopeke told Macku in his spirit form. Macku nodded as Kopeke left for his own body again.

 

“We will proceed”, Macku told the four Matoran. “The others will distract any defenses there may be and destroy some of their equipment. Hopefully even that virus you told us about.”

 

“And we will free the Toa Nuva”, Balta added. “With twelve Toa and six Matoran, the Piraka will have no hope.”

 

Piruk went over to the lock of the backdoor and used his shredder claws to open it. The group dashed inside. Macku was taken aback by the enormous size of the complex. Finding the Toa Nuva would take some time.

 

*

 

The Piraka had noticed the first group of Toa advancing into their stronghold.

 

“What should we do?” Avak asked.

 

“That’s simple”, Zaktan said. “We leave now and get a head start on the mask. Let the Toa look for us within these walls, there’s nothing that important we must protect anyway. The mask of life will be worth it all.”

 

“Sounds like a plan”, Avak said. “I have a little gift for them before we leave them, though… I just finished building it before I went to track the Toa.”

 

Zaktan smiled his approval.

 

*

 

In the Green Belt, at the entrance of the 777 stairs, Axonn sat on a rock and waited. He could feel his strength returning at every minute he spent resting. He felt more confident than ever that he would be able to stop the Piraka if they arrived at the scene before the Toa did. As always, his duty was to protect the mask of life. It was his life’s purpose and he would follow it until the end of his days.

 

Axonn wasn’t prepared for what happened next, though: a dimensional portal appearing next to the entrance and Brutaka appearing. This was bad, Axonn knew. He or Brutaka had never known about the whereabouts of the entrance to the mask of life. Now that Brutaka had gained that knowledge, he would be difficult to stop.

 

“Axonn, my old friend”, Brutaka said upon seeing his axe-wielding ex-colleague. “You are sitting around all day while the island falls apart? How vain.”

 

Axonn stood up and walked closer to Brutaka, ready to whack some sense into him if need be. “And your recent actions aren’t, Brutaka? Pursuing a treasure that is not meant for you, allying yourself with the lowest of scum just to find the entrance?”

 

“It is a treasure that will bring me power”, Brutaka said. “Power to fill in the void Mata Nui left by deserting us.”

 

“He is NOT gone!” Axonn insisted. “He is merely asleep. Why can’t you see that?”

 

“Enough!” Brutaka growled, swinging his blade at Axonn. The blow was deflected by Axonn’s blade. He then rolled a ball of magma in his hands and threw it at Brutaka, only to see it swallowed by a portal.

 

“I am going down those stairs now”, Brutaka declared. “You will not stop me.”

 

“I will… or die trying”, Axonn said. “You understand that I will protect the mask until death. It was your duty as well. Just throwing it aside like that will have dire consequences… or do you not remember what happens to those who betray Mata Nui?”

 

Brutaka remembered exactly that. “Botar”, he spat. “But he will not come after me unless I am defeated.”

 

“You believe I cannot do that?”

 

“Let us see, shall we?”

 

Brutaka and Axonn charged at each other, ready to battle for the fate of the universe.

 

*

 

In the Piraka stronghold, the Toa Inika felt nervous. The place was way too quiet, which meant that something was off.

 

“I did expect the stronghold to be near empty… but something is wrong”, Hafu said.

 

“The central chamber of the Piraka is this way”, Dalu said, leading the group towards the most imposing room of the entire building.

 

“I doubt all the Piraka are away”, Tamaru pointed out. “We haven’t spot-seen Zaktan at all. He must be here.”

 

The group reached the central chamber. Surprisingly, it was completely empty. Only a large vat of greenish liquid stood in the center, looking like some bubbling cauldron of a magician. Of the Piraka, there was no sign.

 

“This is bad”, Kopeke said.

 

There was a creak and a mechanical bang. In one corner of the stronghold, a large mobile Nektann was tracking the Toa with its glass-like visors. It was easily the size of two Toa, armed with Zamor launchers on either side. It stood on four legs, looking like it was ready to blow up the whole team in an instant.

 

“It’s guarding the virus”, Dalu noted. “The Piraka obviously don’t want it destroyed. We’ll have to disappoint them.”

 

As if understanding Dalu’s intentions, the giant Nektann fired several Zamor spheres. Instead of the Piraka’s spheres, these contained a mixture of liquids that exploded on impact. Kapura’s Calix allowed him to quickly save Dalu out of harm’s way as the spot exploded.

 

“This is gonna be a long day”, Taipu said.

 

*

 

“This is it!” Piruk exclaimed. “The Toa Nuva are behind this door!”

 

“Can you unlock it?” Macku asked, full of hope.

 

“Yes, yes, I’m sure”, Piruk said and went to work with the lock. After a couple of minutes he managed to unlock it with his shredder claws.

 

The group dashed inside to find a horrible sight. The maskless Toa Nuva were standing around a glowing pillar, feeding their elemental energies into it. They had been enslaved by the Piraka’s virus and thus their actions were dictated by the murderous gang.

 

“I have the cure”, Macku said. Her Zamor spheres would free the Toa Nuva, but they needed to find their tools and masks. This job fell to the Matoran, who quickly went and recovered them from another room.

 

Once the Kanohi Nuva were safely on the Toa Nuva’s faces and their tools laying by their side, Macku put her launcher to work, freeing the heroes so many revered. The Toa Nuva collapsed from exhaustion.

 

“You are free!” Macku said happily as she went to help them up. The Matoran helped.

 

“Th-thank you, stranger”, Gali Nuva said. “We appreciate the rescue… who are you?”

 

“Gali, I am Macku”, Macku said, not even realizing what was confusing her heroes so. Then she got it. “Uh, well, actually it’s Toa Macku now.”

 

“We can see that”, Pohatu Nuva said weakly. “Hewkii’s gonna flip…”

 

“I’m not the only one who’s changed. Tamaru, Kapura, Hafu, Taipu and Kopeke are also Toa now.”

 

Lewa Nuva shook his head in disbelief. “I’ll speak-say… how did that happen?”

 

“We may not have time for stories”, Kopaka Nuva broke in. “Where are the Piraka?”

 

“My friends are looking for them”, Macku replied. “Quick, you must come and help them.”

 

“I agree”, Tahu Nuva said. “We should offer our help now and ask questions later.”

 

The Matoran smiled as they watched the reunion. Now they had twelve Toa by their side, meaning that the Piraka would fall without a doubt.

 

*

 

The scene Macku and the Toa Nuva arrived at was much different than they had suspected. The Toa Inika were in a desperate struggle with a huge Nektann-robot, but the Piraka were nowhere to be seen.

 

“Toa Nuva!” Taipu shouted in joy. “You are free!”

 

“Look out!” Onua shouted as the Nektann fired a Zamor at Taipu. It was Tahu who leaped in front of Taipu to block the missle with his mask of shielding. With twelve Toa opposing the large machine, it fell quickly. Ice from Kopeke and Kopaka froze its legs solid while Tahu, Kapura and Pohatu worked together to melt and destroy the rest. Although victory was easy, it left the two Toa teams and the Matoran full of questions about the whereabouts of the Piraka.

 

“We will have to keep our reunion short”, Onua said. “As happy as I am about our freedom and your transformation, the universe is still in peril.”

 

“Now you can help us find the mask of life!” Taipu said.

 

“That we will do”, Gali responded. “But where are the Piraka?”

 

“I have a guess on that… and it’s not a happy one”, Macku said. Kopeke got the drift.

 

“They’re after the mask of life.”

 

The Toa Inika explained to the Toa Nuva how they had discovered the entrance to the staircase that lead down to the chamber of the mask of life. The Piraka had also learned of the location, which made it very likely that they were even now descending down the stairs after the mask.

 

“We go after them”, Hafu said with burning determination.

 

“And we will go with you”, Tahu said. “But first thing first… this virus. We saw what it can do, even to Toa. We should destroy that substance so no one can be enslaved with it again.

 

Dalu was more than eager to jump for the chance to smash the vat, but when she went close enough to it, her head started hurting. “It… it’s giving me a headache.”

 

Tamaru approached the vat and felt the same effect. However, the pain caused his mask of telepathy to trigger, revealing something shocking about the virus… it was capable of thought. Tamaru’s head was filled with images of darkness, destruction and doom.

 

“The virus!” Tamaru gasped. “It thought-talks!”

 

“That has to be impossible”, Kazi said. “It’s just a liquid, how can it be sentient?”

 

“We know nothing about its origins”, Garan reminded his friend.

 

“Whatever it is, we don’t have time to examine it”, Hafu said. “We have a mask of life to save from the hands of the Piraka.”

 

Everyone present knew that was right. Therefore the Toa Nuva and Toa Inika raised their tools in unision, aiming at the crystal vat. As they were about to fire, a terrible sound, a deep roar, filled their minds. This was the last straw to the heroes, who simultaneously unleashed their powers on the vat. The container never had a chance – it shattered into a thousand shards, releasing the virus. They heard a guttural scream as the substance drifted aimlessly in the room, finally moving in a fixed direction, its essence leaving the building through a nearby window.

 

“I wonder if we just destroyed it… or unleashed something more terrible than ever before on the universe”, Kapura mused. Velika nodded in a worried agreement.

 

“The mask of life”, Macku reminded. “Let us go.”

 

 

So, the Toa Nuva are in the picture as well. Check out future chapters to see what their role will be - I promise it will be a more exciting one than in the official story. For now though, please review in the review topic and tell me your thoughts. :)


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#18 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jun 13 2013 - 01:58 PM

Chapter 18 – Duty comes first

 

Axonn was surprised at the speed of his own recovery. He had expected the fight with Brutaka to end with hazardous consequences to himself, but instead he had been able to hold his ground. It was Brutaka who was having troubles, due to Axonn constantly reminding him of his past life’s purpose.

 

“We did good. We kept the Matoran safe”, Axonn pressed. “We made sure all was well on this island!”

 

Brutaka dodged a swing from Axonn’s huge axe and managed to hit Axonn with his blade, pushing the warrior back a few steps. “And what was all that for? How did Mata Nui repay us? By stranding us on an island that doesn’t even belong in this sea!”

 

Axonn sighed and utilized his axe’s power to launch energy beams. One hit Brutaka in the right leg, scarring it and causing his former friend to scream.

 

“Destiny is taking its course”, Axonn said. “Those who stand strong until the end will be rewarded.”

 

“And ones who become even stronger will get to shape that ‘destiny’ you speak of”, Brutaka snarled, cradling his leg. “Whoever told you that you are right and I am wrong?”

 

Axonn was about to answer when he suddenly saw a most unwelcome gathering coming closer. Five Piraka, only Thok missing, came marching at the entrance. Axonn almost gave in to despair. A fight with Brutaka was one thing, but could he stop him plus five savage Skakdi-rebels from entering the 777 stairs?

 

“Brutaka, tsk tsk”, Zaktan chuckled. “I thought you betraying us would make you the new owner of the mask of life… instead it seems you are getting a beating.

 

Axonn’s eyes widened. Brutaka and the Piraka were enemies now?

 

“Piraka”, Brutaka muttered. “You consider honesty and reliability the highest of values, then? I remembered it being more about treachery and doom.”

 

All of the Piraka chuckled at that.

 

“Whatever the case may be, we are here to collect the broken pieces”, Zaktan said with a savage grin. “You two have undoubtedly wasted a lot of energy fighting each other. It is only a matter of time before you fall to the six of us.”

 

“Our power unmatches yours by far”, Axonn threatened. “We have beaten more difficult foes than you.”

 

“Then let us see, shall we?” Hakann said, lifting his lava launcher in preparation of battle.

 

*

 

Thok sat alone in a cold cave, tied up with strong jungle vines. Kopeke and Dalu had not thought of anything more special to restrict the Piraka with, for they had been in a hurry and refused to kill of their enemy. This, Thok decided, was one of the most stupid things Toa cared for. Wouldn’t killing make them stronger in their cause and prevent future troubles? Thok did not understand this “morality” thing the Toa insisted on preaching about.

 

Not that Thok regretted Kopeke’s foolish actions in this case. It spared him his life and he would soon be free to pursue the mask of life himself. Thok shifted his position and rubbed his bounds against a shard rock. It did take quite some time, but eventually the vine was weakened enough for Thok to tear it up with his sheer physical might. Readying his zamor launcher and ice gun, Thok stepped out of the cave to find the Toa and other Piraka.

 

*

 

The Toa Inika and Toa Nuva stood outside the Piraka stronghold, preparing for their journey to the entrance of the 777 stairs.

 

“It will take us too long to walk there”, Taipu pointed out. “I mean, I can fly, and Kapura can be there in no time, but the others…”

 

Pohatu stepped up. “Hello everyone. I am Pohatu Nuva, Toa of stone. I have control over rock and, by the way, an awesome mask that lets me and everyone around me run at supers-peed to anywhere our feet can travel.

 

The other Toa smiled at this reminder. Getting there would be no problem.

 

“Some of us will come with you”, Garan said to the Toa. “Piruk and Balta will go to the Matoran hideout to make sure our people are okay there. Velika and Kazi will stay here at the stronghold to check it for additional threats and disabling all remaining Nektann. Myself and Dalu will go with you, to assist at everything you may need.”

 

“That is very nice of you”, Macku said with a nod of approval.

 

“Okay now, get ready”, Pohatu Nuva said. “Come close to me and my power will be yours.”

 

The two groups of Toa and Garan and Dalu gathered around Pohatu. When they were ready, Pohatu nodded and shared the power of his Kakama Nuva with them all. In just a second, the group had arrived at the entrance to the staircase in the Green Belt. They saw Axonn and Brutaka in battle with the six Piraka, who were badly losing even though Brutaka and Axonn both looked exhausted.

 

“What is this crazy-madness?” Lewa wondered aloud.

 

Zaktan felt his dark heart sink as he saw twelve Toa arrive, backed up by two puny but surprisingly threatening Matoran. The Piraka would be demolished before they had even reached the staircase.

 

We need to retreat, Zaktan thought. The problem is, they will not let us.

 

Axonn panted and looked at Brutaka. “We will not beat the Toa and Piraka. They are too many.”

 

“The Toa?!” Garan exclaimed.  “But – but you are our ally!”

 

“I am”, Axonn said. “But as you know, duty comes before anything else to the members of the Order of Mata Nui.”

 

Kapura was amazed to hear the name of the organization being brought up. Was there really a group dedicated to the Great Spirit other than the Toa? The revelation made his head spin.

 

Brutaka looked at Axonn with a new kind of glow in his eyes. It was as if he had just discovered something grand in the corners of his mind. “You are right, Axonn, my friend”, Brutaka said. “But… I will assist you till the end. You were right – our duty is what matters, and I will never betray it again.”

 

“How did you…”, Axonn said in shock.

 

“Your determination brought light to the shadow parts of my mind”, Brutaka said. “The entrance to the mask yawns over, but it does not feel right for me going in there. I realized that there is still hope – Mata Nui may rediscover us some day. If he was truly dead or gone, you would be the first one to know, I’m sure.”

 

The Toa felt happiness over Brutaka’s switching of sides, until he aimed his palm at the group, with energy crackling in it. “And Axonn is right. Our duty is to protect the mask from everyone – both those of light and darkness.”

 

Dalu realized what this meant, but shouted a warning too late. Axonn and Brutaka combined their enormous might in order to launch to blasts of energy that scattered both the Piraka and the Toa like leaves in a hurricane.

 

Next: A shocking return... of something that you have yearned to see (I think). Don't miss it.


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#19 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jun 15 2013 - 04:27 AM

Chapter 19 – Deep into the Darkness

 

Onua could not believe how fast tides had turned recently. Just a moment ago, he and his fellow Toa had been allied with the new Toa Inika against the Piraka and Brutaka. Axonn had also been an ally, fighting for justice. Then, so suddenly, the two mighty warriors had become friends again and targeted everyone else in the battlefield. This had not been enough to convince the Piraka to ally with the Toa, however. Instead, they were against each other as well, continuously attempting to sneak past Axonn and Brutaka and into the entrance.

 

Another surprising fact was that Axonn and Brutaka were actually doing pretty well against all of their opponents. Garan and Dalu did not stand any chance and had been forced to retreat – even Dalu had to admit the inferiority of herself against all this power unleashed. Dalu did her best to help the Toa by using her tools to enhance Hafu’s speed just enough to make him able to dodge attacks more easily. Unfortunately she could only do this on one person and Hafu seemed like a wise choice.

 

“The mask of life”, Tahu said to Lewa. “It must be retrieved to save the universe, and both Axonn and Brutaka atrying to stop us. I know it’s their duty and all, but they are valuing the Order of Mata Nui more than the Great Spirit himself… it must not be like that.”

 

“I don’t know what we could do”, Lewa admitted. “Even with our big count-number, we are doom-losing.”

 

“I have an idea”, Tahu said and whispered his plan to Lewa. Lewa smiled and went to tell the others about it.

 

“Say what?” Gali asked after hearing the plan. “If twelve Toa can’t stand here, how could –“

 

“It’s worth a try, sister”, Lewa said. “Unity is the answer-key.”

 

Gali decided to give it a try, despite her doubts. Nearby, Tahu had teamed up with Pohatu and Onua. Gali sighed and went closer to Lewa and Kopaka, respectively. Both trios pooled their wills at each other, concentrating on their unity and…

 

Suddenly, two Toa Nuva Kaita stood on the battlefield. Akamai Nuva and Wairuha Nuva, each formed of three Toa Nuva. Their power was outright frightening to all those who wished to oppose them.

 

Without saying a word, Akamai threw himself at Brutaka, sending him sprawling. Meanwhile Wairuha combined water and wind to blow Axonn aside with a strom.

 

“Go!” Wairuha shouted at the Toa Inika with the merged voices on Lewa, Kopaka and Gali. “Go and get the mask of life!”

 

Brutaka and Axonn were still recovering as the Toa Inika raced down the staircase. Although it was barely visible, Axonn smiled at that moment. He did want the Toa to succed, after all. Only his duty required him to fight them.

 

Still, he could not tell that to Wairuha who was advancing on him. He would have to fight for real to keep the entrance unaccessible from anyone who tried entering it. The Toa Inika were past this problem, having already entered.

 

“I’m sorry about this”, Axonn said as he swung his axe at Wairuha. Having the combined agility of Gali and Lewa, as well as Kopaka’s ability to see ahead and predict, Wairuha was able to dodge easily.

 

“You’ll be sorry”, it said. “You are still fighting us? Don’t you think the life of the universe matters more?”

 

As Wairuha was keeping Axonn busy and Brutaka was fighting Akamai, Garan and Dalu watched in horror as the Piraka managed to slip down the staircase after the Toa Inika.

 

“Mata Nui”, Garan said. “If the Piraka catch the Toa Inika… I mean, this time they don’t have the Toa Nuva by their side.”

 

“Someone needs to back them up”, Dalu said. “We are going.”

 

Garan stared at Dalu in disbelief. “What? The two of us? You heard what we talked about that staircase – two Matoran will get fried there.”

 

“So you think we should stay here?” Dalu snapped. “I’m surprised of you. You have always said that you don’t need to be a Toa to be a hero, and now you are holding back?”

 

Garan stood silent for a while, pondering Dalu’s words. She was rightand he knew it – no matter how impossible it seemed Matoran could get to the mask of life, the Toa Inika might need some support against the Piraka, if only a little.

 

“Alright”, he finally said. “We’ll go after them and do whatever we can. But you know we might get killed, don’t you?”

 

“Of course”, Dalu said. “But we’re gonna cover each other up. Now let’s go while the Toa Nuva Kaita are fighting Axonn and Brutaka.”

 

The two Matoran ran into the depths of the tunnel…

 

*

 

The Toa Inika descended cautiously down the staircase, ready for any threat.

 

“The Toa Nuva are long-stalling the others”, Tamaru said, strangely comfortable underground despite his nature as a Toa of Air. “But they mat down-fall. We should quick-grab that mask and return.”

 

“I agree”, Taipu said. “We’ll snatch that mask and be back with lightning-speed!”

 

“It may not be that easy”, Kapura noted. “The staircase must be guarded. The mask of life is the ultimate Kanohi. It won’t be an easy prize.”

 

“We handled the Piraka. We’ll handle anything that’s waiting us”, Hafu said, full of confidence. In reality he was not at all sure six Toa Inika could meet the challenges of the mask of life. He remembered well his encounter with Karzahni much earlier on this journey. It had left him traumatized and utterly beaten. By now he realized it did not do good to assume victory. However, he still wanted to keep up that appearance.

 

The Toa came to a split pathway. Six tunnels branched from the one they were in, continuing down below.

 

“What does your mask speak-say, Macku?” Tamaru asked the Toa of water. Macku concentrated, but could not bring her mask to tell her which way to go.

 

“I’m not getting anything”, Macku said. “I guess we are supposed to split up.”

 

“Split up?” Kopeke said nervously. “We should rely on our unity… alone we are not heroes. We are prey.”

 

“Then what do you suggest?” Hafu asked. “Check each tunnel separately? We don’t even know how far they continue.”

 

“Our leader should decide”, Taipu said. “By the way, who is our leader?”

 

“I’ll take that position now, or else we won’t get anything done”, Hafu said. “We split up.”

 

As the Chronicler’s Company, the six Matoran had been led by Takua and on setting on the journey to Voya Nui, they had expected Takanuva to continue with that position. They had not even once considered electing a new leader. Thus everyone decided to agree to let Hafu lead them, even with his sometimes difficult personality.

 

Therefore the Toa Inika split up, each taking a passageway. They were alert and prepared for an attack anytime.

 

*

 

The Piraka were hurrying as they walked the same staircase after the Toa. Zaktan was pleased by what the Piraka had finally accomplished. Sure, the Toa Inika were ahead, but the Piraka would catch up to them and take the mask of life out of their dead hands.

 

There were complications, of course. Thok was missing and had not joined the rest of his team to get the mask. Zaktan didn’t really care all that much, except that he knew having one member less would mean harder battles with the Toa. Then again, there would only be four other Piraka to share the mask with… or betray.

 

Hakann and Avak were staying behind the others, discussing silently.

 

“You have that decoy mask?” Hakann asked in a whisper. Avak nodded.

 

“I made it before”, Avak explained. “It’s with me now. When we get to a certain part of this staircase, you will distract the others while I plant this thing somewhere. They will think it’s the mask of life while you and me grab the real one.”

 

Hakann nodded and grinned. He had made an alliance with Avak early on. The two had decided to use a fake mask of life to fool the others and get the real one themselves. Soon would be the time to use it.

 

Behind Zaktan, who was leading the way, Reidak and Vezok were also exchanging glances and nods. They had an alliance of their own as well, one that involved four dead Piraka and the two of them with the mask of life. Of course both of them had plans to betray the other as well.

 

Despite the secrecy of the others’ plans, Zaktan was fully aware of them all. Some protodites of his were always spying on his teammates, overhearing their discussions. Zaktan was not a fool and he knew only one Piraka would escape Voya Nui with the mask. And it was going to be him, he was sure.

 

*

 

Outside the entrance, the Toa Nuva Kaita were still struggling against Axonn and Brutaka.

 

“Why did you do this?” Akamai Nuva asked as he created a miniature volcano below Axonn that knocked him off his feet. “We thought we were on the same side. We are not looking for conflict!”

 

“I don’t want that either”, Axonn said, getting back up. “I told you already, we are just performing our duty. It hangs over us like a ghost, never setting us free. I am sorry.”

 

“You are trying to keep others from entering the staircase”, Wairuha said, batting Brutaka with a cold blizzard of ice and water. “But the Toa Inika and Piraka already entered. If not for you interfering, we might have stopped the Piraka!”

 

“We would have stopped them as well if not for you”, Brutaka said. “The Toa Inika and Piraka are beyond our reach now. Once someone gets to the staircase, they are past us and free to proceed. We only fight those who wish to enter in the first place. We are the first challenge of the mask.”

 

“If we stop attempting to get in, will you stop fighting us?” Wairuha asked, the logic of Kopaka and the wisdom of Gali working in its head.

 

Axonn nodded. “Then we would have no reason to fight you.”

 

“This fight could last forever”, Akamai noted. “But if we just give up on going after the Piraka…”

 

“We can’t go on like this, Akamai”, Wairuha said. “Wisdom and valor facing two Order of Mata Nui agents… there is no point is such a battle. I say we agree not to enter the staircase and bring this conflict to an end. We can help the Matoran here and prepare for the Toa’s arrival… if they ever do.”

 

Akamai thought for a moment and decided to agree to Wairuha’s reasoning. He stopped fighting against Axonn, taking a few steps back from the entrance. Wairuha did the same.

 

“We will not pursue the mask of life anymore”, Akamai said. “It is the destiny of the Toa Inika. We wish the Great Spirit to guide them on their quest.

 

Axonn nodded with a smile and stopped his attacks, as did Brutaka. Seeing that the fight was over for now, both Toa Nuva Kaita split back into the Toa Nuva again.

 

“We have Matoran to help”, Gali said. “May the Toa Inika save the Great Spirit.”

 

The Toa Nuva walked a few steps, when Axonn went over to the entrance of the 777 stairs and used his power on it to close the tunnel. “We will help you”, Axonn said. “The Matoran are ours to care for as well… Besides, now there is no one to protect this passage against.”

 

“Help is appreciated”, Tahu said. “Let us go.”

 

Not long after everyone had gone, a lone Piraka entered the scene. Using his power over bringing matter to life, he forced the passage open once again briefly, before slipping into tunnel…

 

Next: Some trials and errors. The race for the mask of life has begun.


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#20 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Jul 09 2013 - 12:40 AM

Chapter 20 – It’s All In Your Mind
 
 Tamaru screamed in terror. He had been walknig only a short distance down his own chosen staircase when he came upon a small chamber. On the other side there was another tunnel, which Tamaru hurried for. However, the chamber had suddenly changed, the floor collapsing except for a tiny pillar which Tamaru managed to stand on. All around Tamaru, a yawning pit formed.
 
 Tamaru panicked. His greatest fear had always been heights, which was quite peculiar for a Le-Matoran... and now, a Toa of Air. Tamaru had never mastered the skill of flying a Gukko bird because he would always chicken out when it was time to rise into the air.
 
Tamaru forced himself to relax. Sure, he was standing on the small piece of the floor that remained, surrounded by the prospect of a long fall, but he was a Toa now. A little bit of air power and he could get to the tunnel on the other side of the chamber.
 
Tamaru tried to use his power, but was overwhelmed by fear. What if his efforts failed? What if his powers failed midway? What if he ran out of energy entirely? He would fall down into the pit, never to stop. Just fall from the heights...
 
Tamaru held his head in his hands. He had to stop these thoughts of fear and despair from entering his mind. If he was to be a Toa the Matoran deserved as their protector, Tamaru would have to conquer his fears. A Toa of Air could not afford to let high places be an obstacle. Certainly Toa Lewa had done a lot of airflying and glided in the skies, even enjoying it. According to the tales, Matau had also been thrilled by the chance to fly when he had been a Toa long ago. Even Kongu, who had never been a Toa, did flying every day only to fulfill his duty.
 
Tamaru felt like a fraud as he pondered those who came before him. That was another one of Tamaru's fears, not meeting the expectations of being a Toa.
 
He decided to swat two firefliers with one stone.
 
Tamaru braced himself and leaped off the pillar he was standing off. His heart was pounding as his senses told him to stop, but Tamaru did it anyway and forced his elemental power into action. The wind would lift him up and to the tunnel entrance...
 
Tamaru was shocked to feel the floor of the cavern beneath his feet. He had not fallen anywhere, he had simply taken a leap forward! Tamaru looked around to see the chamber intact once again, with no chasms or pits anywhere.
 
So was it a mind-illusion? Tamaru thought. Something to test whether I was ready for hard-challenges of the future?
 
 Tamaru walked over to the tunnel, continuing down the staircase. For a long time, he pondered the challenge he had beaten... but he was not at all certain it had been an illusion.
 
*
 
Macku was horror-striken as she saw the pile of infected Koli balls before her. There was nothing else in this small chamber than an exit on the other side and a huge pile of the balls covering it. They were obviously the same time of rocks that had been causing a sickness in the village of Po-Koro a couple of months ago.
 
Why was Macku so frightened about something that had never even occurred in her own home village? The answer must have been Hewkii, Macku’s closest friend. He had been one of the first victims of the Koli ball disease and may have perished if not for quick action from Takua.
 
What if the same happens to me? Macku thought.
 
She took a few steps forward towards the rocks. All she had to do was to clear the way and she could proceed. But she could not bring herself to touch them. It was simply too repulsive.
 
Macku tried her water powers to move the boulders, but it was no use. She would have to move them by hand.
 
Macku struggled with her fear. A whole universe was depending on her this time. It wasn’t about the sickness of a mere village, but the life of the Great Spirit himself.
 
Macku touched the first stone, hesitatnyl but knowing she would have to do it. As soon as she did so, the whole pile of infected Koli balls blinked out of sight. Macku’s eyes widened.
 
It was a test, she realized. As soon as I accepted my duty, they went away.
 
Happy to have conquered a fear of hers, Macku proceeded.
 
*
 
Taipu was experiencing a trip to his own history. He was inside what appeared to be a Nui-Rama nest with lightning bugs crawling between rocks. The Nui-Rama were buzzing around, observing Taipu. Taipu felt his heart sink. He had once been caught in a Nui-Rama nest before, and forced to aid in the expansion of the nest by the insect creatures. It was a memory he did not want to think about, but now he would have to.
 
Taipu had feared many things in his life before, but had still done his duty. He had helped against Makuta’s Rahi at Kini-Nui and assisted in driving off a swarm of fearsome Gahlok from Onu-Koro. He would fight his way through the Nui-Rama to the exit on the other side, if need be.
 
Taipu activated his Kadin and went soaring through the miniature nest. The Nui-Rama charged, but bolts from his laser drill kept the Rahi at bay. He was so near the exit now, he was going to make it…
 
And suddenly a Toa-like figure emerged from the tunnel he was going into.
 
It was a green Toa, looking all mighty and powerful, with an infected Miru on his face. It was Toa Lewa, but not one who was in control of himself. He was wearing an infected mask, meaning that his actions were controlled by Makuta.
 
This makes no sense, Taipu thought. Lewa is a Toa Nuva now, not… the old one. This is an illusion.
 
Lewa swung his axe and sent a gust of wind to knock Taipu from the air, sending his landing hard on the ground.
 
Quite a realistic one.
 
Taipu forced himself to rise to his feet. Onua had been the one to defeat Lewa when he had been wearing an infected mask. Being a Toa of Earth coming from Onua’s city, Taipu felt a heir-like duty to achieve the same.
 
He punched the ground below him with his laser drill, sending a tremor towards Lewa. Lewa simply hopped high in the air and used his Miru to float there, safe from the attack. Then Lewa charged, dropping down and running towards Taipu, yelling in rage.
 
Taipu called a wall of earth to protect him while he thought about his next course of action. He thought about his strengths and weaknesses and those of Lewa. Taipu’s strong point was definitely his physical strength, while Lewa was agile and lightweight.
 
The answer was just about to hit Taipu when a Nui-Rama struck him from behind. It only staggered Taipu a but, but also reminded him that Lewa wasn’t his only opponent.
 
Lewa climbed over the wall of earth, which was exactly what Taipu had been expecting. He reached out with his clawed hands and grabbed the foot of Lewa, pulling him down with great strength. Off balance, Lewa fell. Taipu then knocked off his infected mask with a powerful punch. On doing so, Lewa and the Nui-Rama disappeared like they had never been there. Taipu was very greatful for this, because he wasn’t all that certain about beating a whole swarm of Nui-Rama.
 
Taipu’s usual playful smile returned on his mask. This did feel like a real adventure and, though it was more dangerous than he had expected, he was managing to do all right to follow the greatest in legend.
 
Taipu proceeded down the staircase, ready for anything that would come.
 
*
 
Hafu, like all Matoran and Toa of stone, hated water. In fact, it was so horrible that he would even admit it to others that he feared it a bit. That was a big thing when the person in question was Hafu, the one who never let anyone know he might actually fear something.
 
He was floating on a lilypad, surrounded by a lake. He had tried using his stone powers to create a safe passage of rock, but the rock was not responding to him, strangely enough. Hafu suspected that the walls of the 777 stairs were element-proof: otherwise any Toa of stone could easily just bring them down and get to the Mask of Life with no effort at all. The same rule didn’t apply to the inner elements of the chamber, but the mud below the waters was not Hafu’s to command. That was Taipu’s field.
 
“I can do this”, Hafu told himself as much as the quiet chamber taunting him with this challenge.
 
Hafu reminded himself that, although his stone powers were useless now, he still had his mask of accuracy and laser axe… and one thing more – a climbing chain.
 
Hafu noticed that the ceiling wasn’t very far up. Maybe the chain might reach…
 
Triggering his Sanok, Hafu threw the chain at a jagged section of the ceiling. The chain got perfectly stuck between some stalactites and so it was able to hold his weight.
 
As soon as Hafu pulled himself up, the lilypad vanished. Hafu gulped. Now there was no going back on the safe platform.
 
Hafu concentrated and continued to use his mask and knowledge of stone to find suitable slots on the ceililing to place his other end of the chain in. As soon as he found one, he released the other end, allowing him to slowly advance towards the exit. It was slow going for someone as heavy as Hafu, but fortunately his climbing chain was extremely durable. He thought it funny that he was actually climbing on a ceiling. The whole thought made him laugh.
 
Eventually Hafu did reach his goal and when he did, the water all around vanished. Hafu’s first reaction to this was anger. What was the point of doing all that climbing if it turned out to be pointless? Then he relaxed and reminded himself that the Mask of Life probably demanded trials for those who wished to possess it. He sighed and moved on with care.
 
*
 
Kopeke had always been an unusual Ko-Matoran in the sense that he did not wish to be antisocial like the others, but was simply too shy to speak up. He had always hoped to be more involved with others, but could not bring himself to do that. One thing he feared a lot was public speaking. He was thankful to live in a village surrounded by so many seclusive Matoran, for this meant no public events demanding public speaking. Being Turaga Nuju’s left hand, many duties would fall on Kopeke anyways.
 
But now he was standing on a pedestal overlooking a crowd of Matoran, anxious to hear him speak – in the middle of the 777 stairs? It made no sense to Kopeke at all, but he did realize this was probably a trial more than anything else. He wondered how bizarre things the other Toa would have to go through.
 
When the Toa had first arrived on Voya Nui, Kopeke had been pulled aside by the Matoran resistance team while the others went for missions. The purpose of this had been for the Matoran to prepare Kopeke for any situation like this. Being good at reading others, Velika had realized Kopeke’s shy nature and had insisted he was to be trained to be more open and secure.
 
Kopeke had found all that training weird and pointless since he was sure he should be saving the island instead of having psychological sessions with Matoran who spoke in riddles. Now, though, he was thankful for those sessions and wondered how the Matoran could have known in advance it would turn out so critical.
 
Taking a deep breath, Kopeke began to speak. He had said only a few words when the crowd disappeared and the exit was revealed. Kopeke smiled. This challenge had been much easier than he thought, just needing to conquer his fear without having to spend much time speaking to a group of holograms. With more confidence, Kopeke continued the journey.
 
*
 
The Toa met each other after some while, when all their individual stairways had lead back to one. They were telling each other about their trials and deduced that something was testing them to make sure no one weak-willed would get a chance to grab at the Mask of Life.
 
Macku noticed Kapura standing away from the others. She went over to him. “Kapura, you didn’t yet tell us about your trial. What was it like?”
 
Kapura looked down at the ground. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
 
Macku was a bit startled by this, but decided to let Kapura keep his challenge to himself. What could he have experienced that made him so solemn all of a sudden?
 
“Now then, we should continue”, Hafu said. “There might still be a long way before we reach the mask, and a universe is depending on us.”
 
Everyone nodded at that, even Kapura. The group then resumed their journey into the dark staircase…
 
Ok, here was a bit longer one. Next chapter, expect more Piraka!


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:27 AM.

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#21 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Aug 03 2013 - 08:29 AM

Chapter 21 – A Murderer’s Nightmare
 
“Where are those side tunnels”, Zaktan murmured as he and the other Piraka kept going down the staircase, apparently without ever reaching the part where the Toa Inika had had to separate due to a fork in the tunnel. Zaktan had seen this through the use of some of his protodites, but now there was no fork anywhere.
 
“Maybe your little protodites are getting old”, Reidak laughed. “Their vision is gone.”
 
Zaktan ignored the comment, much to the confusion of Hakann. Zaktan had been quick to act on his anger in the past. Now he seemed a lot more cautious.
 
“I don’t know about a fork, but I can see a chamber ahead”, Avak said. His eyes were gleaming, a sign that he was using his X-ray vision to scan the tunnel ahead. Avak found that he could not see very far due to the nature of the walls or something like that, but ahead he could see even through the rock.
 
“This doesn’t make any sense!” Zaktan scoffed. “It must be some trick by the Toa. Maybe they covered the side passages.”
 
“Why would we care, if we can proceed like this as well?” Vezok inquired. “I mean, we’re making progress here. The staircase goes on, in the right direction – down. And it doesn’t seem to be ending soon.”
 
The five Piraka arrived in the small chamber. Only Thok was missing from the group, ultimately betraed by the rest.
 
“There’s an exit on the other side”, Hakann pointed. “But what’s the point of this chamber if there’s nothing in it?”
 
Suddenly the lights provided by lightstones in the walls dimmed, casting the chamber into an eerie darkness. A malevolent laugh echoed around the chamber, bouncing from the ancient walls and filling the Piraka with fear.
 
“Stand ready!” Zaktan ordered. “Whatever it is, we will beat it!”
 
A figure appeared in front of the Piraka, a mass of muscle in the colors of black, blue and white, with a golden spine and armor. It resembled a Piraka, but was much larger and looked even more of a monster than the Piraka did. The figure growled with pleasure as it felt itself come alive, born from the fear of the Piraka.
 
“Irnakk!” Avak shouted. “This is madness! Irnakk is a legend!”
 
“I guess it was based on a true story, then”, Reidak gulped.
 
“Don’t be fools”, Zaktan said. “It’s not real – it must be an illusion. The Mask of Life is testing us. We just need to –“
 
Before he could say another word, he was struck by one of Irnakk’s mighty claws. Zaktan’s protodites were scattered around the chamber, stunning him. The other Piraka launched their weapons at the nightmarish Irnakk, only to see their powers doing little damage.
 
“Illusion? I think not”, Vezok snarled in dismay.
 
“Now who should I start with?” Irnakk growled. “So many of you, all filled with the pleasant odor of fear and horror.”
 
“Screw that mask, I’m out of here!” Hakann yelled and started to back off. Irnakk responded by firing a Zamor sphere at him from his launcher that looked like it was constructed from bones. The sphere hit Hakann, making some of his worst fears other than Irnakk turn to life. Hakann was suddenly surrounded by a sphere of water that seemed sentient, as it actually grabbed hold of Hakann and seeped into his lungs.
 
“As much as I hate to say this, we need to work together”, Avak said, his voice trembling from the fear. “Remember our elemental powers.”
 
Reidak was all in for Avak’s idea, but Vezok decided to run back the way the Piraka had came from. He managed to slip out without being struck by Irnakk and he made his way toward the surface.
 
“Filthy traitor”, Reidak scowled. “Let’s do this. Avak?”
 
Avak concentrated and let his elemental power be used with that of Reidak’s. A torrent of earth and rock smashed into Irnakk, knocking him off his feet. At the same time Zaktan managed to regain control over his particles and he went to stand beside Avak and Reidak.
 
“Is it dead now?”
 
Irnakk answered that question by quickly rising to its feet and roaring so loud it nearly deafened the Piraka.
 
“I guess not”, Avak said. “We need some other way to fight this thing, if physical strikes won’t work.”
 
“They worked just fine”, Reidak snapped. “Did you see it get flattened? I sure did.”
 
“You may defeat me a thousand times, but you can never free yourselves from the fear of me”, Irnakk said, advancing. “Therefore you are doomed to continue this fight until you die – or flee now, like your comrade did.”
 
“We are not cowards”, Zaktan said, although Avak seemed to be unsure whether to agree with the statement.
 
Irnakk laughed. “Then why am I still here?”
 
That’s it, Zaktan thought. It exists because we fear it. But how do get rid of our fear, if we cannot just act it?
 
“Fine. If we cannot proceed, I will just bring down the place”, Reidak said defiantly at Irnakk. “We may die as well, but at least not by your doing.”
 
Zaktan suddenly had the answer, inspired by Reidak.
 
“That’s true”, Zaktan said. “And if we die, so does our fear, doesn’t it? And then you die as well, Irnakk.”
 
Irnakk smiled. “Excellent work, Skakdi spawn. You have stumbled upon a possible answer. Only, are you really willing to do it? And can you do it before I turn you into loonatics like your red friend over there?”
 
Avak glanced over his shoulder to see Hakann still struggling with the water being. His eyebeams were turning parts of it into steam, allowing him to gasp for breath now and then, but the water being was reforming at will and pushed itself harder to kill the Piraka.
 
“Wanna find out?” Zaktan asked, his eyes already glowing. “It won’t require much to destroy this cavern, and you know it.”
 
Irnakk nodded and seemed to relax. “Congratulations, Piraka. Indeed it looks like you have passed this test. But I must tell you, the Mask of Life was not meant for beings like you, for the purposes you have for it. If you proceed, there’s no telling what may happen to you. For now though, you have conquered your fear.”
 
With that, Irnakk faded from view and the lights returned to normal. Hakann was also released from his fight, falling on the floor, exhausted.
 
“Looks like we did it, after all”, Zaktan said. “Now get up, Hakann. Vezok may have left us, but that only means he won’t have a chance at the Mask of Life.”
 
“Except if he’s waiting for us in ambush when we return”, Reidak said in dismay. He knew Vezok had betrayed him most of all, since he had had an alliance with him. Now Reidak would need to dispose of the other Piraka himself once the mask was in his hands.
 
“He will never beat four Piraka alone”, Zaktan said, knowing well that four Piraka would not happily walk up the stairs with the Mask of Life. “Let’s go. We need to catch up to the Toa Inika.”
 
Don't forget to review! :)


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:26 AM.

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#22 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Aug 04 2013 - 07:35 AM

Chapter 22 – Middle Play
 
Somewhere halfway between the entrance of the 777 stairs and the Zone of Nightmares, Garan and Dalu found themselves surrounded by two Piraka. Thok had reached them from behind and had immediately froze Garan with his ice gun, but at that moment Vezok had also appeared from the front, running up in panic.
 
“Stop right there!” Thok snarled and brought the staircase to life. The stairs morphed under Vezok into a small pit that he fell into.
 
“Let me go imbecile, or you’ll get us both killed!” Vezok shouted in return, starting to climb out of the pit. “There’s a monster after us and it will kill us if we don’t move!”
 
“Where are the others?” Thok asked, still holding his icy weapon ready.
 
Dalu, who seemed forgotten for the moment, made her tools flare to life. When Vezok started to speak back at Thok, the voice coming from his mouth had increased in volume dramatically. Like a power scream, it deafened Thok, Garan and Vezok himself. Dalu had been prepared and so had managed to cover her ears on time. She cracked the ice Garan was trapped in, freeing him.
 
“Run!” Dalu shouted.
 
“What?” Garan shouted back, his ears still ringing. Dalu grabbed her Onu-Matoran friend and darted past Vezok and down the staircase.
 
“Garan was too dazzled to speak, but thought of Dalu’s idea as a bad one. If some monster really was lurking ahead, would two Matoran have any hope getting past it?
 
*
 
“You fool!” Thok shouted, his hearing gradually returning. “You let them get by you!”
 
“They’re as good as dead down there”, Vezok spat. “Now get out of my way.”
 
Thok grabbed Vezok by the throat.
 
“Listen, you Tarakava bait. You and the others betrayed me to this staircase. Now we’re going to follow the others and show them that it was a bad idea to do so. Yes?”
 
“Why should I help you?” Vezok asked, trying to pry Thok’s hands off his throat.
 
Thok lifted his ice gun. “Look, we’ll steal the Mask of Life from those other four. Sound good?”
 
“They – they’re probably dead by now, the others”, Vezok struggled with his words. “Irnakk… Irnakk has them.”
 
Thok did not reply. Instead, he thought about Vezok’s words. He knew Irnakk was nothing but a myth, but if Vezok claimed it existed in these tunnels, it could only mean an illusion.
 
“It was probably an illusion, stupid”, Thok said. “Everyone knows there’s no such thing as Irnakk.”
 
Vezok laughed bitterly. “You didn’t see it demolish the others.”
 
“Then let’s take a look, shall we?” Thok said, releasing Vezok but then pushing him down towards the Zone of Nightmares.
 
*
 
“Stop!”
 
Hafu stopped in mid-step, glancing underneath his foot. He saw nothing but blackness. He quickly stepped back, wondering what a chasm was doing in the middle of the staircase.
 
“Thanks Kopeke”, Hafu said. “I might have fallen in there… but what is it doing here? Have some steps just collapsed or something?”
 
“We need to get across”, Tamaru said simply. “See? There the tunnel continues. But one must get over this chasm first.”
 
“How can we do it?” Macku asked. “Taipu can fly, but the others…”
 
“I’ll fly you over!” Taipu said loudly and grabbed hold of Macku, carrying her across the chasm with his Kanohi power. Macku screamed, but calmed down after getting on the other side.
 
“Er, that was unexpected…”, said Hafu.
 
“Who’s next?” Taipu asked, ready to carry yet another Toa over the chasm.
 
*
 
“They’re ahead”, Avak reported. He was using his X-ray vision to spy on the Toa. “They’re crossing a chasm.”
 
“This is our time to strike”, Zaktan said.
 
“Right, and get thrown into a chasm”, Hakann retorted. “I’m sure there are many possible places for an ambush here, without the risk of falling to our dooms.”
 
“Who’s the leader around here?” Zaktan said with anger. “I was under the impression it was me.”
 
“Maybe we should find out which is the case”, Hakann said, aiming his lava launcher at Zaktan. He had challenged the Piraka leader before and suffered a bitter defeat. Now, however, he was ready to try again.
 
It never came to that. Avak created a prison around Hakann, making it impossible for him to attack and for Zaktan to try anything either.
 
“This is no time for bickering!” Avak snapped. “The Toa are over the chasm already. We might have defeated them already if not for your little argument. Shall we work together for once against the Toa, or spend the rest of the day fighting each other in this narrow passage?”
 
Hakann growled, frustrated. Zaktan nodded his agreement at Avak’s words. Reidak simply stood quiet and stared.
 
“Then let’s go”, Avak said. “There’s time for us to settle our own differences when the mask is safely in our hands.”
 
Hakann realized that last comment had been directed at him. He remembered his and Avak’s plan to fool the other Piraka with a decoy mask. Swallowing his pride with difficulty, Hakann nodded, prompting Avak to release him. Their plan would succeed and then Hakann would betrya Avak and get the real mask himself…
 
*
 
While the 777 stairs was as occupied as it had ever been, the surface of Voya Nui bustled with life as well. The freed Matoran villagers were busy repairing their old village and making it even better than before. The presence of the Toa Nuva helped them greatly to improve their lives, as their elemental powers provided everything the Matoran needed at the moment.
 
All the while, Axonn and Brutaka stood nearby, talking to each other about matters no one knew of. Axonn had not accepted Brutaka’s return to light as it was and moved on. He suspected Brutaka still had some plans of betrayal in his mind, which was why Axonn was trying to have a discussion with him to find out the true. He would have used his Kanohi Rode on him, but all Order of Mata Nui agents were shielded against all mental powers.
 
Balta and Kazi were standing on one of the new stone walls of the village, wondering where Dalu and Garan might be. The Toa Nuva had told them that they were down below the ground with the Toa Inika. Balta had insisted that they go after them and help, but were reminded that Axonn and Brutaka would stop them.
 
“How can we just stand here while they’re down there, risking everything for the fate of our universe?” Balta mused.
 
Kazi put a hand on Balta’s shoulder. “Our work here is very important too, you know”, he said. “We are rebuilding the lives of our people.  If the Toa Inika succeed and Mata Nui lives on, we will have what it takes to live good lives.”
 
Balta shrugged. “But what if Mata Nui dies?”
 
Kazi sighed. He, of all the Matoran, knew that failure was always an option for heroes. Kazi was known for his pessimism, which had given him a reputation Kazi did not desire. At the moment, however, he was doing his best to think positive. After all, if the Toa Inika failed, there would be no tomorrows to worry about.
 
Next: Some shocking trials of the Mask of Life and more on the Toa Nuva's mission.


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:26 AM.

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#23 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 01:38 AM

Now to mend the damages of the data loss...
 
Chapter 23 – Unlikely sacrifice
 
Garan and Dalu were shocked to reach a chamber in the middle of the staircase, and even more shocked to see the six Piraka standing there waiting for them. This made no sense whatsoever, since Thok and Vezok were still behind them somewhere and the other four Piraka were supposed to be either demolished by a monster or moved on.
 
“Now now, what do we have here?” Zaktan chuckled. The other Piraka chuckled as well at the comment.
 
“How can you be here?” Garan asked in confusion. Dalu, on the other hand, was wasting no time for words. She charged at the Piraka, using her chargers to increase Reidak’s hearing and then clash her tools together, downing Reidak for the moment. The other Piraka surrounded Dalu and prepared to use their powers on her.
 
“No!” Garan yelled and charged. However, he was too late. The eyebeams of the five Piraka still up struck Dalu at once, obliterating her.
 
“Dalu! Nooooo!”
 
*
 
The Toa Inika found themselves in a chamber lit by red lightstones that glowed an eerie red light. As with the previous chambers, this too had an exit on the other side. The Toa were sure they would have to complete a trial again, but what type of trial?
 
“Come out trial, we’re ready!” Taipu shouted with playful confidence. Hafu shook his head. Macku and Tamaru smiled. Kopeke and Kapura remained solemn and wary as they looked around for whatever would come at them next.
 
“Welcome, travelers, to the chamber of death.”
 
The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. The Toa jumped in surprise, then realized that the voice was giving them instructions.
 
“You seek the Mask of Life, but to master life you need to face death as well, for both are part of the same essence.”
 
“I can’t spot-see anyone”, Tamaru said. “The person who loud-speaks must not be here.”
 
“Then it’s a recorded message or something like that”, Macku pondered.
 
“To proceed, one of you must pay the price of death so the rest can move on. No less will be required for acquisition of the Ignika.”
 
“It wants a sacrifice!” Hafu said in disbelief. “We come all the way here and now it wants to kill one of us?”
 
“Decide now, or forever leave this chamber”, the voice said.
 
“We can’t go forward without a sacrifice”, Kapura said sadly. “I tried to go through the exit, but it’s blocked by an energy field.”
 
“Then… what will we do?” Kopeke could not accept the reality of the situation.
 
No one spoke for a while, until the mysterious voice started repeating itself.
 
“Decide now, or forever –“
 
“We heard you, alright!” Hafu snapped.
 
All of the Toa considered volunteering for the sacrifice, for none of them wanted to just stand by while one of their own was killed, but it seemed impossible for any of them to get the words out of their mouths. It was Taipu who managed to find his voice first and stepped up.
 
“I’ll do it.”
 
“No, Taipu!” Hafu shouted. The other Toa turned at Hafu, surprised at the volume of his emotions. Hafu had always acted a bit uncaring and snappy at Taipu. They had not expected Hafu to react so strongly to Taipu’s decision.
 
“I have always wanted to be a hero like the Toa”, Taipu said with confidence. He did not sound worried at all, even though he was bringing death on himself. “But it’s not all about flying with mask powers or adventuring around mystical lands. It’s also about being ready to do anything for one’s home. And that’s what I want to do.”
 
“Taipu, don’t be silly”, Hafu snapped. “Get back here.”
 
The others protested as well, but Taipu had already stepped up to the biggest of the red lightstones. He turned to his friends and smiled weakly.
 
“C’mon, let me do this. You have all been so good friends to me and I hate to leave you, but I feel like this is important… and all of you have so important qualities that support the team.”
 
“Taipu”, Hafu said. “You… I just want you to know that… well… you’ve been a great help to us… and… a great friend.”
 
The other Toa were stunned by Hafu’s words, although they all felt the same about Taipu.
 
“Thanks Hafu”, Taipu said with a smile. “You’re a good friend too. You have a good reason to be proud of your work and deeds.” Despite the nature of the words, they were spoken in the playful tone Taipu had always had.
 
The others were speechless, but the mystical voice of the chamber wasn’t. It recongized Taipu’s willingness to die for the Mask of Life.
 
“The decision has been made”, it said. A beam of energy enveloped Taipu and slowly he disappear into the light.
 
The Toa Inika were all about to cry, but each of them noticed how full of grief Hafu was.
 
Then, there was another beam of light. This one seemed to undo what the previous light had done, recreating Taipu the same way he had been disintegrated.
 
“Now, that was electrifying…”, Taipu said, startled about being whole again.
 
“The debt has been paid. This one sacrificed himself for the greater good and has been given a new chance of life – for it is not the cold fact of death that matters, but the willingness to face it to aid others”, the voice explained to the now greatful Toa.
 
“I’m so happy you’re back, Taipu”, Macku said and hugged the Toa of Earth. The other Toa Inika gave similar comments – all except Hafu, who was still trying to comprehend what just happened.
 
The passage was opened for the Toa to proceed through. Taipu went to walk next to Hafu.
 
“You know, Hafu, that thing you said to me… that really meant a lot to me.”
 
“Okay, great”, Hafu said. “And I want you to know that I meant it. But please, from now on… would you mind not mentioning it ever again?”
 
Taipu chuckled. Hafu was obviously embarrassed by his uncharacteristic display of emotion, and Taipu could well understand that.
 
“Sure thing, pal”, he said, patting Hafu on the back so hard he almost fell.


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:26 AM.

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#24 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 10:09 AM

Chapter 24 – Closer to the Prize
 
Garan was terrified by Dalu, one of her friends, being blasted into oblivion.  Worst, he could see the six Piraka advancing upon him now, weapons at the ready.
 
This makes no sense, they can’t be here now, Garan though. Yet they did kill Dalu… and soon myself.
 
“Go ahead, kill me off”, Garan said defiantly. “But I tell you, you foul creatures, that you will never get your hands on the Mask of Life.”
 
The Piraka came closer.
 
“You can kill as many of us as you want”, Garan pressed. “But you will never take us all. The Matoran will live through to new days, because we live by the principles of the Great Spirit.”
 
The Piraka aimed their weapons. Refusing to close his eyes, Garan merely stared.
 
Zaktan fired his own Zamor launcher. The sphere came toward him…
 
And then it disappeared.
 
Garan blinked. In that short instance, the Piraka disappeared as well, leaving the chamber empty… except, of course, the reappeared Dalu.
 
“Are you okay?” Dalu asked. “You look… shocked.”
 
“You… you live!” Garan exclaimed. “It was an illusion, the Piraka!”
 
“By whom?” Dalu asked. “I don’t like this place.”
 
“Me neither”, Garan admitted. “It must be one of those guarding mechanisms the Toa spoke of… and if we wish to follow, we need to follow.”
 
“Will we?”
 
Garan was silent for a moment, then spoke. “This is no place for Matoran. But in a guaranteed battle of Toa versus Piraka, I’m willing to do anything to provide a little extra help for the Toa.”
 
“Then I’m with you”, Dalu said without hesitation.
 
Garan gave Dalu a soft, friendly look. Dalu gulped, as she saw Garan in a new light. Dalu may have been a warrior, but she still had the instinctive attributes of a Ga-Matoran, which included her ability to sense emotion.
 
“No need to thank me”, Dalu said with a smile. “Let’s go.”
 
*
 
Swiftly following the two Matoran, Thok and Vezok passed the Zone of Nightmares.
 
“See? No Irnakk”, Thok said.
 
“Shut up”, Vezok retorted. “It was here, but the other Piraka got rid of it somehow.”
 
“And we got past the challenge, maybe because the chamber thought of us as companions of those Matoran”, Thok chuckled. “It was a wise choice staying close to them. While they risk themselves against all these traps, we will we watching.”
 
“You think they’ll actually reach the mask?” Vezok asked in disbelief.
 
“Certainly not”, Thok replied. “After all, they’re just Matoran.”
 
*
 
The other Piraka had reached the Chamber of Death soon after the Toa Inika had left it. Now, an intense debate filled the silence of the chamber.
 
“Let Reidak do it”, Hakann said. “He makes a great sacrifice.”
 
“Keep this up and I’ll drill a hole between your eyes”, Reidak growled. “Traitorous scum like you should be killed off anyway, why not do it here?”
 
“Silence, all of you!” Zaktan said. “We cannot choose someone to be a sacrifice unless that someone is willing. One of you needs to volunteer.”
 
“Why not you?” Avak asked. “You’re the leader. You’re supposed to do what’s good for the team.”
 
Hakann and Reidak both laughed at that, but Zaktan glared back at them angrily.
 
*
 
The Toa Inika walked warily in the near darkness of a section of the stairway far underground. Kapura’s flames provided some light, but the atmosphere remained gloomy.
 
“Pity I had to change my mask”, Kapura said. “I sure wish I had a Ruru now. But still, I’m sure we’ll be fine as long as our spirits light our souls.”
 
“Yeah, whatever”, Hafu said. He was in a grumpy mood, especially because he had let his emotions create such a display earlier.
 
“What can you light-see?” Tamaru enquired. “Anything faith-promising ahead? Like the Mask of Life?”
 
“There’s something”, Kapura said, suddenly stopping. “Two of them.”
 
The Toa readied their weapons. They were hoping to avoid a fight, but doubted they would be granted that option.
 
Two large animal-like beings suddenly lurched forward from the darkness. They clawed at the Toa with amazing strength, even managing to throw Taipu a great length across the staircase.
 
Hafu swung his axe at the other creature. Upon contact with the weapon, the creature split up into two identical beings.
 
“What in Mata Nui’s name?!” Hafu growled and slashed again. The creature he struck multiplied once again.
 
“We can’t strike them physically!” Macku shouted. Because of the Toa’s attacks, the creatures had now multiplied a lot. There were over a dozen of them now, each as powerful  and dangerous.
 
“We need to retreat”, Kopeke said. “We ne- hey, what’s that?”
 
A bright light suddenly illuminated the chamber. The creatures screamed in dismay and fled. Only two of them made it though, for the others were exterminated by light rays that came from the direction of the light force.
 
Then the Toa saw it. A big biomechanical being standing on two roller skates and holding a powerful, energized staff in its hands. Its mask resembled that of a Kanohi Ruru, but the Toa could not be sure it really was one.
 
“I am Umbra”, the being said in a static, almost robot-like voice. “I guard the Mask of Life. You shall not pass.”
 
“Uh, we kind of need it to save the life of Mata Nui”, Taipu said. “Could we pass, this one time?”
 
“It is my duty to protect the mask”, Umbra said. “You will not pass.”
 
“Please?” Taipu said.
 
Macku stepped forward. “Our mission is vital, you have to let us through.”
 
“If you decide to pursue the mask, you decide to challenge me”, Umbra said. “Your choice.”
 
“We need that mask for the sake of the universe”, Kapura said.
 
Umbra leaped into action, his roller skates enabling him to travel very fast. “Then so be it.”
 
Before the Toa could react, Umbra had knocked them all on the ground, disarming them in the process.
 
“Slow him down!” Hafu shouted. “Anyone, slow him down!”
 
“Kapura, determined as ever, put his fire powers to use in order to create flames in Umbra’s path. Umbra simply ran through them and launched a burst of energy from his tool. Only Kapura’s mask enabled him to dodge the blast, miraculously.
 
Now it was Macku’s turn. The Toa of Water gathered moisture from the air and intensified it, making the chamber extremely humid. This served to weaken Hafu, but the others could see that Umbra was not enjoying the change in climate. He fired a spinning wheel of energy, a Rhotuka projectile, from his staff. When is struck Macku, she suddenly felt unable to continue the usage of her power. The power had been denied from her.
 
“If he strikes you with that thing, you won’t be able to use your elemental powers”, Macku warned the others.
 
One more Rhotuka struck Taipu, making him unable to use his powers. Tamaru concentrated before he could be struck, and dramatically increased the thickness of air in the chamber, slowing down Umbra’s movements. Hafu moved as well, creating stone hands to try and grab Umbra. But the light-being did something unexpected – he flashed out of Tamaru’s affected area in seconds by briefly transforming into a laser beam. When he was out of danger, he transformed back into a physical being and aimed his energy lance at the Toa.
 
“Kopeke!” Kapura shouted as Umbra fired his weapon. Even as Kapura did his best to aid Kopeke by draining any heat around into himself, Kopeke pointed his energized sword at the ground before him, quickly forming a block of ice to protect the group. Umbra’s blast reflected upon touch with the ice and bounced at Umbra, knocking him off his feet.
 
Hafu was about to laugh in triumph when Umbra hopped back on his feet and came running at the Toa with high speed.
 
It was Hafu’s Kanohi Sanok that saved the day. More quickly than ever before, Hafu whipped at Umbra’s fast-moving form with his climbing chain, using the mask’s power to let him hit with incredible accuracy. The chain wrapped around Umbra’s feet and made him trip. Unable to control his movement, Umbra smashed into a wall, dazed. At that moment the powers of Macku and Taipu returned, no longer affected by Umbra’s power.
 
“Let’s quick-move before he up-rises again”, Tamaru said. The Toa swiftly left the chamber to continue down the stairs.
 
To the Toa’s surprise, the stairway didn’t continue for long until they reached another, vast chamber filled with small volcanoes and a lava flow.
 
“Look!” Taipu shouted. The others turned to see a huge bridge-like structure crossing the lava flow. On the other side there were several, raft-like vehicles resting on the lava. They were tied to the rocky “shore” by chains, that could easily be untied but were unaffected by the blazing heat.
 
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Macku asked the others.
 
“Lava surfing?” Taipu said.
 
“The chamber of the Mask of Life must be at the end of this lava river”, Kapura said. “The only way to reach it is by crossing this bridge and using one of those rafts to surf to the other end.”
 
Kopeke sighed. “Naturally. Why do great treasures always have to involve lava?”
 
“I don’t remember the Toa Nuva ever having to go to a fire region to find Makuta”, Macku reminded. “Just underground.”
 
“If we’re going to do this”, Hafu said, “then let’s get to it and pray for the Great Spirit to keep us safe.”


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:26 AM.

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#25 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Oct 31 2013 - 12:28 PM

Chapter 25 – When you cheat death…
 
“I’ll do it.”
 
Zaktan, Hakann and Reidak turned in surprise, as Avak stepped forward.
 
“What?” Zaktan said is shock. Hakann and Reidak said nothing, lest Avak change his mind.
 
“Well, someone has to do it”, Avak simply said. “Let me make the sacrifice. Then, at least, I will be remembered as a hero while you others go down in history as traitors and murderers.”
 
Zaktan couldn’t believe the words he was hearing. Neither could Hakann or Reidak. They simply stared at Avak as if he had just given a Matoran a present and a sing-song.
 
“The decision has been made”, the recorded voice said. There was a bright light and Avak was soon gone, obliterated by the light beam.
 
The Piraka didn’t wait for one second after Avak was gone, but immediately proceeded through the now-opened pathway. Hakann, however, turned to look back as heard the same noice the light beam had made earlier. Before his stunned eyes, Avak reappeared in the chamber, whole and alive.
 
Avak merely chuckled as he, too, walked towards the open pathway. Zaktan and Reidak were already way ahead, never realizing Avak was alive.
 
“You knew, didn’t you?” Hakann said to Avak. “You knew the sacrifice was fake.”
 
Avak laughed. “I have been spying the Toa with my X-ray vision. After they left this chamber, I saw they were all together. Therefore I concluded that the sacrifice would only be a test of courage.”
 
“Incoming!”
 
Avak and Hakann watched, dismayed, as Thok and Vezok came racing through the Chamber of Death, carrying two struggling Matoran with them.
 
“What madness?!” Avak yelled. Thok and Vezok leaped through the open pathway, still carrying the Matoran.
 
“I hope you don’t mind if we come through at the same time with you”, Thok said. “Since you already completed this trial, we figured you might want to share the opening with your dear teammates.”
 
After saying that, Thok’s eyes narrowed. Suddenly Avak fell to the ground, rolling in confusion caused by Thok’s eyebeams.
 
“And you never desert a teammember, do you?” Thok said in a sinister voice. “Except for me. You left me to rot on the surface while you went after the mask we were ALL supposed to share.”
 
Hakann fired his lava launcher at Thok. Thok dodged the blast, but it caused him to drop Dalu, who he was holding.
 
“Enough!” Hakann yelled. “You would have done the same if I was gone. And… what’s with the Matoran?”
 
Dalu leapt to her feet. She used her tools to enhance Hakann’s sight so much that he could see everything around him on a molecular level. Even closing his eyes would not make the sight go away. Hakann screamed, fighting to retain his sanity. Then, with whatever energy he had left to fight, he unleashed a mental blast at Dalu, knocking her unconscious.
 
“We found them following you in the tunnel”, Vezok said. “We figured we might as well take them hostage and use them as bait for whatever awaits us here.”
 
Garan was struggling against Vezok’s grip, but could not break free. He remained quiet, analyzing the Piraka and waiting for the right moment to strike with his pulse bolt generators.
 
Avak got to his feet, full of anger.
 
“And while you were expressing your anger at me – who wasn’t the only one to leave you behind, by the way – Zaktan and Reidak got a headstart. They must be far ahead already!”
 
“Then let’s not keep them waiting”, Thok said, picking up the unconscious form of Dalu and tossing her in Avak’s arms.  “Your time to carry.”
 
*
 
It was not Zaktan’s day.
 
After only a short distance along the 777 stairs, he and Reidak had come face to face with an angry being who held the power of light. He claimed to be a guardian of the Mask of Life, named Umbra. In Matoran language, Umbra meant the darkest place of a shadow, yet this being used light as a weapon.
 
Worse, the stranger was incredibly fast, swiftly blasting Reidak back to the entrance of the chamber.
 
Zaktan attempted firing laser beams from his eyes at Umbra, but the being simply dodged with lightning speed and headed for Zaktan. Reluctant to become a smear on the ground, Zaktan dispersed his substance and sent the protodites that made up his body flying in all different directions to avoid the attack. Meanwhile, Reidak stood up again.
 
“You’re gonna need more than that to take care of me”, Reidak said and struck down his drill weapon, quickly creating a treacherous quick-sand trap before himself. Umbra came rushing at Reidak and went over the trap with ease, knocking Reidak down again. This time, though, Reidak’s power to adapt after every defeat allowed him to get up right away.
 
“We cannot defeat him fighting separately”, Zaktan said, now coalesced back into his form beside Reidak. “Let’s use our elemental powers.”
 
Reidak nodded and concentrated on his elemental abilities. He hated having to work together with Zaktan, but it was preferable to being smited by a guardian of the Mask of Life.
 
A debris-flinging storm erupted in Umbra’s chamber. All around, the violent winds brought pieces of earth and soil at Umbra, seemingly slowing him down. Zaktan and Reidak had no time to celebrate, though, for the other Piraka soon entered the scene.
 
“Hakann!” Zaktan yelled. “Strike him down with a mental blast!”
 
Hakann did as Zaktan ordered, and used his power. However, he directed it at Reidak instead of Umbra, causing the Piraka of Earth to stagger and let go of his elemental concentration. Hakann laughed. “You didn’t say who I should strike.”
 
Zaktan fired laser beams at Hakann, throwing him back. “This is no time for your stupid games”, Zaktan shouted. “Can’t you see what we’re up against?”
 
Avak shrugged as Umbra came closer. Before the light-being could strike, a prison of dark energy formed around him, preventing him from moving anywhere. Whenenver Umbra tried to escape the prison, shadow energy struck him, greatly weakening the great warrior.
 
“There. Let’s go”, Avak said. Zaktan and Reidak were shocked to see the inventor alive, but Avak wasn’t going to give them answers. Still carrying Dalu, he walked past the prison towards the exit.
 
“Avak… how?” Reidak began. Thok simply laughed.
 
“He came from the dead, all right? Now move, if you want to get a chance at the Mask of Life before the Toa.”
 
Garan watched, hopelessly, as the Piraka passed the downed Umbra, towards a confrontation with the Toa Inika.
 
*
 
The Toa were busy preparing for a dangerous trip down the lava river, when Taipu shouted from the air “Piraka! Incoming!”
 
The Toa moved as one. Hafu released the raft and hopped on it, followed by the rest of the team. They sped down the river, determined to get the mask before the Piraka.
 
The Piraka followed suit, running over the bridge and choosing a raft for themselves.  Garan, still in Vezok’s grip, decided this would make a good time to distract the Piraka and buy some time for the Toa.
 
Garan did the unexpected, and fired a pulse bolt at the raft the Piraka were readying, smashing vital pieces. Vezok scowled.
 
“You Matoran scum!” he shouted. “I don’t know why we took you with us instead of killing you right on the spot, but now’s a good time to correct that mistake.”
 
Vezok lifted Garan high in the air, preparing to throw him in the lava. At that moment Dalu woke up and saw Garan’s predicament. Too stunned to think out a proper plan, Dalu did the only thing she could think of to save Garan’s life.
 
As Vezok threw Garan, he noticed that his strength had dramatically increased, beyond its normal level. Garan was thrown up and over the lava flow. The added strength caused Garan to not land in the lava, but at the other side of the lava river. Garan did his best to absorb the impact of the fall, rolling a few feet after hitting the ground.
 
“There’s no time for this!” Zaktan snapped. “The Toa are getting away!”
 
Narrowly avoiding a blow from Reidak, Dalu ran to the lava bridge and on it, trying to get to Garan. The Piraka ignored her, knowing that catching the Toa was what mattered. They got another raft ready and soon sped up after the Toa.
 
“Garan! Garan, are you okay?” Dalu shouted breathlessly when she reached her friend. Garan, looking weak and bruised, nodded and smiled.
 
“I’m fine, thanks to you. That was a nice throw by Vezok.”
 
Dalu hugged Garan, relieved that her friend was alive and safe.
 
“I was so scared… I thought you would die.”
 
Garan’s expression grew serious. “Dalu, are you okay? You haven’t acted like this… since that day Voya Nui was separated from its continent.”
 
Dalu shed a tear, trying to control herself. “I… I guess that moment changed me, didn’t it?”
 
Garan smiled again. “Yes it did… but you came stronger out of it.”
 
The two Matoran hugged again, but neither of them could forget the Toa Inika. They could only hope that their plan had worked and the Piraka were slowed down enough.
 
*
 
Despite the complications at getting a raft ready, the Piraka were already very close to the Toa Inika. Thanks to Hakann’s experience with lava flows, their raft had easily picked up speed. They could see the Toa ahead of them, looking back with nervous glances.
 
Avak noticed a pair of launcher-like weapons mounted on their raft. “We can use these to blast the Toa into atoms”, he noted as if he were discussing the weather. “Keep on course, Hakann.”
 
“Just shut up and do it”, Hakann snapped.
 
Far ahead, Kopeke had also noticed the blasters. Their raft also had these weapons, but the Toa would be far more reluctant to use them than the Piraka.
 
“If they reach us, our mission is doomed”, Macku pointed out. “So we might as well use what we have and prevent them from coming closer.”
 
Hafu nodded and took the controls of one of the blasters. Tamaru did the same to the other one. Hafu was extremely accurate due to his mask power, while Tamaru had been practicing accuracy all his life, even teaching it to other Matoran on a disk range.
 
Before the Toa could fire, two blasts from the Piraka’s weapons flew just over them.
 
Hafu and Tamaru returned the fire, managing to hit the Piraka’s vehicle multiple times. Still, the rafts were well-made and would not break down.
 
Suddenly, Macku shouted in panic as she saw a jagged rock protructing from the lava ahead of them. The raft was on a collision course with the object!
 
Cool and calm as he always was, Kapura steered the raft sharply to the right. They missed the obstacle just barely.
 
The Piraka, on the other hand, demolished the rock and all other obstacles with their eye beams before they were even close to hitting them. This allowed them to gain on the Toa.
 
“Macku, which direction?” Kapura asked. Macku quickly saw why Kapura had asked her. Forward, the tunnel split in two, each direction having their own lava flows. Macku concentrated and allowed the Kanohi Elda to direct her towards the Mask of Life.
 
“Right! Turn right!” Macku shouted. There, she was certain, the Mask of Life would be.
 
Kapura did as instructed and turned the raft right. He was not a natural at riding a vehicle, but his experience at living around lava allowed him to anticipate stray currents of the lava flow. His Calix made things easier as well, quickening his reflexes whenenver necessary.
 
Taipu was doing his own share in order to help the Toa win the race. Using his elemental power, he kept creating boulders of earth and other obstacles in the Piraka’s path.
 
It was a deadly, fast-paced race for the Mask of Life with both Toa and Piraka willing to do anything to win. Energy bolts flashed back and forth and Hafu, Tamaru, Avak and Thok tried to hit the raft of the other side. Both rafts made sharp turns here and there to avoid obstacles like rocks and falling stalactites. Neither side never forgot that even a small mistake would lead to a frying death in the lava.
 
At last, Kapura saw the gate of the Chamber of Life ahead. The lava river ended here, flowing into small cracks here and there. There was a wide shore of rock and debris before the gate, allowing the raft to land. The flow also slowed here, which was bad news for the Toa. The Piraka were now closer than ever, and a battle in this hot place would be a very dangerous one.
 
“Hafu! Make sure they don’t come closer!” Macku shouted, but it was too late. The Piraka’s raft smashed into the Toa’s, damaging it beyond repair. Being close to the shore, the Toa leaped off to avois being friend. The Piraka followed, taking advantage of the Toa being temporarily stunned. Using their weapons and eyebeams, they rammed in to the Toa before they could put up a defense.
 
Hakann, on the other hand, spent no time to fight the Toa. He ran straight for the gate to the Chamber of Life and opened it with a mighty push. Thok saw this and ran after the red Piraka.
 
“They’re getting the mask!” Taipu shouted. Acting quickly, Tamaru made a strong wind, interlaced with lightning, push the two Piraka back out of the chamber. Both were stunned due to the electricity that kept shocking them as long as the wind lasted.
 
Kopeke flash-froze Avak and Reidak, giving the Toa an opening. Taipu and Hafu stood behind to hold off the Piraka with their awesome strength, while the other four Toa ran into the Chamber of Life.
 
Macku, Tamaru, Kopeke and Kapura stopped dead as they saw what waited for them in the chamber. Riding a gigantic spider-like creature was someone who looked like a Piraka, except without a spine. He carried a sharp spear in one hand, and a chain in the other than was connected to the spider’s neck. There was no Mask of Life around to be seen, but a closer look at the stranger revealed a disturbing sight: a mask of power fused into the back of his head.
 
“Ah, company arrives at last”, Vezon said with a chuckle. “I was afraid you might kill the Piraka before they got here, or they kill you, but I can see both teams have survived. That will make a much nicer party with more people, don’t you agree, Fenrakk? Well, party or a slaughter, whatever their difference.”


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:26 AM.

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#26 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Nov 01 2013 - 12:57 AM

Chapter 26 – Inferno
 
“You are a Piraka!” Tamaru exclaimed in shock at Vezon. “I think-thought there were only six.”
 
“There were”, Vezon said in a surprised tone, almost as if he had been taken aback by the statement. “But a little bit of this and there was one more.”
 
Vezon held out the spear in his hand.
 
“You see, this spear can fuse or separate anything.”
 
“You… you were part of one of the Piraka”, Macku filled in the blanks.
 
“But now I am my own self”, Vezon chuckled. “It was nice to get separated from Vezok, you see… allowed me to come here before-hand to steal the Mask of Life. Of course, the mask didn’t want me to leave, so it did… this to me. And something else… I’m the owner of the Mask of Life now. Want it, Toa? You’ll have to rip it from my cold, dead body. Though I don’t know how anything can be cold here, in this lava cavern, but I digress.”
 
Faster than the eye could see, Kapura had darted over to Vezon in an effort to grab the mask. As soon as he tried to touch it, however, Vezon turned around and batted him away with the spear. Kapura fell on the ground, struggling to regain his balance. Fenrakk was upon him in an instant. Acid-like saliva dripped from its manibles as it eyed its prey with a furious glare.
 
Kapura was far from helpless. His Calix allowed him to move out of the way with incredible speed and agility, just before Fenrakk would have bitten him.
 
Meanwhile, Kopeke tried freezing the mad seventh Piraka and his spider, but the lava quickly melted it. The body of Fenrakk seemed to be radiating heat as well, quickly turning the ice to slush and the slush to water.
 
Macku was just about try her elemental powers against the pair, when Taipu and Hafu were thrown at her from behind.
 
“The Piraka! They’re coming!” Hafu shouted.
 
And indeed they did. All six Piraka came marching in, weapons drawn and eyes gleaming. They gleamed more once they recognized Vezon.
 
“Vezon, you fool! What have you done?” Zaktan snapped.
 
Vezon grinned at the sight of his once-brief teammates. Without saying anything, he pointed his spear of fusion at them and fired. The Piraka narrowly evaded the energy.
 
“We’ll have to get that spear from him”, Hakann said. “And the mask.”
 
Avak grimaced. His and Hakann’s fake mask would need to be put into action soon, or it would lose its effectiveness.  Once the real Mask of Life was free from Vezon’s head, it would be too late to fool the others.
 
“Let’s do it, then”, Avak said. “Surround him, and bring him down!”
 
“Vezok, Reidak and Zaktan battered Vezon with their powerful attacks, but it did not seem to make any difference – in fact, both Vezon and Fenrakk seemed to gain new power from the attacks, easily shoving the Piraka away.
 
“Something’s not right”, Kopeke whispered to Hafu. “See that? That Vezon guy is absorbing the energy of the blows.”
 
“How do you know that?”
 
“Just look carefully.”
 
Kopeke fired a blast of ice at Vezon and Fenrakk. The ice struck and shattered on impact. Vezon and Fenrakk didn’t even stagger. Instead, they continued to easily battle the Toa Inika and Piraka, all at once.
 
“If we can’t harm him, I don’t know what we can do”, Hafu said, sounding uncharacteristically defeated. Being a Toa of Stone, his physical strength was one of his best assets. Now, it seemed, it was a useless one.
 
Nearby, Hakann unleashed a mental blast on Vezon. This attack Vexon was vulnerable to, and he reeled at the shock of the pain. Avak decided to use that moment to leap onto Fenrakk as well. Hakann could guess what he was doing and unleashed a bright lava bolt from his lava launcher, to cause a distraction as Avak pulled out the fake Mask of Life.
 
The Piraka leapt forward as they saw Avak lift something that looked like a mask from behind Vezon. They spent no words on the moment, just their pursue. The mask was free of Vezon, they reasoned, and there was no time to waste betraying all the others. Only Thok remained behind, suspecting that all wasn’t the way it seemed.
 
“Hakann!” Avak shouted and threw the mask to his fellow conspirator. Hakann catched the mask and, to his horror, was attacked immediately by Vezok, Reidak and Zaktan.
 
The Toa Inika were not mere by-standers either.
 
“The mask!” Macku shouted. “The Piraka have the mask!”
 
Taipu flew at the Piraka, ready to fight for the item his team had been searching for so long.
 
In the midst of the battle, Fenrakk managed to dislodge Avak off its back. Vezon recovered from the mental blast and turned to look at the Piraka and Toa fighting for a fake mask. Kopeke and Hafu were in the perfect position to see the real mask still fused to Vezon’s head.
 
“The mask! It’s still there!” Kopeke realized.
 
“A fake mask”, Hafu mumbled. “Clever, but no clever enough. Let’s get the real one while there’s still time.”
 
Using his Sanok, Hafu threw his chain at Vezon’s back, hoping to get a grip on the mask and pull it free. Vezon turned before the chain could hit him, and grabbed the other end of it with his hands. Yanking hard, he made Hafu topple over. Kopeke raced towards the insane being, using his powers to make the temperatures drop dramatically, despite the heat of the lava. Fenrakk felt weakened by the cold and began to slow down.
 
Yet, Vezon would not give up so easily. He hit Kopeke hard as he approached, sending him reeling. Meanwhile Thok realized that Avak’s mask was a fake one and caught Vezon with his spellbinder vision. Although Vezon was confused, however, Fenrakk still retained its balance. The Rahi snapped at Thok with its jaws, the white Piraka narrowly evading.
 
Tamaru, noticing Kopeke and Hafu lying on the ground, rushed over to them.
 
“The mask”, Kopeke said weakly. “It’s still stuck on Vezon… we need to remove it.”
 
A quick glance confirmed Kopeke’s words. The mask was still there, but how could one remove it from the back of his head?
 
“Maybe we need to… kill Vezon?” Tamaru suggested with reluctance. It went against the nature of a Toa to kill. If that was required here, it would be a traumatic experience for sure.
 
“Whatever we do, we should act before the Piraka realize that the fake mask is not real”, Hafu pointed out, struggling to get to his feet. “This is no time to hesitate… the universe depends on these moments.”
 
Tamaru’s expression went grim. Hafu was right, of course. Whatever the Toa would need to give up in order to get the mask, even their innocence, it would be worth it.
 
“Thok is distracting him”, Tamaru said, seeing that the white Piraka obviously knew about the fake mask. “I’ll use my mask-powers on Vezon, while you can off-take Thok, Kopeke. Hafu can quick-snatch the mask then, if it’s possible to pull it off.”
 
Kopeke and Hafu nodded. At that, Tamaru activated his Suletu and reached out into Vezon’s mind. At first, everything went as planned. Assaulted by both Thok and Tamaru, Vezon screamed in agony. Kopeke used his powers to simultaneously freeze and shock Thok, knocking him off his feet. Hafu leapt on Fenrakk, but the spider creature easily batted him aside with one of its powerful legs.
 
Nearby, Hakann was struggling just to survive the assaults of the Piraka and the Toa. He knew that the mask they were fighting for was fake, but couldn’t leave the conflict due to the merciless pounding of Reidak. Next to him, Avak was also struggling to leave, being held in place by the powerful arms of Taipu.
 
That was when Macku spotted the real situation as well. She ignored the fake mask and ran to Hafu, helping him up. “What’s with the mask over there?” she asked, pointing at the rest of the Toa and Piraka fighting for a completely different Kanohi.
 
“The real one is still on Vezon, just trust me”, Hafu said. “But how do we get it? It’s fused on his head.”
 
“Maybe there is a way”, Macku said, a jolt of realization hitting her… she understood with a startle that her Kanohi Elda had given that jolt. There was something the organic mask knew, that was added to Macku’s knowledge as well.
 
“We need to distract Vezon!” she said. “And that spider. Let me try and get the mask, I think I can do it.”
 
Meanwhile Zaktan managed to steal the fake mask from the other combatants. He handled it for a moment, then realized that it was not even a Great Mask… it was a completely powerless one. It didn’t even inflict any safe-guarding powers on him, despite the legends.
 
Zaktan’s eyes narrowed as he spotted the real mask still fused on the back of Vezon’s head. Vezok charged in order to get the fake mask, but Zaktan simply dropped the item to concentrate on Vezon.
 
Hafu made stone hands erupt from the ground, grabbing Fenrakk and holding it steady. The powerful spider screeched and wriggled, but Hafu’s power held him well. At the same time, Vezon was cradling his head due to Tamaru’s mental assault.
 
Macku leapt on Vezon’s back. Vezon shouted in protest, but the Toa of Water grabbed the Mask of Life with both hands. The Elda on his face, created for just the purpose on finding the Mask of Life, sensed that physical contact with that priceless object had been established. As Macku pulled hard, the Mask of Life left the body of Vezon, also releasing him from the spell it had long ago put upon the insane Piraka.
 
Kapura caught Macku as she fell. Vezon was separated from Fenrakk, the spider that even now was shrinking and reverting back to the state it had been before Vezon’s arrival. Vezon, powerless and in shock, hit the ground next to a lava pool and lay there, utterly stunned.
 
“I got it!” Macku shouted with triumph and Kapura helped her on her feet. “The Mask of Life! It’s ours!”
 
Macku’s victory feeling was over fast, as she saw all six Piraka advance on her. However, a strong tremor stopped them in their tracks. At first Macku thought it had been Taipu’s doing, but then spotted a huge tunnel entrance forming on the ground. There had been a camouflaged metal door there, slightly tilted against the slopy rock. As it opened up, everyone could see a neat stairway made of protodermis on the othet side.
 
“That’s where we need to take the mask”, Macku said in realization to Kapura.
 
There was no time to wonder about the staircase though, as the Piraka charged. Zaktan succeeded in knocking the Mask of Life from Macku’s hand with his laser vision. It was Thok, however, who caught the mask in midair and started towards the staircase. As soon as he had touched the mask, however, something strange happened. Thok felt sluggish and slow. He realized with terror that his spine had become sentient and was absorbing his strength and power. With a cry, he dropped the Mask of Life.
 
Kapura was quickly upon the mask, grabbing it himself.
 
“Follow me, guys!” he shouted as he began his run towards the staircase as well. Suddenly, though, a bright flash of light from the Mask of Life blinded him. He recovered his eyesight quickly, but noticed to his regret that it had greatly weakened: he saw everything in black and white!
 
“That mask torments both friends and enemies if they touch it”, Kopeke said in awe. Macku shook her head.
 
“It didn’t curse me”, she said. “I don’t know if it’s part of the Elda’s properties or something else, but I should be the one to carry that mask. Distract the Piraka, I’ll take it and run down the stairs. Follow me as soon as I’m in.”
 
Kopeke and Hafu nodded. Macku ran towards the mask, witnessing Hakann trying to grab it with his tool only, but even then suffering from its power. The energies of the mask climbed up the lava launcher’s claw-like end and zapped Hakann. Though not exactly a curse, it was enough to make him drop it.
 
Macku used a wave of electrified water to push the other advancing Piraka away, then took the Mask of Life. As she had suspected, the Kanohi didn’t affect her in any way.
 
Kopeke and Hafu acted as one, raising walls of ice and stone around the Piraka. Nearby, Vezon was about to recover when Taipu trapped him in a column of earth.
 
Zaktan was not easily trapped. Dispersing his body once more, he evaded the trap of stone Hafu was placing upon him, and drifted in front of Macku, coalescing. He swung his sizzor-blade forward, but Macku blocked it with her harpoon.
 
“You have no idea how long I have waited to get that mask”, Zaktan hissed. “I’m willing to do anything for it, which does not mean anything good to you.”
 
“You’re toying with the fate of the universe”, Macku snapped and swiped with her harpoon. Help was not far away. The Toa Inika stood together once more, against a lone Piraka.
 
“Unity will not help you, Toa”, Zaktan growled. With a quick surprise blow from his eyebeams, he struck Macku, causing the Toa of Water to drop the Mask of Life again. Zaktan’s protodites gathered around the mask in greed even as the Toa were preparing to fight.
 
It never came to that. When the first protodite touched the mask, energy exploded from the fabled object, spreading to all of Zaktan’s components. The scream of Zaktan could be heard from every protodite as they lost their ability to cooperate, a curse imposed on them by the mask. There was nothing Zaktan could do. His protodites drifted away from each other, most of them falling into lava and burning.
 
There was no more a being called Zaktan – only individual protodite creatures without the ability to interact with each other.
 
The Toa watched in shock. The mask had killed Zaktan through its curse.
 
“He tried to fool us…”, Avak said to the other trapped Piraka, having seen Zaktan’s demise through the ice. “He wanted us to pay the price he suffered. That mask is dangerous. It’s not a treasure, it’s a killer.”
 
Yet, when Macku picked up the mask again, nothing happened. “Let’s go, brothers”, she said, gesturing towards the door. “We have to save the Great Spirit.”


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:25 AM.

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#27 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Nov 01 2013 - 06:50 AM

Epilogue
 
The Toa Inika walked silently down the protodermic staircase. Moments ago they had defeated the evil Vezon and six vile Piraka in order to acquire the legendary Mask of Life. This mask was very important, for the fate of the universe depended on it. The great spirit of the world, Mata Nui, was dying due to a terrible event over a thousand years ago. It was up to the Toa Inika to bring the Mask of Life to its assigned place and save the life of Mata Nui.
 
“What do you suppose we need to do with the mask?” Taipu asked.
 
Everyone was quiet, thinking of Taipu’s question. It was not an easy one. After all, none of the Toa knew much about the mask or how to use it to save the universe. All they knew was that they had to do it.
 
“Probably we just have to take it to a specific place and that will revive Mata Nui somehow”, Hafu suggested. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll find it at the end of these…”
 
Hafu stopped dead, even as his comrades did the same. The staircase had abruptly ended into a pool of water. At first glance, it seemed to be a lake covering the rest of the stairs, but the truth quickly dawned on them – the water was that of a dark sea.
 
Macku soon confirmed the thoughts of her team. “There are no more stairs to go down to”, she said. “It’s almost as if the rest of the tunnel has just… disappeared. This is a way beneath the sea.”
 
“Something’s wrong”, Kopeke muttered. Hafu nodded in agreement.
 
“Sometimes the worst way is the best way”, Kapura mused.
 
“It certainly is the only one”, Tamaru pointed out. “But many of us can’t even swim, let alone stand the pressure of the sea bottom.”
 
“Maybe that is why the mask chose me as its carrier”, Macku said with realization. “Of us all, I am best equipped to take this mask underwater.”
 
“Whatever happened to ‘united in duty, bound in destiny’?” Hafu said with suspicion. “I thought we were all supposed to work as a team to save the world.”
 
“Worried you won’t have the biggest space on the wall of history?” Macku shot back.
 
“It’s not that”, Hafu replied, annoyed.
 
“Our carver here makes a good point”, Taipu said. “In legends, Toa always complete their destinies as a team. With unity.”
 
“Look, I’m just going to see what’s down there, okay?” Macku said with a sigh. “It’s not my fault that this is what the staircase led to.”
 
“Go with fortune, Toa of Water”, Kapura said. He glanced his teammates. “I’m sure we are all ready to accept whatever needs to be done.”
 
Everyone but Hafu nodded.
 
“I will be back”, Macku said and jumped into the water with the Mask of Life.
 
“I’m sorry, Hafu”, Kapura said a moment later. “We all want to be part of this legend, but…”
 
“I already told you it wasn’t that”, Hafu said angrily. Kapura waited silently for Hafu to add more, but he did not.
 
Meanwhile, in the water, Macku had a hard time believing what she was seeing. The water was dark, almost black, but she could still recognize the vastness of the ocean. This was indeed a place somewhere in the Endless Ocean on which Voya Nui and Macku’s former home island rested. The water was so deep Macku could not make out the sea bottom, but underwater mountains and cliffs were nearby. All around her, bizarre creatures swam about in a display of the nature’s spectacular creativity.
 
Caught by the sight, Macku did not notice in time as one monstrous creature used one of its four tentacles to grab Macku and pull her down. Macku fought against the creature’s grip, but could not break free. Whatever was holding her was strong and about twice the size of a Toa. Its skin was green and teal, with strange spikes glowing in the dark waters. It was almost humanoid, with two feet and one head. However, it had four arms with a tentacle sprouting from each one.
 
“Toa…”, it whispered in a deadly hissing sound. The shock of this monster speaking caused Macku to gasp, which was a grave mistake underwater. Even as she began to drown, Macku was mentally slamming her head into a wall. Being a Toa of Water, letting herself make the fatal mistake while in her element was humiliating.
 
She continued to descend down into the black water, unconsciousness mercifully keeping her awareness out of her doom.
 
*
 
On the island of Voya Nui, a lone Matoran landed on the treacherous shores with effort. It was well-known that Voya Nui was a difficult island to reach by boat, because of the jagged coastlines and the unforgiving sea currents around them. The only way to land was to use a Toa canister.
 
Hahli collapsed on the ground, her satchel dripping water like a burst water balloon. She panted heavily and lay there for a moment. It was a miracle she had reached the island at all, in her special boat designed by inventor Nuparu and modified by Ga-Matoran for rough seas.
 
Hahli forced herself to rise. The act was painful, but she got on her feet with sheer willpower. Yet, she could only take a few steps between collapsing again, this time harder.
 
Hahli heard footsteps on sand somewhere nearby, but couldn’t lift her head to take a look. She fell into a deep sleep caused by exhaustion. Thus she was not aware of the pair of firm hands that lifted her up and began taking her inland…
 
*
 
“Toa Nuva!”
 
The six Toa Nuva, all busy helping the Matoran of Voya Nui rebuild their village, turned at the sound of Balta walking towards them with a familiar Ga-Matoran in his arms.
 
“Hahli!” Gali Nuva shouted in amazement. “What happened to her?”
 
At the mention of her name, Hahli awoke with a start, but remained dizzy and in a bad condition.
 
“I found her in the lagoon entrance”, Balta explained. “She doesn’t look anything like the Matoran of our island, but I know she is one.”
 
“Gali…”, Hahli said weakly. “Metru Nui… needs you. You and… the others.”
 
“Why, Hahli? What is going on in Metru Nui?”
 
“Dark Hunters…”, Hahli continued, struggling to get the words out of her mouth. “Attacking… Takanuva gone… help…”
 
Hahli’s eyes shut again.
 
“Take her to the medical hut”, Gali said to Balta. “She needs immediate care.”
 
“What about Metru Nui?” Lewa asked. “What should we do?”
 
“If Metru Nui is under attack, we will save it”, Tahu said. “You heard what Hahli said. Dark Hunters. According to Vakama, they are some kind of an organization of evil.”
 
“But we are waiting for the Toa Inika to return”, Onua said. “If we leave, there will be no one to greet them once they come back here.”
 
“They can handle the quest themselves”, Tahu assured his brother Toa. “Toa in the past have faced great odds with no help, but have won. Besides, it is their destiny to save the life of the great spirit – ours is just to awake him from his slumber afterwards. And that cannot be achieved if Metru Nui is in the control of an enemy. Like it or not, our destiny is bound to the city of legends.”
 
*
 
“Fuse us back!” Vezok scowled at Reidak, who was holding the spear of fusion. “Fuse me and Vezon back again. We’re meant to be one being.”
 
“That’s not as much fun as breaking the spear and watching you and your other half kill each other off”, Reidak said with a chuckle.
 
“Break that spear and I will crush your chin”, Vezok threatened, already pointing his harpoon at the black Piraka.
 
Even as the two Piraka fought, Vezon got to his feet and started running towards the staircase the Toa Inika had taken.
 
“Stop him!” Vezok shouted and fired his harpoon. Vezon dodged just in time, but tripped on his feet.
 
“You wanted fusion? You got fusion?” Reidak said with a grin. He pointed the spear at Vezon and unleashed the power of the spear. Vezon’s essence began drifting towards Vezok and started fusing him back into the blue Piraka. Vezok was rightfully happy, though, for Reidak soon applied another blast from the spear in order to fuse Vezok and Vezon’s essence with the stone of the ground. Vezok immediately became a part of the rock, unable to move or speak.
 
A blast of heat vision struck the spear of fusion, disintegrating it. Reidak yelped as his hands were scorched.
 
“Weapons like that should never fall into your hands, especially when I’m in its range”, Hakann said with annoyance at Vezok’s predicament. Not that Hakann cared about his well-being one bit, but Hakann had been deprived of his chance to kill Vezok personally.
 
“I don’t know about you, but I’m leaving this place.”
 
Avak was already walking up the stairs, back to the surface of Voya Nui. The struggle with the Toa and Zaktan’s death had convinced them all of the huge risk of trying to even touch the Mask of Life. There were surely easier ways to make a profit in the world than that cursed item.
 
*
 
At the entrance to the 777 stairs, Brutaka sat on a rock and pondered what had happened with his life. Moments ago two Matoran had emerged from the tunnel. Brutaka had recognized them as Garan and Dalu, but had kept himself hidden as the pair walked back to their Matoran settlement. Brutaka was not the least bit interested in Matoran anyways. However, the next beings to emerge did.
 
Brutaka acted quickly, swinging his blade at the Piraka and making each of them fall to the ground.
 
“The Mask of Life!” Brutaka said. “Where is it?”
 
“Stop hitting us without proof of our possession of that cursed thing!” Avak shouted.
 
“Zaktan’s dead, and good riddance”, Hakann said, spitting some mud out of his mouth while doing so. “That mask is no treasure. I’d rather give myself in to Shadowed One than hold on to that awful object.”
 
“And here I thought you Piraka had a backbone”, Brutaka said in a mocking tone. A look at Thok revealed that the ice Piraka’s spine was now alive somehow and tormenting its host by consuming his energy.
 
“I’m getting back to killing Toa”, Reidak said. “Much more rewarding with fewer risks.”
 
“Where’s the mask?” Brutaka asked again.
 
“Why should we tell you anything?” Reidak growled.
 
“In case you didn’t know, Dark Hunters are observing this island”, Brutaka said. “Some of their agents have been watching you for a long time, waiting to capture you and take you to the Shadowed One. And I’m guessing your fate in his hands will not be pleasant. However, you don’t have to get captured…”
 
Brutaka tapped his Kanohi Olmak, mask of dimensional gates.
 
“Tell me what happened to the Mask of Life and I will create a gate for you, one that leads to another island than Voya Nui. You will escape Shadowed One and be free to continue your rotten lives as you wish. Deal?”
 
The four Piraka considered. Two of their number had already been killed on this dangerous island, but Shadowed One’s punishment would be far worse than death for the remaining four. Brutaka’s offer was a good one, they had to admit.
 
“Very well”, Hakann said. “The Toa Inika got the mask and took it down to some staircase beneath the chamber. We don’t know more.”
 
Brutaka frowned. “How do I know you’re not hiding something from me?”
 
“Well, we don’t have the mask”, Avak said. “So what reason would we have to keep any secrets from you?”
 
“Because you’re Piraka. It’s what you do best”, Brutaka said. “But nevertheless, I have no need for you anymore.”
 
“The gate”, Reidak said. “Now. Remember the deal.”
 
Brutaka was silent for a moment. Then he used his mask to create a portal, through which the Piraka quickly leapt. Once they were gone, the gate disappeared.
 
Brutaka allowed himself to chuckle a bit and then left for the coast.
 
I have a dive to attend to… he thought to himself.
 
As he made his own plans, the four Piraka discovered to their dismay that the dimensional gate they stepped through actually lead to a jungle full of carnivorous plants with an insatiable hunger for just their type of prey…
 
*
 
Macku was helpless as water filled her lungs. Even her skill at diving was of no use now.
 
Nocturn kept dragging his prey underwater when he suddenly noticed the glowing mask in Macku’s hand. Although not the brightest lightstone of the universe, even he could recognize an item of power when he saw one. One of his tentacles reached out to grab the mask. When he made contact, the world around him exploded.
 
Nocturn screamed as the energies of the Mask of Life robbed him of his sense of hearing. He clung to the mask, refusing to let go. However, the tentacle wrapped around Macku retreated, freeing the Toa. And help was not far away.
 
A chain shot down from above and wrapped itself around Macku, swiftly pulling her up. Soon Macku was back with her fellow Toa. Hafu was unwrapping his climbing chain from around Macku. The tool had saved her life.
 
Macku didn’t take long to recover.
 
“The… the mask!” she stammered. “The mask is lost! We need to get it!”
 
“There’s no way we can”, Kopeke said sadly.
 
“We need equipment”, Tamaru said. “Down-force, water-strong!”
 
“We will go down there as soon as we can, but we need tools to work with first”, Taipu agreed. “Maybe Velika can make us something?”
 
“Then we should get going fast”, Macku said. “Before the creature who took the mask does something horrible to it.”
 
Kopeke looked up at the stairs the Toa Inika had just descended all the way here. The trip back to the surface would be extremely long and tiring.
 
“I hate stairs…” he muttered as the Toa Inika began to climb them.
 
*
 
After several long hours, the Toa returned to the Matoran village, exhausted and their feet feeling like they were on fire. Taipu’s Kadin had been useful in going up and thus he was in the best shape, but everyone else was tired.
 
“What happened?” Axonn asked with curiosity. “Where is the mask?”
 
“We got it, but we lost it”, Macku explained. “It’s in the sea now. We need to go after it.”
 
Taipu looked around. “Is Gali Nuva here? She could share her mask power with us.”
 
“The Toa Nuva were forced to leave this island”, Balta explained. The Toa turned to see him walking with Kazi towards them. “Metru Nui is some kind of danger.”
 
“Our city-home is deep-troubled?” Tamaru gasped.
 
“The Mask of Life needs you”, Axonn reminded. “The Toa Nuva will deal with the situation in your homeland. But for you to reach your destiny, you need diving equipment.”
 
“That is why we came here”, Kapura said. “Waves are only welcoming when one knows to harvest its treasures.”
 
“Air, for one”, Hafu added.
 
“Velika will craft you something”, Balta promised. The Toa followed him to Velika’s hut. The eccentric Po-Matoran listened carefully to the request, then made an expression that looked like an idea.
 
“Follow me”, he said. Again, the Toa and Axonn followed. Velika took them into some sort of a secret chamber further away from the village. When the Toa saw what Velika wanted to show them, their jaws dropped in awe.
 
After the initial shock of amazement had passed, Taipu grinned. “This will do just fine.”


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:25 AM.

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#28 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Nov 03 2013 - 12:32 AM

Book 1 being finished, it's time for...
 
Book 2: Creeps From the Deep
 
book_2_poster.png
 
Chapter 1 - Dangers of the Sea
 
The deep sea is a home for great wonders, mysterious secrets and fateful dangers. Life at the very bottom is sometimes irrecognizable to those from the surface, being bizarre and nothing like the Rahi beasts encountered on an island or in a city.
 
To those dwelling in the black waters beneath Voya Nui, a golden mask was what a sea creature would be to beings of the surface: something of great interest and possible gain. Fish and underwater insects watched with all of their eyes as Nocturn, one of the most fearsome creatures of the deep sea, swam slowly towards his home cave with such a mask safely in his claws.
 
Living underwater means, for any creature, having certain senses more developed than others. One of these senses is hearing, for water carries sound for very long distances without much distortion. This sense was completely denied from Nocturn, however. The moment he laid his tentacles on the Mask of Life, his world had become a silent one.
 
Nocturn did his best not to show his new weakness to any other creature in the sea. He was known as the top warrior down here, meaning that no one would dare to oppose him. If the others caught on to the fact that Nocturn had lost his sense of hearing… it might well mean his end.
 
Nocturn turned around to check if anyone was following. Far away in the distance, he could see the infamous whirpool that had always been there, sucking in those unfortunates who were not smart enough to stay clear of its affected area. More nearby the stone cord connecting the island above to the sea floor remained strong and imposing as always.
 
Nocturn resumed his journey, unaware of the eyes watching him from behind a bush of seaweed.
 
*
 
In a cave underneath the cord, a Le-Matoran named Defilak was busy feeding his Hydruka pet, Morak. The Rahi made sounds of delight as it consumed whatever Defilak would give it. Defilak and his Hydruka had a very special relationship. Morak, being an aquatic Rahi, was perfect for moving fast beneath sea. Just by hanging onto the sturdy tail of the creature, Defilak could ride along and get anywhere very quickly.
 
Defilak was not the only one to benefit from the relationship. For Morak, living with a Matoran meant safety and care, as well as food. A Hydruka was more than capable of gathering food itself of course, but this way was much easier.
 
Defilak and Morak were not the only ones living in this small cave. Their partner pair, Dekar and Thulox, suddenly burst into the watery cave. Dekar looked almost frightened.
 
“Defilak!” he began, breathlessly. “I saw Nocturn out of his cave today. He’s holding on to some golden mask and heading back to his dwelling.”
 
“A mask?” Defilak repeated, intrigued.
 
“Yeah, it was shining like a star!” Dekar continued. “I don’t know where it came from, but it sure is fascinating. I wonder what it is.”
 
Defilak rubbed his chin. “Maybe we should find out? Like spying on his cave and seeing what he does with the thing?”
 
“You know that’s risky.”
 
“I like risky.”
 
Dekar chuckled. “You sure do, don’t you?”
 
*
 
Among other things, the sea remains very unforgiving and cruel. You may find a beautiful underwater plant and then discover that it’s extremely venomous and lethal to touch. You may encounter a pretty, inviting light, only to be devoured by the fish that used it as a bait.
 
Dekar and Defilak were well aware of the danger of their home habitat, but the interest aroused by a golden mask in Nocturn’s possession was enough to make them more careless than usual. They swam side by side, pulled by their respective Hydruka, towards Nocturn’s cave without noticing another creature watching them. When they did, it was much too late.
 
A swarm of underwater eels attacked the two Matoran from below and started dragging them down amidst a dense seaweed reef. The Hydruka screeched in panic and fired the air sphered on their tails at the eels. Air bubbles were a natural defense mechanism of all Hydruka and it was effective because air was toxic to water breathers. Dekar and Defilak had learned from their pets and possessed their own hand-made launchers which would also fire air spheres gathered from the Hydruka’s tails.
 
Despite the best efforts of the Matoran and their Hydruka, all four were dragged down into the claws of someone they knew well, and feared accordingly.
 
“B-barraki Ehlek!” Defilak gasped.
 
“We meet again, filthy Matoran thieves”, Ehlek sneered.
 
“What do you want of us? Let us go!” Dekar shouted.
 
“You are up to something, nosy Matoran”, Ehlek said. “And I want you to tell me what it is.”
 
“We’re just having an ordinary midnight-underwater swim”, Defilak said, trying to sound innocent and sincere. “That’s all.”
 
Ehlek’s response was an electric shock from one of his talons that hit both Dekar and Defilak. The Hydruka screeched in anger nearby.
 
“Liars!” Ehlek spat. “That’s all you’re good for.”
 
Defilak had had enough. Using his air bubble launcher, he shot Ehlek with solidified air. Ehlek screamed, for air was toxic to water-breathers. The shock made him let go of Dekar and Defilak, who quickly scrambled to their Hydruka and ordered them to swim away as fast as possible. Ehlek’s eels were ready to pursue, but Ehlek held them back.
 
“Don’t bother”, he hissed. “They have only escaped temporarily. What is important now is that the other Barraki need to know about this.”
 
With that Ehlek disappeared amongst the black waters to deliver a message to his allies.


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:25 AM.

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#29 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Nov 09 2013 - 12:00 PM

Chapter 2 – Allies and Enemies
 
Nocturn cradled the Mask of Life in his tentacles. He felt a sense of triumph wash over him, for he had successfully taken the powerful object to his home dwelling. Nocturn did not live differently from other sea monsters: a dark cave with multiple exits was more than enough for him.
 
Outside the series of caverns where Nocturn lived, Dekar and Defilak crouched behind a lush airweed field and watched. The Hydruka were killing time by harvesting air from the special weeds and converting them into solidified air bubbles used by their launchers and those of the Matoran.
 
“That mask came from above”, Defilak said with certainty. Dekar looked at him in confusion.
 
“What makes you think that?”
 
“I – I just know”, Defilak said. “I don’t have proof, I just know. It’s like an intuition.”
 
“Wha does your intuition say Nocturn will do with the thing?”
 
“My intuition isn’t that good.”
 
*
 
Ehlek grinned at the other Barraki who were assembling at the Razor Whale’s Teeth, a series of jagged outcroppings of the bedrock which created a complicated maze on the seafloor. Ehlek felt good about being the first to find out about the Mask of Life in Nocturn’s hands. He had known all along of course, but had simply asked the captive Matoran for  evidence of his suspicions.
 
“Why do you summon us?” Takadox asked impatiently. He was not at all happy for being disturbed amidst his hunting.
 
“Dear allies, something invaluable has fallen amongst us”, Ehlek said. “I saw Nocturn with a golden mask. He was followed by those pesky Matoran, but they would not tell me why.”
 
“You let them escape”, Carapar chuckled. “You let those weak, little Matoran fool you and get away.”
 
“Not true!”
 
“Sure is”, Carapar said. “I saw you.”
 
Ehlek was about to shout something about his allies eavesdropping being detrimental to their trust when Pridak intervened.
 
“Doubtless the mask has some sort of power”, he said. “But of what use are treasures for us? We command this sad sea bottom with our Rahi armies. There is no concept of money in this place and we may never again set foot upon the surface world.”
 
“That mask was different”, Ehlek said. “It has changed Nocturn. Those Matoran are not very good at being silent, yet he never noticed them following him.”
 
“What are you getting at?” Takadox spat, wishing for the whole meeting to end.
 
“We should strike at Nocturn while he is weak and take the mask to find out what it actually is”, Ehlek said.
 
Kalmah and Mantax stood silent as Takadox voiced his objections. Pridak and Carapar, on the other hand, agreed with Ehlek’s plan of action and managed to persuade the others as well. Pridak, in particular, had always carried an aura of authority around him, even when he was not acknowledged a leader. Everyone knew, though, that Pridak held the highest power within the alliance of the Barraki. Not only were his sharks fearsome and well-disciplined, but Pridak himself was both of those things too. It was not wise to oppose him.
 
So happened that the Barraki moved as a team towards Nocturn’s dwelling. For the entire trip, Kalmah and Mantax refrained from saying anything. For Mantax it was a tactical decision. The other Barraki looked down upon him due to his choice of lifestyle. Like the rays which he commanded, Mantax liked spending his time in the dirt of the seafloor. This made others think of him as something lower than he actually was.
 
Kalmah, on the other hand, was silent by nature. Unlike Mantax, Kalmah was actually feared by the other Barraki. Kalmah was an odd type. None questioned his usefulness in battle and resourcefull, but Kalmah was not the kind of person you would want to spend time with. It was as if he was constantly looking for weaknesses in others in order to strike them down.
 
*
 
“Now”, Dekar whispered. Defilak raced into the cavern the Mask of Life was in, and was just about to grab it when he heard the approach of Nocturn. Quickly he hid behind a rock just as Dekar did the same further away.
 
Nocturn’s bulky frame was not built for subtle movements. When he once again entered his living chamber after visiting the food supply cave, he made a lot of noise – at least noise and vibrations that undersea beings could easily detect.
 
Nocturn glanced at the prized mask now resting on a self-made pedestial. His intelligence level was not very high and he did not know what to do with the thing. For now, he kept it under his possession because it looked like something he should.
 
One of the Hydruka outside the cavern screeched. Dekar’s heart sank. The noise would undoubtedly catch Nocturn’s attention and alert him to the presence of intruders.
 
Dekar waited for Nocturn’s reaction.
 
Nothing.
 
The Hydruka screeched again. Usually they knew better than to do that, but they were beginning to grow restless by now, Dekar knew.
 
Still, Nocturn did nothing. He simply stared at the Mask of Life, until he figured out something better to do, apparently, and left the cavern again.
 
Defilak stood in his hiding place for a few more moments and then left it, just as the whole place began to shake. The Mask of Life wobbled on the pedestal.
 
“What’s going on?” Defilak cried out.
 
*
 
Nocturn was alarmed by the strong vibrations and left to check on his Mask of Life. Or that’s what he would have done, if a large tentacle hadn’t wrapped itself around his ancle, pulling him towards one of the exits.
 
Furious, Nocturn struck at the tentacle with all his might, making it let go and retreat. Nocturn resumed his swim, but then encountered two large crab-like creatures.
 
Meanwhile, Mantax and Pridak swam inside the tunnels of the cavern, looking for the Mask of Life.
 
“It cannot be far”, Pridak said. Mantax simply nodded.
 
Yet, no matter how thoroughly the two Barraki searched the series of tunnels while their comrades were keeping Nocturn busy with their armies, they could not find the Mask of Life.
 
“Nocturn must have it himself”, Mantax said.
 
“Then we take it from his dead tentacles”, Pridak said with cold determination in his voice.
 
*
 
Neither Nocturn or the Barraki could now that as they squabbled in Nocturn’s caverns, the Mask of Life was moving quickly away from the spot, carried by Dekar. The Hydruka steeds of the Matoran swam with great speed, pulling their Matoran behind them. Even though the energy produced by the mask burned Dekar, he refused to let go.
 
The Barraki would be about to know that Matoran can also wield great power…


Edited by Toatapio Nuva, Dec 19 2013 - 11:25 AM.

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#30 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Nov 29 2013 - 04:39 AM

Chapter 3 – Welcome to the Deep

 

“Mission commenced”, a voice boomed from the speakers of the Toa Terrian Crawler. “You are descending.”

 

Tamaru, Macku, Taipu, Hafu, Kopeke and Kapura sat on their respective seats in the long deep sea submarine. They could feel their muscles tense at the suspense of entering a world beneath the waves.

 

There was a whirr and a click as the crawler began a new function.

 

“To dive freely you must have equipment”, the voice of the speakers said. It was the voice of Velika, the Matoran who had designed and built the crawler in the first place.

 

Even as the Toa Inika sat on their seats, the machines of the crawler fitted them with new deep sea armor and tools corresponding better to the different environment.

 

“Take these Cordak Blasters”, Velika said. The Toa were each given a large blaster. “But beware their power.”

 

The Toa Inika now had new armor and equipment. They were ready. The Toa Terrain Crawler stopped moving, having ended up on a deep sea cliff. They were in their destination.

 

“Mission objective: Retreive Mask of Life”, Velika said. “Time is limited.”

 

The Toa stepped into a waterlock chamber, which was sealed and then filled with water. Another door then opened, allowing the Toa a first glimpse at the world they had arrived in.

 

Macku, now equipped with a suit sprouting wing-like protructions to aid in swimming, stepped out first. Being the Toa of Water, she was the most comfortable in this watery environment. Still, the darkness of the place unnerved even her.

 

“You know what to do”, Tamaru said, following Macku out of the crawler. His new armor was a bulky one. Instead of a tool and a Cordak Blaster like the others had, Tamaru had chosen to take two blasters. This would allow him to fight better from a distance against any sea monsters that might appear.

 

Macku nodded at what Tamaru had said and activated her Kanohi Elda, now covered in a casing and equipped with a visor. The mask was able to detect the location of the Mask of Life and it would be of utmost importance to the Toa right now, with an entire sea to search.

 

Macku could feel the Elda pointing her to the right direction. As she began swimming, the rest of the team followed. Of them all, Hafu was the most uncomfortable underwater. His new suit protected him, of course, but Toa of Stone still preferred dry land.

 

*

 

At Nocturn’s cavern, Pridak held the owner against a wall.

 

“Where is that mask?” he snarled. Nocturn seemed confused.

 

“He doesn’t hear you”, Ehlek said. “He doesn’t hear anything. He’s deaf.”

 

“How can he be deaf?” Pridak asked.

 

“I told you before, he never spotted those Matoran following him. He…”

 

“The Matoran! Of course!” Pridak exclaimed. “They must have stolen the mask. Nocturn wouldn’t have noticed that, being blind and all.”

 

“We go looking for a few puny Matoran?” Carapar said in exasperation. “Sounds like a waste of time.”

 

“The mask is not a waste of time”, Kalmah said coldly. “It might be able to do some incredible things… like turn us back into what we were.”

 

That statement made all Barraki silent. They knew it was too much to hope for, but perhaps they might be allowed to return to the surface like they once had… being able to conquer and rule again?

 

“If that is possible, then the mask truly is worth any trouble”, Pridak said quietly. “We must find those Matoran.”

 

“We’ll spread out”, Takadox suggested. He hated working in a team.

 

“More like pairs”, Pridak ordered. “That way no one can think of something as foolish as betraying the others.”

 

“I’ll go with Ehlek”, Carapar said. “I know how to keep him in line.”

 

Ehlek scowled at that, but Pridak didn’t pay attention. Instead he assigned Kalmah and Takadox to work together while he himself would be travelling with Mantax.

 

“When we find the Matoran and the mask, we report to the others”, Pridak said. Each Barraki nodded and went their own ways, leaving the injured and blind Nocturn to contemplate what had just happened.

 

*

 

“What shall we do with it?” Defilak asked Dekar, referring to the golden mask now lying at their feet. Dekar was cradling his hand. The mask had hurt him while in contact and Dekar feared the curse that may have been put upon him by the touch.

 

“I don’t like what it’s doing to everyone who touch it”, Dekar said. “Maybe we should destroy it?”

 

“I thought you knew better than that”, Defilak sighed. “Whatever it does, it’s got to have some value. That’s why the Barraki wanted to steal it from Nocturn. We need to find out what this thing can do.”

 

“That is no business of Matoran”, the terrifying voice of Kalmah travelled into Dekar and Defilak’s ears. “It’s business for those who understand power.”

 

Kalmah and Takadox arrived, surrounding the Matoran with their squid and insect armies. Dekar grabbed the Mask of Life, even as he felt pain again upon touch.

 

“It is not yours, Barraki!” Dekar cried. “Leave us alone, or face the consequences. We can hurt you too, you know.”

 

Defilak readied his electro-blades. “He’s right”, he said. “Just leave now. The mask is not worth your time.”

 

“But it is”, Takadox said. “Your little pincers will do us no harm. Give us the mask or be doomed.”

 

Dekar and Defilak looked at one another and nodded. Using their air launchers, they attacked the Barraki with their air bubbles. They screamed as toxic air struck them. The Hydruka joined in on the fight, firing their own air spheres.

 

“That’s it!” Takadox yelled. “You just earned yourselves grave stones!”

 

The Barraki commanded their armies to attack. Defilak and Dekar waited for what was to come – their inevitable deaths.


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#31 Offline Toatapio Nuva

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Posted Dec 19 2013 - 11:24 AM

It's been a while since the last chapter, but as I said earlier, I have no intention to discontinue this epic. So here we go. ;)

 

Chapter 4 – Fair Play

 

The Toa Inika were a formidable unified force, all swimming together towards a common objective. Macku’s mask directed the team as they sought the Mask of Life. The sea was filled with dangerous beasts, but the electrical charge of the Toa’s power was really effective against dwellers of the deep.

 

Until, of course, a gigantic Gadunka appeared seemingly out of nowhere and assaulted the Toa. Gadunka were known to be rare sea creatures that ate anything they could find, using their enormous teeth to grind any substance. If that wasn’t enough, they also had big claws that were useful in ripping and tearing deep sea vegetation, but also potent weapons against enemies.

 

“It ain’t having us for lunch”, Taipu said with his deep voice and concentrated his powers on the seafloor. A burst of mud blinded the Gadunka, allowing Kopeke to deliver a follow-up attack. With his ice powers, he dropped the temperature of the water around Gadunka, slowing it down.

 

Macku used her new talon, a part of her undersea armor, to rip seaweed from the seabed. She proceeded to tie the straps up into a lasso while Hafu kept Gadunka busy. Then she swam rapidly around Gadunka, tying it up.

 

“That’s that”, Hafu said. “Did that stinky Rahi really think it could…”

 

The Gadunka roared and snapped the seaweed rope with its claws.

 

“Scrap that, then”, Hafu mumbled.

 

Kapura was next. He swam closer to the beast and tried to use his fire powers, but found them severely weakneded underwater. However, the electricity in his attack made contact with Gadunka, stunning it.

 

“We need to go now, before it recovers”, he said and ushered for the Toa to leave quickly. They obliged, swimming as far away from the creature as they could.

 

*

 

Carapar brought his mighty strength to bear, practically demolishing a stone cliff to reveal a small dwelling inside.

 

“This is where those pesky Matoran live”, Ehlek said. “But it wouldn’t make sense for them to be here now.”

 

“You got that right”, Carapar said. “It’s completely deserted.”

 

Ehlek kneeled down and chuckled, sending waves of electricity from his backspikes at the insides of the Matoran dwelling. The shock destroyed everything inside.

 

“Smart, Ehlek”, Carapar said sarcastically, rolling his creepy red eyes. “Real smart. What purpose did that serve?”

 

“Those Matoran have bothered us since the day we were condemned here”, Ehlek replied. “It’s time we had our revenge on them.”

 

Carapar sighed. Ehlek was bot a strategic thinker, instead allowing himself to be guided by emotion alone. Carapar was not fond of Matoran himself, but would not destroy their belongings just for revenge… he needed something more substantive to feel lust for that kind of thing.

 

Still, Carapar had to admit he understood Ehlek’s way of thinking. Ever since he and his five comrades had escaped the Pit into these waters, Dekar and Defilak had annoyed them with their existence, constantly trying to steal food from them and sabotage their affairs in this undersea realm.

 

“How long has it been since we escaped the Pit?” Carapar asked idly. Ehlek shrugged, but didn’t answer.

 

The day the Pit had collapsed had been a lucky one for the Barraki, but it did not come without a cause. A huge earthquake had shattered the prison cells and opened cracks to the walls, which allowed water to pour in. At that time, there was something in the water that made it mutagenic, causing bizarre transformation to whatever… or whoever touched it. The Barraki, along with many other freed prisoners, were mutated into creatures capable of breathing water but unable to breath or live on land.

 

Though some of the Barraki cursed this transformation – Pridak, in particular – it was not all bad, Carapar thought. They were free, after all, and could build their own realm under the sea. Each member of the team discovered talents at taming Rahi and enlisting them in armies of their own. With these Rahi at their command, they drove the other mutated prisoners of the Pit away and were left with a vast underwater world to live and thrive in.

 

Carapar had also been the most content with the Barraki’s new lifestyle, but even he could not help feeling excitement about the prospect of returning to the surface through usage of the Mask of Life. There was so much to conquer there, and so much wealth to be stolen. If only it wasn’t so hard to find the thing.

 

We will find the it, no matter where it is, Carapar thought. And no matter who possesses it. If it’s the Matoran, they will become seafood for our squid… if anyone else has it, they will become nothing less.

 

*

 

For Dekar and Defilak, this was the worst day of their lives.

 

Squid commanded by Kalmah and underwater insects obeying Takadox swarmed around them and the Hydruka. Even their air launchers could not fend off the attack for long.

 

“Give us the mask and you may be spared”, Takadox growled.

 

“If we feel like it”, Kalmah added.

 

Dekar was not ready to give up so easily. He held the mask high in his grasp, threatening to smash it to a rock.

 

“You back off, Barraki, or I’ll destroy the mask”, he shouted.

 

“No!” Takadox cried, but Kalmah didn’t waste time on negotiations. Instead, he launched a sea squid from his launcher right at the mask. The small creature dug its teeth into the edges of the mask, the force of its momentum causing Dekar to lose his grip. He shouted in dismay.

 

Takadox and Kalmah pressed the advantage, shoving the Matoran aside and diving for the mask. They saw something strange happen to the squid that had touched the mask… it glowed for a while with yellow light and then started shrinking until it was no longer visible.

 

“See what happens if you touch the mask?” Dekar cried out. “It will do the same thing to you.”

 

“It hasn’t to you, Matoran”, Kalmah said. Dekar shook his head.

 

“I am just as cursed as that squid”, Dekar said. “I didn’t notice it before… but see what happens when I fight back against your army.”

 

Dekar demonstrated his words by slicing at one of Kalmah’s squid with his electro-blade. Though the blow looked like it could easily kill the creature, the squid remained unharmed.

 

“I’ve lost my ability to hurt other beings”, Dekar concluded.

 

For Takadox, this actually seemed to strike a chord. He hesitated, wondering about the potential danger the Mask of Life posed. Kalmah, however, continued to dive at the mask and eventually was close enough to wrap his tentacle around it.

 

“Dekar, we need to get out of here!” Defilak cried. The armies of the Barraki still kept attacking them, but their masters were no longer giving them orders, which opened a way for retreat.

 

“The mask!” Dekar said. “We can’t let it…”

 

“There’s nothing we can do”, Defilak said.

 

Dekar’s eyes were filled with determination. “I thought you would be the last person ti give up”, he said. “What happened to your sense of purpose and the level-headed thinking?”

 

“I’m applying it now”, Defilak snapped. “With you unable to harm these Rahi, we’re one fighter less. We need to go!”

 

Kalmah touched the Mask of Life and screamed.

 

“Come on!” Defilak yelled and grabbed Dekar. Thulox and Morak swam away quickly, with Defilak holding onto Morak’s tail with one hand and onto Dekar with the other. The armies of the Barraki didn’t pursue – they were distracted by the bright light that surrounded Kalmah and bestowed a curse upon him…

 

*

 

“Are they… Toa?” Mantax wondered aloud. Pridak stood next to him and nodded at the comment.

 

“They are”, he said. “And you know why they’re here, don’t you?”

 

“The mask”, Mantax said with a nod. “They’re looking for it.”

 

Pridak thought back to his experiences as a warlord, long ago. He had met several Toa, and had come to know them as stubborn good-doers who never gave up before a threat. What made them dangeorus in the end was their unity, however, not their power. The best way to defeat a team of Toa was to separate them and injure their unity.

 

“See that ledge?” Pridak asked Mantax, referring to a steep undersea gorge near to where the Toa Inika were swimming. “I want you to use your rays to separate the Toa. Drop three of them down there, while I’ll deal with the other three.”

 

Mantax nodded and sent a silent command to several manta rays lurking nearby. They moved as one, emerging from the sand beneath the Toa, attacking Kongu, Hafu and Kapura. The Toa fell into the gorge, just how Pridak had wanted them to.

 

“Brothers!” Macku shouted and was about to dive after her friends, when an army of shark appeared and surrounded herself, Taipu and Kopeke.

 

Pridak emerged from among the seaweed.

 

“Greetings, Toa”, he said with a voice that sounded like that of a predator about to pounce on his prey. “I am Pridak, your destructor, and the sea bottom will be your grave.”

 

“We are here on a mission, nothing more”, Taipu said. “We are not looking for battle.”

 

“It’s not your choice, now is it?” Pridak said with a sickening grin. The sharks surrounding the Toa moved in, with the death of the Toa as their only goal.

 

 

 

Please let me know how you like the chapter in the review topic. :)


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