Power of the Cordakah, Chapter 11
Sentik's mind was in a whirlpool of pain. His last conscious memory was falling through a blue-black void, time slowing down, and then everything went black. Voices and shapes occasionally were perceived through his mask, and sooner or later he could make out the appearance of matoran, Skakdi, and strange Rahi-like creatures surrounding him. He felt as if he was being carried aloft, and the blackness returned. His sleep was surrounded by feverish dreams of failure, death, and the mask of Teros sitting beside his guilt.
His eyes began to open, and he felt as if he was still dreaming, for it seemed as if Teros was sitting across from him that very moment. His eyes came fully open from behind his mask, and he saw indeed that he was either dreaming, or he was dead. Teros, alive and well, seemed to be sitting right beside the makeshift bed that Sentik was layed on, although he looked much different. His silver-white body was replaced by the body of a black and grey Toa, although his mask stayed just the same. His eyes kept the same wise, thoughtful stare that Sentik remembered him by, and yet the eyes somehow seemed younger; much more energetic and filled with long lost youth.
"By the Great Spirit," Sentik said as he got up, "Teros, is that you?"
Teros smiled and shook his head. "Reality's concepts haven't escaped your grasp so far, my young apprentice," He said, his bright yellow eyes looking into Sentik's blue ones.
Sentik looked around at his surroundings. He seemed to be inside of a grass and bark hut, one well made and designed to comfortably hold at least two people together. "If you are real, Teros," Sentik began, "then I and my brothers are dead and all is lost. We have failed, and to compensate our failure the Great Spirit placed us in an afterlife where we shall be humbled by our shame."
"Spoken like a true philosopher," Teros said as he got up from the simple rock seat that he perched upon, "except you made a mistake; you're not dead."
Sentik looked at his old teacher confused. If what Teros said was true, then that would mean…
"Teros! You're alive!!!" Sentik shouted. He rushed up and embraced his teacher, catching Teros off guard. Teros smiled and patted Sentik's back softly. Sentik let go of his teacher, then began his questions.
"How-when-why-who…?" Sentik rambled.
"You forgot what and where," Teros cut him off, setting Sentik back down on his bed. Sentik couldn't help but just stare at Teros, surprised and awed at how his teacher somehow marveled his death, and how he, his apprentice, had marveled death himself. However, something was nagging him; his master's appearance.
"Teros," Sentik said, "How did you become a—?"
"Toa?" Teros finished for him, "Well, truth be told I always was one, but I will get to that story later. Right now you need to get to your brothers and sister, and I want a chance to introduce you to your rescuers, who as we speak are staring through these windows and doorways right now."
Sentik looked at the shabby windows and the slit that made up the door of the hut. He couldn't see anything through them, although some strange presence hung in the air, like something was watching him; however, all that Sentik could see was just a Fikou spider hanging above on the ceiling.
"Well, unless my rescuers are very small or invisible," Sentik said, still looking around for the supposed eavesdroppers, "I don't think they are here."
"Small, no," a voice suddenly spoke up from the doorway, "invisible, not for long!"
Suddenly, six reptilian creatures the size of matoran formed in the thin air. Sentik bounced back in surprise. The six figures, their colors ranging from Glacial White to Makuta Black stared up at him in a mixture of awe and wonder. One of them, a creature whose colors was different shades of greens and yellows, came up to him and bowed, striking the end of his staff three times on the ground, letting the sound echo in the small hut. The figure stood up, and looked at Sentik's confused eyes.
"Welcome, oh great hero of the above," the little reptile said, his arms rose up to the sky, "I am Karaz, a humble servant of all heroes and fighters of wrongs. I, Karaz, along with the great Teros, our Arbiter, and two of my best friends were the ones that had spotted you and your brothers and sister. We helped save you and your friends, but all we ask for in return is friendship."
Karaz held out his hand to the surprised Toa. Sentik looked up at Teros. His teacher nodded his head, indicating for him to accept the little one's offering. Slowly, Sentik held out his hand, and grasped the tiny clawed hand of Karaz. The reptile had a strong grip, and shook Sentik's hand twice before releasing it. Sentik, somehow, felt honored by this greeting, and smiled at the little reptile.
"Well," Teros said, "No point waiting here like statues awed on by young villagers; we should see what the rest of your friends are up to, shall we?"
Teros made for the door. Sentik got up and followed him out, wondering where his adventures would take him today.
Torak couldn't believe what had happened to him. The last thing he remembered the night before was that he had fallen at least a thousand feet down from the sky. Suddenly as he fell, a hand seemed to grab him from behind, and he fell through a bluish-black void, and then went unconscious.
When he awoke, he found himself surrounded by two-legged lizards the size of Matoran, all carrying staffs that they rapped on the ground when they saw him get up.
Not exactly what one expects to wake up to.
Torak learned for the short time that he was here that these creatures, Saurions as they called themselves, had been watching him and the other Toa Cordakah. He also learned that they were no friends of the Makuta, so that cheered him up somewhat. After all, how can one simple Toa beat at least a hundred small, matoran sized lizards that could turn invisible at will?
The little Saurions guided him out of the simple quarters that he was occupying. As Torak walked outside, he was amazed at what he saw. An entire village stood before him, its outsides and open air surrounded by green mist that all but blocked out a large portion of the sunlight. All around him, he saw the strange creatures that had rescued him, some playing with their little ones, others attending to daily duties, and yet others marching in formation around and through city streets as if preparing for an ever present war.
And that was not all that Torak saw. All around him he spotted matoran who he knew during his slave days, those who were caught in the resistance and deemed too "unimportant" to be given a decent torturous death and were thrown over the sides of the cliffs. Many others were matoran who had disappeared, presumed missing in action. And there weren't just matoran either; Skakdi, former Dark Hunters, even a Turaga or two could be seen walking in the city streets, all of them moving about as if they had not a care in the world, yet every once in a while one would glance skyward as if wondering what was going on above them.
When Torak walked in their midst, most just stared up at him in awe. Many who could recognize what matoran was left in his features greeted warmly, and he back, as many of these matoran he had thought died long ago, and many more he wept over the presumed loss of their lives.
Torak wondered if his rescuers were really rescuers, and if he had died the night before. This changed when he saw his five companions in the middle of a town square, talking to each other as if they were in a time of peace once more. When they saw Torak, they quickly called him over to them.
"What happened last night?" Torak asked them all, "How did we get here? Is everybody alright?"
"I believe I am the one who can answer at least two of those questions," a bold voice answered Torak. He turned around and saw to his astonishment what looked like Teros, the old matoran founder of the resistance. Except, it didn't look too much like Teros, unless Teros had gained a growth spurt in the short time he was presumed dead.
Torak noticed he was staring. He shook the sense back into him, and then asked, "We were told you were dead. How did you get here, and why are you a Toa?"
"Well," Teros began, "I guess you could say a guardian angel swept down from above and carried me aloft, and granted me the powers I longingly hoped for." When Torak looked more confused than ever, this time with the other Toa Cordakah with questions in their eyes, Teros chuckled and said, "Perhaps it will be easier in a story. First, let me introduce you to someone who helped rescue you, and if it weren't for him the whole village and more would be in danger!"
Suddenly, a strange shadow, an apparition, began to dissolve and form shapes. The Toa Cordakah all gasped as the Arbiter appeared before them, his energy sword in hand, and his head bent down in honor to the six of them.
"I introduce you to the Arbiter," Teros said, and the Arbiter continued his bow, bending low and gracefully before he came back up again.
"I welcome you into my home," the Arbiter said to them, "You may stay as long as you wish, although I fear that the time you wish to depart will be soon at hand."
"Not likely in my mind," Kiran spoke up, his eyes darting too and fro as if trying to gulp in as much scenery as possible, "Any place free of the Makuta is like home to me! I doubt much goes on here anyway."
"Were that so easy," the Arbiter chuckled.
Kiran, Torak, and the others sat together around what looked like an ancient Toa Suva. Teros, in his new Toa form, looked down at the six Toa Cordakah who were sitting around the Suva. Behind the Toa, the Arbiter and the twelve Saurion scouts listened well to the tale of Teros, as he told of how he had been a Toa Cordakah long ago, how he fought great battles alongside the original six, and how in the end he became a matoran for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (chapter 10).
As Teros reached the part where he fell from the cliff, he paused to recollect his thoughts. Many of the Saurions seated there began muttering amongst themselves, reflecting on the story and how it seemed to add further to the respect that they had to this "outsider." Kiran just sat there thinking for a while. If Teros was truly a Toa Cordakah, wouldn't that make him, naturally, our new leader?
Kiran couldn't finish his thoughts, for Teros was continuing his story.
"Well, as soon as I had fallen a ways, you could imagine how I must have felt," he said, "However, just before I had given myself up for dead, a mysterious hand came out from next to me, and dragged me through time and space to a place I never thought I would see again: Daxia!"
The Toa Cordakah were puzzled by what he said. None of them had ever heard of this place before; by Mata Nui, one of them even knew very much of the outside world themselves. However, the Saurions seemed perplexed at this name, and many of them gasped and cheered for joy, as if the word sparked as much hope as the promise of Artahka. Kiran was now even more confused than ever; he had only heard the name Daxia once before, and he was told that it was a myth; an old Turaga's tale. What was this Daxia?
"Daxia," Teros continued, " for those of you who do not know, is the secret location of a secret organization that I, as well as the original six Cordakah, had founded alongside the first ever Toa. For thousands of years, I had once been a part of that organization until I was evicted when the original six disappeared…evicted until now! The being that grabbed me and took me to this island was called Botar, an old friend who can teleport wherever he pleases…
Five days earlier…
Teros looked wildly about. The last thing he had remembered was falling about 2,000 feet, a request he made to an apprentice he loved and will miss forevermore. He then suddenly felt like he was being grabbed from behind, brought into a state of vertigo, and then suddenly came here into a dark and dimly lit chamber. The only light that he could see was being made by a series of yellow and blue colored lightstones, and a strange basin in the center of the chamber. On a throne in this chamber was someone he never thought he would see again.
"Hello again, old friend," A Toa of water addressed the ancient matoran.
"Helryx, it is an honor," Teros said, taking a bow to the even older Toa before him. He winced with pain and brought his hand behind him, rubbing his metallic back. The curse of getting old, he thought to himself.
"There is no need to bow to an equal, Teros," Helryx replied, rising up from the simple throne. She walked around the glowing basin at her feet and stood before the 'shorter' Matoran, with an attitude of respect and honor. Except for amongst Matoran, Teros was unused to being greeted in such a fashion, even by a Toa. What made Helryx so different from all the rest?
"There was a reason why you sent Botar to find me," Teros said, looking back at the giant behind him. Botar looked up at his commander. Helryx nodded. Before Teros could speak to his old comrade, Botar instantly disappeared, teleporting to some unknown location.
"There is no need to ask for where he is going," Helryx said to the small matoran, "He has gone on a mission a little ways away from your last location." (Read more in Dwellers in Darkness, ).
"Not the Pit, I suppose?" Teros asked.
Helryx smiled. Even as a Matoran, Teros was gifted with the ability of reading one's ambitions. It was the reason why he was elected as one of the first new recruits for the original six Toa Cordakah, a position that was honored more than even hers.
"I suppose you are curious as to why you are here then?" Helryx asked.
"I have good reason to, as you just interrupted my vision-inspired suicide," Teros said, his eyes staring up at the majestic face of the leader of the Order of Mata Nui.
"Suicide, maybe not," Helryx replied, gently taking the old Matoran to the side of the chamber, "Assigning of a mission, maybe so."
Teros looked up in shock and awe at the Toa. Impossible. After over 70,000 years stuck in his Matoran form, there could not be any going back. He disgraced his people; he disgraced Mata Nui! Most of all, he let his friends down, the six most trusted friends of his who he made it through thick and thin with, and they paid the price he wished he took instead. How could he, Teros the shameful, regain his honor after all this time?
"You have been through a lot I see," Helryx said to the Matoran. Teros didn't have to ask how she knew. Helryx's mask of power, a kanohi of memories was what he called it, had the ability to let her see the past of any object in the universe and beyond just by touching it. Already, in a matter of a few seconds, she had seen all that he had been through since day one of becoming disgraced. Teros knew there was no hiding his shame, but he kept his chin up anyway. After all this time alone with his thoughts, what more could he do?
"I am curious, Teros," Helryx began after she took her hand from the Matoran's shoulder, "how does a Toa Cordakah expect to regain his honor and favor with the Great Spirit by committing suicide by means of falling to your doom?"
"Well, you would too if you were stuck with this kind of guilt all of this time," Teros said.
"I have," Helryx replied, "The kind of guilt that comes from denying a friend the knowledge I have received. You were not responsible for the Cordakahs' deaths."
"What do you-"
Helryx put her hand over Teros' mouth. She closed her eyes, and concentrated. Another reason that Teros called Helryx's mask a mask of memories is that she can also transfer fixed memories from her past to another if she concentrated hard enough. This was reserved for only the finest and most honorable of choosers. Teros was pretty lucky in this case.
He saw how Helryx had issued an order to wipe out all those who had knowledge of the location of Artahka. He saw how, ahead of time, Mata Nui sent a vision to Helryx to spare Teros, but let the Great Spirit take back what was rightfully his. He also saw how Helryx debriefed the original six in what was to happen, and that they knew full well about what was going to come. The last thing he saw before reverting back into reality was a red bolt coming down to the six Toa Cordakah, brining them back to their original state, and an Order of Mata Nui agent killing the Makuta that came along.
When Teros came to, he felt tears flowing freely from his mask. Helryx was sitting next to him, an arm around his shoulders, trying to comfort the old Matoran. Teros felt a combination of pain and hope. After all these years, he finally learned the truth about his friends, that it wasn't his fault. Finally, he felt at peace.
"You can have a chance of redemption," Helryx said to Teros as he wiped his eyes, "You can help by saving some old friends of yours."
"What friends?" asked Teros, "Except for you and the Order I have nobody. Everyone has gone from my life, so why should I care for the world?"
"Have your friends on the Makuta's factory floor deserted you?" Helryx asked, "Or was your attempted suicide really just an excuse to abandon them?"
Teros became furious. He turned up at his old comrade, about to reprimand her for saying such ilk, when he saw her smiling. She stood up and said, "I always new how to get the truth out of you. That proves that there is a little good in the old gripe called Teros, isn't there?"
Teros chuckled, shaking his head at Helryx. "And here people think that you are supposed to be a serious leader of a well hidden organization," Teros said to his friend, "If I didn't know any better, I would say that you are the one going soft."
"Now that would be interesting!"
Teros turned at the new voice. A big, hulking, blue-and-gold figure stood at a doorway from the chamber. He leaned against the side of the doorway nonchalantly, as if he didn't have a care in the world. Teros knew better. Ancient, a wise old friend of his, was once a Toa just like he was. Once was hardly the word for it. After a series of self-inflicted mutations, plus a nasty exposure to energized protodermis, being a Toa wouldn't exactly be a description of his current form; a bulking creature of almost nasty proportions. His blue and gold armor was once said to be a simple reminder of the armor he wore as a Toa, although nobody knows much about that anymore.
Ancient was also known to be the most skilled of double agents. Many a time had Teros met up with Ancient before, mostly with them both on opposite sides. As Toa, they were good friends, and that friendship carried on at least until the situation in Artahka, and Teros had not seen his old friend since. Last he had heard, Ancient was working for the Dark Hunters, though as always he was a double agent truly working for the Order.
"Long time no see," Teros said to the big agent standing before him, "So what are you here for—come to join the pity party?"
"Not exactly, no," Ancient said in his serious tone. He walked up to the center of the chamber, just next to the rim of the basin. Helryx gestured with her hand, and Ancient pulled out a large container, roughly the size of Teros. Teros recognized the container as a dual-packager, or D-pack as it was referred to. It was able to store at least twice the space of a normal container, using a portal to a miniature pocket-dimension attached to the inside of the container. Ancient began typing in code words to the simple keypad on the D-pack's side.
"You are lucky that I had managed to finish a mission early," Ancient said, his fingers quickly typing through the keypad, "If the Shadowed One begins growing suspicious, my role as a double agent would be cut short."
"I take it that you managed to get it then," Helryx said, her own hands beginning to add a trickle of water into the basin.
"Got it?" Ancient asked, managing to crack the codeword on the D-pack, "The Shadowed one managed to give me the exact location of where it was. He instructed me to get some samples prepared for making future Dark Hunters. I managed to get a couple barrels, but this one was extra; just for this operation."
Teros watched in awe as a quick stream of energized protodermis oozed out of the D-pack. The liquid reacted violently with the water inside, but slowly it began to dissolve the water's chemical makeup, and it seemed to grow inside of the pool, replacing the water with more of the strange liquid. Soon the entire basin was filled to the brim with the stuff, its surface bubbling with intense energy.
"I take it that it wasn't easy to get this then?" Teros finally asked after most of the awe had passed.
"More or less," Ancient replied, "Unless you think having to battle an angry nest of Catapult Scorpions is easy.
Teros scoffed, "Child's play. I could probably do it as a Matoran right now!"
"Add that last scenario with a grotto that had several hundred millimeter-thick pillars that were the only things keeping the roof up, and the fact that the area was filled with earthquakes, and you have only a fraction of my situation," Ancient said.
"That would be difficult," Teros agreed. He looked down at the pit of bubbling protodermis, and then it hit him like a bolt from the blue. "Hold it!" he said, "I thought that the Order doesn't need me anymore! Why are you doing this?"
"Well," Helryx began, "We have gotten word that there is something big going on in Makuta Nui. Makuta Icarax, Teridax's left hand and the current wielder of the Mask of Shadow, had given up his post on the Brotherhood's factory floor and has moved to a new throne on Destral. That means that a new 'lord of the manor' is taking his place. We believe that new ruler, a Skakdi that goes by the name of Tartarahk, is working for someone even more powerful than the Brotherhood, and is hoping on using whatever nasty works that are on that island to aid in his work."
Teros thought for a moment. Just where did the name Tartarahk blink off in his head?
"Since you are the only ex-Order agent ever to last more than a couple of hours on the island," Helryx continued, "we feel that you should be the one to scope out this area and aid any forces willing to resist the Makuta." She stood up to full height, looking down at Teros, "We believe that this could be the first chance that we have at creating a war with the Brotherhood without revealing ourselves to them. The order would like you to take on this role, and, in doing so, win back your dignity and title as a Toa."
Teros pondered on this for a while. Ah what the heck, he thought, retirement was great, but pretty soon any old Muaka wants to get back to hunting every once in a while. "Alright," he said, "What do I have to do?"
"Well what do you think the protodermis is for?" Ancient asked, "Washing your feet?"
By now the protodermis was becoming violent. Teros looked at the bubbling liquid in the basin. He knew for a fact that energized protodermis had untold potential of power and mutation. If he jumped, his powers could return again, and he would become a Toa. However, he also knew that the protodermis had equal potential in destruction. Many islands filled with the stuff found out the hard way as to how reactive this stuff was. Teros remembered how a heroic creature of some sort, Nocturn if he remembered correctly, lived on an island where whole veins of the stuff existed all around his island. Well, one day Nocturn got real angry, and so, without knowing what would happen, he took aim and took his temper out at the island. The whole thing blew up bigger than a Great Furnace with one too many explosive power discs inside!
"Alright," Teros said, "You know, I was originally planning on dying today. I guess that I may get that wish, even though I don't want it now."
Without another word, he jumped.
Helryx and Ancient looked into the bubbling mass of liquid. Five minutes had passed since Teros had leaped inside, and they were beginning to lose hope. The protodermis had managed to calm down, the ripples performed when Teros had jumped in having stilled and reduced to nothing more than just a calm pit of seething liquid. Just as Helryx and Ancient were about to leave in grief , the protodermis suddenly became very violent, bubbling and splashing all around the room. The two Order members stepped back as the entire mass of energized protodermis rose from the basin. A sphere of writhing liquid rose into the air, and began twisting itself around, and around, and around, as if spinning its own orbit. Helryx could vaguely make out a shape inside, something around her size…
Suddenly, the protodermis turned black, its energy drained away completely. It began to compress upon itself, as if being sucked into a black hole. Slowly, the figure of a Toa began to appear, his body covered in a coat of simmering protodermis. The protodermis was absorbed by the figure inside, as his skin began to slowly appear, its black and grey coloring shimmering in the gloom. Silver and dark bronze armor dotted the Toa's body, and a gleaming Zamor rifle sat on his back. A silver Mask of Repair fit snugly on his face, and glowing yellow eyes shone from within the eye-slit of the mask.
The Toa landed softly on the ground in front of the basin. The basin itself smoked and steamed from the process it had to bear. Any further exposure to the protodermis's effects and the basin would have probably melted over, causing the energized protodermis to fall upon any unsuspecting order member below.
Smoke and steam rose off of the Toa of Gravity standing before Helryx and Ancient. He stood to full height, his eyes glowing with power. As if speaking with two souls, one of old, and one far older, he said, "I, Teros, Toa Cordakah, have returned."
Seelkath was furious. The night had gone by with a great battle, which kept almost all of the workers and slaves awake with fright, and he slept through it all! He didn't have a chance to nab any Matoran Resistance members, to grasp them in his claws; to choke them with his fingers, or to impale them with his Shock Spear.
Sadly for the other Slavedrivers, it was they that he took his rage out on. Many were lucky not to be torn to pieces by their leader's wrath, but many more were even luckier to not receive the business end of his spear, or the receiving end of his Zamor Pistol. Entire buildings almost crumbled to pieces before the Slavedriver's wrath.
Tartarahk was just as furious. In the night, Thokros had gone missing. Naturally, that meant that his district of Ko-Makuta didn't have a Slavedriver leader. In the morning to follow the battle, many Slavedrivers under Thokros's care, each equal in low rank due to the Slavedriver's paranoia of a replacement, were fighting amongst themselves for the job. It was all a mess that Tartarahk was too angered to clean up, though many of the Slavedrivers seemed to think that if they came up on top of the battle they would be promising enough to be declared leader of the Ko-Makuta District.
Tartarahk thought differently. He appointed one of his own personal Slavedrivers, one hardened to life in the mines, as the leader of the now seemingly "orderless" district. Dreadahk, a spider-like creature who felt no need for any weapons save for his "natural" ones, was chosen for the job. Several of his limbs had many hooks and claws, and one set actually had a pair of large sword-like appendages, which Tartarahk doubted had naturally grown. Dreadahk looked like a creature that came straight out of Karzahni, and some say that he had. Dreadahk had a seemingly lifeless glow about him, as if he was truly the living dead. Everywhere he walked, slaves backed away in fear. Even the other Slavedrivers feared him, save for Seelkath, who seldom feared anything due to his own rage and, though he'd never admit it, stupidity.
That night, the six Slavedriver leaders, including their new arrival, held a meeting discussing plans for retaliation against what little resistance could be left. The sewers were currently being searched by Vahki and Karakash, but due to the lack of a current map of the system, plus all of the robot-eating Rahi in the sewers, it would take years and hundreds of thousands of machines to find even a simple sign of the escaped resistance.
"Whatevvvvvver the plan issssssss," Seelkath hissed, "I wannnnnt to have the firssssssst shotttttt! All whoooooo fail to seeeeee my thirst for connnnquesssst will be punished sevvvverellllly!"
"Whatever you say," said Rakhurst nonchalantly, "I just want it done and over with."
"Hahahahaha!!!" said Lexhor, "Just let any fool stand in my way. I have four friends who I am very close too, and I think its time that they had some food to eat!" He cackled insanely as he spun his four blades wildly. Even Seelkath, in his mad rage, kept his distance of the poisonous weapons.
All that could be made out from Takea was a couple of growls and roars, but nobody was fooled by Takea's madness. Even they, the scum of the universe, knew what lurked behind the Rahi-like craziness of the blue beast.
"What do you say in this matter, Dreadahk?" Kiro asked the newcomer.
The strange Slavedriver looked up at the five others for the first time that meeting. His eyes, almost like hollow eye sockets, peered through a simple face that seemed to be as hollow as each of their hearts. Dreadahk spoke in a strangely empty voice, his eyes filled with a gray mist.
"I believe that the only thing we can do," he said, "Is ensure they do not live to see the light of another day. Let us make sure that when we do find them, we capture them all, and then call upon all of our most able bodied slaves. Let them whip the Matoran fools who dare try to resist us, and then in their moment of sorrow, kill them outright, in front of hundreds of thousands of slaves. Let us make sure that they all suffer for the mistake and foolishness of resistance."
All of the Slavedrivers, even Takea, where dumbstruck. No Slavedriver was known to make a speech such as that, and whenever they did make speeches, it was to put fear into the hearts of others. This speech not only put fear into the hearts of those that heard it; it inspired the other Slavedrivers, almost as if it was destiny that made him speak those words.
"Uhh," said Seelkath finally, "Thisssss will do for nnnnnnow. Weeeeee continue tommmmorrow. Get bacccckkkkkk to workkkkkk."
The six of them left their separate ways. Kiro, however, waited a while. He watched Dreadahk go on his way towards his district. Using his mastery of shadows, the former Makuta followed the new Slavedriver on his way to Ko-Makuta.
To Kiro's surprise, Dreadahk did not head over to the Ko-Makuta district. Instead he went down deeper into the sewers, past several of the mining operations, and deeper into Makuta Nui. Kiro followed as silently as the shadows he was made of, determined to learn the secret of this seemingly interesting Slavedriver.
Dreadahk finally stopped in front of a doorway. He pushed a secret lever, and the door opened. Quickly, Kiro managed to follow Dreadahk inside before the door closed on his wings.
Kiro found it a little difficult to find a hiding space in the chamber, but he managed, considering his powers over shadow made him excellent for the job. He watched Dreadahk enter through a large hallway, and stop at a simple chamber which was opened into the hall. Dreadahk took out a crystal and placed it on a pillar in the center of the room. A dark, dismal shape creeped out of that crystal. The shape transformed into a horrifyingly disgusting image of a creature, one that looked humanoid, and wore a strange mask with horns.
Kiro almost jumped out of his armor. There was only one mask in existence with horns like that; the infamous Kanohi Olisi!
This creature was the legendary Karzahni!!!
Dreadahk, oblivious to the Makuta hiding in the shadows behind him, bowed to the mighty warlord of death. Karzahni seemed to take a breath, although the wisp of mist that made up his substance was merely a mirage. The true Karzahni must be in his stronghold, Kiro thought.
"Why have you called me forth, my creation?" asked Karzahni in a dismal manner. His voice sounded scratched, and seemed to sound like a series of gears that hadn't been oiled in thousands of years attempting to move and bustle in their sockets.
"I have news for you my master," Dreadahk said. Kiro noticed that the Slavedriver, or whatever he was, had dropped the almost dead tone of voice, and spoke as if he were in the presence of his life's purpose. "Your assumptions were correct. A battle had just taken place here the night before. Many viable specimens are ready for your collection. This desolate place is ripe for the picking."
"Excellent," Karzahni hissed with delight. The sound hurt Kiro's ears, something he found rather surprising, "I shall reward you when the time comes. For now, we must be patient. When the moment is right, we shall strike!"
"How will we prepare these viable specimens for transport, my lord?" Dreadahk asked.
The wisp of smoke raised its "arms," and its hands began to conjure more smoke. This smoke began to compress, molding itself into a rhombic prism, until the smoke took the form of a black crystal. The crystal fell into Dreadahk's outstretched hands, its energies flowing within the simple shell of glass that made up the crystal's outsides.
"Take this crystal," Karzahni said to his creation, "and when a new battle ensues, take it into the heart of the fortress. Call upon its powers, and it will wipe out everything living within the center of the island, and you will be able to call upon their bodies for transport. Soon, we shall refresh our ranks, and absolutely nothing will stop us!" There was a noise, supposedly from Karzahni's end of the line, "I must leave now. I will be gone from my fortress for a while; I must find and crush some Matoran who dare to defy my order(See Into the Darkness). I leave you in charge of this operation."
"Yes, my master," Dreadahk replied.
The wisp of smoke vanished into its orb, leaving Dreadahk supposedly alone. Dreadahk took the crystal in his hands and placed it carefully on an altar behind the pillar. He bowed to it with as much admiration as a Matoran would to the Great Spirit, and then left his secret room.
Dreadahk's dead eyes looked back and forth as he left the secret doorway. Pushing back the secret lever, he sealed the hidden doorway, and slunk back over to his district. Little did he suspect that the crystal was not the only thing he left inside...
About five minutes later, a strange grating sound came from behind the hidden door. A crackling sound and a surge of power could be heard past the door, though there was nothing to hear the evil sounds that were taking place. An evil, muffled laugh came from within the chamber halls. Suddenly, the door's sides were enveloped with huge, shadowy fingers. A massive shadow hand pushed the door out of the way, and tossed it aside. Kiro, his right hand holding the black crystal, was now surging with dark power. His eyes glowed red with shadow, and his armor glowed with intense energy. He laughed with delight from his newfound discovery, and hissed with the satisfaction of power long lost.
"Ah, at long last..." he sighed, "It feels good to have that barrier off of my shoulders. This device is certainly useful, but far too useful for Dreadahk's own good. After all, why should a child play with fire, when that job is for the adult?"
Kiro looked back at the replacement crystal that he managed to conjure using what power he had about five minutes ago. The exact replica swirled with Makuta energy, although it did not have a fraction of the power that he now possessed. Instead, he rigged the crystal so that if activated it would cause a minor explosion, and devolve into a temporary black hole, taking within its hunger whatever stood next to it, including its master.
He placed the real crystal within a fold in his armor. His power began to cool down. His body reverted back to normal, although he felt five centuries younger within the armor that originally kept his powers at bay.
"Now that my bond has been released," he said, "I will be able to get back at those who dared to oppose me. However, I feel that it would be best if I keep this power to myself. 'Tis better for me to act in denial than to show off my fully returned abilities."
He took out his shadow hand and put the door back in its place so that it would be as perfect as it was before. He spread out his wings, the only other Makuta power that was allowed for him to keep, and he flew through the tunnels towards the surface.
Unbeknownst to him, a pair of gleaming orange eyes saw his leave through the dark. A white axe moved aside the rock that concealed its owner. The figure of Thokros, bruised and dusted as he was, smiled at his newfound discovery. Two planned betrayals all in one day. He looked at the perfectly placed door, and pulled on the secret lever that Dreadahk had used to open the door. He walked through the hall of the room, and spotted the crystal that Kiro had left behind.
If two Slavedrivers could betray the Brotherhood, he said slyly to himself, then I suppose I had better make it three.
He took up a hastily scribbled note giving directions to Kiro's laboratory, snagged the crystal, and replaced it with the note. He tossed the crystal up and down in his clawed hand, then put it into a pouch on his waist. He walked past the rock where he was hiding. Behind it, a secret staircase led back up to the passage that he had stumbled upon back at the fortress. Just a little more exploring, he said to himself, and then, when the time is right, I will give Kiro a little surprise that he'd probably consider a rude awakening!
To be continued…
Kerian: Three betrayals, a warrior reborn, and a plot under the power of the master of death himself. Not a bad new chapter for the first time in a year, huh?
Since Power of the Cordakah occurs a couple of weeks before Vezon loses the Mask of Life, I decided to add a rather interesting concoction into this chapter. Taking place a little while before the events of 's Into the Darkness, right about when Jaller and his Matoran rescue group are attempting to get to Voya Nui, this chapter helps the in-escapable plot about the monstrous Karzahni, whose powers over the realm of death make him a very evil creature indeed. Karzahni always wanted to get revenge after his "brother," Artahka, had recieved the honor of ruling the "heaven" of the Bionicle World, while Karzahni was stuck with the land of the dead. Since he was bad at his original job, which was to repair Matoran, he decided to make many of them his slaves. In the end, this leads up to Karzahni's plans for world domination (similar to Teridax's, except Karzahni happens to be older. It's too bad that Makuta have greater power potential over the mind, otherwise Karzahni would still be trying to have global domination. Read more in Into the Darkness on ).
Dreadahk is a real interesting peice of work. He was originally a plan I made that was meant to create a Bionicle-version of the Beast Wars character Tarantulas, which was later adapted into the Slavedriver he is today. He was originally meant to be the big antagonist, but got replaced by Tartarahk. I decided to re-intigrate him into the story after dropping Thokros from his former role, though Thokros is still a big character in the story (even bigger, now that he's gone rogue).
Well, now that you got some behind-the-scenes information, I'll be signing off. Me, out!
-Kerian, Toa of Fire (my favorite of all elements)