Well, here is my latest epic, the conclusion to Saga 1, A.K.A. The Mercenary Saga. This is the longest epic which I have made thus far(It's close to the length of Takal's “Through the Eyes of a Matoran”). That bodes well for the future. If you read this, PM me, please.
Here is the link to my Comments page.
Saga 1;Part 4
The fleet of airships, ramshackle but majestic none-the-less, left the dock on Odina, the island of the Dark Hunters. There were fifty-eight of them in all, and all were filled with snarling Dark Hunters.
But these were not all of the Dark Hunters. More were down on the base. No one would believe how fast the art of blackmailing could give you members to your organization. In just one month, the Dark Hunters had gathered up two-hundred members, not including the veteran ones. Only a little less than half had been gathered by blackmail.
From the dock, the Shadowed One, leader of the Dark Hunters, smiled with pleasure. This was the third time he had smiled in his entire life, because now, he was certainly going to take over Metru-Nui. It may not have been necessary to control the universe, but it was now a step. A major one at that. His attack would provide him prisoners, slaves, and best of all money, because Metru-Nui was still the most prosperous city in all of the universe.
This would also make certain that these rambling Agori left his world forever. He had mentioned specifically to kill as many Agori and, what were they called? Ah, Glatorian, to kill as many Agori and Glatorian as they could. The city was barely defended, and word told that the Toa Nuva were on a mission to Destral, Mata-Nui knew why. All that mattered to the Shadowed One was that he would finally have Metru-Nui.
And soon, the universe would be his.
Gaaduhk, former Matoran mercenary and now an Elemental Mutant, was getting dizzy. For hours, he had waited upon the airship which led the fleet of Dark Hunters to where no one knew. To prevent himself from falling into the water, Gaaduhk had frequently been required to flow with electricity into the airship's circuits, which made him very dizzy. Adreana, his fellow Elemental and partner had been able to drop into the water and spout back up at will. Neither had said a word to the other for the entire trip, for they knew what their plan was. To get the antidote for their mutation.
The dizziness had almost made him fall off multiple times. Once he had even been saved only due to his electromagnetism. But now, he was too tired and bored to do something like that. Of course, what he planned on doing was something which Adreana would absolutely not approve of, so he had to wait until she went into the water to rest. It took her over an hour- she was a Matoran from a place where they worked much, but Gaaduhk still didn't know where from -but eventually, she slipped down into the water.
Over the roar of the airship engines, Gaaduhk laughed. This was going to be fun. Using his hands to climb up the Protodermic metal, he got near the engines. The heat would have been unbearable for his Matoran self, but now it was easily bearable, as he was nearly as hot as it. Then, when he was a close to the engines as he could safely get(though the procedure was by no means safe)he turned himself into lightning, and went into the system. He made several revolutions, just to get comfortable with the fact, then he flung himself out into the cabin.
He was dizzy, which didn't help him. When he focused, he saw the pilot. Then, Gaaduhk realized.
The pilot had heard him.
Gaaduhk wheeled around and in a flash of lightning, he was gone into the system of wires again.
The pilot looked behind him thoroughly, and then turned on his small visual communication device.
The Shadowed One won't be too happy about this, he thought.
The communicator turned on, and was buzzing, waiting for a response. The communicator began to focus on a figure. However it was not the dark grey and yellow figure of the Shadowed One, but the blue-gold figure of Ancient.
“Yes, Ravager?” Ancient said
“I thought that I saw something.” Ravager responded
“That is.........?” Ancient asked
“Well, I thought that I saw a yellow flash.”
“Conveying what? Come Ravager, you're better than this!”
“Oh, I thought it was sort of like electricity.”
“What in Mata-Nui's name do you think we're supposed the be worrying about!!!”
“Oh, I thought it was that electricity mutant thingy.”
“Oh,” Ancient seemed deep in thought for a second, and he was. His eyes thought deeply, and then he said, “Are you certain? Not a glint of sun or something out of the corner of your eye?”
“No, nothing else it could be, unless I've gone completely insane.”
Again, Ancient paused “Alright then, next time you see it, I want you to catch it.”
“Er, shouldn't we inform the Shadowed One?”
Ancient shook his head “No, Ravager. If we talked to him he would have it destroyed. But we can still fix it. If we can't, then we'll defuse it.”
Hopefully on the Shadowed One, Ancient thought.
“Oh, Okay. I'll catch it.”
“Good, if you do, then I'll give you an extreme reward. Goodbye, Ravager.”
The communicator shut off, and Ravager stuck it in his pocket. Time to catch a bolt of lightning. He was totally loyal to Ancient, and his loyalty to the Shadowed One was falling. It was time to listen to his real leader, and shut out the fake one.
Ancient turned off his communicator and laughed. Another being he had convinced into being on his side. Of course, there were still those fiercely loyal to the Shadowed One, but most new members hated him, because of his blackmailing tactic. Ancient would soon have enough people to easily overpower the Shadowed One and take his place.
Ancient smiled. The Shadowed One trusted him far too much to be wise about it. Also, Ancient was considered by the Shadowed One to be a cripple-minded old man.
But the 'cripple-minded old man' was soon to wrench all power from the Shadowed One's grasp.
And when he did, he would laugh.
The Toa were quickly surrounded, but their battle would not be without action. They had surrounded Pohatu's limp body, and his veins in his membrain now glowed a blackish-purple. It was more likely that he would die than that he would turn into a Toa of Shadow. The former was certainly more preferable to most.
The Kraata-Kal began to surround them, and Tahu sent several blasts of super-heated flame, which disintegrated many of the Kraata-Kal.
“Tahu!” Kopaka said, “Combustion field surrounding us. Also, use your mask of shielding to protect us.”
Tahu nodded. At one time, he would have had a long response, but now, he had found himself short of words. He continually found that the older and more mature he got, the less the words came to his mouth.
So, it looks like Kopaka really was the wisest of the Toa, Tahu thought.
The Kraata-Kal had now surrounded them entirely. And none of the Toa were acting. The Mask of Shielding was activated.
And the combustion field burned up fifteen Kraata-Kal.
“WHOO!!!” Lewa screamed, and sent a tornado flying at more of the Kraata-Kal the instant after the force-field disappeared. The Kraata-Kal could not take it.
But then they started to retaliate.
Blasts of shadow fired everywhere, and Tahu threw up another force-field around them. However, this was being battered down quickly.
“So this, brothers,” Kopaka said, “is where it ends!”
“NOT ON MY WATCH!!!” cried a familiar voice
“Onua?” Tahu said in surprise
“And Gali!” Gali cried out
The two Toa threw themselves out into the fray, blowing Kraata-Kal into pieces like they were dustflies. The Kraata-Kal dispersed, revealing the slightly different forms of Gali and Onua. Kopaka, Tahu, and Pohatu gasped at the blunt variant in the armour of their brother and sister.
Both were taller then they had been, and had bulky yet not restricting armour. The arms and legs were solid black, with a dash of grey. Gali's boots, gloves, and shoulder-armour were the colour of her element, blue. Onua's was the colour of his element, but it did not make a difference. On their left wrist was a double-laser, and in their right hand, a silver handled spear with a neon blue or black blade. Their masks were the same Nuva masks, but there was a gleam in their eye which seemed to be different.
“Where have you two been?” Tahu said, standing up from his place on the ground.
Onua paused before answering “far away. Farther than you would think*”
“Well, where you were doesn't matter, we have a wounded brother, and another island to visit.”
“We do?” Onua asked
“What happened?” Gali asked, “Stand aside, brothers, please.”
They went aside so that Gali and Onua could their brother. Gali looked with sadness upon her face, but that was clouded by understanding.
“What?” Lewa asked
“We....Onua and I, were warned of something like this. However, from past experience, I think I know how to fix it. Tahu, do you remember when you were cut in the mask by the green Rahkshi?”
“Because, if you remember how we healed you, we will do that in something of a manner like it.”
“But you healed him, water-sister,” Lewa reminded her.
“Yes, but now we must work together. Gather the healing powers within you, and take them from you. Place your Nuva tools across his heartlight. Summon the healing powers within you. You'll need them.”
They placed their Nuva tools across his heartlight, which was only faintly glowing, and Onua and Gali placed their new tools. The tools all glowed, and began to burn with their elements. Nothing happened for a second, but then, the dark crystal began to melt away, before long it was simply dark liquid on the metal ground. They took their tools away as the dark liquid flowing through Pohatu's membrain subsided.
He began to groan, trying to say something. Everyone leaned into hear what he would say. “Why did I try that dumb trick anyway!”
Everyone laughed, except of course Pohatu, who looked relieved to be alive. Gali smiled broadly “He is well.”
“Gali, Onua! What's with the new armour?” Pohatu asked
“It is a long story, which you will hear once we have checked Destral.”
“So,” Tahu said, “no Makuta, I think we can eliminate that the Brotherhood of Makuta took the Mech. Now, we must check Odina. The island of the Dark Hunters.”
“Why won't a dang island just stay demolished!!!” Pohatu complained. And again, everyone laughed.
*Read Science of Darkness to see what happened.
It continually proved problematic catching this person, or rather mutant. Ravager had placed his airship on autopilot, and proceeded to find it. He had not been seriously wounded yet, but the electricity mutant had only come in, and then disappeared, again and again without fail. It didn't seem intent on hurting him, only on annoying him, and it was doing a bally good job as far as Ravager saw it.
Ravager, who was a powerhouse of death, had literally resorted to, “Here little mercenary! If you come to me then I'll.....Er, kill you nicely!”
That wouldn't work.
Suddenly, Ravager's communicator buzzed, and so he flipped the switch. It was Ancient.
“Hello Ravager. How is your,” he glanced around him, “project, going?”
“My, er, project, isn't working very well.”
“Abandon it. With Shadow Stealer and Mimic working together, they've concocted a new material which will provide the mutant a fake history. It should provide no problems.”
“Oh, well, thank you sir,” Ravager said. Ancient switched off the communicator. Ravager got back to his work, and he was perfectly happy.
Gaaduhk was a different story.
The instant that he discovered that no one was looking for him any more, the instant he realized the game was up. Now it was back to boredom, magnetized to the outside of the ship. He zipped into the system, and then shot out.
A blue mask was close to his face.
“AGGGGHH!!!” Gaaduhk yelled, and he fell back. Adreana was angrily staring him in the face.
“What exactly did you do inside of the ship?”
“Er, I was just letting the brute inside of that cockpit.”
“Do you know that one stupid idea could have compromised your entire plan?”
Gaaduhk happily shook his head, despite the fact that he was upside down and that all the electricity was rushing to his feet.“Yes, it could have; but it didn't.”
“Okay stranger, how?”
“Okay, one thing is, I don't know how. Second thing is, that we need to get off a stranger-stranger basis here.”
Adreana growled “And how do you plan on doing that?”
“Well, I could tell you about me, and then the opposite.”
Adreana pondered, and then said “Okay. You start.”
“Okay, I'm Gaaduhk, a Matoran of electricity from the island of Derse. It's this little island right smack between the Southern Continent and Stelt. It is entirely populated by Electric and Lightning Matoran and Toa.”
He paused to become magnetized upright, and then continued.
“Now, this island, despite being so near to Stelt is actually a calm island, peaceful. I lived there forty-thousand years when a strange thing happened. My best friend, Xegard, got bored. So, he became a mercenary and offered to let me join him. Building an airship together, we left the island. For ten thousand years we worked together, building a mercenary empire. Then Xegard said that he would start his own Corp. And I haven't seen him since.”
“Now, after he left, I took to collecting old books and materials, and a complicated string of events led me there. What about you Adreana?”
“Well, I was born in Metru-Nui, Ga-Metru.”
She paused for some reason, and so Gaaduhk intervened “A city-slicker, eh?”
“Yes. A bit. So, I was pretty normal until one day, I found that people in the city were looking for me. And in the night, I was kidnapped. When I awoke once more, I found myself......This. It's not a comfortable situation as you know.”
“Can you call me Gaaduhk now?” Gaaduhk asked
“Sure, and you can call me Adreana. Now, did you wonder why they've got an entire battle fleet?”
“Um, to attack Metru-Nui?”
“Come now, don't joke.”
“No look. Metru-Nui is up ahead!”
“What! I've got to stop this thing!”
“Adreana, wait!We're here to find the antidote!”
But her liquid form had already gone into the coolant chamber and inside of the airship. She leaped inside the cockpit, and Ravager leaped at her, with a black staff in hand. Suddenly, her body could not move. It refused to.
“What have I done?” Ravager said, answering what he thought Adreana was asking. “I've locked you in a stasis field. Now, you'll get to watch Metru-Nui be destroyed.”
Adreana wanted to scream out no.
But as it was, she couldn't.
Gaaduhk was unhappy. That word fit his case perfectly. The ships had begun to become parallel to the head ship and all the pilots had seen him. Several of the Dark Hunters had climbed on the outside of their ships and jumped onto the main one to catch him. However, as simple shock from Gaaduhk and they had a long swim to Metru-Nui.
One of them, whom he recognized as Krekka said. “I'm gonna get you!!!”
He jumped the full way across and his the airship's side, making it shake. A huge dent sat in the wall of the Airship, and torn and stripped wires hung from it. Then, the right engine cut. The airship began to lean over nauseatingly as Krekka crunched towards Gaaduhk. Gaaduhk looked at the shoreline of Metru-Nui, which was half a Kio away. In his experience, that wasn't far, but also in his experience that would take a while with a two and a half tone brute climbing on the side.
Hmm, perhaps striking up a conversation?
“Huh! Huh! Hey shrimp! You know that water absorbs electricity!”
“Oh, big word. How about this one, the bigger they are, the harder the splash is!!!”
Then, Gaaduhk sent a pulsating blast of lightning which ploughed into Krekka. He tried desperately to hang on, but instead he hurtled down twenty Bios below. A huge blast of water spurted up. Gaaduhk laughed. He looked at the ship speeding up and he thought, Won't be long now!
“What did you say is happening?!?!” The Shadowed One said unhappily. Angrily. Infuriatingly.
“Well, it appears that the mercenary lived and is on the main airship.”
“FOOL! Don't you realize that this could compromise our entire plan!?!”
“Yes, sir. But I think it's Ancient.”
“What about him?”
“I think he is raising an army against you. There are clearly people who are loyalists to him, and those who are with you. The majority is not with you, because you blackmailed them.”
The Shadowed One smiled. “Ah, I knew it would take place someday. But it is the perfect time to happen now. You see, we can simply make sure that whoever is loyal to him, dies in the battle. Leave only a few for.......examples.”
“Yes, Shadowed One. How should the battle proceed?”
“Begin with releasing the Dark Hunters, and tell them not to worry about the Toa or Vahki, but the Agori and Glatorian. Now, quickly you must release the Mech. When that is done, tell them to break into the Archives, and release dangerous creatures. Don't release too many, I don't want the city wrecked entirely by the time I get there. When you have destroyed most of the Agori and Glatorian in sight, force the Toa to evacuate or surrender. Destroy as many Toa as possible, we don't want them to.....Come back.”
“Thank you Shadowed One. Dweller out.”
The Shadowed One turned off the communicator and laughed. He laughed out loud. Ancient had finally taken the opportunity to challenge him.
And he had already lost.
The airships came overhead of Metru-Nui, and stopped. The troops became ready, and the Mech got ready to drop. Ready to eliminate.
Air raid sirens rang off, bleeping terribly, and the Vahki-Sor came out. The Vahki-Sor had been made as an upgrade of the Vahki. Their last name stood for, 'surrender or run'. They had been made by Toa Mahri Nuparu, and they worked fantastically. They flew up to meet the Dark Hunters now, and the Toa began to come out. As the Dark Hunters rained down, the Vahki fought them, to much avail. But they only killed the Agori and Glatorian.
But the Dark Hunters only laughed.
The worst was yet to come.
Then, from the foremost airship, a huge box dropped. The crowds watched in awe. And then, from it, stood the Mech of Metru-Nui. It's eyes glowed bright, and inside its massive cabin, sat the Dark Hunter known only as Guardian. He flipped switches and massive weapons came out.
Time to get going he thought
The weapons fired, blasting to pieces three Agori and one Glatorian with a single shot. He did the several times, and a dozen Vahki-Sor and two Toa became collateral damage.
Guardian smiled, Ah, nothing like a genocide to brighten your day!
Gaaduhk had seen the battle happening, and he'd also seen another airship far off. In that airship, he was sure was the person he was looking for.
The only person who could tell him what the antidote was. Well, actually, there were probably others too, but he wanted to take revenge upon Nidhiki.
How might Adreana be faring?, Gaaduhk wondered. He he went again.
He thrust himself into the electrical wires and jumped out in the cabin. Behind him, sat Adreana, frozen in a stasis field. And there was Ravager.
He had to stop this one.
Ravager wheeled around “You!”
“I know, it's shocking right. Actually, I'll be the one shocking. You.”
Gaaduhk aimed his Zamor hand and electricity fired straight out of it. He poured the electricity into Ravager until the Dark Hunter hit the floor, smoking. Gaaduhk grabbed the stasis staff and triggered it, which released Adreana.
Adreana hit the floor, and Gaaduhk was there to pick her back up. He looked her in the eyes, and smiled.
“Go help your city. They need you. I'll find you when I wrench the cure from Nidhiki's throat.”
Adreana climbed to the window, and smashed it open. She said her final words to him for a while “Thanks.........Gaaduhk,” then she leaped off and became water, splashing into the water below. Gaaduhk took the wheel of the airship. And turned it about. The communicator in Ravager's pocket buzzed, but unconscious as he was, he was unable to answer.
By the time the airship was turned about, Gaaduhk saw the object of his desire.
The last airship.
This would be the one containing the Shadowed One, Ancient, Sentrakh, and most importantly, Nidhiki. If anyone knew the cure, then Nidhiki did. The airship was coming closer, and Gaaduhk was debating how to attack it. Then it occurred to him.
Well, he thought, Seeing as I am low on power, and this ship is filled with it...........
The thought completed itself. He pressed his fist hard on the wall of the ship. Then, from every existing crevasse on the ship he sucked all the power that his could. When it was completely drained, the ship began to sink.
And in its path, was the airship in which was Nidhiki.
They tried desperately to turn the ship round, but it was far too late for that. Gaaduhk looked through the window and smiled. Nidhiki was nearly within his grasp.
The ships crashed into one another. Gaaduhk smashed through the window, his body glowing with electricity. He walked out onto the front of the ship, just as Ancient burst from the top of the ship. The Shadowed One came after, leaping into the water. But Ancient stayed, and looked at Gaaduhk.
He tsk, tsk'd and looked into the eyes of Gaaduhk from the ship. “Ah, there he stands, the experiment gone horribly wrong.”
“The same I will say for yourself.”
“So, is there any difference between you and I? What is there that you have left to live for? What has kept you for that past days from reigning yourself as a hermit?”
“There was a person that I knew, he an I were much alike. What he once said, was 'when life has taken everything away from you, you've got one thing left to live for- Revenge'.”
“Ah, so the truth comes out. You and I are not really so different. I live to kill, and you live to kill.”
“Where is your respect for another being. The fact that another may be more powerful than you, or at least that he tried?”
“Where is your respect, that someone may have a more burning wish to take revenge on what you wish to take revenge upon? I will tell you mercenary. There are many who wish revenge on myself, and I assume that you are included. Most of them are dead. But there was one person, who had such a burning desire to see me die that he would do anything. He got closer then anyone else. That is the person that I respect. Who is yours?”
“I have two. My friend, Xegard, and a Toa, who was noble above all that I have seen,” Gaaduhk turned to the battlefield, “You see those Toa down there, fighting to give their lives that you may not take over their home. You will win. I don't like it, but I can see it. And there, exists the only difference between you and I.”
After Gaaduhk paused, Ancient asked “And what is that?”
“That is, the only two people that I respect, I would give my life if they were down there. I would help them. The only person you respect, you would stab in the back at a moment's notice.”
Ancient nodded “True, mercenary, true,” but then, Ancient laughed. “You are such a fool! While I was speaking with you, Nidhiki was casually escaping! And now, you'll die!”
“Why did you save Nidhiki?” Gaaduhk said, backing up slightly.
Ancient growled “Because he is a member of my legion!!! Die, Mercenary!!! DIE!!!”
Then, from his automatic launcher, a gold Rhotuka spinner fired out at Gaaduhk. He saw it coming, and what he did could be considered no less than an act of Mata-Nui. He grabbed the disk from the air, and turned it around, sending it flying straight back at Ancient. It slapped into him, making body movement impossible, He collapsed on the roof of the airship.
Gaaduhk leaped over to it, and aimed his Zamor hand at Ancient. It glowed, as energy gained.
“NO!” Ancient cried out, “Where is your nobility Mercenary? Where are your three virtues!”
“Mata-Nui gave the Three Virtues to all of us, not just Toa and Matoran. As far as nobility, some would say it would be noble, be merciful to you if I let you live. But then, where would be the mercy to the thousands of lives which you would end because I let you live. It will be noble, to kill you.”
Then, he aimed his Zamor hand and let loose with all the energy within him, and he did not stop until sootish scorch marks streaked across the aureate gold armour of Ancient.
Then, contented that the Dark Hunter was dead, he leaped off the side of the airship and zipped towards the ground far below.
Now, to find Nidhiki.
Adreana had quickly gone to help the Toa fight off the Mech and the Dark Hunters. Her appearance had startled many of the Toa, but soon, they realized that she was part of their cause. They also realized how much more powerful she was then them, and ever allowed her near to a place where she could reach water. Throughout the battle, she continually glowed fluorescent blue as her crystalline body glowed with energy and vigour.
But it was not enough.
They quickly retreated to the archives by the night time, and two Toa- Namely Naraka and Kazach were elected for a single, special reason. To find a signalling device and to call for rescue ships from the southern continent.
This battle could not be won.
Metru-Nui was lost.
Gaaduhk sat in the metal can on one of the many thousands of sub-levels of the archives. Days before, perhaps as long as a week ago, Gaaduhk had been climbing down these sub tunnels, trying desperately to find the Mech of Metru-Nui. The Mech which now destroyed his friends.
No, not friends, he thought, Not my island. I don't even know but a single one of the people in this island!
But then, why? Why did he care if he didn't know of these people, if he didn't care about them.
Because their bodies sit upon my head. And I cannot do anything about it.
But he could, he realized. There was surely at least something that he could do.
He looked at his hands, specifically his Zamor hand. His form glowed electric yellow. Gaaduhk had seen Nidhiki go down at least this far, and then the latter had wandered off into the darkness. Gaaduhk had dragged a barrel by the entrance of the sub-level, so that if Nidhiki tried to make it back, then Gaaduhk would catch him.
Gaaduhk was only worried about one thing. His arms and legs were glowing like fireflyers. But the only thing he was attracting right now was a stray stone rat.
And if it tries to hurt me, he thought, He will find my defence........Shocking, to say the least.
The stone rat wandered up to his hand, and he let the bulky thing climb up his arm. It seemed to mean him no harm. He might have thought it to be friendly, but Gaaduhk found stone rats to be precisely like the Dark Hunters in a certain fashion.
They did not have allies, only enemies that they had yet to eliminate.
He looked into the eyes of the stone rat, which reflected the light which Gaaduhk exuded like pure strain marble. He stared deep into the bleach white pupils until he saw something strange. They were beginning to change. He leaped out of the barrel, holding his Zamor sphere hand straight at the morphing beast. It mutated into a lava eel, which slyly slithered its way from the barrel, leaving a red-hot trail behind. Then, it changed again, going from a the lava eel into a ten foot tall, blue and silver creature.
“Who in......Mata-Nui!” Gaaduhk exclaimed
The creature's six muscular but still lean arms hang by its side “I am called Krahka by many. Or by few. My world has remained small at my behest. Who are you?”
“I am Gaaduhk,” Gaaduhk said
“What are you?” Krahka demanded
“I am....Was a Matoran. Now I am an Electrical Elemental,” Gaaduhk responded, letting his electricity ebb and flow across his body like a Tesla Coil.
“What is and Elemental? Is it a Ra-hi,” Krahka asked, dragging out the syllables of the word.
“No, for lack of a better word, I am a mutant. It is my wish to find a cure to my ailment.”
Krahka gave what was the closest she could get to a smile “You are powerful. Why would you wish to change?”
Gaaduhk sighed “Because in my world, I would be an outcast for who I am.”
“Why be an outcast when you could rule Metru-Nui? At my side perhaps.”
Gaaduhk was slightly revolted and wished to fire back an insulting comment, but he instead decided to change the subject to something beneficial to himself. “Well, have you seen a green, three or four legged creature walking down this path?”
Krahka's head hung down “Yes, I have see the one of whom you speak. Why do you want him?”
“He will have the cure,” Gaaduhk responded. Krahka nodded, and walked back the way which Gaaduhk had travelled, saying no more. Gaaduhk thus settled down and rested in his barrel.
In the morning, Nidhiki was his.
For the first time in, well, ever, the Dark Hunters had established- and kept -a military presence in Metru-Nui. They had driven the Toa into hiding, and the majority of the Matoran who had not been killed or escaped were captured. Less then one tenth of the Agori and Glatorian who had been in the city at the start of the battle lived. Any Glatorian or Agori who walked the streets would be killed on sight. The Vahki-Sor had left and gone back to brood in their massive hives.
The Dark Hunters had not bothered to destroy the hives, there were very few Vahki-Sor initially, and most of them had been eliminated.
The Shadowed One walked through the city, joining in the joyous celebration which his 'soldiers' now cam in to. He might actually smile for longer then an hour. And he might withstand the pain of it.
He now looked for Dweller, who had led the assault on Metru-Nui. When the Shadowed One had eliminated Ancient, then Dweller would be head of operations, and Sentrakh's aide. Often, the Shadowed One had wondered how Ancient had survived. Well, honestly, Ancient had not. The Shadowed One had disintegrated his most trust lieutenant at the price of a secret; a worthy price at that. The Shadowed One's island had been ravaged by Makuta, or rather, sunk by Makuta, Pohatu had done a good enough job ravaging it. After Makuta's fall, the Dark Hunters had separated across the plains of Spherus Magna.
Then, Ancient had come.
Somehow, someone, somewhere had recreated him. But it was not the recreation. It was Ancient. Instantly, the Shadowed One had considered annihilation, but Ancient had forgotten his secret, and also was willing to help the Shadowed One with and ambition, or rather, two of them.
Bringing back the Dark Hunters to becoming a serious force, and taking over Metru-Nui.
Unwittingly, Ancient had preformed this, though it took over forty-five years of planning and growth. They had even been able to fix up the old Dark Hunter's base. But then, Ancient decided to betray him.
The Shadowed One had tolerated Ancient, but that patience was gone. The Shadowed One had already sent out Gaurdian to eliminate Ravager, who had reportedly been incapacitated by the mercenary. Guardian would kill Ravager in his coma, and then return to the Shadowed One. When Ancient came to him in the morning, the Shadowed One would have a battle ready. Soon after, Ancient would meet the same fate as many of his other men.
In a way a thousand times more painful.
Toa Naraka of lightning and Toa Kazach of air, snuck through the city, their goal, the Coliseum. Hopefully, it had not yet been fully settled by the Dark Hunters yet. Naraka held a solid axe by her side, and a Kanohi Durzen, Mask of Guardianship- pretty much an advanced Kanohi Hau which also guards from assaults and protects your mind -sat upon her face.
Kazach held no weapons, none visibly at least. He rarely spoke a word, and would never give away by word of mouth what powers sat within his grasp. His mask was a Kanohi Kaukau, a Mask of Water Breathing. If anyone ever commented on his mask being that of a Water Toa, he would simply laugh and nudge the comment aside. However, Kazach had his darker side. He ignored completely the Toa Code, and was quite on the fringe. He was, in fact, estranged with almost everyone.
They had worked together long as Toa, and Naraka, though heeding of the Toa Code, had an incessant lust for battle. In a mission such as this one, aggressive Toa were required. It would jeopardize the lives of the hundreds of Toa and Matoran, as well as a few Glatorian if the Toa went gutless at the wrong moment.
Naraka cradled her weapon as they approached the Coliseum. There were three Dark Hunter guards present at the door. Naraka nodded at Kazach and mouthed “I'll take them. Tornadoes would be too conspicuous.”
Kazach nodded back and Naraka readied herself to fire three bolts of lightning, and then she fired. They whizzed along low, too fast for the normal eyes to see, and struck the guards. Two fell down instantly, while the other winced and held his arm, which had been struck. Naraka fired two more bolts, small, obscure, and decisive. The second did little good, but the third did him in, making the figure crumble, and fall unconscious.
Naraka moved forward, and the swift Toa Kazach followed closely behind. They burst into the building, and only a single Lightstone lit the first floor. They crouched down and moved slowly along the hallways. They moved along and soon saw a lift. They dashed over to it. However, a dilemma quickly revealed itself.
The power was out.
Given that Naraka had no arm strength, Kazach pried open the doors. The lift was gone, however, it would be simple enough to climb up. It took a good half hour to reach the next door, and Kazach pried that one open as well. When they opened it, they saw two figures, one hulking and black and red, the other shorter, but still big with a green head.
Unfortunately, they saw the Toa.
Naraka was ready, and she fired a powerful bolt of lightning at the hulking figure, who backed up and smashed through a door, taking to a staircase leading to the next level. Kazach fired a small tornado and it distracted the beast so that it never saw Naraka's axe until it was embedded in its head.
Naraka walked up to the dead creature and looked at it. She snarled as she wrenched her axe from the creature “They called it a Hordika Dragon.”
Kazach walked past, going towards the stairs “One down, seven to go.”
Naraka shrugged her shoulders, and walked along. They wound there way up the stairs. Soon they found the door, blockaded. It had metal bars twisted all around like a wed, preventing entrance.
“Well, whoever he is, he's strong,” said Kazach begrudgingly.
“Yes, and for all we know, he might be sitting behind their, so that when we finally break through it-”
“-he smashes us to pieces,” Naraka completed.
“Yes. A bit of a......Quandary.”
Then, Kazach sent several super-powerful mini tornadoes into the bars, bending them until they broke.
“Well,” he said looking past the door, “No Dark Hunter.”
Naraka looked at Kazach. Dangerous. Unorthodox. Gung-Ho. Perhaps insane. But his method worked. Naraka followed Kazach into the room. The sight there was bad. The hulk stood in the room, his blade to a Le-Matoran.
“If you don't stop right there,” the hulk said, “I'll kill this one.”
Naraka sat in a battle ready position, as the frightened Le-Matoran squirmed in the Dark Hunter's infrangible grasp. Naraka glanced up at Kazach, who stood there. A snarl was upon his mask, and his eyes burned with fury. He then put his balled fists parallel with his hips. And suddenly, and long green staff apparently appeared from nowhere. Kazach's face was still in a snarl.
“Dark Hunter,” he said, the snarl unmoving, his voice deep with ire and revolt, “do you see this staff?”
“I do. I'll break that staff over my knee!” the Dark Hunter spat.
“Actually, you wouldn't,” Kazach shot back, “because this is a...The Staff of Illusion. Anyone who attempts to destroy it, will become an illusion. But that's not all. It can make anything become and illusion as well. Such as yourself.”
“So, are you a Matoran?” the Dark Hunter laughed harshly.
“You've exhausted my patience, Dark Hunter!” Kazach yelled. Then, his mask flickered, revealing not a Mask of Water Breathing, but a Mask of Telekinesis. The mask glowed brightly, and Bios away, the Dark Hunter's hands were wrenched from the Matoran. The instant he became free, he dashed across the room to Naraka.
Straining, Kazach turned to Naraka “Go, save my brother. Please.”
“But what about you?” Naraka asked.
Kazach shook his head “I may not return, but my mission will succeed. I will not fail. But Naraka, do not forget me, if I die. Now go!”
Naraka shook her head, but turned with the Le-Matoran in her grasp. Down the stairway, she yelled back “I WILL NOT FORGET YOU!!!”
The echo lingered in the air, and Kazach felt rested by the sound. Then, the Dark Hunter started laughing. With a gasp of breath, Kazach stopped using his mask, and the Dark Hunter crumpled to the floor. Kazach quickly regained his composure, and looked at the Dark Hunter.
Using his Mask of Power in conjunction with his wind power, he trapped the Dark Hunter in the air. “Now, where is the communications room?”
The Dark Hunter laughed “I'd never tell you! I'm Prototype! I could tear you to pieces!”
Grimly, Kazach smiled back “But you won't, because I will send you up through the building, smashing through the Bio-thick stone of each floor, and send you up to the sky above, and then I'll send you rocketing down and smashing into the ground. And no one will ever forget you.”
“Because I didn't tell you where the communications room is?”
Kazach laughed “No, because they'll have splintered pieces of your body embedded into them for the rest of their lives!”
“Oh,” Prototype said lamely
“Alright, it's on the top floor. The only room up there. Not hard to find.”
“Thank you,” Kazach said, but did not let Prototype down, in fact, he blew the glass from the wall open and moved Prototype to the threshold.
“What? What are you doing?!?” Prototype asked, frantic
“Oh, I'm going to slam you into the ground. I can't, after all, let you tell your friends about me.”
“You're going to kill me!?!”
“Hopefully. The world would be better place without you.”
“But...But...That's against the Toa Code!”
Kazach smiled and laughed “To bad I don't follow the Toa Code!”
Stark terror sat upon Prototype's face.
Mockingly, Kazach waved “Ta-ta!”
Then, Prototype flew from the building, his speed and velocity increasing monumentally as Kazach used the wind to speed him up. Four storeys down, Prototype fell, before it happened.
And the city went quiet.
Ashockwave coiled across the city, rumbling with the force of an earthquake. Adreana's eyes peeled open and she looked out from her tight hiding place into the night sky. Time to get out and see what had happened. She turned her body to water, and flowed through a tiny crevasse. When she was out of the hiding place, she became entirely clear, so as to blend in with the surroundings.
She saw The Coliseum, and a huge hole in the side. Then she saw hundreds of Dark Hunters scrambling to pick up a huge figure. Adreana became water once more and flowed to a point where she could safely view the disaster. A huge crater- smoking and circular -lay where one had not been afore. The figure could not walk, and was nearly two Bios tall, thus it took near fifteen Dark Hunters to carry him.
As he walked, large pieces of Protosteel armour fell off of his body.
It was hardly pretty.
Although Adreana could not hear what the figure said, he spoke soft, rough, rumbling words to a white figure who nodded evilly. She did not like this one, as if she at all liked any of them.
Adreana flowed away, and then 'jumped' back into her crevasse. She reformed, but did not try to go to sleep.
There was much more to come.
After crashing the party of Prototype, Kazach burst up the building towards the communication room. When he reached it, he found it surprisingly easy to operate, as it was similar to those on his island. He worked it quickly, and got in contact with the nearest quadrant of the Southern Continent. When he turned it on, a green Le-Matoran was at the controls.
“Hello, my name is Kessen,” the Le-Matoran said.
“Pardon, Le-Brother, but there is no time for pleasantries. Metru-Nui has been taken over by the Dark Hunters. There are several hundred Matoran and Toa in hiding who need to escape the city. We need airships to be here by morning.”
Kessen seemed at a loss for words.
“Well.........,” Kessen said, “Did you actually say several Hundred Toa and Matoran?”
“Yes, I did,” Kazach confirmed
“Er, I don't think we have enough airships that can get there in time and-”
“No excuses, Le-Brother! We need those airships. I don't care how you do it, but we need those airships by morning! Toa Kazach, out.”
Kazach switched off the frequency and laid his head down on the table. It was exhausting work being a Toa.
“Taking a nap, Toa of Breeze?” a gruff voice from behind Kazach said.
Kazach jerked up and stood to face the Dark Hunter standing behind him. “How.....?” he uttered
The white figure walked forward “You nearly killed Prototype, now I'll give you that honour.”
“They call me Bomb. Because I can explode. And survive!!!!” Bomb's white scales began to glow.
“No-!” Kazach screamed out.
Before the top floor of the building exploded.
Naraka, who had been watching from the shadows with the Le-Matoran, saw the explosion.
And she could not believe it.
How can...., she thought, But surely not Kazach because......
She could not believe it, though it was true. Kazach, her friend, maybe even her closefriend, was.....Dead. It was hard, harder then most things she had ever experienced. But it had happened. Naraka took a deep breath, and picked up the Le-Matoran. The best she could assume was that Kazach had succeeded before he had died.
She was walking back when the Le-Matoran finally spoke “Master Toa.”
“Yes, friend,” Naraka responded.
“What was his name?” the Matoran asked timidly.
Though she did not want to, she snarled “His name, was Kazach. Never forget his name.”
A more noble Toa could not be found in Artakha. He was unorthodox, but he was a true friend, she thought.
And it was all true.
At the first explosion, Gaaduhk had woken up. But at the second, he had gotten up. Nidhiki would be up and coming to help his Dark Hunter friends by now. No point in missing his only hope for a cure. He had tossed aside the can and had started to move forward when he realized it served little purpose.
Nidhiki had to show, whether or not he liked it.
So, Gaaduhk walked back, brought the can, turned it upside down and sat on it, resting, but not letting his eyes closed for even a moment. He had waited for nearly an hour when suddenly he heard a creak from inside of the room ahead. A dry smile crossed his fluorescent face, as he stood up and kicked the can away.
“Oh, Nidhiki,” Gaaduhk cooed, mockingly, “come here. I need to speak with you about a very important matter.”
Still, Gaaduhk hardly cared. If Nidhiki would not come out himself, then Gaaduhk would find him. He dropped from his hiding place and crept slowly through the room. Through he glowed he could not illuminate what lay around him, but it hardly mattered. If Nidhiki found him, then there was no issue.
He would get what he wanted to know either way.
He crept even more slowly, when suddenly, a big, strong, white-armoured hand clasped around his neck.
“Hullo stupid, glowing Toa,” said the voice. Gaaduhk scowled. It was Krekka. Mercilessly, Gaaduhk sent thousands of Joules of energy blasting through Krekka's hulking body, but it made no difference. Krekka held an iron spear into the floor, diffusing the energy as soon as it hit. The grip still remained. However, Krekka did not seem intent on hurting him, which meant........
Nidhiki won't be far behind!
Gaaduhk then heard something which he recognized.
The ominous, notorious sound of Nidhiki walking filled the room. His hideous face soon was panoptic within the strange dim beams of light cast by Gaaduhk. Nidhiki's fake Protodermis jaw had been torn off, giving him an even more cadaverous appearance. However, the fact that his eyes were red- instead of the sickly green -significantly relieved Gaaduhk.
“Don't try turning yourself into a lightning bolt, you'll just find that you'll end up landing head first on the floor. So, mercenary, looking for me, are you?” Nidhiki growled, drooling.
“Actually, yes, I was. I was looking for a slice of information. Straight from your brain. I was hoping to talk it out of you, but if that didn't work then-”
“I Don't think that you're in any position to bargain. I should think that threats are my decision! Now I intend to destroy you, at Ancient's behest!”
Gaaduhk's thoughts reeled. He was not really worried about being killed, he could easily escape. What he was really disquieted about was that Nidhiki might escape his grasp before Gaaduhk could receive information upon the cure. Gaaduhk's pupils tried to make out anything electric up above or below, but that was quickly ruled our.
There would be nothing this far below ground.
Instead, he looked down for anything which might conduct electricity. This was easier. The archives below ground were made entirely of Protodermic Metals. There were some on the ground, and he intended to send electricity flying through the metal which would amplify it at least tenfold. Hopefully, the electricity would be enough to force Krekka to let go. Now, all he had to do was reach. He zoned out the threatening speech of Nidhiki, and tried desperately to make one of his dangling feet touch the ground.
Finally, he succeeded, and the foot tapped on the ground. Nidhiki took notice just an instant before and cried out.
“What are you-!”
Gaaduhk heart jumped, and then the stopped. Krekka's grip remained strong. But it was loosened, perhaps enough so that....
Gaaduhk tore himself from Krekka's hold, and turned. The iron spear was in the air just for a second.
And lightning travels 299,999 metres a second.
Gaaduhk's body became lightning, and it slammed into Krekka, lighting up the room, and sending sparks flying into the air. Krekka slammed into the floor so hard that he broke through, and landed hard on the level below. He uttered a small groan, but that was all.
Gaaduhk turned to face Nidhiki. He held up his right hand, and caused electricity to arc about the fingertips, causing the light to fluctuate.
“Nidhiki,” Gaaduhk said as the spiderlike figure began to crawl away into the darkness, “I want the answer.”
“Er, the answer?” Nidhiki tried to sound fearsome, but his eyes beheld fear.
All Dark Hunters feared death.
“Yes, the answer. The cure. Tell me what it is,” Gaaduhk made his sparks louder, bigger, and brighter. They poured along he floor in a fountain-like formation.
“You can't kill me. You need me,” Nidhiki said, backing up further.
“Actually, I can. There are plenty of others who could tell me. You were simply the most available resource. You are.....Expendable, at best. Tell me, and I'll....Consider, sparing your life. Now, I'll ask for the last time. What is the cure to my mutation?”
Nidhiki considered all possible outcomes, and decided that telling would be better for him in the long run “It is the same substance which mutated you. A second exposure reverses the process. Ancient made sure that if something went wrong, there was an immediate way to change you back.”
“Didn't work out to well, eh?”
“Well, if not for the Shadowed One, it would have. But he was wanting more beings to lead his army. Ones with the power of a Toa, but without their nobility and values.”
“Thank you,” Gaaduhk said, “Now, where can I find it?”
Then, Nidhiki began to laugh “The only place that you can find it is the one place that you can't reach! It is inside of the Mech of Metru-Nui!!!”
Gaaduhk's eyes widened, and he realized that his time was short. Nidhiki had helped him, and he would continue his miserable existence, for a short time at least.
“Consider this your lucky day, Dark Hunter. I've no time to waste. But the day that I do, you will feel the fine point of a cold sword to your neck.”
Gaaduhk's feet picked up and he ran. Several sub-levels up, he found a path of electric wire which ran from his level almost to the top of the archives. He leaped into it, and shot through.
When he shot out of the other side he climbed the remaining five sub-levels. It was almost daylight outside, but chaos reigned. Several dozen airships flew in the air, and he Mech of Metru-Nui was reawakening.
Time for a plan B.
Kessen, an emerald-hued Matoran of Air flew his airship into the area of chaos. He saw the Mech of Metru-Nui begin to emerge from its sleep, and he knew that he had to get as many Matoran and Toa on here as he could. The gangway hit the pavement before the airship's hull, and Matoran began to crowd on his airship.
And Toa Serg though that learning how to pilot an airship would never come in handy!
It was likely that Kessen was the most skilled pilot in the entire fleet of the forty-two airships they had been able to muster. His airship filled up quickly, and he started to rise through the air when the Mech began to walk towards him. Kessen raised the shields and prepared the ship's weapons. Electrically charge spikes and Electromagnetic Pulse Rays. He aimed and fired. The spikes embedded themselves in the armour, and appeared to slow the Mech down, but the EMP was halted by the Protosteel body. Kessen realized hi attack was fatal, and readied his ship to turn about and run.
Suddenly, something strange caught his eye. A strange yellow glow shot up the front of the Mech and went down the top hatch. Then, the Mech just stopped.
Not questioning the fantastic good luck, Kessen turned the ship about and sped away. He whispered a prayer to Mata-Nui for saving him, and then set his coordinates for the Southern Continent.
Metru-Nui had fallen.
Gaaduhk descended the hatch, his thoughts trading between two things. Adreana and the Cure. He was worried for Adreana because he was uncertain how he would reach her if there was an evacuation. The second was, where the Cure could be. He was answer quickly, because there was a one way hallway leading to a door at the end.
Was it just him, or did the Mech seemed to be bigger on the inside then out?
He shrugged off the thought as he opened the door. The room he walked into was dark and sepia-toned. It was cavernous, but empty, and the first thing he saw was two argent pools on the opposite end.
The second thing he saw made him gape in awe.
A figure, glowing yellow and transparent stood at the controls.
Astounded and stunned, Gaaduhk slowly walked forward. He saw the figure turn, and Gaaduhk's eyes widened further. The figure opened his mouth and began to speak.
“Ah, so it is you, Gaaduhk, the mercenary. My failed counterpart. A pleasure to meet you at once.”
“Karzahni.....,” Gaaduhk muttered
“No need for profanity. I am here and you are here. I am called Lightning, and you are Gaaduhk. What do you seek?”
“I seek the Cure for my mutation.”
Lightning glanced sideways towards the shimmering achromatic pools “It is one of those pools.”
“Why should I care. Or tell you. Why?”
“To kill one who is yourself is quite a lengthy feat. How do you intend to accomplish it?”
“It doesn't matter. Which of the pools is it?” Gaaduhk's patience was being stretched thin.
“Why don't you jump in and find out. Except that one of them is Energized Protodermis. Choose carefully.”
Gaaduhk looked at the pool. The liquids had the defining features of a square, and looked just as bland. There was nothing to define it.
“If you won't choose, then I will choose for you!” Lightning yelled, and pushed him up against the pool. Gaaduhk was up against the side, and suddenly, his crystalline skull touched a drop. He felt the burning liquid spreading, and realized that this was it.
If I've got to die, he thought, Then I'll make sure lightning goes with me!
Gaaduhk then smacked into the Energized Protodermis, sending it splashing onto Lightning. Gaaduhk suddenly felt the adhesion of the Energized Protodermis to his body. It began to pour into his mouth and through his lungs. He felt his body changing, and wondered if he would die. Suddenly, his body felt lighter, and he burst from the liquid. He coughed out Energized Protodermis, and his eyes opened. He was yellow again. His Zamor Sphere Launcher was in his left hand, and his mask was on his face. His Passkey hung from his neck and....
“I'm Matoran again!!!!!” he screamed out, leaping into the air with joy. He looked at Lightning, who was rapidly melting into a puddle, and then into nothing. Gaaduhk felt so happy.
Then, he remembered Adreana. He picked up his Device- which was connected to the side of his Zamor Sphere Launcher as it should have been -and had it dispense a phial. Using the phial he took a bit of the Protodermis from another pool and took it. He capped the phial and ran as fast as his Matoran legs could carry him. He jumped up the ladder and slipped down the arm of the Mech.
He looked around, and found the last airship. Running for it, he jumped on at the last moment. The gangplank closed and he was safe inside of the ship. He looked through the crowd for the tall crystalline body of Adreana, and saw it.
“Adreana!!” Gaaduhk yelled.
She turned her head and saw him, but only slight recognition passed on her face. Then, she realized and hopped over Matoran to him. She was now a half-Bio taller then him, but she did not care she hugged him anyway.
“Gaaduhk!” she cried, “How did you make it?”
“I guess I just...Did. Oh! I've got a phial for you!”
“You found it!” Adreana was hardly being quiet.
Gaaduhk took it out and handed the phial to her “Drink it. All of it.”
She did not argue, and downed the mixture. Her body glowed, and she shortened into a Matoran again.
She hugged Gaaduhk, and it was hardly awkward at all. Gaaduhk looked at Adreana.
“Where are we heading?” he asked
“The Southern Continent. That's where all the refugees are going.”
Gaaduhk smiled. This was good.
Blue skies were ahead.
Memories fired through his conscious. Those of days past. He saw it. The aged figure holding up the phials, then turning and disintegrating him. Then, minutes later, a Vortixx with a Mask of Reformation reformed his body. That one had been repaid in full.
Then, the Dark Hunters falling, but he had inspired he who had destroyed him to remake them. But the figure had never forgotten that the figure had secrets, and the figure had not forgotten what had been done to him.
He would take his revenge.
Ancient sat up. His head hurt badly, but he was alive. The mercenary would pay. He stood up, still on the airship. A misguided, but successful leap to the next airship proved that Ancient was fine. He went in to the cockpit and saw Ravager, lying there, with the same wounds as Ancient. Ancient looked at Ravager closer, and then saw a dagger wound.
The work of Guardian.
This was bad. The Shadowed One knew his plans. This meant that most other operatives under the control of Ancient would be dead. He cursed his carelessness, his anger at the mercenary gone for good.
The Shadowed One would pay.
Epic Saga I continued in, The Tales of a Toa