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Class Is Out: A Farewell To Corpus Rahkshi


Nato G
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Class Is Out

A (long overdue) Farewell To Corpus Rahkshi

For those unaware, Corpus Rahkshi was a text-based RPG that ran on this site from November 2014 to December 2019, racking up nearly 28,000 replies before eventually petering out after its GM disappeared, despite the best efforts of a small, dedicated group of players to keep it going.

The game played out in an alternate version of Bionicle canon where, for reasons unknown, some Rahkshi had begun to develop individual personalities and free will. In an effort to better understand and control this “new breed”, the Brotherhood Of Makuta sent these unruly new children to a school run off the coast of Nynrah, under the watch of headmaster Tridax (later replaced by Icarax).

Set around 10 years after the events of the novel Time Trap, the game took place in a time period largely unexplored by canon, a time where Makuta schemed and squabbled amongst themselves and would-be conquerors consolidated their power in the wake of the Great Cataclysm, while the rest of universe waited with bated breath for the next disaster.

Even before the game ended, I’d had plans to create some kind of epilogue post telling the tale of where some of my characters ended up after their time at the school, but between events in my personal life and -gestures vaguely at all of 2020- I never really found the time or motivation to get it done. Now, three years later, I’ve finally been struck by the right mix of nostalgia and inspiration to motivate myself to finish it off, and I reached out to some of the past players for their input in completing the tales of their own characters, to create one final, heartfelt farewell to Corpus Rahkshi.

New entries will be added to this archive on a weekly basis, with descriptions denoting which author/s were involved, and what character/s the story is being told from the perspective of. While there will likely be some inside jokes and references that might go over the heads of people who didn’t play the game, these stories should offer plenty of excitement and emotion to appeal to any reader.

Also, if any other former Corpus Rahkshi players happen across this and want to contribute, there’s still time to get something together. Leave a comment in the review topic, shoot me a PM, or message me on Discord if you’re interested in taking part in some way. Whether you want to write a full short story or just contribute a few lines about where your character ended up, I'm happy to include whatever you come up with. I do have a clear end point planned for this project, but that will likely be at least a few months away, depending on how many additional contributors express interest.

With all of that out of the way, settle in and enjoy this collection of tales from the surviving students of Corpus Rahkshi. 

Edited by Nato G
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BZPRPG Characters - Minnorak, Kain, T'harrak, Savis, Vazaria, Lash

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

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Ghosts Of Bara Magna - The Ash Tribe - Precipere Village - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle

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The Chronicler

(By Nato)

 

Exxan

New Atero library, ten years after the reformation

I suppose I should start by introducing myself.

The name I chose is Exxan. It doesn’t really mean anything in particular, I just put some letters together when I was first learning to read, and made the name my own. I always told myself that I would make it mean something. I still don’t know if I’ve accomplished that.

I’m a Rahkshi of Vacuum, a Shadow Kraata of what the Makuta once called the new breed of Rahkshi. That name doesn’t mean much either, anymore. With the Makuta wiped out and Teridax’s army destroyed, our kind are the only breed of Rahkshi left. Relatively speaking, I was among the first generation of the new breed rahks to come into existence, which puts me somewhere around 1110 years old now (I haven’t exactly been keeping track of birthdays).

But this story isn’t really about me. It’s about… stories.

And stories are something I know quite well.

I’ve always loved libraries. They’re places of quiet and contemplation, full of history and fiction. They’re places of mystery and memory, where secrets and stories are lost and found. They’re places of recollection and reflection, where even the lost and forgotten can continue to live on in ink and etching.

So much, and so many, have been lost over the centuries.

This place holds the stories of two worlds, twined together into one tragic tale. There’s so much my kind had never understood about the world and our place in it, and our struggles seem so small and insignificant when viewed as part of the larger story. We were all just pawns for powers far beyond what even our makers and masters ever dared dream.

But the part we played… it was important to us, back then. It’s still important to me now.

I have a duty, you see, a name I forged and chose and wielded as a weapon for centuries before understanding its true meaning: remembrance. Our remembrance.

And now I have what I need to fulfil that duty. It sits on the table before me, a battered ledger just as old as I. It’s something I never expected to see again, let alone have in my own two hands. Something a scavenger had liberated from the ruins of Tridax’s mansion at Malebranche during the deconstruction of the old Universe, not realising its true value until he’d chanced a visit to my little corner of the library yesterday.

It was a tatty old tome of fraying pages and faded ink, bound in cracked leather. It had no title, the only mark on its cover being the familiar curling pictograph representing the Rahkshi species. Knowing who had once owned it, this ledger had likely been placed in a stasis field to preserve it, otherwise it couldn’t have possibly lasted the ten-and-a-half centuries that had passed since I’d last seen it.  

This was the original Student Register of Corpus Rahkshi, bearing the name of every rahk who’d ever been enrolled, the date of their arrival, the Makuta who’d sired them, and other details and observations of note. There were so many students I’d never known, so many whose stories and fates had been lost to history, but now, at least, their names would be remembered.

And for some, perhaps, much more than that.

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

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

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Ghosts Of Bara Magna - The Ash Tribe - Precipere Village - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle

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Sins Of The Father

(By Nato, with excerpts from BIONICLE Legends 11: The Final Battle, by Greg Farshtey)

I turned to the last page that had been written in the ledger. The change of handwriting clearly showed where Icarax had replaced Tridax, though there were far fewer names after that point. The school hadn’t lasted long in his “care”.

Many of the names I didn’t recognise. Explota… Blizzard… Horro… Bliss… many who’d likely arrived at the school shortly before I’d left. One name did finally jump out at me, though, a daughter of Icarax with the power of Density Control who’d made quite a name for herself, and caused quite a bit of trouble for the Makuta, after leaving the school.

From what I understood, she’d been spawned a stunted, malformed thing, small and soft-spoken, physically incapable of living up to Icarax’s standards of brawn, belligerence, and brutality. Bullied and belittled by her maker, she’d grown to resent her father, and devoted her existence to bringing him down. Whisper was the name she’d given herself, in reference to her hoarse, strained voice.

She was one of many of our kind that I’d never had the chance to personally meet, but I’d learned parts of her story over the years. And what a story it was…

* * *

Whisper

The Codrex, hours before the awakening

“So the bat has fangs, does it?” Icarax sneered at Vamprah, taunting the blinded Makuta, “When I run the Brotherhood, we will have to see about pulling them.”

“You will never lead!” Growled Gorast, landing nearby and depositing Vamprah’s wounded Matoran aide Gavla on the ground beside her, having just rescued her from what would have otherwise been a fatal fall.  

“Stop and think,” said Icarax. “My way offers much more opportunity for battle than our current leader’s ever can. Join with me!”

“Never!” screamed Gorast, flashing forth to strike Icarax across the chest with her wing-blades, cleaving open his chestplate in a blow that would’ve spilled forth the essence of any mere Makuta.

But Icarax just looked at his new wound and smiled as inky ichor oozed forth instead.

I knew why, of course. I’d been following him since he’d first ventured off into this swamp, determined to interfere in the great Plan and claim control over the Brotherhood. I’d seen what the Ignika had done to him. He was a being of meat and muscle now, just like me. Just like all those he’d once oppressed and terrorised. All of those years I’d spent fearing him and his god-like power, and now I was watching him bleed…

…and gods don’t bleed.

“-he changed me from pure energy back to a true bio-mechanical being, muscle and tissue connected to armour,” Icarax was explaining to Gorast, “I can’t be beaten just by cutting a gap in my shell and letting my essence leak out,” His twin-bladed sword began to rotate, spinning like a saw. “Too bad, Gorast, that the same can’t be said of you.”

Hunched on my perch in a nearby tree, I watched the Makuta duel. I’d devoted years to trying to destroy Icarax, undermining his leadership at Corpus Rahkshi, leaking his battleplans to his enemies during his military campaigns, whispering rumours of weakness and strife to his enemies within the Brotherhood. But he’d always stood strong. Insurmountable. Unstoppable.

I’d gotten people killed trying to bring down Icarax. Other sapient Rahkshi like myself, senselessly slaughtered for schemes that hadn’t even succeeded. And now I was alone.

But I’d followed him here nonetheless, determined to prevent whatever power grab he was trying to make. I’d never expected to see the other Makuta turn against him… never expected my fantasy of seeing him fall to creep so close to fruition… but now even the great Gorast seemed to be struggling against him.

They were coming my way now. Icarax had scored several strikes on Gorast’s armour, and was bringing his laser vision to bear on the wisps of her essence as they leaked away. Vamprah was blindly crawling towards his Matoran, and I could even see Mutran fluttering about in the distance now, curious but clearly not having any desire to get involved in the fight.

This was my chance. Probably the only one I’d ever get.

As the duelling duo passed by my tree I leapt from it, increasing my density as I dropped down directly onto Icarax’s unsuspecting head. He grunted, stumbled, and tossed his head back to throw me off, but I slung the chain of my kusarigama around his neck and pulled tight on both ends as I fell. He gasped, waving his whirling blade weakly at Gorast to keep her at bay while he clawed wildly at his throat, trying to free himself.

He'd only been in his flesh-and-blood form for a short while, but I’d occupied one for my entire existence. I knew its weaknesses. I knew the panic that came with suddenly finding oneself struggling to breathe, a panic my father was now getting to experience for what was likely the very first time in his lengthy life.

Finally giving up on trying to get his claws around the slim chain, he enveloped his fingers in plasma and simply melted through it, damaging the armour and flesh of his neck in the process. I abandoned my grip on the weighted end of the weapon as the chain snapped, quickly gaining a handhold on Icarax’s back armour instead and lifting myself up to sink the scythe into the new wound he’d just created for me. Even with his body devolved to an organic state, I didn’t have the strength needed to breach a Makuta’s armour. I’d needed him to do that for me.

His superheated claw reached back towards me, and I decreased my density, spinning in midair as I phased through his body to land on the ground before him, brandishing my bloodied blade up at his towering form.

And now he finally saw me, truly saw me, his expression behind the Kraahkan seeming more incredulous at my presence than angered by his injuries.

“Runt!” he roared. “Cowering and creeping, lacking the courage to fight like a true warrior.”

A lance of lightning lashed from his blade, passing harmlessly through my form as I turned intangible once more.

“All of the abuse you inflicted on me and my siblings, the students at Corpus Rahkshi, your own soldiers… and you still never understood, did you?” I snarled, rage reducing my voice to a ragged rasp, “Life isn’t all about anger and aggression. There are other ways to fight.”

Gorast had evidently grown disinterested in the spectacle of my interference, choosing that moment to lunge at my maker once more, only to be swatted aside by a powerful gust of air from Icarax that likely would have sent me flying as well had I not increased my density to ground myself. Gorast was perhaps even more arrogant that Icarax, it seemed, taking her many powers for granted in favour of relying on blades and brutality. I didn’t have that luxury. My powers were what had kept me alive despite the efforts of far larger and stronger foes, but it was only a matter of time before Icarax remembered which of his myriad abilities would allow him to bypass mine.

“I should have squished you the second you crawled out of your spawning vat, you ungrateful worm!” Icarax snarled, “I tried to teach your kind how to be true warriors. You should all be standing here with me, bringing this universe to heel!”

“And instead, you’re alone, because as hard as you tried to make everyone like you, all you did was push them away. And now look at you…”

I grunted as a sudden wave of gravity enveloped me, sending me crumpling to the ground. I saw Gorast too, struggling to stand. Behind him, however, Gavla was reuniting with Vamprah, restoring sight to the blinded Makuta.

“Look at me, indeed,” Icarax grinned. “The greatest warrior in the Brotherhood – in this universe! When I’m done with you, I’ll finish off those irritating little Toa and finally claim my place-”

“-your place as a fool with no forward thinking skills?” I retorted, sputtering as I tried to keep my head out of the sodden swamp I was sprawled in. “You could’ve picked off those Toa long before they got here, long before Vamprah and Gorast got in your way. But instead you’re here, trying to take on everyone at once, brazen and boastful and bleeding. Bleeding like a mortal being.”

“Bleeding like you, you mean,” he clenched his open hand into a fist, and a crushing magnetic force exerted itself on my weapon, crushing it and the hand holding it into fragments.

I couldn’t hear whatever he said next over my own agonised howl.

And then both gravity and magnetism were gone as Icarax was forced to divert his focus towards fending off attacks from Vamprah. Gorast seized her chance, flying off towards Mutran and practically dragging him towards the fight.

I staggered to my feet, green-black ooze dripping from the stump of my wrist. I pulled my crossbow from my back with my remaining hand, thankful that I’d kept it pre-loaded. I raised it, took aim, and called out to my father one final time.

“Icarax! You call me a failure because you couldn’t make me like you…”

He whirled towards me, his baleful eyes burning with hate.

“…I say you’re the failure for trying.”

And then one of those eyes went dark forever, as my bolt struck true.

A surge of power – too many and too ferocious for me to identify which specific abilities – radiated from Icarax as he raged in wordless agony, the combined energies sending me and Vamprah flying in different directions. He struck the ground, I struck a tree, and for a moment all I could do was lie there, stunned and expecting death.

It was Gorast’s laugh that spared me.

“No need to worry, Vamprah,” Gorast said, helping the bat-like Makuta to his feet, “Mutran brings a message from below. The Toa Nuva are about to awaken Mata Nui. The Plan will succeed!”

Icarax turned his gaze from me, to her, then back to me. “I will deal with you later,” he growled, his body shimmering as he began to teleport.

And that, it appeared, was exactly what Gorast had been waiting for. She was upon him in an instant, activating her Kanohi Felnas in the same moment that Vamprah unleashed an energy blast of his own.

His teleportation disrupted, his atoms scattering from the blast, I had a fleeting moment to see the expression of profound fear on my father’s face as he utterly evaporated.

As Icarax’s last screams faded away, the three Makuta turned towards me. Mutran and Vamprah regarded me for only a moment before continuing on their way, while Gorast stalked towards me. Fiery light lashed from her eyes and searing pain enveloped… the stump of my arm, as she used her heat vision to cauterise my wound.

“I… don’t understand,” I stammered.

“Any other day, a Rahkshi helping kill their Makuta would be grounds for execution. It’s a story we would never allow out, lest it inspire more of your kind into rebelling against their makers,” Gorast chittered, “But you… you’ve earned this victory, little warrior, and I suspect death would be a mercy compared to the life you’ve already lived.”

She made a dismissive gesture with her hand. “Go, now, before I change my mind. And tell your story. Ensure that Icarax’s legend lives on only as a tale of failure and humiliation."

* * *

Whisper told her story, and it was one many of our kind were all too eager to share. Few of those who attended Corpus Rahkshi held any love for Icarax.

Not that any of it much mattered in the months that followed, after Teridax took control and wiped out the rest of the Makuta. Those were strange times, for all of us. We all had strained relationships with our makers, but many of us still loved them, in our own ways. Losing them left us with only each other to rely on in the dark days that followed.

As for Whisper, her story ends with the tale she told. No one knows what became of her after the universe fell to Teridax’s shadow. Perhaps he destroyed her, like he did the other Makuta and so many of our kind. Or maybe she’s still out there, somewhere, making a new life for herself in some distant corner of this vast new world we find ourselves in.

I like to imagine the missing had happy endings.

It’s good to hope.

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

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

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Ghosts Of Bara Magna - The Ash Tribe - Precipere Village - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle

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The Illusion Of Control

(By Nato)

 

With less than one hundred Makuta in existence, it should come as little surprise that Corpus Rahkshi was full of siblings. Not all knew of their shared parentage, and those that did often resented one another and competed for favour.

My relationship with my own sister had been decidedly adversarial, a rivalry that had left me scarred and her dead. There are days where I wonder if there could have been another way, but deep down I fear I wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t killed her when I did.

But not all of the sibling stories in Corpus Rahkshi were ones of hate. Omega’s siblings had stood together, first to avenge him, and later to support each other. For all of their delusions of grandeur, the so-called “God Twins” had always had each other’s back. And then… there was the duo known simply as The Twins.

To those who knew them well, as I once had, they were Illusive and Silencer, who represented one of the few instances where two names were written side-by-side in the Student Register. Though of course, one of those names was crossed out now, and the one that remained belonged to a being who’d blundered down a dark path…

* * *

Illusive

The Island Of Artakha, Makuta’s Reign

Artakha, a literal city of legend.

Once, I hadn’t even believed this place was real. Now, not only was I here, but I was watching it fall. An army of Rahkshi now rampaged through the city’s streets, toppling its statues and structures, tearing apart its defenders… all at my command.

My army.

My Rahkshi.

I’d never wanted to rule, never really thought of myself as a leader. I’d never sought it, but I did accept when it was offered to me. Where other sapient Rahkshi had chosen to stand with their sires, to rebel or run away, I’d voluntarily pledged myself to Teridax. What kind of fool would I be to deny the will of the new lord of the universe?

Not only had my choice spared me from Teridax’s massacre of the other Makuta and those loyal to them, it had earned me this command. The army before me were all regular Rahkshi, no new breed, and I was perfectly content with that. My first foray into leadership during my days at Corpus Rahkshi had left several other students dead or wounded, all because they couldn’t stick to a simple plan. But the rahks I commanded now were different. Simpler. They didn’t ask questions, they didn’t hesitate to strike a decisive blow, and they didn’t offer mercy to enemies. They didn’t disobey orders out of cowardice or fear of death or injury, and – perhaps most importantly – they didn’t judge me for my silence.

I didn’t need words to command them, and they didn’t need words to understand that the battle was almost won now.

This island had all manner of traps and technology to aid its defenders, but in the end those defenders were still mere Matoran, and no match for my Rahkshi. They’d fought well, left dozens of my kind strewn in pieces along the coastline, but we were pushing them back, hour by hour. We’d attacked in the dead of night, and the defenders had held out until dawn, clearly hoping daylight would save them. But my Weather Control rahks had seen to it that no sun would break through the cloud cover this day. Even the mighty Crystal Serpents they’d sent against us had eventually succumbed to the command of our Rahi Control rahks, and now slumbered in their coastal caverns once more.

Now, the Matoran who hadn’t already fled or fallen had gathered at the foot of Artakha’s fortress, rallying their final barricade at the base of the silver Hau statue in the island’s centre. Their ranks stood ready with rhotuka and kanoka launchers, and an array of even more exotic weapons the likes of which I didn’t recognise.

I didn’t fear their guns.

I had numbers.

And power.

My forces were holding back one city block from the Matoran’s position, securing the prisoners and disabling any lingering traps and turrets they could locate. They were waiting for me to lead the final charge, and I wasn’t going to make them wait any longer.

My bloodied flail skittered across the cobblestones as I stalked toward the front of my force, gesturing sharply towards the Magnetism and Gravity Rahkshi among my ranks as I passed them. They were to be my front line, followed by the Illusion and Darkness rahks. The rest would follow, wait for us to break their lines, then do what they did best.

Nearby debris began to raise into the air, forming a floating wall before the Gravity and Magnetism rahks as they marched towards the Matoran. As we marched, me and my fellow illusionists projected images of more Rahkshi running and flying above and beside our formation, to draw some of the Matoran’s fire away from our defence. Explosives, projectiles, and energy blasts still battered the barricade, breaking through in some places to cut down those sheltering behind it.

We gave the Matoran little time to savour their meagre victories. As soon as they were close enough the Darkness Rahkshi brought their abilities to bear, enveloping the Matoran in a blanket of blinding blackness as our barricade suddenly became a volley of projectiles, forcefully flung towards the now-blinded defenders. Only then, with their frontline floundering and their formation broken, did our attack began in earnest.

Whirling winds and screaming sound left them dazed and disoriented, while dread demoralised them and rage rattled them. Lashes of lightning and lances of laser vision cut through those flailing in the dark, while plantlife tangled their limbs and plasma burned their bodies. Even a Rahkshi’s keen night vision couldn’t pierce far through elemental Darkness, so I couldn’t see most of what was happening, but I could still hear the screams and splatters of the Matoran being shattered and disintegrated and cut down for their blind faith in a being that hadn’t even deigned to come down from his fortress.

I strode through the dark, the dagger-like claws of my hands making short work of any Matoran who drew close enough to swing a weapon my way. Illusions of myself manifested around me as I broke through the black and started to stride up the steps of Artakha’s fortress. A few Matoran had possessed the sense to fall back this far, and they fired wildly at my duplicates, while my true self sheltered behind an illusion of empty space, my flail lashing out to strike them down one by one.

And then I was alone, at the door to the great creator’s fortress.

It wasn’t even locked, the double doors falling open as I pushed against them.

As a half-dozen of my soldiers moved up and assembled behind me, I stepped inside.

“You’re different from the others, little wormling…” the voice that greeted me seemed to whisper from everywhere and nowhere, simultaneously strained with age and filled with youthful vigour, “…and yet, not so different from those who made you.”

I raised a hand and made a swirling gesture with one finger, an instruction for my Rahkshi to fan out and circle wide as we continued into the fortress.

The building was a squat, circular structure, with staircases circling upwards and downwards. This main floor, however, looked to be home to the enigmatic craftsman’s great forge, filled with machinery and metal, tables laden with unidentifiable scraps and unfinished projects. A massive hammer was propped up against an equally immense anvil near the back of the room.

“You have a void inside you, one you’ve tried to fill with anger and ambition.”

Words. It was always words.

I’d endured a lifetime of people denigrating and denying me because I was different. Different from my brother. Different, even from others of the new breed. Words were the weapons of the weak, and I’d long since stopped letting them hurt me.

There was a flash of light near the back of the room; the hammer was gone.

“But you don’t know how to be ambitious. Not really. You don’t know what you want, so you let others want for you. Your brother… Phogen… Exxan… Icarax… now Teridax.”

The lightest laugh escaped me. No being, no matter how old or powerful, could defeat me with the doubts and despair I already lived with every day. There was no denying the truth in his words. I didn’t know what I wanted. I never had.

But what Artakha thought to be weakness, I saw as strength.

I wanted nothing, and so I had little to lose and everything to gain.

I caught another flash of light in the corner of my vision, this time accompanied by a cruel crunching sound. By the time I looked over, there was nothing to see but the crumpled remnants of one of my rahks, its kraata case crushed by what looked to be a single, brutal blow.

Illusions instinctively flickered into existence around me, though I wasn’t sure if they would offer me much protection against an enemy who seemed to possess telepathy and teleportation.

“As each one faltered or fell or fled or failed to live up to your standards, you found some new fool to put your faith in. Teridax will forsake you, just like the rest.”

Another flash, another crash, another fallen rahk.

I extended my illusions, manifesting duplicates of my remaining allies and sending them walking off in different directions. Artakha’s telepathy could evidently let him talk at me and sift through my memories, but there was no telling if being able to identify an individual on the mental plane could also allow him to determine their exact location in the real world. Every power had its rules and limitations.

We fanned out across the forge, knocking over tables, wrenching open boxes and closets. He had to be here somewhere, though it was hard to be sure where to look given no one knew what Artakha looked like. Given the size of the equipment in here, he looked to be somewhere in titan territory, which should have limited his available hiding places. Most teleportation powers required line of sight, or at least a mental image of where the wielder was trying to teleport to.

“You think you understand how the world works, how power works. You are young, and have experienced little.”

Another flash illuminated a corner of the room, accompanied once again by the crunch of rending metal. But this time it was followed by a rahkshi’s startled hiss and the sizzle of heat vision. I whirled towards the sound, this time finally catching a glimpse of our quarry: a towering figure, some ten feet tall, clad in runed armour of green and grey with an ornate, crown-like Kanohi upon their face. His hammer was tangled in the crumpled remnants of a workbench; either he’d swung at one of my illusions, or the yellow Rahkshi he’d targeted had managed to dodge the blow.

Alas, the heat vision didn’t seem to be bothering Artakha to any significant degree, failing to breach his armour, and the moment myself and the others started to move towards him he teleported away again. It was little more than a minor stumble for the titan, but it felt like a triumph for me. He wasn’t all-powerful, he wasn’t infallible, he was just a tired old man who’d hid in his fort and let his people die for him, employing petty insults and coward’s tactics when finally confront-

Light flickered, accompanied by the shadow of a presence behind me and the sound of sudden movement. Appearing directly behind the target was the oldest trick in the teleporter handbook, one I’d found myself on the receiving end of more times than I could recall. Suffice to say, I’d been expecting it. I flung myself into a furious forward roll, hearing and feeling the force of the hammer as it swept sideways through the air, passing first through several of my illusory selves, then the spot where the real me had been standing, then more of my illusions on the other side.

I came up and whirled my flail back behind me, feeling the satisfying crack of impact before there was another flash of light and my attacker vanished.

I rose fully to my feet and turned in a slow circle, eyes peeled for the next sign of a strike. Footsteps echoed by the entrance; the battle outside was all but won, and more of my forces were moving into the building. Artakha couldn’t hide forever, and I had all the time in the universe to tear this fortress apart and drive him from whatever hole he was hiding in.

“Like Makuta Kojol before you, your victory here is a hollow one,” the voice came again, “Enjoy it while it lasts.”

And then… nothing. The entire place somehow felt less alive, and though there was no way to know for sure until we’d searched it thoroughly, I couldn’t shake the certainty that Artakha was gone.

I wanted to believe he fled out of fear.

But I suspect he simply had something more important to do.

* * *

From the accounts I’ve gathered from those who fought in the final battle, an illusion Rahkshi wearing barbed armour and wielding a spiked flail was among those who fought in that fateful final battle on the sands of Bara Magna.

In all likelihood, Illusive was among the many Rahkshi destroyed by Toa Tahu that day.

Given the path he chose, it’s probably for the best that he’s gone… but I can’t help but wonder. If someone had been there for him when his brother died, helped guide him through his grief in a different direction, perhaps there’d be one more of us left in the world now.

But what’s done is done.

All we can is remember what was, and wonder what could’ve been.

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

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

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Ghosts Of Bara Magna - The Ash Tribe - Precipere Village - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle

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Patience and Progress

(By Nato)

 

Corpus Rahkshi was home to more than its fair share of abnormal and deformed Rahkshi. Mistakes, mutations, and malformities that would’ve have normally been destroyed or disposed of soon after creation were kept around, spared by the promise presented by their heightened intelligence and unique nature.

We had Rahkshi who were blind from birth, who were burly, or bloated, or broken. We had Rahkshi who were nearly as small as Matoran, or tall enough to challenge titans, and every shape and size in-between. But few were as memorable as one particular child of Chirox who memorably graced their school with their unmistakable presence: Glaciem Ignis, the two-headed Rahkshi.

Glaciem Ignis

The Island Of Visorak, 200 years after the Great Cataclysm

Corpus Rahkshi hadn’t been the best place in the universe, but there were days we found ourselves wishing we were back there. Or wishing we were anywhere but here, really.

We were standing upon the top floor balcony of the steel-and-stone tower where Chirox conducted his work, gazing out upon the island. Visorak had probably been beautiful, once. Now there was nothing but mist and murk and screeching spiders. It was early morning, but the island was so steeped in the smog of pollution and putrefaction that no daylight had made its way here in a very long time. Where there had once been light and life there was nothing but woe and webbing. Of all the lands where our father maintained his mad laboratories, this one was by far our least favourite. Unfortunately, it happened to be his favourite.

And what father wanted was the only thing that ever mattered.

It could be far worse, brother. Glaciem’s thought swam into our shared mindspace. You’ve seen the places he dumps his failed experiments.

Bold of you to assume we don’t already fit that category. Came Ignis’ reply.

He wouldn’t have dedicated two centuries to a failure. We can fight effectively now. We can use our powers properly now. We are not a mistake, and he knows it.

Then why is he working so hard to make-

Your sister is still the wiser of you, it seems. Chirox’s telepathic influence suddenly cut into our conflated consciousness. Come inside, children. We have a… visitor.

We turned away from the balcony and towards the heavy vault door that led into our father’s main laboratory. It had been locked when we’d gotten up here, but now the red light turned to green, accompanied by the sound of heavy bolts sliding away. As we pushed our way inside, we saw the familiar assortment of bubbling virus vats, cold steel slabs where past failed experiments were sprawled in various states of dissection or disassembly, and floor-to-ceiling stasis tubes containing all manner of abominations. More vaulted doors lined the walls, sealing away more sensitive or dangerous experiments. And then we saw our father and his guest, a Makuta who could very nearly have been his twin, save for the altered arrangement of limbs and green highlights on their armour.

Makuta Mutran.

“Ah, at last,” Mutran’s clawed hands clapped together as we approached. “I’ve been waiting a long time to see this pet project of yours. The big scary spikes are a bit much, aren’t they?”

“Violence isn’t the only way to win a battle. Sometimes, fear and intimidation is all it takes. It’s a principle I often apply to my Rahi.”

“That’s a very fancy way of saying you give your critters too many teeth,” Mutran sneered.

We stopped before the two Makuta, unsure of what, if anything to say. The rivalry between our creator and his fellow self-proclaimed scientist was well known to us. We weren’t especially excited to be caught up in their latest exchange of verbal barbs… or physical ones, if their argument escalated beyond words.

Mutran squinted at us for a few moments, before stepping closer and walking a slow circle around us. “I wonder… what part of you was harder to create? The kraata, or the armour?”

“The suit took a lot more tinkering, from what I understand,” Glaciem spoke, “I’m sure Chirox could tell you more.”

So eager to placate, sister.

“I’m sure he could, but I wanted to hear it from you,” Mutran murmured, “It’s not often I encounter an experiment that can talk back and give its own observations.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, then, why are you here?”

“Chirox insists you’re a one-off success, that creating more multi-powered Rahkshi is too resource-intensive to ever be a viable replacement for regular rahks,” his claw reached out to trace over our kraata case, studying its shape, “The evidence certainly backs him. Gorast tried making one, once, though I’m told it didn’t survive it’s time at Corpus Rahkshi. But still, there are some in the Brotherhood who think dear Chirox is lying, hoarding some game-changing discovery for himself… so I’ve been sent to evaluate.”

He withdrew his hand, and glanced back at Chirox, “For once, I suspect we’re going to have no cause to disagree. Don’t take that as condemnation, though. I can give credit where it’s due, and perfecting this creature is still an impressive feat.”

“They’re the impressive one, not me. It only took them a few months to learn to cooperate, less than two years to elevate themselves to Shadow Kraata level,” Chirox spoke up, “But it took me over a century to develop a suit of armour that could actually allow them to use their powers.”

“You didn’t choose the most impressive powersets, though,” Mutran tutted, turning fully away from us and walking back towards him. “Of all our abilities, why Fire and Ice Resistance?”  

It was a question we’d asked him before, nagging and needling for some deeper reason or hidden detail, but his answer had always steadfastly been the same.

“I wanted powers that were manageable,” Chirox explained, “More importantly, powers that were perfectly equal, and oppositional.”

Here it comes. He’s going to say the line.

“I wanted to create a conflict in my creature, and see if it could resolve it.”

“Fair enough. Better a kraata that’s a little hot to the touch than one that’s firing lasers or lightning around,” Mutran mused, turning back towards us. “So how did you do it in the end? Can they only use each power on one half of their body, or do both abilities activate at once?”

“Originally, their standard suit permanently left both abilities active at once, cancelling each other out. The new suit allows them to fully utilise one, or the other, or both.”

“You have two heads,” Mutran blurted out, as if he’d only just now noticed.

“Very observant,” Ignis quipped.

“Brother!” Glaciem chided.

“Sister,” Ignis sneered.

“And you both talk,” Mutran continued, his curiosity piqued. “You disagree. You have distinct personalities. You identify as different genders. If your minds are separate, how do you coordinate?”

“We have a sort of shared mindspace. We hear what each other think,” Ignis said. “The suit helps, too. We’re both connected to it, and it connects us to each other.”

“Physically we each control our own half of the body. We coordinate our thoughts and movements to act and react effectively,” Glaciem continued, “And if one of us were to be incapacitated or willingly relinquish control over our half of the body, the other could take full control.”

“You would’ve had to use multiple kraata to create this armour, then?” Mutran glanced back at Chirox, “And then modified the carapace and other components by hand to accommodate your conjoined kraata?”

“Exactly,” Chirox nodded, “We’d never be able to mass-produce Rahkshi like this. Each one would require considerable time and work to create. I don’t imagine most of our siblings would have much interest in putting in that kind of effort for what they view as expendable soldiers.”

“Well, I’m satisfied,” Mutran said. “I do so love an opportunity to slap Antroz with an I told you so.”

And then he was gone, teleporting away to do exactly that.

“You were reading his mind, father? Did he suspect anything?”

“Not a thing,” Chirox grinned, “He’s always been obsessed with one-upping me, seeing me fail. He came here with his conclusion already decided.”

“I see why you don’t like that guy.” Ignis said.

“That’s the trouble with him, and the rest of the Brotherhood,” a Shadow Hand extended forth from our father’s form, reaching past us to unlock one of the sealed side chambers, “All they think about are quick results and immediate gratification. Experimentation isn’t about success, it’s about iteration. It takes time and patience to perfect a project.”

The door slid open, revealing row after row of caged kraata more akin to Doom Vipers than mere serpents. Each was a twisted tangle of tails, harrowing hues and hissing heads. Experimental Rahkshi suits in various states of assembly were arrayed around the room.

“When I told Mutran it would take time and work to create more of you, it wasn’t an excuse.”  

* * *

Even among other Rahkshi, even on this new world, Glaciem Ignis and their other strange siblings stand apart. It’s not their fault. Even we fear that which we don’t understand… and Chirox certainly made more than his fair share of confounding creations.

Just as an experiment requires time and patience to succeed, so too does acceptance.

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Years ago, a pair of Toa appeared on Spherus Magna. The missing members of the Toa Nuva, long feared fallen during the final battle. They brought with them a tale of a strange world orbiting our own, a crimson construct where the dead still dwelled.

Most of the dead, at least.

According to the Toa, there were no Makuta or Rahkshi on the Red Star.

I’d never given much thought to the idea of life after death until that day. But to learn that some kind of afterlife did exist, but beings of antidermis had no place in it… it hurt. It felt like there truly was no place for us, in this life or the next. It meant that the two Rahkshi whose lives I’d taken, and the myriad more who’d lost their lives over the centuries, were truly gone.

At least, that’s what I used to believe.

A mysterious missive appeared on my desk yesterday morning, and now I don’t know what to believe anymore.

* * *

Memoirs of a Turahk

(By UltimoScorp)

Hey there. I'm Kat. That name used to be short for Catatonic but I've left that name and a few others behind.

I've also been dead for… iunno, 50 years or so?

Truth told, I kicked around a lot longer than I ever expected to. Crazy how the years slip past when you aren't paying attention, huh?

Anyway, I guess I oughta sum it up, huh? A lot happened over the thousand or so years since we finally left Corpus Rahkshi.

We lived in that little abandoned village for a good while, smuggling others out of Corpus and doing what we could to keep the new enforcers off our trail. After a while it became a veritable community. Farms and everything, can you believe that? The Order gave us odd jobs here and there, and we made a quieter living when Corpus eventually shut its doors for the last time. I heard a couple different warlords made it their fortress during that time, but I'd imagine by now it's much the way I last saw it; a dead husk.

The interim years were interesting. Teridax took over, and I had the opportunity to fight alongside(and against, once or twice) some of the big players of the winning side of that whole debacle. Honestly still think those Toa are overrated but hey I guess when you've got the mythical power of Destiny on your side you get to be living legends, huh? I suppose I shouldn't complain, after all, they didn't murder us on sight, and we even get to live in the big cities now. Our own people, with our own culture. I know I always wanted it that way but it's sure surreal to think about it. New Atero is definitely the best place I ever got to live. Even got to visit some old friends sometimes when I wasn't patrolling or hunting. Or eating. Oh yeah, guard captain. One of many but still. Your girl made it to the big leagues! Heard Exxan has a nice job as a chronicler up at the library now. Finally got to do what he wanted I guess, and I'm happy for him.

I miss my friends sometimes, but I'm pretty happy knowing they're still living happily. The ones I know about, anyway.

What? Oh, how I died? Ah jeez, well… look, it's kinda rude to ask someone that, isn't it?

Fiiine, I'll tell you but….

Alright look, my luck had to run out eventually. Truth is, I plain got sick and it got me. Some kind of virus that pretty much only hit Rahkshi. Some people thought it was a bio-weapon attack or something but honestly I can't think of anyone who would have benefitted from it so I doubt it. Nasty bug, though. Definitely the second or third worst time I've ever had. No grand heroic demise for me I'm afraid, just a sick old woman passing in the night. But hey, I hit the big one thou' so I'm pretty okay with it.

Well I can't stick around too long, y'know? The powers that be are just letting me pass this along this one time.

Hope to see you again someday, Fang. And Hoto of course! Hope you and Jayar are getting on well.

I dunno if you’re still kicking around, Cao, but we all miss ya, buddy.

Hope that leg is still holding up for you, Dodge.

Era, I know you’re doing well, you always had a knack for getting by even in the hard times. Shield, keep that head held high, kid. Well, I guess you’re a little old for ‘kid’ now, huh?

Exxan (I know for sure you’ll be getting this one way or another). Phew, where to start, huh? We had our disagreements, and I know you always saw things from a different angle than a lot of us, but I want you to know that I had nothing but the utmost respect for you. But seriously you have terrible taste in partners.

Oh, and Xara? When you get here, we’re having a proper rematch. That whole thing in the tournament? Terrible showing on my part. I got a reputation to hold up, y’know?

That’s all the time I’ve got, so I’ll see ya when I see ya!

* * *

In life, Kat was a dear friend, a Rahkshi of Fear who faced every challenge with raucous recklessness and brazen bravery. She showed me kindness at a time when I was utterly underserving of it, and I even now, I feel I never properly repaid that gesture.

I mourned her passing, as I have for so many others of our kind. I’ve done my best to honour her memory. I’ve tried to move on, and focus on telling the tales of those of us who still remain.

The logical part of my mind wants to believe the letter is a forgery… an immaculate one… created by someone who somehow knew Kat incredibly well. But the handwriting, the words, the tone, it’s her. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know if I even want to know.

Once upon a time, I believed the answers to all of life’s questions could be found in a library. It’s only now, as I try to write answers of my own, that I realise that knowledge only leads to more questions.

And even without answers, some questions can completely change the way one sees the world.

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

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

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Ghosts Of Bara Magna - The Ash Tribe - Precipere Village - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle

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