sLightning Strikes Twice – Prologue

A dark night had fallen over a small island, about twelve square kio total in landmass. As the baleful eyes of the pale moon glared at the world below, a pool of silver liquid churned like a sea in miniature. Then a tall, armored being slid out of the shadows, darkness clinging to her like spider webs reluctant to release their captive. Her mask, a Kanohi Crast, shone wickedly in the light, heralding deeds of evil that were soon to come.

Then more of her kind came. One was carrying a white-armored being, much smaller than his captors. The other walked alone, his head high, like he was a king on the field of battle.

"Is it ready?" the first asked, her voice thunderous even though her tones were hushed.

The one carrying the unconscious being nodded. "I'm ready to extract his shadow, Tageria." Though the voice of this being was harsh and hard to read, it was undoubtedly female.

"And you?" Tageria's black eyes pierced the mask of the male. "This whole effort rides on your cooperation."

"I'm ready," he said, his voice steady, betraying no fear.

"Then, Hecate," the leader said, turning back to the other female, "you may begin."

In response, Hecate seemed to relax, like she had been concentrating on maintaining something else. About a nano-second later, the smaller being stirred and moaned. The Makuta held her hand over him, and he stiffened suddenly, as tendrils of slimy black poured off him, and congealed into a black version of him, whose black eyes gleamed with malice. Hecate lowered her hand and the black shadow stopped flowing out of him. Tageria plucked up the shadow being and flung it into the silver pool, which immediately began to hiss and churn like an angry sea.

"Hurry!" Hecate urged the male Makuta.

Behind his Kanohi Jutlin, he shut his eyes. A scant instant later, green and black antidermis flowed out of his armor, which sagged and collapsed as its occupant vacated it and steered his substance into the pool that now was barely containing tidal waves of what was clearly energized protodermis. The moment the antidermis touched it, the mysterious liquid turned black and frothed even harder.

"Please work," murmured Hecate. Whether she was praying for her brother Makuta's sake or the sake of their mission was debatable.

Then the entire pool froze in mid-action, held its position for about a minute, then began to reform, taking a shape roughly two bio tall. By the time it had finished, the pool was completely dry, and a figure that held a horrific resemblance to the white captive that was thrashing helplessly in Hecate's hold was stepping out of the empty hollow. Slimy black with shots of ghostly white was the color of his armor, and as he retrieved his mask and tools, they changed color as well.

Tageria flicked a finger, and a metal frame shot forward from the shadows that cloaked them. As Hecate fitted the figure into braces imbedded in the metal, chains of black energy sprang to life, wrapping around his wrists and ankles. The progenitor taken care of, the group leader turned to face the Brotherhood's new halfling.

"What is your name – now and before?" she hissed.

His red eyes narrowed as the halfling realized he had to look up to meet Tageria's gaze. "Deimos, both then and now."

"And do you know your mission?"


"Then I expect that when you achieve this, you will contact us."

Tageria's eyes narrowed to dark slits as she stared Deimos down. "Our last three halflings failed us. Don't make their mistakes."

With that threat, Tageria and Hecate vanished, leaving Deimos and his progenitor on the bleak isle. After a quick glance to the north, where the faint outlines of other islands could be seen, he dragged the metal frame away into the shadows, vanishing as if they had never had been there. The only evidence that they had was the dried-up hollow and the echoes of their maleficent whispers.