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Dimension Hoppers: The Other Tale

Dimension Hoppers

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#1 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Oct 17 2011 - 09:18 AM

Hello. my reads. Welcome to Dimension Hoppers: The Other Tale, the supplement epic to my main epic, Dimension Hoppers (which can be found here).This story takes place during the events of Dimension Hoppers, following Toa Nasis and Toa Ahova as they investigate the possibility of Dark Hunter involvement in the theft of the Time Stone.
 
Author's note: You might want to read Chapter 1 of DiH before beginning this epic, for TOT will make much more sense if you do.






Table of contents:


Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten

Epilogue


So anyway, enough of my blabbering, here is the epic itself:





Chapter One


Toa Nasis, Toa of Iron and leader of the Toa Tanjo, ran through the streets of the city of Tuyar Akam, the capital of the island of Tanjo Nui, rushing past Matoran and Tagiki in his haste to get where he needed to, his gold armor glinting in the afternoon sun. He had urgent news to deliver as quickly as possible, along with an order directly from Turaga Klio, the Turaga of Tanjo Nui.

Just five minutes ago, Nasis had been at a meeting with the leaders of Tanjo Nui, at which the two Time Stone guardians, Toa Kiriah and a Tagiki named Isarot, had also been present. It was at that meeting that Nasis learned of the theft of the Time Stone – the most precious artifact to all of the Tanjo Nuians, Matoran and Tagiki alike – and of the measures being taken to retrieve the Stone.

Nasis was one of those measures. Due to suspicion of Dark Hunter involvement, Nasis and one of the other Toa Tanjo would be sent on a mission to investigate the Dark Hunters. If they found anything, they would return to Tanjo Nui to report their findings back to Turaga Klio and Baiji Kolora, who was the leader of the Tagiki.

Of course, at the moment, only Nasis knew of the mission. That was the reason he was running so fast; he had to make it to the other Toa Tanjo and tell them what had just happened. He knew they were aware that he, being team leader, had been summoned to the meeting, but none of the other Toa knew of the reason for the meeting. He had to get there quickly so they could get the mission going as soon as possible.

The streets of Tuyar Akam were very crowded today, as they usually were. Unlike most settlements on Tanjo Nui, Tuyar Akam was home to both Matoran and Tagiki, although due to the enmity between the two species there were often clashes between gangs that sometimes resulted in the deaths of civilians, even. Often, the Toa Tanjo and the Chofier – the heroes of the Tagiki – were kept busy taking care of the gangs and maintaining peace in this city alone, not to mention all of the other problems this island had.

I wonder if it is easier being a guardian of the Time Stone rather than a full-time Toa, Nasis thought as he ran around a group of Tagiki merchants that were discussing food prices. Sometimes I think Kiriah is lucky. All she has to do is look after a rock all day; a very important rock, but a rock nonetheless, whereas me and the others have to deal with gang violence, the possibility of invasion by the Dark Hunters or Brotherhood of Makuta, natural disasters such as rockslides, and many other things besides.

He was running so fast he nearly tripped over a Matoran who had bent down to pick up a dropped widget. Quickly apologizing as he regained his balance, Nasis continued running, pushing all other thoughts out of his head. He couldn’t afford to waste any more time thinking. Just got to get there and he’d be all right.

Within a few minutes, he found it: The main headquarters of the Toa Tanjo, a large, multi-story building that he and the other Toa often referred to as “HQ.” It had a sleek metallic surface – mostly thanks to Nasis’ powers over iron – with large, decorative windows on the upper floors that offered an excellent view of the city. It was a dull gray, with a large front entrance that allowed several beings to enter at once. The bulky wooden doors were equipped with heavy, thick metal locks created by Nasis himself, which were locked at night to prevent thieves (or, in a worst case scenario, murderers) from breaking in.

It was these doors that Nasis barged through, out of breath. He looked around the commons area – a large, wide open room with plenty of places to sit down and relax after a long day of work – for any sign of his fellow Toa.

The only Toa whom he saw was Toa Kicho, Toa of Earth, reclining in a chair next to a fireplace that was currently not in use, for winter had not yet come to the island of Tanjo Nui. Kicho stared at Toa Nasis with surprised orange eyes.

“Hey, Nasis, back from the meeting already?” she asked as she sat up in her chair a little straighter and adjusted her Calix. “What was the problem?”

Out of habit, Nasis began toying around with a piece of scrap iron, altering its shape into whatever he wanted it to be. He always carried this little metal thing around for it usually helped him collect his thoughts.

“Time Stone . . . stolen . . .” Nasis gasped, trying to catch his breath as his tiny iron scrap transformed into a colorless replica of the Stone.

“What? Did you say the Time Stone was stolen?” Kicho asked, standing up and looking at him in shock. “How is that possible? What about Isarot and Kiriah? What are they doing about it?”

Nasis walked over to a chair and fell down onto it. He took a deep breath and said, “Let me start . . . let me start from the beginning here. What happened is very . . . very complicated. Let’s just say an interdimensional thief stole the Stone right from underneath Isarot and Kiriah’s noses and they are now planning to go after him.”

“Is there anything we, the Toa Tanjo, can do to help?” asked Kicho anxiously as she walked over to him. “Anything at all? And how do they plan to go after an interdimensional thief, exactly?”

“Where are the others?” asked Nasis, looking around. “The others need to hear this story before I say anything else.”

Kicho looked over her shoulder and said, “They’re all in their rooms at the moment. But I can summon them if you need me to.”

“Yes, please,” said Nasis, nodding. “Get them out here. This is a story everyone needs to hear.”

Kicho nodded in return and Nasis felt a brief tremor shake the place before subsiding. It was an agreed upon method of communication Kicho had developed for emergencies such as this. Being a Toa of Earth, Kicho would send a small tremor through the building, strong enough to catch the attention of the other Toa, but not enough to collapse the HQ. In fact, HQ’s floors and support beams had been redesigned slightly to allow tiny tremors like Kicho’s to shake the building without destroying or damaging it.

The next minute the other four Toa came down the staircase into the lobby. Some looked curious; others annoyed, probably at being interrupted during their favorite activities. Nasis knew, however, that his news was more important than whatever they had been doing before the interruption.

“Hey, look everyone, Nasis is back,” said Toa Ahova, Toa of Magnetism, pointing at the Toa of Iron. “What’s up, brother? You look really tired.”

“Just got back from the meeting,” Nasis answered as his replica Stone transformed into a miniature version of Klio’s tower, where the meeting had taken place in. “Got some very bad news.”

“Bad news?” Toa Laomos, Toa of Gravity, gasped dramatically. “It can’t be that bad, can it?”

“Oh, it’s bad,” Kicho confirmed, nodding with a troubled face. “The Time Stone was stolen.”

The others’ reactions ranged from surprise – “What? How could this have happened?” Toa Kijaka, Toa of Water, gasped – to enraged – “I’ll punch out the thief who did this!” said Toa Noros, Toa of Stone – and all the way to artistic rage – “Not fair! How am I going to get to draw that highly detailed, realistic portrait of the Time Stone I was working on if it is stolen?” Toa Laomos whined.

“But there’s more,” said Nasis quickly. “I gotta tell you all the rest of the news and what Turaga Klio and Baiji Kolora plan to do about it.”

“Shoot, Nasis,” said Ahova as she took a seat and stared intently at him. “We’re all ears here.”

Nasis took another deep breath and said, “Last night, a thief broke into the Temple of Time and stole the Time Stone. Isarot and Toa Kiriah tried to stop him, but failed, for he escaped through a dimensional portal, according to their report.”

“Dimensional portal?” Noros asked in disbelief. “Really, a-“

“I’m not finished yet,” Nasis said, throwing an irritated glance at Noros. “Anyway, Turaga Klio and Baiji Kolora are going to give Isarot and Kiriah a Mask of Dimensional Gates to allow them to chase this interdimensional thief and get the Stone back.”

“An Olmak?” asked Ahova curiously, leaning forward a bit. “Where’d they get that?”

“Eh, they just had one sitting around,” said Nasis vaguely. “Something left over from Klio’s adventures as a Toa. That’s all.”

That was only half-true. Yes, it had been used by Klio when she had been a Toa, but it hadn’t just been ‘sitting around,’ as Nasis asserted. In truth, Klio, Toa Darranas – a legendary Toa held as a hero by all of the inhabitants of Tanjo Nui, including the Tagiki – and Kolora had used that Olmak to chase another interdimensional thief 100,000 years ago, when that thief had stolen the Time Stone for the first time. Nasis did not feel like explaining that part of the story to the rest of the team, however, at least not at the moment. He would get to that later, for he felt that he had more urgent matters to discuss with them right now.

“Okay, this is all sort of abrupt,” Toa Kicho commented as she rubbed the back of her neck with her hand. “So, if I understand this correctly, an interdimensional thief stole the Time Stone and Isarot and Kiriah are going after him in order to retrieve the Time Stone?”

“Precisely,” said Nasis, nodding.

“So this is some kind of epic quest of danger and adventure that two daring young heroes are about to embark upon?” asked Laomos excitedly. “If only I could paint that and immortalize it in art!”

“The Time Stone was stolen?” Kijaka said in disbelief. “That’s . . . isn’t that the first time that that has ever happened in the entire history of Tanjo Nui? What will happen when everyone else finds out about this?”

“Ah, that’s the thing,” said Nasis, hesitant. “See, according to Klio and Kolora, this isn’t exactly the first time the Stone has been stolen before.”

Silence descended upon the group as Nasis’ words sunk in.

“What?” Noros said, shocked. “What do you mean this wasn’t the first time-“

“I know it’s hard to believe, but apparently 100,000 years ago a thief stole the Time Stone and then Klio, Toa Darranas and Kolora went after him,” said Nasis quickly. “Darranas died somehow during the attempt to save the Stone, but so did the thief. They kept it a secret until today, when they revealed that story during the meeting.”

“Really?” said Noros skeptically. “That contradicts everything we’ve ever been told.”

“That’s sort of the point, Noros,” Nasis sighed. “It’s the truth, however. They didn’t have any reason to lie to us during that meeting and Kolora got awful emotional about it.”

There was more silence for a few moments.

Then Ahova, always the first to speak, said slowly, “So, er, what do you want us to say about it? Get angry? Declare war on the elders? Go after the thief? What?”

“It’s disconcerting, to say the least,” said Kijaka, folding her hands on her lap. “I thought Toa Darranas died going down heroically against an army of evil at the end of the war so many years ago. But he actually died attempting to save the Time Stone from an interdimensional thief? Why’d they lie about that?”

“According to Klio, she said that she and Kolora thought it’d be better for everyone if that part of history was forgotten,” said Nasis, rolling his eyes. “Not the best excuse in the world, but that’s what she told us.”

“What’re we going to tell the general public, then?” said Laomos as he pulled out a thin strip of wood and began drawing on it, as he was apt to do when thinking. “Surely this can’t remain a secret forever, can it?”

“What we’re going to do is close the Temple to the public,” said Nasis as he adjusted his seat. “We’re going to say it was attacked by some Rahi and that it is under repair. It’ll be that way until Kiriah and Isarot return.”

“Well, what are we supposed to do about it, then?” asked Noros angrily. “Are we going to go with Kiriah and her Tagiki friend on that dimensional trip or what?”

“Actually, that’s not what we’re going to do, Noros,” said Nasis, shaking his head. “Rather, we’re going to be investigating the Dark Hunters.”

Now Noros looked really angry. “Dark Hunters, eh? Think they have something to do with it?”

“Oh, I’d say it’s likely, Noros,” said Nasis as his statue transformed into a crude replica of the Shadowed One. “They’ve wanted the Time Stone for as long as I can remember. ‘Course, the war with the Brotherhood has been keeping them busy, but the Shadowed One is very persistent, you know.”

“Do the Hunters even have dimension-hopping tech, though?” Ahova wondered aloud, looking at her friends with a puzzled expression.

“No idea,” said Nasis with a shrug. “What I do know is that Turaga Klio has given me permission to take one of you along with me to begin our investigation.”

Noros raised a skeptic eyebrow. “Just one? Why not the whole team? The Time Stone matters to us just as much as it does to you.”

“No, two Toa makes sense,” said Kicho thoughtfully. “Two Toa can move faster than six. Also, the Dark Hunters are far more likely to notice a whole team investigating them rather than just two. It is less conspicuous that way.”

“Don’t forget we need some Toa here to protect the island from the greatest threats to Tanjo Nui’s security,” Laomos added as he finished his drawing and held it up for all to see. “See, this drawing features us standing on the very farthest edge of reality as some dark forces rumble in the distance. We are, in a way, the last line of defense against the forces of evil that want to devour this island whole.”

“Uh, not really,” said Ahova, shaking her head. “Don’t the Tagiki have the Chofier of Mata Nui or whatever?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” said Nasis, nodding. “Tajah is the leader of the Chofier. Still, I get what Laomos is getting at . . . sort of.”

“How could anyone not?” asked Laomos in surprise. “Aren’t I being clear in saying that Toa have always stood against the forces of evil since time began?”

“Whatever,” Nasis said, his statue now in the form of a generic Toa wearing a Mask of Shielding. “The point is we’re going to investigate the Dark Hunters and find out what we can. I can only take one of you with me. Since we’re leaving in the morning, I think I ought to make my choice now, especially since you’re all here.”

Nasis began examining each of his teammates, trying to decide who he would work best with on this mission.

His eyes first fell on Toa Noros, the angry, yellow-armored Toa of Stone. Noros was very intelligent, despite his angry-demeanor and large muscles, but he was also hard to work with due to his temperamental personality. He was good at battle tactics, but Nasis figured he would need someone with a calmer personality than Noros on this mission.

He shifted his attention to Toa Kijaka. She was a good deal calmer than Noros, although she wasn’t exactly patient, in his opinion. This mission would probably take a while, so an impatient person like the Kadin-clad Toa of Water probably wouldn’t do well on the mission.

Nasis looked at Toa Laomos and, Laomos would say about himself, art. Laomos, who wore a Kanohi Pakari, was quick-witted and plenty capable of taking care of himself in a fight. The only problem: He did not like sea travel, which this mission would involve, which caused Nasis to pass over him.

He thought about Toa Kicho. She was deputy leader of the Toa Tanjo and Nasis’ closest friend on the team, for they had known each other since they had been Matoran. He could name a number of instances when she had saved his life and when he had saved hers.

He decided against her, however, since someone needed to stay behind to lead the team while he was gone. As Kicho was second-in-command, he figured she should stay to lead the team in his absence.

And finally, he took note of Toa Ahova, Toa of Magnetism. She was nice, if a little too chatty. She was also fairly honest; if she liked someone, she let them know. And if she didn’t, well, she also let them know.

She was another member of the team he worked well with. Due to their elemental powers, Nasis and Ahova had several combination techniques that they often used in battle. Both could manipulate metal to an extent, so they worked well together in a fight. He could create metal for her to magnetize an enemy to and she could already magnetize existing metal and manipulate it to an extent.

After some tough thinking, he realized he was down to Kijaka and Ahova. They seemed like they would be the best choices for the mission, but he couldn’t bring both. One or the other . . . he finally came to a decision.

He pointed and said, “Okay, I’ve decided. Ahova, you’re coming with me on this mission.”

“Great,” said Ahova, clapping her hands together excitedly. “I want to save the Time Stone as much as everyone else here. If this investigation could help us find it, I’ll do whatever it takes.”

“Good,” said Nasis approvingly. Then he said to the rest of the Tanjo, “Okay, team. While we’re gone, Kicho will be in charge. You will do whatever Turaga Klio asks of you and work with the Chofier if necessary. Just do what we always do until Ahova and I return. Any questions?”

“No,” said Noros as he got up from his chair, wiping dust off his armor. “But I’ve got plenty for the Turaga. I’ll be off as soon as we’re done here.”

“I don’t know about that, Noros,” said Nasis carefully. “Klio is pretty secretive. She probably won’t answer any questions if you come at her with that attitude. Even your Suletu can’t read her mind, right?”

Noros touched his Mask of Telepathy, like he’d just remembered that. “I don’t need a Suletu to get her to answer my questions. If she refuses, I’ll keep at it.”

“Right,” said Nasis. “Well, now that we’ve got that settled, this meeting is officially dismissed. Ahova and I will be leaving in the morning, so we’ve got to start packing as soon as possible.”
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 05:38 PM.

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#2 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Oct 18 2011 - 09:02 AM

Chapter Two


In the morning, Ahova stood at the docks of Tuyar Akam, waiting for Nasis. She hadn’t packed much; just a large bag full of food, water and other things she thought they’d need. Her eyes were searching all over the place for the Toa of Iron, but she did not see Nasis anywhere.

This did not worry her much. She knew Nasis was perfectly capable of looking after himself and she herself did not have a very good record of being on time for appointments anyway. She couldn’t criticize him for the very things she herself did, now could she?

Still, Ahova thought as she turned around to look at the boat they were going to take. This is fairly important. Perhaps he got caught up in something, which would explain his lateness. Or maybe he was attacked on the way here and is fighting for survival against some Rahi. He might even be close to death, unable to reach the docks. He could even be dead for all I know.

She thought about that for a moment and then decided, Nah. I’ve been listening to too many of Laomos’ epics. Nasis is probably just late.

Her orange eyes landed on the gold lettering on the ship’s side. It read: Sanoz, the Matoran word for ‘speedy,’ which was the name of the ship.

The Sanoz certainly looked speedy to Ahova. It was long and sleek, with several sails to catch the wind, as well as many oars in case the wind was non-existent. Ahova didn’t know much about boats, but it seemed well-built to her, based on what she’d seen of it.

She looked around again, did not see Nasis, and sat down on a crate to wait for him. She looked at all of the sailors milling about the docks, the ships that were coming and going and smelled the disgusting scent of rotting fish. Even early in the morning Tuyar Akam’s ports were bustling. Ahova thought the war between the Brotherhood and Dark Hunters would have affected trade at least somewhat, but the ships seemed to be coming and going at roughly the same speed they had prior to the Great Cataclysm.

Suddenly, she noticed a familiar Miru-clad Toa making his way through the crowd toward her. Finally, Toa Nasis reached her, with a bag that was slightly smaller than hers slung over his shoulder. He looked like he hadn’t slept well last night, based on how dark his eyes appeared. He also seemed to not be fully awake, for he tripped over more than one box of goods on his way toward her.

“You got enough sleep, Nasis?” asked Ahova as Nasis dropped his bag at his feet. “You look like you didn’t sleep well.”

“It’s nothing,” Nasis insisted, shaking his head. Ahova thought it might be a bit more than ‘nothing,’ but she said nothing herself. “I’m okay. I just . . . let’s just get going, okay? We’ve got the supplies ready and everything?”

“Yeah,” said Ahova, nodding. “Apparently, Klio sent orders to some of the Ga-Matoran sailors here to stock our ship with enough supplies to last a month. I don’t know if our mission will last a month, though, will it? And we won’t always be gone from Tanjo Nui, right? We’ll return every now and then to report to the Turaga about our findings, right?”

“Please don’t ask me so many questions at once so early in the morning, Ahova,” said Nasis, shaking his head as he slung his bag back over his shoulder. “Can’t really think right now.”

“Oh, okay,“ said Ahova as she got off of the crate and followed Nasis up the ramp onto the ship. “Sure. I’ll be as quiet as possible. Won’t say a word unless you tell me to. Yep, I’ll be as quiet as a mouse. Quieter, in fact. You won’t even know I exist I’ll be so quiet. You’ll think you’re all by yourself and then-”

“Then be as quiet as a mouse,” Nasis snapped.

Ahova wanted to say, “Sure,” but the annoyed look Nasis gave her made her shut up for good this time.

-

According to Nasis, their first destination was the island of Stelt. Ahova had been to Stelt once as a Matoran and had never forgotten the experience, mostly because she’d gotten mugged by a Roffican, the species that served under the ruling Tetakians. That sort of thing is difficult to forget easily.

As to why they were going to Stelt first, that was because Stelt was the natural gossip center of the universe. All kinds of stories passed through the ports of the island. True, it meant there were a lot of false rumors floating around, but if one knew where to look, one could find information on almost anything one wanted to know about.

So they set off from Tanjo Nui, headed directly for Stelt. Due to the Toas’ own inexperience in sailing, a group of Ga-Matoran sailors had been hired to pilot the Sanoz for them. This left Nasis and Ahova with very little to do, for they wouldn’t reach Stelt for another week at least.

The ship itself, though large on the outside, was fairly small on the inside. There were only a few rooms, although out of respect for the Toa, Nasis and Ahova were each given their own separate rooms. They weren’t very big quarters, but better than nothing.

Nasis sat on the bed in his room, thinking over his bad sleep from last night. He’d had the most bizarre nightmare last night, which was the reason he hadn’t gotten much sleep. His fear had gotten the best of him and kept him up all night, much to his embarrassment.

Should I go to sleep now? Nasis wondered as he lay on his bed. We won’t reach Stelt for a while, so I have plenty of time to catch up on my sleep.

Despite these assurances, he still didn’t shut his eyes. He was too busy remembering the nightmare he’d had last night, the one that had managed to keep him up all night long.

In that dream, he had seen a being in white robes standing before an empty-looking, crumbling fortress. The being had worn a completely blank Kanohi mask, unlike anything Nasis had ever seen before. The figure had entered the fortress, only to discover skeletons in various states of decay hanging from the ceiling like grotesque puppets.

Nasis had wanted to wake up at that point, but the dream had continued. The being had searched the room briefly before finding a hidden underground entrance, which allowed him plunge into the darkest cavern Nasis had ever seen in his life. The figure walked down a long, long staircase before coming upon something so horrific Nasis could not even remember what it was, exactly. All he remembered seeing was the skeletal outline of some immense monster, perhaps a dragon, but he wasn’t sure.

And then the being roared in frustration, like all of his expectations had been crushed. The scream had frightened Nasis so badly that it’d caused him to wake up then. He didn’t go back to sleep that night, for the scream had disturbed him greatly and made it difficult to rest.

That was a weird dream, Nasis thought as he put one hand on his forehead. Fortunately it was just a dream, for I pity the fool who would have to deal with that being’s rage. That faceless Kanohi creeped me out.

He looked at his bag, which lay at the foot of his bed. He had brought some provisions of his own, all right. He knew they would need to get what would surely be considered dangerous information, so he had brought along some bargaining tools. Valuable artifacts that would be enough to get just about anyone to talk about anything Nasis and Ahova needed to know.

Bribery may not be my favorite method, but it is certainly better than threatening someone, Nasis thought. Less violent, usually, though still not quite what I’d call ‘moral.’
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 04:40 PM.

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#3 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Oct 19 2011 - 07:57 AM

Chapter Three


A week later, the Sanoz reached the island of Stelt. Tall buildings – though definitely not skyscrapers like in Metru Nui or Tanjo Nui – could be seen in various states of decay. There were a lot of ships harbored there. Ahova counted six or seven, and one of them looked suspiciously like a Dark Hunter vessel, though she figured it probably wasn’t.

Besides that, the island looked exactly like Ahova remembered it: Dirty, rundown buildings, shady characters lurking in the shadows and doorways, garbage almost everywhere. It was definitely a lot less cheerful-looking than Tanjo Nui. She decided to stick as close as possible to Nasis in this place.

Now both Toa stood on the docks of Stelt, stretching their limbs from being cooped up inside a ship for so long. Behind them, the Ga-Matoran sailors were tying the Sanoz down. They also had weapons, which wasn’t overdoing it on Stelt, for any criminal who wasn’t a Dark Hunter hid here, hiding from law enforcers and bounty hunters alike. Didn’t mean they always stayed hidden, however, which was why one always carried a weapon with oneself on this island. It was certainly why Ahova carried her magnetic gauntlets with her.

“So where do we go now, Nasis?” asked Ahova, looking at the Toa of Iron.

Nasis – who looked much better now that he’d gotten some sleep – scratched his chin, his gray eyes searching the area for something, his bag slung over his shoulder. “We go to a bar called the Tarakava’s Fist. The owner is supposed to be able to get information on anything. Let’s check there first.”

-

The “Tarakava’s Fist,” as it was called, was a small, rundown-looking bar that made Ahova feel uncomfortable. Something about the red stain on the door that looked a bit like blood made her feel a bit apprehensive about this whole thing.

“Surely there isn’t somewhere nicer we could go?” she asked Nasis as they stood in front of the door. “Like, say, Nynrah, for instance. I heard they’re a lot friendlier to Toa there than here. I heard rumors the Nynrah ghosts even tried to make their own Toa once. Not sure how that turned out, but-“

“No,” said Nasis, shaking his head. “Stelt – and, by extension, the Tarakava’s Fist – is the best place to find out this sort of stuff. I know Toa aren’t very popular here, but with the right price you can find what you’re looking for even if you are a Toa.”

“Okay,” said Ahova disappointedly.

Nasis pushed the door open and the two Toa entered.

The first thing Ahova noticed about the place was the stench. It smelled of fungus, death and a bunch of other equally disgusting aromas. It almost made her sick, but she was tough and ignored it.

There were about a dozen or so guys here, bunch of tough-looking criminals who were drinking illegal beverages in dirty, stained cups. About half of them were Rofficans – the second class citizens of Stelt – but she saw a teal-colored Tetakian – a member of the ruling class of Stelt – seated at the bar in the front, looking woozy from having a bit too much to drink.

Ahova and Nasis walked over to the bar and sat down. Then the bartender – who had had his back to the Toa – turned around and glared at them. He was clearly a Roffican, except unlike most of his species, he wore blood red armor and his two eyes looked far more intelligent than the stereotypes Ahova had heard so much about.

“We don’t serve your kind around here, Toa,” said the bartender in a deep, threatening voice. “Get out now or I’ll show you to the door myself.”

Other beings probably would have cowered in the face of such a large, obviously violent being fully capable of carrying out his threat and then some.

But Nasis merely met the bartender’s eyes and replied resolutely, “We don’t plan to stick around here, Mr. Bartender. We’re just here for information.”

“You want info?” the bartender said gruffly. “What kind of info are Toa looking for?”

“Dark Hunter info,” Nasis replied. “What kind of tech they have, what they’ve been using it for, recent thefts, and so on.”

The bartender – who had looked so fierce before – suddenly looked frightened, like the mere mention of the Dark Hunters was enough to freeze his blood.

“Look, that ain’t none of your business,” the bartender said, his voice quiet as he looked suspiciously around the place, like he thought someone might be eavesdropping. “The Dark Hunters – they’re killers. They hunt Toa for fun. They get word you’re, ah, interested in them and they’ll have you dead in two seconds flat. They figure out that I gave you the info and I’ll be dead even quicker.”

“But what if I promised to pay you,” Nasis said as put his bag on the table, “if you’d only tell us where we can find info on the Hunters?”

The bartender eyed that bag, like he was curious about what was inside it. “What kind of payment are we talking about here, Toa?”

Nasis shrugged, like it wasn’t a big deal. “Oh, nothing, really. Just a solid gold Kanohi mask I’ve been looking to get rid of for a while. That’s all.”

Now the bartender looked interested. “You say you got a solid gold Kanohi in there?”

“Yes,” said Nasis, nodding. “And I’d be perfectly willing to part with it as long as you give me and my friend here some info on the Hunters’ recent operations.”

“You make a tempting offer, Toa,” said the bartender, drumming his fingers on the bar like he was thinking about it. “Let me see the Kanohi first, just to make sure you’re telling the truth.”

“Sure,” said Nasis as he put his hand in the bag and drew a glinting Hau from it. “Here it is.”

The bartender looked suspiciously at the Kanohi and asked, “It’s real?”

“I’m a Toa of Iron, buddy,” Nasis replied as he put the mask on the counter. “I know about all kinds of metals. This is definitely the real thing.”

“Well, then,” said the bartender, evidently satisfied. “You got a deal, Toa. Take this.”

The bartender handed Nasis a thin stone tablet with a picture of a Tarakava on it.

“Show this to the Skakdi at the ruined building at the end of the street, on the left,” the bartender told Nasis in low tones. “Say, ‘Barc has a request’ and she’ll know exactly what you’re talking about.”

“Thank you,” Nasis said. He pushed the gold Hau toward the bartender and said, “Here, the Kanohi’s yours, pal.”

The bartender greedily took the Kanohi as Nasis and Ahova stood up.

“Let’s go, Ahova,” said Nasis as he and the Toa of Magnetism left. “Hopefully this won’t be a dead end.”

As the two Toa left the bar, Ahova glanced over her shoulder and asked Nasis in low tones, “Where’d you get that solid gold Kanohi from, Nasis?”

“Like I said, I’m a Toa of Iron,” Nasis whispered as they closed the door behind them. “Made it myself, since gold is a metal, after all. Doesn’t make it cheap, though, because I put a lot of effort into making that mask look genuine.”

“Right,” said Ahova, nodding. “Well, let’s go find this Skakdi and learn what we need to learn. I don’t want to stay on Stelt any longer than I have to. It’s dark and grimy and scary and filled with thieves, murderers and Mata Nui-knows-what-else. Not to mention it’s-“

”Got it, Ahova,” said Nasis quickly. “Let’s not waste our time now.”

They then began walking down the street, both of them hoping to find the information they were looking for quickly.
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 04:47 PM.

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#4 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Oct 20 2011 - 06:25 AM

Chapter Four


It did not take the two Toa long to find the place the bartender had described to them. It was indeed a ruined building, completely nondescript. No one would think to look for information on the Dark Hunters here, which was probably why whoever used it hid here, Nasis decided.

Once they reached the building, Nasis knocked on the door. The entrance creaked open slightly and two red eyes glared out at him. They grew wide momentarily, almost as if the eyes’ owner recognized the two Toa, before they returned to their normal size.

“What do you want?” the eyes asked harshly.

Nasis raised the tablet with the Tarakava on it and said, “Barc has a request.”

“Oh, he does?” said the being, her eyes locked on the tablet. “Exactly what does Barc want? And why did he send two rather pitiful-looking Toa to get it for him?”

“Actually, Barc doesn’t want anything,” Ahova said quickly. “The bartender at the Tarakava’s Fist just gave us that pass key so we could find out some information. I don’t know who Barc is, but his name sounds really weird, I must say, and I wonder if-“

“Okay, I get it,” the female hissed. “Come in. There isn’t anyone following you, is there?”

Nasis and Ahova looked around. They didn’t see anyone, so Nasis said, “No, there isn’t.”

The door opened wide enough to allow the two Toa in, but it did not open all the way to let them see inside completely. Ahova gave Nasis a worried look, like she was asking, “Are you sure about this?”

But Nasis just shrugged, like he said, “No, I am not, but let’s do it anyway.”

The two Toa entered the building as the door closed tightly and ominously behind them.

-

As it turned out, someone had followed been following the Toa, ever since they had left the Tarakava’s Fist.

He was a squat, gray colored being with purple accents on his armor. He had wide, skeletal wings and a short spear that fit his stature. His face appeared to be stuck in some kind of snarl, but as he crouched low on a building, watching the pair enter an unknown structure, it twisted into a puzzled expression.

Just what are two Toa doing on Stelt, of all places? the Dark Hunter, codenamed Vanisher, wondered. Toa aren’t exactly popular here. These Toa look like Tanjo Nui Toa, but that still does not explain what they are doing here. I will have to investigate this further once they are finished with their business in there.

-

Nasis and Ahova had entered a cramped two-story building. It was too dark to make out many specific features, but Nasis thought he could see a desk and a few bookshelves filled with dusty old tomes along the walls.

Nasis heard someone’s footsteps and then a lamp flickered on, although it still did not light the place up very well. It didn’t show him much more than he already had, although he could see Ahova and the other female now.

The female was indeed a Skakdi, as the bartender had said. Nasis had never seen a Skakdi before – since travel to and from Zakaz was forbidden by law – but he had heard about them and this one fit the description quite well: Large white grin that was more than a little creepy, spikes running along her back and arms, asymmetrical arms and clawed two tone feet. Even in the light her orange and white armor looked more than a little animal-like.

Nasis didn’t know for sure, but she did not seem at all surprised to see the two Toa, like she’d been expecting to see Nasis and Ahova. There was no way the Skakdi could have known they were coming to her, yet that was exactly how she looked to Nasis.

“What do you want from me?” the Skakdi growled. “Barc sent you because he thought I’d have something you’d want, isn’t that right?”

“Yes,” said Nasis. He now speculated that ‘Barc’ was the bartender’s real name. “Can you tell us your name first, though? I’m Toa Nasis and this is Toa Ahova. We are both from Tanjo Nui.”

“Tanjo Nui? I never liked that island,” the Skakdi growled as she picked up a dusty old map of what looked like Nasis’ home land. “All your pious worship of the Time Stone makes me sick. But to be polite, my name is Kafor and I will happily kill you if you get me angry.”

Nasis hoped she was joking, but her deadly serious tone made him think otherwise. It also made him wonder whether Ahova’s apprehensions about Stelt were correct. Being locked in a room with a being as violent and easily provoked as Kafor made him feel more than a little frightened, to say the least.

“Right,” said Nasis, as bravely as he could. “Well, we need information on the Dark Hunters.”

“Information on the Dark Hunters?” Kafor repeated in a low tone, like she feared someone might be eavesdropping. Nasis wondered if everyone on Stelt did that whenever the Hunters were mentioned. “Impossible. Not that I don’t know anything about them, but they, well, they value their privacy quite a bit. They’d be willing to kill someone who knew something she shouldn’t. Know what I mean?”

“Totally,” Ahova said. “I mean, the Dark Hunters are just a group of nasty murderers, thieves, liars, arsonists, brutes and a whole host of other unmentionable adjectives that I can’t think of at the moment. Never liked them, so I can understand why you’re worried about telling us about them. I think I would be, too, if I was in your situation, but I’m not in your situation so I can’t really-“

“Do you remember what I said about killing you if you got me angry?” interrupted Kafor, her voice murderously low. “Because you are getting me very angry right now due to all of your nonstop talking.”

“Hey,” Nasis said to Kafor. “Don’t threaten my friend or we’ll leave.”

Kafor snorted. “I don’t care. I don’t like Toa anyway. I’ll be quite happy without the two of you in my life.”

Nasis gritted his teeth. This would be harder than he thought. “Well, we need that information. Barc said you could give us what we need to know.”

“And what if I get killed because of it?” Kafor asked, irritably tapping her fingers on her desk. “I can’t risk my life for two Toa, especially since I don’t know how trustworthy you two are.”

“Have you ever given information on the Dark Hunters to anyone else before?” asked Nasis, deciding to take a different approach.

“Yes.”

“Yet you’re still alive,” the Toa of Iron pointed out. “Therefore-“

“But that was once, and they almost got me that time,” said Kafor quickly. “Do you wonder why I live here? It’s because the Dark Hunters never come around here. I am safe as long as I keep quiet.”

“I didn’t think Skakdi could keep quiet,” Ahova said.

“Well, this Skakdi can,” said Kafor, turning around with her arms folded. “Leave while you still can. Anyone who chases the Hunters eventually ends up dead.”

“Sorry, but we aren’t going away that easily,” said Nasis firmly, folding his arms just like her. “Kafor, if you tell us what we need to know, we’ll make sure that our source doesn’t get known to the Dark Hunters.”

Kafor looked over her shoulder at him, eyeing the Toa suspiciously. “Really?”

“Truly,” said Nasis, nodding. “Toa are honest and trustworthy. We wouldn’t be very good Toa if we sold you out to the Hunters, would we?”

“We’ll also pay you,” Ahova offered, “if that is what you are interested in, that is.”

Kafor thought about that for a minute. Clearly, she still did not like the idea, but she said, “Okay, fine. I will trust you . . . for now, Toa Nasis. But if the Dark Hunters come knocking at my door, I’ll know who to kill.”

“Sure,” said Nasis, although he did not like the sound of killing. “Do what you will.”

Kafor turned back around and asked, “So what do you wish to know about the Dark Hunters? Their history? Their membership? What?”

“We need to know about the Dark Hunters’ most recent thefts,” said Nasis. “What they’ve stolen, when they’ve stolen it, that sort of thing. We just need to know what their most recent thefts have been within the past week. That’s all.”

Kafor stroked her sizable chin, like the request intrigued her. “Why’s that? Did they steal something from you?”

“Yes, they did,” said Ahova, nodding quickly. “They stole the Time St-“

“Ahova, quiet!” Nasis snapped, but Kafor had apparently heard enough.

“The Time Stone?” repeated Kafor interestedly. “The most sacred object of your homeland? The one that has supposedly never been successfully stolen in the entire history of the universe? That explains what you two are doing here. Searching for it, are you? Think the Hunters stole it?”

Seeing that Kafor had found out so quickly, Nasis shrugged and said, “Pretty much, yes. We know they have tried to steal it before, but have never succeeded until possibly now. We need to know whether they stole it or not.”

Kafor began skimming through her books, evidently searching for the documents that contained what she was looking for. “Hmm, my books aren’t quite up-to-date. I only have their records of recent thefts from last month.”

“From last month?” said Nasis. “Then how are we supposed to know whether they have it or not?”

“Storm Odina?” Kafor suggested, almost idly. “Then again, seeing as no one outside of the Dark Hunters know where it is, that’s probably not going to work. Kidnap and tor- er, I mean, interrogate a Dark Hunter until he tells you what he knows?”

“I don’t like any of those ideas,” said Nasis. “If we kidnap a Dark Hunter, we’d have the whole organization on us. We don’t need that; we just need to know whether they have the Stone or not.”

“Fine, fine,” said Kafor, swatting a bug that was buzzing around her head. “Okay. I’ll ask my contact within the Hunters to give me the records of thefts from this month. When I get the info, I’ll send you a trained Nui Rama with my findings. How does that sound?”

“Oh, well, sounds great,” said Nasis, somewhat taken aback by her generous suggestion. “How long will that take?”

“Normally, it would take only a couple of days, maybe a week at most,” said Kafor as she put her books back up. “But with the war against the Brotherhood, it might take a few weeks. Like I said, I’ll send a Nui Rama directly to Tanjo Nui when I get what I am looking for.”

“A few weeks?” Ahova said disappointedly. “But the Time Stone can’t wait a few weeks!”

“It might have to anyway, Ahova,” said Nasis. “Isarot and Kiriah are- erm, I mean, they’re working on finding it themselves. Maybe they’ll find before we do.”

Nasis was trying to be very careful about what he said to Kafor now. She already knew the Stone was gone; she couldn’t know that the guardians were on a dimension-hopping journey as well. He feared that Kafor would blabber about the Stone’s theft to someone and soon everyone in the universe would know about it; but as long as the whereabouts of the guardians remained a secret, he hoped it would not attract too much attention.

“Isarot and Toa Kiriah are the current Time Stone guardians, aren’t they?” Kafor said interestedly. “What are they-“

“Like I said, they’re trying to find it with their own methods,” said Nasis, his tone making it clear he did not want to go into any more detail. “So, a few weeks, then?”

“Probably, yes,” said Kafor, who sounded slightly disappointed at not learning anymore juicy details. “I’ll send you a trained Nui Rama with the message once I get the info.”

“Thanks,” said Nasis.

“Don’t thank me, Toa,” Kafor snapped. “I cannot fully trust that you will not sell me out to the Dark Hunters, at least not yet.”

“We won’t,” Nasis swore. “We’ll never say even one word about it to anyone. Promise.”

“Promise,” Ahova repeated, nodding.

“Then where is my payment?” said Kafor, eying Nasis’ bag. “The Toa of Magnetism said you would pay me.”

“Not yet,” said Nasis, shaking his head. “We will pay you later, once I have something to give you, for at the moment I have nothing valuable on me.”

“When will you pay me, then?” Kafor demanded. “As soon as you deliver the information to us,” Nasis said calmly. “I’ll send you some gold or whatever you want. We can probably pay for your services.”

“I see,” said Kafor, stroking her chin again. “All right. Gold it is, then. I will take gold armor for my services.”

Nasis was taken aback by this request. “You mean a full suit? I don’t know if I can-“

“Take it or leave it, Nasis,” said Kafor, arms folded again. “I won’t change my price and if you say no then that means no info on the Dark Hunters for you.”

Nasis wasn’t sure how he’d be able to make a suit of gold armor for her that would actually fit, but he shrugged and said, “Okay, Kafor. Gold armor it is. We’ll send it to you once you get the information, as payment for your services.”

Kafor grinned satisfactorily, showing all of her large Skakdi teeth.

Then she pointed at the door and said, “Go, then. I don’t suppose you have any further reason to stick around here, do you?”

“No we don’t,” Nasis agreed. “Good bye, Kafor. We’ll, er, maybe see you later.”

“I hope you never do,” Kafor muttered under her breath as the two Toa left the building.
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 04:58 PM.

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#5 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Oct 28 2011 - 09:38 AM

Chapter Five


At this time of day on the island of Odina, the Shadowed One would normally be found in his throne room, figuring out his next strategy in his war against the Brotherhood of Makuta, or prior to the war, deciding which Dark Hunter to send on what mission. Anyone who attempted to interrupt him – unless it was for something extremely important – was usually killed on the spot, as happened to the last being who had tried to interrupt the Shadowed One’s private time a few days ago.

Of course, very few managed to do it anyway. The Shadowed One’s fortress was nearly impossible to navigate if the Shadowed One did not want any visitors. You’d either have to know how to outmaneuver the Shadowed One’s thoughts – a difficult task, considering how quickly his mind moved – or enter when he least expected it or have an entirely different means of entering the fortress.

The last option was how Vanisher chose to enter the fortress. Using his power to cross dimensions, Vanisher ended up in the Shadowed One’s throne room and nearly got his face blasted apart by an enraged Shadowed One’s eyebeams.

As he had been expecting that, Vanisher opened a portal that caught the Shadowed One’s lasers. “Sorry for the interruption, Shadowed One, but I have important news.”

The Shadowed One, who sat on his throne looking quite willing to murder Vanisher where he stood, snapped, “What important news? Tell me quickly, or I’ll have to get personal with my methods of killing.”

Vanisher bowed humbly, an act he did not like to do. He was willful and independent by nature, but even he knew what an enraged Shadowed One could do when provoked. He decided to play it safe for now, although he wondered whether anyone was ever safe whenever in the same room as the Shadowed One.

“As I said before, I deeply apologize for coming in unannounced like this, sir,” said Vanisher with his face to the ground. “But I believe you’ll find the news I have uncovered very interesting, my lord.”

He looked up and saw that the Shadowed One clearly was unconvinced by the ‘my lord’ bit, though he said nothing about it.

Instead, the Shadowed One asked, “What was your last mission, Vanisher?”

“I gathered intelligence at a nearby Brotherhood of Makuta fortress,” Vanisher replied. “Just as you ordered, sir. I brought the information straight to the Recorder. He should have it down by now.”

“I see,” said the Shadowed One, like he already knew that. “Fine. Then tell me your so-called ‘important’ news. Do it quickly, because I am already bored of your presence and Sentrakh here needs some exercise.”

The Shadowed One gestured to his yellow-armored silent bodyguard, who did nothing to indicate that he had heard his name mentioned. Sentrakh just stared straight ahead, like he always did, though that did not mean he was ignorant of his surroundings. On the contrary, Vanisher knew that Sentrakh was always analyzing everything around him even when he seemed completely oblivious to the situation. That was what made him dangerous, in Vanisher’s opinion.

Vanisher then stood up straight and looked directly into the eyes of the Shadowed One; very dangerous, but he believed it would make the Shadowed One listen better if he maintained eye contact with the leader.

“While at the island of Stelt,” Vanisher began, before the Shadowed One interrupted.

“What were you doing at Stelt?” he demanded.

“Taking a well-deserved break, sir,” said Vanisher shortly.

“You get no breaks unless I give them to you,” the Shadowed One growled. “But I will punish you after you tell me the rest of the tale. Go on.”

Vanisher didn’t like the sound of being punished, but he continued, “While I was at Stelt, I happened to spot two suspicious-looking Toa enter a building. I then snuck into the building’s upper floors and, hiding in the shadows of the stairway, listened as they discussed business with a Skakdi known as Kafor.”

“Kafor?” the Shadowed One repeated. “That name sounds familiar to me . . .”

“That, sir, is because Kafor has crossed our paths in the past,” said Vanisher. “Apparently she sold information on the Hunters to someone at some point and nearly got killed by one of our agents before relocating to Stelt in an obscure part of that island.”

Vanisher observed the Shadowed One’s features. Based on the Dark Hunter leader’s expression, this Kafor had clearly done a bit more than just ‘sell information,’ but he did not inquire. The Shadowed One rarely answered personal questions, partly in order to keep up his mystique and partly because he killed anyone who asked.

“Anyway, the two Toa said they were from Tanjo Nui,” said Vanisher. “They came to her because, according to them, the Time Stone has been stolen.”

Now that got a response. The Shadowed One leaned forward, his old yet tall form towering menacingly over Vanisher as he asked, “Did you say the Time Stone was stolen?”

“Indeed I did, sir,” said Vanisher, leaning back slightly, for the Shadowed One was a bit too close to him for his liking. “They came to Kafor because they believed that we, the Dark Hunters, had stolen it, since we have shown interest in it in the past, have we not, sir?”

“I have always wanted it, true,” said the Shadowed One, sitting back and stroking his chin. “But I have never succeeding in stealing it, unfortunately.”

“Kafor said she had a contact within the Hunters who could give her a list of this month’s recent thefts,” Vanisher went on. “She promised to send the Tanjo Nuian Toa a message in a few weeks once she gets what she is looking for.”

“Is that all?” asked the Shadowed One.

“Yes, sir,” said Vanisher, nodding. “After that, the two Toa left and so did I to report this news directly to you, rather than to Ancient or some other senior member such as Raider.”

The Shadowed One said nothing for a few minutes. He was clearly thinking about what to do next. Vanisher knew that if this had been in past years, the Shadowed One would have immediately sent two or three agents to confirm this report and perhaps rough up Kafor while they were doing it.

But due to the war, the Shadowed One had grown extremely cautious about sending members on possibly unnecessary missions. He needed every warrior he could get to fight the Brotherhood, and thus could barely spare even a few for a mission as important as this.

Vanisher did not say or suggest anything. The Shadowed One hated suggestions unless they were his own.

Finally, the Shadowed One said, “This is a very interesting report, Vanisher, one I will have to look into. It is worth it, I think, for the Time Stone has always been one of my most desired artifacts. If someone else has it, I want to know who it is and where he is, so I can kill him and steal the Stone from him.”

“What will you do, sir?” asked Vanisher, stepping back as the Shadowed One stood up from his throne.

“I need to send someone I can trust,” said the Shadowed One, his fingers gripping his staff, “someone who has never failed me, never in his entire career, not even once. Someone I can depend upon to finish the job no matter what.”

“Ancient?” Vanisher suggested tentatively.

“No, not Ancient,” said the Shadowed One, waving off that suggestion. “I know full well what the Tanjo Nuians do to Hunters they capture. Instead, I think I’ll send Raider. He was one of the first to join the Dark Hunters all those years ago, when Ancient and I started the organization. His specialty is stealth, which I believe this mission will require a great deal of.”

“Not that I disagree with your choice, sir, but if I remember correctly, Raider is already on a mission,” said Vanisher, trying his best to keep his voice non-accusatory.

“What mission is that?”

“Last I heard he was checking out the Shika Nui situation.”

“Ah, yes,” said the Shadowed One thoughtfully. “I remember. The possibility of that arrogant Icetraz plotting against me was what caused me to send him there. Well, send a message to him ordering him to go to Stelt.”

“Stelt?” Vanisher inquired. “Why Stelt, of all places? I mean, sir?”

“Because I will pass this information onto Syala, who is already on Stelt on her own mission,” the Shadowed One answered. “She will then wait on Stelt until Raider lands there. It’s inevitable that he will even if he does not get the message; Stelt is the closest island to Shika Nui. He will likely stop by there to rest before returning here and it is there that he will meet with Syala, who will give him his new mission.”

“That is an interesting way to do it, sir,” said Vanisher. “Is there anything I am to do?”

The Shadowed One smiled rather evilly. “Why, of course, Vanisher.”

Without warning, the Shadowed One smashed his staff into Vanisher’s face, sending the interdimensional Dark Hunter flying. Vanisher crashed into one of the support beams, blood trickling down the side of his head.

“That’s as much mercy as I am willing to show such an insubordinate and disrespectful Hunter,” the Shadowed One said as he sat back down on his throne. “Now get out of here. I have plans to arrange and I can’t do it with you laying there looking like a corpse.”

Vanisher painfully got to his feet. He tried to pretend like the pain did not bother him, but he couldn’t help inwardly marveling at the Shadowed One’s strength. Even at such an old age the Dark Hunter leader was powerful. That meant he, Vanisher, would have to watch his step next time.

So Vanisher bowed again – this time without any pretense of humility – and opened a dimensional portal. He walked into it and was soon gone, leaving only the Shadowed One, Sentrakh and Darkness in the throne room.
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 05:06 PM.

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#6 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Nov 11 2011 - 08:47 AM

Chapter Six


A few weeks later . . .

Toa Nasis stood on the northern shore of Tanjo Nui, his eyes scanning the horizon for any sign of the Nui Rama that Kafor was supposed to send. The estimated time it would take Kafor to get the information from the Dark Hunters had passed, yet he had neither seen nor heard any sign of the Nui Rama the Skakdi was supposed to send.

I certainly hope I was wise in getting help from Kafor, Nasis thought as his eyes scanned the silver sea. I suppose it was a bit reckless to get help from a shady figure like her, but what’s life without a little risk, eh?

“Still haven’t seen it yet?”

Nasis whirled around and saw Toa Ahova walking down a pathway toward him. She, too, had been keeping an eye out for the trained Nui Rama which Kafor was supposed to send any day now, but like Nasis had had little luck. Normally, she would be at the southern end of the island searching for the Rahi, so Nasis wondered what she was doing here.

“Ahova, what are you doing up here?” Nasis asked as the Toa of Magnetism approached. “Have you seen the-“

“No,” said Ahova, shaking her head. “Haven’t seen a thing. I just wanted to see if you’d found it yet.”

Nasis groaned inwardly, but said, “Okay. I haven’t, either.”

“Yeah,” said Ahova as she stood in front of him. “The other Toa also haven’t seen anything.”

As Nasis turned back to face the sea, Ahova stood next to him. Both Toa stared out over the ocean for a moment before Nasis decided it was safe to voice his worries around Ahova. Admitting even the possibility that he had made a mistake wasn’t in his nature, so it’d be hard for him to talk about it around her.

“Hey, Ahova,” said Nasis, as casually as he could. She looked at him, clearly wondering what he was going to say. “Well, I wonder if perhaps we had made a mistake in trusting Kafor to get us the information we need.”

There. We was easier to say than I, if a little bit more dishonest.

The cool wind blew in the salty scent of the sea as Ahova shrugged. “I don’t know, Nasis. She seemed like she’d send us the information as soon as she could. I don’t see why she wouldn’t unless of course she was some kind of dishonest thief. Now that I think about it,” she added, “that seems likely. Stelt is home to all kinds of criminals and bad people. Perhaps we shouldn’t have told her as much as we did, because she might have told someone else and then everyone in the universe will know about the theft. Then the people here will learn of it and Turaga Klio and Baiji Kolora will be overthrown and replaced with a more democratic form of government that’ll eventually fall into the same pattern of corruption the people had sought to do away with.”

Nasis hadn’t thought about it that way. “Corruption? How are Klio and Kolora corrupt?”

“Oh, I don’t believe they really are,” said Ahova, waving the thought aside. “I was just saying, that the people might think they are because they didn’t tell them about the Stone’s theft immediately. That’s all.”

“I see,” said Nasis. “I understand how that could be seen as corrupt. To be frank, though, I am not sure whether Klio and Kolora would ever get overthrown. They’re too tough for that.”

Ahova laughed. “Yeah, they sure are.”

Nasis glanced at Ahova. The sun’s reflection on the waves reflected off of her armor, giving it a rather dazzling appearance. Her own bright, rather pretty blue eyes were busily scanning the horizon, just as Nasis’ should be. But for some reason he wanted to look at Ahova instead.Then he snapped out of it and looked away.

What am I doing? Nasis thought. I should be focusing on the waves rather than on Ahova.

Puzzled by his own feelings, he shook his head and said, “Ahova, I think this is enough for the day. I’ve been out here for several hours already and all I’ve done is gotten hot in the sun.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea,” said Ahova, nodding. “Staring at the sea all day is kind of boring anyway. Let’s go back to HQ.”

“Er, yeah,” said Nasis as the two Toa turned and began walking up the path back to the main road. “Sure. Maybe we can get Laomos to tell us about the epic quest of some Toa from long ago.”

“Yeah, we could hear the stories about Toa Darranas,” said Ahova as she nimbly reached the top. “My favorite is the one where Darranas is separated from the others and is forced to survive in the wild for a few weeks before the other Toa Avha find him. Darranas was so heroic.”

“Yeah, that was a good story and Darranas was pretty cool,” said Nasis. He found himself charmed by Ahova’s honesty, although he passed that off as her merely being likeable and nothing more. “I’m hungry, too. Let’s get something to eat while we listen to Laomos’ stories.”

-

That night . . .

The red-armored being codenamed Raider did not use a ship when traveling the high seas. Nor did he ride an ocean Rahi, either. He relied on no vessel or animal; instead, he swam. That was how he got to Shika Nui, that was how he got to Stelt and it was ultimately how he was going to get to Tanjo Nui.

As he swam, he stewed over his anger at Syala. After leaving Shika Nui, he had met a messenger from Syala half between that island and Stelt, summoning him to Stelt for a new mission.

Curious though annoyed, Raider had traveled directly to Stelt and met up with Syala there. It was then that she gave him his new mission: Investigate the rumors of the missing Time Stone and its guardians and then report back to the Shadowed One.

The mission itself did not bother Raider. He had been put on missions on short notice like this before and the mission itself did not sound very difficult to him anyway.

What he was annoyed about, as he swam through the cold waters of the silver sea, was Syala herself. He had never liked her, and then to be given a mission by her further enraged him, even if the Shadowed One had commanded her to do it. In his opinion, Syala was nothing but an arrogant, sneaky snake that deserved to have her head cut-off. Unfortunately, she was too useful to be killed and Raider’s seniority did not give him as much influence over the Shadowed One’s decisions as he’d like.

I will teach her a lesson someday, Raider thought as he swam. She must learn to respect those who are older and wiser than her, otherwise she may just find a bullet buried in her skull one of these days.

Deciding to see how much farther he would have to swim to Tanjo Nui now, Raider swam up. He broke the surface of the waves and looked around, wiping water out of his eyes as he did so.

There it was: Tanjo Nui. Due to the shadows of the night, he could not see it completely. However, he saw lights shining from some of the major cities on the island, as well as what looked like a small mountain range in the west. He estimated it would take him only a few more hours to reach the island’s shore from here. Then he’d set to work on his mission.

It will probably be morning by the time I get there, Raider thought as he dove back beneath the waves and started swimming again. But it doesn’t matter to me whether it is morning or night. Either way I will find out what I need to, regardless of the cost.


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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 05:10 PM.

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#7 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Nov 25 2011 - 10:11 AM

Chapter Seven


The next morning, Nasis awoke in his bed. He had had another strange dream, this time about three beings that appeared to be discussing something. He did not remember much, except that that black and red being from his dream a few weeks ago had been there and seemed to be the leader of the group. The being had been wearing beautiful white robes, from what Nastan remembered.

That was all he could recall. The rest was a blank, although he thought he’d heard the names ‘Masqouth,’ ‘Wyoko’ and ‘King of Life’ thrown around, whatever those terms meant.

Nasis sat up in his bed, one hand on his forehead, and looked around. His room wasn’t very big, but it was not what he considered small.

Besides the bed he sat upon, there was a rack of weapons on the wall to his right. Being a Toa of Iron, he was often creating new weapons and that rack always contained his newest assortment of tools. Right now, there was an axe, a sword, and a shield on it, all of which he had created within the last week or so. Old weapons that he didn’t need any more he gave to the other Toa, or to the Chofier, the heroes of the Tagiki.

Over to the left was a desk with several metalworking tools on it. Tools may seem pointless if one is a Toa of Iron, but to Nasis it was a lot easier to use tools to work on complex metal projects than to use elemental powers precisely.

Above his desk was a window, which was currently closed. Streams of light, however, sneaked in through the cracks, which let him know it was early in the morning.

He scratched his head and then got up. Last night he and Ahova had heard some tales from Toa Laomos for a few hours before heading to bed. He didn’t remember which stories Laomos had told them specifically, but he had enjoyed the time spent with Ahova. Somehow it had just seemed good to him, but he didn’t want to think about it. The last thing he needed to do was fall in love. When the Time Stone was missing, there was not much time for love, in his opinion, although he entertained the idea anyway.

Just as he yawned, he heard a loud buzzing noise just outside his window. Puzzled, Nasis walked over to the aperture and opened the shutters, which revealed the source of the buzzing: A Nui Rama, a large wasp Rahi, flying right in front of his window, buzzing so loudly Nasis wondered how he had not noticed it until just now.

The sight of the orange Rahi caused Nasis to jump back in surprise and pull the sword off the rack behind him before he realized who this Nui Rama must belong to. This suspicion was confirmed when he saw a bag that looked like it contained stone tablets hanging from its neck.

Then the door to his room burst open and Ahova and Kijaka barged in.

“Nasis!” Ahova said as she and the Toa of Water stopped. “We heard sounds in your room and thought-“

She stopped when she and Kijaka saw the Nui Rama buzzing outside the window.

“Oh,” said Ahova, pointing at the Rahi like she wasn’t surprised. “That’s what it was.”

“What is that thing doing here?” Kijaka demanded in disgust, taking a step back as the Nui Rama continued to buzz. “Is it wild or something?”

“No,” said Nasis as he reached out the window and tore the bag off of its neck. “It’s from Kafor, that Skakdi we told you about.”

The Nui Rama quickly buzzed away, much to Nasis’ confusion. He had been about to get the gold armor – which he had been working on since he had returned to Tanjo Nui a few weeks ago – and tie it to the Nui Rama. Why had the Rahi left before Nasis could attach Kafor’s payment to it?

Ahova – apparently ignoring the speedy departure of the Rahi – quickly walked over to Nasis and asked, “Kafor? You mean-“

Nasis, who felt a little strange at how close Ahova was standing to him, nodded and said, “Yeah. She probably got the information we asked her to find. Let’s see what we’ve got.”

Nasis opened the bag and pulled out a long tablet. It looked like a list of artifacts stolen by the Dark Hunters this month; a very short list, probably due to the war.

“So? What does it say?” said Ahova eagerly as Kijaka walked over to take a look, too. “Does it say anything about the Time Stone?”

Nasis scanned the contents quickly, but to his disappointment, he saw no mention of the Time Stone anywhere.

“Nothing,” said Nasis disappointedly. “No Time Stone. Looks like the Dark Hunters didn’t steal it.”

“Are you sure?” asked Kijaka as she reached in the bag for another tablet. “Then what does this say?”

Ahova and Nasis looked at what she found. It was a short letter from Kafor, which read:

Toa Nasis,One of the tablets which I have sent to you is the complete list of items stolen by the Dark Hunters this month, including dates, locations from which they were stolen, agents who stole them, and other important information. My contact assured me that it is up-to-date and complete.

Also, I have one warning for you. My contact says the Shadowed One learned of the Time Stone’s theft shortly after our discussion and says the Shadowed One is sending one of his best agents to Tanjo Nui to investigate the rumors. Although I care little for you or your island, I would suggest keeping an eye on your ports for any suspicious-looking ships.From,


Kafor.

“The Shadowed One knows already?” said Nasis in shock. “How-?”

“No idea,” said Ahova, clearly troubled. “I thought no one had followed us.”

“Clearly, you two were dead wrong on that,” Kijaka said as she glanced at the tablet again. “Someone must have followed you two without either of you knowing.”

“We should have brought along a Suletu or something,” said Nasis angrily. “Then we would have known if there were any eavesdroppers.”

“Well, what’s past is prologue, Nasis,” said Ahova, cheerfully. “There’s no reason to stress out. We just gotta watch out for that Dark Hunter – whoever he is – and wait for Isarot and Kiriah to return. If the Hunters don’t have the Stone, then Isarot and Kiriah are probably on its trail even as we speak.”

Nasis shrugged. “Yeah, you’re right. But I think we should keep also check out the Temple. The Shadowed One probably sent his agent recently. If he’s already here, then he may have headed straight to the Temple in order to find out if the Time Stone is still there or not.”

“Then we should head there as well,” said Ahova. “We don’t want those Hunters to think they can just go wherever they want to on our island, right?”

“Right,” said Nasis, nodding. “But first, we’ll have to tell Klio and Kolora and the other Toa about this. Then we’ll set up an ambush there.”

“Then let’s get going already,” said Kijaka impatiently. “I don’t like Dark Hunters and I especially don’t like them when they are on my island. Let’s go.”
 

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#8 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Dec 09 2011 - 10:24 AM

Chapter Eight


After informing the other Toa about the news, Nasis went directly to Turaga Klio and Baiji Kolora with both the news and his idea of setting up an ambush at the Temple of Time. The elders listened to his news and idea and both gave their approval on it. They disliked the Dark Hunters as much as him, and, although they knew the Hunters were not involved in the theft of the Time Stone, they felt the Toa Tanjo ought to show the Dark Hunters that they don’t approve of the rogues sneaking around on their island.

There was but one condition that Kolora insisted on: The Chofier were to be involved in this ambush also. This would not be too much of a problem if the Toa and Chofier got along, Nasis thought as he and the others stood outside of the closed Temple, but the problem was that they often didn’t.

Traditionally, due to the enmity between the Matoran and Tagiki of Tanjo Nui, the Toa and Chofier were not friends. Occasionally they were forced to work together if something came up that threatened both peoples. But generally, the Toa dealt with the affairs of the Matoran and the Chofier with the Tagiki’s problems. They often tried to avoid each other, for the two groups usually clashed whenever they were not working together.

As much as he disliked the Chofier himself, Nasis hoped he and the other Toa would be able to work together with the Chofier until they stopped the Dark Hunter at least. He dreaded a fight against Tagiki, for they were physically stronger than Toa and could wield two elements at once, although they did not have the advantage of Kanohi masks like Toa did. Still, they were good fighters and could, if they wanted to, easily crush anyone who stood in their way.

“Where are the Chofier?” Noros complained as he looked around. “I don’t sense their minds anywhere. Lazy good-for-nothing Tagiki. Thinking they can just-“

“That is enough, Noros,” Kicho said firmly. “The Chofier deserve our respect. In the past, it is often because of the Chofier that we Toa have been able to deal with threats too powerful for us to take on alone.”

“Sure, yeah, whatever,” said Noros as he hefted his hammer. “I still don’t like them. They’re arrogant smart alecks who think they own the place.”

A blast of wind from within the trees around the Temple burst out into the open, striking Noros in the chest and sending him flying. The Toa of Stone crashed into Kijaka, sending them both falling to the ground hard.

The other four Toa quickly aimed their weapons at the forest before four Tagiki exited, the lead one’s hand outstretched. Nasis recognized them as the Chofier – who, unlike the Toa, always had four members on their team – and the leader as Tajah, Chofier of Wind and Flames.

“We’re here,” Tajah said coldly as he and the rest of the Chofier stopped a few feet away from the Toa Tanjo. “As Baiji Kolora ordered.”

Noros was back on his feet instantly, stone hammer in hand, growling, “Why’d you attack me for?”

“I heard you badmouthing us, Noros,” Tajah replied, “calling us ‘lazy good-for-nothing Tagiki,’ which we didn’t appreciate very much. I thought it would be a good joke if I sent a nice breeze to cool down your hot and uncontrollable temper. That’s all.”

Noros raised his hammer and the other Toa Tanjo seemed ready to join him, but Nasis stepped in between the Toa and Chofier and said, “This is not what we are here to do, guys. We’re here to teach a Dark Hunter a lesson. We don’t have to like each other, but we should work together until the immediate threat is over at least.”

“I agree,” said Tajah, although Nasis noticed the Chofier had one hand on his sword’s handle. “I did not come here to fight arrogant younglings. I and the rest of us came to kick a Dark Hunter off this island. Right, Chofier?"

The other three Chofier nodded and murmured in agreement.

Then Nasis turned to the rest of the Toa Tanjo and said, “All right, guys? We’re not fighting the Chofier. We’re fighting the Dark Hunter. Remember that.”

Although he was addressing the Tanjo collectively, he looked at Noros almost the entire time he spoke. Although not ‘uncontrollable’ as Tajah asserted, Noros did have the shortest temper of all of the Toa and it was this temper that usually got him in trouble. Nasis just did not want Noros taking on all four of the Chofier by himself, which he knew the Toa of Stone would do if given the chance.

All of the Toa agreed, so the Toa and Chofier immediately set to work setting up the ambush (after spending an hour of arguing over how to do it, that is).

-

Because they reasoned the Hunter would not dare sneak into the Temple of Time during the day, it was later at night that the Toa and Chofier took their places in the Temple. They had split into small groups of two, generally Toa/Toa or Tagiki/Tagiki. However, Nasis and Tajah were working together as a team, deciding that they could more effectively lead together than separately. Whether that would actually work was another question entirely, but it was a good idea in theory at least.

Their ambush was simple, yet effective. With ten people, they had set up their groups of two at strategic intervals in the large Temple. One team was at the doors, hiding in the shadows in case the Dark Hunter chose to enter through that way. Another team was using the rooms of the Time Stone guardians, the Tagiki Isarot and Toa Kiriah, which were directly en route to the Chamber of Time. And the last two teams were on the upper and lower basement floors, though it was thought that the chances of anyone entering through those areas were very low. Still, they needed to cover every entrance, however unlikely it was for someone to enter through some of those areas.

There was only one team in the Chamber of Time itself: Toa Nasis and Chofier Tajah. They would essentially act as the last line of defense, if the Dark Hunter somehow managed to make it past the other groups first. As a result, Nasis did not think he would see much action tonight, for he figured five Toa and three Tagiki would be more than enough for one Dark Hunter. But he still kept his guard up just the same.

Originally, Nasis wanted to use the traps set in the Chamber of Time to capture the Hunter, but then Tajah pointed out that those were still damaged from the interdimensional thief’s attack on the Chamber. Thus, they were unusable, though the bottomless pit – which was still wide open – nearly caught Nasis before Tajah rescued him.

So now, with everyone set, the only thing they could do was wait. How long it would take until the Hunter arrived, no one knew. Nasis hoped it wouldn’t be too long. For all his talk of working together with the Chofiers, he did not relish the possibility of spending hours alone with Tajah. He’d rather be with Ahova or even Noros, but he figured this was what they had to do and there wasn’t much use in avoiding it.

Nasis sat in the shadows of the doors of the Chamber. Neither he nor Tajah spoke much; if the Hunter was trying to break in through some method that they were unaware of, they had to be as quiet as possible, lest he hear them and retreat to return another day.

A long time passed in silence as they sat in the dark before Nasis heard some movement in the shadows, toward the back of the Chamber. He realized it was not Tajah, for he could see Tajah directly opposite him. It must be the Dark Hunter, and based on Tajah’s expression, he had heard the sound too.

So the two leaders rose, weapons raised and began silently walking in the direction of the sound. Nasis wondered how the Dark Hunter had gotten in, but chose to question it later. This Hunter would be in for a nasty surprise when he ran into the leaders of the Toa Tanjo and Chofier.

It was then that he heard Tajah scream in pain and hit the floor. A minute later, he felt something hot and metal – a bullet, he realized with shock – hit just below his heartlight.

Nasis yelled in pain as he hit the stone floor, gasping for breath as blood oozed from his wound. He tried to get back up, but a thick metal boot flew out of the darkness and smashed into Nasis’ Miru. His mask nearly cracked as Nasis hit the ground again.

“Stupid Toa,” said an ancient, quiet voice. “I have just had to deal with your some of your kind a few weeks ago. I am not in the mood to deal with more.”

“Who-?” Nasis gasped as he looked up into the shadows.

“I suppose, because you will die soon, I can reveal to you my name,” said the Dark Hunter as he aimed a gun at the Toa’s head. “I am Raider, one of the best Dark Hunters in the organization. And you, my Toa friend, are about to be dead.”
 

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#9 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Dec 23 2011 - 09:48 AM

Chapter Nine


Nasis could not believe what had just happened. One moment, he and Tajah had been about to take this Dark Hunter by surprise; the next, Raider had struck both of them down with ease. It was even worse because Nasis was having a difficult time concentrating or even thinking. Blood trickled from his wound and he could feel the hard bullet lodged somehow below his throat, causing him severe pain.

“How-?” Nasis said, still looking up at Raider.

“How did I sneak in without anyone knowing?” Raider finished for him. “Easy, Toa. My special ability allows me to deafen all sound around me. I am an expert at stealth. It is my specialty. And as for how I snuck in, well, I used the secret back entrance, of course.”

In the shadows, Nasis could not see the back entrance, but he knew what Raider was talking about. The secret exit had been built only a few years after the creation of the Temple of Time many, many years ago. It had been created in case of an attack on the Temple. In that situation, the Time Stone guardians could easily transport the Time Stone out of the Temple to safety.

Nasis had thought only he and the other Toa, the Chofier, the elders and the Time Stone guardians had known about the entrance, but somehow Raider had learned of it and used it to his advantage. How that was possible, Nasis did not know.

“Your people are very talkative, Toa,” said Raider, as though reading Nasis’ mind. “Given the right, ah, incentive, they can be made to tell anyone about anything. It is how I learned of the back entrance and also how I know you have Toa and Chofier everywhere in this Temple . . . except at the back, that is.”

“What . . . are you going to do, Dark Hunter?” Nasis gasped as he struggled to get up, but failed. He was bleeding too quickly. He felt like he was going to fall unconscious any minute now.

Raider glanced around the room and said, “I originally came here to investigate rumors of the theft of the Time Stone. Evidently they were correct, for I see no Time Stone in here.”

“Then you’re . . .” Nasis took a deep breath and continued, “You’re just going to leave?”

Raider tilted his head, like the idea hadn’t occurred to him before. “Eventually, yes. But it has just occurred to me that all of the Toa and Chofier are in this building. If I were to somehow cause it to collapse, I could kill them all. Tanjo Nui would be mostly undefended, easy picking for the Dark Hunters.”

“Never,” Nasis gasped, seizing Raider’s ankle, for that was all he could do.

“Oh, you don’t think I’m serious, do you?” said Raider as he looked down at the Toa in disgust. “I think I’ll just kill you and the old Tagiki and get out of here. Now that I know for a fact the Time Stone – and, in all probability, the guardians as well – is gone, I can report back to the Shadowed-“

Without warning a burst of flame exploded from the shadows and struck Raider. The Dark Hunter shouted in pain as he stumbled away, light from his now-fiery armor barely illuminating the room.

Shocked, Nasis looked over and saw, by the dim glow of the fire, Tajah just barely standing, right hand outstretched. Blood was bleeding from his left shoulder, but he evidently wasn’t going to let that wound stop him. He looked enraged as his black eyes focused on Raider.

“I will not allow you to kill me or Nasis, Dark Hunter,” said Tajah as he slowly walked forward. “I am the leader of the Chofier. The Chofier protect Tanjo Nui from all threats, which includes you!”

Raider did not appear to be paying attention, for his armor was still on fire. But Nasis noticed Raider reach into his bag and pull out some kind of blue orb. The Dark Hunter squeezed it and a bubble of water exploded into existence around Raider for a brief second before disappearing, effectively extinguishing the flames on his armor and plunging the room into darkness again.

“You can’t get away from me, Hunter!” Tajah yelled as he snapped his fingers, causing fire to burst forth from nowhere.

The bolt of flame shot straight ahead, but it hit nothing; Raider must have already moved. Nasis, barely conscious now, looked around, but could not see the Dark Hunter anywhere. And if Raider had been telling the truth about his ability to deafen sounds, then Raider had a huge advantage over the two heroes. He could pick them both off and neither of them would ever know where he was.

Nasis struggled to get up, but a bullet flew from the shadows and struck his arm. He cried out in pain and hit the ground again, lying in a pool of his own blood. He felt like he was dying, but he didn’t want to die yet. Raider had to be stopped somehow, though Nasis was in absolutely no condition to do anything about the Dark Hunter. Only Tajah could stop Raider, and Nasis wasn’t so sure he trusted the Tagiki to win this fight alone.

“Come out, Dark Hunter!” Tajah bellowed as he snapped his fingers again, sending more fire in the direction the bullet had come from, although like before it hit nothing. “You can’t hide forever, you know!”

Tajah suddenly cried out in pain and collapsed to the ground. He wasn’t moving, but Nasis could see Tajah’s heartlight still lit, which meant the old Tagiki was still alive. He was clearly unconscious, however.

Nasis looked desperately around the shadows, but could not see nor hear anything. Raider could be anywhere; he must have his heartlight concealed, for Nasis could not even see that in the darkness. Nasis was sure the Dark Hunter knew they were still alive. He guessed Raider was only playing with them. Once the Hunter got bored toying with them, Nasis knew that he and Tajah were as good as dead.

Then a foot went flying out of nowhere and smashed into his face. Nasis was sent tumbling away, his eyes watering as pain spread across his skull, which he was sure was cracked. Cracked skull, bullet in chest and arm . . . Nasis figured he was going to Paradise very soon.

He heard the cocking of a gun and through watering eyes saw the barrel of a long sniper rifle aimed directly at his face.

“It is time I finished this, Toa,” said Raider. “I could complete this mission without having to kill you and the Tagiki, of course, but I always try to go the extra mile when completing missions. For instance, I don’t just steal a treasure. I kill the guards, steal anything else of value, maybe cause a couple of fires and then leave.”

“You’re . . . you’re a Piraka,” Nasis said weakly.

“And you are dead,” said Raider.

Before Raider could pull the trigger, the doors to the Chamber suddenly flew open. Light poured in as eight beings spilled through the doorway. Nasis looked over and saw that the other five Toa and three Chofiers had arrived.
They must have heard the fighting going on in the Chamber and had come to investigate.

Raider – who had clearly not been expecting that – quickly lifted his gun and fired into the group at random. The assorted heroes scattered to avoid being shot while Raider turned and ran toward the back exit. Nasis weakly raised one hand to stop Raider, but the Dark Hunter was too fast and soon disappeared behind the secret door.

Nasis struggled to remain conscious, but it was a losing battle. He had lost too much blood and the pain was far beyond his tolerance level.He fell unconscious, lying in a shallow pool of his own blood.
 

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Posted Jan 06 2012 - 10:15 AM

Chapter Ten

 

“He’s going to be okay.”

“Really?”

“Yes. He was badly wounded, of course, and those bullets were difficult to remove, but he’s recovering rapidly thanks to the Mask of Healing.”

“Oh, thank the Great Beings.”

“He still needs to rest, though, so don’t go dragging him out of bed for another week at least.”

“Sure, sure. I’m just glad to hear he’s all right.”

All of these voices sounded strange to Nasis, like each word was being sounded out very slowly so he could understand easier. He felt warm and comfortable and did not want to wake up. He momentarily wondered why he was in bed until, without warning, all of the memories from last night returned to him. The ambush at the Temple . . . Raider . . . he and Tajah nearly dying.

His eyes suddenly flew open. He took a deep breath of air. His lungs felt itchy and worn, like he had run for a very long time without rest or drink.

At first, his vision was blurry until he shook his head. Then he could see that he was in a small stone room paneled with metal. He noticed a work bench with loads of tools on it and on the opposite wall a rack of weapons. He realized he must be in his own room, which meant he was not dead, fortunately.

He also noticed a handful of beings standing inside the doorway, clearly having a discussion. He blinked hard and realized the beings were a Toa, a Tagiki, a Turaga, and a Matoran. He wasn’t sure who they were, though, but he knew that they were the beings he had heard speaking earlier.

“Hey, look,” said the Toa excitedly, who had the gray and blue colors of a Toa of Magnetism. Nasis realized it was Ahova. “He’s awake!”

The four beings entered his room quickly and Nasis suddenly felt claustrophobic. His room wasn’t very big and there wasn’t much room for so many beings, especially for the large Tagiki.

“Are you okay, Nasis?” asked Ahova as she drew closer to him. “You’re doing okay? Feeling good? Are you-“

“I’m okay, Ahova,” said Nasis, his voice very weak. “Just tired.”

“You should be,” said the Matoran, whom Nasis recognized to be the island’s doctor, Agos. “After what getting shot twice, I’d be surprised if you had the strength to do anything but sleep. Which is what you should be doing, you know.”

Nasis nodded and then looked at the Turaga. He recognized the Turaga as Klio, Turaga of Lightning and leader of the Tanjo Nuian Matoran. It was no surprise that she was here, for he knew that Klio would probably want to hear all about Raider’s attack from last night.

“Good to see you are awake, Nasis,” said Klio approvingly. “It is even better to see that you are still alive.”

“Yeah,” said Nasis, his voice still weak. “But Tajah-“

“Is healing well, Toa Nasis,” said the Tagiki, who towered above the others. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Lifero, deputy leader of the Chofier. Tajah ordered me to come here to check on you, for he wanted to make sure his efforts to keep both himself and you alive were not in vain.”

“Guess it wasn’t,” said Nasis with a faint smile. “Unless I happen to be in some kind of bizarre afterlife, that is. How is Tajah?”

“As I said before, he is healing up from the bad injuries he sustained from the Dark Hunter Raider, just like you,” said Lifero.

Nasis nodded, but then realized he had about a million questions. Because he didn’t know what to start with first, he asked, “How long have I been out?”

“About two days,” said Ahova, holding up two fingers. “They were two long days for me and the rest of the Toa Tanjo, though. We’ve all been so worried about you, you would not believe it. Laomos even stopped reciting epic poems at random times we were worrying that much. Of course, he then started planning an epic poem about you if you died, but the point is we were all worried about you.”

Nasis liked the idea of an epic poem about himself, but he didn’t say that. Instead, he asked, “What happened after you guys burst into the Chamber of Time?”

“Well, we took you and Tajah out of the place as soon as we saw how badly injured you were,” Ahova said. “Noros and that one Chofier girl-“

“Iaras,” Lifero supplemented.

“Iaras, right,” said Ahova, nodding. “Anyway, they took off after that Raider guy, but he got away. We think he’s no longer on Tanjo Nui anymore, but we’re still looking.”

“They brought you and Chofier Tajah straight to me,” said Agos, pointing at himself, “for I was the nearest doctor at the time. Tajah is with a Tagiki doctor right now, but he did thank me for helping him. We had to perform a little bit of surgery on you two – you guys were full of bullets – but thanks to the Mask of Healing your wounds have mostly healed.”

“So I’ve only been out for two days?” asked Nasis. “Is that all?”

“Pretty much,” said Ahova, nodding.

“That’s not all,” said Turaga Klio. She pointed at Ahova’s face and said, “Ahova here used her Mask of Healing to help speed your healing process up. From what I’ve been told, she hasn’t left your side since.”

Ahova looked a little embarrassed as she said, “Oh, that’s just a big exaggeration Turaga. I didn’t spend all of my time with him. Agos worked on him, too, you know.”

“Thanks for your help anyway,” Nasis said to Ahova. “You and Agos did a good job fixing me up, I think.”

Agos smiled. Ahova looked even more pleased than the Matoran, at least to Nasis anyway.Nasis remembered something else. “Oh, have Kiriah and Isarot returned yet?”

“Not yet,” said Klio, shaking her head. “If the Dark Hunters weren’t involved with the, ah, problem, then that means the guy they are chasing is probably behind it all.”

Nasis understood Klio’s vague speak perfectly. Agos hadn’t been told about the Time Stone’s theft or of Kiriah and Isarot’s dimension-hopping journey to track down the thief whom had stolen the Stone in the first place. In fact, the general public did not know of the incident. This was done to prevent the people from panicking, for everyone still believed the Time Stone was safe and sound in the Temple. Whether it was better that way was another question, but because it was still supposed to be a secret Klio could not speak explicitly around Agos.

Agos looked slightly confused and asked, “Turaga, what are you talking-“

“It is nothing you need to know about, Agos,” said Klio, patting the Ta-Matoran on the shoulder. “It is unimportant right now.”

“Uh, sure, Turaga,” said Agos, nodding, although he still sounded curious. “Anyway, I think you all should leave Nasis alone right now.”

“Why?” asked Ahova.

“He needs rest,” Agos insisted. “The Mask of Healing healed up most of his wounds, so he just needs some rest now, with minor applications of the Kanohi Inino every now and then.”

“I can get up,” Nasis insisted as he tried to sit up and failed. “Okay, maybe I do need a little rest.”

“Then everyone, out,” Agos ordered. “Doctor’s orders.”

Lifero left first, followed shortly by Klio, who promised to keep Nasis informed and up-to-date on any news regarding the Time Stone (which she merely referred to as the ‘problem,’ much to Agos’s confusion).

Ahova left last. She had looked like she wanted to hug Nasis, but clearly she thought someone in his state might actually be hurt by a hug. So instead she patted him on the arm and then left, although Nasis would have preferred it if she had stayed.

“So just rest,” said Agos to Nasis. “You may be a big and strong Toa, but you still need to sleep. Also, keep drinking lots of water. Shouldn’t be difficult, since you have a Toa of Water on your team and all.”

“Right, doc,” said Nasis, nodding. “I can still use my elemental powers when I want to, though, right?”

Agos shrugged. “As long as it isn’t as powerful as, say, a Nova Blast – which would kill you if you used it now, by the way – it should be all right. Just don’t overexert yourself, okay?”

Nasis nodded again and then Agos departed, closing the door behind him as he left.

As soon as the Matoran was gone, Nasis held out his hand and a lump of metal formed in it. Then it transformed into a crude replica of the Dark Hunter Raider. He remembered feeling so helpless when Raider had struck. Nasis believed most of his ineptitude had been due to a lack of experience against Dark Hunters. Raider was the first Dark Hunter on Tanjo Nui since before the Great Cataclysm, although even during those 1,000 years the Tanjo Nuians had made precautions to keep the Hunters off the island.

As he began to relax in his bed, he recalled the old stories of why Dark Hunters were outlawed on Tanjo Nui. According to the legends, it had been shortly after the Dark Hunters’ organization was founded that the Shadowed One learned of the Time Stone and what it supposedly could do. The Shadowed One then sent two unidentified agents to steal the Stone, but was met with such fierce opposition by the Matoran and Tagiki of Tanjo Nui that they had been forced to retreat. One Dark Hunter had been caught and killed by the Tanjo Nuians, which caused the Shadowed One to ignore the Time Stone for many years.

Of course, as Nasis remembered the tales going, the Shadowed One did not give up that easily. He sent more and more agents over the years, even during such major events such as the Dark Hunter/Toa war on Metru Nui. Even though there would be stretches of silence in which no Dark Hunter tried to steal the Stone, the Shadowed One would always try again at some point or another.

Although he did not exactly like the Chofier, Nasis was thankful that they were also helping defend Tanjo Nui. The Dark Hunters were a powerful force and if the Shadowed One ever decided to simply try to seize the island like he almost did with Metru Nui and like he had done with the island of Shika Nui, the Toa Tanjo certainly would not be enough to stop the Hunters by themselves.

Of course, with the Dark Hunters’ most recent war against the Brotherhood of Makuta, he doubted the Shadowed One would ever try to seize Tanjo Nui, at least any time soon. He hoped never, but knowing the Shadowed One, he doubted that.

His thoughts then drifted to Ahova. She had been looking after him during his coma. The thought made him happy and he wished she was here with him right now, but he didn’t know whether to act on these feelings. Ahova was a teammate and a friend. He wasn’t even sure if she liked him back the same way, but Klio had said Ahova had never left his side, so perhaps she did like him back to an extent. He didn’t know, although he decided to keep an eye out for any hints of her feelings toward him just the same.
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 05:30 PM.

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#11 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Jan 13 2012 - 10:21 AM

Epilogue


A week later, Nasis was back on his feet. Although he was not in the best condition he’d ever been in, Agos had decided he was healed enough to be allowed out of his room. As long as he did not do anything physically strenuous, Agos had said, it would be all right for Nasis to go wherever he pleased on Tanjo Nui.

When Nasis had first left his room, Laomos had immediately shown him a portrait of how Nasis and Tajah had looked after the Toa and Chofier found them. It wasn’t that accurate, in Nasis’ opinion, for he did not remember Laomos standing in the midst of the shadows, shining light into every corner of the Chamber like some kind of giant light stone. Nor did he remember Raider looking almost exactly like a snake cowering in fear of Laomos’ light, either, although he did not mention any of this to Laomos, who assumed by Nasis’ silence that the Toa of Iron liked the painting.

The other Toa had acknowledged his revival in their ways. Noros merely grunted his approval that Nasis was back on his feet, while Kijaka muttered something about how Ahova spent too much time talking about Nasis. Kicho had been more than happy to give Nasis back full command of the team now. (“Noros and Kijaka are a little difficult to work with, Nasis,” Kicho had said after she pointed at a hole the wall that had apparently been created by Noros after he got angry about something.)

The Chofier had not acknowledged that Nasis was healed up. He had heard that Tajah had gotten well enough to walk a few days before he did. He guessed that was good, because Tajah had essentially saved his life when Raider had attacked them. Nasis had just sort of got in the way, although he did not say this to any of the other Toa. They still did not like the Chofier and probably would not have wanted to hear their leader thanking the leader of the Chofier for anything, nor admitting that Nasis had not actually helped much in the fight against Raider.

Nasis had been walking through the streets of Tuyar Akam, merely to get some exercise and see how things had been since his recovery period, when a Le-Matoran suddenly ran up to him, a small stone tablet in his hand.

Nasis recognized the villager as Tover, the official messenger for Turaga Klio. The Le-Matoran always delivered important messages for Klio. Sometimes the messenger even delivered messages to people in other lands, all by himself, which made him pretty brave in Nasis’ eyes.

“Toa Nasis,” said Tover, bowing quickly before holding out the tablet. “Turaga Klio has a word-message for you.”

“Thanks,” said Nasis, moving to the right to allow a Tagiki to pass.He took the message and read it. It said this:

Nasis,I, Turaga Klio, Baiji Kolora and Chofier Tajah will be inspecting the Temple of Time today, in order to tighten security after the Dark Hunter attack. Please meet us at the entrance of the Temple within the next hour or so.From, Turaga Klio, leader of the Matoran of Tanjo Nui, former leader of the Toa Avha.

“Sounds reasonable,” said Nasis as he handed the tablet back to Tover. “Tell her I’m on my way.”

“Yes, sir,” said Tover, bowing.

With that, Tover was off.

Nasis stood there for a minute before turning to head toward the Temple. He was going to take an alternate pathway, one that would take a little longer than the path he thought Tover would take. He wanted to enjoy the scenery of Tanjo Nui a little bit more before having to return to the Temple, which he dreaded seeing again. Not that the Temple itself was a bad place, but he still needed some time to recuperate from Raider’s attack. The Temple would just bring back bad memories of a week ago, which he wanted to put off for as long as possible before he had to face them again.

-

Nasis walked alone through the forest between Tuyar Akam and the Temple before he stopped and listened. He thought he’d heard someone’s footsteps behind him. Was someone following him?

Then another thought occurred to him: What if it’s Raider? What if he’s still on the island and has come to finish the job? The others said that they hadn’t caught him, after all.

A long metal spear and an iron shield appeared in his hands as he listened for the noise. Whoever it was, Nasis wasn’t going to be taken by surprise that easily. If it was Raider, he’d go all out. He had already seen Raider’s power firsthand and didn’t plan to lose this time, especially since defeat would mean death this time.

Nasis turned slowly around and pointed his spear – which had an extra sharp tip – toward the trees and bushes of the forest. “All right, whoever you are, come out. There’s no reason to sneak around anymore; I know you’re there. You can’t fool me by hiding like that.”

At first, there was no answer from within the green trees and bushes. The wind blew in, causing him to shiver, but he didn’t turn or run. Whoever was there, he needed to deal with right now. If it was Raider, then he really did have no choice but to fight.

He saw a shadow moving in the trees and quickly took up a fighting stance, shield raised over his chest. Raider wouldn’t be able to hit his heart with his extra thick shield in the way, he knew. He waited . . . and then the figure emerged from the greenery.

To his surprise, it was a familiar orange and white female Skakdi, with a tri-bladed sword at her side. She looked extremely grim, like she really didn’t like being here.

It was Kafor, the same Skakdi Nasis and Ahova had meet in Stelt. What she was doing here, on Tanjo Nui of all places, Nasis had no idea.

“Kafor?” asked Nasis, although he did not lower his weapons. “What are you doing here?”

“Trust me, Toa, I did not come here because I wanted to see you,” said Kafor roughly. “I came here because Tanjo Nui is the only place where I can safely hide from the Dark Hunters. That is why.”

“But why are you hiding from the Dark Hunters?” said Nasis in confusion. “Why are they after you?”

“Apparently they learned that I sold you info on them back on Stelt a few weeks back,” said Kafor. “They sent a couple of guys to kill me. Fortunately my friend at the Tarakava’s Fist caught wind of them before they arrive and told me in advance what they planned to do to me. So I left Stelt for here, where I thought I would be safe for now.”

“You think we’ll protect you?” asked Nasis.

“Yes,” said Kafor, nodding. “Because you and your friends are Toa and Toa don’t turn down those in need. But that doesn’t mean I’ll like it here, though. Zakaz was much better, in my opinion.”

Nasis had heard descriptions of Zakaz before and it definitely did not sound as good as lush and green Tanjo Nui. But he didn’t say anything to contradict Kafor.

Instead, he said, “Well, if you’re going to be here-“

“I promise not to . . . ah, get in the way too much,” said Kafor, one hand on her heartlight. “I will find some remote or secluded place. I’ll be so quiet you won’t even know I’m here.”

Nasis highly doubted that, but he shrugged and said, “Are you asking my permission to stay here? Because you’d better ask Klio and Kolora if that is the-“

“Not necessarily,” said Kafor, shaking her head rather vigorously. “I don’t need permission from a couple of old bats to live where I wish. Rather, I came to you specifically because I had a troubling vision of the future.”

Nasis nodded skeptically. “A vision of the future. Really.”

“It is not at all strange, Toa,” Kafor insisted. “On Zakaz, there are legends of the Seer, a being granted the power to see the future by Mata Nui himself. If I am not mistaken, your own people have a similar legend, except narrowly applying it only to yourselves.”

“And you think you are the so-called Seer?” asked Nasis. “How do you know you’re not just going crazy?”

Kafor shook her head and walked over to a large tree, which she leaned against. “I don’t know for certain, Toa. All I know is that I occasionally have glimpses of the future that have turned out to be more or less accurate. I have predicted events such as the Toa-Dark Hunter War, the Great Cataclysm and the subsequent war between the Dark Hunters and Brotherhood of Makuta. No one ever believed me, even when events happened exactly as I said they would. Thus I usually remain quiet about my visions, but this vision I saw involves you, I believe, and thus you should know about it.”

Skeptical as Nasis was he became more interested when Kafor mentioned that he was involved. “Really? What do I do?”

Kafor shrugged. “My visions are rather general. All I saw was you – or someone who looked like you, anyway – chained up and watching a being of shadow fighting a white-robed being. What was even more disturbing was that I saw myself aiding the shadow being, but why I cannot say. My visions tend to be like that; they only show generalizations, rather than specific events or the reasons why these events are happening.”

“You’re right,” said Nasis, shaking his head. “That is general. I have no reason to believe you, Kafor.”

“And I have no reason to trick you, Toa,” Kafor shot back. “Listen: Do you not remember how I acted when I first met you and Toa Ahova? I was not at all shocked to see you two, if you noticed.”

“Yeah, I noticed that,” said Nasis. “So are you saying-“

“That I predicted you would come to me at some point?” Kafor finished for him. “Yes, Toa. A week before you two arrived I was given a vision of your arrival at my house. I could only guess it would mean the end of my time on Stelt, which is another reason I came here. My visions are always correct, if a bit unclear at times; for instance, I did not know why you two would be coming to see me, even though I knew you were going to meet me at some point.”

“Right,” said Nasis, still skeptical.“But that is beside the point,” Kafor said. “The point I am trying to make here is that I believe something big is about to happen, almost as equally big as the Great Cataclysm. You and I and someone else – who, I don’t know – are going to be involved in it. I don’t know when it will happen, but it will happen at some point. I have no idea what all of this means. I can only hope it won’t spell doom for us all.”

“I don’t like the sound of doom, but I think you’re being rather melodramatic,” said Nasis, now tapping his foot impatiently. He was almost late for his meeting with the elders at the Temple; he really didn’t want to waste any more time talking about the future to Kafor of all people. “Where Toa are, doom rarely follows.”

Kafor shrugged. “Toa were present in Metru Nui when the Great Cataclysm occurred, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that that is true, Nasis.”

“Yeah, but the universe is still standing,” Nasis pointed out. “Now I really have no more time to spend talking with you. I have to be somewhere and I am sorry but I cannot spend any more time talking to you.”

“Wait a moment, Toa,” said Kafor, holding out one hand. “I want my payment. I got you the information you wanted. I want my gold armor now. Didn’t order my Nui Rama to take it because I was already here when he delivered the info to you; I figured I could get the armor myself once I found you.”

“I don’t have it on me right now, sorry,” said Nasis, shaking his head. “I will deliver it to you later, especially because you’re on Tanjo Nui now.”

“Make some for me right now,” Kafor said, folding her arms. “You’re a Toa of Iron, aren’t you? Can’t you create some gold armor for me right now?”

“Well, yeah, but-“

“It will be more convenient than giving me the suit of armor later,” Kafor insisted. “Besides, I don’t want anyone to know where I live on this island. Give me the armor now and I won’t bother you ever again.”

“I don’t want to make a whole new suit of armor for you when I just spent weeks making one for you already,” Nasis told her. “Look, if you don’t want anyone to know where you are, I will deliver the gold armor to you at this spot tomorrow morning.”

Kafor looked like she was thinking whether she should trust him, then said, “Okay, Nasis. I will be waiting here tomorrow morning, then. Make sure you bring the full suit here. I will take it and you will probably never see me again.”

“All right, then,” said Nasis. “We have a deal. Now I have to get going. See you . . . Actually, I am not sure I’ll see you later if you’re telling the truth.”

Kafor merely smiled, as though amused by Nasis’ confusion. “Oh, I will make sure to keep out of your way, Toa. I am a quiet Skakdi.”

Before he could say anything, Kafor was gone, running off deeper and deeper into the woods until she was completely out of sight. He just stood there for a second, looking at the spot where the Skakdi had stood, before turning around and continuing his journey to the Temple.

As he walked, his thoughts were on Kafor. He dismissed her predictions as nothing more than simple, lucky guesses. He knew there would be nothing as terrible as the Great Cataclysm happening in the future. There were no signs that such a thing was going to happen any time soon. He saw no reason to worry.

There were no signs that the Great Cataclysm was about to happen before it did, though, his mind said. So maybe Kafor is on to something after all . . .

His thoughts also strayed to the vision she had shared with him. Kafor had told him that she and someone else were fighting a white-robed being. Nasis had seen a white-robed being in his dreams a few weeks ago. Could they be one and the same? Could Kafor really see the future after all?

The thoughts sent a shiver down his spine, but he shook it off. Nasis ran, ignoring Kafor’s warnings. He thought about Ahova, about Kiriah, about the rest of the Toa Tanjo, even about Laomos’ bizarre drawing from earlier. Anything but Kafor’s prediction. It probably wouldn’t come true. It was just speculation; nothing more or less. He had nothing to worry about but getting to the Temple on time.
 

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Edited by TNTOS, Dec 15 2013 - 05:37 PM.

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