Another Serial G2 Tale
And it is said that Okoto shall be shattered worse than before the banishment. Broken worse than ever before. Choices will be made, choices which will shake the future like a quake from the hand of Onua. And when I learned this, I asked the Creator-Light where the hope did lie.
Where was the hope for the People of Okoto? Where was the hope for the People of the Drake? Where was the hope for the People of the Crown?
And he did not reply.
Before the Breaking
1211 Years After the Shadow-Banishing; 190 Years Ago
New Capital City, the Coast of Po-Koto
They lowered his body into the rock-laden boat, and shut the coffin's lid. With a push and shove, the Protector of Ice and of Fire forced it into the sea water. On one side of the boat, barely ankle-deep in the water, the Protector of Stone stood, averted to the liquid's presence. On the other, nearly submerged, was the Protector of Water.
______Everyone looked out, squinting at the darkness of the sea, searching for a small, flaming buoy, below which lay the rectangular opening which had been the site of every Protector Grave since the Star-Time, when the Toa had walked the earth and banished Makuta into the Darkness for all time. Korgot had carved it out, it had been said, and even though nigh on a hundred and fifty bodies had been buried there, its breadth stretched out far beneath Okoto in all directions, and its multi-levelled stomach was far from full.
______Talaq, Protector of Earth, looked out as the two Protectors waded, and then swam, pulling the boat towards the buoy. Oh, people he had known had died before, and their deaths had been sad, but now, it seemed almost unbelievable that he had, in his life, known the body within that boat.
______He was able to extend his life for so long, all those mad gadgets. And it worked for so long. But he had to die sometime.
______Along with much of the rest of the island's population, he watched for several minutes until it had reached the buoy. Using his mask to form stone, the Protector of that element allowed the boat to sink down. His task done, he began to swim back to shore. As the boat slowly sank, the Protector of Water drifted down with it. When it reached the pit, by her guiding, she would lead it into its final resting place, and then return.
______But as soon as he was gone, Talaq's mind—and the thoughts of the other Protectors—were reading the same, dark page.
______We trusted him too well, leaned on him to heavily. We assumed that he'd always be there, always stand by us. We worshipped him, even though he was a mere mortal like us, a mere creation of the Great Light. And now that he is gone, we have no leadership. Already there are those who are crying for his rebirth, who cling to him, already those who believe that he fell because of them, and who wish to prove that he can return.
______But the other Protectors, as well as I, know it is not so. He sleeps for all eternity now. There are, of course, those Protectors that believe the Unsere'A can remain without his support, but I am not so confident. The earth cannot be deceived. The island will fall into chaos and anarchy. No one will know what to do now that Master Ekimu is dead.
Preface by the author: Word of the Broken
Okoto fell. It is hard to encompass such a grand event in so short a sentence, but there is, I have found, no achievable median between a sprawling tale lasting hours and that simple sentence. So many political decisions, opinions, the unseen choices of the smallest individuals. In addition, the Historians were long since killed by whatever tribal faction they fell into the path of.
______Okotans were once an honourable people; that is the legacy of my Great-Great-Father, Talaq, those simple words. I think he was mistaken. Honourable without, perhaps, but within? No. We are as dark-souled as Makuta. Any one of use could make a decision as he did, given the power and reason.
______Wrong as he might have been about that, though, Talaq was right about one thing: the Protectors disappeared. Do not misunderstand you, if it hap that you're a hope-starved man who comes across this tale of my existence. They are dead, slain. Their weapons ground to bits, their masks shattered. Terror reigns, the children are brought up in war while their parents watch them fight and die, defending two bricks stacked together. I wonder if there is another like me, just one Okotan without a barbarous heart.
______If you read this now, you doubtless have questions, and about far more than what caused everything that you are about to read. Why does this sit in a cave, stone-bound, in a container which can only be made with a Mask of Earth? Why is this in the cave where the Masks of Power used to be hidden? Why is it in a cave at all, rather than in some long-forgotten sub-ocean tunnel? I beg you to have patience. You shall know everything in time.
______But before I continue, you must know a few things. You must know the context of what happens here.
______To begin with, all of the Protectors of that time were slain for failing to give up their tools and masks, except for Talaq, who surrendered his. Second, I no less wear a Mask of Earth. I am the only one on this planet bearing an elemental Mask. I regret that Talaq stole it from the grave of Korgot, but I pray that some day, I shall be able to return it to its rightful owner.
______Next (as you should well know), Okoto has no system of government, its cities lie in worse ruins than they did after Capital City was destroyed before the Star-Time. Only tribal families, dashing their breadth against other families in an attempt at destruction and conquest. None have ever before tried to rise up and start a new empire. I fear that before chaos falls, anarchy will reign for many more years.
______Lastly, this is the tale of my attempt to fight a rising tide, and to raise purity and order to the darkness of this wasted landscape. Here now, from the beginning to the end, what became of it.
She was the only one he could have raised a family with, besides his own sister, had he possessed one. And now she was dead. With a single child, rebellious and ready to join the darkness of the world, Adar feared for his posterity.
______Talaq raised this. We hid in the mountains of the ancient Le-Koto Villages, hoping, praying to the Great Light that one day, we would be a great family, and that we would become a powerful force to bring about a New Order. Now, his dream may end with me.
______With a grand twisting and spinning motion, Adar impaled a spear into the ground above the site of his wife's grave. She was a rarity, and now, none like her existed. A woman with honour.
______He looked at his crossbow, a model attempt at a Shin'Aa, once the badge of office for the Protectors of the Jungle. He had improved upon it, made it the best he could, and learnt to use it like no other. It was likely the most high-tech weapon still being used on the island.
______Now, it felt like it was nothing.
______Adar turned away from the grave, offering a prayer to the Great Light, and realizing something very clearly. I am the last hope, the only hope, for the fulfilment of Talaq's dream.
______He should have felt something with those words, but he felt nothing. So he kept walking. Then, the coldness of the realization came: they had tried before, first to keep the Protector System from falling, then to reform it, then to keep any form of order at all. It had failed. New kingdoms were impossible. No one cared for the Light, for knowledge, for anything other than themselves.
______I'm glad you're dead Ekimu, he raged. You and your prophecies. All was foretold, every outcome thought of. Even your death, it seems. But you didn't see this, did you?
______“Ekimu was many things. And like us, he too was made by the Great Light.” The words came from behind Adar, as the sight of the grave. He wheeled 'round, aiming his Shin'Aa. But when he saw what had spoken, he stopped.
______“It's you, isn't it? The Creature of Jungle.” he said, and then stopped. The being, like a Green Drake, stood on top of the grave, looking at him. It glowed with an aura of power, and the earth seemed to vibrate with his presence.
______“It is. I was sent to you by my brothers and sister to give you a message. Before we leave.”
______This last sentence made Adar stop completely, and almost drop his crossbow. “Leave? But you can't … where would you go?”
______“Anywhere is better than this Beast-Hole. You would be hard-pressed to argue with that, I imagine. If we must, we will fly across the ocean and never stop until the end of time. But we will not remain here. But you are the last man of honour on Okoto. You must know what we have to tell you.”
______“Is it a prophecy?” Adar demanded, and suddenly, he realized he almost wanted Uxar to say yes. “Please,” he said slowly, calmly, “Just tell me. Is there any hope for our people?”
______“Hope? Yes, this time there is. It lies in you. You cannot surrender, you must try.”
______“Then you mean—?”
______“Indeed, Okotan, there is no prophecy. Nothing is foretold, nothing set in stone. There are a thousand paths, a thousand chances, a thousand choices. And the Toa sleep above, watching you.”
______“Is there no hope to call them down? The Mask of Time was believed to be lost when the Temple of Time was destroyed. If we can find it …”
______“The Mask of Time is lost, not destroyed. But if we have not found it, then you shall not either.”
______Uxar beat his wings and rose up into the air. “Meaning that you and you alone are Okoto's hope. And nothing was foretold.” Before Adar could ask more, Uxar was in the air, and surrounded by his fellow Creatures. They all levitated in the air, surrounded by the aura of their elements. In silence, they began to fly across the landscape, gaining speed as they went. Adar watched them until he could not see them, and his heart fell.
______“Even the Creatures abandon this place. And I am their only hope?”
______Slowly, with no alacrity in his step, he walked back towards his home, knowing that it could not remain so for much longer.