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“Sahmad’s Tale”


-Kamuk: New Makuta City Prison-

-ShadowVezon Raqmu-


He awoke with a start, his chains clanking against each other. His wrists burned as the cuffs scratched and tore at their scabbed surface. The brick wall of his cell was slick and moist, and the dirt on the floor had turned to muck. It had a strong, overpowering stench to it, and if he’d had the energy to do so, he would have flinched away.


It wasn’t muck.


His energy had abandoned him long ago, however, and so he remained where he was, huddled against the wall in the farthest corner of his cell, where the light of the torches did not reach, and the chains attached to his wrists and ankles bothered him the least. Breathing in and breathing out, his lungs filled with the stench of his own feces, dumped all over the floor of his cell as he’d been sleeping. His mind still foggy from exhaustion.


Across the cell, a shadow flickered on the opposite side of the bars. Movement. A person – though he had long since lost the ability to tell if it was simply a guard on patrol or someone with more sinister intentions. He had no friends here.


Nobody had been on his side for a long time. He had lost track of the years.


There was another flicker, prompting him to weakly lift his head, staring across the cell. He could make out a solitary shadow, the size of a Protector. He opened his mouth and wet his lips.


“Who goes there?” his voice came out as a croak, broken from disuse.


The shadow stepped closer, into the light of the torches. It was a figure not unlike other Protectors, with navy blue armor that had rusted orange at the edges. The armor itself was of an alien design, ancient in its construction – and, if he suspected correctly, somewhat magical in nature, or else the rust would have spread less uniformly. His yellow eyes shone brightly, two blinding beacons in the shadows, and he had a dark, cold aura.


The figure opened their mouth, and when they spoke, it was with a cold, cruel voice, dripping with sarcasm. “ShadowVezon Raqmu, the first of his name. The King of Stone, and Ruler of Kamuk. Kinslayer. Oathbreaker. The Faithful Disgraced. Murderer of Zatth Raqmu, rightful Ruler of Stone. Guilty of a thousand crimes both false and real.”


He remained silent, eyeing the figure for a long moment before his head slumped down against his chest, his neck too tired to continue supporting it. The bars of his cell creaked, and he heard footsteps on the stone, before two feet appeared. He forced his head back up, staring at the figure, who now stood in the middle of his cell. There was a look of disgust on their face – no doubt about why – but also disappointment.


“Look at how far you have fallen,” they murmured, crouching down and reaching out to hold his chin up with two fingers. “Once, you would have spat in the face of any who dared insult you. You would have had them executed, or vanished them into the night.”


Still, he said nothing. He wasn’t sure he could.


The figure shook his head, and released his chin; his head dropped back to his chest.


“Take care, your grace,” the figure said, standing again, walking away. The bars of his cell creaked again. “I will give you one more chance, as my master gave me. Do not disappoint us.”


And then, the figure was gone.


-Aodhiim: Vakama City Catacombs-

-Voltex Aodh-


He stepped into the catacombs beneath Vakama City warily. He held a torch in his right hand, and its flickering light was the only one to be seen. A few steps ahead of him, Takua Pyre – his closest friend, and a one of the Pyromancers – led him deeper into the tunnels, running a hand along the wall to avoid losing his way.


After what felt like an age in the dark, Takua spoke. “Stick to the middle of the path, and watch the torch. We’ve reached the vaults. A single spark in the wrong place would be enough to collapse the entire city.”


A drop of sweat ran down Tex’s back at the words, and he shifted uncomfortably. “That’s why I’m here. The Knights and the Imperator both are… growing uncomfortable with storing the darkfire down here. It’s too big a threat.”


“They should have made these worries known sooner,” a new voice called from behind, echoing through the tunnels.


Tex turned, spotting the newcomer right away, her face lit by her own torch. It was Efandril Aodh, leader of the Pyromancers, and the Protector responsible for re-discovering the secrets behind the recipe for darkfire. It was an extremely volatile substance; purple in color and liable to burn or explode at the slightest bit of movement, or if too hot, or if contacted by even a single spark. Its destructive capabilities were legendary, and it had once given House Darkfire their name, before they – and the secrets to its creation – were eliminated after a failed rebellion over one hundred years ago.


“I beg your pardon?” he asked, as Efandril reached them.


“I meant exactly what I said. They should have made these worries known sooner.”




Efandril beckoned him to follow, and, after sharing a look with Takua, he did. She led them to the entrance of one of the many storerooms; in the light of the torches, he could just barely make out the jars filled with darkfire.


“These catacombs were originally built to hold darkfire,” she said, staring into the storeroom. “It’s why we started using them during the War of Five Kings, after I started up the Pyromancer’s Guild. We needed a safe place to store the darkfire when it wasn’t being shipped to the front lines.”


Tex frowned. “It’s peace time now, though. Surely there’s another location we could store it?”


Efandril sighed, and the sound was filled with frustration. Tex could sympathize; he was rapidly tiring of the Knights demanding he find a way to move the darkfire himself.


“There isn’t anywhere else,” she said. “By the time we were creating the darkfire, we had no idea how long the war would go, so we never placed a limit on how much we would make. I tried asking the Imperator to build us a safer storage location, one separated from society.”


“Not just a storage location,” Takua murmured. “We wanted our own… village, so to speak. Where we could live, create the darkfire, store it, and ship it out.”


“But by that point in the war Aodhiim was barely holding on,” Efandril continued, the fist not holding her torch clenching at her side. “We had just taken back Vakama City from Chloe Saryian’s forces. We had Protectors re-building and strengthening both Walls, and then developing the camps near them into Madacus and Valmai. The Imperator couldn’t spare us any men to build a single storehouse, let alone a village. So we stored the darkfire down here. And then, when the war ended, all of Aodhiim’s spare resources were dedicated to building Silodas.”


This, Tex already knew. After Vakama City had been taken by the Protectors of Jungle during the War of Five Kings, Imperator Sil hadn’t trusted the security of the city enough to continue using it as Aodhiim’s capital. He had instead shifted all the nation’s resources to the south to the lands of House Ash, where a new capital had been constructed. Silodas doubled as Aodhiim’s only major harbor, and its location made it more difficult for enemy land forces to reach, if they were even able to breach the Walls.


“Silodas hasn’t had any major expansions being built for two years,” he said. “Why not now?”


Efandril turned her eyes on him, looking both resigned and worried. “We could try, but… there’s so much darkfire down here now, and it’s so volatile. If we were to make a single mistake while transporting it, the results could be cataclysmic; and that’s before accounting for how damaging an accident could be politically. During war-time we could simply blame it on the enemy… but now, more than ever-”


“-the nation respects strength above all else, I know,” Tex said, rubbing at his temples with his free hand. “It stays here, then. I’ll let the Imperator and the Knights know. Hopefully it’ll be enough to get the latter off my back.”


“Suggest our village idea to them,” Takua said, shrugging. “It’s too dangerous to move the darkfire that we’ve already stored, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep storing everything that we make here. If they’re willing to build us the village, we can make it and store the new stuff there.”


“I suppose,” Tex said slowly, before another thought occurred to him, worry prickling in the back of his mind. “Is there any particular reason why you’re still making it? The war ended over a decade ago.”


“It is the Imperator’s wish that we be prepared,” Efandril said. It was clearly something she had rattled off more than once. “Karamu has the Temple of Time at their disposal, and we have no idea who holds the Staff of Annona. He wishes to have the darkfire on hand as our own deterrent… and as a weapon, for the inevitable war to come. You’re a Loremaster. You’ve heard the whispers.”


More than just whispers, Tex thought, but aloud he only murmured, “the Great War.”


He swallowed down the fear that bit at him at the thought of the Great War, and ignored the memory of an ominous conversation with the First Mask Maker from years ago – but he could not stop the chill that ran down his spine. Searching for a distraction, he raised his torch, squinting at the faded words carved above the entryway into the storeroom.


From a Spark, an Inferno,” he read aloud, confusion spreading through him. “I don’t understand. What are the words of House Kindle doing down here? I thought it was only House Darkfire that worked with darkfire.”


Efandril was silent for a long moment before she finally asked, “what do you know about House Darkfire? Do you know their house words?”


He shook his head. “No. The Knights don’t have much on them, except for their attempted rebellion.”


“I suppose even the Knights can’t be perfect,” Efandril mused out loud, reaching up to run her hand along the words.


“What exactly does that mean?”


An amused smile grew on Efandril’s face as she glanced back at him. “Are you offended?”


Tex shook his head. “No. Just confused.”


“You must remember that the Darkfire Rebellion occurred just as Okoto’s loyalties were shifting,” Efandril said. “The Skull Warriors were corrupting the Kings. Water had already turned to the Faith, as well as Stone. Jungle and Earth refused to provide the Knights with any help. Fire and Ice alone remained loyal to the Knights, but were too far to help each other. At the time, House Aodh refused to turn on the Knights… so the Faith tried another house.”


“House Darkfire,” Tex said. “What little the Knights did have on them mentioned that they’d been biding their time ever since House Aodh took over the region. They’d been waiting for a moment of weakness.”


Efandril nodded, looking satisfied. “With the Faith spreading, Aodh was as weak as they had ever been, so House Darkfire decided to strike – and, were it not for the efforts of House Ash, they may well have succeeded. But as we know, they were instead forced back, and their entire house rendered extinct. Except… when I uncovered the recipe for darkfire, I found other things as well. Old tomes, filled with some of the histories of House Darkfire. One of their allies must have saved them and hidden them away.”


“What did you find?”


The Pyromancer nodded at the words etched into the stone. “Their house words – ‘From a Spark, an Inferno’. Based on the volatile nature of the substance for which they were named, no doubt. Rather fitting, no?”


“But then, that means…” Tex trailed off, his heart racing at the realization. “House Kindle stole their words? Why?”


“I did some more digging, and as far as I can tell, it was a power play,” Efandril said. “Their old words weren’t very inspired, admittedly. It was a taunt – any survivors of House Darkfire, or anyone friendly to them, could not step forward  to protest without immediately becoming the target of House Aodh. Likewise, however, House Aodh was still weak, the weakest they had ever been. They could not afford to go to war against House Kindle for the slight, and House Kindle knew this. It was a brazen move, but it worked.”


Tex hummed an affirmative, thinking it over. “Do you have any evidence?”


Efandril shook her head. “No hard proof, no, although there is some evidence if you know where to look. Did you know that, since the rebellion, House Kindle has slowly been shrinking? On top of that, their soldiers are always on the front lines in every conflict that arises, and not a single Protector from that house has sat on the Council of Fire. Even now, when Vakama City is under their control, the Imperator has not invited any of them to help him rule.”


“I had no idea that this was happening,” Tex murmured, frowning. “How has nobody noticed?”


“As far as I can tell, nobody from either of our houses even remembers the original slight. It’s more just a fact of life,” Efandril said. “Besides, until the War of Five Kings, House Kindle was still doing well enough for themselves for it to not matter.”


“I’d heard they took heavy losses during the war,” Tex said slowly, “but nothing to be worried about.”


“That’s their propaganda machine at work,” Takua said, and Tex shuddered, having forgotten that his friend was there. “The truth is that their lands were overrun by the Undead before the Battle for the Dawn, and then they lost almost all of their forces defending the Eastern Wall and Vakama City during the war. By the time the war was over, even including their household staff and the remnants of their military forces, they barely numbered fifty.”


Tex whistled lowly.


“They’ve had an impressive recovery,” Takua continued, “but they still barely number a hundred strong. Every single member of their house lives in Vakama City now.”


“Might’ve been nice if I’d been informed,” Tex said, shaking his head. “I do sit on the council now. The Imperator is supposed to trust us.”


“They didn’t tell us. We figured it out on our own, during our investigations,” Efandril said. “Besides, if the Council of Fire is unaware, then Aodhiim is unaware – and if Aodhiim is unaware, then so is everyone else. It’s for the better this way.”


Reluctantly, Tex found himself agreeing. Considering the circumstances, remaining silent on the issue was the best move that the Imperator could have made. Still, though, it burned that a member of his own family hadn’t considered him trustworthy enough to share the information with him, especially in light of recent events.


A hand on his shoulder startled him back to attention, and he glanced over at Efandril, who was staring at him with a worried look in her eyes.


“You do understand, don’t you?” she asked, and Tex found himself calming at her gentle tone. “You only finished your training a year ago, and you’ve only recently been nominated to the Council of Fire.”


“I do understand,” he muttered. “I just wish it wasn’t necessary.”


“Secrets are always necessary,” she said. “You’re in the Great Game now, and in the Great Game, secrets are everything. They are the currency with which you pay, the food that you eat, the language that you speak. If you wish to help Aodhiim survive and thrive… then you will have to adapt. Everyone has their secrets, Tex. Some more dangerous than others. Do tread carefully.”


Her hand fell away, and Tex founding himself nodding. Having said her piece, Efandril nodded to him, and then to Takua, before walking back the way she had come, vanishing into the darkness.


-Qendroj City-

-Luroka Qendroj-


In what had once been the council chambers for the Mask Maker Pulse Vatten and his Guardians, Luroka sat rigid in his seat at the round table. Onua, the hulking Toa of Earth, stood beside him. Two figures sat across from them. One, a figure clad in rusted navy armor, was unfamiliar to Luroka – but the other, a Water Protector wearing armor with the sigil of House Vatten, was all too familiar.


“Why are you here?” he asked at last, breaking the silence.


“A creature stalks our lands,” the Protector said. “It feasts on every Protector that it finds.”


“The Barren is not yours to claim.”


The Protector smirked. “We live there, do we not?”


After exchanging a wary glance with Onua, Luroka shook his head. “Never mind that. We need more details. We’ve heard a few reports, but nowhere near enough for us to consider risking any action dealing with something that appears content to remain in the Barren… if it exists at all.”


“Do you call me a liar?” the Protector asked.


Luroka shrugged. “I’m simply reading the situation.”


The Protector snarled, pounding their fist onto the table. “I am of House Vatten! I do not lie!”


“You gave up your claim to the name of Vatten the moment you made the ludicrous decision to join the Brotherhood of Ata,” Luroka said calmly, noting with satisfaction that the Protector was already trembling with rage. “If it were up to me, Virndrung, I’d strip that sigil from your armor.”


“Shut your filthy mouth,” Virndrung spat. “You, who betrayed your kind and left them to be wiped out, who abandoned your home to be blasted into oblivion, would dare to lecture me? I am the last of my house! Who are you to claim me unworthy?”


“You may pretend,” Onua rumbled from beside Luroka, “but you are not the last your house.”


Virndrung scowled, leaning back in his seat and crossing his arms. “My sister does not count. She swore the vows of the Knights, married the Lightbringer.”


“She kept her name,” Onua said. “She keeps to the values of her father, and works for a higher purpose.”


“Pulse abandoned House Vatten’s values,” Virndrung said. “For centuries we worked alongside the Skull Warriors, serving Ata’s divine will, until my dear father tried to throw it all away. I am fulfilling House Vatten’s legacy. I will not repeat his mistakes.”


“Stop being fools.” The stranger broke his silence at last, his frustration evident. “You met to discuss the creature that roams the Barren, not to argue meaningless semantics. Its name is Vorahk. It is one of six Rahkshi, the ancient generals of the first and most powerful Dark Titan, who once tried and failed to consume Okoto with shadow. It wields a Staff of Absorption, with which it can absorb the energy of others for its own use. It is the best tactician of the Rahkshi, and make no mistake, despite what you clearly believe, they are sentient beings like you and I. The only reason it has not entered this city is because it does not care to… yet.”


“…who are you, again?” Luroka asked.


The figure stood, grabbing their cloak. “My name is Sahmad. One last piece of advice to you, before I go, if you’re willing to listen.”


“I’m listening.”


“Vorahk’s master will soon return. The prison that holds him fails,” Sahmad said, pausing in the doorway. “Whether you choose to fight him or join him matters not – but a battle against Vorahk is inevitable. If you do not kill it before its master returns, its master will pit you against it. I would recommend you find a way to take care of the Rahkshi sooner rather than later, while you still have the ability to choose for yourselves.”


And then, with a swish of his cloak, Sahmad was gone.


-Karamu: Hinterhall-

-Reyna Saryian-


Reyna Saryian stepped into the throne room with no small amount of trepidation, flanked by Nidhiki and Tekulo of House Briar. At the end of the hall, lounging upon the ornate golden throne strewn with silver vines, was Makani Chloe Saryian… her mother.


“Lady Reyna Saryian, your grace,” a Protector of Jungle announced. “Accompanied by Lord Tekulo Briar and Nidhiki Briar.”


Her mother nodded. Sharing a wary look with Nidhiki, Reyna approached the throne, kneeling before the steps that led up to it. On either side, both Tekulo and Nidhiki did the same.


“Rise,” said Chloe.


She did so, meeting her mother’s eyes. They shone with a dangerous light, and Reyna fought the urge to sigh. Today was, apparently, a bad day. Most days had been, recently; her mother had never been the same after the War of Five Kings.


“Why have you summoned us today, your grace?” Nidhiki finally asked, when it was clear that nobody else would break the silence.


“The Spirit of the Wild threatens our territory, and if the other nations sense weakness, they will strike. Luckily for all of us, I have found a solution,” Chloe said, smirking as she turned to one of the guards. “Bring the mask, and the creatures.”


“Creatures?” Reyna asked, staring at the guard as they hurried away.


“You’ll see.”


After a few moments, the guard returned with a small burlap sack in their hands. They were followed by several other Jungle Protectors, hauling two large boxes on wheels behind them. One of the boxes was shaking back and forth, and whatever was inside it was growling. Reyna opened her mouth, intending to inquire about the box’s contents, but was distracted as Chloe took the burlap sack and opened it to reveal a familiar shape.


“The Mask of Control,” Tekulo said, sounding puzzled. “It’s… green?”


“I had it re-painted,” Chloe explained, showing off the legendary mask. “I felt that the green and black suit it much better than the gold, don’t you think? It fits our aesthetic better.”


Without waiting for a response, the Makani took off her own mask, and replaced it with the Mask of Control. She then stood from her throne, turning toward the containers. At some unspoken command, one of the now strangely stiff Protectors unlocked the larger of the two and opened it.


Reyna flinched as a large, green shape flew out of the container, landing on all fours only a few feet away. Her eyes went wide as she recognized who it was – Toa Lewa.


“He’s been missing for weeks,” Nidhiki said, his voice barely a whisper. “How did you find him?”


“It doesn’t matter,” Chloe said dismissively, stepping next to the Toa. “He suffers from Hordika, now. He is little more than beast… but with the Mask of Control, that means nothing. He is mine to command.”


Beside her, Toa Lewa stood straight, turning to face Reyna and the others directly. His eyes were strangely blank, although if she looked closely, Reyna could almost make out the primal rage of the Hordika sickness flickering in them. The Toa lifted a single open palm before glancing behind him at the second container; vines wrapped around it, contracting once. The force was enough to shatter the wood of the container. A large, dragonfly-esque silver and green creature hovered in the open air where the container had been for a split second before turning into a blur as it tried to fly away, only to suddenly freeze again halfway across the room.


“Uxar, the mythical Creature of Jungle,” Chloe said. “The Elemental Creatures have been sighted all across Okoto. They alone are said to be resisting whatever force has corrupted the other beasts; they alone have resisted Keetongu’s call. Some say that they are the key to stopping Keetongu altogether.”


As if locked in a trance, the Creature of Jungle dazedly buzzed over to Lewa, who twisted so that his back was to the creature. Uxar hovered behind the Toa for a moment before lowering itself onto the Toa’s back, and there was a brief, brilliant flash of light as the two connected. When the light had faded, a single silver and green armored figure stood before them; Uxar had merged itself entirely with Lewa.


“The Master and Creature of Jungle have united,” Chloe said, a dangerous glint in her eyes. “They belong to me, just as Karamu does. Okoto is threatened… but I shall save it. Under my guidance, it shall prosper.”


“And if the rest of Okoto does not wish to be ruled by a Jungle Protector?” Nidhiki asked, daring to voice the thought that Reyna and Tekulo both refused to.


“They will bend the knee, and allow their salvation,” Chloe said, returning to her throne, “or be destroyed.”


-Agua Hielo: Ignika-

-Reisen Tyde-


Reisen Tyde frowned as he stepped into the home of Khan Terrorsaur Rayne, exchanging a worried look with Berix Rayne, who was entering behind him. The entrance hallway was a mess, with bits of armor and what appeared to be shards of glass littering the floor. A single painting hung crooked on the wall.


“One of those weeks,” Berix said, sighing.


Reisen said nothing, carefully picking his way down the hallway and avoiding the glass. Hearing low murmurings from the kitchen at the back of the house he made his way there, and had to stifle his reaction at what he saw. The kitchen was worse than the hallway by far. Flies buzzed around bits and pieces of food littering the countertops, and the wash basin was overflowing with dirty dishes. The Mask of Water, once worn by Toa Gali, sat atop a precarious pile of trash. Terrorsaur himself was seated at the table alongside a figure in rusting navy armor; the visitor was nursing a full goblet of wine, but Terrorsaur had a half-empty bottle of rum in his hands.


“Holy Rollor,” Berix whispered, staring into the room over his shoulder.


“Khan Terrorsaur,” Reisen said loudly, ignoring Berix again. “You called for us?”


Terrorsaur glanced up at them, grinning widely. He flapped a hand toward the two empty seats at the table, and to the visitor. “C’mon in, take a seats! I mean seat. Have you met Sahmad?”


Both Protectors of Water shook their heads. Reisen took the seat across from Sahmad; Berix sat across from the Khan.


“I apologize for the state of things,” Sahmad said, his gaze locking on Reisen’s. “I have managed to cut his alcohol intake in half today… though that is still far too much.”


“Why did you call us here?” Reisen asked.


Sahmad glanced at Terrorsaur, but the Khan’s eyes were closed, and he did not appear to have heard the question. Sighing, he said, “the talismans, the ones in Burned Harbor.”


“What about them?”


“I would recommend you investigate their origins sooner, rather than later,” Sahmad said. “They are beginning to fail, and will continue to bring misfortune to you if they do. Best to stop them at the source before that can happen.”


“Why can’t you do it?” Berix asked.


Sahmad shook his head. “I have far too much to do already. My time is running short, far too short. You need your Mask Makers to return to the island. Tracking the talismans to their source is one of the first steps in doing so.”


Reisen’s hand drifted to his hip, to the hilt of his sword. “Why should we trust you?”


“You shouldn’t,” Sahmad said. “But a war is coming. The only war that matters. And by the time it arrives… Okoto must be united.”


That piqued Reisen’s attention, and he could tell that Sahmad noticed. He leaned forward. “Why?”


“The Long Night, the War of Five Kings, the Magical Crisis…  none of it matters,” Sahmad said, genuine fear in his voice. “The Great War, when it comes, will be more terrible than all of them put together. An enemy that can’t be negotiated with, whose sole purpose is to wipe the entire world clean and start again. Everything before it is just prelude.”


-Rollor’s Reach: Citadel-

-Jed Corruich-


He stepped into the dungeon, one hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw it at a moment’s notice. More than one Knight had been led to a trap down here; the Faith might be gone, but not everyone on Okoto was a fan of theirs. The Battle for the Dawn had been largely forgotten, in the aftermath of the War of Five Kings.


In the flickering light of the torches, he could make out two familiar faces.


“Ehks,” he said, nodding to the Protector of Ice on the left, before turning to the Protector of Jungle on the right. “Piruk.”


“Kingslayer,” Piruk said, his voice raspy from disuse.


Ehks merely nodded.


“Why are we meeting down here?” Jed asked. “I thought you were decoding the histories.”


The two Protectors shared an uncomfortable glance. Ehks shifted in place, before seeming to realize that Piruk was content to let her explain. “We… were. We’re not sure we should continue.”


“Don’t be ridiculous.”


“I’m not, I’m being serious,” she said. “What we’ve been reading about… it’s fragments of fragments, Jed. I think most of it was lost before the Mask Makers came to Okoto, or maybe during their war. Early enough that I’m beginning to suspect even Voltex’s notes on them are barely enough to give us an outline.”


“Continue decoding them until the task is completed,” Jed said, turning away. “Until then, there’s nothing for us to do.”


“You’re wrong, Kingslayer.”


Jed sighed at the sound of Piruk’s voice, glancing over his shoulder. “Why?”


“What we have decoded,” Ehks said, pausing to draw in a shuddering breath that had Jed turning back to face them properly. “It… there’s no time. There’s too many signs, and that’s just what we’ve translated so far. We need the rest of the information, and we need it now.”


“I need more detail than that. Don’t be cryptic.”


“As best we can tell, there is a war on the horizon,” Piruk said. “The texts refer to it as the ‘Great War’. They say it is the only war that will ever matter.”


“There’s been references to endless death,” Ehks continued. “Prophecies upon prophecies, about the Wild, and a seventh Toa, and a dark shadow. References to creatures I’ve never heard of before. Elementals, and dragons. Darker Titans, to balance with Umarak and the others. But it’s all in bits and pieces, and all we know for certain is that it will be here soon.”


Jed opened his mouth to reply, but Piruk cut across him: “the texts do refer to one location very clearly. A ‘Temple of Histories’, located in the south of the Barren.”


“There aren’t any temples there,” Jed said slowly. “We’d know if there were… and they weren’t there before the War of Five Kings or Voxumo’s Rebellion, either.”


“We believe it’s been gone for a long time,” Ehks said, frowning. “Lost before the Long Night, possibly even before Ekimu.”


Scowling, Jed rubbed at his temples. He sighed, and shook his head. “I’m too old for this. Gods. I still remember the War for the Throne. Simpler times... just a small war, with none of this world-ending, weird mystical stuff. Except for….”


“…the Temple of Time,” Piruk said, completing the unspoken thought as Jed trailed off. “That is my suggestion. We need to access this Temple of Histories. I suggest we find a way to recreate Khan Nato’s journey into the past, using the completed Mask of Time.”


“The Mask of Time is missing. It has been for years.”


“Then we find it,” Piruk growled, “or we die.”


-Agua Hielo: Grave’s Peak-

-Nato Greavesey-


He was in his office and staring out the open window, wishing he could be back in Rollor’s Reach, when there were three heavy knocks on the door. He turned in time to see the oak shuddering, and after several seconds of silence gestured for his assistant – an Ice Protector named Kazi Nivis – to open the door.


Kazi grabbed the handle, twisted it, and pulled. The door swung open to reveal the grim form of a figure with navy blue armor, rusting orange around the edges. Nato recognized him as a Mask Maker instantly; he had spent enough time around the likes of Ekimu and Voltex to recognize the aura that surrounded them, though this one’s was darker and colder.


“You know what I am,” the newcomer said, not sounding surprised. “Khan Nato, isn’t it?”


“You may enter,” Nato said in response, moving to sit behind his desk.


Kazi nodded at the unspoken command and stepped aside. The Mask Maker paused for a moment, brushing some snow off his armor, before he stepped into the room. He sat across from Nato in the wooden chair for visitors, and glanced out the window as he dropped a small leather bag onto the floor beside him.


“Khan Nato,” the Mask Maker repeated, his words barely audible as he bowed his head slightly. Nato felt a flash of frustration – he had done as much as he could to get rid of the so-called ‘niceties’ that dominated the rest of Okoto – but he shoved it back before it could show on his face.


“I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage,” he said, causing the Mask Maker to turn their gaze from the snowstorm outside to him. “Who are you, and why are you here?”


A look of amusement spread across the Mask Maker’s face, and he chuckled. It was a dry sound, and Nato fought the urge to both cringe and frown before the Mask Maker spoke. “My name is… Sahmad. You don’t recognize me; I confess myself somewhat surprised. I would have thought that the others might have at least shared my identity with you.”


Nato grunted in response; Sahmad was trying to sow discord, no doubt, though he had come to the wrong person if that was his goal. “Despite the claims of the Knights and the general population, the Mask Makers and I never saw eye to eye. If they were to share anything, it would not have been with me.”


“I don’t believe you,” Sahmad said quietly, “but that is of little consequence. I’m not here to discuss the Mask Makers, or anything, really. Just here to deliver you a warning, and a message.”


“A warning and a message?” Nato asked, waving a hand dismissively. “Very well. Share your warning, Sahmad.”


“War is on the horizon,” Sahmad replied, leaning forward. “The Great War. I am here to delay its arrival on Okoto’s shores, and to restore this island to its proper glory. You, particularly, will dislike what I am going to do. You always held us Mask Makers and others like us in disdain.”


“Watch your tongue,” Kazi warned, but Nato waved the issue away. So far, Sahmad spoke the truth.


“Only since the Battle for the Dawn,” he said, pushing his chair back and standing, walking back over to the window. “Your fellow Mask Makers, Voltex and Vatten, Nui and Makuta, even Ekimu… they all dealt with it poorly. As did Umarak.”


“I understand why you feel the way you do,” Sahmad said.


Nato turned to face the Mask Maker again, feeling more exhausted than ever before. It was tiring, ruling over the northern half of Agua Hielo, but interactions with the Mask Makers and their ilk had always been a struggle. They always insisted on speaking cryptically, and it seemed Sahmad was no different.


“Say what you have come to say,” he said tiredly. “Or else be gone; I have too much to worry about, without your mysterious warnings being piled on top.”


Sahmad chuckled again, but Nato had the feeling that this time, it was more self-deprecating than anything else.


“You’re right, of course,” the Mask Maker said, shrugging helplessly. “It’s just… there’s too much to explain, in the time we have together. Okoto was at its greatest when the Mask Makers – my kind, not the Protector pretenders that eventually followed – ruled over Okoto. A power greater than you Protectors, more powerful, with longer lives. I intend to rebirth those days of glory, with a power greater and more long-lasting than even the Mask Makers.”


Nato frowned, fighting off the chill that threatened to run up his spine. “You speak of the Titans. You intend to see a Titan in control over Okoto.”


“You do catch on fast. I can see why the others liked you,” Sahmad said, sounding impressed.


“What do you want?”


“Time, for a start. To achieve my goals, and to live. To restore the balance of power, before… others take it into their own hands. Despite what many might believe, Okoto is not the only populated island in this world. Your actions here have had consequences for everyone.”


“You mean the Battle for the Dawn.”


“Among other events.”


The Northern Khan sighed, rubbing at his temples with both hands, despite the weakness it implied, and turned back to the window. He knew enough to suspect what Sahmad was referencing. The Staff of Annona, the Torch of Ma. The voyage to Ikir. The Magical Crisis. The deaths of Kulta and the Lord of Skull Spiders. The disappearance of Umarak. The stirrings in the Barren.


Sahmad was correct, however. The road to Okoto’s current state had been rough, and filled with destruction; it had almost led to the destruction of Okoto itself. But in the end, he felt it was worth it. They were free of the Mask Makers, free of the Titans, free of legends and prophecies. He could not support Okoto stepping back, retreating into the comfort of old times.


But Sahmad knows this. He came here knowing that I would disapprove of his plans… which means…. He felt the northern chill seep into his bones as he realized what Sahmad’s true plan was. He never planned to convince me. This visit itself was a trap. He intends to remove me from play.


He spun, drawing his sword, and next to the door, Kazi did the same. Sahmad stood slowly, picking up his bag, his face impassive.


“One last chance, Khan Nato,” the Mask Maker said, knowing the ruse was up. “Will you allow me to proceed, unchallenged? Or must I move forward as I had originally planned?”


There was no use lying, Nato could see that. From the looks of it, Sahmad had researched him well – but the Mask Maker was also convinced that he would refuse. Even if he had any true intentions of joining the Mask Maker, Sahmad would spring his trap regardless.


“Let’s see your plan, then,” he said. “Will you leave me dead and dying, bleeding out on the floor?”


The Mask Maker shook his head, seeming amused, and reached into his pouch. He withdrew a small, purple flower, and threw it to Nato, who caught it with his free hand.


“Congratulations, Khan,” Sahmad said, smirking. “That plant has a relative that once grew on Okoto. It caused a plague that nearly killed off two entire regions, before your friend Ekimu terminated it.”


Nato dropped the flower to the floor, but instinctively, he knew it was already too late. “The Stone Plague…”


Sahmad shook his head, stepping over to the door. “Close. I don’t intend for you to die immediately, Nato. I simply need you… out of the way for awhile. You will be useful in the war to come.”


“What will it do?”


“Where I come from, it is called Stonescale,” Sahmad said, opening the door. “It’s a highly contagious disease, one that is already beginning to spread through your region. Your skin will slowly turn to scales of stone, and once it covers you entirely, you will lose your mind, and become nothing more than a beast. But do not worry – find a Mask Maker, and I assure you, with their magic, you can be cured. I promise.”


“Why should I trust you?” Nato spat, his frustration and anger boiling over. “There are no Mask Makers here, aside from you! Not anymore!”


“Do not worry, Traveler,” Sahmad said, pausing in the doorway. “I promise you, you will find the cure. I’m a man of my word.”







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End my life, I check back on the site after a long hiatus again the DAY submissions to this end. May the ghost of Dilly-Dal haunt you all again!


Alas! Here's hoping you'll be available and on time for Season 4 (if any of Okoto is left standing by this season's end).

Edited by Jakura Nuva
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End my life, I check back on the site after a long hiatus again the DAY submissions to this end. May the ghost of Dilly-Dal haunt you all again!


Alas! Here's hoping you'll be available and on time for Season 4 (if any of Okoto is left standing by this season's end).



More like "if BZP is even active enough to make a Season 4 possible"

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End my life, I check back on the site after a long hiatus again the DAY submissions to this end. May the ghost of Dilly-Dal haunt you all again!


the possibility might arise later in the season for additional players to join.


Noice, make sure I get spammed to high heaven if that happens

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"Remember when the comics forum had a lot of good stuff? Let's make that a thing again." -Kazi the Matoran

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End my life, I check back on the site after a long hiatus again the DAY submissions to this end. May the ghost of Dilly-Dal haunt you all again!

the possibility might arise later in the season for additional players to join.

Noice, make sure I get spammed to high heaven if that happens
We got you.

Hey I got a Flickr because I like making LEGO stuff.


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Boy time flies when you're two people.

I have a feeling this is going to be a intense episode.

Might be the best Episode 1 of all three seasons, to be quite honest.

Rassilon's ending for this episode gave me some chills. To bad I couldn't get that info though.

Hey I got a Flickr because I like making LEGO stuff.


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I'm functionally ending Episode 1: End of the Beginning here. I'll notify certain members who can continue their storylines a little further on to better set up Episode 2.


Some big moments in this episode:


-The first Rahkshi was fought

-An until now unknown Mask Maker was discovered

-A temporal experiment is about to be conducted

-The locations of 2 extraordinarily powerful artifacts were discovered

-Luroka wasted RG's time for literally no reason at all except that he had the ability; this will be removed in a later patch

-One BZPGOT S2 character -surprise!- might not be as dead as everyone assumed. Jakura knows what's up.

-Unless Onaku went bloodthirsty at the last second, no players or named NPCs have died yet.

(just kidding Tanma died)

Edited by Lucina
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-A temporal experiment is about to be conducted

-One BZPGOT S2 character -surprise!- might not be as dead as everyone assumed. Jakura knows what's up.


1. Oh my Bota who the heck is doing that?

2. My money is on a NPC.

Edited by Rassilon (TTL)

Hey I got a Flickr because I like making LEGO stuff.


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-An until now unknown Mask Maker was discovered

-A temporal experiment is about to be conducted


and here i thought these wouldn't happen until later in the game.

It's like someone is trying to end the world in the first episode :P.
Remember when we all panicked in S2 over a tremor coming from the ancient city.

What simpler times.

Hey I got a Flickr because I like making LEGO stuff.


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Sounds like you guys are all having lots of fun with PLOT.


Wish I could get involved in some of that. 

  • Upvote 5

Embers - A Bionicle Saga - Chapters/Review

Class Is Out - A Farewell To Corpus Rahkshi - Chapters/Review

BZPRPG Characters - Minnorak, Kain, T'harrak, Savis, Vazaria, Lash

BZPRPG Mercenary Group - The Outsiders - Description - History - Base

Ghosts Of Bara Magna - Ash Tribe - Precipere - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle, Avinus, Zha'ar

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Since I probably won't finish the episode until tomorrow at the earliest, here's a little teaser from End of the Beginning:




That evening, in an alleyway just off the path from a series of shops and one of Daggerfall’s barracks, Quin found the nearest entrance to the underground. As he approached, he found two guards in the standard garb of Kamuk’s army standing before the entrance, both wearing the sigil of House Maran. He resisted the urge to wince as both recognized him and waved, appearing pleased to see him; it wasn’t often that he visited regular soldiers.


“General Quin! Sir! It’s good to see you,” the younger of the two called.


Slowing to a stop before them, Quin coughed. “Good evening, men. Good to see that guard duty isn’t being neglected.”


The guard – who, judging by their excitement, was rather new – spoke again, saluting as they did so. “Of course, sir! We wouldn’t dream of it! Don’t want any enemies sneaking into the capital!”


“Good to hear. I’m sure Vinheim wouldn’t appreciate someone trying to blow him up again.” Quin had to fight the urge to gag at even speaking Vinheim’s name, though by now he was well-practiced in hiding it.


The elder of the two guards remained silent, having become stony faced after his initial excitement at seeing Quin wore off, but the rookie nodded eagerly. “Gotta say I almost wish someone would try, y’know? It’d be awesome to see the looks on their faces when they realize how impossible their plan is!”


“Careful there, son. Let’s not tempt Rollor too much,” Quin said, giving the elder soldier a quick glance. “I’m… actually here on business.”


“Of course, of course!” The rookie nodded frantically; Quin briefly wondered if he was trying to fling his head off his neck. “What can we help you with, General?”


“I’ve been told by Vinheim to inspect the tunnels below personally. Nothing bad, of course, but he seems to be somewhat… paranoid.”


For an instant, it looked like the rookie was about to nod and wave him through – but they had been placed with their partner for a reason. The elder soldier shut the rookie up with a hand on their shoulder that Quin suspected was doing its best to crush the rookie’s bones – and then the elder soldier spoke. “Got a summons for me, sir?”


I knew this one was going to be a problem, Quin thought. “He instructed me in person. He’s nervous about the note getting lost in delivery, or stolen. I can get him if you really need me to, though it’s somewhat concerning that you wouldn’t trust your own General, soldier.”


“You were in prison not too long ago, sir, and we never did get a real explanation for why they let you out,” the elder soldier said, scowling at him. “The King always gives us a physical summons for Daggerfall movements. That way the enemy can’t pretend they’re one of us.”


There’s no convincing him, Quin thought, eyeing both soldiers warily, but perhaps the rookie can be turned?


He turned his focus back to the rookie. “Vinheim is adamant that this is done as quickly as possible. Surely an exception can be made? I can provide private training, if you’d like?”


The rookie appeared interested, but the elder’s grip now dropped to grip the hilt of his sword. Seeing this, the rookie now looked uncertain. A series of curses flowed through Quin’s mind, though he remained silent.


“I’m going to have to as you to leave us, General,” the elder soldier said, glaring at him. “Come back with a physical summons from the King, and we’ll happily move.”


“Very well,” Quin mumbled, holding up his hands in surrender and turning to walk away.


He had only taken a single step before he heard footsteps crunching the sand on the pavement behind him, and the distinctive sound of a sword sliding out of its sheathe.


“H-hey, what are you doing?!” the rookie cried.


Quin spun around, drawing his own sword. “Stand down, soldier!”




The elder soldier ignored him, swinging his sword. Quin, in a familiar motion, easily blocked the blade with his own short sword.


“What are you doing?!”


“You have no summons!” the soldier spat, swinging again. “You’re undermining the King’s authority!”


Quin jumped backwards to dodge the blade, cursing as he did so. It clearly wasn’t the soldier’s first rodeo, though the fact that he was clearly near-fanatically loyal to Vinheim certainly wasn’t helping. He sliced at the soldier’s torso, but they deflected the blow easily and stabbed at him in turn.


“Not even bothering to defend yourself,” the soldier said. “Of course.”


Quin tried to dodge again, but this time the blade caught him a little. He coughed as blood soaked the soldier’s blade, his own sword falling to the sand as he clutched at the wound. Trying to buy himself time, he taunted the solder: “because you’re insane. I can’t reason with you.”


With no time to pick up his sword, Quin sent a punch flying toward the soldier’s face… only for the soldier to dodge the punch and shove him to the dirt. Grimacing, Quin began to stand, meeting the soldier’s eyes as they prepared to swing again. He could see the realization and satisfaction in the soldier’s eyes – they were going to win. He was going to die.

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Sounds like Kamuk is having a lot more fun than the North is. 

Embers - A Bionicle Saga - Chapters/Review

Class Is Out - A Farewell To Corpus Rahkshi - Chapters/Review

BZPRPG Characters - Minnorak, Kain, T'harrak, Savis, Vazaria, Lash

BZPRPG Mercenary Group - The Outsiders - Description - History - Base

Ghosts Of Bara Magna - Ash Tribe - Precipere - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle, Avinus, Zha'ar

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I'm sorry for the delay with the episode; it's unlike that it'll be up tonight.


(I'm over 11k words and still not finished, so)


In the meantime, have another peak:




He found a figure in rusted navy armor standing before the Spirit Tree, staring at the face carved into its bark.


A Protector of Water? He thought, before tossing the thought aside as he examined the figure’s armor more closely. No… that armor, it’s of Mask Maker design. And that rust… that’s magical in nature.


“What brings you to these holy woods, stranger?” he asked, announcing his presence.


“You know, I find it curious,” the figure said, still staring at the face carved into the tree rather than turn to face him, “that you Okotoans have lived alongside, served, and fought against gods come to life… and yet you still have the capability to fall victim to an entirely false religion.”


Most would have been insulted by the stranger’s words. Rassilon liked to think he wasn’t like most people.


“At the heart of Botaism is the worship of nature,” he said. “We might give that force a name, but that doesn’t mean nature isn’t real. I guess Protectors appeal to it because they’re sick of the real immortals, and their thirst for bloodshed.”


“What you truly worship is the essence of Ma,” the stranger said, before falling silent again.


“Why are you here, Mask Maker?” Rassilon asked, curiosity spiking. The name ‘Ma’ had rung a bell in his memory.


The Mask Maker shrugged. “My name is Sahmad. Might I know yours?”


“Rassilon,” he answered. “You mentioned Ma. That… wouldn’t be linked to the Torch of Ma, would it?”


“You catch on quickly,” Sahmad said, turning to face him at last. “I’m here about the Great War, and what must be done to prepare for it.”


“Nothing can prevent it, if what I’ve learned about it is true,” Rassilon said. “Though it’s possible that it might be stopped once it arrives. I’ve read about some of the pieces, and can guess at others. The Torch of Ma, the Staff of Annona, finding the Seventh Toa. You’re here to help, I assume, or at least lead the Loremasters in the right direction?”


“I’m doing everything I can,” Sahmad said, and suddenly, he just looked tired. “You’re more right than you know. The Great War… it can’t be stopped. Maybe, just maybe, if we’re lucky, we can delay it a little. But nowhere near enough. Okoto has five years at best.”


Five years? Rassilon though, dismay flooding through him. He pushed it aside, focusing on the moment. “Pardon my bluntness, Mask Maker, but you look exhausted. Perhaps you could stay here a day or two? Regain your strength, and we can compare notes. Perhaps we can find a way to stop the threat. We must have hope.”


“I’m sure we’ll speak again, but I still have too much to do… and too little time as it is,” Sahmad said, preparing to leave. “I simply had to warn you – Makani Chloe, she won’t last. She’s too unstable, and even if I don’t get rid of her, someone else will… and soon. You’ll need to support someone to rule Karamu in her place. You need to find your nation a leader that will listen to your guidance about the Great War, but who can also work to peacefully unite with the rest of Okoto when the time comes.”


Having said his piece – and clearly needing to be elsewhere – Sahmad closed his eyes, and vanished from view.

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I'll add this to the list of reasons I don't trust Sahmad. 

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Embers - A Bionicle Saga - Chapters/Review

Class Is Out - A Farewell To Corpus Rahkshi - Chapters/Review

BZPRPG Characters - Minnorak, Kain, T'harrak, Savis, Vazaria, Lash

BZPRPG Mercenary Group - The Outsiders - Description - History - Base

Ghosts Of Bara Magna - Ash Tribe - Precipere - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle, Avinus, Zha'ar

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