Bionicle: Shadow among the Flames
Act 2: Confusion
Fire Lord awaited the arrival of his new general in a makeshift throne resting on the edge of two regions.(0:24) Spiders. thought Fire Lord, Who knew that one with such power as Makuta could make extensive use of such repulsive creatures. Well, the ability to take control of another's mind through facial contact might seem a little absurd, it could provide a temporary army to work with. Temporary. NOT a word Fire Lord liked to think of. The addition of Antidermis should be a permanent solution. he continued in his head, but bending the essence of Makuta Teridax to be MY essence will take time, and I need all of it that I can get.
He held the vial in his hand, watching the green-black smoke swirl and shift around inside as if it were organic. Just then, he heard the scuttling of six large legs approaching from behind him. The Great Being stood and turned to face the Lord of Skull Spiders, the throne falling to pieces and melting down. "Any more enslaved villagers to command as of yet?"
"[No, unfortunately]." clicked the spider king. "[But my silver scouts have determined the location of the ancient Staff of Necromancy, wielded by an Iron Lord by the name of Kulta the Skull Grinder]."
"Kulta? Ah yes, I remember him." said Fire Lord, recalling the rise of the Iron Lords. Kulta was easily the most ruthless out of them all, but he was not without honor. He recruited generals of his own; two Iron Lords that he had defeated and thus gained the allegiance of. Marrow the Skull Slicer was his cunning, and Fracture the Skull Basher was his brutality. But the Iron Lords fell after an unknown assassin struck down Kulta with his own sword, and it was said that his bones still held the vile blade in his gearbox.(1:33) A vivid memory, for sure, but Kulta had a weapon that could raise the dead if he so wished it. An old Staff of Necromancy that had been lost to legend...until now.
"Bring me this Staff of Necromancy." asked Fire Lord. "That's our 'permanent' solution until I can get this Antidermis on our side."
"[Yes, Fire Lord]." trilled the Lord of Skull Spiders, who then crawled off into the jungle, headed straight for the region of water.
He entered a wide patch of undergrowth a while later, and found that one of his legs was stuck. The spider king yanked it up and found a bear-trap like creature dangling from it.
Then he heard it.
Three glowing studs whizzed through the air and narrowly missed his fang joint. The Lord of Skull Spiders was immediately on the alert, finally shaking off the trap. Another three studs came flying toward him, and this time he was ready. He leaped to the side, flattening himself against the tree like a huntsman spider. He couldn't see his assailant, but he knew he was close. Suddenly, he saw a shadow in the canopy; it zoomed across the leaves and onto the tree he was on. The shadow immediately zoomed down the trunk, but to the great arachnid's surprise, there was no one 'attached' to the shadow. Suddenly he realized what he was dealing with, and he leaped off the tree as the shadow zipped down to where he once was. A black-and-green figure with deer antlers leaped out of the tree where the shadow once was, and he slung out his six-shooter bow once again and fired off another three-round volley. One of the studs grazed the spider king's abdomen, making him wince and giving the hunter the chance he needed. He whipped out a long-handled sword and rushed the Lord of Skull Spiders, only to be met with a large shield blocking the blow. The Sabershield sprayed a swath of molten slag all over the hunter, which immediately cooled and hardened, trapping him.
Fire Lord chuckled at the sight. "Well, well; a Shadow Hunter! I thought you were supposed to be the trapper here..."
"You think I'm stuck?" scoffed the hunter in a Starscream-esque voice. "You don't know who you're dealing with..." With that, he slipped inside his metallic cage and his shadow crawled across the ground and back into the trees.
The Lord of Skull Spiders made a move to go after him, but Fire Lord stopped him. "And just WHO are we dealing with?" the Great Being replied. "Come now, Mr...Mr.-"
"They call me Umarak." said the hunter, his voice echoing across the canopy. "Umarak the Hunter. What do you want from me? I haven't got all day."
"I'd like to make a deal with you, hunter." replied Fire Lord. "This is concerning the native population-"
"You're an idiot, you know that?" said Umarak, clearly unenthused. "I've already got a contract with their guardians."
"The Protectors? You're in cahoots with them?"
"Anthodar pays big, too." the hunter continued, "As long as Makuta sleeps, I'm an assassin-slash-gatherer for hire. That's one of the big rules of being a Scavenger. Of course, it's not as big as our law."
"Heh, and just what is this law?"
"Only a Scavenger knows it, and I'd rather not spill the beans about it." The canopy shook as Umarak leaped across to the next tree. "Just for good measure, I'll listen to what you have to say and see if I'm interested."
"I'm requesting that you aid us in claiming control over the Island and its population. I know it sounds ludicrous, but what would you take for that offer?"
Umarak hesitated for a moment. "Masks." he replied after a few seconds. "Two Golden Masks of Power. The first resembles a demigod with a crown, and the other resembles a demon's face. They are known as the-"
"Masks of Creation and Control. I know a lot more about this place than you think, Umarak." Fire Lord chortled. "So, where would I find these masks?"
"That's just it, you Kikanalo-brained twit; there's no finding them. Heck, just one would be an amazing find!"
"Just one of them, then." said Fire Lord. "If-*ahem* WHEN I find either the Mask of Creation or Control..."
"Then MAYBE we can work out a deal. Until then, you're just another trespasser."
Like a whisper on the wind, Umarak was gone.
Matoro was getting impatient. He'd never known impatience before, but these two were too determined to prove to 'Kopaka' the obvious; he was a Toa of Ice, he knew that...
"But I'm NOT Kopaka!" he snapped. "How many times do I have to repeat myself? My name is TOA MATORO, and I am looking for the rest of my team! Were there any other Toa that landed in these 'other regions'? Does the name 'Jaller' ring any bells?"
"I'm afrehd noht, great one." said Anthodar. "Perhaps thehre has bean ah mix-up in your mind?"
"I dunno, maybe it's in YOURS." replied Matoro. "I have no idea what's going on or where my team is. I know that Jaller and company are out there; I just need to track them..."
"Don't you worry, Kopaka." reassured Kivoda. "We'll have you back with your team in no time. In fact, I bet Tahu and Lewa are looking everywhere in the Region of Ice for-"
"Once and for all, I'm NOT KOPAKA!" Matoro's temper finally gave way to "Don't you think that maybe the Toa Nuva are JUST NOT COMING?! I am TOA MATORO of the Toa Inika, and I will not be converted by a pair of low-lying, spider-squashing..."
"I don't know about this Anthodar." said Kivoda. "He's certainly steadfast, but he's got far too hot of a temper to be a Toa of Ice!"
"Leht him believe whot he wahnts, Keevohdah." growled Anthodar. "He won't for very long."
Matoro eyed them for a moment, then sighed. "I might as well try to familiarize myself with whatever this place is while I keep looking for my team."
"You do that, 'Mahtoroh'." said Anthodar as he swiped one of his magma-crystal daggers over the coffee table. "At the mohment, my peeple need me. I await your respohnse, Mastah of Ice." With that, he jumped down into the now-open hole in the hut, which quickly closed itself behind him.
Matoro paused. Then he asked the Protector of Water a question that caught him off guard; "What was that out there? That thing that I fought. Anthodar said it was a 'Beast of KauKau's Bay'. What's that all about?" It was Kivoda's turn to pause. He wasn't sure how to answer the Toa of Ice, but his old Storyteller self kicked in and he began;
Come now, weary traveller, I have a tale to tell.
It might just save your life but only if you listen well.
'Cause there before the breakers and just around the way,
There's a sign that says, "Beware the Beast of KauKau's Bay!"
Some say he's a guppy a youth threw in the sea.
He ate so many sailors, now he's bigger than a tree!
His teeth are sharp as scissors, his claws they are like knives...
And if you think he's ugly, wait 'til you see his insides!
Oh, don't you sail and don't you row and certainly don't you swim!
'Cause if you aren't careful, you'll end up inside of him!
He'll eat you up and spit you out, you'd better stay away...
Heed the sign that says "Beware the Beast of KauKau's Bay!"
Matoro stood there for a moment, unbelieving. "...Is this how you teach things to Matora-I mean, younger Villagers?"
"That's the way it is with us Storytellers." replied Kivoda. "For us, the end of one story means the beginning of another. I could go on with my tale, but I think I'll save it for tonight. The festival of the Creation is this evening, and both me and Narmoto are narrating the story of Avokhii."
"He's the Storyteller in the Fire Tribe. Trust me, you'll like him much more than Anthodar."
"So you guys tell stories about masks?"
Kivoda's expression suddenly darkened.(0:06) "You think that a god...like Avohkii...is just a MASK?!" he roared.(0:12) "Avohkii and the other gods like him are the very reason this world was ever created! If you think you are one to deny that, then you are a traitor to Ekimu and his people!"
Matoro stepped backward, away from the maddened Protector. What did I do wrong?! thought Matoro frantically.(0:25) I didn't think of masks as being THIS beneficial to this culture!
"Hey hey hey, I didn't mean any offense, sir!" Matoro tried to backtrack. "Where I come from, the Avohkii was a Kanohi Mask of Light, worn by one of my teammates, Takanuva. Then there's the Kanohi Hau, mask of shielding. And-" Matoro didn't notice that he was supposedly making things worse.(stop music) But what he was saying actually fascinated Kivoda. "I'm seeing connections here; these 'Kanohi' as you call them...they correlate with our Elemental Gods! Hau was supposed to shield the hearts of the bravest Masters and Protectors of Fire, and KauKau allowed Masters and Protectors of Water to purify whatever may poison the world they live in..."
"The Kanohi KauKau was the Mask of Water Breathing, sir."
"...Well, I guess that's an exception. But that means...no, Anthodar can't be wrong!"
Kivoda didn't know what to think of what Matoro was saying. "If Anthodar IS actually wrong, that means the whole basis of our culture is flawed!"
"Hau, KauKau, Miru and so many others including the ascended Ekimu, are a major part of whatever we do on the Island now. How Protectors are chosen, how we view the world...karz, even how we bond is influenced by their will!" Kivoda slumped against a rock. "The main reason I-we Protectors follow Anthodar is because he's the one that knew Ekimu the most, as well as it being a tradition; Fire always led, and Hau established that himself."
Matoro looked around, then back to the Protector. "Maybe, since you're a Storyteller...maybe you could show what else has been 'established'?" Kivoda looked up at the Toa of Ice. "...Yes, I think that can help clear my mind a bit. Come; we're heading for the Festival's location in the ruins of the Ancient City. Perhaps you'd like to meet Narmoto?"
"Of course I would! And maybe watch you rehearse?" They both agreed, and soon they were off, but Kivoda couldn't stop doubting both himself and Anthodar along the way.
Meanwhile, Anthodar and Nilkuu sat near the large bonfire in the middle of the Fire Village. "Are you not going to the Festival of Creation this year, Brother?" asked Nilkuu.
"Oh noh. I hehve bean many times beforh." replied Anthodar. "What could bee wrohng weeth meessing one yeah? Ahfter all, Narmohtoh has gone, so we need not send another representative of Fiah." The Protector of Stone couldn't help but agree. Life here was good; that was what mattered. And as long as the spiders never attacked, they could rest easy. "Bai the weh..." continued Anthodar. "We found ze Toah of Ice in ze reegion of Watah earliah!"
"Ice?" replied Nilkuu, astonished. "Blimey; a Toa of ICE out there?"
"Well, eef he landed farthah nohrth, it would've been fine!" Both Protectors laughed out loud, almost not noticing a ball of fire shooting out of the sky above them!
(start at 0:17)
They watched as the meteor flew just east of the village. Hope filled the two Protectors' eyes as they started off in a trot toward the crash site before breaking into a run.(0:26) They ran up an ash dune, and when they reached the top, they stopped cold.
The figure standing in front of a metallic canister was considerably large, as they expected, but there were several things off; the figure's armor only had gold in very specific places. His one sword was very odd looking, and unnaturally short. A pair of tubes stretching from a horseshoe-like back appendage connected to either elbow. His mask was nothing like the Elemental Mask of Fire, and it shifted as the figure looked at himself. He also had just noticed his unusually large six-shooter was attached to his backside by a 5th limb, and it made him jump as he watched it switch from either hip-aim.(jump to 1:39) The two Protectors decided to introduce themselves anyway, accepting Tahu's unusual form. "Helloh, mighty Tahu! I ahm Anthodahr, ze Prohtekktor ohf Fiah! And thees is Nilkuu, Prohtekktor of Stoune. You have been chousen by Ekimu to retrieve his-"
"I think there's been a mix-up, sir." said the figure suddenly. "I'm not Tahu; my name is Toa Jaller, and I would like to know if anyone else in my team has landed."