Bionicle: Shadow among the Flames
Act 2: Confusion
Umarak hurtled through the jungle, jumping from tree to tree, and the whole time he was contemplating Fire Lord's request. He seemed no different form the Protector of Fire. thought Umarak, Up until he mentioned taking over the Island, at least. To be honest, he certainly seemed all the more ambitious, and he swore to bring at least one of the two most sacred and well-hidden treasures in the world. I just don't see how he could do it, but I'm willing to give him at least some shot at it. As he approached an altar far below him, he spotted a figure sitting criss-cross in front of the step up to it. He was wearing armor that showed several snake designs, and the majority of it was a very dark shade of green. His staff, too, also caught his eye; it was a bo staff like a gladiator would use, but one end had a glowing orange crystal blade that radiated heat, while the other end held a cyan crystal blade that was surrounded by frost. The Hunter decided to take a closer look, slipping into shadow form and crawling down the tree trunk, slowly approaching the figure. But just as he was getting close to the ground, the figure spoke.
"You are not the first assassin sent after us Toa, and you most certainly won't be the last."
Umarak smirked and emerged from shadow form on a branch no less than 10 feet from the ground, overlooking the altar. "You are quite bold to traverse this deep into my territory." he brandished his bow, aiming for the figure's helmet. "I don't suppose you know what I, a Hunter, would do to trespassers?"
"The jungle is every creature's home, be they good or evil." said Vastus, still unmoving. Umarak chuckled. "I expected you to be more playful, Master of Jungle. But this is certainly a treat!" Vastus raised his head to the altar ahead of him. "Master? The jungle is what masters us, and not the other way around."
"Quite an odd setup for a Master of Jungle, too." Umarak continued. "Fire and Ice, huh? And I thought those two elements could never mix." Vastus smirked at the Hunter's words. "Try telling that to brothers Jaller and Matoro. They're almost like biological brethren."
"Jaller? Matoro?" Umarak lowered his bow, finally starting to actually question the sage. "If it's those two we're talking about, then where are the REAL Toa? Tahu, Kopaka..."
"They are dead."
"Dead? Dead how?"
"A being known as Fire Lord killed them, and countless Toa alike. Jaller and his team are all that remain."
Umarak couldn't believe his ears. The TOA, of all beings, are DEAD? And by the hand of the very man that gave me this job... thought the Hunter. Oh well. Perhaps this new batch of Toa will suffice.
"Well, perhaps I should hunt THEM down instead."
"You will do no such thing." replied Vastus, rising to his feet at last, staff in hand. "I don't think you have much of a choice in this regard." chuckled Umarak. "After all, I'm sure Anthodar's got his claws on them already."
"The Protector of Fire? You don't know the leader of the village of fire?"
Vastus felt his heart skip a beat. "L-leader? Why would the leader of a Matoran Village want the Toa dead?!"
"I dunno. Ask him yourself, if you even get close to him before he guns you down." Umarak chortled as Vastus turned toward him. "He hates the Toa, and has openly explained his view of them; they revive Ekimu the Mask Maker, the world ends. He's got some kind of Speaker-of-God complex going, and it doesn't look like he's going to stop. Not for a petty Master of Fire or Jungle, that is."
A new kind of fear swept through Vastus, and he grabbed his staff and ran like the wind across the canopy. Umarak chuckled as he ran from his location. "Run, Toa. Run...you'll only prolong the inevitable."
The Jungle Sage was running so fast and so hard that he never noticed a beartrap-like creature in front of him until it latched onto his leg. He tried to pull his leg free, only to find his body locking up everywhere.(stop music) In his unnoticeable struggling, he caught the sight of a silhouetted figure in the shade that laughed at him and said:
"Look Uxar; our first catch of the day!"
Vastus thought he could recognize the voice, but he wasn't sure. A green dragonfly-like creature crawled out in front of him, chirping in a puzzled way. The figure stepped into the light, revealing light blue and dark green armor covering his whole body, aside from a rusty robotic left arm made from what resembled a mix of Rahi parts and Lego bricks. But what set off alarms was the figure's mask. Or rather, helmet. And this helmet design was unmistakable...
Vastus finally felt his jaw loosen enough to get one word out:
Jaller wasn't sure what to think when he and Kiina were barred in a room with Matoro and three of the Protectors; Anthodar, Vizuna and Nilkuu. Anthodar being the first to break the silence. "Nilkuu? Vizuna? Tell zeese Toah who ze reel gods ahre..."
The lights in the room began to dim, either from rising rocks or thickening leaves. All but one light remained, and it focused on the two Protectors who were now making several strange movements in the light...
Soon, they began their verse.
By the power of Hau!
HAU! Rau Miru Kakama Matatu Mahiki Avsa Elda Slethu Arthron Olamk Faxon Pehkui Kualsi Kadin Iden
Nilkuu: So you think you've got friends in high places with the power to put us on the run?
Vizuna: Well, forgive us these smiles on our faces; you'll know what power is when we are done.
Nilkuu: You're playing with the big boys now...
Vizuna: Playing with the big boys now!
Nilkuu: Oh, that's pretty. Ev'ry spell and gesture
Vizuna: Tells you who's the best,
you're playing with the big boys now.
(by the power of Hau)
You're playing with the big boys now!
(Rau, Miru, Kaukau, Kakama)
You're playing with the big boys now!
(Matatu, Mahiki, Avsa, Elda)
Nilkuu: Stop this foolish mission!
Vizuna: Watch a true magician
give an exhibition how!
Vizuna: Just drop that jagged twig, boy;
you're playing with the big boys now!
(Nilkuu: Ha ha ha ha ha)
By the power of Hau, Rau, Miru, Kaukau, Kakama, Olmak, Volitak, Avsa, Elda, Avohkii, Pakari Matatu Mahiki Akaku Kualsi
You're playing with the big boys now!
You're playing with the big boys now!
By our mighty chorus, you will kneel before us!
Kneel to our splendorous POWER!
Nilkuu: You put up a front!
Vizuna: You put up a fight!
Nilkuu: And just to show we feel no spite,
Vizuna: you can be our Acolyte!
Nilkuu: But first, boy, it's time to bow...
or it's your own grave you'll dig, boy;
you're playing with the big boys,
(Each time they repeat, think of them steadily approaching the camera with Makuta red eyes while still performing their movements, all of which are slowly getting more creepy until the final "NOW!")
At last they finished, to be met with the very astonished and disturbed faces of Jaller, Kiina and Matoro. "Wahs that noht an EXTRRAVAGAHNT perfohrmahnce?" said Anthodar, applauding like the world had just been saved. "I-..Well...." Jaller didn't know what to say at first; his mind was still jumbled between the joy of seeing Matoro again and the satanic ritual he just witnessed. "That was certainly....interesting?"
Matoro was on the same level as Jaller; his mind possibly even more scrambled than a breakfast egg. "Y-yeah...it certainly was."
"Now you know why it's best not to mess with beliefs." hissed Nilkuu. "Try something like that again, and believe me when I say that there will be a reckoning!" With that, the three Toa slowly walked out, unable to hide their uneasiness from both the Protectors and the Earth Villager standing outside. "What were the Protectors mad about?" he asked.
"You wouldn't understand." replied Jaller.
"Why so?" the villager pressed. "You three look devastated. I guess it's about the whole 'Gods aren't masks' deal?"
All three Toa froze. "...How did you know about that?" Kiina was the one to break the silence. "You didn't...overhear us, did you?"
"They busted ME for it, too. And all because of a book they had left open on Anthodar's desk; it showed someone named 'Mata Nui'. Any idea who that is? It's as if they're trying to hide some-"
"Say no more, little one." said Matoro. "I can see we are on equal footing about this; the Protectors are trying to hide the truth by creating false dieties."
"If they really are false, they've worked excessively hard to build upon them." replied the villager. Then he perked up. "Oh, where are my manners? My name's Shadix! What's yours, great ones?"
"So you've established that we aren't Tahu and company?" chuckled Jaller. "I'm Jaller, and this is Kiina and Matoro. To continue, we didn't mean to break traditions so soon; we're just trying to find the rest of our team."
"Ah, I see!" continued Shadix. "Funny thing; you guys aren't really supposed to know each other."
"Oh? Why is that?"
"Summoning the Toa was supposed to wipe any memories they had before their arrival. It's crazy, I know. Then they travel across the Island, searching for their Golden Masks of Power, then they meet up to go on this quest to restore Ekimu, the greatest mask maker in the world and our sole protector besides the Toa, using the power of the six golden masks."
"Huh..." Matoro had pulled out a note pad from his glider suit and was writing down some of the things Shadix said. "So, travel across island, search for gold masks, restore supergod. Gee, that sounds unnaturally familiar..."
"No kidding." replied Jaller. "Well, we'll try to find the masks as we go. Right now, we need information about the locations of our teammates..."
"Oh yeah!" Shadix perked up again. "I forgot to mention; I was gonna go tell the Protectors that another pod had landed up near the border to the Ice region! Might as well tell you instead, since you're here."
"Really? Awesome!" said Jaller. "Thanks, Shadix!" The three of them began to head off. "Also, nice getting to know you! Hope we meet again soon."
"Same here!" called Shadix as the Toa walked down the road. When they were gone, Shadix turned a corner at the temple. He approached a Silver Canister that appeared to be overgrown, but still flashing faintly. "You were the first to arrive...but why? Why haven't you come out?" he brushed the metallic side, his hand sliding along it as though he was running it through water. Of course, nothing happened. Should he have told the Toa? Shadix was feeling stupid now; why didn't he? His thoughts were interrupted by what looked like a faintly glowing black rock in the ground next to the pod. He picked up the shining stone, its dark purple aura emanating almost seductively, and fumbled it around in his hands in a puzzled way. What is this? he thought. And why do I feel...connected to it, somehow?
Again, his thoughts were interrupted. Not by a stone, but by a mysterious light coming from a shrine not far off. He walked over, finding that a slot was glowing with the same aura as the stone.(0:26) Bringing it close, he could see that the aura seemed to brighten, as though the two were two halves of one whole.(0:33) Could this be a Toa Suva? thought Shadix. And could I be holding a Toa Stone?! Like in that book I read from?! Wait, but...shouldn't I have a whole team with me? I'd just be a Toa of Earth...(0:46) His body absentmindedly moved the stone closer and closer to the Suva, as if not taking notice of the thoughts of the holder.(0:55) "No! Not yet..." he said aloud, retracting his hand. "Should I just do it? Risk the anger of the Protectors, especially from Anthodar?..." he turned the stone over in his hand again, and he began to question both sides of the argument. Quite soon, his mind was made up.
"You know what? I don't care. The Protectors may shout, but I'll be a big muscular Toa of Earth. I'll be unmovable!"
With that, he shoved the Toa Stone into the Suva.
The stone vanished, and a swirling mass of black, silver and purple began to swirl around the Suva, and the doors of the shrine suddenly slammed shut!(0:07) Shadix was startled by this, but he puffed out his chest as a light began to glow in the center of the room. The Suva opened wide, and the light in the middle suddenly turned black as night.(0:20) Shadix didn't understand what was going on, but something unnerved him about the sight. Just as he realized how much trouble he was in,(0:30) a black tendril surged from the Suva, laced now with silver and not purple, but crimson red. Shadix writhed about as the dark energy tore into him, making his body feel as though it was being bombarded by a hail on needles.(0:44) He screamed as his vision cut out, and a burning wave washed over him, followed immediately by frigid encasement. He couldn't move, and whatever sound he made was drowned out.
Outside, the Canister's glowing parts overcharged, and the pod door blasted off.
In the pod,(1:00) Toa Takanuva's eyes snapped open.
"Come on, open up!" snapped Matau as he fumbled the controls of the pod door. "Blast it, I can't see a thing! Let me out of this tight-cramped rabbit hole!" Finally, he flipped a switch in his struggle, which triggered a countdown, followed by the ill-fated words of "Thank you for pressing the Self-Destruct button. Have a nice day!"
"WHAT THE JA-" was all Matau could get out before being flung into the open air by a huge explosion. He tumbled through the air a short distance before plopping face-first into a patch of dirt. "*ptoo* Yeckh! And I thought Nuparu could've planted less suicidal devices in his 'modern crafts'!" He looked around from where he lay, and noticed something about his situation; not where he was, but...
"That's funny..." he said to himself as he pulled himself closer to the pond in front of him. "For some reason, I don't feel much like myself..." Matau crawled to the edge...and yelped at the face he saw in the water! He tried slapping or whacking it in some way, but he came to the realization that "I....I'm NOT myself! W-Last time I was this ugly, I was a Hordi-...........you know, I'm actually looking pretty suave!" His mask bore a sort of headdress like a Protector, and the rest of his body wore armor that alternated between verdant green, light green and a hint of silver. His Aero Slicers were now a vibrant gold, something that caught him slightly off guard, but he didn't care too much. "Well hey there, you slick little devil!" he cooed to his reflection, running his hand on the top of his head, as though hand combing invisible hair back. "Heh, Nokama and the others ought to be falling head-over-heels for this fella!"
A sound behind him made him jump to his feet, and he whirled around to see Jaller and Kiina standing behind him, Kiina covering her mouth to try to stifle laughter. But she devolved into a giggling fit as Matoro broke the silence from around the corner.
"All things considered, the only person I saw falling head-over-heels was you, Matau. Nice fireworks, by the way."