This is the second book in my fanfiction series The Gundaru Nui Saga. It's still a work in progress, but I hope you all like what I've got so far. Remember to post in the review topic!
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Posted May 16 2013 - 01:36 PM
A Curious Sighting
“Take that!” cheered a brown figure, “Total domination!”
“I think not!” A gold one retaliated.
“Aww, nuts,” complained the brown one, moments before his obliteration.
“Alright, who’s next?” challenged the gold one, before he too was destroyed.
“Do you really think you could defeat me?” sneered a green figure, “All your efforts are futile! MUUUUUHAHAHA!”
“Oh, yeah?” replied an orange figure, “Let’s see how well you can stand up to my special move!”
“WHAT?!? NO NO NO NOOOO!”
“Oh, yes yes yes!” said the orange one as he unleashed his fury on his green opponent.
“AAARRGGGGHH!” screamed the green one, even as he was being ripped apart by the orange one.
Zakita, the green Toa Rukua of Air, threw down his ZSphere game controller in mock rage. Trelex, the orange Toa of Electricity, laughed as he stood up and did a ridiculous victory dance.
“Yeah, Trelex!” applauded Aroda, Toa of Stone. He raised his brown hand and high-fived the Toa of Electricity.
“Next round!” exclaimed Jakorak, the golden Toa of Light, “And this time I get to choose the map!”
The four Toa were about to start the next battle when they heard a voice from behind them.
“Hey guys, whatcha playin?”
They looked over their shoulders to see Pronak, Toa of Water, Hedak, Toa of Sonics, and Sasi, Toa of Ice, and Tanire, Toa of Metal standing in the doorway.
“We’re playing Toa Mariok Smash!” said Zakita, “Care to join us?”
“Sure!” beamed Pronak, “Ooh, Jakorak, I like the new look! Gold suits you!”
“Thanks!” the Toa of Light laughed. “I guess I was in a gold sort of mood this morning!”
“Enough small talk,” said Tanire, “Let’s play!”
“Typical Tanire,” commented Hedak, “Always cutting right to the chase.”
Jakorak, Aroda, Zakita, and Trelex handed their game controllers to the other four Toa. They played a tournament round-robin style, rotating players every game. In the end, Aroda emerged as the victor.
“Rematch!” Hedak announced, “I was just starting to get good at this!”
Jakorak looked around, as if looking for something. “Hey, has anybody seen Buna or Verau?” he asked, “I haven’t seen them at all today.”
* * * *
On the roof of the Toa Rukua’s headquarters, two Toa were sitting next to each other. One was dark red and had four arms, and the other one was a bright blue-green. The blue-green one turned to her head to look at her companion.
“I wish we could do this every day,” sighed Verau, Toa of Plant Life, “You know, just get away from all this craziness and just relax.”
“Yeah, me too,” agreed Buna, Toa of Fire. “Sometimes I wish that I hadn’t been transformed into a Toa. My life was so much better as a Matoran.”
“Hey, don’t talk like that,” Verau said, “If none of us had become Toa, then Gundaru Nui would already be under the control of Makuta Vidaraz.”
“The Turaga could have chosen somebody else!” he fumed, “I was perfectly happy doing my duty as a Matoran! I never wanted to be a Toa in the first place! There are hundreds of Matoran in the city who have dreamed of being Toa their entire lives, why didn’t Norukan choose them instead?”
“He probably thought you were the best choice, Buna,” she said soothingly. Buna was calmed by the sound of her voice. There was something about her that made him feel better when she was around.
“Besides…” she trailed off suddenly.
“Besides what?” Buna looked at her. She was staring at the Bank of Gundaru Nui building with a look of sheer terror. “Is something wrong?” He looked in the direction her eyes were pointing, but he saw nothing.
“We have to go and tell the others!” She said frantically.
“Verau, there’s nothing there!” he said, trying to calm her down.
“Please, Buna, you have to believe me!” she pleaded. “I’m absolutely positive that I saw something! It disappeared when it noticed me watching!”
He sighed. “Okay, I believe you.” He said. “Let’s go back inside and tell the others what you saw.”
* * * *
A shadowy figure watched the two Toa as they reentered the building. He had been living on Gundaru Nui for the last several thousand years. In that time, he had managed to evade detection by Matoran, Toa, and Turaga alike. Somehow, this rookie Toa of Plant Life had been able to detect him. He was, to say the least, dumbfounded.
He tapped his chin thoughtfully. Turaga Norukan certainly made a good choice with this one, he thought to himself.
Zakita raised a quizzical eyebrow at Verau. “Let me get this straight; you’re telling us you saw a giant blue monster with four arms sitting on top of the Bank of Gundaru Nui?” He looked around at the others. “Doesn’t that sound a little bit far-fetched?”
“Ahem!” coughed Buna, waving his four hands in the air.
“Okay, maybe the part about it having four arms isn’t that strange,” Zakita confessed, “But doesn’t Verau’s story still sound kind of unlikely?”
“Not really,” replied Jakorak matter-of-factly. “Remember the Dokabez?
Hedak scowled at the golden Toa. “Please don’t remind me about the Dokabez.” A Dokabez had once bitten Hedak’s Toa tool in half. The Toa of Sonics had been humiliated, and he was still embarrassed whenever anyone brought it up.
“After seeing those two-headed giants, I don’t think a four-armed giant is all that far from reality.” Said Jakorak, “Besides, I don’t think Verau is really the type to lie to us about something like this.”
“Good point,” Zakita agreed, “I guess you’re right.” Everyone could tell that he still held a few doubts.
“We need to be on our guard,” Tanire replied, “That thing Verau saw could be another one of Vidaraz’s minions. We shouldn’t be here when it’s out there in the city doing Mata Nui knows what. We need to find it and stop it before it can harm any Matoran.”
“Um, that’s great and heroic and all,” said Trelex, “But I don’t think that it’s going to be that easy. According to Verau’s description, this thing can either teleport or turn invisible maybe both. It’s not like we can just go out looking for it. If it vanished when Verau saw it, it’ll do the same for the rest of us.”
“Well, that’s just dandy,” Pronak replied sarcastically. “What the Karzahni are we supposed to do about this thing?”
The Toa offered and discussed their ideas. If there had been a garbage can in the middle of the room for their rejected ideas, it would have overflowed quickly. Sasi proposed setting a trap of some kind, but Jakorak said that if the thing could indeed teleport, than a trap wouldn’t work for very long. Aroda and Buna suggested giving the thing a good bashing. Verau rejected the idea on account that the creature would easily be able to hide. On and on the ideas came and went.
After discussing ideas for more than an hour, Buna had had enough. “This is too much for me. If anyone needs me, I’ll be outside.” He got up from his place on the sofa and strode out the door without another word.
Jakorak stood up and stretched out the kinks in his backs. “Yeah, I think I’m gonna follow suit.” With that, he left the room.
“You know, I think it would do us all good to take a break.” Tanire directed.
Before long, the only two Toa left in the room were Zakita and Trelex.
“Hey, Trelex,” suggested Zakita, “what do you say to a rematch in Toa Mariok Smash?”
Trelex grinned wickedly. “Ready to add another loss to your record?”
“Not if I can help it,” Zakita laughed back as he grabbed a controller.
* * * *
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOUR SPIES HAVEN’T RETURNED YET?” roared a shadowy form in the center of the massive chamber.
“I so apologize, Makuta Vidaraz,” a smaller figure with long and bladed arms groveled in front of the enraged Makuta, speaking through an insect-like mouth. This individual was the leader of his race, known as the Ba’aru. “There appears to have been a malfunction in our communication and none of our agents have returned from Gundaru Nui.”
“Well then, identify the problem!” Vidaraz ordered, tightening his grip on his staff. “I have little tolerance for this sort of incompetence, He’ula. Are you Ba’aru incapable of getting anything done?”
“We have just recently sent out new agents to investigate the issue, Makuta Vidaraz,” He’ula replied, “They should be arriving at Gundaru Nui within the hour. If there is a problem, we will know about it.”
“Good, very good,” Vidaraz nodded approvingly. Then, in a more menacing tone, “Now, leave me. I almost sent Meheka spies to Gundaru Nui instead of Ba’aru, but I decided that Ba’aru would be better.” Vidaraz smiled as he saw He’ula’s eyes narrow at the mention of the Meheka. He knew that the two species did not get along well. He continued, “Don’t prove me wrong, for your sake. It really is a shame when I have to… eliminate members of my own army. You are dismissed.”
“Yes, Makuta Vidaraz,” the Ba’aru said as he stalked towards the exit of the massive chamber.
“Oh, yes, and one more thing, He’ula,” Vidaraz called to the Ba’aru, “Give your spies additional orders. If any of the Toa are sighted alone, have them killed at once.”
“It would be my pleasure, Makuta Vidaraz.”
The Crafter's Emporium
Aroda wandered aimlessly down the streets of Gundaru Nui. After years of walking these streets as a Matoran, he knew them like the back of his hand. He didn’t have any particular destination in mind, he just felt like walking.
He looked to his right and his eyes rested on a small store. The sign above the door read “The Crafter’s Emporium” in bold letters. The Crafter’s Emporium had beet his favorite spot to shop for materials as a Matoran carver. He ducked his head as he went through the door, but bumped his head on the Matoran-sized doorway. Rubbing his aching forehead, he ducked lower and went inside the shop.
As he stood up, he noticed that some of the Matoran who worked there were staring at him. He didn’t like being stared at; it made him feel uncomfortable.
“Hey, Aroda, is that you?” called a cheerful voice from behind a pile of imported protodermis blocks. A muscular grey and tan colored Po-Matoran wearing a carver’s apron strode out from behind the pile, covered in protodermis dust.
“Yup, Reknet, it’s me. What’s new?” Aroda grinned at the familiar voice of his old friend. The two friends shook hands heartily.
“Everything is the same around here, but what about you? You’re the one who’s been having all the adventures!” the Matoran laughed heartily. “When I saw your MaskBook post about becoming a Toa, I couldn’t believe it!”
“I couldn’t believe it either when it happened,” Aroda recalled, “I went to the Suva temple, got knocked out by a bunch of rocks, and when I woke up, I was a Toa.”
“Sounds like a pretty crazy day,” Reknet said. “So, what’s your mask power?”
“Foresight,” the Toa of Stone said proudly, “I can tell what my enemy will do next.”
“Cool!” the Matoran exclaimed, “So you can see the future?”
“Uhh, sorta.” Aroda tilted his hand back and forth.
“Hey, since you’re here, can I get you anything? We received a shipment of solid protodermis from Metru Nui just this morning. We’ve also got some new tools that are guaranteed not to break, and…”
Aroda cut him short. “Umm, Reknet? I’m a Toa now, remember? I’ve got a city to protect. I don’t really have time to craft anymore.” He thought for a couple seconds, then added with a smile, “Actually, I think I’ll take a bit of that carving stone.” He picked out a small block of stone, paid for it, said goodbye to Reknet, and left the shop. He turned in the direction he had come from, heading back towards the Toa headquarters.
As he walked, he tried to ignore the Matoran staring at him. Mata Nui, that really got annoying after a while. He wished he had stayed at headquarters to spar with Jakorak and Pronak or play video games with Zakita and Trelex. He tried to take his mind off the staring Matoran. He looked at the bit of stone he had bought from the Crafter’s Emporium. He concentrated on it, calling on his power over stone. He felt it change shape in his hand, slowly morphing into a sphere. He smiled as he admired his handiwork. Sure, it wasn’t much, but it was a perfectly round sphere, something he had never been able to carve when he was a Matoran. He tossed to himself as he walked down the street.
Aroda turned and took a shortcut through an alley. He remembered how he had once been mugged in this alley by a bad-tempered Le-Matoran. Not that he was worried about anything like that anymore. He was a Toa now! Muggers trembled at the very thought of meeting him in a dark alley. The Toa of Stone summoned a boulder from the ground smashed it in midair with his bare fist to emphasize his thought.
Suddenly, he felt an odd, tingly sensation in his head. His Kanohi mask! Something was about to attack him from… over there! He willed the stone sphere in his hand to morph into a sharp spike as he threw it at a specific spot in the air in front of him. Something popped into existence in midair a split second before the spike struck it in the face, making it screech in pain. He shoved his hands into his gauntlets as he backflipped onto a nearby garbage disposal unit.
“Who the Karzahni are you, and what do you want?” Aroda demanded.
“I am Ke’ranuk, and I am here to kill you!”
His attacker landed on his feet, and Aroda cringed as he got a good look at him. His minimal armor was dark red in color. He had short legs with wide feet. He had ridiculously long arms, which Aroda would have found quite funny had they not had long blades with claws on the end instead of hands. Between his shoulders was an ugly insectoid head with gigantic mandibles. Aroda’s stone spike was lodged in his left eye. One of the clawed blades grasped the spike and wrenched it out, causing dark green blood to gush from of the wound.
“A Ba’aru?” Aroda gasped in shock. “Didn’t we scare you guys off?”
Ke’ranuk hissed angrily at the Toa. “That was an embarrassment you shall pay dearly for, Toa! I will enjoy killing you.”
“Uhh, yeah, sorry about that,” Aroda said, “that might have been accident.”
Ke’ranuk snarled as he threw the stone spike in his claw at Aroda and charged. The Toa wondered how he was able to throw anything with claws like that, but he decided not to dwell on it. He ran towards the charging Ba’aru and grabbed the spike out of the air. He changed it back into a sphere and put it in his pack as he somersaulted over his opponent. A stone wall rose from the ground in front of Ke’ranuk, and he careened into it.
“Take that, ummm,” Aroda struggled to think of a good insult. “Uglyface!”
The enraged Ba’aru roared and charged at Aroda again. He slashed low with a bladed arm, but Aroda jumped over it. He went for the Toa’s neck, but Aroda simply ducked to avoid the strike. Aroda blocked and dodged all of the Ba’aru’s attacks, but stayed on the defensive.
“I know a Toa of Fire who’s harder to spar against than you,” Aroda taunted, “In fact, after fighting him, I think I could beat you with one hand!” He proceeded to put his left arm behind his back and continued fighting. After a few more blocks, he lunged and punched the Ba’aru hard in the gut.
The Ba’aru responded by blasting him with a burst of blue energy from its mandibles. Aroda was too close to dodge in time, and he was thrown backwards by the impact.
Aroda landed hard on his back, but he had no time to dwell on the pain as his mask alerted him of another incoming attack. The Ba’aru had leapt high into the air, his blades poised to skewer the Toa’s body. He rolled out of the way and the blades plunged into the ground. His mask tingled again and he did a back handspring to avoid another energy blast from the Ba’aru’s mandibles.
“Curse you, Toa!” the Ba’aru hissed as he struggled to pull his blades out of the ground. Aroda focused his power on the rock around the Ba’aru, summoning walls to rise around his struggling attacker. Soon the Ba’aru was trapped underneath a dome of solid rock. Aroda did a raspberry at the stone prison he had just created and walked away, heading back towards headquarters.
* * * *
Ke’ranuk tried to calm himself down. It was plain he wouldn’t be able to pull out of the ground by any normal means. He concentrated on gathering energy in his buried claws.
The ground around his claws exploded, allowing him to finally pull his blades out of the ground. Now there the matter of breaking out of this stone trap, but that would be easy. Again, he gathered energy in his claws and mandibles and released it all at once, blasting a hole in the stone. He crawled out and stood up.
“You Ba’aru just don’t know when to quit, do you?” asked a sinister voice behind him.
Ke’ranuk whirled around to see who was talking. A huge shape loomed over him. The thing raised gigantic spear in a clawed hand. Before he could teleport away, the figure had thrown the spear at him. For a brief moment, time seemed to slow down for Ke’ranuk as the weapon flew closer and closer to him, then everything went dark.
He’ula entered Makuta Vidaraz’s chamber. He looked around the room nervously. He never did like coming in here, and began to wonder why his kind ever joined forces with Vidaraz.
“What is it, He’ula?” the Makuta asked in a bored tone. “Have you any new information from your spies in Gundaru Nui? Does anyone there know anything of our plans?”
“No, Makuta. Our plans appear to have remained secret to the city’s inhabitants. However, many of my spies are now dead. Those who are still alive have discovered the corpses of some of their fellows, and they all report the same details, leading us to believe that all of them were killed by the same being.”
“How could one being have killed so many of your spies?” Vidaraz asked in amazement.
“I do not know, Makuta,” He’ula admitted. “However, one of my spies reported that the wounds on the corpse he discovered appear to be from a gigantic bladed weapon. We were unable to obtain any further information from him, because we lost his communication signal. It has been assumed that he has been killed in the same manner as the others.”
“Do you know anything else about the killer?”
“Nothing except what I have already told you, Makuta Vidaraz. This killer is extremely efficient. All we know is that he uses a weapon with a large blade, most likely a spear of some sort.”
The last remark caught Vidaraz off guard. The details that He’ula was giving reminded him of somebody. “A giant spear? Could it be…?” he thought, and then pushed the idea aside. “No, that’s impossible. He died thousands of years ago.”
Vidaraz scratched at his chin as he thought for a few seconds. “He’ula, how many Ba’aru are required to create a portal?”
“Five at each end of the portal, Makuta,” He’ula replied.
“And how many of your spies on Gundaru Nui are still alive?”
He’ula’s eyes widened in comprehension. Had he had lips instead of mandibles, they would have been contorted into a sinister grin. “Five, Makuta.”
“Perfect,” Vidaraz said, evidently pleased. “Tell them to rendezvous at the old factory. We’re going to open a portal to Gundaru Nui.”
“What do we plan to send through the portal, Makuta Vidaraz?” He’ula asked.
“We’re going to send a little... surprise present for the Toa Rukua,” the Makuta replied. “I hope they enjoy it as much as I will.”
* * * *
Jakorak landed hard on the floor of the sparring area outside the Toa Rukua’s headquarters. He was soaked from head to toe from Pronak’s water blasts. He jumped to his feet and swiped at Pronak with his armblade, but she blocked with her dagger. A sphere of water formed in her hands, and she launched the sphere into the Toa of Light’s chest. He grunted as the wind was knocked out of him. As he tried to breathe in, another ball of water materialized around his head, and he choked as he inhaled water. His lungs crying out for air and his vision blurred by the water, he struck out desperately with his foot. He connected with Pronak’s leg, breaking her concentration. He gulped down air as the water around his head splashed to the ground. He charged towards her and thrust his right blade forward. She blocked the weapon with an upward swipe of a dagger. Before he could slash at her with his left arm, her other dagger was at his throat. The two of them stood there for a couple seconds, unmoving.
“Alright, you win,” said Jakorak, exhaling. He hadn’t realized he had been holding his breath. “You’ve been practicing a lot, haven’t you?”
“Yep!” Pronak beamed as she sheathed her daggers. “I’ve been using my Mask of Duplication to spar against myself. It gets really tiring, but it’s a great workout! I feel like I could beat Buna right now!”
Jakorak smiled. “Let’s go inside right now, and you can challenge him.” He put away his armblades, letting them fall into place in the sheaths on his back. He was quite proud of those sheaths. He had designed them himself, adding little catches that kept his Toa tools in place and could be only be unlocked by his own elemental Light energy.
Pronak punched Jakorak’s arm playfully. “I was exaggerating and you know it! I could never beat Buna.”
He laughed and put his golden arm around her shoulder and they headed toward the door.
Hedak lay on his bed in his room, throwing small spheres of solid sound around the room. He listened to them hum quietly as they traveled through the air and get suddenly louder when they collided with a wall. He wished he could do something more entertaining with his power.
“My element is so boring,” he thought to himself, “I can’t do anything cool with it. Jakorak can make light shows, Aroda makes instant sculptures from solid rock, Zakita can fly, and all I can do is make noise that doesn’t even sound nice. If only I could make noise that sounds good.”
As soon as he had thought the word “good,” a sudden realization came to him, practically slapping him in the mask. Since he had been transformed into a Toa, most of what he had done with his elemental sonic powers had involved powerful blasts of deafening sound, and that never sounded good. Of course it didn’t sound good, it wasn’t supposed to. Why would you blast an opponent with a pleasant sound?
Hedak sat up and moved to the edge of his bed. He stuck out his hand, letting it hover parallel to the floor. A column of air between his hand and the floor shimmered as it began to vibrate. He focused on the humming air. Concentrating hard, he cautiously tried to speed up the vibrations. The droning tone began to slowly rise in pitch until it was a high soprano whine. He willed the vibrations to slow down, and the high note dipped to a low bass buzz. He experimentally altered different properties of the vibrations.
A kio-wide grin spread across his mask. If he could change the pitch of sound, then shouldn’t he be able to make music? He thought of a quick melody and began to shift the vibrations again. He built on top of the melody, creating a harmony to compliment it. He added background sounds to his melody, expanding the song more and more.
“Wow,” somebody whispered. The music ceased as Hedak’s attention shifted to the speaker. He saw a white figure standing in his doorway.
“Sorry for interrupting you,” Sasi apologized, “but that music was, like, beautiful!”
Hedak smiled at her. “Would you like me to continue?”
“Oh, yes, totally!” she said, eyes brightening.
He stretched out his right hand and the air began to vibrate again. Sasi sat down on the floor with her back against the wall. She watched as his left hand swayed with the slow beat, as if conducting. She stared at the shimmering air and listened to the strange, reverberating music emanating from it. The column of air moved with the music as if it was dancing. When the music swelled, the column swelled along with it. When the music grew quiet, the column grew smaller. It was beautiful, but haunting at the same time. It made her feel warm, but it gave her the chills. It was like nothing she had ever heard before in her life. She closed her eyes and let the music fill her entire being.
Her eyes snapped open when she heard a new sound added to the music. It sounded familiar, but she knew she had never heard it before. It sounded almost… vocal. She looked up at Hedak and she realized that the new sound was the sound of him humming. There were no words, just the sound of his voice moving with the music.
Hedak’s left hand made a motion like a conductor halting an orchestra, and immediately the shimmering column of air disappeared, taking the music with it.
“Well, what do you think?” he asked.
“That was, like, um,” Sasi struggled to find the words. “It was like, amazing! How did you learn to do that?”
Hedak smiled slyly and shrugged. “Natural talent, I guess.”
Zakita clenched his teeth as he focused on the screen. His avatar, a Zyglak with a wicked grin, fired its weapon at a Frostelus, which was controlled by Trelex. The Frostelus fell back as it took heavy damage. Zakita flicked the joystick and his Zyglak rushed at the Frostelus, ready to deliver a crushing blow.
Zakita smirked and pressed down the attack button… but nothing happened! He pressed again and again, but the button wouldn’t go down. He began to panic as Trelex’s Frostelus began to close in on his character. The Zyglak jumped out of the way to avoid the Frostelus’s vicious claws, but he couldn’t hold out for long; he was taking damage fast. Zakita frantically pressed the attack button again and again, but it was stuck. Suddenly his health bar disappeared and the Zyglak exploded.
“Darn controller,” Zakita muttered, “The attack button’s stuck!”
Trelex leaned back on the sofa with his hands behind his head. “I love my mask.”
Zakita stared at him blankly, then laughed as he understood what the Toa of Electricity was saying. “Oh, I see what you did there, my attack button wasn’t stuck; you used your Mask of Friction to increase the friction around it so I couldn’t press it!”
“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about,” Trelex said innocently.
“Hey, guys, what’s up?” Aroda’s voice called out from behind them.
“Nothing much,” Zakita replied, “Just playing some video games. Care to join us?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” the Toa of Stone said as he picked up a controller and sat down. He selected his character, a buff-looking Skakdi, and picked out a map for the fight.
“So what’s been happening over here while I was out?”
“Friction Face over here is being a cheater,” Zakita jerked his head to indicate Trelex who gave a huge grin in response. “What about you?”
“I just got attacked by a Ba’aru in an alley,” Aroda said nonchalantly, eyes glued to the screen. “I was taking a shortcut and boom, he jumped me. But I beat him. For all I know he’s still stuck in that dome.”
“That’s awesome!” Zakita said, “Can you show me? I’ve gotta see this!”
“Sure!” Aroda beamed, “I can take you there!”
The three Toa left the room in such a hurry that they forgot to pause the game.
* * * *
“You didn’t tell us you killed him too! Why the Karzahni did you do that?” Zakita practically screamed at Aroda. The three Toa had arrived at where Aroda had fought the Ba’aru. Much to their surprise, they had been greeted by a one-eyed Ba’aru cadaver.
“I didn’t!” Aroda protested, “His claws were stuck in the ground and I made the dome around him! Then I walked away, I swear!”
“Then why is this guy lying out here with his guts spilling out?” Zakita demanded.
“I swear to Mata Nui that wasn’t me!”
Trelex was squatting next to the corpse and examining the wounds. “Zakita, I think he’s telling the truth. Look at this, it looks like he was ripped open, probably with a serrated weapon of some sort.”
“See?” Aroda said to Zakita, “I told you I didn’t do it!”
“But who – or what – did?” Zakita wondered. “None of us or the other Toa have a weapon like that, and I have a hard time believing that a Turaga or a Matoran would have been able to kill a Ba-aru.”
“And wouldn’t he have teleported?” Aroda asked.
“He’s got a point,” Trelex agreed, “Whatever it was that killed him must have caught him by surprise.
“Maybe it was that four-armed thing that Verau saw this morning,” Zakita suggested.
Trelex scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Maybe, maybe not. Whatever it is, something fishy is going on in Gundaru Nui.”
“Ugh,” Aroda gagged, “I hate fish.”
In an abandoned factory in the industrial sector of Gundaru Nui, an old piece of machinery crawled down an isle of workstations. It had no eyes or ears to see or hear with, but it could sense vibrations through the ground, and in its mind it had developed a complete map of the entire building. Since Toa Buna’s Mask of Animation had brought it to life, it had come to identify this place as home. Every day, it wandered the old, dusty hallways and chased off the occasional Rahi.
Suddenly, it sensed a foreign presence in the room. This didn’t feel like anything it had encountered before. It moved towards the disturbance to investigate. Whatever the intruder was must have detected the machine as well, for it could sense it moving as well.
Eventually the machine reached the intruder. It revved up a pair of rusty buzz saws in an attempt to intimidate the intruder. Instead of turning tail and running, the intruder pushed past. This puzzled the machine. Nothing had ever dismissed it like that before. This time it charged at the intruder, ready to rip it to pieces.
It felt something block its attack. It attacked again, and its saws locked with the intruder’s weapon. It struggled to overcome the intruder’s strength, but its efforts were in vain.
The machine felt the intruder’s weapon begin to hum with energy. For a brief moment, nothing happened, then an explosion. It felt a powerful impact that sent it skidding across the factory floor. It could feel pieces coming off where the impact had hit.
The machine felt a new sensation that it had never felt before: rage. It charged at the intruder, buzz saws prepared to cut the intruder to ribbons. It fell upon the intruder, slashing with its saws, but all of its attacks were parried. It felt another heavy impact, just like the first. It could feel more of its parts coming of, but it held its ground. It felt another impact, and another, and the machine slumped to the ground.
The machine felt a sudden nothingness as its consciousness ceased to exist.
* * * *
In the dim light of the factory, a Ba’aru stood over the smoking remains of an old machine, bright blue energy still crackling between its claws.
A couple yards away, another Ba’aru materialized. The two exchanged a brief greeting, and then began blasting blue projectiles of energy at the old factory equipment, clearing away the long-unused machines. Another Ba’aru arrived, this one walking through a gigantic hole in one of the factory walls. Without a word, he, too, began to blast the old machinery with energy. Two more Ba’aru appeared next to him, and they joined in the destruction as well. Soon, a large, circular area of the factory floor was completely cleared of machinery.
The five of them stood at the edges of the circle facing inward. Then, they began to gather swirling, green energy between their claws. As the energy began to engulf their claws, they plunged their claws into the factory floor. A glowing green circle shimmered on the floor, hollow at first. Then the floor inside the circle began to glow green as well, the color moving in undulating, wavelike patterns. The Ba’aru stood stock-still; their icy blue eyes now the same shade of green as the portal.
* * * *
In his fortress, Makuta Vidaraz watched the five Ba’aru with anticipation as the green portal materialized on the ground between them.
“It’s about time I sent my sons to the city of Gundaru Nui. I haven’t let them out to play for centuries; I think they deserve a little exercise. What do you think, little Kraata?”
He opened a plate in his armor and pulled out two long, slimy creatures. They wriggled and hissed in his hands, trying to escape. He turned around and threw one of them into a nearby pool of energized protodermis. Upon hitting the surface, the Kraata released an agonized screech. It sank into the gel-like liquid, still writhing in pain. For a few seconds, the surface of the protodermis was absolutely still. Then, something red and orange broke the surface and fell to the edge of the pool: an empty suit of reptilian Rahkshi armor.
Vidaraz threw the second Kraata to the floor. After recovering from the shock of hitting the ground, it slithered to the empty armor. It crawled up behind the suit and squeezed itself into a compartment on the back, and the Rahkshi came to life. Its eyes began to glow a deep crimson as it stood up.
Once the Kraata had gotten used to the movements of the Rahkshi, it strode to the center of the glowing circle in the floor. Waves of energy inside the portal began to move towards it. They began to rise from the floor, reaching higher and higher, until they completely engulfed the Rahkshi. There was a flash of green light, and the waves abruptly stopped. Where the Rahkshi had been, there was now only empty air.
Vidaraz smiled to himself and drew two more Kraata from his body.
* * * *
At the factory, the portal began to churn, as if it were being stirred by an invisible spoon. It spiraled faster and faster, and the spiral began to rise in the center. It formed a swirling cylinder about two bio high. A burst of green light flashed within the column. When the light vanished, a Rahkshi stepped out from the portal circle.
The Rahkshi looked around the factory, taking in the new surroundings. Suddenly its head jerked forward. Red bolts of energy flew from the Rahkshi’s eyes and struck a factory machine. The equipment was obliterated in a red-hot fireball. The Rahkshi’s faceplates opened up to reaveal the Kraata inside, and it let out an ear-piercing shriek.
Behind it, the energy within the portal began to swirl again.
Fun and Games
As he, Zakita, and Aroda headed back towards the Toa headquarters, Trelex couldn’t stop thinking about what he had just seen. The image of the dead Ba’aru with its abdomen ripped open had ingrained itself in his mind. He thought about who or what may have done it. Perhaps it was another Ba’aru; it was entirely possible that this Ba’aru had gotten into a fight with one of its own and gotten killed as a result. Or maybe it was that four-armed thing that Verau had seen, like Zakita had suggested.
“Trelex, come on, quit worrying about that stupid Ba’aru,” Zakita said, snapping the Toa of Electricity out of his pondering. “It’s his fault he got himself killed."
“Yeah, Zakita’s right,” Aroda agreed. “Besides, isn’t it a good thing that he’s dead? It just makes our job easier, right?”
“You guys don’t get it, do you?” Trelex said.
“Seeing as I don’t know what ‘it’ is,” Zakita said, “I think it’s safe to say, ‘no, I don’t get it.’”
“I don’t either,” said Aroda.
Trelex sighed. “What if whatever killed the Ba’aru isn’t on our side?”
Zakita and Aroda both looked blank. They looked at Trelex, then at each other. Then Zakita burst into laughter, with Aroda following suit.
“Will the two of you shut up?” Trelex fumed, “This could be a matter of life or death here!”
The two of them calmed down a little. Suddenly Aroda frowned. “Wait, what were we laughing about again?”
Still chuckling, Zakita rapped his knuckles on the Toa of Electricity’s head. “Trelex, my friend, I think all that lightning is frying your brain. One of our enemies is dead, and you think the culprit might not be on our side? You’re getting paranoid.”
Aroda brightened up. “Oh, right, that’s what we were laughing about!” he said, grinning widely, and he promptly doubled over and started laughing again.
“Will you cut that out?” Trelex gave Aroda a hard whack on the back of the head. The Toa of Stone was laughing so hard that he didn’t notice the warning his Mask of Foresight gave him, and the punch sent him sprawling on the protodermis street. Several Matoran nearby turned their heads to see what was going on.
Aroda got up and rubbed the spot where Trelex’s fist had collided with his head. “Ow!” he groaned, “What was that for?”
Zakita stepped between his teammates. “Dude, what’s the deal with you? He was just laughing. Are you going all anti-fun on us all of a sudden?”
“No,” Trelex insisted, “I just don’t think that this is the right time to be goofing off.”
More Matoran were beginning to notice the Toa’s argument, and they began to crowd around them.
“I like fun as much as the next guy,” Trelex continued. “Heck, I used to be the biggest prankster in the entire city! But right now I think we’ve got something really bad going on here, possibly worse than Makuta Vidaraz! Whatever killed the Ba’aru has gotta be really powerful, right?”
“Obviously. That Ba’aru was totally shredded. So what?”
“What do you think would happen if it suddenly decided to attack Matoran?” Several Matoran in the crowd gasped. They started whispering fearfully amongst themselves.
“Hey, guys?” Aroda interrupted, “Is there such a thing as a bird without wings?”
Fight or Flight
“Aroda, please, not now,” Trelex groaned.
“I’m serious!” The Toa of Stone pointed to the sky. “Look!”
Zakita and Trelex looked in the direction that Aroda was pointing. What they saw indeed looked like four birds flying without wings. They were flying in a V-shaped formation
“Zakita, have you got any idea what those things are?” Trelex asked.
“Just because I’m a Toa of Air doesn’t mean that I know about everything that can fly,” Zakita huffed. He looked back up at the “birds.” They were flying towards them at an extraordinarily rapid speed. He turned back to his comrades. “You guys stay here,” he told them, “I’m gonna go check those things out.”
“As if we could follow you!” Trelex called to him as he shot off the ground.
For a few seconds, everything seemed normal to Zakita as he approached the “birds.” He was much closer to them now; close enough to tell that they weren’t wingless birds, but still too far away to tell what they were. They had the body type of a Toa more or less, and they were all flying in a posture that looked vaguely like meditation. At this distance could tell their colors as well. One of them was black and brown, one of them had a red and orange, one was black and white, and one was tan and brown.
Suddenly, the tan-and-brown one shot something at him. He tried to pull up, but he was too slow, and the projectile struck him in the torso. The momentum of the projectile overcame his own and he was sent flying backwards, then he gradually began to plummet towards the ground.
He tried to reactivate his jetpack, but he was too dazed to use his powers. Below him, Matoran screamed as they bolted for cover. He hoped they would all be able to get out of the way. It would be a real shame if any of them were crushed under his falling body. It was a pretty silly way for a Toa of Air to die, he thought. Who ever heard of a Toa of Air who died from a fall? He hoped his mask wouldn’t be too beat so the rest of the Toa could make a decent memorial stone.
Zakita jolted to his senses. His Mask of Density! Why hadn’t he thought of that before? He focused his thoughts on activating his mask, increasing his molecular density tenfold. “Get outta the way!” he yelled at the screaming Matoran as he descended. “Get outta the way get outta the way get outta the way-OOF!” His impact with the ground was so hard that it created a crater in the street and knocked nearby Matoran off their feet.
“Wow!” Zakita called as he stepped out of the crater. “That was scary!” Matoran stared at him wide-eyed, hardly believing that they had just seen a Toa fall almost two kio and live.
“Hey, Zakita, if you’re done patting yourself on the back, we could use a little help over here!” Zakita turned to see Trelex and Aroda struggling to fight off four hideous creatures. They were huge, easily a head taller than a Toa, with lizardlike heads. They were all hunchbacked, with long spines running down their back. In their hands, they each carried a double-ended staff, and from the looks of it, they all knew how to use them.
It took Zakita a couple seconds to figure out that these were the things that had shot him down. He felt a strong urge to get revenge.
“Let me at ‘em!” he cried, and he launched himself forward with his jetpack. He flew towards the black and white one, both shuriken spinning in his hands. He had barely left the ground when something shot out of the creatures staff towards him, and he began spinning rapidly.
“What the-,“ he began, but he wasn’t able to finish his sentence, because the cyclone that he was caught in sucked the air out of his lungs. “This reminds me of when I was transformed into a Toa,” he thought, “but somehow I don’t think I’m gonna come out of this with awesome powers.”
Suddenly, he was thrown to the side like a rag doll. He instinctively increased his density, and struck the wall of a nearby building.
“Could you guys please stop throwing me around?” Zakita pleaded, ”This is the only armor I’ve got.”
He saw the creature point its staff at him again, and he rolled to avoid another cyclone. This time, Zakita responded with a cyclone of his own. The creature wasn’t expecting this, and was quickly caught in the twister.
“Not so fun when you’re the one being spun like a top, is it?,” Zakita asked the creature while he maintained his cyclone. “See? I can make cyclones too. But for a Toa of Air like me, cyclones are Matoran’s play. Let me show you real power over air!”
Zakita ceased his cyclone, and directed a powerful gust of wind at the creature, and it was sent crashing down the street and into a building. He grinned as he admired the cloud of dust and debris that was kicked up by the impact. “That should put it out of commission for a while,” he said to himself.
His grin disappeared when he saw the black-and-brown creature flying towards him. It swung its staff at him, and he used one of his shuriken to deflect it. The creature flew past him, landed, and turned around. Its face opened up, revealing a slimy, worm-like object. The wormy thing split its own face open and let out an earsplitting screech, and Zakita was taken totally by surprise. “Whoa! That was freaky!”
The creature’s faceplates closed, and it leaped towards Zakita. The Toa of Air threw a shuriken and cut right through the creature. It fell to the ground with a huge gash in its armor. Zakita used a gust of wind to bring the weapon back to him.
“Never mess with Toa Zakita,” he told the prone creature before him. In response, the thing jumped to its feet lunged with its staff, and Zakita blocked with both his shuriken.
“How the Karzahni did are you still fighting?” Zakita asked, bewildered. “You just took a hit from my shuriken!” He glanced at the creature’s side, where its armor had been sheared open. To his shock there was not a scratch to be seen where merely moments before there had been a gaping hole. “C’mon, that’s just not playing fair!” he complained.
He struggled against the creature, refusing to give ground. He stole a glance at Aroda and Trelex. Aroda was ducking and dodging both blasts of the same hot gassy stuff that the tan-and-brown creature had thrown at him earlier and laser beams from the eyes of the red-and-orange one. Trelex was busy crossing blades with the tan-and-brown creature. He could see that his friends were getting tired. Maybe if he could draw their enemies away…
“Hey, Trelex,” he called, “I’m gonna try to get some reinforcements. Maybe I can lure some of these things away from you guys at the same time.”
“Great idea!” Trelex grunted as he used his shield to block a thrust from his opponent’s staff. “Good luck!”
Zakita blasted the black-and-brown creature backwards into a wall. “Hey, creepy double spear-wielding lizard things!” he yelled, “Come and get me!” Then, without looking back, he took off towards the Toa headquarters. On the ground below, the red-and-orange and tan-and-brown creatures leaped into the air and flew after him.
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Trelex pointed his tri-spear at the strange brown-and-black creature. Bright yellow electricity crackled and sparked between the ends of the three blades. “Alright, buddy, it’s two against one, are you sure you still want to do this?”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]The creature replied by opening its face and screeching, with its long, slimy tentacles waving wildly.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Yeah, I figured you might say something like that.” A huge bolt of lightning erupted from the end of Trelex’s weapon. The creature made no move to dodge the attack and was struck head-on. In an instant, the burn marks disappeared and it looked good as new.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Aw crud. This isn’t going to be easy, is it?” asked Aroda.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Nope,” Trelex replied succinctly.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]The creature began to walk towards the two Toa. Long before it could reach them, however, two huge hands shot up through the street, and clapped the creature between them. A loud CRUNCH emanated from within the closed hands.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Try healing that, Rahi breath!” Aroda taunted.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Hey, nice job!” Trelex clapped Aroda on the back. “I think you got him!”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Shucks,” the Toa of Stone shrugged, “It was nothing.”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Suddenly the stone hands shattered, sending pieces of stone flying in every direction. Trelex ducked behind his shield while Aroda dodged chunks of debris. Where the hands had been, the hideous creature once again stood completely unscathed.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“I didn’t mean it when I told you to try healing that!” Aroda complained. “Can’t you understand sarcasm?” The creature only screeched and continued its advance towards the two Toa. Trelex watched his seemingly invincible enemy as it grew ever closer to them. Surprisingly, it was walking towards them, rather than pouncing upon them. This thing was obviously in no hurry to destroy the two Toa, which was, as far as Trelex was concerned, perfectly fine by him. Right now, he wanted to stay alive as long as was he possibly could.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Look, Aroda,” Trelex told his friend, “This isn’t going to work. Its healing everything we throw at it. We need to run and get help.”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“No way!” said Aroda, bending down and digging his hands into the street, “We can – HUP! – beat this thing!” He grunted as he tore a large chunk of the street from the ground and hefted it above his head. “We gotta do something to it that it can’t heal!”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Yeah, good luck with that!” Trelex shot back as Aroda threw the boulder up into the air. As it arced down towards the creature, Aroda focused his elemental energies on it, and small spikes began to protrude from the surface of the rock. The creature did nothing to avoid the falling stone and was crushed underneath the spiky stone.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“See, what did I tell you?” Aroda said proudly, gesturing towards the pile of broken rock that stood atop the creature. “It couldn’t possibly heal that.”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Look again, buddy,” Trelex said, “It’s getting up again.”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Aroda looked back at the pile of rocks and saw the creature rising from it, halfway through the process of un-flattening itself. “Eww,” he cringed, “That looks just plain disturbing!”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]The creature began to walk towards them again. It paused and looked down at its leg. pulled a bit of stone from its thigh. Immediately, the hole began to heal over until there was no sign that the creature’s armor had ever been pierced.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Interesting,” Trelex thought, “So it can’t heal if there’s something stuck in it.” He tapped Aroda on the shoulder. “Did you see what it just did?” he asked.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Aroda was confused. “Uh, it pulled a rock out of its leg. So what?”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Aroda, when you threw that spiky boulder at it, a bit of stone got stuck in its leg, and it couldn’t heal until it pulled the rock out. It can’t heal a plugged-up wound!”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Aroda grinned. “Now I see where you’re going here!” He ripped another boulder from the rock beneath the street and threw it at the creature. When it was about halfway to the creature, Aroda made the boulder shatter into hundreds of sharp stones. The creature deflected some of them away with its staff, but most of them hit their mark and embedded themselves into its body. The creature staggered for a second from the impact, and Trelex and Aroda were convinced it would fall at any moment. It stayed on its feet, however, and proceeded to pull the pieces of fragmented stone from its body.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Aroda stepped backwards, a shocked expression spread across his Mask of Foresight. “How the heck is it still standing?”[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]Trelex didn’t bother to answer. He had had enough. “Darn it, stay injured!” He yelled as he ran at the approaching creature.[/font]
[font="calibri, sans-serif;"]“Trelex, you’re gonna get yourself killed!” Aroda shouted after his friend, but his cries were in vain.[/font]
Trelex threw his shield at the creature like a Kano
Edited by JacobLazer, Oct 31 2013 - 10:24 AM.
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