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I started writing a long story on Kulta the Skull Grinder, sort of an origin story, a few months back. In my opinion, G2 has a lot of great opportunities for world-building and serious character depth, and this is my first serious attempt at a fanfic. Hope that it's good. Comments and criticism are awesome. Chapter One: Untold thousands of years ago. Two of the most skilled magicians on the island of Okoto dueled. A fierce, artfully measured battle bruised and bloodied the tapestries within the temple on the outskirts of a beautiful city. The elderly women and men of the city told stories of the temple, and how a beautiful goddess flew down from the heavens with a blessing of the city and a commandment to build the temple. An unbelievable colossus was built. Today, the tapestries within were threatened with destruction. Ekimu was a war-lord, a magician, a mask maker whose past, even then, was a blank page in every history book. Now, he battled against a mask; some simple sheet of face-hugging metal. No one believed that Ekimu could possibly be murdered by a mask. But it wasn't just any mask. For longer than any elder of Okoto could remember, two wizened craftsmen had ruled the island, known as the mask makers of Okoto; two of the most powerful and most skilled sages when it came to both metal-working and magic. Ekimu and his talented brother, Makuta had served as the two sages and rulers of the land for such countless centuries, tenfold beyond the earliest known writings of the Protectors. Their army was a fearsome force among the nearby isles, as surely loyal to its commander, Kulta, as the blood of many a conquered enemy that surely kept time, drip, kept eternal time as it dripped into the ground. But Makuta had done the unthinkable, never before attempted by a mask maker; the magician dared to combine every single elemental force, failing to even omit the most dangerous of them all, the shadow. So it was that the talented brother harnessed the deepest force of Okoto, death in his vast powers. Now, Makuta screamed in his brother's presence, the speech distorted by the empowering sheet of metal that he wore on his face. "Do you remember the praise they all gave you? Have you forgotten about the gift-diamonds, the frescoes? I will not let injustice pass! Cannot!" And Makuta began to draw up a calloused hunk of molten rock from the power of his mask, glowing and painfully hot to even be near. "Not sure if you've heard that I've beaten you! Not sure if you've heard of my most pristine creation! So fresh, it's barely out of the furnace!" He hurled a ball of molten rock at Ekimu's face. A quick dodge was all that was needed, and a swift follow-up to put him in his- yet, Makuta was swifter still than Ekimu even when the latter was angered, for he wore that mask, what a terrible mask! Makuta created a chasm in the earth to trip his brother, who fell quicker than any man could have reacted. Today, Makuta wore a mask of power more horrifyingly unpredictable than anyone could possibly dream of, not the least drop docile or caring. A joke for the mask is waking you up off-balance after a drugged sleep. A favor is a smooth death with a well-sharpened knife. In Makuta’s mind a brave and brutal war is the same as a small quarrel. An annoyance is as harshly dealt with as a generation-spanning betrayal by a proven friend. "You enjoy this, don't you?" Ekimu rolled onto one side and began his long climb out of his trap. "I find it quite sad, actually.", the menace said, pausing in his duel. "Warring with one such as you is little more than a means to an end." Ho, Ekimu could not simply leave the best craftsman, closest ally, as the creature that he was on that day. But tales of the past had left him that Makuta could not be redeemed. So, with his last ounce of strength, he sprint-climbed out of the chasm and formed from around him his hammer, a gigantic blue war weapon. With one strong shot, he struck a flailing Makuta, a murky beast, into the air, knocking his mask of power from his face. No longer would Makuta dwell as a mask maker on Okoto. … It had been decades since Kulta had been rushing as fast as he was to the high pyramid of the mask makers in the center of the city. Dire though the note read, vague as it was, there was no doubt that he was almost late, and had been arranged to speak at an important funeral. Certainly, Kulta had paraded his army past the sacred site a thousand times through his untold years. But, he could never get used to the greatest site in the city, on the island, and as his brow jumped and his eyes widened yet again, all thoughts of careful pomp and circumstance left his mind. Bellowing commands and spitting vulgar words in between thick gobs of saliva, Kulta’s twin drivers whipped the barely conscious horses on. One incredibly short and fat over fat, one spindly thin and hunched over like a bird of prey against the carriage ceiling that was far to tall for him, they were both slapped into niceties once the brutal yet beautiful image appeared before them. What a wonder it must have been that they suppressed their curses and spitting, their crudeness and rudeness! Kulta’s pupils narrowed and his eyes burned as he forced his way out of the carriage and sprinted over to the procession, shocked. Trying to restrain himself from crying out, as many were, he attempted to think of his wife, his family. He could not pull a single name to his mind as the golden-blue coffin paved a path through the swarming crowd. “Great spirits bless… why, that’s Ekimu!” Knowing nothing but Kulta, the servants waited on him. “A, heh, drink sir? “Better getcha a chare, ser.” Kulta had been struck into a trembling shock, yet the stupidity of his servants came to his advantage on that day as he ordered them out. What a silly time for pleasantries and pomp, he quietly thought to himself. And he never thought that. An barren breeze blasted by him, and yet he did not waver, save to raise an arm, paralyzed by fear, in salute. By the spirits!- he could not waver. Scarcely fazed by the sight as they were, Kulta’s servants responded quickly. “Should I bear witness to the funeral of a god? Rather than deliver the speech that he had prepared, Kulta simply cast his eyes onto the farthest reaches of the ocean of mourners, which, like millions upon millions of pins bobbing up down, any which way in an endless ocean, obscured the early sunset almost completely, a gargantuan throng that shared the commander’s feelings at that very moment.
I’ve been struggling to come up with designs for the new versions of the Toa, but then I finally got inspired. They're Mesoamerican-inspired instead of Polynesian. (Except for Pohatu, he's an Aborigine) Gali's chestplate pattern is now on her necklace, and I made the mask into an eagle warrior-style helmet.The spikes on the kaukau reminded me of an axolotl’s gills, so her helmet and armor is based off of one. All six Toa have a gauntlet on their right hand. They can use it to summon their armor and weapons for battle so they don't have to carry them around all the time. Convenient. Also I just realized that everyone but Kopaka is barefoot. Maybe the Toa need to be connected to their element, and shoes can block the absorption of natural energies? Sure let's go with that. As for Kulta, I imagined him as a sorcerer type. Once an Okotan high priest who oversaw burial rites, Kulta now uses his necromancy for selfish gain and refuses to let the departed rest. The face paint he wears is made from powdered bone, this is why he is known as the Skull Grinder. Though his army is formidable, the souls he commands are trapped in weakened, decaying forms. He desires the mask of Creation so he can use its power to form new bodies to place his bound souls in. Though he commands a skeleton army, he is not undead himself (or at least he looks less decayed). I still need to come up with a full body design, but for now here's his head. The black and orange skin is what he might look like after absorbing the power of too many elemental masks.