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Introduction:

Dear readers,


My name is TNTOS. I'm a fanfic writer and have written and posted over 40 epics, comedies, and short stories over a seven year period on this website. Some were great, some weren't, but nonetheless each has helped me grow as a writer and I wouldn't be where I am today without them.

Among my early works was a trilogy of epics known as the Shika Trilogy, consisting of The Tales of Shika Nui, Tapestry of Evil, and An Unlikely Alliance. Originally posted over a two year period, the Shika Trilogy chronicled the adventures of a Toa team composed of six former thieves on or near the island of Shika Nui (hence the title of the trilogy). It was never a particular popular trilogy, but it was my first ever completed trilogy and laid the foundation for my larger Shikaverse, the universe in which all my fanfiction (sans comedies) is set.

Unfortunately, all three epics of the Shika Trilogy were lost when the BZP Archives were taken down earlier this year. I did not repost them, mostly because I did not believe they are a good representation of my ability as a writer (and they still aren't, by the way). Besides, if I ever wanted to reread them, I had them saved on files on an external hard drive, so nostalgia was not a good reason for reposting them, either.

Recently, however, I have received a few requests from my readers to repost the Shika Trilogy, especially from readers who have not read it but want to. In addition, I am almost finished writing In the End, the epic that will be the finale to the Shikaverse as a whole. That epic does rely on a lot of ideas, concepts, and characters introduced in the Shika Trilogy, which most people would not understand without first reading the Shika Trilogy.

With the arrival of the New Year, I decided that now would be a good time to repost the entire Shika Trilogy here in the Epics forum. Not only that, but I would repost all three epics in one topic so you can conveniently read the entire trilogy in one place (hence the use of "omnibus" in the title of this topic). I also believe the trilogy is more enjoyable when read as a whole, rather than read individually.

Please note that the Shika Trilogy is NOT an example of my current ability as a writer. It is a reflection of who I was as a writer back in my younger days, when I was first learning how to write well. Whatever problems you notice, I am already aware of, so you don't need to write a comprehensive review pointing out every tiny error I have made. (If you want an example of my current ability as a writer, I suggest reading Dimension Hoppers or another recent epic in my library.) I am reposting this solely to make the Shikaverse more understandable for people who haven't read it, although if you have some comments to make you are welcome to share them in the review topic (link at the bottom of the post).

Table of Contents:

Book One: The Tales of Shika Nui


Prologue
Chapter 1: We Are.....Toa?
Chapter 2: Dark Hunters!
Chapter 3: Jokao
Chapter 4: Revelations
Chapter 5: All Out Battle!
Chapter 6: Infiltration
Chapter 7: Escape From The Fortress
Chapter 8: Into The Mountains
Chapter 9: The Mountains
Chapter 10: Turaga Joha?
Chapter 11: Not A Hero Anymore
Chapter 12: The Secret Village of Shadow
Chapter 13: Dragon in the Dark
Chapter 14: The Return of Barilo
Chapter 15: Chaos!
Chapter 16: What Is Behind The Door?
Epilogue


Book Two: Tapestry of Evil
Book Three: An Unlikely Alliance


Now with that out of the way, let's kick off this omnibus with:

Book One: The Tales of Shika Nui


Prologue


25,000 years ago


A huge battle ship sailed quietly through the sea of Shika Nui. Aboard the ship was a band of thieves, murderers, would-be tyrants and other lunatics, who were all hungry for battle and conquest. They were Dark Hunters.

Under order of their leader, a dark and frightening being known only as the Shadowed One, they were sent to take control of this island, for it had a secret that they all were sure would suit the Dark Hunters cause well.

A Dark Hunter, named Triglax, was standing at the wheel, steering the boat toward their destination. He was considered obnoxious by some and that might be true, though he'd never admit it, mainly because of his ego.

What do any of them know about me anyway? Triglax thought as he steered the gigantic boat toward the mysterious island of Shika Nui. There is a good reason the Shadowed One chose me to lead this operation, because I am the most qualified to lead, of course.

He was being sent, along with at least a dozen other well armed Dark Hunters, to take over this island they were heading. They would land there and kill the local Toa team and the Turaga who lead the island, thus giving them complete control over the entire island of Shika Nui. If all went well, then by nightfall, the island would be Dark Hunter property.

And when we strike, Triglax thought, a smile creeping on his face. They won't know what hit them.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 1: We Are.....Toa?


Toa Joha clinked blades with a Dark Hunter who had a chameleon power of sorts, as he was is the form of a giant, yellow, one-eyed Rahi. As he fought the Dark Hunter, he remembered what happened just two hours ago.

A Dark Hunter battle ship had landed in Shika Bay and launched a surprise attack on the nearest village, killing dozens of Matoran and seriously injuring others. Fortunately, Joha and his team had been visiting the village to discuss how to defend the island in case an attack from sea were launched upon the island of Shika Nui.

Unfortunately, they were unprepared for the battle and were losing already. It was obvious that the Hunters were more skilled at combat than he and his friends were, but that wasn't about to stop him from protecting Shika Nui from the Dark Hunters.

He glanced toward his left and saw his friends were laying on the ground dead, unmoving as rocks and the Hunters were moving toward himself.

There was no way he would be able to defeat these fiends by himself. He had no choice. He would have to go Nova to defeat these villains.

He closed his eyes, already feeling his elemental power draining from his body ready to be unleased in one mighty explosion! But before he could go Nova, something-


Joha, Toa of Stone, awoke, startled. He looked around his stone room and sighed with relief.

It was that dream again. The kind of dream you wished wasn't real, but was.

That dream kept replying every week or so, showing everything happening the exact same way he remembered it. The Toa of Stone wished it was just a dream, but it wasn't. It all happened 25,000 years ago, when an elite group of Dark Hunters arrived, killing all his teammates and many Matoran.

After that, the Hunters took complete control of the island and enslaved the Matoran. The only one brave enough to stand up against them was Joha and he knew he couldn't defeat them on his own.

That's why, The Toa thought. I have created these six Toa stones. All I have to do is give them to the six chosen Matoran and they will become Toa who I will lead to free this island.

Joha looked toward the table where he had last saw the Toa stones, but was horrified at what he saw: The six Toa stones were gone!

"Where could they be?" Joha said, sounding more than a little worried. If the stones were stolen, then that must mean that a Dark Hunter stole them. But it made little sense, since any of the Hunters would have killed him while taking the stones. So, perhaps someone else stole them?

"But who?" Joha wondered aloud. "Who would steal the vital items that could free this island from the Dark Hunters' tyranny?"

-


The answer to the Toa of Stone's question was not a Dark Hunter, nor a curious Rahi beast, but a Matoran of Plasma who went by the name of Addis. Addis, who was the leader of a band of Matoran thieves, had snuck into Joha's cave and taken the Toa stones and snuck out undetected.

He was heading toward his hideout where his five friends, Akuna, Chimoy, Nonzra, Nastan and Barilo, were waiting.

While he was walking there, he pulled one of the strangely glowing stones out of his back pack and examined it while he walked. He had never seen anything like this before, but he knew they had some importance or Joha wouldn't have had them in his home.

It's so strange, Addis thought as he put the stone in his pack. I wonder what they do? Obviously, they must be important, so I will bring these to the others and see what they think.

The Matoran of Plasma walked faster, as the sun was setting and, as Addis knew, it was incredibly dangerous to be out after dark, especially if a Dark Hunter was patroling the area.

-


The Matoran hideout, dubbed the Shika Hideout, was a little known Dark Hunter warehouse that was abandoned because of a accident a few years back that involved a group of Dark Hunters, Toa Joha, and a Brotherhood of Makuta expierment that had four legs, six arms, no head and a snake-like body. As you probably imagine, the entire place was wrecked, so it was only logical that Addis and the others would make a base here, since no one would ever even think, let alone conceive, of any Matoran ever making a home here. It sure was home to Addis, as he walked through the wrecked area toward the meeting room, where he would show the others what he had got.

Addis, looking around the room to make sure everyone was here, dumped the contents of his bag out on to the table.

"What are they?" Barilo, a Matoran of Gravity, asked. "I've never seen anything like them."

"They're just rocks," Nonzra, a Matoran of Sonics, said. "I thought Joha had something of way more importance, like maybe a legendary Kanohi mask or something."

"I don't know," Nastan, a Matoran of The Green, said. "Why would a mighty Toa of Stone like him carry unvaluable things like these around if they were not important?"

"'Mighty Toa of Stone'? You've been reading too many legends, Nastan," Nonzra replied. "He got himself beaten to near death and he only escaped because he went Nova. Now thanks to him, the entire island of Shika Nui is under Dark Hunter control! Why would you call him mighhty?"

"It wasn't his fault," Nastan protested. "He was ambushed. He and the others had no idea tha the Hunters were attacking."

Akuna, a Matoran of Lightning, sighed. Nastan and Nonzra argued alot, so much that it seemed as though they actually liked arguing with eachother. She did not like arguing herself, mainly because she wasn't too good at it plus most of the time they argued about pointless things that she never really understood.

"Enough arguing!" Addis said loudly, startling Nastan and Nozra. He waited a moment before speaking again to make sure they weren't going continue arguing again. When they didn't continue, Addis continued on. "Alright, then. We're keeping the stones until we can find someone who would buy these from us at a fair price. We each keep one of the stones until I decide when to sell them and to who. Got it?"

One by one, they nodded their approval. Addis knew at least one of them was going to try to keep the stone they got to keep to his or her self and, when he found someone who was willing to buy all six, would claim they had no idea what happened to it.

Chimoy, a Matoran of Iron, looked down at the stones. He was about to say something, then stopped, as if lost in thought or something. It was normal to see him act like that.

Back about 100 years ago or so, Chimoy had tried to steal a valuable artifact from the Dark Hunters. The mission was going well, with most of the Dark Hunters distracted. Unfortunately, the other Hunters that weren't distracted ganged up on poor Chimoy and beat him senseless. Fortunately, Joha had appeared to fight off the Dark Hunters while Chimoy escaped. The Matoran of Iron had never been the same since.

All six Matoran picked up their stones simultaneously. At first, nothing happened. Then they all felt something inside them blow up, sending each and every one of them flying in different directions of the room they were in, knocking the Matoran criminals unconscious.

-


Barilo awoke. His back hurt. His head hurt. In fact, his entire body was hurting and he wasn't sure what to do about it. He couldn't lift himself up because he hurt so badly, so he just laid there.

It was far to dark for him to see the others, but he could hear them all groaning in pain and agony.

Why.....Why do I feel so strong? Barilo thought. I feel.....Alot stronger than any Matoran. What happened to me and who turned all the lightstones off? Am I dead?

Barilo then felt intense heat coming from where he had seen Addis thrown. Groaning with pain, he slowly lifted himself up to his full height to find out where the heat was coming from.

He was surprised at how tall he was now. He was far taller than he was before, which made him wonder just what it was that happened. He decided to wonder about that later and find out why their was heat coming from where Addis was.

He walked over to the semi-conscious form of Addis and realized that the heat was coming Addis himself! He turned around and saw they others, with the help of Addis' small light he was giving off. What he saw surprised him: Standing in front of him, all the others looked exactly like Toa!

I must be dreaming Barilo thought. Or perhaps I've gone insane. I hope it is the former.

He could hear Addis getting from behind him and the new Toa of Gravity turned around. Addis looked very confused for a moment before finally saying:

"We.......Are Toa?"

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 2: Dark Hunters!

 

 

Nastan looked over at Addis, confused by what he said.

"What'd you say, Addis?" The new Toa of The Green asked.

"I said we are Toa now," Addis replied. Then quickly added. "I think."

Nonzra walked over to a nearby mirror and studied his new form. He was tall, like every other Toa he had seen and he looked similar to Toa Joha, except for his mask and colors. His colors, which were silver and grey, were over his armor and body. The silver was mainly on his armor, while his grey took up his body, mostly.

The new Toa of Sonics turned around to look at his friends, who were still quite confused.

"Why are we Toa anyway?" Akuna, the new Toa of Electricity, asked.

"Better question is how we became Toa, sister." Nonzra said, walking up to the others.

"I think it had something to do with those six strangely glowing stones over there." Nastan said, pointing over at the six stones on the table where they had left them.

The new Toa of The Green reached out to grab a stone with his long arm and grabbed one. He examined the stone, but could see nothing out of the ordinary, except it wasn't glowing anymore. In fact, none of the stones were glowing anymore.

"Uh, why aren't they glowing anymore?" Chimoy asked.

"Don't know," Nastan replied. "It looks like a normal stone now."

Addis had a idea. "Do you think these six stones were.....Toa stones?"

"Toa stones?" Nastan repeated. "What are Toa stones?"

"Well, I don't know too much about them," Addis replied. "All I know is that Toa create them by absorbing a small amount of their Toa energy in to them and give them to destined Matoran, who become Toa.....somehow."

"How'd you know that?" The new Toa of Gravity asked.

"Well, I remember when I was stealing a tablet, I read a little of it and learned a little bit about Toa stones. I didn't think much of it at the time, but now it just came back to me." Addis replied.

"Why didn't you notice the glowing stones were Toa stones, then?" Nonzra asked annoyed.

"I guess I just forgot." Addis said.

Nonzra was about to make some snappy comment about Addis having bad memory when he heard something. It sounded like a Matoran was screaming and then there was a big flash outside. The six new Toa went to the window and saw two Dark Hunters chasing a Matoran.

"Get back here!" One of the Dark Hunters shouted.

"Never!" The Matoran shouted back. The six Toa could tell he was a Ta-Matoran because of his red armor and he looked badly damaged. Addis was surprised that that Matoran was running so fast, especially because of how badly damaged he looked.

Nastan knew the Ta-Matoran would never be able to outrun two Dark Hunters, especially since he was very damaged. He turned to Addis.

"What should we do?" Nastan asked. "We can't let those savage Hunters kill that Matoran."

"But if we try to save him, no doubt they would kill us as well," Addis said. "We just became Toa about a couple hours ago. We stand no chance of defeating two experienced Dark Hunters."

"And if the Hunters escaped, they would surely call up some of their 'friends' and try to kill us again and probably succeed." Nonzra added.

The Toa of The Green turned to Akuna. "What about you? Do you think we should help the Matoran?"

Akuna shrugged. "I think Addis and Nonzra are right about this. We're just novices and those Dark Hunters are surely far more experienced and well-equiped than any of us."

Nastan looked over at Barilo and Chimoy, who were still watching the Hunters chase the Ta-Matoran. "What do you two think?" He asked. "Should we or should we not save that Matoran?"

Barilo wasn't really interested in saving the Matoran, so he simply answered, "No."

Chimoy seemed to agree with all the others, as he nodded in agreement with Barilo after the Toa of Gravity had answered.

"So, it seems we have come to a decision," Addis said. "C'mon, guys. Let's go steal stuff."

All the others turned to follow Addis out of the room, except for Nastan, who had jumped out of the window and landed on the ground. The other five Toa ran back to the window, shocked and surprised he would do this.

Apparently, the Hunters hadn't noticed him, so it was a bit of a surprise to them when Nastan shot two arrows made out of wood at both of them and both the arrows hit their targets.

The two Dark Hunters turned around to find out who hit them and were surprised to see Nastan standing there.

"I must be dreaming," The first Hunter said. "He's a Toa. I thought Triglax said that there was only one Toa left on this island?"

"Well, it doesn't matter," The second replied. "He's going to die just like the rest of 'em."

The second Dark Hunter then threw his spear at Nastan, but the Toa of The Green easily dodged it and then fired another arrow of wood at the Dark Hunter. Nastan had got his bow from a weapons cache which he found in the abandoned Dark Hunter base, but he found no arrows. Now that he is a Toa, he can easily create arrows made of wood, so he has a almost unlimited amount of arrows at his disposal.

The Hunter dodged the arrow and pulled his spear back to him, which was attached to a chain. Nastan realized that too late when he felt the chain of the spear whip his back, stunning him.

The first Dark Hunter then quickly ran over to Nastan and punched the Toa in the mask, knocking him out like a lightstone.

"Looks like he's out," The first Hunter said after inspecting Nastan's body. "Now we can get that-"

A blast of cold metal hit the Dark Hunter in the back, sending him flying into a nearby stone wall. When he turned around, he saw five other Toa, all looking quite angry at him.

"You mess with one of us," Addis began. "You mess with all of us!"

The Dark Hunter was then zapped by lightning, but since Akuna wasn't used to having electrical powers, she accidentally zapped the Ta-Matoran who was nearby, but not nearly as bad as the Hunter had been. The Dark Hunter fell unconscious, but the Ta-Matoran was just damaged even worse than before.

"Looks like he's down." Barilo said, referring to the Dark Hunter.

The second Dark Hunter had been taken by surprise earlier before he first one was defeated. Now he was up and was now using a sword instead of a spear and was charging into Chimoy. None of the Toa were near enough to save Chimoy, but that didn't seem to be a problem, as the new Toa of Iron had turned around and had a sword in his hand, blocking the villain's blow that probably would have killed him.

You see, Chimoy was a Toa of Iron, so he could use his elemental power to make a weapon out of thin air.

Back to the story, the Dark Hunter was surprised by this, letting his guard down. Now Chimoy's brain may have been damaged, but he knew when there was a opening and kneed the Hunter in the gut, bringing the Dark Hunter down for good.

-


After tying the two Hunters up with metal bonds that Chimoy had created, the six Toa put the Matoran in a bed, to let him rest. Akuna was the most concerned about him, since she had electrocuted him by accident.

It was by accident, she thought. I don't think I could take it if he died because of me. But why am I feeling this way? I don't even know him. Why would I care if he died or not? For all I know, the Dark Hunters could have had a justifiable reason for chasing him and we just stopped them from carrying out what they're supposed to do.

Akuna noticed that Barilo was looked concerned, too, even though he didn't really like other Matoran because of how he was disliked as a Matoran himself, so she decided to bring it up.

"You seem to be concerned for him," Akuna said to Barilo. "I don't blame you. I think we're all concerned for-"

"I'm not concerned for him." Barilo cut her off. "I'm more concerned of those two Hunters breaking free and calling their friends to come over and kill us all, including the Matoran."

"That makes me wonder why they were chasing the Matoran," Nonzra said. "Did he wonder away from the other slaves? Or did he try to do something else stupid, like insult the Shadowed One?"

"I don't know," Barilo replied. "And I don't care. We should kill the Dark Hunters and toss their bodies into the ocean. That way, no one will find them."

"No!" Nastan shouted, standing up. "Not only is that unToa-like, but the Dark Hunters are surely going to realize two of their members are missing and will probably send a search party to find them. Remember why the Dark Hunters are at war with the Brotherhood of Makuta in the first place? It's because the Makuta of Metru Nui killed two members of the Hunters!"

"Well, we'll just kill any search party they send our way and we'll keep on killing them until the Shadowed One himself comes," Barilo replied. Then he added, "And we'll kill him, too."

"But, Joha never killed anyone and never will," Nastan said. "If you won't follow his example, then I will."

"Maybe that's the reason Joha hasn't freed our island yet, Nastan," Nonzra said. "Maybe he should have killed them all and be done with it."

"Enough talk about killing!" Akuna shouted. All the others looked at her, surprised that she had raised her voice. "We have a seriously injured Matoran in there and he could die any second. Please, if you're going to talk about something, just talk about something else."

"Okay," Barilo said. "I'll just go to bed now, since it's getting dark out. 'Night, everyone." And he left the room.

For a while, no one said anything, until there was a sound, a sound that came from the Ta-Matoran's room. It sounded like a moan. Addis got up and walked into the Matoran's room. He came back out, looking excited.

"Guys!" Addis exclaimed excitedly. "He's waking up! The Matoran is waking up!"

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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 3: Jokao

The Ta-Matoran named Jokao awoke, but he was hurting badly and couldn't sit up. His eyes were open, but his vision was blurred, so he couldn't really see anything. He could still hear, however, and what he was hearing were voices of others, but they did not sound anything like the two Dark Hunters who were chasing him.

Who are they? Jokao thought. They don't sound like the Dark Hunters, nor do they sound like my friends.

Jokao could make out six blurry forms standing around him, but he couldn't tell who or what they were. He remembered a being that looked like a Toa and he also remembered hearing the two Hunters shouting at the Toa, but he wasn't sure. Had they killed the Toa? He certainly hoped not, because if they did, then he wouldn't last long for sure.

He tried sitting up, but he was too weak to move. So, he tried to get his eyes to focus on the ceiling. It worked! His eyes were working better now and maybe he could see his who was near him.

The Ta-Matoran turned his head to the left, then to the right. He saw six tall, powerful-looking beings who wore masks. They all looked just like Joha in design, but they were differently colored and had different masks as well.

He decided that these six must be Toa and that they must have saved him from the Dark Hunters! Jokao decided to say something to them.

"Who.....are.....you?" The Ta-Matoran asked. He was still hurt badly and it was a pain to talk, but he needed to know who his saviors were if he were to properly thank them.

"Who are we?" The brown and red Toa said. Jokao knew he must be a Toa of Plasma because of his colors. "Why, we're Toa of course."

"At least," The silver and gray one added. "That's what we think we are."

"Of course we are, Nonzra," The blue-ish green one answered. "We look like Toa, don't we? We have Great Kanohi Masks of Power just like Joha and we each have a Toa tool, right?"

"You know, Nastan," The silver and gray one, which Jokao figured was Nonzra, snapped. "There is more to being a Toa than looking like one. You, Nastan, out of all of us should know that."

"I know, I know," The blue-ish green one, who Jokao believed to be Nastan, replied. "I was just saying that we had all the stuff that normal Toa have."

"Right," Nonzra said. He looked down at Jokao. "Can you tell us who you are?"

"My.....friends.....call....me....Jokao...." He said with a cough.

"Well, Jokao, welcome to the Shika Hideout." The red and brown being said. "I am Addis, leader of our group. As you no doubt know by now, he is Nastan and he is Nonzra." He pointed to the two Toa.

"My name is Akuna and I-I'm sorry." Akuna said quickly.

Jokao looked at her in a confused way.

"Sorry?" He managed to get out. "What.....do....you....have....to...be.....sorry.....for?"

"When we were fighting the Dark Hunters, I accidentally zapped you," Akuna explained. "Will you hold it against me?"

"No," Jokao said. "I....won't......if it.....was a accident, that is....." Those last words were very hard for him to get out so quickly.

"Well, the silent guy here is Chimoy," Addis said, pointing to a completely gunmetal Toa. "And this fellow here is Barilo." He pointed at gray and purple Toa.

Jokao nodded in the direction of the Toa of Iron and the Toa of Gravity. Barilo just gave him a bad look, while Chimoy nodded back at Jokao. The Ta-Matoran assumed that maybe Barilo was just having a bad day or something.

"I think we should leave you alone for a while," Akuna suggested. "So you can rest."

"That's a good idea, Akuna," Addis agreed. He looked down at Jokao. "Well, Jokao, we'll let you sleep for a while, okay?"

Jokao nodded.

"Alright, c'mon, guys." Addis lead the other Toa out of the room.

-

The next morning, Addis found something very, very, bad when he went to look on the prisoners. They had escaped! There were shreds of metal all over the room and the Toa of Plasma knew exactly what they'd do: They'd get their friends and come here to kill himself and the rest of the Toa!

He quickly ran back up to the first floor and yelled: "The prisoners have escaped! We have to evacuate now!"

"What are you talking about?" Nonzra asked.

"The Dark Hunters!" Addis shouted. "They escaped during the night and no doubt they have already contacted their friends! Get Jokao and the others. We leave now!"

-

The six Toa and Jokao left the Shika Hideout quickly, heading north. Nastan had used his power over plant life to make a bed of plants and branches, which Chimoy was carrying.

They had only taken the essentials, which was practically all their loot. If they were going to be gone forever, they wanted to make sure no one would take any of their loot.

"How will we take this stuff with us?" Nastan asked as he pulled a bag of loot along. "What if the Dark Hunters attack us?"

"Well, we keep moving until nightfall," Addis replied. "Then, me and Chimoy will dig a hole and bury the loot in it. That way, the Hunters won't get their hands on it and we won't have to worry about them finding it."

"Sounds like a good plan to me." Barilo agreed.

The six Toa continued on, confident that they could outsmart the Dark Hunters.

-

The two Dark Hunters, one named Tyu and the other named Kigin, had arrived at the Dark Hunter fortress. The fortress was tall and one could see all of Shika Nui if one stood on top. The fortress had at least nine different towers sticking out of it and they all looked exactly like claws.

After showing a identity tablet to the guards around the fortress, the two Dark Hunters quickly made their way to report what had happened.

Who were they reporting to? Why, none other than a Dark Hunter named Icetraz. Icetraz was one of the original twelve who attacked Shika Nui 25,000 years ago. It was because of his power over ice that he and the other Hunters survived Joha's Nova Blast, since the Hunter had used his power to make an extremely thick ice barrior to protect himself and the others.

He was rather big and bulky compared to most Dark Hunters. He was humanoid, except for his face, which resembled a Kikanalo face with razor sharp teeth and a shorter horn. He was almost always seen carrying his twin Cordak revolving blasters.

Today, he was in charge of the Dark Hunters base of operations on Shika Nui. For some days he had lead the Hunters in battle to keep Brotherhood of Makuta minions and servants off the island. He knew the only Toa left on the island was Joha, so it was quite a surprise to hear that six more Toa had defeated Tyu and Kigin.

"What did you say?" Icetraz asked. "That six Toa defeated you two in battle?" He laughed. It was a terrible sound.

"We're telling the truth, boss," Tyu insisted. "I even got zapped by one of them!"

"Oh, really?" Icetraz said. "Did you catch that disobedient Ta-Matoran who didn't do what he was asked?"

"Well....No," Kigin said slowly. "We, uh, got beat by the Toa and then the Toa of Iron bounded us together to make sure we didn't escape. But, as you clearly see, we did escape and we wish to lead a strike force to go and kill those pesky Toa."

"And I will personally deal with the Ta-Matoran." Tyu added.

Icetraz sat there for a bit, pondering whether he should send a strike force or not. For one, he didn't know if these Toa really existed or if they were just fiction. But if there really were Toa, then they would have to be eliminated immediately or else the Dark Hunters would have trouble on their hands.

"Kigin, Tyu," Icetraz said. The two Dark Hunters stood up straight immediately. "I will give you a small strike force to kill these Toa you speak of. If you find them, then kill them and take their bodies to me. I want to make sure I am not being deceived."

"Yes, sir!" Both Dark Hunters said in unison. They ran off, already thinking of all the gruesome ways to kill the Toa.



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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 4: Revelations


The six Toa and Jokao had found a rather isolated area near the beach to sleep for the night. The only one who couldn't sleep was Barilo, who knew that the Dark Hunters could track them down and kill them.

So why not attack first? Why not get to them first, before they knew anything? He certainly thought about it.

After all, The Toa of Gravity thought. I could easily take away their gravity away and make them fly away. Or, I could increase their gravity and crush them on the ground. I never realized all the ways you could kill someone with gravity before.

Barilo sat up. He wasn't used to using his power over gravity yet, so he should practice using it before taking on the Dark Hunters.

He looked over at a nearby rock. It was huge. He could not lift that thing on his own, but with a little gravity taken away, he could make it go up into the air and then toss it in the ocean.

So he concentrated on the rock. Nothing happened. He stuck his hand out, trying to get it to obey. Again, nothing happened. He remembered something about Joha now.

Didn't he use a Toa tool to channel his elemental power? Barilo thought. So maybe I should get my own Toa tool. I'm quite sure we packed a few weapons with us when we left the hideout.

He quietly got up and walked over to one of the many bags that they had brought with them. He opened one of them. It was too dark to see what was inside, so he just stuck his hand in and hoped he would grab something useful.

The Toa of Gravity felt something and grabbed it. He pulled it out. It was a battle axe. Engraved the handle were the words Gravity Axe.

Gravity Axe? Barilo thought as he swung it around. What could that mean? Oh, well. I'm a Toa of Gravity, so maybe this was meant for a Toa of Gravity such as myself.

He dramatically aimed his axe at the rock. Nothing happened at all. The rock didn't sink into the ground, not did it fly up into the sky. Now Barilo was frustrated.

C'mon, stupid gravity powers! Barilo shouted in his mind. Lift the stupid rock already!

He kept trying, again and again and again, over and over, never succeeding. Now he was angry. The Toa ran over and sliced the rock in half with his axe.

Surprisingly, the split rocks flew up into the air. That caught him off guard. He watched as the stones flew up, until they were out of sight.

Barilo looked down at his axe, wondering if it was his own power over gravity that did that, or maybe it was the axe's. Then it hit him like a ton of stones.

This Gravity Axe must have done it, somehow, Barilo thought. Although I'm not too sure why I think that. I didn't feel anything when the rock halves flew into the air. I should test it later, because I'm getting tired.

He put his axe away and them crawled back into his sleeping bag that he had brought along when they had to evacuate the hideout. He fell sleep quickly, dreaming of defeating the Dark Hunters in numerous ways.

-


Tyu expected to see the Toa and Matoran still in their little hideout. Toa, he knew, were brave and fearless and would never run from battle(Especially if they are new and cocky). But instead there was nothing. All the loot that had been there before was gone and there was no sign that anyone had been here.

"Looks like they cleared out before we got here, eh, Tyu?" Kigin said.

"Yeah, looks pretty deserted," Tyu agreed. "They probably figured out we escaped and left, taking everything they got with them so we wouldn't get it."

Tyu and Kigin had arrived with about five other Dark Hunters, ready to kill those Toa. Now those other five Hunters were searching the place, thinking that maybe the Toa were hiding somewhere. When the Dark Hunters came to report back to Tyu and Kigin, they reported that the Toa were nowhere to be found and neither was the Ta-Matoran.

"Then we follow their trail," Kigin commanded.

"Uh, Kigin?" Tyu said. "We don't know where they went. For all we know, they could be heading to the main fortress right now to raid it."

Kigin smiled.

"Oh, Tyu," Kigin began. "If those Toa were smart enough to leave this place behind, then they definitely would have enough brains to not attack the main base. Trust me on this one."

"Whatever," Tyu sighed. He then noticed something. It was a small piece of gold, followed by another, and another. In fact, there was a trail of them, leading from the hideout to the north. He hadn't noticed it before, but he figured he knew who had left that trail of gold.

"Kigin, look," The black and blue Dark Hunter said, pointing at the trail of gold.

Kigin looked at it, and immediately called the over five Dark Hunters over. After showing them the trail, the seven Hunters took off, following the trail and knowing they would find six novice Toa and a rebellious Ta-Matoran at the end.

-


The sun rose and Nastan was up already. He was up early because he wanted to test his powers. The Toa of The Green already knew how to make arrows out of wood, now he was trying out other things, such as causing a tree to split it half. So far, the tree didn't do anything.

"C'mon!" Nastan shouted. He kept trying to make it split, but nothing happened. "Joha made it seem easy."

A ball of plasma went flying in the tree past Nastan, making it explode. The Toa turned to see Addis walking, his plasma blaster smoking.

"Where'd you get that blaster?" Nastan asked, looking at it.

"I took it with us after we left the hideout," Addis replied. "It's pretty cool, don't you think?"

Nastan looked over at the tree (or what was left of it after it had exploded). There was only a smoldering crater left. He felt sad. Nastan was, after all, a Toa of The Green and all Toa, Matoran, and Turaga of The Green felt more at home with trees and plant life than others. Sure, he may have been trying to split it in half, but he still felt different about it than maybe Addis would.

"Well, did you really need to blow the poor tree up?" Nastan said.

"Weren't you trying to do the same thing?" Addis asked.

"No," Nastan replied. "I was just trying to split it in half to see if my elemental powers would work."

"Oh, well, Jokao is ready to explain why the Dark Hunters were chasing him now, if you're interested," Addis said.

"Okay," Nastan said. "It's something I've been wondering about ever since we saved him."

-


All six Toa were sitting cross-legged around Jokao, ready to listen to his tale.

"Okay, I'm feeling better today, thanks to you six," Jokao said. "I was originally the leader of the slaves in the mines. My primary job was to break up arguments among the slaves, since the Dark Hunters were too busy doing 'important' stuff." Jokao coughed, still hurting a little. "At first, it was pretty nice. Nothing too bad happened and we were all pretty content.....until that one Brotherhood of Makuta raid on us that killed dozens of Matoran about 2000 years ago. The Visorak, Rahkshi, and various other beings were either killed or driven off, but instead of helping us repair our huts we lived in or giving us help, they made us work twice as hard to make up for the loss of Matoran."

Chimoy nodded. He had been in the slave village that was attacked at the time, trying to steal a valuable weapon that the Dark Hunters had stashed there. Unfortunately, the weapon was destroyed by a Exo-Toa and Chimoy barely escaped in time. He remembered seeing the dozens of dead Matoran bodies and seeing the Dark Hunters fight off the Rahkshi and Visorak and Exo-Toa. It was a sight he would never forget.

"When I realized that the Hunters cared nothing about us and thought of us only as slaves who would work no matter what," Jokao continued. "I pretended to work for them, but while they thought we were perfectly happy with how things were run, I was convincing as many Matoran as possible that to join a rebellion against the Dark Hunters.

"After I convinced all the Matoran in my village to rebel, one of my friends was sent to another village in secret to convince all the Matoran there to rebel against the Hunters. Unfortunately, the Dark Hunters found him and killed him, because no Matoran is supposed to be outside the village when the slaves are working. When I heard the news, I was angered. I wasn't thinking and then I ran away from the village to hide in the village my friend was heading to, hoping that I could convince the Matoran there to rebel. However, those two Hunters, Tyu and Kigin, spotted me and gave chase. I got hurt by them, but I managed to keep going until you guys found me and saved me."

"That's why they want you?" Addis said. "Are they even aware of the Matoran rebels in your village?"

"No," Jokao replied. "All they know was that I was supposed to be working, not wandering away, so they gave chase. But now that you know my story, what about you six? Who are you and what are you doing here? Are you here to defeat the Dark Hunters?"

Akuna looked over at Addis. She wondered if he'd tell Jokao that they were originally Matoran criminals and now no interest whatsoever in defeating the Dark Hunters. Addis looked just about ready to talk, but Barilo instead told the Matoran.

"We're Toa who were once criminals and we have no interest in saving Shika Nui from the Dark Hunters," Barilo said abruptly.

"Wait...." Jokao said slowly. "So you're not going to save our island, like the legends foretold?"

"Yes," Barilo continued. "In fact, we plan on pulling bigger heists now, since we're Toa and Toa are obviously better at stealing things than any Matoran."

"Barilo!" Addis snapped, annoyed.

"What?" Barilo said. "I was telling this Matoran the truth. The whole truth."

Addis turned to Jokao.

"We're sorry, but he is telling the truth," Addis said. "I'm sorry if you thought we were going to free Shika Nui. To tell you the truth, we really just want to be even greater thieves than we were before becoming Toa. Besides, have you seen all the Dark Hunters on this island? There is no way any of us could defeat them."

"But, isn't that why we have Unity, Duty, and Destiny?" Jokao asked, naming the Three Virtues. "Aren't you unified against the Hunters? Isn't it your duty to protect the Matoran? And, most important of all, maybe it is your destiny to free Shika Nui from the Dark Hunters? What are any Toa without those three virtues?"

"Listen, Matoran," Barilo snapped. "I'm only interested in money and-"

"Barilo!" Nastan shouted. "What did Joha stand for? I'll tell you: Unity, Duty, and Destiny, that's what, and-"

"And he was a failure, even with those virtues to 'back him up,'" Nonzra finished, joining in the debate. "If Joha failed, even with the Three Virtues, what chance do we have against the Dark Hunters? I mean, he is far more experienced than any of us and he failed. So I agree with Barilo about this."

Nastan couldn't think of a reply, but he didn't have to. Jokao did.

"Maybe....Maybe it was his destiny to do something greater than defeat the Dark Hunters?" Jokao said. "I mean, only beings who are destined to do something can do it. Maybe it wasn't his destiny to defeat them at all."

"Then whose destiny is it?" Barilo asked.

There was a pause. A long, silent, pause followed. Nearby trees swayed in the wind and one could hear the sounds of brakas monkeys in the trees. Then Barilo realized something.

"Are you saying that it's our destiny to defeat the Dark Hunters?" The Toa of Gravity said.

*"Turaga Ujah used to say that no one knew what their destiny was exactly unless someone told them," Jokao replied. "Most times, he had said, your destiny would find you."

Nonzra just stared at him.

"That doesn't make any sense to me." Nonzra said.

"Well," Addis said. "If your guys are done talking about destiny and stuff, me and Chimoy will be burying the loot in the forest. C'mon, Chimoy."

Chimoy stood up and helped Addis drag the loot into the forest.

-


Addis and Chimoy dropped the last of the loot in a hole which they had dug out. Now the two Toa were burying it quickly, when Addis heard something. It sounded like a Nui Rama was angrily buzzing, but Addis knew that Nui Rama didn't live naturally on Shika Nui, so something else was making that noise. But what?

He motioned for Chimoy to be quiet(No need for that, since Chimoy was almost always quiet) and he carefully walked in the direction he heard the noise. The Toa of Iron was following behind him, holding a giant hammer of iron that he had created using his power over all metals.

The sound got louder and louder, until they were right next to it. It was only on the other side of these trees. Addis and Chimoy backed up and then the Toa of Plasma fired a ball of plasma at the small group of trees. It hit the trees, causing them to vaporize, but instead of a Nui Rama waiting for them, there was something far worse.

Standing there were seven Dark Hunters, one of which had his mouth open. The one who had his mouth open was tall and green with orange. He closed his mouth, since he was apparently the one causing the Nui Rama-like noise.

"Hello, Toa," The green and orange Hunter snarled. "I am Kigin. No doubt you expected to see a Nui Rama instead of seven Dark Hunters, but that's the beauty of being able to copy any noise just by remembering it."

A black and blue being stepped up.

"I can't wait to hang your Kanohi masks of the wall in my room," The black and blue being said. He pointed at Addis' Kanohi. "That Suletu will look especially good on my wall."

"Be quiet, Tyu," Kigin snapped. "We have Toa to kill."

He turned to the other five Dark Hunters.

"My fellow Dark Hunters," Kigin began. "As you all know, we were put together to kill these Toa and that is exactly what we will do. And as I know most of you are dying to hear me say it, so I will. ATTACK!"

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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 5: All Out Battle!


The other four Toa and Jokao were sitting quietly. No one had said a thing since Addis and Chimoy went to bury the loot and no one really wanted to talk at the moment anyway.

Nastan was wondering when Addis and Chimoy would get back.

They've been gone too long, The Toa of The Green thought. Maybe they're still trying to find a spot to bury the loot in. Or....

Nastan didn't want to think about that. If there were Dark Hunters in the forest, then Addis and Chimoy were as good as dead.

Suddenly, both the Toa of Iron and the Toa of Plasma ran out from the forest, looking like they had been chased by a Kikanalo herd. The other four Toa instantly shot up. Addis and Chimoy were panting, almost out of breath.

"What happened?" Barilo asked. "You guys look like you've seen a ghost."

"Dark Hunters!" Addis gasped. "They followed us from the hideout and nearly killed me and Chimoy!"

As if on cue, seven Dark Hunters burst out of the forest, all firing off blasts of energy at the Toa. Chimoy tried to bring up a wall of metal to cut themselves off from the attackers, but the Hunters easily destroyed it and began attacking again.

Akuna fired a bolt of electricity at one of the seven Dark Hunters. The Dark Hunter easily dodged the blast and then fired a ball of lava at the Toa of Lightning. It hit Akuna, sending her flying into a nearby rock.

The Hunter who had hit her with a ball of lava ran over to the fallen Toa and aimed his sword at her head.

"Toa," The Dark Hunter began. He wore gold armor that had giant spikes coming off of it. He held a sword that was gold as well. "You're going to be dead soon. And as I believe anyone deserves to know who their killer is before being sent to eternal darkness, I will introduce myself. I am Death. It's not my real name, just a code-name, but it's good enough, I guess."

His sword began to glow.

"And Death will be the last name you'll ever know." Death finished.

Akuna looked around to see her friends fighting off the rest of the Dark Hunters. It was obivous that her friends were going lose.

I've got to do something! She thought. Maybe it's not what most Toa would do, but I've got to act fast or I'll be as good as dead.

Acting quickly, she pulled out her Lightning Staff and, moving even quicker than Death could aim. Akuna whacked the Dark Hunter in the face with her staff, sending him tumbling over. Then she quickly hit him with a bolt of lightning.

Death was surprised by this. Kigin and Tyu had said the Toa were rookies and should have been easily killed, yet this Toa of Lightning was already beating him!

No way will I go down in history as the Dark Hunter who was beaten by a rookie Toa, He thought angrily. A ball of lava to her heartlight should bring her down good!

He got back up before Akuna could attack him again. He realized she was too close to him and if he tried to hit her at this close range, he might end up as dead as the Toa of Lightning.

That was when he got a idea. Death aimed his sword at the ground and fired off a ball of lava, which obscured the Toa's vision. He also couldn't see, so he quickly moved out of the dust cloud and saw her. She was blind from the explosion, so there is no way he could miss!

Good bye, Toa, Death thought as he aimed his sword at Akuna. You might have been destined to be a hero. You might have been destined to save the Great Spirit Mata Nui's life, but whatever your destiny is, it probably won't be fulfiled now.

-


Chimoy found himself in combat with a Dark Hunter, code-named Six Arms. He was not code-named that for no reason. He really did have six arms.

His body was rather short and fat-looking and the Hunter's legs were too short for him to run. His colors were purple and brown("A rather ugly color scheme," Chimoy had thought) and he carried no weapons such as a sword. Instead, he had claws on all six of his arms. Six Arms face was hidious. It looked like a mixture of a Muaka and a Rahkshi with a little bit of a gadunka thrown in for good measure.

Worst of all was the fact that he used his six arms to his advantege. Everytime the Toa of Iron managed to block one or two arms, the other arms would strike him when he left part of his body exposed. Chimoy was already tired and he hadn't been fighting for more than fifteen seconds!

"Are you getting worn out, oh great Toa of Iron?" Six Arms said mockingly. His voice also sounded terrible. "I would take a rest if I were you, but then you wouldn't be able to defend yourself from me, would you? Of course you wouldn't."

Now Chimoy was getting frustrated, but then he had a idea. He summoned a wall of metal to appear in between himself and Six Arms, giving the Toa of Iron some time to rest. Unfortunately, it only kept Six Arms away for about four seconds, then it was torn down by the Dark Hunter's multiple arms.

Chimoy wondered if he could use his mask. He never had tried to before, but he had seen Joha use his before, so maybe Chimoy could do the same? He had studied his mask the day before and figured it was the Kanohi Kadin, the Mask of Flight.

And flight would be very useful at the moment, Chimoy thought.

Chimoy wasn't paying attention to Six Arms, who punched the Toa of Iron with three of his arms, then used his other three arms to pick up Chimoy.

"Now, Toa of Iron," Six Arms said. "I want to finish you off, but I think I will let you choose your fate. Should I tear you apart with my claws or should I maybe drown you in the ocean? Both of them sound very fun, don't you think?"

Chimoy just groaned.

"Well, since you obviously can't chose between the two, I'll say you should drown," The Dark Hunter said, evilly smiling(Which looked quite ugly).

Six Arms, using his other arms to walk, walked over to the beach, ready to drown the defeated Toa.

-


Nastan and Jokao were up against two Dark Hunters. One was a tall, thin, being named Julok and another one who called himself Giho.

Julok was, as said before, tall and thin. He was red and yellow and he was wearing what looked like a Pakari, but Nastan could not be sure. His limbs were long and thin as well and his hands ended in claws. He had some sort of power over telekinesis, since he tried to throw a tree at Nastan, without actually throwing it himself. Julok also didn't really have much armor.

Giho was well armored and was about the size of a average Toa, except a few inches shorter. He was gunmetal and red-ish black. He carried a axe that looked as if it could easily cut threw solid rock. He had a face that wasn't very ugly, nor was it nice-looking. Sort of a mixture of the two.

Toa Nastan knew that Jokao couldn't last more than five minutes in battle, maybe even less. So he used his power over plant life to bind both the Dark Hunters. It held them for about three seconds, then they broke out. But almost as soon as they broke out that even more vines burst out of the bround to bind them.

"Jokao!" Nastan shouted. "Go find some place to hide! I'll take care of the Hunters!"

The Ta-Matoran obliged, taking cover behind a nearby boulder.

Nastan turned back around just in time to see a rock fly right in his mask. Julok had used his telekinesis to throw a rock at the Toa.

"Is that all you Dark Hunters can do?" The Toa shouted. "Throwing rocks at Toa? Geez, I thought you guys were better than this."

"Shut up, Toa," Giho growled. "Or you'll find your head will no longer be connected to your shoulders in a few minutes. Perhaps your head will come off anyway."

Julok manged to rip the vines that had bound him using his claws and he was charging at Nastan. The Toa of The Green tried to fire a arrow at Julok, but the Dark Hunter dodged it and then slammed into Nastan, sending him flying into the water.

"Can you swim, Toa?" Julok said, walking over to the water. "No matter. I'll kill you just the same and-"

He was interrupted by a unknown flying object hitting him in the side, sending him flying into a nearby wall. Julok looked over at what had hit him. It was Six Arms! He had been battered into unconsciousness, apparently. But who did it?

Just then, he saw the Toa of Iron that Six Arms had been battling walking over. He held a giant, steel hammer in his hand. He lifted the hammer up, and then smashed it on the sand, sending a tremor through the beach. Giho, who had gotton out of the vines, fell over because of the tremor.

Julok lifted Six Arms off of himself and then used his telekinetics to lift a nearby boulder off the ground. Behind the boulder was Jokao, who had been hiding. The Dark Hunter moved the giant rock over the Ta-Matoran.

"Toa," Julok said. "You know exactly what I'll do if you try anything. Your Matoran friend here will become squashed Matoran. So why don't you give up peacefully and drop your weapons?"

Chimoy looked over at Jokao, who looked downright afraid. The Toa wasn't sure what to do.

Should I try to save Jokao? Or should I give up, like the Dark Hunter said? Chimoy thought. On one hand, I don't think I'll be able to stop him in time to save Jokao, but on the other, I could possibly defeat him somehow. I don't know how, though.

At that moment, Nastan crawled out of the ocean. He wasn't the biggest fan of swimming, but he managed to get out okay. He noticed Giho getting back up and also noticed that Julok and Chimoy were apparently having a staring contest of some kind. His eyes locked on Jokao, who was standing under a giant boulder.

Oh, no.... Nastan thought angrily. If that Dark Hunter is stooping down to low-level of threatening a innocent Matoran's life, then he's a big coward. I'll teach him.

The Toa of The Green pulled out his bow, then loaded a arrow in it. He aimed at Julok and fired, even as Chimoy called out to him to stop.

Julok saw the arrow coming for him. Instead of dodging it or dropping the rock on Jokao, he simply used his telekinetics to stop it in mid-air. This surprised both Chimoy and Nastan.

"What, did you think I can only focus on one object at a time?" Julok said. "Of course not. I can focus on multiple objects at one time."

Chimoy glared at Nastan, because of how stupid it was to attack the one who holds Jokao's life in his hands. Nastan just looked at the ground, trying not to see Chimoy's expression.

"Now, Toa," The Hunter said. "What matters to you most? This Matoran's life or defeating me? Now do as I said before, if you really care about this Matoran's life, drop your weapons and I might let you live, depending on what Icetraz wants."

Seeing as their was no way to defeat Julok and save Jokao's life, Chimoy and Nastan dropped their weapons. Giho and the revived Six Arms moved in to bind the Toa's hands in energy cuffs. Julok moved the boulder right next to Jokao, then walked over and put the Matoran's hands in energy cuffs as well.

"That was too easy!" Giho laughed.

"'Easy'?" Six Arms repeated. "I got my behind handed to me by this Toa of Iron here."

"Well, whatever," Giho said. "Two Toa are down. Now only four remain."

Nastan wondered how Nonzra, Barilo, Akuna, and Addis were doing.

I hope they don't fall as well, The Toa of The Green thought. Otherwise there's no hope for Shika Nui. No hope at all.

-


Barilo dodged the solar energy beam of the Dark Hunter named Tyu.

Tyu was black and blue and he weilded a metal chain with a spear attached to it's end. He about the same size as Barilo, but far more sinister-looking. He had two wings which he used for flight and he also had spikes jutting out of his armor. And apparently he could absorb energy from the sun and use it to fire a beam of solar energy, which is very devastating, as Barilo noticed when he saw the beam he dodged hit a rock and blow up, causing rock to rain down from the sky.

The Toa of Gravity unleashed his power over gravity, making the Hunter get heavier all of a sudden. Tyu hit the sand hard and found that he could not get up. Barilo walked over to him and raised his axe, ready to finished Tyu off for good.

But before he could land the killing blow, a burst of lava blew up next to the two combatants, blinding them both with sand.

When the sand cleared, Barilo saw Akuna running over to him, with the Dark Hunter code-named Death chasing after her. Somehow she had gottton away from the Hunter and was going to join Barilo. Then Barilo realized something.

"Where'd Tyu go?" Barilo said, looking around. What he didn't know was that the Hunter had burrowed under the sand, so the Toa was quite surprised to feel two hands pop out of the sand and grab his ankles. He was pulled under right as Akuna got over to him.

"Barilo!" Akuna shouted. She tried to grab Barilo's hand, but it went under too quickly. Then a ball of lava blasted her from behind, sending her flying into the water.

"Your friend is most likely dead, Toa," Death said, walking over to the water. He reached out and grabbed Akuna. At first, the Toa of Lightning believed he was helping her out of the water for some reason. Instead, he just hauled her out of the water and dropped her on the beach.

"What are you going to do now, Dark Hunter?" Akuna asked. "Are you going to kill me? Or will you do something worse?"

"I did plan on killing you, but now look over at your other three friends," Death replied, gesturing to the left.

She looked over and saw Nastan, Chimoy, and Jokao being lead by three Dark Hunters. Akuna noticed that the that the two Toa and the Ta-Matoran had energy cuffs over their hands, keeping them from escaping. She turned back to look at Death.

"Is that what you plan to do to me?" Akuna said.

Death nodded. "Of course. Besides, Icetraz will most likely think of some form of punishment. Like maybe you'll be fronzen to death or fed to the Takea sharks."

"Death!" Julok said. "Where did Tyu go?"

"He burrowed under the sand and took that Toa of Gravity with him," Death answered. "Now if you will excuse me, I will be cuffing this Toa of Lightning now."

Moving faster than Akuna's eyes could follow, Death circled behind her and then cuffed her hands. He forced her up and then moved her over to stand with Nastan and the others.

"Tyu should be coming out any time now," Death said. "If we're lucky, the Toa will be the dead one and not Tyu. But if we're even luckier, then they will both be dead somehow"

Everyone waited to see who would come up. They waited what seemed like forever, then there was a slight shift in the sand, and then Tyu broke out, flying up towards the sky, screaming in sheer terror. Barilo scrambled out of the sand and then stood tall.

"Like what I did to your friend?" Barilo said to the other four Dark Hunters. "Pretty soon he will be out of my range and then he will fall to his death. What do you think of that, Hunters?"

The only reply from them was a ball of lava being fired by Death. It hit Barilo, sendind him flying into a nearby boulder. He hit the wall and was knocked unconscious.

Julok looked up at the sky and saw Tyu was falling back down to the ground. The black and blue Dark Hunter was trying to use his wings to fly and land painlessly on the ground. It slowed him down, but he still hit the sand with a loud crash. Tyu got right back up, albeit painfully.

Giho had ran over and cuffed Barilo. The unconscious Toa of Gravity was dragged next to the other Toa and Jokao.

The winged Hunter looked around, angered by almost being killed by a Toa.

"Whatever punishment Icetraz gives them," Tyu said angrily. "I will enjoy watching every minute of it."

"Tyu, no one asked for your thought of the day," Julok snapped. "We should go help Kigin and Yhio defeat the last two Toa. Come on."

-


Yhio clinked weapons with Nonzra. The Toa of Sonics had a average sword, but on such short notice, it was the only thing he could use as a Toa tool.

Yhio was silver and orange. He was a rather bulky sort, but he was good with a sword, which the Hunter was using. Yhio was taller than Nonzra, but the Toa of Sonics was almost a even match in terms of swordplay.

Those sword lessons I had as a Matoran were worth every widget, Nonzra thought as he blocked a blow from the Dark Hunter. And I mean really worth it!

Addis was fighting Kigin, the leader of this small group of Dark Hunters.

Kigin was taller than Addis by about a few feet, but he was definetely a even match in fighting. His colors wer orange and green. He had a horn on his head and also weilded a mace.

The Toa of Plasma fired a ball of plasma at the Dark Hunter, but Kigin simply bashed the plasma ball out of the air with his mace. Then he hit Addis with the mace, knocking the Toa off his feet. Then Kigin wrapped his mace around a tree and pulled, causing it to fall on Addis.

"Toa, you are a novice," Kigin said. "Did you really think you could beat me, a experienced Dark Hunter?"

"Well," Addis said, under the treee. "I beat you before, didn't I?"

"That was because we weren't expecting you, Toa," Kigin snapped. "Now my leader, Icetraz, told me to kill you and take your body to him, to prove that you Toa exist. However, my allies have defeated the rest of your teammates and haven't killed them. They may have other plans for you."

Addis could not see anything, because of the tree on top of him. He could blast the tree into oblivion with his plasma powers, but he might hurt himself by accident if he blew the tree up, so he had to do lift the tree up off himself. He tried to lift the tree, but it was too heavy.

"What do you plan on doing to me then, Dark Hunter?" Addis said, having a little difficulty talking under a big, heavy tree.

"I will do whatever Icetraz wants me to do to you, Toa," Kigin replied. He then wipped his mace and smashed the tree, breaking it into splinters. "Now just get up and let me-"

The Hunter was interrupted by a ball of plasma hitting him in the chest, sending him flying into Viho. Nonzra's keen eyes noticed the Dark Hunter flying and quickly moved out of the way. Viho was confused for a minute untill he saw Kigin flying towards him. He noticed him too late, for Kigin flew right into him, knocking both of them out like two lightstones.

"Yeah!" Addis shouted, doing the traditional Toa fist hit with Nonzra. "We got those two good, didn't we?"

"Yeah, but..." Nonzra pointed at the five Dark Hunters coming, with their prisoners. "Can we possibly defeat five Dark Hunters on our own?"

"Don't worry, Nonzra," Addis said. "If could we beat those two, then we can beat those five!"

-


The six Toa and Jokao were now bound together. Giho and Yhio were standing watch, making sure that the Toa would not get away. It was getting dark, so the Dark Hunters had made a camp for the night and the Toa and Jokao were tied up to a tree.

"'If could we beat those two, then we can beat those five!'" Nonzra said sarcastically. "Nice going, plasma for brains."

"Nonzra, just shut up, okay?" Addis snapped. "We don't have time to argue. We have to escape."

"Shut up, Toa," Yhio said. "I didn't want to have to watch you, especially after that humiliating defeat."

"What will happen to me?" Jokao asked.

"No one cares what will happen to you, Matoran," Barilo growled. "If we hadn't rescued you, we would NEVER have gotton in this situation."

"Hey, I thought Toa always cared about Matoran," Giho said. "What's with you?"

"Not all Toa are the same, Hunter," Barilo snapped. "But I guess they never taught you that in the Dark Hunter schools, but I don't blame'em. You'd probably forget it anyway, considering how dumb you are."

"Shut up, Toa, or you will be going for a midnight swim and won't be coming out to dry off ever again." Giho threatened.

"Fine, fine," Barilo yawned. "I'm getting tired of insulting someone who is lower in intelligence to me anyway."

The Dark Hunter just glared at him.

"Whatever punishment you get, I hope it's long and painful, Toa," Giho said. "Now be quiet."

"Make me," Barilo said defiantly.

Giho smiled. "If that's what you want...."

The Dark Hunter put his hand in front of the Toa of Gravity's face. Nothing happened. Barilo tried to say something insulting to him, but all that came out of his mouth was nothing. His mouth moved, but no words came out. He looked up at Giho, confused.

"It's my silence power," Giho explained. "I can silence anyone at anytime. Pretty handy, don't you think?"

None of the other Toa answered, because none of them could think of any good comebacks. So instead they just tried to sleep, which was a hard thing to do when you are tied up to a tree.

Great, Jokao thought. Just when I thought these Toa were going to save me, they let me down. And now look where we are! I've got to find a way out or else we're all going to end up as dead meat.

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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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Chapter 6: Infiltration


The next day the Toa and Jokao were chained together, walking through the forest. The seven Dark Hunters were all making sure none of the Toa made a break for it by staying on all sides of their captives. Addis had tried to melt his chains off with plasma, but the Hunters beat him up and now he could barely walk, discouraging any other escape attempts.

The forest they were walking through was called the proto forest, because of the vast amounts of protodermis that was in the forest. Brakas monkeys were the most common Rahi found, with little insects found throughout the forest. The proto forest originally was bigger and more vast until the Dark Hunters came and chopped down most of the trees. Now the forest was still big, but it wasn't quite as big as before.

Nastan was angered by what the Dark Hunters had done to the forest. Like all Gre-Toa, Matoran, and Turaga, he loved nature and hated seeing it get destroyed or harmed in any way. But at the moment there was nothing he could do about it, which made it that much more frustrating.

"Where are you taking us?" Nonzra asked.

"To the fortress," Six Arms replied. "Where you will be punished."

"I'll never understand why you work for the Dark Hunters," Akuna said. "Why would anyone want to work for such a evil organization?"

"That's none of your business, Toa," Death growled. "Be quiet now or else I will personally teach you the meaning of the word 'death. Oh, and not everyone on the Dark Hunters is 'evil', Toa. Some work for them because no one else wants them and they have nowhere else to go.'"

It seemed like Death's voice sounded sad for some reason, like he was telling a truth that he did not like at all. Akuna decided she shouldn't ask, since he didn't seem like the kind who'd talk about that anyway.

For a while, there was no sound in the forest except for the sounds of brakas monkeys yelling somewhere deep into the forest and the sound of fourteen beings marching through the forest. Chimoy took this time to observe the trees and other plant life. As a Matoran, he never really spent his time around the forest or any other natural area of Shika Nui, but now since he was captured, he really had nothing else to do.

He noticed all the many different types of trees and plant growth. He would never be able to name all of them, but they were all beautiful. It seemed so peaceful in this forest. Nothing but the sound of brakas monkeys.

Nonzra, however, wasn't quite thinking of how beautiful everything was. He was too concerned with being captured by the Dark Hunters that he barely noticed all of the beauty.

Maybe I can unleash a devastating sonic blast that could make the Dark Hunters deaf? Nonzra thought. Of course, doing that would also make me and my friends deaf, so that scratches one plan.

Then another thought entered his mind. Maybe it was possible to use his Kanohi mask? There was no telling what it would do, since the Toa of Sonics knew very little about masks and knew even less about how to use them.

But it might be worth a shot anyway, Nonzra reasoned. It might kill us all, but being dead would be much better than being a captive of the Dark Hunters for the rest of my life.

He closed his eyes and focused his mind on his mask. He could feel the power of the mask activating, though it is a hard thing to describe because after he used it, everything seemed to happen so quickly.

First, the faint sounds of brakas monkeys from deep in the jungle became louder and louder. Then, the sounds became so loud that Nonzra could have sworn that the brakas were right next to him.

"Kaukau! Kaukau!"

The Toa of Sonics then heard the seven Dark Hunters screaming and shouting curses, apparently being attacked by something. Nonzra opened his eyes to see an entire horde of brakas monkeys, hopping and jumping and climbing everyone and everything. The monkeys were also attacking the Dark Hunters and the Hunters were having less luck beating the monkeys because of how fast they were moving and of how many of them that there were.

Now that the Dark Hunters were distracted, Chimoy broke his chains and then used his elemental power over metal to break the other Toa and Jokao out. Barilo took this moment to use his power over gravity to make Tyu heavier, causing the Dark Hunter fall hard to the ground.

"Quickly!" Tyu shouted. "Someone get the prisoners! They're escaping!"

But it was of no use. The other Dark Hunters were too busy fighting off the Rahi monkeys to chase the Toa and Jokao. When they finally either killed or drove off the rest of the brakas, the prisoners were nowhere to be seen.

-


The six Toa and the Ta-Matoran moved stealthily through the forest. They never slowed down until they were sure that they were deep enough into the forest so the Dark Hunters would never follow them. They sat down in a quiet part of the forest where the trees were the thickest and there was barely any light at all, so Nastan used his elemental power over plant life to move some trees over, but not all of them in case a Dark Hunter was flying overhead. All seven of them were panting from all the running that they did.

"So, since you're the nature expert, Nastan," Addis began, turning to Nastan. "Is it normal to see hundreds of brakas monkeys attacking Dark Hunters for no reason?"

"No," Nastan replied. "That is something that never happens. But sometimes brakas monkeys will attack intruders in their realm if they feel threatened."

"Then what caused that to happen?" Barilo asked.

"I don't know," Nastan said.

"I think I have the answer," Nonzra said.

"Really? Why do you think they attacked the Dark Hunters?" Barilo questioned.

"I think it was my mask power," The Toa of Sonics replied, tapping the Kanohi Mask of Power that was on his face. "I think I can summon Rahi with it."

"It's either that," Jokao said. "Or the brakas hate the Dark Hunters as much as we do."

"Well, whatever happened," Addis said. "We should plan out our next course of action."

"Maybe we should leave the island," Barilo suggested. "After all, we can't beat the Dark Hunters on our own anyway, right?"

"Too coward-y," Addis replied. "Besides, we'd never be able to find a boat that could take us out into the sea. And even if we did get out into the sea, the Hunters might see us and blast us into oblivion anyway."

"Then maybe it's time we learned to use our mask powers," Akuna suggested. "We all seem to have some control over our elemental powers, but most of us can't use our mask powers."

"But we don't know how to use our masks, Akuna," Nastan said. "Maybe Nonzra knows how to use his mask, but I don't know how to use mine."

"Well, I'm pretty sure I can teach you guys, even though I've only used my mask once," Nonzra said. "Who wants to go first?"

-


Tyu flew above the trees of the proto forest. He was searching for the Toa and the Ta-Matoran, but the trees were so thick that he could not see anything except for the occasional brakas monkey and he hated the darn monkeys after that last encounter with them.

He wished that he could see through the trees, because it would make his job go by much more faster, but he had to be contented with having the ability to fly at the moment and not x-ray vision. Tyu decided to head back to the others, because it was taking too long to find the prisoners and flying above the same trees fifteen times in a row can get quite boring after a while.

The Dark Hunter turned around and flew back. He saw the others standing amidst the destroyed trees and dead brakas monkeys. He landed next to Kigin, who looked up at the black and blue Dark Hunter expectantly.

"So?" Kigin said. "Did you find the Toa?"

"No," Tyu replied, shaking his head. "I couldn't find them. The trees are too thick."

"Then let's thin'em out a little," Giho said, holding his axe up.

Julok shook his head.

"No, if we did that, then other Hunters will start asking what we're doing and when they hear that we lost six Toa and one Matoran, they will laugh at us and most likely tell Icetraz," Julok said. "So we keep searching, regardless of how long it takes us."

"Fine," Kigin sighed. "We keep searching." Then he added. "And if we find them, kill them. Take no prisoners."

-


Jokao was amazed by how quickly the six Toa Shika had learned how to use their mask powers.

Nastan had discovered that his mask power was the Kanohi Sanok, the Mask of Accuracy. He discovered that by throwing a blade of grass at a nearby tree. It hit the tree so hard that the tree fell over.

Toa Akuna's mask was the Kanohi Ruru, the Mask of Night Vision. She found that out because of the big glow that her mask gave off, lighting the dark forest are up. The Toa of Lightning quickly turned it off so the Dark Hunters wouldn't notice it and come to see what was over there.

Not that the Ruru is anything too special, Jokao thought. Or useful.

Addis had a Suletu. He proved he could read minds by reading everyone's minds and accurately telling what each person was thinking.

Toa Chimoy already knew that his mask was the Kadin, but he tried to use it and ended up flying into a tree so hard that it almost fell on him(Fortunately, Nastan had used his elemental powers to stop the tree from crushing his Toa of Iron friend.).

Barilo learned that his mask was the Kanohi Volitak, the Mask of Stealth. When he first used it, he turned almost invisible and he wasn't casting a shadow. The other five Toa and Jokao panicked for a second until they realized that the Toa of Gravity had simply used his mask power.

Nonzra figured his mask was the Zatth, the Mask of Summoning, which made sense, considering all the brakas monkeys that attacked the Dark Hunters for no reason.

Barilo's Kanohi gave Addis a idea. He turned over to the Toa of Gravity.

"I have a plan and it involves you," Addis said to Barilo. "And your mask power. Think you'll be up to it?"

"First I have to know what it is," Barilo replied. "But whatever your plan is, I think I'm up to it, if it involves kicking Dark Hunter behind."

"Good," Addis said, smiling. "Because this will be a very important mission that might just help us get the Hunters off this island for good."

-


The Dark Hunter's Fortress was huge. It had many towers, all of which were rather sinister-looking. There were many guards on duty, all of them not looking like they wanted to be your best friend. The huge gate that lead into the fortress was closed, but not locked.

Barilo, using his Mask of Stealth, was making a observation. He was almost completely invisible and any Dark Hunter who might notice his extremely dim outline would have dismiss it as a trick of the eye. The Toa of Gravity was to infiltrate the fortress and gain valuable information on the Dark Hunters.

Now and then, a Dark Hunter or two would exit the fortress, heading for the where the slaves worked no doubt. Barilo need to get in when a Dark Hunter was entering or exiting.

He noticed one Dark Hunter was walking up to the fortress, no doubt heading in. He quietly made his way behind the Hunter, even though he didn't need to do it quietly, since the Volitak took away any and all sound that he made except if he was talking. But talking wasn't what he was interested in at the moment. Getting in without being noticed was what he considered interesting.

The Dark Hunter walked up to the two other Hunters who were guarding the entranceway. He flashed a identity tablet and the guards nodded. The two guards moved out of the way and opened the gate, letting the first Dark Hunter walk in.

Now was Barilo's chance to get in. He dashed in, accidently pushing the first Dark Hunter in. The Toa of Gravity, still using his Volitak, moved out of the way as the Dark Hunter he accidently pushed turned around and walked back out, looking very angry.

"Which one of you bozos pushed me in?" The first Dark Hunter demanded angrily.

"What are you talking about?" One of the guards asked, confused. "I didn't push you and neither did Hokeg. At least, I didn't see anyone push you."

"I felt someone push me in and there is no one else around here besides you two and myself and I very much doubt I would push myself," The first Dark Hunter explained. "So which one of you did it?"

"None of us," The second Dark Hunter, Hokeg, said. "We was standin' rights here likes we was supposed to and then you came out demandin' us to tell you who pushed you and we's don't know who did it."

"You're definitely lying, I can tell that," The first Dark Hunter said, still angry. "Now one of you just confess and I'll be on my way. Who did it?"

"No one!" Both guards shouted in unison. "We didn't do anything!"

That was the last straw for the first Dark Hunter. He knew one of them pushed him and since none of them were going to confess, he fired a beam of firy-ice, hitting both of the guards. Now the two Dark Hunter guards were angry and they attacked back, sending beams of energy at the first Hunter.

While those three were fighting, Barilo made his way around the fortress. He had no clear idea of where the Dark Hunters kept their records, so he decided to check every opened door he came across. Because opening doors and finding Dark Hunters inside who see him open the door and don't see anyone will get suspicious and Barilo might get caught was not a good idea.

There weren't many opened doors and what opened doors he did find had Dark Hunters in them, usually discussing security issues or other things that the Hunters considered important. While it would have been important to listen in on their conversations, they usually closed the doors and the Toa of Gravity didn't feel like going in and being trapped with two or more Dark Hunters anyway, even if he did get some information.

Maybe they keep maps of the fortress on stone tablets somewhere, Barilo thought as he walked through the dark hallway. Question is, where do they keep the tablets?

As he walked through the fortress, he looked around at the many hallways, doors, and stairways that lead to who knows where. He also noticed a what looked like a giant cave opening. It was quite strange looking, compared to the rest of the fortress and it looked like it was apparently carved artificially, most likely by the Dark Hunters. He noticed that there was a sign carved into the wall next to the cave.

Letting his curiosity get the best of him, he walked over to read the sign. It read:

Here leads to the ancient wall of solid protodermis. Bring a lightstone if you wish enter, for it is a dark and forbidding place where anyone without a light has perished. Beware the darkness, for it is as black and dark as a Makuta's heart.

Barilo looked towards the cave mouth. What ancient wall of solid protodermis was this warning talking about? The Toa of Gravity knew of no walls of solid protodermis and this certainly made no sense to him at all.

I have no time to ponder this, Barilo thought. I have information to find and maybe when I find that, I will have time to ponder this.

The next few minutes were rather uneventful. He dodged a few Dark Hunters and investigated a few open doors, but nothing too interesting. He finally found a opened door that had many different tablets stacked on top of each other. Fortunately, no Dark Hunters were in the room or near it, so Barilo walked in and quietly closed the door, just to make sure no one sees him reading the tablets.

Turning off his Volitak, he began looking at each tablet. It was taking him a long time, but he was purposely doing this, because he believed that there weren't any Dark Hunters coming any time soon, why not read through all or most of them anyway? He wasn't in any hurry.

Most of the tablets had the bios of most of the Dark Hunters, while others looked simply like carvings that someone made. They were quite strange, the carvings were. Some showed Dark Hunters training, while others showed treasures, islands, and many other things that Barilo couldn't identify.

Finally, he found a tablet that showed a map of the Dark Hunter's fortress. He put it into his backpack and was about to leave, when he noticed one more tablet. The tablet showed a picture of a wall, but it looked different from every other wall that the Toa of Gravity had seen before. Intrigued, he picked it up to get a closer look at it.

As he examined the picture, he noticed that there were words carved onto it. Apparently, the wall was called the 'Ancient Wall of Solid Protodermis.'

Barilo stopped reading for a minute. That cave mouth that he saw and the warning near it said that a ancient wall of solid protodermis was deep within the cavern. What could the Dark Hunters possibly want with it?

Barilo knew he wouldn't learn the answer by thinking about it, so he continued reading the tablet. It read like a diary or journal. Here is what it said:

We came to this island of Shika Nui because of a ancient wall of solid protodermis. Legend has it that, in the beginning of the universe, a team of Toa consisting of a Toa of Gravity, a Toa of Plasma, a Toa of Lightning, a Toa of Iron, a Toa of The Green, and a Toa of Sonics locked a giant door off using a Toa seal. After that, they burried the way to the door to make sure no one got into it. Nobody knows exactly what is behind the door. Some say it is a great and wonderful treasure that would make one richer than their wildest dreams. Others say a legendary Kanohi mask was hidden there to keep away from evil beings. And then there are others who believe that a great and evil spirit was locked away, along with a great army of darkness that has enough power to crush the universe.

The Shadowed One believes a great treasure is hidden there, so he sent I and eleven other Dark Hunters to capture Shika Nui. The attack was successful and only one Toa got away, a Toa of Stone named Joha.

Already we have dug the entrance out to the cave. We're stuck trying to break the protodermis wall. Only Toa can break Toa seals and we have no Toa, let alone six, so we have been chipping away the protodermis little by little and it's wearing out our Dark Hunters. I have already proposed that we get the Matoran to do the work. Most of the others agree and I think we'll get the little creeps to work sometime soon.

What do I believe is behind the door? I don't know, honestly. For now, I will go with what the Shadowed One believes and hopefully a vast treasure is hidden there and not our dooms.


Barilo stopped reading. This explained why the Dark Hunters came to Shika Nui. At the time, Barilo and the others had just assumed that the Hunters had came because of Shika Nui's vast amount of protodermis in the proto forest or something else. Now he knew the truth.

They came here to take whatever might be behind the door and they don't care who gets in the way, Barilo thought. Then he thought something else. Maybe I could convince the others to unlock the door and see what is inside. After all, we have all the right elements and we're Toa. But first we'll have to boot the Dark Hunters off this island.

The Toa of Gravity put the tablet in his backpack, just in case the others need to see it.

Now time to get out of here, Barilo thought. He turned around and was surprised to see that the door was opened. I thought I closed that!

He ran over to try and close it, but before he could get to it, he felt a blade go up to his throat. He stopped before he moved any further.

"You're a Toa, aren't you?" The female voice behind him said. Before Barilo could answer, the voice spoke again. "Before you ask how I got in here without you noticing, I must say you must not be very observant."

"Who are you?" Barilo asked. He couldn't tell who was behind him, but he figured she is a Dark Hunter and will most likely kill him simply because he is a Toa.

"My name isn't important," The female voice snapped. "What I want to know is what you have in your backpack."

Barilo could feel a hand digging through his pack and he couldn't do anything to stop her. He felt her pull one tablet out, then another.

"Looks like you were doing a little spy work, Toa," The female voice said. "Kigin and Tyu were right. There are more Toa on this island, since you are obviously not Toa Joha."

The Toa of Gravity was surprised by this. Usually Dark Hunters call Toa, any Toa, just 'Toa,' yet she was calling Joha by his real name, and it wasn't in a sarcastic or mocking tone, either.

What is Mata Nui's name is up with that? Barilo thought. Does she actually have some sort of respect for Joha or something?

"Where are the rest of your friends, Toa?" The female voice asked. "Are they hiding near the fortress, ready to attack? Or are you the only Toa left on this island, aside from Joha? Answer, Toa, and you might live. Might."

"Never," Barilo said. "I may not be the noblest Toa out there, but I would never reveal the location of my friends. Especially to a Dark Hunter."

At first, the Toa of Gravity wasn't sure if his head would be on his body any longer, but surprisingly, instead of slicing his head off, the female Dark Hunter just made him walk.

"Where are you taking me and why didn't you kill me?" Barilo asked.

"Icetraz has said that he wants any and all prisoners taken to him so he can give them a proper punishment," She replied. "So be still and don't make any sudden moves."

For a while they walked through the winding hallways of the fortress. Some Dark Hunters saw them go by and nodded their heads in approval. Others simply glared at Barilo just for being a Toa and then there were the curious few who followed the Toa and Dark Hunter. All the while the Toa never saw how the female Dark Huntress' looked and none of the other Dark Hunters ever called her by her name.

Barilo glance at carvings on the wall. They looked like pictures. Pictures of Dark Hunters, to be exact. Of course, he didn't know for sure, but it seemed like a reasonable guess because of the names under them. Obviously they were code-names, since most of them were actual words and not names someone would be named.

One door was opened and no one appeared to be inside it. As they walked by, the Toa of Gravity glanced into the room. There was a giant suit of armor. It looked grand, elegant(In some strange way), and evil, even though it had many holes punched into it.

Whoever wore that armor must have been powerful, Barilo thought. But I most certainly don't want to meet the guy who killed whoever wore that!

The Dark Huntress took the blade from the Toa of Gravity's neck and then quickly cuffed his hands with energy cuffs. Barilo didn't like these energy cuffs at all because of how it brought back bad memories of when he and the others had been defeated and captured by the those other seven Dark Hunters. Oh, sure, it had happened only about a day or two ago and he was still a novice Toa, but he felt that he could have killed them and then proceed to kill the rest of Hunters on this island, effectively freeing Shika Nui.

But nooooo, Barilo thought angrily. Nastan believed that killing our enemies is wrong because Joha and all those other Toa on his original team didn't kill anyone. Who cares if Joha didn't kill his enemies? I don't and I would be glad to take away all the gravity from this fortress and then give it too much gravity, killing all the Dark Hunters in it. Genius, I would say.

Right, said a voice in Barilo's head. Sounds something more like what a Makuta would do than a Toa, don't you agree?

The Toa of Gravity was shocked and surprised by this voice. Was he going insane and he was hearing multiple voices in his head, or was someone mentally speaking to him? Barilo was about to find out.

Who is there and how am I talking to you if I don't have a Suletu? Barilo asked the voice. Addis has the Suletu, not me. Am I going crazy?

You wish, Toa, The voice answered. You are not going insane. I am a Makuta and I want to help you, Toa.

Barilo didn't answer. He had never met a Makuta before and didn't know how to answer, so the Makuta went back on talking.

It may seem strange to you, Toa, to have a Makuta of all beings help you, The voice said. But I want the Dark Hunters off this island just as much as you and your friends do and I need a body if I am to help you.

But you still didn't answer my other question, Barilo thought(Or said, he wasn't quite sure which one it was in his mind). How come I can reply to you, even though I can't read your mind?

I bridged our minds together, Toa, the Makuta explained. We share a sort of psychic link now, so you can hear my thoughts and I can hear yours. Now do you agree to help me?

If you help me escape from the Dark Hunters, then I will, Barilo said to him. After that, we'll talk.

Good, good, very good, the Makuta said. I already have a plan and here's what you do.

As the Toa of Gravity listened to the Makuta's plan, he wondered if he made the right choice, Surely the others would agree with helping a Makuta if it meant that Shika Nui would be free. And who knows, maybe Barilo would become leader of the island and close it's border to all Dark Hunters.

It was well worth thinking about, Barilo decided. After all, the Dark Hunters say that Makuta are evil and cruel beings who don't care about anyone but themselves, but what if they aren't? What if they want to actually make world peace and the Dark Hunters are just trying to do the opposite? The Toa of Gravity decided to ask this Makuta about it sometime.

One thing is for sure, Barilo thought. This island will be freed of Dark Hunter tyranny and all be well.

Or so Barilo thought, but he would soon learn what happens when you trust a Makuta. He will learn that very soon indeed.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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Chapter 7: Escape From The Fortress


Outside the fortress, the other Toa and Jokao were waiting in the forest around the Dark Hunters' headquarters, waiting for Barilo to come out with the information they needed.

They were aware that Barilo could spend many hours in there, since no Matoran, Toa, or anyone who isn't a Dark Hunter had ever went into there willingly, so the Toa of Gravity was probably going to be looking through many different rooms before finding what they needed.

Nonzra watched as the three Dark Hunters at the front of the fortress fought each other. It seemed like the two guards would win, because they were both bigger and stronger than the first one. However, the first one was smaller and faster and he was using that to his advantage to attack them quickly.

"Look," Nonzra said, pointing towards the battling Dark Hunters. Another, even bigger Dark Hunter was walking towards them. "Another one. How will Barilo get out now?"

"It looks like to me that that bigger Dark Hunter is going to break up their fighting, Nonzra," Akuna said, pointing at the mini-giant of a Dark Hunter casually walking towards the fortress.

She was right. The humongus Dark Hunter got in between the three combatants and stopped their fighting. He then scolded them, but none of the Dark Hunters spoke back to him because of his obvious strength. The two guards went back to guard duty and the third one just walked right into the fortress, looking like he wasn't too happy with how that bigger Dark Hunter had stepped in between them instead of letting the first Dark Hunter defeat them.

As for the bigger Dark Hunter, he just smiled and walked towards the back of the fortress, satisfied with what he just did.

"Well, I certainly wouldn't want to mess with him," Jokao said in awe. "That guy was huge! He looked like he could have ripped those three guys apart easily!"

"Yeah," Addis agreed. "Now let's hope that Barilo doesn't run into him or we'll end up with bite-sized Toa of Gravity pieces."

-


Barilo was roughly tossed into a cage. He had already met Icetraz, the leader of the Dark Hunters of Shika Nui. He was quite a sight, with his Kikanalo-looking head, his twin Cordak blasters and his big, bulky body.

As soon as he saw the Toa of Gravity, he immediately sentenced him to death, but since a Brotherhood of Makuta sea vessel was allegedly seen off the shore of Shika Nui, attacking and sinking Dark Hunter ships, he put it off until tomorrow and personally went himself to sink the Brotherhood's ship, because of the reports that a Makuta was seen aboard the ship.

During that time Barilo actually got to see the female Dark Hunter who had captured him. Her name was Yehiku and, in Barilo's opinion, she was beautiful. She was about the same size as himself and had red and black armor. Her eyes were green and it was very hard to keep his eyes off her.

But she didn't seem to share his same feelings, because she kept giving him the death glare every time he looked at her for too long. And she was also the one who roughly tossed him into the cage, too.

"Welcome to your new, temporary home, Toa," Yehiku said sarcastically. "Make yourself at home, but you're going to be too busy dying to make it homey anyway, so I don't think you should even bother."

She left the room. Now Barilo was all alone. It wasn't dark. There was a lightstone in the ceiling that lit the room up dimly, but there wasn't much to see in the room. No furniture, no windows, no nothing.

Am I in love with Yehiku? Barilo thought. Or am I going insane?

You very well might be insane, Makuta Hajax, the Makuta who had a psychic link with Barilo, said. After all, everyone I know who has had a psychic link with a Makuta has gone insane at one point in their lives. Or you might have real feelings for her. I don't know and I don't care, because phase one of the plan is going in action.

Barilo saw the cage door open, obviously by the power of Hajax's magnetism. The Toa of Gravity activated his mask power, making himself almost invisible. He walked out of the cage and quietly pushed the door of the room that he is in open. He looked both ways down the hallway and then made his way quickly to the left, but closed the door to his room to make sure no one noticed he was gone.

As the Toa of Gravity made his way past Dark Hunters, he contacted Hajax. Barilo needed some of his own questions answered and Hajax was the one who had the answers.

Hajax, where are you? Barilo asked.

In your mind at the moment, Makuta Hajax replied. Or do you mean where I am phyiscally? If that is what you want to know, then I'm not happy to say that I no longer have a physical body.

Barilo stopped, then moved to lean against a wall as two Dark Hunters walked down the hallway.

What do you mean that you don't have a phyiscal body? Barilo asked. Are...are you a ghost?

Hajax laughed. Of course not. I am in some sort of green-ish black gaseous form. I wish I had my body, because then I would get revenge on my old 'friends' that they so richly deserve.

Whoa, there, Hajax, Barilo said. What are you talking about? Start at the beginning, because I'm confused.

Very well, Barilo, Makuta Hajax sighed. Let me begin. Many years ago the Brotherhood of Makuta held a convocation. Makuta Teridax, the lieutenant to Makuta Miserix, had a plan he believed would give us Makuta full control over the universe. Of course, Miserix was totally against the Plan, but the other Makuta agreed with the Plan and Miserix was kicked out of leadership and Teridax was put in charge.

Now not all of us Makuta agreed with the Plan. Some of us simply sided with Teridax for fear of being killed. I was one of them and after the convocation, any Makuta that Teridax believed unloyal to the Plan were hunted down and killed by Makuta Icarax and Makuta Gorast. They killed the others in under a year, but I hid for a long time until they found that I had came here. They found me and, after a short battle, ripped my armor open, letting my gaseous form drift into the open. It just so happened that at that moment, a fierce wind blew by, dispersing my form.

Icarax and Gorast believed that the wind killed me and left, but there was still a little bit left of myself, so I was worried that I was going to die soon.

Luck was on my side, for the Dark Hunters had stolen some plans from Metru Nui to make super Vahki. The Hunters' top scientists worked until they finally perfected it. They made many, but found that they weren't any good for fighting, so they wound up as personal servants of the Dark Hunters instead. I learned that I could possess robots and I did, possessing one of the many robots. That is how I survived for so many years.


Well, how come I haven't seen any of those so-called super Vahki around the fortress? Barilo asked.

Most of them were destroyed by Visorak, Rahkshi, Exo-Toa, and Dark Hunters who were just in a very bad mood. Fortunately, no one knows that I am in a super Vahki and I have learned many, many secrets from listening in on the Dark Hunters who believe that I am a mindless machine and not a intelligent Makuta, Hajax explained.

You sure seem to talk alot, Barilo said. Anyway, I need to get out of here. You've been here longer than me, so do you know the least guarded area that I could escape easily?

The western area is guarded by one guard and he isn't that smart, so sneaking by him should get be easy for you, Makuta Hajax said to him.

Barilo turned to the western area and went only two steps when he heard a alarm go off. The door to his room was open and a Dark Hunter was coming out, yelling.

"The Toa has escaped!" The Dark Hunter shouted. "Everyone get on alert! He's somewhere in this fortress and he has escaped!!"

After that, hundreds of Dark Hunters poured into the fortress. Barilo had a tough time dodging all the Dark Hunters who were running up and down the hallways. The Toa of Gravity was glad that his mask had not been taken from him, because he surely would not have been able to escape if he didn't have it. He remembered why they had let him keep his mask.

When Icetraz learned of the Brotherhood of Makuta vessel, he was in too much of a hurry to have Barilo's mask taken from him.

Good thing that Brotherhood of Makuta ship was sighted, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get out here, Barilo thought.

-


Kigin lead his team of Dark Hunters towards the fortress. They hadn't found the Toa and it was becoming dark. None of them were truly afraid of the dark, but none of them were ready to spend all night in the forest either, especially after the army of brakas monkeys that had attacked them earlier. They preferred the security of the fortress to the wilderness forest.

Tyu noticed all the Dark Hunters running to and fro, talking and shouting. The winged Dark Hunter thought he heard one of them say that a Toa of Gravity had escaped. If he remembered correctly, a Toa of Gravity had almost defeated Tyu earlier that day. Had that Toa been captured and then escaped somehow? Tyu decided he needed to know, so he grabbed a Dark Hunter running by.

The Dark Hunter, who had bronze armor, turned angrily to see who had dared grab him. He saw Tyu and the other six.

"Oh, hey, Tyu!" the Dark Hunter exclaimed. He waved at the other six. "And you six, Julok, Kigin, Death, Six Arms, Giho, and Viho. Where were you? Have you heard the big news?"

"What big news, Vawe?" Tyu asked.

"There's a Toa of Gravity that was found stealing the map of the fortress. Yehiku caught him and he was thrown into a cage," Vawe said. "But now he has somehow escaped and we're looking for him. All Dark Hunters on Shika Nui have been ordered to keep their eyes open for any Toa of Gravity and most are searching for him now."

Tyu looked back towards his six comrades. They looked at him. All seven of them were thinking the same thing: That Toa of Gravity is the same one they had fought!

The question is, where are the other Toa? Tyu thought.

"Um, Vawe, were any other Toa seen around the fortress?" the winged Dark Hunter asked.

"No," the bronze armored Dark Hunter answered, surprised. "Why? Did you guys see any others?"

"Yes, we did," Giho replied. "Five more, to be exact."

"There are five more Toa on this island?" Vawe repeated, shocked. "Five? Are you sure?"

"Yes, we're very sure," Julok replied. "We fought them and won."

"Then where are they?" Vawe asked. "What did you do with them? Did you kill them?"

All seven of them looked embarrassed.

"They, uh," Yhio said. "They got away from us."

The bronze armored Dark Hunter burst into laughter. He laughed for a very, very, long time. In fact, Death thought that maybe Vawe was going insane because of how long he laughed.

Finally, Vawe stopped, though he was still laughing a little.

"Oh that's a good joke, Viho," Vawe said. He laughed again. "But seriously, what really happened to those Toa?"

"We're serious, Vawe," Death said in a serious tone. "We fought and defeated them and were planning on taking them to the fortress, but hundreds of brakas monkeys attacked us and they escaped in the confusion. We still don't know where they are, but now we have a idea on where one of them is."

Vawe looked surprised.

"Well, you can help us find that Toa of Gravity and maybe we can make him talk," Vawe said. "He'll tell us where the rest of his friends are."

-


Barilo kept having to hide in doorways and dodging any Dark Hunters, but that was becoming increasingly difficult to do, because more and more Dark Hunters seemed to come in every minute. The Toa of Gravity reflected on the plan that Makuta Hajax had told him and how it would benefit everyone on the island of Shika Nui except for the Dark Hunters.

The plan was simple, or so it seemed. All Barilo had to do was get out of the fortress, meet up with the other Toa and then attack the fortress with the help of Makuta Hajax. If it were successful, then the Dark Hunters would be off the island, but the entire thing seemed unrealistic to Barilo.

For one, how would they, six Toa, one Matoran and one Makuta, defeat hundreds and hundreds of Dark Hunters? Oh sure, Makuta are very strong, but Hajax didn't have his original Makuta armor and he would be very easily destroyed by any well-trained Dark Hunter. And then Barilo and his friends were novices and had a hard time against seven Dark Hunters. What would happen if they took on hundreds? Barilo didn't want to think about the results.

But the Toa of Gravity also thought of Jokao, who would surely be killed as soon as the battle started. As much as Barilo didn't want to admit it, he was worried about the Ta-Matoran.

Maybe Hajax has a plan to take out most of the Dark Hunters, Barilo thought.

Barilo rounded a corner and then found the western entrance. As Hajax had told him, there was one guard standing with his back to the entrance. Apparently he didn't think anyone would come out of the fortress and attack him, since Barilo smashed him down with his gravity powers and the Dark Hunter looked totally shocked and surprised. But the Hunter was knocked unconscious, so it didn't matter much anyway.

The Toa of Gravity lifted his axe, ready to kill the Dark Hunter, but then he saw a super Vahki running towards him. He could tell it was a super Vahki because hit vaguely resembled one. It's head looked like a normal Vahki head, but the rest of it's body was different.

For one, you couldn't even tell it was based off the Vahki unless someone told you so. It had a very skinny body and the entire build looked fragile. It's arms were long and had no armor. Legs were the same as the arms, except for the feet, which had razor sharp nails at the end of each toe. There were three toes on each foot. It was blue and purple, which was odd, considering that it was based off the Vahki and there were no Vahki that were blue and purple.

At first, Barilo considered destroying the robot, but Hajax mentally contacted him right before he could increase the gravity of the super Vahki ten thousand times it's normal gravity.

Don't even think of it, Hajax warned. I'm using this body and you won't be living any longer if you try it.

Fine, fine, Barilo replied. I wasn't really going to do it anyway. Now if you will excuse me, I have a Dark Hunter to kill.

As much as killing a Dark Hunter sounds amusing to me, it would be a bad move, Hajax said. Another Dark Hunter is surely going to see his ally killed and everyone and their Energy Hound will know you went this way.

Okay, geez, Barilo said. Where do we go now?

I cannot believe you forgot about the plan already, Barilo, the Makuta of Shika Nui snapped. But I might as well refresh your memory anyway. We're to find your friends and convince them to attack the fortress.

They wouldn't do that, Barilo said. Toa aren't as dumb as you think we are. We'd be smashed and killed by them easily. No sane Toa would do that, even with a Makuta on our side.

I have more plans, Toa, that will definitely help out cause, Hajax replid. Now you go and find your friends and I will go and get my allies.

Before Barilo could ask him who the Makuta's 'allies' were, Hajax was off, rounding a corner and disappearing. Realizing it probably wasn't the healthiest idea to stay around here any longer, the Toa of Gravity ran into the forest, making his way to the rest of the Toa Shika.

-

The other five Toa Shika and Jokao watched as hundreds of Dark Hunters of all kinds were running, jumping, and even flying around the fortress, looking for something. The seven Dark Hunters who the Toa Shika had escaped from earlier had came back to the fortress and were now helping their allies search for whatever it is that they were searching for.

"Did Barilo blow his cover?" Nonzra asked. "Or is this some kind of emergency drill and it got out of hand?"

"No doubt they're looking for Barilo," Addis said. "I told him that this was a stealth mission, not a attack on the fortress!"

"Um, Addis?" Jokao said. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure," Addis replied. "What is it?"

"Yesterday, you said that you didn't want to help free Shika Nui because of the impossible odds, but now you are gathering information on them for a attack," Jokao said. "What changed your mind?"

"I don't know, actually," Addis said. "All I remember is being against attacking the Dark Hunters one minute, then immediately I changed my mind and wanted to attack the Dark Hunters the next."

"That's strange," Jokao commented. "Toa don't just change their minds without knowing why. In fact, no one changes their mind without knowing why."

"Exactly," Addis agreed. "But we don't have time to wonder about that. What we do need to do is find out if Barilo is still alive or not."

"And I am," Barilo, who had just walked out of the forest, said.

"Barilo! Thank Mata Nui you're alive!" Akuna exclaimed, relieved.

"What is up with the Dark Hunters going crazy?" Nonzra asked.

"Well, sit down and I will explain," Barilo said. He went on to talk about his capture and his escape. He mentioned that Hajax already was getting some of his allies to help attack the fortress, but he had no idea of who or what these allies were. He didn't mention his discovery of the Ancient Wall of Protodermis, because he wanted it to keep it a surprise until he was sure he could count on the others going along with it.

"So we just sit here and wait?" Nastan asked. "We wait until Makuta Hajax and his allies come? How do we know he will even bring allies?"

"Well, I can tell if he's double-crossing us," Barilo replied. "He made a psychic link between myself and him, so I can read his mind and he can read mine, so if he is double-crossing us, I'll know."

"Okay, where do we go, then?" Nonzra said. "Where did Hajax say his allies were coming from?"

"Um, I was never told, actually," the Toa of Gravity said sheepishly. "All he said is to wait in the mountains until he comes to get us."

"That's all?" Addis asked.

"That's all," Barilo answered. "So we have two options. We wait here and hope the Dark Hunters don't find us or we go to the mountains, which is the last place any of them would look for us."

"Well, if this Makuta is as good as you say," Addis said slowly. "Then we go to the mountains."

"Can we save my friends first?" Jokao asked. All six of the Toa Shika turned to him, apparently haven forgotten their Ta-Matoran companion. "My village is near here and-"

"Don't worry, Jokao," Barilo said. "If this plan goes well, then your village and every other village on Shika Nui should be free."

"But when will we get our freedom?" Joka asked. "Will it take days? Months? Years?"

Toa Barilo didn't answer that. He wasn't sure when Shika Nui would be free. All Hajax had told him was that Shika Nui would be free and that's that. So he just turned away from Jokao and said, "Let's go. It's getting darker and we don't want to be found so close to the Dark Hunter fortress, do we?"

The others nodded. One by one they all made their way deeper in the forest, with Nastan leading, since being a Toa of the Green, he knew his way around forests easily. But Chimoy kept doubting what Barilo said.

Now I've never met a Makuta before, but I've heard plenty about them, Chimoy thought as he followed behind the others. The entire thing sounds fishy to me, but I don't know why. I have no reason to doubt trusting a Makuta if it means that Shika Nui will be freed, but there is something about this that doesn't make any sense. Why would a Makuta ally himself with six Toa and a Matoran? If Makuta are as strong as I think they are, then he should be able to kick the Dark Hunters off this island no problem.

Maybe I'm just tired. That's it. All I need to do is sleep, rest my brain a little. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to think clearly.

-


Makuta Hajax, in the body of the super Vahki, made his way around the fortress. No Dark Hunter had seen him, which was good, because they would most likely order him to find Barilo and the Makuta would have to go along with it to keep his disguise up.

He was going to the eastern edge of the island, where his allies would be waiting. Hajax had been planning this attack on the Dark Hunters for many years. The Makuta of Shika Nui was originally planning on putting his plan into action 1000 years before, but when the Dark Hunters declared war against the Brotherhood of Makuta, he didn't have time to attack. But now there were these Toa on the island and all the Dark Hunters were going crazy trying to find them. He needed the Toa of Iron alive, to fix his broken armor, which was in the custody of the Dark Hunters.

At least, Hajax was sure that the Toa of Iron could repair his armor, if the Toa knew how to make protosteel. The Makuta of Shika Nui wondered if the rest of the Brotherhood had become gaseous forms as well and how they managed to live with it and if it affected the Plan at all.

Probably modified their armor to stop their forms from leaking out, Hajax thought as he ran. Maybe they had the Nynrah Ghosts modify them. But it doesn't matter. All I need to do is get to my allies and soon the island and it's treasure will be mine.

Hajax hadn't told Barilo why he had sent him into the mountains, but the Makuta was well aware of what was waiting in the mountains. Makuta Hajax didn't plan to go and get them. He would send someone to go and watch the Toa. This someone would take the out one by one, until only the Toa of Iron was left.

I honestly don't care about Barilo, Addis, or any of those other Toa. Only the Toa of Iron, Chimoy, is who I really need if I am to get my armor back, Makuta Hajax thought. Oh, sure, these six Toa aren't as noble as Joha, but if they were to find out what will happen to them, then they would surely try to defeat me.

He stopped for a moment, as if lost in thought. If his robotic body could make facial expressions, then he would be smiling, Not a happy smile, but a evil smile. Then he continued into the forest, making plans on who would follow the Toa.

Iroko would be the best candidate to kill them, given her stealth ability, Makuta Hajax reasoned. After all, killing is what she does best and killing is exactly what she will be doing.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 8: Into The Mountains


The next morning the six Toa Shika and Jokao set out for the mountains. They made their way through the forest. Nastan made his way in and around the tress easily, but the others had a hard time dodging trees and keeping from tripping on vines and broken branches. Jokao in particular had a hard time climbing over the big, fallen trees because of his short size.

"Gosh, Nastan, would you stop going so fast?" Nonzra complained. "Not everyone here knows the forest better than their hut, you know."

"Well, sorry, Nonzra," Nastan snapped. He jumped onto a stump and turned around to face the Toa of Sonics. "We have to keep moving and we will not get there if you keep complaining."

"Sheesh! I was just asking you to slow down is all!" Nonzra said.

"Stop it with the arguing already," Addis told the two Toa. "We have enough to worry about already and we don't need any arguing to make us all irritable."

"Okay, whatever," Nonzra grumbled. "But I was winning the argument, Nastan."

The Toa of The Green was ignoring the Toa of Sonics now. He continued moving through the forest and the others followed, not one of them saying a word.

Jokao was walking behind Chimoy, thinking of what he had just gotten himself into.

Okay, I'm with six Toa who either want to save Shika Nui or don't want to save it, depending on which Toa you talk to, while my friends don't know if I am alive or not and now we're heading to the mountains because a Makuta told us to, the Ta-Matoran thought. What's wrong with this carving? I originally planned to go and get more Matoran to join my rebellion, not end up on the run from the Dark Hunters with six Toa who don't seem to care that much about the island.

What should I do? Try to lose them? No, I'd end up dead if that happened. So I guess for now I should just stay with them. Who knows, maybe we really will free Shika Nui from the Dark Hunters.

Chimoy had jumped over a tree trunk, but Jokao was too lost in his thoughts to notice it, so he walked straight into it.

"Ow!" Jokao shouted. "Stupid tree trunk. Who put this here?"

The Toa of Iron stopped and turned around. He saw Jokao cursing the trunk and then Chimoy continued walking with the others, apparently forgetting Jokao. The Ta-Matoran quickly caught up with them and continued following the six Toa.

Akuna looked at the trees and wondered how anyone could live here. Sure, it was beautiful, but it was also hot and humid and you could only really enjoy it if you were a Gre-Matoran. Even then, you'd have to have a strong tolerance for humidity and heat.

This forest reminded her of the time she and Nastan had stolen a valuable artifact from the Dark Hunters. They had been spotted and ran into the forest. Unfortunately, it was dark and they had no lightstones, so she was afraid they would get lost and maybe end up in the mouth of some strange Rahi, even though she knew that the only Rahi that lived in the forest were brakas monkeys. Still, she didn't like being in the forest at night, but at least she wasn't alone.

Nastan had grabbed her hand and led her out of the forest, somehow knowing the way out. Later she asked him how he knew his way out of the forest in pitch-blackness, he told her that he knew his way around the forest and he wasn't afraid, so he could think clearly. After that, she kind of devolped a crush on Nastan, but not a major one.

These forests can get pretty scary, Akuna thought. Especially at night. I wonder if anyone else is afraid of these woods?

The Toa of Lightning looked at her companions. None of them looked afraid, but none of them would admit they were afraid anyway if they wanted to look tough. All of them but Jokao looked tough. The Ta-Matoran just looked annoyed and was grumbling about tree trunks and how he would burn them if he were a Toa of Fire.

Addis was behind Nastan, walking and trying not to trip over some loose vines or anything like that. He also cared little for the forest, but he also knew that destroying it all with his plasma powers would draw the unwanted attention of the Dark Hunters.

They could have used a short-cut, but that would have meant having to go out into the open and that would also mean that a Dark Hunter might see them and they might get killed, so going through the forest was the safest way to the mountains.

Nastan stopped, then signaled for the others to stop as well. He had seen someone or something and watched to see who it was.

Two Dark Hunters walked through a path in the forest, but fortunately the didn't notice the six Toa and Jokao standing in the forest. One was tall and skinny and the other one was short and bulky. They looked tired and were talking to each other about last night.

"Who would have thought that one Toa would cause so much trouble?" the tall one said.

"Not as much trouble as that Makuta Icetraz came back with," the bulky Hunter replied. "He destroyed half the fortress and almost got away with it, too. Good thing Icetraz froze him before he could cause anymore damage."

"Yeah, many Matoran servants died because of him, but who cares about Matoran? Now we have to rebuild the fortress and make sure that Makuta doesn't get away," the skinny Dark Hunter complained. "Stupid Makuta."

Nastan looked back to the others. None of them had heard any explosions of any sort last night.

We must have been sleeping pretty hard last night, Barilo thought.

"Thank goodness he didn't destroy the cave to the ancient wall of protodermis, otherwise we would be in BIG trouble!" the tall Dark Hunter said.

"Yeah," the short Dark Hunter agreed. "That treasure behind the wall would have been gone for good!"

That caught the attention of the six Toa Shika. When they were Matoran they had all been thieves and they were all interested in treasure. Only Barilo looked a bit worried, because he was planning on keeping it a secret, but now they knew about the wall and there's no telling what would happen now that they knew about it.

"Well, we better get going," the tall and skinny one said. "We better make sure none of the Matoran escaped during the attack."

"Good, 'cause I never liked this forest," the short and bulky one said. "Even though brakas monkeys are the only Rahi that live here, I never felt comfortable out here. I always felt as if someone, something, was watching me."

The two Dark Hunters continued walking until they were out of sight. Then Nastan turned to the others.

"Did you hear that?" Nastan asked excitedly. The others nodded their heads. "There's giant wall of protodermis and behind it is a ton of treasure! Isn't that great?"

"We should go back for it," Addis said. "We don't need to go to the mountains. We go to the wall and get that treasure and then boot the Dark Hunters off this island."

"No!" Barilo yelled. The others turned to look at him, surprised. The Toa of Gravity was usually the first one to want to go after treasure, yet he didn't want to for some reason.

"Barilo, what's wrong?" Akuna asked. "You're usually the first to go after treasure and now you're against the idea? What's up with that?"

"Well, I already knew of the ancient wall of protodermis, because in the fortress I found a entry of a journal that talked about it," Barilo explained. "I was waiting for a better moment to tell you guys, but now the surprise is ruined."

"Okay, but I guess going there would be a stupid idea anyway," Addis said. "There are too many Dark Hunters and then there is that Makuta they were talking."

"Yes," Barilo agreed. "We go to the mountains like Hajax told us to."

"But after we do that, we go to their fortress and take the wall," Nonzra said.

"Sure," Addis agreed.

The six Toa Shika and Jokao continued on, but the Toa were too busy thinking of what kind of treasure could be behind the door and what they would do with it than anything else.

Perhaps we will become kings and queens of Shika Nui when we get the treasure, Nonzra thought. I think I would look pretty good in a crown, myself.

-


Makuta Hajax, in the body of a super Vahki, arrived at a cave. Inside the cave were abandoned Rahkshi, Exo-Toa suits, and various other things used by the Brotherhood of Makuta. This cave had originally been the place where the Dark Hunters would dump anything from the Brotherhood of Makuta that they had stolen or salvaged. However, due to the bad weather around the area and a cave-in, they stopped going there and soon they forgot it even existed. But Hajax had found it and was now using it as a base and hideout for his allies.

His 'allies' were rogue Brotherhood of Makuta minions. Many of them came to Shika Nui secretly so they would not be found by either the Dark Hunters of the Brotherhood. Hajax had met them years before and became the leader of them after killing the original and making the murder look like a accident. None of the Dark Hunters were aware of their existence and Hajax planned on taking over Shika Nui and then using it to attack the Brotherhood of Makuta.

As the Makuta walked past various minions of the Brotherhood, ranging from rogue Visorak to Vortixx, he kept looking for Iroko. The female Skakdi was Hajax's second in command and was a trained assassin.

He found Iroko sharpening her sword on a big rock. Makuta Hajax's super Vahki body had no voice box, so he couldn't verbally speak to anyone. So he spoke mentally to her.

Iroko, I need to talk to you for a second, Hajax said.

She turned around, surprised to see the Makuta.

"You're early," Iroko said. "What do you want to talk about? Does it have anything to do with the Dark Hunters?"

Yes, and no, the Makuta of Shika Nui said. There are six new Toa on this island and I want all but one of them eliminated. He went on to explain how he had met Barilo and how he had tricked him into believing that he was their ally.

"So, you want me to kill all of them but the Toa of Iron?" Iroko said.

Yes, that's exactly what I want you to do, the Makuta confirmed.

"But you said that Barilo and you had a psychic link, so both of you could read each other's minds," the female Skakdi said. "What if he reads your mind and finds out what he plans to do to him and his friends?"

Do you think a talented telepath such as myself would ever truly let my mind free to be read by everyone who came by? Hajax snapped. Of course I wouldn't. I have put mental barriers up just in case something like that would happen. Fortunately, that stupid Toa hadn't ever thought that I would double cross him.

The blue-ish green Skakdi nodded. "Good thinking."

Now go, Iroko, before they get too deep into the mountains, Hajax ordered. Oh, and by the way, I know what you're thinking. You're grumbling about being ordered around by me. Typical of you Skakdi, but as long as you do what I say, you might live.

She didn't like the sound of the word 'might', but she wasn't going to admit it. So Makuta Hajax continued on, telling her the location of the Toa and the easiest route to get there. Iroko listened, but she wanted to be part of the attack on the Dark Hunters fortress, not going around killing novice Toa, but she wasn't going to say that aloud, since the Makuta probably already knew what she was thinking anyways.

-


The party of seven arrived at the foot of the mountains. There was a narrow path that lead up the mountains, but no one had gone up the the huge rock in years, except for Toa Joha. But now the Toa Shika and Jokao were about to climb the gigantic piece of rock and earth.

Nonzra looked up at the almost tower-like mountain. It was the home of many different kinds of bird Rahi and goat Rahi, all of which were not Toa-friendly, if what he heard among the Dark Hunters was correct. Why they had to go up there in the first place, he had no idea.

The mountains itselves had four peaks and one peak in the middle. Legend has it that strange creatures live on those four peaks and that the fifth one in the middle is the only one ever explored by Matoran. The mountain was also the home of Toa Joha, but the reason why no Dark Hunter ever bothered to go after him was because you could get real lost real fast in the mountains if you didn't know your way around.

The Toa of Sonics could see Rahi birds flying around the peaks, looking so peaceful and content. Sometimes he wished that the mountain would just fall on the Dark Hunters and crush them, but Nonzra knew that wasn't going to happen anytime soon and it was kind of a silly thought anyways.

Still, it would be funny, Nonzra thought.

"All right, guys," Addis said. "Let's get climbing up the mountain. Who knows, maybe we'll run into some giant dragon or something."

Nonzra looked up at the mountain again.

Then again, maybe it should fall on Addis's head, the Toa of Sonics thought.

"How far should we go into the mountains, Barilo?" Akuna asked the Toa of Gravity. "Did Hajax even say?"

"Uh, no. No he didn't," Barilo replied. "All he said was to go into the mountains and wait. He didn't say how far we should go or how high we should go."

"Then maybe we should just wait here," Chimoy said. The others looked at him, surprised. The Toa of Iron was usually quiet and never said anything. Him speaking, even if he says only one word, is quite a surprise.

"Wait here? Why?" Barilo asked, still shocked and surprised by Chimoy speaking.

"Well, since you weren't ever told how far we should go in, I say we stay here," the Toa said firmly.

"I agree with him," Nonzra said. "We don't know what is hiding up there. For all we know, there could be a gigantic Rahi dragon. Or something worse."

"For all we know," Nastan shot back. "There could be nothing up there. So I'm going with Barilo on this. We should explore it."

"Well, I don't think we should go exploring uncharted territory," Akuna said slowly. "But we're Toa. We can take on whatever is there, right? So I'll go with Barilo and Nastan on this."

"Exploration sounds good, but dangerous as well," Addis said. "So I say we don't go until we know more about it. I'm going with Nonzra and Chimoy on this."

Barilo turned to Jokao. "What do you want to do? Do you want to go up into the mountains or just stay here?"

The Ta-Matoran was somewhat surprised that Toa Barilo was asking him this, because up until yesterday the Toa of Gravity had been treating Jokao like dirt, so he didn't answer immediately.

"So? Do you even have a opinion on this?" Addis asked.

"Well, you guys are Toa, right? Whatever might be there, you guys could probably easily defeat," Jokao said slowly. "But, even though all of us have lived here on this island for as long as we can remember, we still have no idea what's up there besides goats and birds. I can't decide. I'll go with whatever we do."

"Well, it's decided, then," the Toa of Plasma said. "We wait here until Hajax comes."

"If he ever comes, that is," Nonzra added.

"Look, guys, me and Hajax share a psychic link, so I'll ask him if there is anything dangerous up there and when he will get here, okay?" Barilo said. Before anyone could stop him, his mind was now searching for the Makuta of Shika Nui's mind.

About a minute later, Barilo was finished talking with Hajax.

"I told him about the fact that we are split over entering or not, but he said we should go in because there is nothing up in the mountains that could kills us easily," the Toa of Gravity said.

"Well, if what you say is true..." Addis said slowly. "Then I guess we could go into the mountains. After all, the Dark Hunters probably won't look for us there."

The Toa of Plasma turned to walk up the mountains. The others followed him one by one, but Chimoy still felt uneasy about this. He wasn't sure why, though.

 

-


Iroko had been watching the Toa argue among themselves for quite some time. None of them had noticed her because she, like all Skakdi, had a special power: The power to turn invisible.

She wasn't planning on attacking them while they were arguing, because that would mean having to take on six Toa and one Matoran and she wasn't sure she could take them all on, even though they were novices.

Taking them out one by one will be alot of fun, She thought. Better than taking on all six. Trying to take on six Toa alone is madness. I remember one of my fellow Skakdi, Reidak, tried to take on six Toa at once. He won all right, but it took a long time and just wasn't worth it.

Iroko saw the Toa and the Ta-Matoran walk into the mountains and disappear. The Skakdi would have to follow them quickly, or else she'd lose them.

Getting out from her hiding place, Iroko climbed up a wall. She would be up above them and would be able to follow them easily without being noticed. The Skakdi could have used her invisibility power, but she wanted a challenge and this was somewhat of a challenge, following six Toa and a Ta-Matoran into the mountains without knowing exactly what lives there.

Oh well, it can't be worse than the living mountain on Xia, Iroko thought.

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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 9: The Mountains


Iroko followed the Toa, who were quite lost. The mountains weren't exstensively explored because of the treacherous terrain and the steep heights, so they were literally walking around in circles.

Addis had been here before, a few days ago. He had stolen the six Toa stones from Toa Joha, who lived here, but he only used a short-cut that he learned of and didn't do much exploring at all. Iroko knew her way around the mountains, so it was kind of frustrating to see them walking every which way, having no idea where they should be going.

I ought to kill them all right now, She thought angrily. But they've too close to each other for me to kill them one by one, so I'll wait a little while. Wait a while, yes, that's exactly what I'll do. She stopped for a minute. I don't think I can wait a while.

Being a Skakdi, she had a hard time being patient, waiting until they stopped. The Skakdi decided to wait for them to stop for the night, then she would kill them in their sleep.

Yes, that would work well, She thought. That would work very well indeed.

-


The six Toa Shika and Jokao came to a fork in the mountain pass. Nonzra looked both ways, but wasn't quite sure what was ahead of either trail.

"Do you think we're lost?" the Toa of Sonics asked.

"Probably," Addis replied. "But we have to decide which way to go. Left or right?"

"Left!" Akuna exclaimed.

"No way," Nastan disagreed. "I've heard bad tales of what happens when people go left, so I say we go right!"

"We don't know what is down either way," Jokao said. "Maybe we should camp here for the night. It's getting pretty dark out. Then we'll come to a decision in the morning."

"Sleeping sounds good," Nonzra agreed. "But you know, we could be being followed."

"What makes you say that?" Akuna asked. "We're the only ones up here, as far as I know, and I don't think anyone saw us go up into the mountains anyway."

"Well, I feel a like that for some reason," Nonzra said. "I don't feel secure in places I am unfamiliar with unless I am with friends, but even now, I still feel insecure, like someone is watching us."

There was a long pause. A goat could be hard yelling somewhere deep within the mountains. No one was sure what to do now. It was either left or right and they couldn't agree which way they wanted to go. So after more arguing and debating(Mostly by Nastan and Nonzra), they decided to sleep on it, not going either way until the morning,.

"What are we going to sleep on?" Nastan asked. "We don't have any beds or anything. Are we going to use rocks for pillows?"

"And we don't have anything to sleep under to keep us warm, either," Akuna added. "I have heard it gets pretty cold up in the mountains."

"Well, I don't know," Addis said. "I didn't think what we will sleep on or use as covers. Maybe you two could go and find something for us to use as a bed."

There was a pause, before Nastan realized something.

"Hey! How could I have been so stupid?" the Toa of The Green exclaimed. "I am a Toa of The Green! I can make us beds using my elemental powers! Watch and be amazed!"

Seven beds, made of reeds and other kinds of plants, exploded out of the ground. Then, still using his powers, Nastan shifted the plants around until they looked like more comfortable, six big ones for himself and the other Toa and one small one for Jokao.

"Tada!" Nastan said.

Nonzra walked over to one of the beds and sat down, making sure that it wouldn't fall apart. It didn't, it supported his weight and he decided to lay down on it.

"Well, Nastan," Nonzra said, not sitting up. "You did a good job. But I do not think it would be wise for us to sleep out in the open, without maybe a tent or something."

"Hmm, you're right," Nastan said. Instantly, a tent made of many different plants appeared out of nowhere, covering the seven beds. "Better?"

"Much." the Toa of Sonics called from the tent.

After that, the other five Toa Shika and Jokao crawled into the tent and got into their beds, quickly falling asleep, never knowing a Skakdi was watching them or just what she was planning to do to them.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 10: Turaga Joha?


The Skakdi waited until they were really asleep before quietly walking up to the tent made up plants. She looked it over, but she wasn't really interested in it. What Iroko was interested in, obviously, was the six Toa and Jokao in it. She needed to find a way to get the Toa of Iron out because of how useful he would be to Hajax's plan.

If she walked in, they might notice her and fight her, so she needed another way to get him to come out. An idea popped into her head. She wasn't sure if it was going to work, but it was worth trying.

She threw a small pebble into the tent. No one came out. Iroko tossed another one, this time it hit something metallic and she heard someone moving in the tent.

Moving quickly, Iroko jumped up onto a nearby boulder. She looked down and saw the Toa of Iron walking out, looking around, trying to figure out who just threw pebbles at him. Seeing no one was around, he was about to walk back in, but the greenish-blue Skakdi jumped down and, holding a heavy rock, smashed it on his head, knocking the Toa of Iron out like a lightstone.

No one awoke, which was good, so Iroko grabbed the Toa of Iron's legs and pulled him away from the tent.

-


The next morning, Akuna woke up. She slept somewhat comfortably last night in her bed made of various plant life, but she could have swore she heard someone smash a rock to something, but the Toa of Lightning figured that she had dreamt that last night.

It looked like everyone else was up, because the beds were empty. She crawled out of her bed and out of the tent. Akuna noticed the others talking to each other, but Chimoy was strangely absent.

"Hey, guys," Akuna called to them. The others turned to her. "Where's Chimoy?"

"We don't know," Nastan replied. "We think he might have wandered off by himself last night and got lost."

"Or, for a worst case scenario, he got killed by a Rahi beast," Nonzra added. "But of course, that's the worst case scenario."

"Well, have you tried to find him at all?" Akuna asked.

"Nope," Barilo replied. "We wanted to wait for you to get up."

"Are there any foot prints or anything?" She asked.

"Strangely, no," Nastan said. "Which is why we are worried. There are bits and pieces of broken rock near the entrance that weren't there before, however."

"Toa don't just disappear over night like that," the Toa of Lightning said. "What could have caused him to disappear?"

-


Chimoy woke up. He remembered having a bizarre dream last night, where he walked out the tent and then was smashed in the back of the head with a rock and dragged away. He wasn't sure who smashed him in the back of his head with a rock, but it hurt like crazy.

He tried to move his arms and legs, but felt tight bonds around his arms limbs, apparently made of what appeared to be rope. He tried to snap it, but it didn't even tear. Now he realized that his dream was no dream at all and he really did get a rock smashed to the back of his head.

That would explain why my head hurts so badly, the Toa of Iron thought.

Now he needed to know who hit him. It was probably a Dark Hunter. If so, then the rest of his teammates were in trouble. Big trouble.

I wish I could get out of here! he thought. Chimoy tried snapping the ropes again, but it was no use. He was stuck.

So Chimoy decided to observe his surroundings. He was in a small, dark cave. There wasn't any furniture or anything because of how small it was. The Toa of Iron could see outside the cave entrance, but he couldn't escape because of his current situation. So he decided to call out, maybe someone would hear him.

"Help!" He cried out. No one had heard him. "Is anybody there?"

At first, no one answered. Then, he heard what sounded like somebody scrambling up the mountain. Did someone hear Chimoy? It seemed unlikely, until a small, bent over form appeared in front of the cave mouth.

With the sun shining in the cave onto the mysterious being, it made the being look like a shadow. Chimoy wasn't sure who it was. At first he thought it to be Jokao because of the small size, but the being was a little taller than a Matoran and was hunched over, like a....

"Turaga?" Chimoy said. "No way. Turaga Ujah got killed by the Dark Hunters 25,000 years ago. So unless you're a ghost or something, you can't be a Turaga."

"Chimoy, you are talking alot more than usual, eh?" the mysterious Turaga said. "Surprised to see me?"

The Toa of Iron thought that the Turaga sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it. He wondered who he was and how he knew who Chimoy was.

"Looks like you need help, Chimoy," the Turaga said. He walked in and, using a knife, cut the Toa of Iron's ropes.

Chimoy got up and stretched his arms and legs(Which wasn't easy to do in such a small cave), glad to be able to move his limbs again. He looked down at the Turaga, who he now could see had brown and orange armor, which were the colors of Po-Matoran, generally. So that singled him out as Ujah, who was a Turaga of Fire. The Turaga also wore a Hau, though a noble version of it.

That mask, Chimoy thought. Those colors. It couldn't be, could it?

"Turaga...?" the Toa of Iron began, but was cut off by the Turaga of Stone.

"You know who I am," the Turaga answered. "We have no time to talk. Addis and the others are in grave danger and if we don't get to them in time, they may very well be dead, or soon will be."

-


The five Toa Shika and Jokao were climbing the mountain. They had tried to find Chimoy earlier, but he seemed to have disappeared. So they thought he might have climbed up higher in the mountains, perhaps following something.

Or someone, Akuna thought as she grabbed a rock to pull herself up. Suddenly, the rock gave way, causing her to go tumbling down.

Nastan noticed that and tried to grab her, but she fell too fast than his hand could move, so he caught empty air instead. He looked down and saw a big rock that the Toa of Lightning was going to roll right into and she would probably end up a splattered mess all over the boulder if she hit it.

There was no way that Nastan could reach her in time. So he picked up a rock and, using his the power of his Kanohi Sanok, threw the smaller rock at the bigger one.

The stone flew straight and true, hitting the boulder and breaking it in half, allowing Akuna to safely slide through it.

By then the other Toa and Jokao noticed what happened and raced down the slope to make sure she was okay. Nastan was there first and helped Akuna up, holding her hand.

"Are you okay?" he asked. "Are you hurt or anything?"

"No, not really. Just a little scratched up is all," Akuna replied. "Oh and by the way, you can stop holding my hand now."

The Toa of The Green looked down at her hand, realized he was still holding on to it, and quickly let go, blushing a little bit behind his mask. Akuna giggled a little and Nonzra just rolled his eyes.

"So now that that adventure is over, how's about we continue on?" Addis asked. The others agreed and followed him back up the slope.

Nearby, behind a rock, Iroko had seen it all. She'd rigged the rock that the Toa of Lightning had tried to grab so it would break and anyone who had tried to grab it would go tumbling down right into that boulder and SPLAT! they'd be dead. She wasn't counting on Nastan destroying the boulder, however.

Time to get rid of them of all, Iroko thought as she raced up a slope and then found a rope. The rope was connected to a metal plate, which had many boulders on top of it. Once she pulled the rope, the metal plate would be lifted up and all the boulders would go falling down off of it and hit whoever was unlucky enough to get in the way.

She watched as the five Toa and the Ta-Matoran walked and climbed, chattering among themselves. The blue-ish green Skakdi could just imagine the sound of boulders rumbling down the mountain, squishing everyone and everything in their way. She could also imagine the sound of the panicked Toa screaming and then getting silenced quickly as the rocks killed them.

It was all so good. Iroko could hardly wait to pull the rope, but she didn't get that chance, because Chimoy, coming from behind with a big rock, smashed it on her head, knocking the Skakdi out cold.

-


Iroko woke up on the mountain side with seven beings standing around her. She recognized them as the six Toa Shika, the Ta-Matoran, and a Turaga of Stone, though where he came from, she did not know. She tried to attack them, but the Skakdi realized that extremely thick metal bonds on her arms and legs kept her from attacking them.

"What are you doing here, Skakdi?" Nonzra asked. "I though Zakaz was far west from here."

"Shut up," Iroko hissed. "Once I get out of here, I will, uh, I will...." She soon realized that she wasn't going to be escaping anytime soon.

"Who are you, anyway?" Addis asked. "Are you a Dark Hunter? Because I do remember a crimson Skakdi that carried a lava launcher coming here one time and you certainly do resemble him, except you're blue-is green, like Nastan."

"My name is Iroko," the Skakdi replied. "And I am not going to tell you who I work for."

"We can make you talk," Barilo said, grinning. He held his Gravity Axe up.

"No, Barilo," the Turaga said, putting a hand on the Toa of Gravity. "Toa don't do interrogate people violently like what you're implying."

"Okay, Joha," Barilo grumbled, referring to the Turaga of Stone. "But we don't have any other non-lethal way of getting her to talk."

"Ah, yes we do," Turaga Joha replied, smiling. He turned to Addis. "You wear a Suletu, the Mask of Telepathy, correct?"

"Yes, I do," Addis replied. "In fact, I just read your mind right now and I know what you plan to do."

Activating his Suletu, he read Iroko's mind. After a few minutes of scanning her mind, he withdrew, shocked and surprised by what he had learned.

"She's working for Hajax!" Addis exclaimed. "He sent her after us, to kill every one of us except for Chimoy, who he planned to use to repair his armor!"

"Seriously?" Barilo asked. He looked down at Iroko. "Did Hajax put you up to this?"

Knowing she couldn't keep quiet any longer, she nodded. "Yes. He said something about not caring for any of you because you're weak, pathetic Toa or something like. Wasn't paying too much attention."

The Toa of Gravity was now furious. He trusted that Makuta Hajax would keep his word and help free Shika Nui, but he apparently was double crossing them. The Makuta would have to pay in full.

"I'm going to confront Hajax," Barilo announced. "We share a psychic link. I'll try to contact him."

Focusing his mind, he began searching for the Makuta of Shika Nui. Everyone, even Iroko, waited, wondering when he would be done. Eventually, he stopped.

"Guess what?" the Toa of Gravity said, annoyed. "That double-crosser just cut off our psychic link. I don't know what he is planning on doing now!"

Everyone sighed in annoyance, except for Iroko. She had guessd that the Makuta would do that. No doubt he realized that they would defeat her somehow and he didn't want them to go after himself next.

But I do wonder if he has attacked the Dark Hunter fortress yet, Iroko thought. He's probably already defeated them. If not, then he is getting close to.

-


Kigin surveyed the area. All around him, Dark Hunters and Matoran slaves of all kinds were working, fixing the western side of the fortress after a Makuta named Koghi destroyed it, but fortunately Icetraz captured him so he wouldn't cause anymore damage to the fortress.

Now he and the other Hunters were at work rebuilding the fortress. The cave entrance to the ancient wall of protodermis was still intact and the Makuta of Shika Nui's empty armor was still where it was supposed to be as well.

"Kigin, stop standing around like you own the place and help us rebuild the fortress!" Tyu yelled, interrupting the Dark Hunter's thoughts. "Who do you think you are, the Shadowed One?"

"I was just thinking," Kigin replied. "And by the way, no need to be so harsh."

At that moment, a giant Dark Hunter, who was about fifteen feet tall, walked over to them. He had shining platinum armor with streaks of green. He was carrying a gigantic sword that any one average-sized being could never hope to use and his head had two horns, each about half a foot tall. His face had one tooth protruding out of the mouth. He used to have two, but he second had been ripped off by the Shadowed One as punishment a long time ago. His eyes were red. The Hunter looked like he could snap a Toa in two without even thinking about it.

Kigin recognized him as the Hunter who had broken up a fight between three other Dark Hunters just yesterday.

"Byki, what do you want?" Tyu asked, referring to the fifteen foot tall warrior.

"Icetraz wants to talk to you two," Byki replied in a booming voice. "You'd better go now, because you know how short his temper is."

The two smaller Dark Hunters stopped their working and raced off to find the double Cordak blaster weilding Dark Hunter. They found Icetraz standing among other Hunters, barking orders and helping clear some of the rubble himself.

"Icetraz, sir?" Kigin asked. "What do you want to talk to me and Tyu about?"

The bulky Dark Hunter turned. "Ah, Kigin, Tyu. I need to talk to you about those Toa you said you saw. Describe them and tell me where you last saw them."

The two Dark Hunters went on to describe how the Toa looked, what elements they controled and where they had last seen them. Icetraz listened intently as they explained. When they were finished, the leader of the Dark Hunters of Shika Nui looked even more unhappy than he had before.

"So we have six Toa running around the island, planning who knows what and will probably try to get us off the island soon." Icetraz said grimly.

"What do you plan to do, sir?" Kigin asked.

The Dark Hunter smiled. "Why, what I plan to do is frighteningly simple. All of Shika Nui, to the most biggest of cities to the lowliest of villages, must be searched. Anyone found having helped the Toa or suspected of helping them will be put to death. Chop down all the trees in the proto forest, for they could be hiding there as well. Check the mountains and-"

He was cut off by a bolt of chain lightning, which zapped Kigin and Tyu as well. Then all of a sudden, Visorak, Exo-Toa, and many other servants of the Brotherhood of Makuta appeared from the surrounding forest. Surprised and unprepared, Icetraz watched as one by one the Dark Hunters fell. The Matoran slaves fell even faster, but they seemed to take that chance to fighting against the Dark Hunters as well.

The Hunter got up and noticed something strange. Standing among the forces of the Brotherhood stood a super Vahki, whom he recognized as his own personal servant. He thought it had been destroyed when Makuta Koghi decimated most of the fortress earlier because he couldn't find the super Vahki after that.

"You, super Vahki!" Icetraz shouted. "Help us! Don't just stand there!"

The super Vahki regarded him quzzically for a moment, then, with a shrug, unleashed a cyclone strong enough to rip Icetraz from the ground, sending the Hunter flying.

At that moment, Icetraz heard a voice in his head. He wasn't going crazy or anything because the voice sounded as if it belonged to someone. And it did.

Don't you know who I am? the voice asked. I'm the Makuta of Shika Nui, Makuta Hajax!

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 11: Not A Hero Anymore


Up in the sky, a klakk flew through the air. Klakks are winged Rahi that are mostly silver and gray, with lime-green eyes. Their faces resembled Toa faces, except maskless and they had what appeared to be jets on both sides of their heads. The bird Rahi also had the ability to use super sonic screams, powefull enough to break a stone wall. It also had two bat-like wings, which it used to fly through the air easily. Claws on its feet and hands help defend itself against predators.

This particular klakk was flying purposefully through the air, as if it were searching for someone or something. Now and then, it would spot what looked like the being it was searching for, only to find out that it was green moss on a rock.

It was just about ready to give up and return to it's owner when it saw something. A being with green and blue armor was on the mountain all alone. The being was bound in metal bonds, which confused the klakk. Why did the being trap herself? Or did she not do it on her own and somebody caught her and tied her up?

The klakk flew down toward the being, which it now recognized as the second in command of its master. As it flew in, the Skakdi looked up and saw the puzzled-looking bird Rahi.

Iroko recognized the klakk as the personal pet of Makuta Hajax. She knew that because it wasn't afraid of her, unlike most Rahi, because it knew her.

"Klakk!" Iroko said. "Get me out of these metal bonds! Now!"

At first, the klakk didn't seem to understand what she was saying. Then it recognized the tone and unleashed a sonic scream, weakening the bonds of iron that kept Iroko from escaping.

Now that they were weak enough, the Skakdi merely shrugged and the bonds snapped off, falling to the ground. She got up and stretched her legs, glad to be able to move her limbs again.

She looked around. The Toa, Joha, and the Ta-Matoran had left. Earlier, Joha had led them away, apparently going to show them something he had found in the moutains. He didn't trust Iroko, so they left her here, no doubt planning to come back and take her with them somewhere else when they came back.

If ever, the Skakdi thought.

Iroko had been knocked out earlier that day, by the Toa of Iron named Chimoy. She now wanted revenge and was going to kill them all, including Chimoy, even though she had been told not to kill him because he could fix Hajax's broken Makuta armor. Now that she was free, she planned to track them down and then finish them off.

The Skakdi was about to follow them when the klakk flew in front of her, apparently not letting her follow the Toa and their allies. She side stepped, the Rahi flew in the same direction she moved. It went on like this for a while before Iroko lost her patience.

"Move out of the way, Rahi!" Iroko bellowed. Then she smiled, revealing her sharp teeth. "Or else you'll end up without any wings at all, klakk."

The Rahi beast didn't seem to be fazed by this threat, as it kept blocking her way.

Just as she was about to knock it out of the air, she noticed a stone tablet on its back. Iroko reached up and grabbed the tablet off the klakk's back. After reading it for about a minute, she closed her hand, crumbling the tablet in her hand.

"So," Iroko said, not looking at the klakk. "Hajax wants me to join the battle against the Hunters and leave the Toa alone, eh?"

Quicker than the klakk could move, she grabbed the Rahi bird and began to squeeze. The klakk started panicking, knowing its death was coming soon.

However, instead of killing it, the Skakdi simply tossed the klakk away. It hit the ground, too weak to attack back or fly.

"Killing dumb Rahi doesn't satisfy me," Iroko said, her voice deathly cold. "Instead of following Hajax's orders, I will go and kill the Toa and their allies. Who cares if Hajax wants me to help eliminate the Dark Hunters?"

As she walked away, she simply said, "This time, I will show no mercy. No mercy at all."

-


Barilo climbed onto a plateau and stopped, almost out of breath and quite annoyed.

When they discovered that Iroko had been sent by Hajax to kill them all, the Toa of Gravity fully intended to go back and find the Makuta, paying him back in full.

Joha, however, had different ideas. Instead going back and fighting Makuta Hajax, he had told them that he had found something that was quite interesting and much more important than revenge. At first, Barilo thought that there was something more important. Now, however, it seemed as if they were just climbing up the mountain that seemed to get higher and higher all the time.

Behind him, Barilo could hear the sounds of sonics and plasma destroying rocks, no doubt being created by Addi and Nonzra. He knew the rest of them were also having a hard time climbing the mountain. Jokao in particular was having a hard time because of the tall rocks. He also heard Akuna and Nastan talking to each other, though they were too far behind for him to hear what they were talking about.

He looked back and saw Chimoy helping Jokao over a rock. Chimoy, as always, was being quiet, because he was always quiet except in cases where he thought he had to voice his opinion. Then he looked up ahead, where Joha was, swiftly climbing up the rocky mountain. Even though he was just a Turaga, Barilo couldn't help but admire the way Joha could climb and jump over the boulders. But it was obvious that he was not used to being in a smaller body, because sometimes he would miss jumps or fall off of a rock when he was climbing it. But generally he was making his way up far faster than the others.

Barilo was looking at the all the rocks he would have to climb over and how high the climb got. No doubt he would end up a pile of broken armor if he fell off one. A idea hatched inside the Toa's head.

Why not use my power over gravity? Barilo thought. After all, I am a Toa of Gravity. I can take the gravity away from those boulders and make them fly high into the air, so the others and I can safely make our way there. Pretty good plan if I do say so myself.

He pulled his gravity axe out and aimed it at the rocks, aiming to take away all their gravity. As soon as he was sure he could hit them, Barilo unleashed a wave of gravity at the boulders, causing them all to go up. He didn't hear the shouts of Joha to stop what he was doing, because as soon as the boulders began moving upward, the big rocks instead began falling toward him and the other Toa!

Surprised, Barilo's concentration was lost because of his overwhelming fear. The rocks were rolling towards him and the others. There was no way he could take their gravity away in time to safe the others.

It turned out he didn't need to, because a hail of lightning bolts, plasma balls, spears of iron, and waves of sonics flew from behind him to strike the incoming boulders. The missiles hit the rocks, destroying them. More giant stones kept coming, but even more elemental attacks came to counter them. Nastan was making walls of plant life come up to block some boulders. Up ahead, Joha had got made his way to safety in a small cave that didn't go in very deep. He watched as the six Toa kept hurling elemental blasts at the rocks, until every last stone had been reduced to pebbles.

The Turaga of Stone emerged from the cave and walked down the path that had once contained many rocks. He quickly got to the bottom, where he saw the six Toa and even Jokao, sitting on the ground, completely out of breath, though Jokao was more tired out of fear than actually doing anything.

"What....happened?" Addis asked in between breaths.

"Back when I was Toa," Joha said. "I had rigged these rocks so that anyone who tried to move them with powers such as yours, Barilo, would be crushed by the boulders or at least scared away. That was why I tried to warn you, because you all could have died."

Barilo looked down, ashamed of himself. He may not have been the most noblest Toa in the universe, but he cared for his friends and he didn't want to be the cause of their deaths.

"But," Joha said. "The important thing is you are all alive. Plus you learned a lesson on being more careful. Try to remember that."

Barilo nodded. Joha continued up the now boulder-less slope, with the six Toa and Jokao following him.

Up above, on a over hanging ledge, Iroko had watched the entire event. Revenge was on her mind and now was the perfect time to strike. They had tired themselves out and probably wouldn't be too hard to kill. Now all she had to do was decided who to attack first.

But why should I just attack just one of them first? Iroko thought. Whose to say that I can't just attack them all at the exact same time with my eye beams?

Iroko stood up and fired a beam of energy at the Toa from her eyes. Before it hit, it became a sort of wave, hitting all six of them at the same time.

The Toa Shika, too tired out from destroying the boulders, where knocked down easily, completely surprised by the attack.

"Hey!" Barilo shouted. "Where did that...?"

This time, another wave of energy hit them, nearly knocking them out. Turaga Joha scanned the area and saw Iroko, standing on top of a ledge, her eyes glowing. It took about two seconds for Joha to realize who that was and what she was doing.

"How did she get free?" Joha wondered.

"It...doesn't...matter," Addis gasped, barely able to breath from the energy that was pummeling him. "We strike her now!"

No one else seemed to be listening, for they were all too busy trying to dodge the wave of energy that was smashing them all. Jokao was nowhere to be seen, which worried Addis even more.

Barely able to keep himself up, Addis fired a blast of plasma at the ledge which Iroko was standing on, though it was a weakened one because of all the elemental energy he wasted earlier.

The ledge melted, but Iroko jumped off right before the plasma hit. She landed in front of Addis and kicked him in the mask, sending him tumbling down the slope a little, knocking the Toa of Plasma out.

Having temporarily stopped her attack, it gave Nonzra and Akuna time to recover. Nonzra let out a small wave of sound at the Skakdi. Iroko did a back flip, dodging the wave and nailing Nonzra with a beam of energy from her eyes.

Toa Akuna pulled her staff out and tried to hit Iroko. The female Skakdi countered with her sword. She pushed Akuna back, who was very weak from using her elemental power up earlier. The two fighters pushed back and forth, neither willing to give up. Back and forth it went until Akuna got a idea.

She activated her mask, causing a blinding light to shoot from it onto Iroko. Now the light weren't actually hurting Iroko, but the extremely bright light threatened to blind her permanently, so she had to shut her eyes.

Now was Akuna's chance. She leg sweeped Iroko and then followed it up with a lightning bolt to the chest of the Skakdi, beating her down and seemingly knocking her out. Satisfied that the battle was over, Akuna put her staff away and walked over to revive Nonzra. Iroko, however, was still conscious, as she proved by hitting Akuna with a well placed blast of energy, knocking the Toa of Lightning out cold. The Skakdi ran up to the unconscious Toa and looked down at her.

"Too bad, Toa," Iroko said evilly. "I will end your life here and now. No one can stop me!"

Before Iroko could strike the killing blow, thick plant life burst out of the ground beneath her, causing the female Skakdi to fall into a pit of plant life. The plants wrapped around until the only part of her body that was visible was her head. Iroko was surprised by this sudden attack, so surprised that she dropped her sword in the plant bed. Thick vines wrapped around her sword and then squeezed it, snapping the sword in two. She immediately knew who had caused the massive amount of plant life to imprison her.

That Toa of The Green, Iroko thought. He didn't like seeing me beating his friends up, obviously. Now I just need to get out.

She looked up and saw Nastan, bow at the ready. He looked quite furious, maybe even ready to kill her if he was angry enough.

"Do you think these twigs will hold me down for long?" Iroko shouted. "I can easily break out of this and you know it."

"Do you really want to?" Nastan asked, smiling.

"What do you mean?" Iroko asked, struggling to break free of the plants. It was only a matter of minutes now before she would be free.

"You know, I am a Toa of The Green," Nastan said. "I control all plant life. That means, I could have my plants crush your body, killing you and saving us. Either give up and we'll let you go peacefully, or I kill you. Chose."

"You don't have the guts to kill me, Toa," Iroko snarled. "Hajax told me all about you six. You're the one who wants to be just like Joha. Wise, has a conscience, and simplemindedly heroic. If you want to be a real Toa, you wouldn't kill me because its your stupid little code not to kill your enemies, isn't?"

Nastan cursed under his breath. She was right. He couldn't kill her, because real Toa don't do that unless in dire situations.

"Well, I don't have to kill you," Nastan shouted back. "But I don't need to free you, either. You can stay there and rot away for the rest of your life for all I care. But I don't doubt you have the power to escape there and when you do, you'll be after us again. So what should I do?"

"What we should have done a long time ago," Barilo shouted. He jumped down next to Nastan.

"Barilo? What are you doing?" Nastan demanded.

"What you're too coward to do, Nastan," Barilo replied. "Kill her."

Without any warning, Barilo increased the personal gravity of Iroko ten thousand times, crushing her body and killing her in the process. It went by so quick and there wasn't so much as a scream. Nastan was completely and utterly horrfied by what he did.

"How...how could you do that?" Nastan asked, shocked and surprised.

"She's the enemy," Barilo replied. "You know how I've always thought Joha should have killed the Dark Hunters and be done with it? That's what I just did. Next I will go and do that to the Hunters themselves, particularly Tyu."

Instead getting a vocal reply, Barilo got a punch in the mask by the Toa of The Green.

"What was that for?" the Toa of Gravity asked. "I killed the enemy, didn't I?"

"Toa don't kill!" Nastan yelled. "Emphasis on don't!"

"Shut up, Nastan," Barilo growled, using his gravity power to close Nastan's mouth shut.

Plant life came up from the pit of Iroko's body and grabbed Barilo, causing him to lose concentration on Nastan. The Toa of The Green opened his mouth, gasping for air. Barilo managed to grab his gravity axe and chop the plant life that held him, but the more that he chopped, even more came to replace it.

So instead of beating the plants, he decided to get the master of them. Aiming his gravity axe, he fired off a concentrated blast of gravity at Nastan. It hit the Toa, causing his gravity to go away, making him float up into the sky.

Nastan lost his focus out of the shock of his gravity disappearing and Barilo ripped his way out of the plant life that held him. Nastan was now using his power over plant life to grab himself, keeping him from flying too high up into the sky.

"You know, Nastan," Barilo said. "You and Nonzra always used to argue, but it was friendly arguments. I, however, think you're holding the team down with your morals, so I figure I ought to get rid of you now."

Before the Toa could chop the plants that kept Nastan from flying away, thick bonds of metal suddenly materialized out of thin air, locking tightly around Barilo's body. He looked over to see Addis, Nonzra, Akuna, Chimoy, Joha, standing nearby. Jokao crawled out from behind a rock had hid behind when the Toa were fighting Iroko and then joined the four Toa and Joha, having witnessed the death of that Skakdi. They wore no expressions on their faces, but Barilo could see their eyes. Their orbs reflected their disappointment in him.

"Barilo," Addis said, his voice ragged. "You've always been the one with the least amount of morals of our group, but now you've put it to a new low."

"I am disappointed in you, Barilo," Joha said, his voice just as ragged, if not more, than Addis'. "Toa don't try to kill each other. Not to mention you already kill one person."

Chimoy, Nonzra, Akuna, and Jokao said nothing, simply nodded in silent agreement with Joha and Addis.

All of a sudden, Barilo realized what he was going to do to Nastan. It saddened him greatly.

"I...I wasn't really going to kill Nastan, guys," Barilo tried to explain. "I wasn't thinking straight. Give me another chance."

Joha's eyes met the Toa of Gravity's. "I am sorry, Barilo. Addis has already decided what to do with you. Addis?"

The Toa of Plasma walked up, his eyes locked with Barilo's. "Barilo. You're off the team. For good. Get out of my sight. Now."

With that, the metal bonds on Barilo's body fell off. Now the Toa of Gravity felt cold and awkward. He looked from one to another, even to Nastan, who had just climbed down his plant life that had kept him from flying away. None of them had welcoming eyes. What were once the eyes of friends were now the eyes of beings who had no respect for him.

As quietly as he could, he left, going off to the right, climbing over the rocks and then he was gone.

Gone. Like the wind on a calm day. Akuna started to sob softly. Jokao put a hand on her, hoping to somehow reassure that this was some kind of bad dream, but they all knew it wasn't. There wasn't a word in the world to describe their sadness.

Turaga Joha turned around and started walking up the mountainside. "Come. We are closer to what I was originally going to show you."

One by one, they all quietly followed him, never looking back at their once friend who was now gone, for good. They may have all been theives as Matoran, but they had a sense of honor and friendship and that sense and friendship was gone now, along with Barilo. Now they didn't know what to think at all.

-

At the battle between the Dark Hunters and the rogue servants of the Brotherhood, Makuta Hajax, in the body of a super Vahki, stopped as his mental link with Iroko broke. He didn't break it off himself. Someone killed her and he had a pretty good idea of who did it.

Barilo, Hajax thought. If his robotic body could make facial expressions, he would be smiling. A evil smile, a insane smile. Now the game just got ten times more interesting. We will see who lives now and who dies. We will see indeed.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 12: The Secret Village of Shadow


The now-five Toa Shika, Turaga Joha, and Jokao had only a little way to go before making it to their destination. During that time, they all pondered what had just happened minutes ago. They had been in sort of serious situations before, but none of them thought something like that would happen. It gave each and every Toa a more serious view on their life as Toa. Maybe being a Toa wasn't just a way to gain more loot or treasure or praise or whatever else they had been thinking about before Barilo's betrayal.

I can't belive he was going to kill Nastan, Akuna thought sadly. Maybe all this Toa power was too much for Barilo. Whose to say it won't happen to the rest of us, in time?

Chimoy was also thinking deeply. I thought Barilo would never try to do such as thing. Perhaps Makuta Hajax had messed with his mind somehow or he was going insane. Makes me wonder if that could happen to the rest of us.

Who will be next? Jokao thought, looking at each of the remaining Toa. They all looked very sober. I may not have known any of them very long, but I never thought something like that would happen. Now I wonder if I am going to make it out alive at all if something like that is going to happen every day.

It figured, Nonzra thought coldly. I figured he would try to kill someone and he did, but he also tried to kill Nastan, which is totally unacceptable. But I, however, am not extremely surprised by this. Barilo is the kind of guy that thinks the ends justify the means, while Nastan is more of the 'hero' type, always feeling that Toa need to do good, regardless of who they are. But I better keep my guard up. I am not sure if any of the others will try something like this.

Toa Addis fired a ball of plasma at a nearby rock wall, melting it instantly. No one bothered to ask why he did that, because they all knew why. He was angry that Barilo had betrayed the group. He and the Toa of Gravity had been best friends, so he took this betrayal very hard.

That was the most dumbest thing Barilo could ever hope to do, Addis thought angrily. I remember when he and I were just Matoran. We were the first to start our little group. He'd always been the one who was impatient and would rather do things the quickest and most efficient way, regardless of who got hurt in the process. But I didn't think he would actually try to kill Nastan, or any of us, for that matter.

Nastan was the most troubled one of all. He had, after all, been the target of Barilo's attack. It made him fear a little bit for his safety and for the rest of the Toa. He now knew just how precious life was.

What had I done to get almost killed? Nastan thought, saddened. Because I just happened to be the most Toa-like out of us all, that's what. Barilo and me were always opposites, but we became even more opposites now. I don't trust him. I don't trust him at all anymore.

Joha, too, was upset at Barilo's attempt on Nastan's life.

Maybe I chose the wrong the wrong Matoran to become Toa, Joha thought soberly. In all my life as a Toa of Stone, I have never seen any Toa try to kill another. It greatly disappoints me. But perhaps the power was too much for Barilo and it went to his head.

A stone rat ran across the path in front of Joha, nearly tripping the Turaga. None of the Toa bothered to see if he was okay, because they were still too sad by what Barilo had almost done. Jokao went ahead and helped the Turaga back up.

"Are you okay, Joha?" the Ta-Matoran asked.

"Yes, I am fine," Joha replied. "Just tripped is all-"

It was at that moment that Joha realized that they had just arrived at their destination. He turned back to the five Toa, who had just stopped to watch Jokao help Joha. All of them wore the same expression of grief, anger, and sadness. It saddened Joha greatly and he wondered if he should have taken them to this place at all.

After all, it would only make them feel worse, as it did to me, Turaga Joha thought. But I feel it is important and maybe they were understand this island better if they saw this.

"We're here," Joha called to the others.

The five Toa, who had forgotten all about what Joha was going to show them because of how sad they were, ran to catch up with the Turaga.

When they caught up with him, what they saw was nothing like what they imagined was going to be there. Hundreds of huts spanned for miles, with a giant temple dominating the central area. The huts and temple seemed to be made out of stone and iron, though who built them, they had no idea.

It was obvious this had once been a Matoran settlement, but it seemed as if shadow itself kept the village perpetually dark, even though the sun was out. There were no Matoran, no Toa, and no Turaga, either. To all of them, it felt as if something very evil had once lived here. Their natural instincts told them to run, but they kept their ground.

"What is this place?" Addis asked, looking at the hundreds of huts that covered the area.

"A village," Joha replied. "Or it used to be. Now its just a ghost town. Nothing survives here but...shadow."

"How did you discover this place?" Nonzra asked.

"I discovered it one year after the Dark Hunters took control of Shika Nui," Joha replied. "I tried sleeping here one night, but it was felt far too evil and dark, so I left and nearly forgot about it. No one else knows it exists, as far as I know."

"I don't like this place," Nastan said, with more than a hint of fear in his voice. "I'd rather take my chances with the Dark Hunters than go here."

Ignoring Nastan's comment, Joha went on. "I believe this was once a Matoran village. What kind of Matoran lived here, I do not know for sure. But I do know that there is something very interesting in the temple that will definitely interest all of you."

He turned around. "C'mon. Time's a wasting." Reluctantly, they followed him down a narrow path into the village.

As they walked through the abandoned village, Chimoy decided to examine the huts as he walked. Many of them were destroyed or badly damaged, as if a struggle had happened here. He occasionally peeked through windows, but there wasn't even any furniture, which made the whole thing even more strange.

Most of the buildings were ruined completely, while some of them were just barely standing. Some of them had became home to some harmless Rahi that hid in the shadows, watching the visitors walk by. Chimoy wondered how anyone could have survived in this place unless they were truly part of the shadows.

Perhaps Matoran of Shadow used to live here, he thought. Wait. What am I saying? There is no such thing as Matoran of Shadow, nor have any existed. That is a very absurd thought. Matoran of Shadow! What made me think that?

A small stream of liquid protodermis ran through the middle of the village, obviously meant to be drinking water. But now it was dirty and not drinkable anymore, so they stepped over it and continued on their way to the temple.

The temple itself was huge, probably over fifity feet tall. It was shaped like a Kanohi mask, though one none of the Toa had ever seen. Spikes pointed out of the top, with two, curved eye holes that basicaly screamed evil. The temple's mouth was narrow and tall. It was painted black, but most of that black had faded away, so it looked more grayish now. The stone was smooth, but strong, even though it was indescribably old.

"Wow," Nastan said, awe in his voice. "Who built this?"

"I don't know," Joha replied. "Possibly Matoran, but why they would shape a temple to look so evil is beyond me. But we must enter, because what is inside is much more interesting than what is outside."

Nastan looked at the temple and then back to Joha, looking a little afraid. "Do we have to go in there?"

"You're not scared, are you, Nastan?" Nonzra teased. "Are you afraid of the dark?"

"No," Nastan replied, now sounding a bit annoyed. "I just don't feel very....welcome, here."

"None of us do," Jokao said. "This place feels very, very evil and unnatural."

Turaga Joha walked into the temple, motioning for the others to follow. They followed him in, one by one, until they were all inside.

Akuna's eyes looked around the temple room, lightened up only by lightstones embedded in the walls. There were carvings on the wall and writing, though most of it was worn away and in some sort of old Matoran, very old indeed. Doorways led to other rooms and a staircase to her right led up to the second floor.

The room there were in wasn't very big, with enough room for about seven beings. The roof went up about ten feet, so the five Toa fit in uncomfortably.

"Now what exactly did you want to show us, Joha?" Nonzra asked, now annoyed by how small and cramped the inside was. "Its too cramped in here and it smells bad, too."

"Keep going," Joha replied. "At the end of this room is the thing I wanted to show you. Come on."

Joha went on, with the Toa and Jokao following him. It was slow moving, because the Turaga wasn't moving very fast. It didn't help much that the hallway was cramped, too.

As they made their way through, the ceiling gradually became higher and the walls were more spaced apart, giving them more room to walk.

At the end of the hallway was....nothing. Or at least it seemed that way, until they got closer and could actually see that there was writing on the wall, though very faint and worn out.

"What does it say?" Nastan asked. "Who wrote it?"

"It was written long ago, by someone named Oggak," Joha said. "Though I have no idea what this Oggak was writing about. Read it yourself and try to make heads or tails of it."

The six Toa and Jokao began reading it. Here's what it said:

At the beginning of time,
A evil tribe wanted to rule the universe,
But they were stopped by six Toa,
And a secret organization dedicated to carrying out the will of the Great Spirit Mata Nui,
Locking them away forever more,
Never to kill, never to terrorize again,
There they remain to this day,
And there they will remain,
Forever.

-

Oggak.


The six Toa and Jokao stopped reading, for that was where it ended. They looked at each other, sort of confused. They looked back towards Joha, who had been watching them with curious eyes, wondering if they knew what it was talking about.

"I think its a poem," Akuna said. "But it certainly is strange. What evil tribe was it talking about?"

"Better yet," Nonzra said. "What is this 'secret organization dedicated to carrying out the will of Mata Nui' that the poem speaks of?"

"Guys," Jokao spoke up. "It may not mean anything at all, you know. Some people just make poems for fun."

"Yes," Addis said slowly. "But why would someone leave this here, in a big, dark, and very scary temple in the first place? It just doesn't add up."

"Maybe it was for whoever lived in this village," Nastan suggested. "After all, who knew what they did here? Maybe it was for some ceremonial purposes." He turned to Joha. "Is this what you wanted to show us, 'cause none of us can make heads or tails of it?"

"Yes," the Turaga of Stone replied. "I thought maybe you clever thieves would be able to figure out what it means."

"Well, one, we're not thieves anymore," Nastan said, smiling. "At least, I'm not. And second, we've ran into poems and riddles in the past that lead to treasures, but this doesn't seem to be a code of any sort."

"Perhaps we should go back outside and think this over," Jokao suggested. "I want to explore this village some more."

The others agreed and Jokao lead the way out. Along the way, Chimoy decided to slide his hand over the wall. It was smooth, hard and firm, despite being very old. He didn't feel anything out of the ordinary until his hand slid over a part of wall that didn't feel normal. In fact, it felt like it could be pushed in.

What is that? Chimoy thought, stopping. He looked at the spot of the wall where he thought he had felt the weak part of the wall, but it was much too dark to see it. He looked over and saw everyone else was still walking towards the entrance. The Toa of Iron decided to check this out.

He felt over the wall again and found the part that felt weak. He pressed up against it and then fell right through the wall, letting out a yelp before falling behind the smooth stone wall.

"Did Chimoy just cry out?" Addis asked.

"I think he did," Nastan said, already running back to where he last saw Chimoy. "Chimoy! Where are you?"

He heard a faint sound, coming from the other side of the wall. He put his audio receptor up against the wall to hear it better. Now the sound he heard sounded more like Chimoy's voice, coming from the other side of the wall. It sounded like he was saying, "Help! I'm trapped!"

"Don't worry!" Nastan shouted. "We'll get you out of there, as soon as we find a way to get you out!"

The other Toa, Jokao, and Joha quickly caught up with Nastan, who was feeling over the wall, trying to find a way to rescue Chimoy. The others joined in, until Jokao felt the weak part of the wall that the Toa of Iron had found.

What's this? Jokao thought, puzzled. This part feels weaker than the other parts of the wall, like there's nothing behind it to support it. Maybe I should press against it, just to see what happens.

He pressed against it and everyone, including Joha, were caught by the flipping wall and brought to the other side, slamming into Chimoy.

"Ow," Jokao said. "That hurt."

Nastan looked around. It was dark. No lights. He couldn't see anything. He wondered where they were. It was probably a secret room or tunnel. He wondered where it led.

"Wonder where we are," Nastan said.

"Please...." Joha gasped. "Could...you....all.....get....off me?"

"Joha? Where are you?" Nastan asked, looking around.

"You're....right...on...top.....of...all of us!" Akuna gasped, struggling to breath. "Please get off, Nastan!"

Nastan looked down. He was sitting on top of everyone else, as they were all in a big heap on the ground and Joha just happened to be at the bottom

"Oops! Sorry, Joha," the Toa of The Green said sheepishly as he got off all of them. "Didn't realize where I was. And sorry to everyone else, too."

One by one, everyone got up and Chimoy helped Joha up. The Turaga looked around at the dark cave, like he was remembering something.

"This reminds me of the time my Toa team and I had to explore the dark, underground caverns of Shika Nui," Joha said, brushing himself off. "But there were a bunch of blade burrowers and we had lightstones to help us find our way around. Not to mention there were loads of stalagmites and stalactites. Ah, the good old days. Makes me wish I was a Toa again."

"So," Toa Akuna said. "Do we go deeper in or find a way out?"

"I say we go deeper in," Addis said. "We're Toa. Adventuring is our job, and who knows, maybe there's some secret treasure deep within here."

The word 'treasure' caught the attention of the other four Toa immediately, including Nastan. Toa they may be, they had been thieves first and old habits die hard, so they all agreed to go deeper into the tunnel, hoping to find treasure. Joha willingly went, having been a Toa and facing much worse things, so he wasn't afraid of a dark cave. Jokao reluctantly went with them, but only because he didn't want to be alone in this unknown cavern.

-


Icetraz dodged a bolt of shadow and countered with his blast of ice. He landed hard on part of the rubble of the destroyed western part of the Dark Hunter fortress.

A few hours ago, a small army of Visorak, Rahkshi, and other Brotherhood of Makuta servants had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Strangest of all, they seemed to have be led by Makuta Hajax, the Makuta of Shika Nui, who up to that point had been believed dead.

Even stranger, Makuta Hajax was in the body of Icetraz's super Vahki, controlling its body and dodging attacks with ease. Since he couldn't talk with this new body, the Makuta used telepathy to communicate with Icetraz.

Another chain lightning attack hit the Dark Hunter, stunning him. Hajax followed that up with shadow and sonics. Icetraz rolled over and tried to aim his Cordak blasters, but the attacks were blinding him, making it harder to aim.

For years I have pretended to be your obedient little servant, Makuta Hajax said, increasing the power of his attacks. Slaving away, getting you refreshments and disciplining a few disobedient Dark Hunters because you said so. But now, Shika Nui will be mine and I will have revenge on the Brotherhood of Makuta!

"Revenge? I though you Makuta were all on the same side!" Icetraz shouted, trying to unsuccessfully dodge a blast of shadow energy.

Not every Makuta agreed with Teridax's little Plan, Hajax replied. I intend to kill him and everyone else that followed him after I finish you off, Dark Hunter.

A Cordak missile came flying out of one of Icetraz's Cordak blasters, somehow not being destroyed by all the attacks coming from the Makuta. It hit the ground in front of Hajax, sending his robotic body flying through the air. It landed with a thud, damaging the internal mechanism that made the super Vahki's legs and arms move.

"One bad thing about super Vahki is that they are easily damaged," Icetraz said, rising. He aimed his Cordak blaster at the unmoving body of Hajax. Before pulling the trigger, he said, "Should have chosen a better body."

He pulled the trigger, sending a Cordak missile right to Makuta Hajax's unmoving super Vahki body. Missile met robot and missile won, destroying the super Vahki's body and unleashing Hajax's gaseous form into the air. But Icetraz was unaware of that. All he knew was that he had killed Hajax and that's it.

Icetraz now watched as all the Dark Hunters fought the many different Brotherhood of Makuta minions. He wondered how Hajax had managed to keep so many of them secret and for such a long time. He decided to think about that later, because his allies needed help and he was their leader, after all. Now this battle was going to end much faster, since their master was now dead.

He ran into battle, knowing it was just about to end. Unknown to him, however, was just how close Makuta Hajax was to getting a new body. By the time he realized that, it would be much too late.

-


Toa Barilo, Toa of Gravity, wondered aimlessly among the mountains, undescribly sad and hopelessly lost.

Earlier, he had tried to do what he thought he would never try to do: Kill one of his friends. After that, he was kicked out of the group, never to return. Now he was alone with his thoughts, wondering just why he did what he had done.

I....I lost my temper, or I went insane, Barilo though soberly. Hajax did say that anyone who has had a mental link with a Makuta didn't come out sane. Maybe that's happening to me. I just can't believe that I almost killed Nastan!

So caught up with his thoughts as he was, he never noticed a cliff coming up. Barilo almost fell off, once he realized where he was walking. He looked down over the edge of the vast cliff. Huge, spiky rocks sprouted from the ground that looked like they would surely kill him if he jumped down.

But what's the point in living anymore? Barilo thought, with more than a trace of insanity. I have no friends. This island will surely be ripped apart from the Dark Hunters fighting Hajax's forces. What do I have left to fight for? To live for?

It looked tempting, jumping down, ending his existence. If he did that, he would never harm or kill anyone, on accident or on purpose ever again. But somehow that didn't seem satisfying. Ending his existence now wouldn't solve anything. No, what he needed to do was undo what he had done wrong.

What I need to do is redeem myself, Barilo thought. Everyone makes mistakes, but only a few get a second chance to fix their mistakes. I will go and be a hero, a true hero, like Nastan.

He caught himself at that thought. He never wanted to be a hero, he'd always been happy as a thief, stealing others things and possessions, all in the name of his greed. But now, now stealing things didn't seem appealing anymore. Being a hero being a hero and redeeming himself seemed so much better, surprisingly.

He knew what to do to redeem himself. Barilo would go and defeat the Dark Hunters, all on his own, and free Shika Nui. He might get himself killed as a result, but in the end, he decided that his life wasn't important. Only the Matoran's freedom, and his friends lives, mattered to him now.

Best of all, I can go to them, without my friends getting hurt, Barilo thought triumphantly. Yes. After that, Hajax and I will have a very long discussion about double-crossing. We will indeed.

Activating his gravity powers, he caused a flat rock at the bottom of the cliff to rise up to where he was standing. He jumped on it and then, using a complex usage of gravity, made it shoot forward, heading straight for the Dark Hunter's fortress and for what he thought was going to be his final confrontation with the Makuta of Shika Nui.

-


Deep within the Dark Hunter's fortress, in the coldest room, on the lowest floor, was a huge block of ice.

There wasn't much in the room. It was snow and ice, mostly, with a frozen door that was about three feet thick, made of ice and metal. Inside the huge ice block, was a being. He had crimson armor, with purple streaks covering some of the it, mostly the arms and legs.

Huge plated wings, colored gold and purple, stood unmoving. His dead blue eyes was enough to make anyone die from fright. He carried a chain with a axe at the end of it. The ice wasn't very clear, so it was hard to see what the rest of him looked like.

Who was this being? Why, his name was Makuta Koghi, Makuta of the Southern Islands.

He had lead a attack on Shika Nui just about a day or two ago. Foolishly, instead of teaming up with another Makuta, he went on his own, along with some Visorak, Rahkshi, and Exo-Toa. All of his minions were killed or captured and he himself had been capture by Icetraz, the leader of the Dark Hunters of Shika Nui.

When he had been brought to the fortress, he had broke out of his cage and destroyed the western side of it. Icetraz then froze him in his current icy prison, to make sure he didn't destroy or kill anymore Dark Hunters. It was so cold and so thick even his heat vision couldn't melt it.

Even though his body was frozen, his mind was still free. Free to think over his escape plan, which was really all he could do, given his current situation.

Next time Dark Hunter comes to check on me, I'll make sure to break out, Koghi thought frustrated. Somehow, I will.

Maybe I can help,
a voice that was strangely familiar said.

Whose there? Koghi asked. Who dares speak to Makuta Koghi in his own mind?

Why, it is I, old friend,
the voice said. I, Makuta Hajax, Makuta of Shika Nui, have returned.

The news stunned Koghi. Hadn't Hajax been killed by Icarax and Gorast? This being must not be Makuta Hajax. He must be a imposter, because they had brought his mask, the Mask of Deceit, with them to prove that they had slain the rebellious Makuta.

You lie, stranger, Koghi said defiantly. Makuta Hajax was killed, by Makuta Icarax and Makuta Gorast, many years ago. You're just a imposter, posing as him. You aren't fooling me.

No one in the known universe can breach a Makuta's mind but a Makuta, Makuta Hajax replied coldly. A Makuta should know that, correct?

Koghi was quiet, thinking over what the voice said. True, only a Makuta could communicate with another Makuta via telepathy and it was a well-known fact throughout the universe, especially among telepaths because of the mental strength of a Makuta. So perhaps this guy really is Makuta Hajax.

Okay, so lets say you are Hajax, Koghi said, still unconvinced. How did you survive being kill by Icarax and Gorast, the best warriors of the Brotherhood of Makuta?

Time for that later,
Hajax replied. In the meantime, a squad of about ten heat vision Rahkshi and five Visorak Vohtorak should be here any minute, to free your frozen body.

Really? Makuta Koghi said, suspicious. Why should I trust you? You were against the Plan ever since the beginning. Why shouldn't I just kill you right now and be done with it? And why are Rahkshi and Visorak working for you in the first place?

Hajax laughed. Koghi, my friend, you've always been short on brains, but this is a new level of stupid for you. You can't kill me, since your body is frozen solid and I could easily decide to let you freeze to death, cool dude. As for the Rahkshi and Visorak, they listen to whoever happens to be in command and I just happen to be the top energy hound, if you know what I mean.

Koghi debated with himself. If he allied with Hajax, perhaps he could kill him later and get raised higher in the eyes of his fellow Makuta. Who knows, perhaps he would be called to Karda Nui by Makuta Antroz to help them kill the Toa Nuva and complete the Plan. The idea certainly appealed to Koghi. He decided to team up with Hajax, at least for now.

All right, I'll ally with you, Hajax, the Makuta said, But your Rahkshi and Visorak better hurry. I can already feel my essence freezing.

At that moment, Makuta Koghi thought he could hear something ramming against the thick frozen door to his prison. There it was again, this time more audible. Then the door came flying off its hings, hitting the frozen ice block that held the Makuta of the Southern Islands hard. Koghi's icy prison cracked, but not enough to get him out.

The cause of the door flying off was five red Vohtorak, all in berserker charger mode. In fact, they couldn't stop, bashing right into the giant ice block, cracking it even further. Koghi could feel the ice-cold air blow through the crack

Ten heat vision Rahkshi followed, firing twenty beams of heat from their collective eyes at the ice.

The heat vision and continual ramming by the Visorak weakened the block just enough to let Koghi finish it, melting the block of ice into water with his own heat vision attack.

Makuta Koghi could barely move, having been in the ice so long had pretty much frozen his essence. The ten Rahkshi, instead of halting their attack, fired more heat vision at the Makuta, unfreezing his substance. Now that he could finally move, stretched his limbs, trying to shake the cold off.

Many thanks, Hajax, Koghi said to the Makuta of Shika Nui via telepathy. I couldn't have done it better myself. Now where are you, anyway?

Instead of a response, the Makuta felt something strange going on in his body. It felt as though some outside force was forcing his essence out of his armor. It was incredibly painful, yet quick. He tried to keep the force out, but it was too strong for him. After it was through, he was just a cloud of greenish-black essence, floating near the ceiling of the chamber.

His armor now stood motionless. All of a sudden, the light of intelligence reappeared in the optics. Makuta Koghi now knew what had just happened: Hajax had taken his armor from him!

Makuta Hajax examined his new form, unimpressed.

"Really, Koghi," the Makuta said. "You were always a moron, but I never realized how bad a shape-shifter you were. Let me take a more suitable form, instead of this monstrosity."

The cloud form of Koghi watched in growing anger as Makuta Hajax shape-shifted his body. A few minutes went by, as the Rahkshi, Koghi's essence, and the Visorak watched the shape-shifting. Eventually, it ended and the new being emerged, much stronger and powerful-looking than the last.

The new being was well over ten feet tall, with jagged spikes sticking out from the back. The mask looked like a wild Muaka cat's face, except with a spik sticking out of the top. The body was big and broad, with a giant, spikey, crimson tail sticking out from behind.

He now held a new weapon, a broad sword that practically radiated shadow. He was blue and yellow, with huge black eyes.

"Now this is more like it," Hajax said, examining his new from. His eyes then locked on Koghi's essence cloud. "Now there is only one more problem to fix."

"Rahkshi," he ordered. The ten Rahkshi immediately stood tall, knowing that their master inhabited this body. "Fire at will." He pointed at Koghi's essence. "Now."

Heat flew from their eyes, striking the essence of Makuta Koghi, instantly destroying the cloud, killing the Makuta of the Southern Islands. There wasn't so much a scream, just the sound of heat striking the cloud and dissipating it, destroying it for good.

"Now there is one less moron in this world," Hajax said in a almost joyful tone. He had always hated Koghi, who was too dumb for the Brotherhood of Makuta, in his opinion. "Now we leave, back to the surface, where I will personally deal with Icetraz."

He tried walking out the door, but then realized he was too tall, so he altered his density and floated through the door way. He then unaltered his density, going back to being a solid, being of armor and energy. He gestured toward the bewildered Rahkshi and Visorak to follow him out he doorway and back to the upper levels.

"Come on," Hajax said. "We have a war to win."

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Chapter 13: Dragon in the Dark


Nonzra, along with the other four Toa Shika, Jokao, and Turaga Joha, was stumbling through the darkness of the tunnels that were underneath the village of shadow. He disliked it, because he was sure that they had already walked around in circles five different times at least. He didn't want to say it, though, because he didn't want to come off as complain-y or anything.

Jokao was the first to voice what Nonzra was thinking. "Is anyone here sure that there is treasure?"

"Nope," Addis replied from up ahead. "Just a guess, really."

"Well, it is a stupid guess, in my opinion," Jokao said smartly.

"You could go back to the surface and take your chances with the Hunters," Nonzra said sarcastically, looking back at where he heard Jokao's voice. "But I don't think any of us are likely to do that."

That shut Jokao up good. So everyone was quiet for a few more minutes, still stumbling through the darkness, until Akuna remembered something.

"Hey! That's right," she exclaimed. "I have the Mask of Night Vision!"

"You just remembered that now?" Nonzra asked, annoyed. "How does anyone forget what their own Mask Power is?"

Ignoring Nonzra's comment, Akuna activated her mask, sending a blinding glow that illuminated the cavern, revealing a tunnel that extended several feet long. Addis decided that, since Akuna had the glowing mask, she should be in front of the party. Nastan was somewhat against this, because there might be some sort of danger in ahead that might be waiting for them and he didn't want Akuna to get herself hurt or killed.

"Relax, Nastan," Akuna said. "I'm a Toa. You know, we Toa have the power to defend ourselves."

"Well, okay, I guess," he said. "Just be careful, okay?"

"Sure," she answered. "As long as I'm with you, I don't have anything to worry about, right?"

Nastan blushed a little at that comment, but no one seemed to notice, fortunately. "Er, yeah, right. Nothing to worry about here."

Soon, Akuna was in the front, leading the team deeper down the tunnel. Jokao still didn't like having to go down a tunnel that lead to who-knows-where, but he wasn't complaining, anyway.

"This place reminds me of the tunnels my Toa team and I explored back when they were alive and I was a Toa," Joha said, with more than a hint of nostalgia in his voice. "Except there were loads of stalactites and stalagmites and blade burrowers. Lots of blade burrowers. Nearly killed us, but I caved them in. Ah, the good ol' days. Makes me wish my team was still alive, so we could do that sort of thing again."

"Turaga, not to seem rude or anything," Jokao said. "But don't think that this is sort of...foolish? Exploring in the darkness without having any idea at all of what could be waiting in here?"

"Actually, I think it is quite smart, Jokao," the Turaga replied. "Toa are supposed to explore and seek out unknown dangers. It comes with the job. Now come on. They're already well ahead of us."

Joha walked quicker to catch up with them, leaving Jokao with a look of disbelief on the features of his face. The Matoran shook his head and ran after the rest of the party, still unsure if wandering around in the darkness was a good idea or not.

It seemed that hours were going by as the tunnels twisted and turned every which way. More than once, they had stopped at a fork in the tunnels and had to decide which way to go. Now they had arrived at such a fork and looked down both ways. They saw no enemies or traps down either tunnel, but they had been cautious so far and they didn't plan to be stupid and get themselves killed or trapped.

"I say we go left," Nastan said.

"Why left?" Nonzra asked, looking at the Toa of The Green.

"Because we have gone right for every fork we have found," Nastan replied. "It gets boring going the same way all the time. Variety is the spice of life, after all."

So the party went left. As they walked, Chimoy noticed all of the carvings on the walls, which looked like the ones he had seen back in the villages. Some looked like Toa, but strangely twisted and Rahi-like. Others showed carvings of what were obviously Rahi. And then some showed Matoran, but the Matoran in the carvings seemed to be shooting some sort of energy from their hands. It was so interesting and yet scary at the same time. Chimoy didn't know what to think.

Turaga Joha, too, was observing the carvings as they passed. Wise he may have been, he had no idea who, or what, these pictures were supposed to be depicting. It looked like a story to him, but rather incomplete, because most of the carvings were worn away or hastily scratched out.

Then, he heard Akuna scream from up ahead.

-


Toa Barilo, Toa Shika of Gravity, was at the moment far from the underground tunnels of Shika Nui.

He was currently on his way to the Dark Hunters, flying on a rock. The rock flew because he used a complicated power of gravity to move it forward and to keep it moving. Unfortunately, he couldn't steer it very well, but that wasn't a problem at the moment, because he was flying well above trees, Matoran, and any other obstacles that might get in the way.

Barilo was flying over a Matoran village, which was near the Hunter's fortress. Below him, Matoran of all kinds had stopped whatever work they were doing and were now looking up at him as he passed by overhead. All of the Matoran in the village below knew that Joha was the only Toa left on the island, so watching Barilo fly over them was quite exciting and interesting for most.

One Matoran in particular was so preoccupied watching him that he never noticed three brakas monkeys steal all the fruit from his fruit stand. When he finally noticed that his fruit was gone, the Rahi monkeys were long gone.

The Toa of Gravity was near the fortress now. He could see the once seemingly inpenetrable fortress. At one point he had thought it looked like a army of Toa would be needed to overcome it.

The majority of the building was still together, but he could see alot of holes in the walls and plenty of walls toppled onto the ground, with dead beings underneath them.

He could also see Dark Hunters fighting other beings. Lots and lots of other beings and none of them resembled Dark Hunters at all.

Probably Brotherhood of Makuta minions, he thought. Good thing Addis read Iroko's mind, before I....I.....killed her.

He had indeed killed a Skakdi named Iroko, who had been working with Makuta Hajax to kill the Toa Shika. Instead, she ended up getting killed herself, by none other than Barilo himself.

At the time, he had felt no regret. However, what he didn't plan to do was almost kill Nastan because the Toa of The Green had rebuked him for killing someone, which Toa weren't supposed to do. Nastan didn't die, but Barilo was exiled from the group just the same. He now wished that he had never even tried to kill Nastan in the first place.

Maybe I've had a conscience all along, he thought grimly as he flew over the village. Maybe I've just stold my conscience to shut up all these years. Perhaps being a Toa isn't about killing your enemies out right and getting praise from the Matoran. But wait a minute. What am I saying? Toa should kill their enemies. It is what made Joha and his team weak in my eyes and it is certainly what is going to make myself strong, in the eyes of myself and my enemies.

Or is it? Is killing really the thing Toa should do, even when it is unnecessary? Something inside me is telling me that Nastan was right, that Toa really shouldn't kill people for no reason.

Maybe he's right. After all, Joha and his team did get respect and admiration from the Matoran of this island and they never killed any living being, as far as I know. Maybe I shouldn't be thinking about this. I can't decide.


So caught up in his thoughts, that he never noticed a ship sailing toward the island from the west. He probably wouldn't have noticed it, anyway, since it was so far away.

The sea vessel was neither a Brotherhood of Makuta ship, nor a Dark Hunter warship. It wasn't even a Vortixx weapon supply ship.

The mighty sail, which was about twelve feet tall and fourteen feet wide, depicted the Kanohi Hau, the mask commonly associated with the Great Spirit Mata Nui. The warriors who piloted the ship were members of a secret organization dedicated to carrying out the will of Mata Nui.

For so long the organization they worked for been in secret, never revealing it's existence to any living being except in times of crisis. They had their members assigned to every known location in the universe, keeping a watch on the happenings wherever they were.

What was the organization that they worked for called? Why, it was none other than the Order of Mata Nui. They were coming to Shika Nui to lend the Dark Hunters a hand aganst the Brotherhood of Makuta.

-


The other four Toa, plus Jokao and Joha, ran up ahead to where they had heard Akuna scream. Nastan was the first there, bow and arrow at the ready.

"What is it?" he asked, aiming his bow around in the darkness. Akuna's sudden scream had shattered her concentration, shutting her mask power off and leaving them all in the dark. "Is there a Dark Hunter or something down here?"

"T-there," Akuna said, pointing up ahead. "I...I saw a giant, dragon-like Rahi. Its eyes were open and its black and green armor was cracked in many places. I shut my mask power off so it wouldn't see us."

"You know, Akuna," Nonzra said, trying to spot the dragon in the darkness. "We could fight it better if your mask power was on."

She shook her head. "And let the beast see us? No way. It looked like it could kill us all in one blow."

"Akuna, you were the one who said that since we are Toa, we can protect ourselves easily," Nonzra shot back. "So turn the darn light on and let us face the dragon mask to mask. Or face, if it has a face."

Reluctantly, the Toa of Lightning activated her mask, illuminating the tunnel ahead. What they saw was horrible and down right scary.

A dragon lay up ahead, buried in rubble. Its long, silver wings were broken and dented in many places. At one point, it may have been a creature that even the Brotherhood of Makuta feared. But now it looked dead, like someone had slain it long ago. Its large, blue eyes were open, but it didn't look like their was any light in them anymore.

Nastan, Addis, and Nonzra cautiously approached it, weapons at the ready. Chimoy and Akuna stayed behind with Jokao and Joha, just in case the monster was still alive. Nonzra poked the dragon with his sword to confirm his suspicions.

"The over-grown lizard is dead," he reported. "Though how he was killed, I don't know. Some might have brought the tunnel down upon him, though."

"Then it's a dead end?" Nastan asked. "Do we just turn back around?"

"No," Addis said, shaking his head. "The tunnel is mostly blocked off, but I think we can continue on. Just going to have to go around the dragon is all."

After telling Chimoy, Akuna, Jokao, and Joha that the Rahi was dead, the party walked around it and continued their way down the tunnel, all of them wondering just what the dragon was there for. They were soon about to find out and hopefully it wouldn't be too much for their minds to comprehend.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 14: The Return of Barilo


As she walked ahead of the others, Akuna thought about the dead dragon they had seen before. She wondered what it was there for and if it was supposed to guard something. Treasure, maybe? Some sort of prison, full of strange and scary beings?

How odd for a dragon, of all things, to be underground, she thought. It's kind of creepy, once you think about it.

Behind her, the other Toa Shika, Turaga Joha, and Jokao were still following. Jokao didn't want to advance any further after seeing the dead dragon. He wasn't sure that five novice Toa, one Turaga, and a Matoran could possibly defeat whatever defeated the dragon.

If there is a dead dragon here, who knows what might have killed it? the Ta-Matoran thought. Whatever killed it might still be here, waiting for us. Hopefully whatever killed the Rahi is dead, too, or left to go somewhere else or something.

Up ahead, Jokao noticed how Nonzra and Addis were talking to each other. He wasn't sure what they were saying, but it was probably about taking precautions in case there were more dragons up ahead or if there were traps.

However, none of that seemed necessary, as they soon emerged into a chamber. The chamber was shaped like a sphere and obviously wasn't a natural structure. It was mostly bare, save for what looked like six stasis tubes in the middle. Lightstones were imbedded in the walls, helping to light up the room.

"Underground chamber." Nastan said, surveying the area. "Didn't know this was under Shika Nui." He turned to Joha. "How about you?"

"Neither did I, Nastan," the Turaga replied.

"Those stasis tubes look curious," Jokao said, pointing at the tubes in the middle. "I wonder what is inside them."

Then, he thought he felt something in his mind tell him to go down to check the stasis tubes out. He obeyed the command.

Without warning and regardless of his fears, the Ta-Matoran ran down the path toward the stasis tubes. Despite the size of the cave, he was at the bottom in only a couple of minutes and was looking up at the cylinders, trying to see what was inside.

"Hello," he said to the tube, knocking on it with his fist. "Anyone alive in there?"

"Jokao!" Turaga Joha cried. He was coming down the path with the five Toa Shika in tow. "You should be more careful. You never know what kind of dangers could be hiding in here."

"Relax, Turaga," Nonzra said. "He just wanted to get a better look is all. I, too, am curious about the tubes."

The Toa of Sonics walked over to the tube Jokao was standing in front of and wiped away the dust in front of it. He jumped back at what he saw.

In the stasis tube was a being. He had teeth extending from his mouth several inches long and was red and blue, with sharp spikes extending from his armor. He held what looked like a sword, except it had a trigger on it, like a gun blade.

The odd creature was clearly in stasis, because his eyes were closed and he was totally still. But there was something about his unusually long limbs that gave off a creepy feel, like he was still aware of what was gong on around him, despite the fact that he was in stasis.

"What is that thing?" Nonzra asked, horrified.

"Let me see," Nastan said, shoving his friend aside. He, too, was taken aback by what he saw. "What in Mata Nui's name is that?"

The other Toa Shika and Turaga Joha looked at the strange being in the stasis tube.

"How odd," Joha muttered. "What kind of creature is that?"

"Should I wipe the dust off the other tubes?" Nonzra asked. " 'Cause if they're going to be as hiedious as that...that thing, then it is better we leave them the way they are, in my opinion."

The others agreed, not wanting to accidentally wake the creatures up. That didn't stop Jokao from studying the tubes, however. He noticed a word engraved on the tubes: Tuikas.

"Tuikas?" he repeated. "Isn't Tuikas the Matoran word for 'fear'?"

"Well, they certainly inspire fear in me," said Nastan. "But why would they be called Tuikas? Heck, why are they even in stasis tubes in the first place?"

"Too many questions, too little answers," Nonzra said. He then looked at the entrance, where they had come from. However, he noticed the doorway was closing up, until it was fully closed, locking them inside. "Hey!"

He dashed over to where the entrance had once been and began hacking away with his sword. Addis joined him, using his plasma powers to try to melt the door down.

"What's going on?" Jokao asked, fearing creeping into his voice. "Are we locked away in here forever? I don't want to be locked away! Those creatures might wake up and kill us!"

Joha, having been a Toa for over 30,000 years and been through far worse, was keeping his cool. "Calm down, Jokao. I'm sure we're going to escape from this."

Akuna, Chimoy, and Nastan joined Addis and Nonzra, blasting away at the door. Despite the onslaught of elemental attacks, the door didn't have a scratch. Chimoy, using his power over metal, made a giant hammer made of iron appear out of thin air.

He then beckoned for the others to step back, which they did. Then the Toa of Iron, exerting all his strength, slammed the heavy hammer onto the door. Surprisingly, the door still stood. Chimoy dropped his hammer, giving up.

"How is this possible?" he muttered. "Maybe we really are locked away forever."

"All right," said Addis. "Everyone, search for any way out. Feel along the walls or along the floor or anywhere that you think might unveil a secret entrance."

The others did as he bid, walking all around the chamber and feeling along the walls. It was Akuna who discovered that one of the lightstones was loose.

"Guys, look at this," she said. Everyone else came over to her. "See? This lightsone is loose. Watch."

She pulled down on it. At first, she was a bit disappointed that nothing happened....until the wall flung opened and, with a strong vacuuming force, sucked the party up. The wall closed. None of them noticed, however, that one of the Tuikas, the first one, eyes opened and they wouldn't know the consequences of awakening the Tuikas until it was far too late.

-


On the surface, Icetraz blasted another Visorak into oblivion, using his Cordak blaster. Another one jumped onto his back, but a ice spike put a end to that unfortunate creature's life.

Earlier, he had killed the leader of these Brotherhood of Makuta minions, Makuta Hajax. But for some reason, instead of dispersing in out right panic, they still fought, as if they knew something momentous was going to happen.

Six Arms, another Dark Hunter, was fighting five Rahkshi. Icetraz fired off three missiles, all three of which hit the Rahkshi, destroying some and sending others flying through the air.

Six Arms turned to Icetraz. "These things just don't give up, even when their leader is dead."

"I agree, Six Arms," said Icetraz. "That is the mystery, of course. Usually, when the leader of a army is killed, the rest began to panic and are easy picking."

He was too caught up in his conversation with Six Arms that he didn't notice a Exo-Toa come up from behind. It was about to shoot him, but Death came up from behind it and stabbed it with his sword, ripping its internal mechanisms to bits and then finishing it off with a lava ball, causing it to explode. Icetraz turned around, surprised.

"Ah, Death," he said. "Good job." He pointed to a small group of Dark Hunters fighting off a big group of Visorak. "Help them kill those Visorak."

Death nodded, but he seemed to have what looked like regret in his eyes. "Yes, sir." And then he darted off in the direction of the Dark Hunter-Visorak scuffle, aiming to help his brothers.

Icetraz turned back to Six Arms, who was now running over to fight some Exo-Toa nearby. Icetraz didn't bother to help him, because the Hunter was already ripping the fighting machines apart.

He needs no help from me, Icetraz thought. That's good, because it shows his independence. But if he grows too independent, I may have to end his sorry life.

Then, to Icetraz's surprise, a giant emerged from the fortress, holding a dead Dark Hunter in his hand. Worse, this being was no Dark Hunter he knew of. The blue and yellow being instantly locked eyes with Icetraz. When he spoke, it was the deep, gritty voice of the Makuta of Shika Nui's.

"Why, hello, Icetraz," the being called, tossing the corpse away. "As you can see, I, Makuta Hajax, have new body for myself. Stolen from my fellow Makuta, Koghi, who is now dead."

Instead of answering vocally, Icetraz responded by firing a hail of Cordak missiles, all aimed at Hajax. The Makuta used his magnetism powers to stop the missiles dead in their tracks.

"You have but two choices, Icetraz," Hajax said. "Either give up and let me take control of this island or I will kill you with these Cordak missiles."

"How's about the third choice where I kill you dead right in your tracks?" Icetraz shouted, unleashing a blast of ice at the Cordak missiles.

The ice hit the projectiles, blowing them up. The explosion hit Hajax, but it surprisingly wasn't enough to send him flying.

Icetraz drew his sword and then ran and jumped, bringing the blade down on the Makuta. Hajax quickly pulled his broad sword out. Icetraz's blow landed on the Makuta's sword and the two began pushing each other, looking into each other's eyes with pure hatred.

"You know you can't win," Hajax said, struggling to force his opponent over. "Your Hunters are tiring and my minions never do."

"Keep talking, Makuta scum bag," Icetraz growled. "Because you'll be eating those words in a few minutes!"

-


Up in the sky, Barilo flew in to the battle at the fortress and immediately noticed Icetraz fighting some yellow and blue titan that had a tail. He wondered who that was.

He also noticed Dark Hunters fighting Visorak, Exo-Toa, and Rahkshi, even some Vortixx. He had no idea where all of the Brotherhood of Makuta minions came from, but that didn't stop him from being disappointed.

Did I already miss my chance for revenge on Hajax? Barilo thought. Then I have no further reason to be here, even though kicking Dark Hunter tail sounds very appealing.

Then he heard Icetraz, down below, call the giant 'Hajax.' That surprised Barilo greatly, because when he last saw the Makuta of Shika Nui, he was in a super Vahki body. Where he got this new body, Barilo did not know. But he wasn't about to pass up this chance for revenge, the being really was Hajax.

Time for some pay back, Barilo thought, lowering to the ground.

Barilo knew that it would just plain stupid to attack while he was in the sky, in case a Hunter saw him and then try to blast him out of the sky. So he lowered to the ground, behind a boulder in the proto forest so he wouldn't be seen immediately by the Hunters and then have to fight them. And then he jumped off his rock, pulling his gravity axe out and was about to charged into battle, seeking to defeat the Makuta and hopefully Icetraz, too.

He was surprised when the other five Toa Shika, plus Jokao and Turaga Joha, shot out of a hole in the ground and landed on him. The hole quickly closed back up.

Nastan looked around. "Hey, where are we? I hear battle sounds coming from the other side of this rock."

"You're on top of me!" Barilo shouted. "I need to breath too, you know."

Everyone froze, recognizing who the voice belonged to immediately. They remembered how Barilo had killed Iroko and how he almost killed Nastan while he was at it. Now he was here and they were on top of him! Nastan immediately knew that Barilo might try to get him again.

All of them jumped off of Barilo and the five Toa Shika drew their weapons. The Toa of Gravity scrambled to his feet and held his hands up.

"Look!" he said. "I don't want to hurt you guys anymore. Honestly, I've learned my lesson."

"We're sure you have, Barilo," Nonzra snapped. "Or should I say, 'traitor who nearly killed our friend'?"

"I was confused and insane back then," Barilo admitted. He got on his knees. "Please, Addis. Accept me back as a part of this team and I won't ever betray you guys ever again."

Addis looked into Barilo's eyes. Having been a thief as a Matoran, Addis knew how to make his eyes look innocent when accused of a crime. He knew that Barilo also knew how to do that and what he was seeing in Barilo's eyes wasn't fake innocence. It was the true, I-want-forgiveness-or-I-don't-know-what-I-will-do-with-my-life kind of look.

The Toa of Plasma looked down to Joha. "Turaga, look in his eyes. What do you see?"

Joha locked eyes with Barilo. "Well, I see someone who really does want to help again. It doesn't look fake, either."

"So are you saying that we should accept Barilo back unquestioningly?" Nastan asked in disbelief. "He almost killed me!"

"Nastan, I think you should be more forgiving," Joha said gently. "Barilo really does look like he regrets what he has done."

"Please, Nastan, forgive me," Barilo said, his voice sounding very sad. "I will do anything to prove my honest, sincere quest for forgiveness."

The five Toa looked at each other. Jokao was standing beside Chimoy, because he still didn't trust Barilo. Then the Toa huddled up to discuss what they should do. Jokao and Joha also joined in.

It was only a few minutes, but it seemed like a eternity to Barilo before they finally stopped talking to each other. Barilo looked from one of his fellow Toa to another. He noticed how Chimoy, Akuna, Nonzra, and Addis were smiling. Nastan looked uncomfortable and Jokao did, too. Joha simply had no expression on his face, but his eyes gave him away. He, too, was happy.

"Barilo, with much discussion," Addis said, walking forward. "We have decided that, despite the fact you almost killed Nastan, you are sincere about wanting forgiveness. We all forgive you and we want you back in our team. Do you accept?"

Barilo nearly cried out in joy, but didn't because he knew it would give away their position to the Dark Hunters.

So he simply said, "Yes. I would like that very much."

Then, for the first time in a long time, Addis and Barilo did the traditional Toa salute of bumping fists. He did it with the rest of the Toa, too, even with Nastan, who did it rather reluctantly.

"I still don't trust you, Barilo," Nastan said.

"That's all right," Barilo said, patting his fellow Toa on the back. "I don't expect you to trust a theif. I expect you to fight with me like a warrior."

He looked down at Jokao and Joha. He bent over and bumped fists with Joha, despite the fact he was a Turaga. Then he turned to Jokao, who, like Nastan, looked rather reluctant, but he did it anyway, just so he didn't anger Barilo.

"All right," Barilo said, standing to his full height. He pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. "There's a mini war going on between the Dark Hunters and Brotherhood of Makuta back there. Hajax is fighting Icetraz and this is the perfect time to strike. Shall we, Toa brothers and sister?"

The others nodded and drew their weapons again.

"Hey, can I stay here?" Jokao asked. "I'm not a Toa and I wouldn't last very long out there. I'm thinking of heading back to my village, which isn't very far from here. Hopefully all of the Dark Hunters are preoccupied by this battle, so they won't try to get me."

"Then I will accompany you, Jokao," Turaga Joha said. "Like you, I would not last very long in battle, either."

He turned to face the six Toa Shika. His eyes were filled with pride as he looked at each of the Toa. He even had pride when he looked at Barilo.

"You know, despite your downsides, I believe destiny chose the right Matoran to become Toa," he said. "I am proud of you six, especially you, Barilo."

"Me?" Barilo asked, shocked. "But I betrayed my team and nearly killed Nastan!"

"But you had the guts to shove down your pride and ask for forgiveness," Joha reminded him. "That makes you just as much a Toa as the others, perhaps even more so."

"Thank you, Turaga," Barilo said, his voice choked with emotion.

"Hey," Addis spoke up. "Let's not get all mushy, all right? We have some Hunter butts to kick!"

"Yeah," Akuna agreed. "Let us free Shika Nui from the Dark Hunters slavery once and for all!"

With a mighty battle cry, the six Toa Shika ran out from behind their boulder. They were now a united team. Despite their pasts as thieves and despite what they had been through, they now accepted their part as heroes who would save Shika Nui from evil.

But if they could only sense what is destined to happen to them, where they would be going, they wouldn't nearly be as eager as they are now. Not nearly as eager at all.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness

(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)

The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 15: Chaos!


Every Dark Hunter and Brotherhood minion was surprised to see the six Toa Shika enter the battle, firing elemental power from their weapons at their enemies. Tyu, too, was surprised, as he quickly beheaded a Rahkshi with his sword and then turned to see the Toa get surrounded by a group of Visorak spiders.

"Where did they-?" Tyu asked, surprised and shocked. He shook his head. "Never mind. I'm going to get my revenge, one way or another."

Raising his sword, he unleashed a blast of solar energy from the blade, aiming directly at the Toa. Chimoy noticed the beam and then used his metal powers to create a shield out of thin air. Then, angling the shield at just the right angle, deflected the solar energy beam right back to Tyu.

It hit the winged Hunter over, causing him to go sprawling right into a group of Rahkshi. Chimoy turned away and saw that, while his fellow Toa had succeeded in defeating the Visorak that had surrounded them, Dark Hunters were moving in on them and Nonzra was already fighting Death, a Dark Hunter that the Toa Shika had fought some days earlier.

Nonzra dodged a lava ball, then unleashed a wave of sonics at Death. The Dark Hunter dodged, rolled, and then fired five lava balls from his sword as he went. Most of them missed, save for two, which hit the Toa of Sonics in the chest and right leg, knocking him over.

Death was upon him in two strides. He put the tip of his sword to Nonzra's neck.

"What are you doing here, Toa?" asked Death. "I am surprised to see that you are still alive."

"My team and I are here to defeat Makuta Hajax and you Dark Hunters," Nonzra replied defiantly. "That way, we will free Shika Nui and we won't have to deal with you tyrants anymore."

Death locked eyes with Nonzra. The Toa of Sonics wasn't quite sure what he saw in the Hunter's eyes. He had expected to see revenge in his eyes, but instead he say something else. It looked like anger, it looked like sadness. Most of all, it looked like he was thinking.

Surprisingly, the Dark Hunter lifted his sword off the Toa's neck. Then, he blasted the ground in front of him, causing both the Dark Hunter and Nonzra to go flying into the air. The two enemies landed on the ground. It wasn't so much the shock of landing on the ground as it was the fact that Death didn't kill him. Who was this Dark Hunter, who didn't kill Nonzra when he had the chance? Nonzra had always assumed that Dark Hunters killed Toa whenever they got the chance, as they demonstrated when they had killed Toa Joha's team, over 25,000 years ago.

Death crawled over to him and whispered, "I am giving you this chance to live. Don't blow it."

Nonzra looked at him with distaste on his features. "And just why should I believe a Dark Hunter, of all beings?"

"Because I could have killed you right there," Death whispered back harshly. "I don't want to fight for the Hunters. I never wanted to join the Dark Hunters in the first place. I originally joined to help my people, not to kill novice Toa. I am going to pretend I am unconscious, okay? Then you get back up and fight my brothers. Got it?"

Nonzra nodded, still confused as to why Death was allowing him to live. The Dark Hunter closed his eyes and he was so convincing that Nonzra almost believed he truly was unconscious. He then rose and turned around to see that his fellow Toa were fighting Dark Hunters, Visorak, and Rahkshi.....And were doing just terrible. Nastan was alone against five Dark Hunters, with a sixth one coming up from behind. Akuna and Chimoy were also desperately fighting Rahkshi and Visorak. As for Addis? He was doing just as good as Nastan, which wasn't good at all.

Barilo was the only one holding his own. He had already taken out at least five Visorak, six Rahkshi, and a Hunter or two and he was now fighting the female Dark Hunter Yehiku, who the Toa of Sonics recognized from Barilo's description of her. Nonzra knew he needed to do something to turn the tide, but he just wasn't sure how.

There is my mask, Nonzra thought. After all, it saved us the first time. Who is to say it won't save us again? It might bring more of those dragon creatures, like the dead one we saw in the tunnel. Perhaps that would turn the tide in our favor.

Closing his eyes, he activated his Kanohi Zatth, the Mask of Summoning. Then he opened them. He didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Just the normal chaos one can expect on a battle field is all.

That was, until he heard something burrowing from beneath the surface. He looked down at the ground. There wasn't anything unusual until he saw a claw break the surface. Then, another claw, followed by a Rahi's head, which Nonzra immediately recognized as a blade burrower.

At first, the Toa of Sonics was disappointed. How could one blade burrower help them defeat the Dark Hunters? He thought that until another blade burrower followed. Then another, then another, until at least 20 of them had emerged out of the hole.

Without warning, the 20 blade burrowers moved in to attack the Dark Hunters, Visorak, and Rahkshi. One blade burrower even destroyed a Exo-Toa. Now the battle field had Toa, Dark Hunters, Brotherhood of Makuta minions, and blade burrowers. One could truly call the area a war zone.

I call it complete and utter chaos, Nonzra thought.

While that was happening, Barilo was fighting Yehiku. She was surprisingly agile, but apparently she didn't pay attention to where she was walking, because more than once she nearly tripped and that gave Barilo a advantage.

"Giving up, Yehiku?" Barilo asked as he dodged a fierce kick.

"Never, Toa," she replied, dodging a well-aimed punch. "If anything, you should be the one giving up."

"Toa never give up," the Toa answered, meeting Yehiku's sword attack with his axe. "I learned that the hard way."

The two struggled to push the other away with their weapons, never giving in. Barilo still held feelings for Yehiku, but, now knowing what it is like to be a true hero, was ready to fight for the freedom of the Matoran of Shika Nui.

Perhaps I can convince her to join us? he thought as he struggled to keep the Dark Hunter from pushing him over. I mean, Toa don't kill, right? It doesn't say that Toa can't convince their enemies to join them, right? But, then, if she doesn't want to help us now, why would she want to help us anyway?

Yehiku, on the other hand, had no feelings for Barilo, nor anyone, for that matter. She was for the Dark Hunters cause and was willing to die for it, if she needed to. Besides, even if she wasn't a Huntress, she wouldn't team up with Toa, anyway.

Toa are weak, Yehiku thought as she tried to push Barilo away. Ancient said so. From everything I've seen, that statement is true.

So caught up in their battle they were that they didn't notice a blade burrower come near them. It, like the rest of it's clan, had been called up onto the surface by some mysterious force. This particular burrower was still hungry and it believed these two creatures would satisfy its hunger well.

It could not see them, since blade burrowers have notoriously poor eyesight, but its since of smell told it that there were two beings. It could not know that one was a Toa and that another was a Dark Hunter, but it didn't care. Eat first, ask questions later would be its motto if it could talk.

Barilo noticed the Rahi beast coming up from behind Yehiku and tried to warn her, but she wasn't listening.

"There's a giant blade burrower coming up behind you," said Barilo as he tried to push her away.

"I'm not falling for the oldest trick in the book, Toa," Yehiku snapped. "I am smarter than that."

A giant claw, courtesy of the burrower, slashed her in the back, sending her flying into Barilo. The two rolled over and over until Yehiku managed to get some distance between herself and Barilo. She then kicked him in the mask, sending him rolling over again until he hit a nearby tree. The Dark Huntress painfully picked herself up and then looked at Barilo, who, while not unconscious, was laying on the ground, stunned.

"Ouch," he groaned. "That was painful!"

Yehiku looked around, trying to find her sword she had dropped when she had collided with the Toa of Gravity. She noticed that it had somehow ended up right next to Barilo and he was taking full advantage of it.

Barilo sprang up and then, moving faster than Yehiku's eyes could follow, grabbed the sword off the ground and unleashed his gravity powers on the Dark Huntress. Without gravity to help her stay on the ground, she started to float upwards. For a moment, she panicked, until she remembered the daggers that Lariska had given her some years ago. Yehiku never used them, mainly because she much preferred using her long sword over those tiny daggers. But now, as she fumbled through her bag, she realized just how grateful she was for the knives.

Now Yehiku wasn't the best at throwing daggers, but she had a somewhat good aim. She threw the daggers and, while one of them missed, the other didn't. It hit Barilo in the shoulder and he cried out in pain. He dropped her sword and then stumbled backward.

His concentration shattered, Yehiku fell to the ground. She looked up and saw the Toa of Gravity was trying to remove the dagger from his shoulder, cursing all the way. Now was her chance to attack.

She jumped up into the air, executing a perfect flying kick, sending Barilo into a tree. He hit the tree and slumped, his eyes closed. Yehiku cautiously moved forward and then poked him with her recovered sword. Was he dead?

No, she thought. Just totally unconscious.

Just then, Barilo's eyes abruptly opened, which startled Yehiku. Instead of seeing the look of a brave hero in his orbs, she saw complete and utter rage. Barilo now felt the same rage he had felt when he had killed Iroko. Now he was ready to unleash his full wrath upon the Dark Huntress and he wasn't going to hold back.

Despite his damaged shoulder, he rose and then activated his gravity powers, aiming to crush Yehiku like he did with Iroko. Unlike what he did to Iroko, however, he was not going to kill Yehiku abruptly. Rather, it would be a slow, continuous process that would leave her a dead heap of armor and organic tissue.

"No! Wait!" she screamed in agony. "You're killing me!"

"That's what I am aiming to do," Barilo snarled. "And after this, I will go after your leader, Icetraz. Then Shika Nui will be free forever!"

He watched as she fell to the ground, falling into unconsciousness. But before he could actually kill her, his eyes instantly lost the rage. In fact, now he looked like a different person altogether. He shook his head like someone who had awoken from a bad dream. Barilo looked down at the unconscious Dark Huntress and then realized exactly what was happening.

"Oh no!" he shouted, horrified by what he was doing. "I gotta stop this!"

He cut off his gravity powers, lessening the damage on Yehiku. He then leaned over to inspect her. The Toa sighed a sigh of relief that she was just unconscious and not dead. He really didn't want to experience killing another living person again, not after what had happened last time. Then he stood up and felt extreme pain in his left shoulder. Barilo glanced at his shoulder and realized that it still had the dagger in it.

Exerting all of his strength, he pulled the dagger out and tossed it away. Now he felt even more pain, worse than even when the dagger was in. He looked around and realized that the other Toa were still fighting Dark Hunters and Brotherhood of Makuta minions. He was in no shape to fight, but the Toa of Gravity didn't want to be left out in what he believed was the final battle for Shika Nui.

So I fight, Barilo thought. Whether or not I actually can.

The pain ripped through his body and he knew he needed to find a way to ease the pain. At that moment he wished he had a Mask of Healing, because then he could jump right back into action. But instead he was going to fight, even if only one of his arms moved.

Groaning with pain, he lifted his axe, running back towards the battle field. This time, he wasn't going to worry about fighting Hunters or Brotherhood minions. Now he was going straight for the Icetraz-Hajax conflict, even though he knew he might get killed as a result.

-


Since the blade burrowers were taking care of the Dark Hunters, the other five Toa Shika had regrouped behind a boulder to rest. None of them quite knew exactly what to do next and where Barilo was exactly. Nastan peered from behind the boulder to see Barilo, with his left arm limping at his side, running straight towards Icetraz and Hajax, with a look of either determination or of insanity on his face. Nastan could not tell the difference.

"What does he think he's doing?" Nastan exclaimed.

"What does who think he's doing what?" asked Addis.

"Barilo," Nastan replied bitterly, sitting back next to Akuna. "His left arm is limping at his side and he's running toward Icetraz and Hajax, the two most powerful combatants on the field right now. He's gonna get himself killed."

"Well, brothers and sister," Addis said, getting up. "We ought to help him."

"Why?" Nastan asked, frustrated. "He nearly killed me and now he's probably going to get himself killed. Good riddance."

"Nastan, he's our friend again," said Addis. "Friends help each other. Thought you were the one tooting about Unity, Duty, and Destiny? I can't believe you of all people would say 'Good riddance' about a fellow Toa! Geez, are you still sore about him almost killing you? He says he's sorry and I believe him. You should, too."

Nastan didn't respond, he simply looked at the ground. Then he got up and drew his bow out, already loading it with a arrow.

"Guess you're right," he said. "We should help him, I guess." Then, he added, "I now see why you're our leader."

Akuna nodded, drawing her staff out, electricity cracking at the tip. "Of course. Now let's move. He really is going to get himself killed if we just stand here talking."

Nonzra drew his sword and Chimoy, not having a permanent Toa tool, made a mallet appear out of thin air. Then the five Toa once again moved from the rock to go help their Toa brother.

-


Meanwhile, Icetraz was already gaining the upper hand on Makuta Hajax. The Makuta was not very used to his big body, having lived in a super Vahki's body for so many long years, which was far smaller and less bulky than his current form. While Icetraz, however, was not only skilled at using swords, but was also very agile and fast.

I need to kill this fool quickly, the Makuta of Shika Nui thought. But how?

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of purple and gray. He wondered what that was, so he scanned the area with his mind, not wanting to take his attention off Icetraz by shifting his gaze, and then immediately knew who the purple and gray color scheme belonged to.

Barilo... Not only Barilo, but evidently the rest of the Toa had came, too. This is going to get very messy, very soon.

Quicker than Icetraz's eyes could follow, the Makuta quickly began unleashing shadow energy unexpectedly, aiming to drive back the Dark Hunter. It was working and Icetraz was too off balance to strike. Hajax then got back onto his feet and unleashed his magnetism power.

At first, Icetraz didn't notice anything out of the ordinary....until he started noticing armor, weapons, and bits and pieces of metal were clinging onto his body like bees at a bee hive. He kept trying to get the stuff off of himself, but it was staying magnetized to his body and was weighing him down. There was no way to get the clinging metal off of his body!

Finally, he fell down, far too heavy to stand up. Hajax, using his mind powers, then shredded Icetraz's mind into a million pieces, sending the Dark Hunter leader into unconsciousness and possibly insanity as well.

"I really should have done that earlier," Hajax said, brushing himself off.

"And I should have done this earlier!" Barilo shouted, jumping up and then bringing his gravity axe down on Hajax's head.

The Makuta stumbled forward as the axe collided with his cranium, shaking his head. He turned around and saw Barilo, looking like a fierce Muaka cat, gravity axe at the ready, despite his limping arm. Despite how fierce and brave the Toa looked, Hajax could not help but laugh. The Makuta of Shika Nui's power was much stronger than Barilo's and he would be able to finish the Toa of Gravity off quickly.

"Ah, Barilo," Hajax said, chuckling. "Killed anyone recently?"

"I didn't kill Iroko on purpose," Barilo snapped, swinging his axe around. "You broke our mind link and that caused me to go insane for a little while."

"Are you sure you still are not insane?" asked Hajax. "After all, you're going to take me on, all by yourself. You'd have to be completely insane to attack a Makuta head-on, all by yourself. Go and leave this island, if you wish to live. I am offering you mercy, something a Makuta never does. Take your team and go, because you're useless to my cause now."

"Never!" Addis shouted, running with the other Toa to stand beside Barilo.

"We stand together," Nonzra said, swinging his sword around. "Like true Toa do!"

"Yeah!" Nastan agreed, aiming his crossbow at the Makuta. "Even though we may never get along all of the time, we are far better off than you, Hajax. Your own brothers killed you, for Pete's sake."

Hajax looked over each one of them. He had no doubt in his mind he could kill all six of them easily, but he knew that Chimoy was a Toa of Iron, the most dangerous of all of them, for he could break Hajax's armor open and let his precious energy leak out. He would have to go first.

He activated his darkness power, bringing complete darkness around himself and the Toa. But then a bright light, courtesy of Toa Akuna's Mask of Night Vision, broke through the darkness, striking Hajax's eyes. Since his eyes were not suited for bright lights, the Makuta screamed, destroying his concentration and cutting off the darkness. Plant life burst forth from the ground, capturing Hajax, stopping his movement and pulling him down to the ground. Nonzra unleashed a wave of sonics, powerful enough to hurt the Makuta's hearing.

Then Akuna sent a lightning bolt upon him, jolting his essence. And Chimoy aimed to rip open a hole big enough for his hand to fit through in the Makuta's armor, letting Hajax's essence leak out.

"Give up, Hajax," Barilo shouted. "We can beat you and you know it."

At first, Barilo thought that Hajax must be unconscious because he wasn't replying. Then he saw the Makuta of Shika Nui ripping through the plant life and sending a explosion of vines, sending the six Toa flying into the air. They fell down, hard, on the ground, as Hajax rose.

"Seriously, I was giving you the chance to leave and be 'heroes' somewhere else," Hajax said, drawing his sword. "But now you reject it and for that you must die."

Raising his hand, he unleashed a force of cyclones, shadow, electricity, and overwhelming fear into the Toa, which would surely be enough to kill all six of them. What he didn't expect, however, was that the attacks instantly rebounded off the Toa, like some sort of invisible force field was protecting them.

"Who dares stop Makuta Hajax from killing these Toa?" he questioned, looking around.

Nastan managed to look up and saw that Julok, of all beings, was walking over to them, a dead Visorak in his claws. The Toa of The Green wondered why he had saved them.

"You!" Hajax yelled, pointing at the Hunter. "Did you save these Toa, which you so obviously hate?"

"Yes, I did," the Dark Hunter replied calmly. "You are a enemy of the Dark Hunters and so are the Toa. I have no love for them or their kind, but I do want revenge upon them for making a fool of me and I intend to pay them back in full. I'm not going to let some dark warlord rob me of my revenge!"

"Why you-!" Hajax snarled, aiming his sword at the Dark Hunter.

Before he could unleash a blast of shadow, however, a fifteen-foot, green and silver warrior appeared, grabbing the Makuta from behind and pinning him to the ground without much effort. The strength of the Dark Hunter who had pinned him down was enormous, stronger even than the Makuta himself. What was worse was that his essence was still leaking out, making Hajax weaker each minute.

"Wha-?" Hajax said, straining to twist his neck to see who had dared attack him.

"Name's Byki," the giant replied in a deep, rumbling voice. "I saw what you did to Icetraz and what you were going to do to Julok. Now I'm gonna rip your head right off your neck!"

Before he could carry out his threat, Hajax used his density control power to alter his density, allowing Byki to fall right through him. Then the Makuta rose and changed his density back to normal, unleashing as he did so blast of chain lightning. The chain lightning hit Byki, sufficient enough to knock-out the huge Hunter.

"That is what you receive for daring to hurt a Makuta!" Hajax bellowed. "Now I will-"

"You will what?" Julok asked. "Your army, oh great Makuta, is dead. We killed every single minion you sent at us and the rest of your troops have fled." He said the 'oh great Makuta' part with more than a hint of sarcasm.

The Makuta looked around. Julok was right. All of his Visorak, Rahkshi, Exo-Toa, and various others were dead or utterly destroyed. All of the Dark Hunters were now shifting their attention to Hajax, stomping over the corpses of the dead Brotherhood minions as they went. It was almost enough to send Makuta Hajax running, but he kept his ground.

"My men!" he shouted, scanning the area frantically. "What happened to my men?"

"We destroyed'em," Giho replied, axe at the ready. "And now we're gonna destroy you!"

Hajax knew that, while he could take on any of them individually and win, he could never defeat hundreds upon hundreds of Dark Hunters all on his own. Not to mention his own armor was already ripped open as it was, greatly weakening him. But he also knew he wasn't going to go down, not after so long of hiding and waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

His gaze shifted to the right, where the six Toa Shika were now standing up as well, elemental energy crackling at the end of their Toa tools. The Toa joined the Dark Hunters and now Hajax knew for sure he was going to die, though he was going to die fighting.

"Give up, Hajax," said Addis. "And we'll let you live."

"Let him live?" Kigin, who was among the Dark Hunters who was surrounding the Makuta, said, shocked. "He deserves to die the most horrible death imaginable, the Makuta does!"

Addis glared at the Dark Hunter. "Since when did you get to make the rules around here?"

"Since I became a member of the Dark Hunters," Kigin shot back. "There are more Hunters than Toa here, hero. We're going to kill him, right guys?"

All of the Dark Hunters shouted a resounding 'yes' and then they all ran forward, weapons ready to tear through Makuta armor. Hajax desperately began shooting shadow, cyclones, electricity, and whatever else he had at his command at the Dark Hunters. But none of it was strong enough to even slow down the wave upon wave of mecerneries. Soon, he was lost beneath the sea of Hunters. All that could be heard was Hajax's screaming as they tore away at his armor.

The Toa Shika had not joined in the unfair killing, for they were Toa and Toa do not kill. They were making their escape, actually, because they knew that once the Dark Hunters were finished with Hajax, they would be coming after them next.

"Quickly," Nastan whispered as he tiptoed with the rest of the Toa. "We can escape into the forest before they realize we're escaping.

"No," Barilo said, shaking his head. "We're gonna fight them, whether we like it or not."

"You're in no shape to fight," Nastan pointed out, annoyed. "Your shoulder is damaged."

"Shut up," Barilo snapped. "I can fight just fine."

"Quiet both of you!" Addis whispered harshly. "We're going to escape and that is final. We need to regroup and plan out another strategy."

"But a time like this to hit the Hunters this hard won't come again," Barilo argued. "We need to strike now!"

Further argument was cut off by the sight of at least two dozen Dark Hunters - Or people who looked like them, anyway- emerging from the forest. Those Dark Hunters looked just as surprised as the Toa were to see them.

"Toa?" one of them, a black and gold being, said, confused. "Wasn't Joha the only Toa left on Shika Nui?"

"Quickly!" Addis shouted at the top of his lungs. "Let's make a break for the fortress!"

Before Barilo could question what Addis was thinking, the Toa leader was already running to what was left of the western entrance. The other Toa followed, though somewhat reluctantly, because they knew it was pure madness to run into the fortress of the Dark Hunters themselves.

They entered the building and Chimoy quickly threw up a thick wall of metal, enough to completely close the way out. Now they were trapped in, but it didn't matter. Only figuring out what Addis was getting at was important at the moment.

With the heat of the outside cut off, the area grew deathly cold. Akuna couldn't help but shiver in the cold as she ran with the other Toa. She knew that it was stupid to run into the Dark Hunters' fortress, but she was too busy running and being cold to complain.

Chimoy glanced around as they ran. He noticed that there were many dead Visorak and Rahkshi, with some Dark Hunters as well. On the walls were carvings that might have represented past Dark Hunters, but now they were totally destroyed beyond recognition. Many of them looked like the ones Toa Barilo had described when he had infiltrated the fortress before, but badly damaged and totally unrecognizable.

He also noticed stone statues that had fallen and were destroyed. One of those statues looked as though it had been brought down purposefully, on a unlucky Visorak that Chimoy didn't care to look at.

Surprisingly, even though they were in the Dark Hunter fortress itself, they had ran into no Dark Hunters at all. They were all probably fighting Hajax, he thought.

Gradually, though, they came into what looked like the throne room. It wasn't very damaged, save for the throne itself and some carvings on the wall. Suits of armor stood on either side of the room, leading up to the damaged throne. He figured most of the suits once belonged to Dark Hunters or perhaps Toa, since he recognized the armor of Toa Siso, the Toa of Lightning that used to be on Joha's team until she and the others got killed, 25,000 years ago.

Apparently, this was where they stopped, for Addis abruptly halted, signaling for the rest to do the same. Barilo, panting and in extreme pain because his shoulder was still hurting, dragged himself to the damaged throne and sat down on it, trying to rest his shoulder. He then locked eyes with Addis, annoyed.

"What in Mata Nui's name were you thinking?" Barilo asked.

"Yeah!" Nastan agreed. "We could be walking right into the hands of the Hunters for all we know!"

"No, that wasn't what I was getting at," Barilo said, shaking his head. "I was going to say that the battle is out there, not in here. See what I am getting at?"

Nastan sighed heavily. What he wanted even less than Barilo being back on the team was fighting all of the Dark Hunters on the island. Nearby, Chimoy was created walls of metal to cover the entrances, just in case there were some Dark Hunters still wandering in the fortress and then noticed the six Toa.

"Well, Barilo, I figured we could escape them by going into their fortress and finding that ancient door of protodermis the Dark Hunters are trying to open," Addis said, panting. "That's all. Perhaps whatever is behind it could helps us save Shika Nui?"

"Well, I was never serious about actually going down there and opening the door, but what the Karzahni, why not?" Barilo said, shrugging. He winced at the pain in his shoulder when he shrugged. "I could lead you guys there. I know where the entrance is."

"No way!" Nastan exclaimed, taking a step back. "They probably have the place guarded and they probably have booby-traps just in case!"

"I agree with Nastan on this one," Akuna said, stepping up. "It isn't smart to just run in foolhardy. Only cool dudes do that."

Chimoy nodded. "It is unwise to run straight into a trap without a plan."

Nonzra, however, was all for going to find out what was going on behind the door.

"C'mon, guys," said Nonzra. "I betcha all of the Hunters are busy killing Hajax at the moment. The door is probably completely unguarded, you know? It's ours for the taking."

After much more debate, Addis, being the team leader, finally chose to go and explore the door, even if there was guards placed around it.

"After all," he reasoned. "We have the power to deal with any Dark Hunters that might be guarding the door."

"Fine," Nastan sighed. "Have it your way, leader."

"Barilo, show us the way there," Addis ordered. "You're the only one who knows his way around this fortress, after having infiltrated this place before."

Nodding, the Toa of Gravity rose from the throne, but then winced and sat down. He groaned in pain.

"Well, we don't have to go if your shoulder still hurts," Addis said, walking up to the throne.

"N-no," Barilo said, struggling to stand up. "I-I can still walk. Don't you worry about me. I'm tough."

"Okay, then, which way is the door?" the Toa of Plasma asked.

Barilo pointed to the eastern entryway that Chimoy had closed off, like the rest. "That way, I'm sure of it. Chimoy needs to bring the metal wall down first, though."

Nodding, the Toa of Iron reared back and then punched the wall, causing it to fall down, revealing a hallway that extended several feet into the fortress, lightened up by lightstones embedded in the walls.

Addis helped Barilo up and then the six Toa Shika went down the eastern entrance, with Barilo leading the way.

As they walked down the hallway, Nastan looked at Chimoy. "Was it necessary to punch the wall down when you could have used a less loud way, like tearing it down with your elemental power?"

"It was fun," Chimoy replied, smiling. "I don't see why I shouldn't."

Nastan sighed as Akuna wondered what could possibly be behind the door. Untold riches? A legendery Mask of Power? A powerful weapon?

Whatever it is, I'm sure we're going to like it, she thought confidently. And if we don't, we can deal with it.

Little did any of them know, however, was that there was evil so ancient it had been locked away forever 100,000 years ago. None of them could even begin to conceive of the evil hidden behind there. And it was likely none of them would survive to tell the tale.

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Chapter 16: What Is Behind The Door?


The six Toa Shika carefully advanced deeper into the fortress. While they had yet to actually see any Dark Hunters, they were not so sure if there were more Hunters waiting ahead somewhere and where they might be. Getting ambushed was not top priority for them.

"The cave that leads to the wall should be just around this corner," Barilo said, leading the rest of the Toa.

Right as they round the corner, a wall of rubble and debris met them, blocking the way there. Nastan frowned.

"So we can't make it through, then?" he asked. "Should we turn back and try to find another way there?"

"Hey, remember me?" said Addis. "I'm a Toa of Plasma. Melting rock is nothing for me."

He held his plasma launcher up and fired off at least four balls of plasma, all of them striking the rubble and melting it all into slag.

"There," Addis said, putting his plasma cannon away. "Problem solved."

After they all carefully stepped over the melted debris, they soon came upon a huge opening in the fortress that resembled a cave that lead underground. It was obviously artificial, because of the pickaxe marks all around its edges. Barilo's shoulder still hurt, but he managed to gesture towards the sign that he had noticed his first time here.

" 'Dark as a Makuta's heart'?" Nastan asked, after reading the sign. "Do Makuta even have hearts?"

"Probably not," Nonzra said, nodding. "But if they did, they're probably be as dark as this tunnel, perhaps even darker."

"Well, if we're going to go down there, then we might as well go," Akuna said, walking towards the entrance. "I'll lead. With my Mask of Night Vision, we won't get lost."

For the first time, Addis thought about how much his team had come through to get here. They had started out as Matoran bandits, stealing from other Matoran and even the Dark Hunters themselves. None of them had ever imagined that they would become Toa one day and that they would be close to opening the door that might lead to the biggest and most enormous treasure room yet.

But he had to admit, even he doubted that there was a vast treasure was hidden deep within Shika Nui. Toa don't usually hide treasure unless they have good reason to. He had overheard from conversations of various Dark Hunters that six Toa or more could combine their elemental powers to create a Toa seal, a impentrible lock that could seal away anyone and anything. He had heard that the Makuta of Metru Nui had suffered from that, but later escaped. Addis also knew that six Toa with the same elements that created the seal in the first place could break the seal and unleash whatever - or whoever - was behind it.

Addis wondered if, perhaps, there was something behind the door that wasn't going to be good for them. Perhaps....perhaps the original six Toa who had created the seal had locked some great evil behind there. Some great evil that could have destroyed the universe and they stopped it and then hid it underneath Shika Nui to make sure it never returned to ravage the universe again. After all, didn't one of the legends say that there was a evil spirit and a army of shadow that might be waiting behind there? What if they were dooming the universe by just opening the door and freeing whatever was behind there?

"Addis!" Nonzra called, interrupting Addis' thoughts. The rest of the Toa were already walking down the cave. "We're going down there now! Hurry up, slow poke."

"I'm coming!" he called, rushing down the tunnel towards the others. It's probably just a legend. No evil spirit is down there and neither is there any 'army of shadow'. But I don't know...

"What were you doing about, anyway?" asked Nonzra.

"Well, I was just thinking about the, um..." Addis didn't want his allies to know that he had doubts about there being any treasure at all behind the wall. "I was thinking about the vast and wonderful treasure we are going to find and what we could do with it!"

That was a lie, but Nonzra didn't know.

"Yeah," the Toa of Sonics said, nodding. "Maybe there is even some great weapon behind there, too, that will defeat the Dark Hunters and free Shika Nui."

"If there is," Nastan said, interrupting their conversation. "I want to use it first."

"Why?" asked Addis.

"Because I want to be remembered as the one who saved Shika Nui from the tyranny of the Dark Hunters," Nastan replied. "But more importantly, I think we should make statues of Joha and his team when we return to the surface. They never got the respect they deserved because the Hunters took over as soon as they killed them."

"That sounds very noble, Nastan," Addis said, nodding. "That is, if we return from here."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what if there are guards here, protecting the door to make sure no intruders get it before the Dark Hunters do?" said Addis. "I know it seems unlikely that any Hunters stayed down here while the rest took on Hajax's forces, but you never know. Maybe it's not even a Dark Hunter, but a Rahi similar to that dead dragon we saw earlier or something even worse."

"Well, whatever it is, we can beat it," Nastan said, smiling. "We're Toa. That is what Toa do, after all. We have Unity, Duty, and Destiny. The Dark Hunters don't. That's what seperates heroes from the villains."

Addis nodded, but he still worried about any guardians or traps that might be lying in wait somewhere up ahead. Nonzra wanted to say that perhaps not all of the Dark Hunters were evil, remembering what Death had done earlier, but he decided against it.

The six Toa Shika went down a fairly straight tunnel, with the occasional twist and turns that any underground explorer knew to expect. Akuna was in the lead, lighting the way with her Mask of Night Vision. She found it odd how the Dark Hunters didn't put any lightstones into the walls to help light the path.

Hmmm, I wonder why they didn't do that, the Toa of Lightning thought. Surely they would need someway to see where they were going if they were to find their treasure.

She decided that, since the Dark Hunters were rather dark beings themselves, they might not like light in their tunnels. But it was still rather mysterious to her just the same.

Chimoy himself was wondering if the Dark Hunters had finished killing Hajax yet and if they were going to go after the Toa Shika next. He had no doubt that they could tear down the metal wall he had erected in the western passage to get in quickly. Heck, he wondered why they hadn't done so already, unless something else was keeping them busy.

His mind flashed back to the Tuikas, sleeping in their stasis tubes underneath Shika Nui. He wondered what they were and what they were doing in stasis tubes under the island. The Toa of Iron didn't recall any legends saying anything even remotely similar to those things and he should know, since he used to study legends before joining the others' their little crew of thieves.

Then there was the abandoned Matoran settlement, with the oddly shaped temple in the middle and the weird poem inside the building. What did it all mean? It was all too confusing for him even.

This island has seemed more mysterious ever since we became Toa, Chimoy thought as he walked. Tuikas, giant wall of solid protodermis, and that odd abandoned village in the mountains. I wonder if we will ever learn the answers to those questions.

The Toa of Iron was so caught up in his thoughts that he accidentally bumped into Addis.

"Hey!" Chimoy exclaimed. "Why'd you stop?"

"Because of....that." Addis said, pointing at a wall.

The light from Akuna's Ruru was reflecting off the giant, wall of solid protodermis. It looked to be about 500 feet tall and 300 feet wide. There were carving tools at the base of it. They looked like the kind of tools Po-Matoran carvers used to make their statues and sculptures, except far bigger and more heavy-duty-looking. One of them was broken in half, probably from overuse.

Nearby, a sign that had been planted next to the wall read, 'This is the ancient wall of protodermis. Danger zone.'

"Danger zone?" Barilo said after reading the sign. "What's so dangerous about this zone?"

A bolt of shadow lanced from the darkness, hitting Barilo in the back and sending him tumbling into a wall. When the Toa of Gravity collided with it, it hurt even more because of his broken shoulder.

"Who's there?" Addis asked, drawing his plasma cannon out. Was it Hajax? He was the only being that the Toa of Plasma knew of that could shoot shadow.

Akuna was spinning around wildly, using her Mask of Night Vision to try to spot their unknown attacker. She couldn't find it, but she did find another shadow bolt flying towards her from the ceiling. It hit her, shattering her concentration and shutting the light off, plunging them all into darkness.

"That....is better," a voice from the darkness growled. "That glow is quite....annoying."

"Who are you?" Addis called into the darkness. "Show yourself!"

"Show myself?" the voice repeated. It laughed. "There is no light down here. How could you possibly hope to see me, Toa? That is, if I even had a physical body in the first place."

"Are you a Dark Hunter?" Nastan asked, aiming his bow every which way in hopes of somehow seeing their unknown attacker.

"No," the voice answered. "I was created by them to keep intruders such as yourself from opening the door."

"Created?" Addis said, fear creeping into his voice. "How were you created?"

"You know, Makuta Hajax used to rule the region of Shika Nui," the voice replied acidly. "Makuta are scientists and they need energized protodermis to conduct their expirements. As you well know, Hajax is dead and his Rahi creation lab was discovered by a team of Dark Hunters. Dark Hunter scientists conducted expirements with it and I was born as a result, without form. They put me here, to guard the door from being opened by beings other than the Dark Hunters. I am pure shadow. No body. Never had one. Never will need one.

"At first, they didn't know what to do with me. However, Icetraz suggested that I be placed as a guardian of the door and so it was. They kept me here, attacking those other than Hunters or Matoran slaves who they sent down here to work. I am truly one with the darkness, unlike the Makuta, who call themselves 'masters of shadows'. It's a rather boring job, since it is a rarity that anyone other than a Dark Hunter or Matoran slave could make it past the Hunters and get down here."

Five shadow bolts, coming from all sides, hit the four Toa who were still standing, knocking them all to the ground.

"And now," the voice finished. "I can finally do what I was meant to do: Kill intruders!"

Even more shadow bolts were coming from the darkness and the Toa did everything in their power to get out of the way of the attacks, but it didn't seem to work, because everywhere they went, the shadow bolts seemed to follow. Chimoy knew that they needed light, but with Akuna unconscious, how could they possibly hope to beat the shadow beast?

More shadow bursts lanced forth from the darkness. Chimoy tried to bring up metal walls to block the attacks, but his concentration was always shattered by being hit by shadow bolts. It seemed like the Toa Shika were all going to meet horrible deaths in this dark tunnel. Without light, they had no hope.

Addis was firing plasma balls in random directions, almost hitting Nonzra at one point. He knew this was futile, since the shadow being was darkness itself. How can you hurt darkness?

He's a living being, Addis thought frantically. Maybe I could probe his thoughts with my Suletu. But I don't know where he is! I can't focus on something that is....wait a minute! It's a stretch, but maybe I can focus my mask on the darkness itself! If it doesn't work, I will be dead....But if it does, we will find out what is behind this door. All living things have a mind and that mind is mine to read or possibly destroy, if I need to.

Activating his Kanohi Suletu, the Mask of Telepathy, Toa Addis seemingly heard nothing, until he finally found the mind of the shadow being. It was just as dark as the tunnel itself and Addis almost broke contact with him. But the Toa held his ground.

Time to teach you what it means to have a mindache, Addis thought, unleashing a series of incredibly loud screams in the shadow beast's mind.

To his surprise, the shadow entity's mind went down quickly. He was obviously not prepared for mental attacks and his mind seemed unstable to Addis, who quickly withdrew as soon as the beast went down.

The barrage of shadow bolts ended then. Nastan, Nonzra, and Chimoy looked around, wondering what had happened and what was going to happen next. What they didn't know was that Addis was shattering the concentration of the shadow beast so it could not create a focus beam of shadow. It ws overwhelming for the beast, until it finally collapsed.

All of a sudden, the area seemed a little less dark. Addis turned his mask off, shaking his head. All the dark thoughts of that being's mind were a little too much for him. Nastan checked on Akuna and Barilo to make sure they were okay.

"I'm okay," Akuna said, Nastan helping her up. "Though that shadow beast was weird. How come the Dark Hunters never said anything about him before?"

"Because if they did," Barilo said, exasperated. "Then thieves who would break into here would know what to deal with and bring some sort of light weapon or a lot of lightstones. There wouldn't be any element of surprise and they would have had to get rid of him and replace him with something else far more dangerous."

"It seemed like the shadow being made this tunnel alot more dark than it really was," said Nonzra. "You can actually see the door now without having a light."

The Toa of Sonics was right. The giant, blue-ish crystiline wall of protodermis was clearly visible now and it looked mighty old. Upon closer inspection, it was not actually old looking. There were just the more than a million scratch marks on its surface, making it look like normal wear. It would have probably taken far, far more than 25,000 years to open this thing up by force. Chimoy rubbed his hand against it. It felt smooth, but he could also feel pickaxe marks along it.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Nastan asked excitedly, walking over to the door. "Let's open it and save Shika Nui!"

Nodding, the six Toa all aimed their Toa tools at the wall. Then each of them unleashed a beam of their own respective element. Plasma, plant life, lightning, metal, sound, and gravity hit the seal at the same time, causing the wall to dissolve. Behind it was a door, a giant gateway more like it. It still looked new, despite being over 100,000 years old. It had been perserved by the protodermis, obviously.

Before the Toa could congratulate each other on a job well done, the door flung open, revealing two gigantic blood red eyes. Behind it was what could be best described as true darkness. It was so horrifying that the six Toa Shika turned as one and tried to run away, but a giant shadow tentacle shot out from the portal and snatched the six Toa, despite their protests.

They were pulled inside and the door shut itself closed, locking itself in the process. The dark cave was quiet now. No living being, aside from the shadow beast, were inside it. No one knew what was behind the door until just now. Now six heroic Toa were about to came face to face with six other beings, six evil beings who had been banished there in the time before time for....well, that is a story for another time. For now, let us read the epilogue and wait, just wait, for the fate of the Toa Shika to be revealed.

THE END?

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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Epilogue


Barilo opened his eyes. What he could see was, at best, pure darkness. At worst, he might be dead and this is what death felt like. It felt cold and hard, but he also felt leaves and twigs underneath his body, such as the kind you would find in a forest.

No, I'm not dead, he thought. My heart is still beating and I still have a physical body. But where am I?

He remembered being pulled into the door by some sort of giant, shadow tentacle, with blood red eyes and a swirling vortex behind it. Was that some sort of dream, maybe?

The darkness parted, revealing his surroundings. He was in a forest, which he thought was the proto forest at first, but this one had a strange, evil feeling to it, like darkness itself lived here, waiting to grab any unknowing victims right into its grasp, like a chute lurker waiting for its victims in the chutes of Metru Nui. The feeling was so evil and so horrible that he felt like running, but his legs didn't move. It was also very quiet. Too quiet, for Barilo's taste.

He saw no sign of life, except for the rest of his Toa team, who were bounded by shadow chains that seemed to be leeching their energy, because they were looking weaker each minute. He wondered who had done this and why he wasn't bound in shadow.

A second after that thought passed, shadow chains appeared out of nowhere, binding him and slamming him to the ground. Barilo groaned in pain as his energy began leaving his body.

"Where are we?" Nonzra asked, his voice weak. "Is this...?"

A voice answered, but it was not one any of them recognized. It sounded very ancient and old sounding, yet very calm as well.

"You are not dead, Ukio," the voice answered. Barilo thought the voice sounded like pure evil.

"Ukio?" Nonzra gasped. He struggled to free himself, but wasn't successful. "I am Toa Nonzra, not Ukio, whoever that is."

"Don't play dumb with me, Ukio!" the voice snapped angrily. The forest darkened all of a sudden. "You locked me, my team, my Turaga, and my entire tribe here is this vile place. You, along with your Toa team, locked us here for good. Acting stupid won't get you anything but a shorter life span."

"Wait," another, more calm voice interrupted. "These Toa may not be the same Toa we faced before over 100,000 years ago, Rhatara. Their masks and armor is different."

There was a brief pause, then the snappy voice, that probably belonged to Rhatara, spoke again.

"You may be right, Ira. But let me probe their minds, just to make sure."

All six of the Toa Shika felt a horrible, evil presence enter their minds. Only Addis, having a Mask of Telepathy, was able to force the intruding mind out of his own. The rest, however, had to deal with excruciating pain that went through their minds.

Then it was over. Addis was the only one still conscious from the vicious mental attack, while the others were unconscious, each one of them breathing heavily. Rhatara spoke again.

"You're right, Ira," Rhatara said, disgust in his voice. "These six are different, but they're still good Toa, just like the others, sister. I say we kill them and bring their bodies to Turaga Krashadi. He will be most pleased indeed."

"No," Ira's voice said. "What we should do is bring them to the Turaga and then feed them to the shadow eels. They haven't had beings with fresh light in over 100,000 years."

Addis decided now was the time. Using his plasma powers, he tried melting the shadow bonds that were constricting his body. Instead of melting, the shadow chains tightened, forcing more energy out of Addis' body.

"Well, one thing is for sure," Rhatara said. "They have opened The Door, so we can escape, hopefully."

"If our brothers and sisters are up to it, Rhatara," Ira answered. "Perhaps we should reveal ourselves to these Toa, should we not?"

"Sounds good to me," Rhatara's voice said. "After all, it just wouldn't be fair if our prisoners had to die without knowing who their killers were."

Then, to Addis' surprise, two figures emerged from the shadowy forest.

One of them held a chain link, the other had a projectile weapon of sorts that seemed to be generating some kind of energy. He could not make out much of their features because the darkness was so thick.

"Your name is Addis," the first one said, pointing with a armored finger at the Toa of Plasma. "I read your mind. I know what you and your friends have been through, but I am not going easy on you. Because I am Toa Rhatara, a-"

That was all Addis heard before falling into unconscious. All that energy being drained from his body was too much for his mind to handle, so it took the only way out and shut down. But right before he fell into unconsciousness, he thought he heard a name in his mind. A name that would haunt him his entire life and beyond:

Shodios.

 

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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Book Two: Tapestry of Evil



Table of Contents:

Prologue
Chapter 1: Shodios
Chapter 2: Turaga Krashadi
Chapter 3: The Eccentric Dream
Chapter 4: Trial of the Shodios
Chapter 5: Nastan and Barilo’s Argument
Chapter 6: Escape!
Chapter 7: Shadow Storm
Chapter 8: Captured
Chapter 9: “The Key to Defeating Our Enemies”
Chapter 10: History
Chapter 11: Hailed As . . . Heroes?
Chapter 12: Trickery & Schemes
Chapter 13: Lies
Chapter 14: Escape Wael
Chapter 15: Lost in the Mountains
Chapter 16: Confrontation
Chapter 17: The Hunt Begins
Chapter 18: Spirit Wanderer
Chapter 19: Into the Core of the Mountain
Chapter 20: Wanderer’s Mission
Chapter 21: The River of Shadow
Chapter 22: Going Down the River of Shadow
Chapter 23: A Destiny Fulfilled, a Life Lost
Epilogue

Prologue

100,000 years ago. . . .

An impossibly huge robot with a red booster pack-like object on his back was soaring through space in no particular direction. But it was going to be a long journey to get to the next planet, even at the speed he was moving. So he decided to pass the time by looking at the universe inside of him that he had been assigned to govern.

Just days ago he had been created and brought into being by a group of powerful figures known as the Great Beings. But they hadn’t given him much time to adjust to his form and soon they had sent him flying deep into space on an urgent mission that he knew he would have to complete.

But now that he was alone, he decided to check out his universe and study the beings inside of his body. After all, he might learn something from them.

It was fascinating, he thought. There were so many species, ranging from the Matoran all the way to the fierce Skakdi, and beyond even that. But he was especially interested in the Matoran villagers, which were the beings that had the most important job of all of the creatures in his universe: Keeping him alive.

They, too, were as varied as the stars in the cosmos. They were of all kinds of elements and types, such as Ta-Matoran and Av-Matoran, for example. He was also interested in the fact that they could transform and become Toa heroes with functioning elemental powers and mask powers and, after completing their destiny, become Turaga as well.

Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Stone, Ice, Gravity, Sonics, Plasma, Plant life, Lightning, Iron, Sonics, Magnetism, Psionics, and Light, the Great Spirit Mata Nui thought as he recited the elements in his mind. All of the elements, together they-

But suddenly, he noticed something that seemed . . . wrong about the Matoran. Yes, there was one tribe for each element: Fire, Water, Earth, etc. All of the ones he had recited in his mind had been accounted for, yet there was one more element that was not represented here, one that he was trying hard to think of.

Finally, it hit him. Shadow wasn’t represented by any of the 16 tribes in the universe! Not even so much as one Matoran of Shadow! What was up with that? Were the elements possibly unbalanced? And if so, would this unbalance hurt him and possibly force him give up his mission?

I will need to balance out the elements, he thought, determined. Why would the Great Beings do that? Why would they do something that could possibly endanger the mission? I know what I must do; create an entire tribe of Kra-Matoran, Toa, and maybe a Turaga to lead them as well. It is the only thing to do. I cannot afford to let this unbalance go unnoticed.

-


In a dark, small stone chamber, a tall, jet-black figure slept on a stone slab, occasionally turning over to get a bit more comfortable. Suddenly, his eyes flickered opened and he found himself staring at a stone ceiling that was above him.

Where am I? was the first thought to enter this being’s mind. How’d I get here? Where is here? And who am I, anyway?

As all of these thoughts entered his mind, he noticed a bright, shining light stone embedded into the wall opposite of him. Its glare was in his eyes and it annoyed him greatly, but he wasn’t sure how to turn it off, if that was at all possible. He hated the light. It seemed to be his enemy, for it was pure torture just to look at it like that.

I wish I could just destroy it, the black being thought angrily. Its glare is annoying my eyes and ruining my perfect darkness.

He raised his right hand to block the light from his vision, but then suddenly a bolt of shadow shot from his palm and struck the light stone, shattering it instantly and plunging the room into total darkness. He was surprised. He could shoot shadow from his hand just by thinking about it? Wow.

He sat there in the darkness for a few minutes, relaxing. But then, looking through the thick darkness, he could see a door that looked big enough and wide enough for him to go through. He wondered what was behind and, despite being perfectly happy and content in the shadows, decided to see what was behind it, if only to satisfy his curiosity.

The curious being slid off of his stone slab and unsteadily began walking toward the door. He was not used to walking just yet, but he only needed to walk to the door, which shouldn’t be too hard, he thought, as it was very nearby.

As soon as he reached out, touched the door knob, and pulled it open, a light brighter than anything he had ever seen in his entire five minutes or so of life shone in through. It was so dazzling that he had to shut his eyes to avoid permanent damage.

"AHHHH!" he screeched as he slammed the door shut. "Ow!"

He stumbled backwards, hands in his eyes, and slumped against a wall, moaning in pain. He wasn’t blind, but his eyes hurt beyond pain and he really didn’t want to leave his room now, for fear of losing his eye sight.

And then, he heard a loud, deep, yet very mysterious and grand-sounding voice bellow throughout the room. The voice was so loud and so powerful that cracks began to appear in the foundation and roof of the room, and for a minute the being wondered if he was going to die.

"Hello, Toa of Shadow," the voice bellowed, rocking the black being's very soul and causing him to retreat into a corner of the room to avoid being hurt.

"T-Toa?" the black being repeated from his corner, confused. "W-w-what's a . . . I’m a Toa, you say? What’s that?"

"A Toa is a hero," the voice answered. "Each Toa wears a Kanohi Mask of Power and they wield elements, such as Fire or Light. Your own element is Shadow, Teivel."

"Teivel?" asked the being, still frightened by the voice. "Is that my name?"

"Yes," the great voice replied. "You, and the other five, are very unique Toa, for you six are the only Toa of Shadow in the entire universe.”

"There are more?" Teivel asked, starting to regain his courage. "Where are they?"

"They are just beyond that door you opened," the rumbling voice said. "Just open it."

"Really?" asked the Toa of Shadows, suspicious. "How do I know you don't just want to kill me with all of that unbearably bright light out there? I nearly turned blind when I first tried to open it, and if I go out there completely I’m afraid I’ll get burned to death or something."

The unseen voice laughed loudly, a sound which nearly crumbled the room and made Teivel pull himself even further into his corner to avoid pieces of debris that fell from the ceiling.

"Kill you, Teivel?" the voice laughed. "Why would I ever do that? I would never do that, seeing as I am the one who created you in the first place. If I had wanted you dead, I would never have created you at all."

"O-okay," Teivel said, with more than a hint of fear in his voice. "Well, I have one more question for you."

"Yes? What is it?"

"What is your name?"

"I am the Great Spirit Mata Nui," the voice answered. "I am the ruler and protector of this universe. I created you, your fellow Toa, your Turaga, and your entire tribe of Matoran of Shadow. I created all of you to balance out the universe, for I saw that the Great Beings had not made a tribe for all of the elements out there."

" 'Balance out the universe'?" Teivel asked. "Matoran? Turaga? The Great Beings? What are you talking about? Explain yourself, Mata Nui."

Mata Nui laughed again, though a little less loud than the last. "Why not go through the door, Teivel, and see for yourself what I mean?"

Teivel looked at the door again. He wondered if he should do as Mata Nui had said. The Toa was curious, after all. Maybe it wasn't as bad as he thought it was. Maybe the Great Spirit had made the other room less bright so he could live survive out there for more than five minutes. He decided it was worth a try, at least.

"Okay, I'll do it," Teivel answered, walking over to the door. "But if I get killed because of the light, I will know who to blame."

The Toa of Shadow hesitantly placed his hand on the doorknob, as if it were a bomb, and carefully turned it and pulled the door open. Beyond it, he could see but darkness, which meant that Mata Nui had indeed doused the lights for him.

As Teivel left the room, closing the door behind him, Mata Nui felt proud of himself.

I have balanced out the universe at last, Mata Nui thought triumphantly. Now all I need to do is get them to their island, Shika Nui, and then tell them what they should do. I knew that the Great Beings had made a mistake when they didn’t create a tribe of Shadow! Now I do believe, after I finish putting them on their proper place, that I should continue my mission that I was charged with.

However, Mata Nui did now know that he had made a grave mistake in creating the Kra-Matoran tribe. He did not know that, not too long after they had been created, that they would rebel against him. And he wasn’t even aware that, several thousand years later, in a place he would regret ever having to use, that six other Toa would later fight the Kra-Matoran in one last attempt by the tribe of shadow to take over the universe. . . .

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Edited by TNTOS

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog

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(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)

{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)

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The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)

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Chapter 1: Shodios


Present Day...

Toa Teivel stood on the high tower of Castle Kra, his armed hands on the balcony rail, his blood red eyes focused on the Kra-Matoran villagers below, all of whom were scurrying to and fro in the courtyard, completely various tasks and chores that needed to be done to keep the castle well kept. Then his eyes looked up over at The Door to the Light, which was several thousand feet away from where he was standing.

The sight of The Door brought back painful memories to his mind. Memories of defeat at the hands of light dwellers flashed in his mind, and then memories of imprisonment in the dark land of Wyoko, which he now ruled along with the other five Shodios, appeared as well. That Door brought back many unpleasant memories to practically all of Wyoko, and all who lived in the land wished to see it smashed down, but for the past 100,000 years it had been locked by an unbreakable Toa Seal, one that frustrated Teivel and his team every day for the first few years of their imprisonment here.

Then his mind suddenly flashed back to which two individuals were at The Door at this very moment. His brother and sister Shodios, Rhatara and Ira, had left for The Door to the Light not too long ago for their daily rounds of checking up on The Door in case someone from the outside world had opened it. They usually returned around this time today and they weren’t back yet, which meant that they had either had success and escaped, or were killed by whoever might have opened The Door in the first place. Teivel didn’t care if they got killed, as long as The Door remained open so he could leave.

Freedom is a fickle thing, Teivel thought. You never appreciate it when you have it, and when it is taken away from you it becomes almost an obsession to have just a taste of freedom. That is how I feel now; I, along with every other blasted inhabitant of this land, wish to be free to roam the universe once more, as I did 100,000 years ago.

He heard the sound of metal clanking against stone and whirled around to see a small Kra-Matoran walking up to him, the fear evident in the villager’s eyes. Teivel wondered what this Matoran could want. After all, few ever disturbed Teivel when he was thinking, and fewer ever lived to tell the tale of what happened they did survive.

"S-s-sir?" the Matoran croaked cowardly as he looked up at the imposing Toa’s large spikes that ran along his back.

“What is it, Matoran?” Teivel snapped. “It had better be good, or else I’ll toss you off of this balcony, and that is the most merciful way that I can think of to dispose of you at the moment.”

"T-T-Toa Rhatara and Toa Ira . . . ha-have . . . have found and . . . and captured six Toa from the outside world," the Kra-Matoran said quickly. "They're bringing the Toa here, to this castle, I mean."

Teivel’s eyes lit up as soon as he heard what the Matoran had said. He advanced on the villager, and the Matoran stepped back, afraid he had said something wrong to Teivel.

But to his surprise, Teivel merely asked, “Six Toa from the outside world? Six Toa other than my brothers and sisters and I?”

"Y-y-yes," the Matoran spat out in fear, although he felt his courage rising ever so slightly. "We don't know much about them yet, but Rhatara says-"

Teivel instantly pushed the stuttering Kra-Matoran aside as he left the balcony. He had broken into a sprint and was running – almost flying – down the stone stairways and hallways of Castle Kra as he jumped over Matoran. The villagers all looked confused as to why Teivel was acting so strangely, as he usually wasn’t very energetic at all.

But had they known what he knew; that The Door to the Light, the one obstacle that had held them back from leaving this Mata Nui-forsaken realm, from going back to conquering the universe as they had done in the before times, then they, too, would have rejoiced just as he had and would be spreading the news all over the castle and all over Wyoko as well.

-


Toa Addis, Toa Shika of Plasma and leader of the Toa Shika, awoke as the wagon he was lying on hit a bump. He was staring up at a dark, unknown skyline, with small twinkles of light shining through here and there, though not enough to see much. He wondered where he was for a minute before he suddenly remembered all that had happened in the past few days.

He remembered how he and his team, consisting of Barilo, Akuna, Nastan, Nonzra, Chimoy, and himself, had become Toa not too long ago after using some Toa stones. Since they had been thieves as Matoran, it took them a while to get used to having to be heroes. But eventually all six of them accepted their destiny and were willing to defend their home from all threats.

Unfortunately, they had just been six Toa . . . against hundreds of Dark Hunters that controlled Shika Nui with an iron fist. Because of this, they ran all over the island, and fighting Hunters, until the Dark Hunters became distracted by a Makuta named Hajax. Then Toa Shika had made a break for it into the fortress of the Hunters and there went into a deep tunnel that lead underground, where they found a large, ancient wall of protodermis. They opened it by combining their elemental powers, hoping to find powerful weapons or amazing riches behind the wall.

What they had found instead, however, was another world entirely. When they had passed through The Door, they had ended up in a dark forest, where they had been ambushed and kidnapped by two dark and obviously evil beings that called themselves Toa.

But these two beings – Rhatara and Ira – looked little like how Toa should in Addis’ opinion. Rhatara, being black and white in color, had a large, deformed arm that seemed to work like the other, but gave him a monstrous appearance that made Addis feel a little sick, while Ira, wearing black and purple armor, had a large spiked tail coming from her back, which was curled up around her waist from what he could tell. All in all, he wondered whether they really were Toa, which he severely doubted at the moment.

For some reason, Addis felt extremely weak and the reason for that was instantly clear when he looked down: He had two large shadow rings binding his arms and legs together and sapping his energy, too, from the looks of it. There didn’t seem to be any way to escape them, for he doubted that his plasma power could do anything to it.

The other Toa Shika was unconscious, all of them lying on the bed of the wagon in various states of weakness, but they didn’t seem dead, at least. He looked up and then saw Rhatara and Ira’s backs, the two Shodios sitting at the head of the caravan, apparently whispering to each other. He decided to see if he could get them to talk to him, maybe answer all of the questions that he had buzzing inside of his head.

"Excuse me," Addis said, straining to get the words out as his energy was slowly sapped away by the shadow rings. “Where are you taking . . . my friends and I?”

Both of the Toa started, and then looked around until they saw Addis, lying on the wagon, looking at them. They seemed surprised to see him awake, let alone alive, but Rhatara shook his head and said, “So, you’re awake now, are you? You’re stronger than you look, light spit.”

“Yes, that’s very nice,” Addis said sarcastically. “Now answer my question: Where are you taking my friends and I?”

“Straight and to the point, I see,” Ira said as she looking at Addis with a disgusted expression on her face. “Well, if you really need to know, we are taking you to Castle Kra, where you will be interrogated to give us any information you know about the outside world, of course.” She instantly turned away after that and seemed to be ignoring Addis’ other questions that he was throwing at her.

“But where am I?” Addis asked. “Who are you? Where is this place? What are you?”

"Shut up and be quiet, light spit,” Rhatara snapped. “Or I’ll do to you what I’ve always wanted to do to Ukio for over 100,000 years, and let me tell you,” he said, leaning in closer to Addis’ mask, “it ain’t pretty, nor at all pleasant.”

“Just like this ride,” Ira commented. “Matoran, move more carefully! It’s too bumpy!”

Addis managed to look over Ira’s shoulder and saw, to his surprise, that two odd-looking Matoran in black armor were pulling the vehicle by two thick ropes, but they were slowing down, he could see. They weren’t Onu-Matoran, from what he could see, but as far as he knew there weren’t any other pure black tribes out there.

Well, they aren’t pure black, Addis corrected himself. The two Matoran have red and green as their secondary colors. But they’re wearing really weird masks that I’ve never seen before! Who are these guys?

Lying near him, Addis saw Nastan’s eye lids slowly flicker open, his yellow orbs looking around the place in confusion. The Toa of The Green seemed to be just as puzzled and as weak as Addis, for he had shadow rings around his body, too, although Addis thought that he looked better than himself.

He rolled over onto his stomach next to Addis and asked in a whisper, “Where are we? Who are those guys? And how are we going to escape?”

"I don’t know yet,” Addis replied. “But I do know that we are in a wagon, driven by two Matoran of Shadow, and that the two figures sitting in front of us are Ira and Rhatara, two beings who call themselves Toa, apparently. They told me we’re being taken to Castle Kra, wherever that is.” He added.

“Right,” said Nastan, looking up at Ira and Rhatara. “Maybe we should try to get out of these bonds while they’re not looking? They’re clearly deep in conversation. Try to use your plasma powers to melt them.”

“I can’t,” Addis whispered, shaking his head. “These are made out of pure shadow. My plasma can only melt physical things, not immaterial like shadow, for instance. We’re stuck, I think, and it makes more sense to see where we’re going anyway. Maybe they’ll take these rings off of us so we can make our escape.”

Nastan looked doubtful, but he didn’t say anything else.

The rest of the trip consisted of them going over a river of what looked like shadow, going through at least two more villages, and then heading through a barren wasteland. All the while, the rest of the Toa Shika had not woken up yet, mostly because Nastan and Addis wanted to see where they were going first without making too much noise.

Finally, a large castle loomed into full view, and Nastan gasped at it. It was made entirely out of stone, with large banners billowing in the wind from the tips of its towers. On its mighty powerful-looking walls several Matoran guards stood, all of them armed with a spear and a shield. There was a large moat surrounding it and the draw bridge was slowly lowering. All in all, the castle looked quite creepy.

As they rode inside of the courtyard, Rhatara shouted, “This is your new temporary home, light spit. Very nice, eh?”

Nastan was about to say that ‘nice’ was far from the way he would describe it and that ‘radiating evil like heat’ would be more sufficient, but Addis gave him a look that said not too make Rhatara too angry.

Meanwhile, Chimoy was stirring now, his dull gray eyes opening as he took in his surroundings. It was evident by the expression on his face that he had no idea where he was or what he was doing lying in a cart with shadow rings around his body.

“Where am I?” Chimoy muttered.

“I’ll explain it to you later,” Addis replied. “For now, we’ve got to make sure we don’t provoke the evil Toa.”

Chimoy shot him a questioning looked before the back of the cart was pulled open by two odd-looking Matoran. Then the vehicle was lifted up from the front and all six of the Toa Shika tumbled out of the back, awaking Toa Barilo, Toa of Gravity, and Toa Akuna, Toa of Lightning. Toa Nonzra, Toa of Sonics, was also awake now, and he looked very confused.

Rhatara loomed over the Toa of Sonics and shouted, “Get up, you worms!”

“We can’t,” Nonzra replied acidly. “Our arms and legs are bound. We couldn’t get up even if we wanted to!”

“Then you will have . . . assistance,” Ira said, snapping her fingers. “Matoran, get these prisoners up on their feet!”

Six guards obeyed her command and they soon had the six Toa standing on their feet, each one of the Shika looked a little dazed and confused. The six Matoran all slipped back into the shadows with curious expressions on their faces as Rhatara began circling the six Toa, occasionally muttering phrases like “He reminds me of Ukio . . .” and “She looks a little bit like Klio . . .”

Nonzra, finally getting impatient, said, “Who the Karzahni is Ukio? What’d he do to you, anyway?”

It immediately became clear that Nonzra had said the wrong thing. Rhatara whirled around, pulled out a knife from his bag at the speed of light, and instantly had the dagger up against Nonzra’s throat, cutting the Toa’s air off from his lungs.

“Never . . . speak . . . that way . . . to a Shodios . . . ever again. . . .” Rhatara hissed.

Nonzra looked like he would have apologized if he could have spoken. Fortunately for him, Rhatara took the blade away from his throat and Nonzra began breathing again, suddenly realizing just how much he took air for granted.

“What’s up with him?” Akuna whispered to Nastan.

“No idea,” Nastan replied. “Maybe, whoever this ‘Ukio’ guy is, maybe he did something to him in the past that’s got him all angry?”

“Seems likely,” Akuna whispered back. “I just hope he doesn’t decide to take his rage out on poor Nonzra.”

Now Rhatara had his back to them, looking up at the sky as if he were interested in it, but it seemed obvious that he wasn’t. Ira was standing well away from the Shika, but she was still looking at them with curious eyes as if she had never seen beings from the surface before.

But then Rhatara whirled around suddenly and raised his knife up high above his head as he shouted, “Ukio or not, you will pay for his crimes against the Kra-Matoran Empire!”

Right before he could bring his weapon down on Nonzra’s skull, a blast of shadow launched from a darkened doorway and hit Rhatara’s hand with such force that the Toa of Shadow’s knife went flying into the air and into the castle, embedding itself into the stone bricks of the fortress. Rhatara clutched his hand, which seemed to have been burned by the shadow, and growled, “Who is the idiotic Matoran who wishes to die tonight? Answer me!”

At first, there was no answer. But then a dark, shadowy voice that sent shivers up the collective spines of the Toa Shika came from the doorway, with the very tone of it sounding like extremely cold water.

“Rhatara, a Kra-Matoran would never have been foolish enough to attack you,” the voice said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “No, that would be suicide. But I must say, the reason I stopped you was because these light spit haven’t had a proper trial yet is all. I feel no compassion for those who are offspring of the ones who had imprisoned us here in the first place.”

Rhatara was now looking at the shadowed doorway, his features that of someone who had just been robbed of the most exciting experience of a life time. “I was merely showing them what I could do to them, Teivel. I didn’t actually plan to kill any of them. I thought that perhaps I should just show them who is boss around here.”

A Toa-like figure emerged from the doorway and into the light. He looked like Rhatara and Ira in the sense that he had black armor, but aside from that he looked completely different. He had a mask that none of the Toa Shika had ever seen before, with two red eyes peeking out from its narrow eye holes. Large spikes extended from his back, almost long enough to touch the ground. For a moment Barilo wondered how Teivel could sleep like that, but had no time to ponder it further for the Toa of Shadow had glided over to the Shika and said, “So, The Door is open, then?”

“Yes,” Rhatara said, a slight smile playing at his lips. “These six are no doubt the first in what will be wave after wave of light spit that will fall before us!”

“I certainly hope so,” Ira said softly as she walked out of the darkness. “You know how long we’ve been awaiting this opportunity.”

“That is fine and all,” Teivel said, his blood red eyes still focused on the Toa Shika. “But do you know why these light spit even bothered to open The Door in the first place? Are they ambitious enough to think that we will reward them for this?”

“Nope,” said Rhatara, shaking his head. “I scanned their minds earlier and found out that they opened The Door purely for treasure. They thought some sort of stash was hidden under here. They were not expecting to see us. The morons.” He added nastily, looking over at the Shika as if they were carrying some kind of lethal disease.

“Now just wait a dang minute here!” Barilo shouted angrily, yet there was a trace of confusion in his voice as well. “Who are you people? How’d you get here? Why are you here? And just why the Karzahni is everything so . . . dark?”

He suddenly winced in pain and cursed under his breath. His left shoulder had been damaged earlier by a Dark Hunter who had thrown a knife into it. It had recovered from the attack and hurt every time he moved it too much, as he had just done now.

Teivel, Rhatara, and Ira just stared at him, all of them slightly surprised to see him freak out like that. Finally, Teivel said, “Those are legitimate questions, Toa, ones which you will get your answers to eventually. For now, however, you must await your trial until all of us Shodios have been gathered and Turaga Krashadi informed of the opening of The Door to the Light.”

He turned to a small group of Kra-Matoran that had been standing nearby. As soon as his evil eyes lay upon them, the guards all stood ramrod straight, saluting him.

“Yes, sir?” one of the Kra-Matoran asked. “What may we do for you, sir?”

"Toss this light spit into the dungeons until all of the Shodios have gathered for the trial,” Teivel ordered. “Lock them up tightly, too.”

All of the Kra-Matoran guards nodded, saluted again, and then ran over to the bound Toa Shika. Then they began to pull and push the heroes out of the courtyard and down a narrow stone staircase into the dark dungeons of Castle Kra. Barilo glanced over his shoulder one last time to see the three Shodios standing there until they were well out of sight.

Back up in the courtyard, Ira noticed that Rhatara was walking back to the draw bridge with an impatient expression on his face.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"To find the others," he replied. "They will need to know that we have visitors who need trialing, and, of course, they need to know about the wonderful news about the opening of The Door as well.."

She and Teivel watched as a Kra-Matoran lowered the draw bridge, allowing the Shodios to leave. Once Rhatara had left, and the draw bridge had been drawn again, Ira turned to Teivel and asked, "And what, may I ask, will you be doing in the meantime?"

"I will go for myself to see if The Door really is open," Teivel said, Mask of Shape Shifting already activating. “I need to see it for myself to believe.”

His form twisted and in no less than 15 seconds a new form had emerged, one that resembled a Gukko bird, except with Teivel’s large spikes on its back. It reared back and shot into the sky, heading north toward where The Door was. Ira watched him go until she suddenly decided that she couldn’t let him go, not yet. What if he opened The Door and left by himself? She couldn’t allow that at all, not after what she and the rest of the Shodios had already been through.

So a shadow hand show from her chest and caught Teivel before he was out of range. Then she gradually pulled him back to the ground as he struggled to get free of her grasp, and then he shape shifted back into his Toa form once he landed on the ground, rage comforting his features as he rounded on her.

"What did you do that for?” Teivel hissed.

“Because I don’t trust you enough to let you see The Door and try to escape it without the rest of us,” Ira answered acidly. “Besides, we need all six Shodios present for the trial to begin. You know the rules. You helped write them, after all.”

“Escaping this living death matters far more to me than giving a bunch of light spit a mock trial that will end in them dying hideous deaths,” Teivel growled. “But very well. I . . . suppose that I could stay for just the trial. After that, we should gather the Kra-Matoran and then leave Wyoko immediately. I have waited 100,000 years for this moment. I do not want to have to wait a minute longer than that.”

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Chapter 2: Turaga Krashadi


The dungeons of Castle Kra were like most dungeons: unclean, uncomfortable, miserable, and lightless. But it seemed even darker down here, possibly because of the fact that they were in Wyoko or maybe it just seemed like that to Barilo. Whatever the case was, Barilo knew that he didn’t like getting tossed into a dark, dank cell, tightly bound by bonds of shadow, without even so much as a thin blanket to sleep on. It didn’t help that he had landed on his damaged shoulder, meaning the pain was even more intense than before.

The Kra-Matoran guards that were handling him and his friends seemed to be much stronger than the average Matoran, since they could easily and effortlessly move the Toa Shika. Then again, maybe they weren’t so much as strong as Barilo was weak, since the shadow rings were apparently draining him of energy, thus making it harder for him to resist the guards.

But there was one thing that he knew to be true: These Matoran was much meaner than the villagers back on Shika Nui.

“Idiotic light-dwellers,” one of the Kra-Matoran muttered. “Can’t wait for all of your to die.”

Addis somehow struggled to his feet and said, “We’re . . . not . . . going . . . to . . . die. . . .” It was becoming increasingly harder for him to speak because the shadow ropes were weakening him, thus making each word he spoke as painful as if he had been punched in the face. Still, he tried his best to look brave in the face of these evil Matoran, to not show any weakness in front of them.

“Oh, that may be so,” the villager continued, his eyes gleaming with evil delight. “We don’t know exactly what the great Shodios and the wise and awesome Turaga Krashadi will decide to do with you. First they have to have a council and then they decide whether you’re good enough to die or not.”

“Good enough to die?” Barilo repeated. He gulped. “What does that mean?”

“You’ll learn soon enough, surface walker,” the Matoran snapped. “Come on, guys. Let’s go back to the surface and report back to Toa Teivel.”

Nodding in agreement, all of the Kra-Matoran followed him out. One of the villagers, however, lingered a little and called them something that Barilo was sure was a curse word before running off to catch up with the rest of his fellow guards. As soon as they were out of sight, the shadow bonds around the Toa immediately disappeared, leaving them apparently free to move their arms and legs.

The minute the shadow rings had disappeared from his body, Chimoy immediately leapt to his feet and tried to use his elemental power over metal to break the bars of his cell. But to his shock, nothing happened. The bars just stood there, as if taunting him. The rest of the Toa also tried to break their bars with their elemental powers, but failed just as he had. It seemed that the bars were somehow absorbing elemental energy, but how, none of them knew for sure.

Barilo, giving up after the tenth time of trying to break the bars with his elemental powers, sat back down on the ground in his cell, his back against the stone wall. He winced as he felt his shoulder sting. He could that tell his wound wasn’t going to be getting any better any time soon unless it got some medical attention quickly, but it was obvious that the Kra-Matoran would never help him nurse it back to health. Not that it would heal quickly, anyway, considering how damaged it was.

He decided to check out the rest of the place outside of his jail cell and tried to stick his head through the bars, but they were too narrow for his head to fit through and all he had accomplished was hitting his head against the cold, hard bars, which hurt. So he decided to try and see the rest of the room outside of his cell through the gaps in the poles.

It was a dark and dank room, with no lights at all. The ceiling wasn’t very high up and he saw two pairs of metal chains hanging on the walls, ending in the skeletons of two dead prisoners. He could hear the sounds of the other Toa moving around in their cells, pacing back and forth and occasionally the sound of a Toa using his or her elemental power again and failing, though it was obvious that they were all thinking of ways to escape just the same.

“I say,” Nastan said from the cell closest to Barilo’s, “that we should use brute force to break out. Surely if elemental powers do not work, then maybe our raw, untapped strength will do it.” He tapped the bars with his finger and said, “They feel old enough to break, after all.”

Chimoy peered down at the metal bars and shook his head as he said, “This is protosteel. You can’t break it with sheer brute force, unless you happen to be the Great Spirit Mata Nui himself.”

“What do you think is going to happen to us?” Akuna asked nervously. “What did that Kra-Matoran mean by ‘The Shodios and Turaga Krashadi will decide what to do with you’? Are we going to be judged? And who is Turaga Krashadi?”

“As for the first question, I have no idea,” said Barilo. “For the second, it sounds to me like Krashadi is the Turaga of this place, which means he’s the boss.”

“Well, there’s a bright spot,” said Addis. “Maybe he’ll let us go. Turaga are supposed to be wise, after all.”

“Yeah, but if he’s anything like the Shodios, then we’re in for trouble,” Barilo mused. “We should figure out how to escape, in my opinion, instead of worrying about some old dude who most likely has a twisted sense of wisdom.”

-


A small, hunched Turaga sat in a tiny room at the very top of one of the many towers of Castle Kra. He was busily writing on a stone tablet, mostly about today’s events. His name was Turaga Krashadi, leader of the Kra-Matoran and of Wyoko.

He was bored, as he always was, for Wyoko offered little in the way of conflict, since the villages were so spread out. Like the others, he missed the days when the Empire was taking over all islands and lands in the universe. Ah, yes, those were the days, when just mentioning his name would cause most Matoran – and even some Toa – to shudder in fear.

But now, what with being exiled in a land that nobody had ever heard of or been to before, it was dreadfully boring, as he had already established. The castle was never attacked by anyone, not even by a dumb Rahi beast. Nor did the Kra-Matoran get into a lot of disputes, either, for they knew quite well what would happen if they had a major dispute and a Shodios had to get into it.

The Turaga of Shadow glanced around his chamber. His room was a small, circular chamber, with only one window that was opened at the moment, giving him a bird’s eye view of most of Wyoko. Small, black, torn curtains hung on the window, while his small bed was set up against a wall and the desk he was sitting at was near it. His room wasn’t very big because he wasn’t much interested in huge, royally decorated chambers, since they were usually well-lit and he, like all of the inhabitants of Wyoko, hated light.

Just then, he heard knocking at the old, wooden door of his room.

“Come in,” said Krashadi.

The door opened and Toa Ira entered. It was unusual for a Shodios to come into his room without first sending a messenger or something, but he that hoped she had important news anyway. If she didn’t, then she would have interrupted him for no reason at all and he would have to get angry at her.

“What brings you here, Ira?” asked Krashadi. “It had better be important. I am in the middle of-“

“Rhatara and I captured six Toa,” said Ira quickly and, seeing the look of shock and curiosity on Krashadi’s face, she went on to explain how they had been waiting at The Door to The Light when the Toa had suddenly entered and how those Toa were now in the dungeons awaiting their trial.

Krashadi listened with rapt interested as she talked. When she was done, Krashadi smiled ever so slightly and he said, “Interesting, Ira. Toa from the surface have came here, to Wyoko?” He got up from his chair and began pacing back and forth across the room, Ira watching him, wondering what he was about to say. “I do wonder, Ira, why they opened The Door in the first place.”

She shrugged and said, “Rhatara read their minds and said that they thought some sort of big treasure or ancient weapon was under here. They apparently had no idea we ever existed.”

“It makes sense,” said Krashadi, still pacing. “Greed is a great motivator to get someone to do something incredibly stupid and risky, but usually well-worth it. For that,” he added, “these Toa, whoever they are, will be repaid with death and we will march out of Wyoko as we stomp on their dead bodies.”

“Turaga, as much as I respect your opinion and as much as I so dearly wish to see those Toa eliminated, too, I don’t think we should call them dead just yet,” said Ira, tapping her foot impatiently. “We still have to hold a trial, you know. Rhatara is gathering Jero, Jiki, and Tikcah at the moment.”

“I see,” said Krashadi, stopping and staring at her. “Well, you may go back down now. I shall think over this new turn of events.”

“Yes, Turaga,” said Ira, bowing herself out of the room and closing the door.

Turaga Krashadi simply looked at the door for a while, his mind thinking over the events. New Toa? Here, in Wyoko? It was almost too hard for him to believe, but he doubted that had Ira lied to him. After all, no one ever lied to Krashadi, for they had every reason to tell him the truth at all times, if they truly valued their life.

-


The dungeons of Castle Kra were quiet now. None of the Toa Shika was doing anything, since they couldn’t escape. The only thing they could do was await the return of the Kra-Matoran so that they could be taken to this trial, whatever that was. All of them had given up on any plans of escape, since the bars were resistant to both elemental powers and sheer brute strength, so all they could do now was wait and hope that they wouldn’t find themselves dead in the next few hours.

Barilo’s shoulder was hurting now more than ever. Several hours had already passed and he still hadn’t had his wound tended to. He knew if he kept this up, he may very well get an infection and end up worse than before if he didn’t get healed soon.

It hurts so much, Barilo thought, trying to stay very still so that he couldn’t feel the pain, but his shoulder still hurt anyway. I wish the Kra-Matoran would have at least patched it up with a bandage. But apparently they’re very cynical to us. I wonder why, since we haven’t really done anything to them unless they just don’t like uninvited guests.

Now that he was thinking about the Kra-Matoran, he wondered where they had come from. After all, Matoran of Shadow didn’t exist, at least back on the surface world. There were tribes for practically every other element, but he knew that shadow wasn’t one of them. Yet here they were; an entire tribe of Shadow Matoran, plus an entire team of Toa and possibly a Turaga of Shadow as well. How had they gotten here? Why hadn’t he and his friends known about them before? Did they always live here or had they been imprisoned? And just who had locked them down here if they had, anyway?

“Am I the only one thinking about the Kra-Matoran?” Barilo said out loud. “Like, how the Karzahni do they exist when we know they shouldn’t?”

“You’re not the only one,” said Chimoy. “I, too, have been wondering about them. It just doesn’t add up. There’s just no way Matoran of Shadow could exist. They aren’t supposed to be real, yet we have met them, so we know they are truly real.”

“It certainly is odd,” Akuna remarked, sounding puzzled, “but apparently the Kra-Matoran are real because we’ve seen them with our own eyes.”

Nastan grabbed the bars of his cell and said, “Yeah. They’ve even touched us to prove it, so we know this isn’t some sort of whacked up illusion or anything like that.”

“I don’t think we should worry about this too much,” said Addis. “What we should worry about is how we are going to get out of here, or wait until they come to get us and bring us to their ‘trial,’ whatever that might be.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” said Barilo. “I just wish they would have at least given me a sling to hold my arm in. It hurts like crazy!”

-


Toa Rhatara was currently a long distance from the castle. He had arrived at a small village of Kra-Matoran and they, like all Kra-Matoran in Wyoko, welcomed him warmly. They even offered him a place to stay for the night, but he declined, mostly because he had come there specifically to find his brother, Jero.

Rhatara had never really liked Jero much. Jero was, unlike the others, a scientist. He spent most of his time holed up in his underground laboratory, experimenting, studying, and stuff like that. But he was also the most cynical of the Shodios, always pointing out problems in their plans and never really liking anyone. So Rhatara, despite disliking Jero greatly, knew that if the Toa Shika were to be trialed that they would need all six of the Shodios and Jero, however antisocial and cynical he may be, counted as one.

He walked up to a small, unimportant-looking hut. To anyone else it might have looked like any other old dwelling place: Small, made of wood with a straw roof and only two windows and one doorway. But Rhatara knew better. He knew that it was actually the secret lab of Jero, the entrance disguised to look exactly like an old hut, although Rhatara had never really understood why. Perhaps it was just because Jero valued his privacy, although all of the Shodios knew where his lab was located and many Kra-Matoran did as well, so he obviously wasn’t trying to hide it.

He’s probably just showing off, Rhatara thought. Just showing off how he can make his lab look like a normal Matoran hut when it is really just totally unnecessary.

The Toa of Shadow knocked on the door with an armored fist. He waited for about five minutes before he heard Jero’s voice from the other side say, “Coming!”

Suddenly, the door flew open and Jero, standing in the doorway, looked quite annoyed. Rhatara was not startled by his appearance. He was used to seeing Jero’s wide, black wings and his long, angled and extremely sharp claws, and his black and brown colored-armor.

“Rhatara, what is it that you want?” the Toa of Shadow demanded, looking quite annoyed. “I was in the middle of a experiment and-“

“What experiment could be more important than the trial of six Toa who came from beyond The Door?” asked Rhatara quietly.

Jero instantly quieted at that and looked up at his brother in arms, looking surprised, shocked, and curious, all at the same time. Then he said, in a very quiet, hesitant tone, “What did you say, Rhatara?”

“I said that six Toa from the surface opened The Door and are now prisoners in Castle Kra,” said Rhatara, quite annoyed that he had to repeat himself. Then he explained to Jero how he and Ira had been watching The Door when the Toa suddenly appeared and how they had captured the Toa Shika and had taken them to Castle Kra.

When he finished, Jero smiled a grim smile and said, “Oh, I do hope I can use them as test subjects.”

Rhatara shot him a look of disbelief. “Test subjects? Why, after I just finished explaining to you that we are free from Wyoko, you start talking about having new test subjects? Here I was thinking you would start to gush out in excitement and happiness about how we are finally free from this wretched place and how you plan on exacting revenge upon your enemies once we are free! And what would you test on the Toa, anyway?”

“Well, Rhatara,” said Jero. “I am just as excited and happy as you and the others are about getting free of Wyoko. Since we’re going to be free, I see no reason to waste all of my time sitting here talking about how great it is that we’re going to get out of here when I can be experimenting on the first of what will surely be thousands – perhaps millions – of new test subjects. And to answer your question, I have recently created a new weapon that will surely help us reclaim our lands once we get back to the surface.”

At first, Rhatara didn’t say anything. He just stared at Jero for a minute or two, and then said, “Well, I see where you stand. I think we should go get Jiki and Tikcah now. I hear they’re at the lake of shadow in the south, though I can’t remember what they are doing there.”

“Before we go, however, I need to close up my lab,” Jero said as he disappeared into the hut. Moments later, he returned and locked the door behind him with a stone key and then he dropped the item into a bag he that had tied around his waist.

Soon the two Toa had arranged to get a chariot to take them to the southern edge of Wyoko and then they were off, heading towards the lake of shadow to find their sisters, Rhatara thinking of the very first thing he would do once he escaped Wyoko, Jero restless to get at the Toa Shika and experiment on them. None of them knew exactly what the future held for them, but it (perhaps somewhat ironically) looked quite bright for them.

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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Chapter 3: The Eccentric Dream


It did not take long for the two Shodios to arrive at the lakeside village of Ghenla. Once their chariot was in view of the settlement, hundreds of Kra-Matoran burst out from their huts and quickly ran up to Rhatara and Jero, all of them eagerly chattering among themselves as the two Toa of Shadow jumped off of their vehicle and then they looked around at all of the small people who had surrounded them now. Beyond them Jero could see several smashed and destroyed huts, some of them looked like they had been flattened by a giant rock, although he could see reconstruction on a few of them had already began.

Then a few Matoran came up and took the chariot and its two Rahi beasts that had been pull it to a nearby shelter, while one of the Matoran, obviously the leader of the village because the robes he wore and because of the staff he was holding, ran up to them and bowed deeply as he said, “O wise and awesome Shodios, my name is Hikil, leader of this humble settlement. What is it that brings your supreme might to this modest village?”

“We’re here because we heard Toa Tikcah and Toa Jiki were here,” Rhatara growled, not bothering to beat around the bush. “Are they still here?”

“Yes, grand and wise Rhatara,” said Hikil, bowing again. “The two beautiful Toa arrived here about a week ago in response to our plea for help against the shadow eel that has been attacking the shoreline. We have lost many Matoran because of the creature’s devastating attacks.”

“Since they’ve been here for a week, I assume they have had no luck beating the creature?” asked Jero.

“Correct, almighty and intelligent Jero,” said Hikil, nodding. “The shadow eel, it seems, is stronger than it looks. But with both of you here to aid Toa Tikcah and Toa Jiki, it shall surely fall before your awesome might!”

“Get out of my way,” Rhatara growled, kicking Hikil with his foot, sending the Matoran stumbling into a nearby hut. “Come on, Jero. We shall deliver the good news to our sisters.”

Jero quietly followed behind Rhatara, while the villagers all stood aside to let the Shodios pass through. Once they were gone, Hikil sat up, shaking his head, but smiling all the same as he said in awe, “I was kicked by Rhatara! Toa Rhatara! I am never bathing again!”

-


The lake of shadow was, as the name so obviously implied, a lake of shadow. Instead of water, shadow filled it, but acted like water in that one could swim in it, although it wasn’t very drinkable, even to the Shodios, unless it was heavily purified before drinking. Dark, rotten trees, some broken in half, stood around it, while Matoran fishing huts and docks dotted the shoreline. As far as Jero could see, there were no fishing boats out today, nor were any of the villagers swimming. He instantly found the answer for that; Tikcah and Jiki were fighting what appeared to be a giant eel a few feet away from him and Rhatara.

Shadow eels were 15-foot-tall monsters that resembled eels, but were much more dangerous. They generally stayed away from Matoran settlements, but if sufficiently hungry would lay waste to any Matoran villages near them unless a Toa could stop them. Jero knew that shadow eels had a large immunity to shadow, which made them even more difficult to deal with, since he and his fellow Toa all had shadow as their element.

No wonder Tikcah and Jiki have been having such a hard time beating it, Jero thought. Then again, considering Jiki’s here, it would not surprise me if she had been purposefully delaying the defeat of the monster just to keep the thrill of the fight up.

He watched with apathy as Jiki wrestled with the beast in the shadow, while Tikcah stood by on the shoreline, clutching the cloak she always wore around her body. She glanced at Rhatara and Jero and quickly walked over to them, looking both bothered and curious.

“What are you two doing here?” she asked swiftly. “Jiki and I are dealing with the shadow eel just fine.”

“Yeah, the Matoran of Ghenla told us you have been battling it for a week,” said Rhatara, bored. “And we didn’t necessarily come to help you, Tikcah, for we have some very good news that will require you two to come back to Castle Kra with Jero and me for an important ceremony.”

“Well, whatever the news is, it can wait for later,” said Tikcah, motioning to Jiki fighting the eel. “We ought to help her, in my opinion. She may be strong, but even I am amazed at how long that she has lasted against that thing.”

“Fine,” said Rhatara. “I’ll just use my mask to help.”

Nodding, Rhatara walked over to the shoreline and activated his Mask of Energy Restriction on the eel, suddenly causing it to weaken. Jiki now had the upper hand and punched the monster in its teeth, simultaneously activating her Mask of Confusion, making the beast baffled. The eel began to get annoyed at Jiki. It was starting to feel very weak, for it had been battling Tikcah and Jiki for an entire week with little rest and wanted to finish the fight quickly. So it cracked its body like a whip, causing Jiki to go flying off its body through the shadow and hit a tree that was sticking out of the lake. Then, with one final glance backwards, it disappeared beneath the surface, hopefully gone for good, although that seemed unlikely.

“Is it gone?” asked Tikcah.

“Obviously,” Rhatara snapped.

“I do wonder if Jiki is still conscious,” said Jero. “She looks almost dead.”

The female Toa of Shadow was floating very still in the lake, apparently unconscious. Suddenly, she woke up and quickly plunged beneath the shadow before swimming back up and looking around. She had a confused expression on her face as she searched for the shadow eel, but she couldn’t find it.

Then she suddenly turned around in the shadow, spotted Rhatara, Jero, and Tikcah standing on the shore, waved one of her hands into the air and shouted, “I’m okay!”

“Ah, yes,” said Jero as Jiki swam toward them. “How stupid of me to assume that something as simple as a shadow eel hurling her off of its body at a thick tree at full speed would ever be enough to kill her.”

“How very stupid of you indeed,” Jiki said as she climbed onto shore, shadow dripping from her armor, “and here I thought that you would have realized that it would take more than that to kill me, Jero.”

Tikcah, ignoring the two, turned to Rhatara and said, “Rhatara, what is this ‘good news’ that you speak of? Why do Jiki and I need to go back to Castle Kra?”

Rhatara then explained to her all about how he and Ira had found the Toa Shika and brought them to Castle Kra. Once he had finished, Tikcah looked extremely surprised, while Jiki looked very eager and restless as she always did whenever she thought she smelled a new challenge for her.

“Seriously?” asked Tikcah. “No, seriously? Other Toa from the outside have entered Wyoko? Are you sure, Rhatara?”

“I am totally sure, Tikcah,” said Rhatara. “They’re most definitely Toa, though obviously less experienced than the Toa Avha had been.”

“Finally!” said Jiki in exasperation. “Something other than Cracko and shadows eels for me to kill!”

“First, my violent sister,” said Jero, “we must put them on trial before killing them. Just remember that little fact and you won’t be very disappointed.”

-


Barilo was having an odd dream. Earlier, because of how long they were waiting, because of the pain in his broken shoulder, and because of the darkness of the dungeons, he had drifted off to sleep, since after all he had nothing better to do until the Kra-Matoran returned for them, and he was getting kind of tire since he had gone without rest for quite a while.

His dream was bizarre. He found himself standing on a tall, menacing-looking tower in an unknown land, while standing in front of him was a huge hulking behemoth that was glaring at him. One quick glance at its limbs revealed it had chains attached to its wrists and ankles, like it had broken free of some prison some time ago. It had dull blue colored armor and hundreds of small, extremely sharp-looking teeth, its giant, endlessly black eyes focused on Barilo.

To his surprise, he could move both arms just fine, without feeling any sharp pain at all. And he could hold his gravity axe very well without much effort, like it was a leaf. He had no idea where he was nor why he was on top of this tower, facing this beast that kept walking back and forth in front of him as if it were guarding something from him. Every time he tried to look past it, it swiped at him with its powerful, hoof-like paws and he had to jump back to avoid getting hit, which brought him closer to the edge of the tower each time.

It’s obviously protecting something, Barilo thought as he watched the monster walk. But what?

“I can answer that for you, Toa Barilo,” said a mysterious, yet familiar, voice from behind him.

The Toa of Gravity whirled and saw, floating in midair, a cloaked being of enormous size and width. Whoever he was Barilo was sure he had heard the being’s voice before, but where he had, he could not remember at the moment.

“Who are you?” asked Barilo. “And how do you know my name?”

“I would answer, Barilo,” said the being mysteriously. “But I would like for you to piece together the clues yourself.”

“I hate it when people talk cryptically,” Barilo snapped.

“Well, I don’t like it when people disrespect the privacy of others,” said the cloaked figure acidly, “as you so often do with your Mask of Stealth.”

Barilo just glared at him for a moment and then he said, “What is that behemoth protecting? You told me you would answer.”

“The Graalo is protecting a . . . Matoran,” said the being in a vague voice. “The Graalo is one of my more finer creations. Very protective of its territory, yet it can also be tamed quite easily if one knows how.”

“How do you tame it?”

The being did not answer. Instead, he flew over to the Graalo and waved his hand in front of it as he mumbled in a language that Barilo was sure was some kind of growling, like that of a Muaka. As soon as the cloaked figure finished his command, the Graalo reluctantly walked out of the way of the Matoran it was protecting, revealing the villager to Barilo.

The Matoran that he saw was wearing black armor, yet she wasn’t an Onu-Matoran. Her armor looked similar to that of the Kra-Matoran, but not as rustic or ancient-looking but quite shiny and well-polished. Her mask was an unfamiliar one and she looked quite determined and brave, yet she also seemed to not notice Barilo.

“Who is she?” asked Barilo, walking closer to the seemingly-frozen Matoran.

“I do not know,” said the floating being softly. “I do not know her name, but I’ve seen her in the past, when the Kra-Matoran used to live on the surface. She is obviously a Kra-Matoran, n