The twin suns' light glistened off the waves of the ocean as a brisk salt breeze wafted through the air. The ocean lay under a cloudless sky as a flock of sea birds flew over the waves. Suddenly, a wheel of energy flew through the air and scattered the flock. One unlucky bird was struck by the flying energy and fell from the sky with a cry. The bird's fall came to an end when it struck the metal deck of a ship. A gigantic blue spider pounced on the downed bird, snatching it up in its pincers. Before it could ingest its prey, another black arachnid tackled the first, knocking away the paralyzed prey. The pair began to fight, swiping at each other with their legs and pincers before another red spider rushed in and scooped up the bird. It swallowed the bird with what passed for a smirk on its face, only to see the first two staring at him, rage in their eyes.
From a balcony high above the ship's deck, a lone figure watched the three spiders fighting amongst themselves, along with scores of other spiders roaming the deck. A smile played across his face.
"Yes, fight, my Visorak," he said, more to himself than anyone. "Keep your battle instincts sharp."
"Tell me something, Sidorak," said a voice behind him. "Does it ever get dull, running from island to island, sowing wanton destruction behind you?"
The Steltian elite turned towards the voice. A chuckle shook his lithe form as he replied.
"Never, my lord," he said. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"We have a new target for your horde."
The figure's face was obscured by the shadows that seemed to cling to his body, but a pair of red eyes shone from his face. He handed a tablet to the Visorak king who studied it with intent.
"Huna Nui?" he asked, reading the inscription. "I can't say I'm familiar with the name."
The shadowed figure's eyes seemed to smile, though the notion could hardly be considered comforting.
"Few are. Though by no means isolated, its inhabitants have an…unusual preoccupation with secrecy. You may find locating the Matoran inhabitants a bit of a challenge. And I know you like challenges."
Sidorak's eyes lit up for a moment before bowing to the shadowed figure.
"I accept this task and this challenge, my lord," he replied, elegantly. "However, if I may be so bold, what on this island has attracted your attention?"
"You are very observant, Sidorak," said the figure, "this island does indeed hold something of value to the Brotherhood, but for now, I must leave your question unanswered."
"My apologies, Makuta, I shall set course for Huna Nui posthaste."
Sidorak watched as the figure before him became enveloped in shadow as it began to fade. When he was once more alone, he made his way to the doors of his chambers.
"Elkana!" he called.
Moments later, a tall, red Aviena appeared at the door.
"Yeah, boss?" asked the bird-like being.
"We have a new assignment. Set course for this location and prepare the swarm for invasion. It is time to hunt once more."
A grin spread over Elkana's face, as he chuckled.
"I'll get right on it, boss," he chortled, as he turned to attend to his task.
A rustling wind blew across the volcanic plain, stirring up loose bits of earth and ash and twirling them up into the air. Sparse tufts of grass swayed in the breeze as they basked in the twin suns' heat while a steady flow of molten lava coursed its way across the plain. Draining from the summit of the Vorzai volcano, half a dozen streams of lava joined together to form one gigantic river of molten rock. As the Manai lava flow approached midway between the mountain and the sea, the lava poured over a craggy cliff and into a red hot pool at the bottom. Had any passersby been present, they would have seen an unusual sight. A long metallic tube extended from behind the lava falls, growing until its end rested on solid ground. From within the tube, a figure emerged. The Toa of Fire's Kanohi Hau glistened in the light of the suns and lava as he turned towards the cliff. Calling on his Toa strength, he quickly scaled the rocky surface, looking distastefully at the path carved into the cliff face.
"Too slow," he thought.
Turning back to the lava flow, the Toa pulled his lava board from his back and tossed it onto the molten stream. With a running leap, he landed squarely on the board and took off upriver.
"Alright Tahu," he said, "let's see just how fast you can go."
Blasting behind him with jets of fire, he propelled himself against the lazy current of the Manai. Once he had gained enough speed, he continued on under the power of his own inertia, dodging rock crags, jutting out of the red hot river.
"Nothing like good lava surfing to reenergize the body," he said to himself.
It was then he noticed a shaking in the rocks around him. Puzzled, he slowed his speed and took stock of his surroundings. The shaking grew stronger and stronger as the current suddenly changed directions. Taken by surprise, Tahu almost lost his balance and leapt from his lava board, scrambling up onto the bank. He turned around just in time to see his lava board disappear into a giant molten whirlpool.
"What in the –"
His question was cut short by an explosion that shot rock, lava, and ash high into the air. Calling on his Mask of Shielding, the Toa watched as a giant glob of lava splashed over his force shield and flowed back into the river, followed by a chunk of volcanic rock. Debris fell all around him, and Tahu thanked the Great Spirit for his Kanohi. Within a few minutes, the majority of the debris had settled or floated away on the wind, and Tahu shakily got to his feet, intent on inspecting the damage. Where once there had been a fairly straight expanse of the lava river, there was now an enormous crater.
"Muaka's bones!" muttered Tahu. "Thank Mata Nui there was no one else nearby."
He stopped as he noticed something bright white on the other side of the crater. Curious, he quickly leapt across the Manai, which was now flowing backwards to fill the crater. He made his way around the crater and, upon seeing that the object in question was a Matoran, broke into a run. He knelt as he arrived at the prone figure. The Ko-Matoran was unconscious and covered in burns and bruises. His breathing was shallow and ragged, while his heartlight flashed irregularly.
"Mata Nui," thought Tahu, as he scooped up the Matoran and rushed back towards his village, "let him be alright."
"How is he, Turaga?" asked Tahu.
Turaga Orli stood near the Ko-Matoran as three Ta-Matoran healers tended to his wounds.
"You brought him in just in time," said Orli, his Noble Elda creased with concern. "Much longer and he would have died."
The Turaga paused.
"Tahu, this is Nari, Cothan's personal messenger. Perhaps you should go to Ko-Huna and inform them that he has been injured. I would hate for Cothan to worry about this fellow."
Tahu bowed slightly.
"I'll do that Turaga."
With that, he turned and left. As he made his way to the village's front gate, Tahu looked over the village he called home. Built within a cave carved from volcanic rock, the village of fire slept safe and secure near the Manai. A small portion of the molten rock was diverted off from the river and flowed through the center of the village. Mask-makers and crafters collected the molten protodermis to create the masks and tools that they traded to the other villages. As he came to the gate, the Matoran guards there saluted him, and he nodded in recognition as he passed through the open gates.
Tahu made his way down a short tunnel, until he found himself standing behind a glowing sheet of falling lava. To his left was a mechanical control panel, and on his right sat a large machine dominated by a long tube extending from its middle. Reaching over, Tahu typed on the control panel and was greeted by the sound of clanking machines. Were he on the other side, he would have to enter a password into a hidden panel that was revealed by aligning a group of stones on the bank. The long tube extended out from the machines as its gears and mechanics turned and whirled. It arrived at the falling lava and pushed its way through the red hot liquid, its heatproof shielding keeping it safe.
Tahu entered the enclosed walkway and made his way towards the other end. He stood patiently until it touched the opposite bank. With that, the Toa of Fire jumped to the ground and rushed back up the cliff face.
"Heh, déjà vu," he muttered, as he tossed his lava board into the river and rushed back upstream.
Déjà vu, indeed Tahu.
Hello folks! Fear not, you aren't seeing double. This are indeed two stories titled Scourge of the Visorak amongst my works. The original Scourge of the Visorak was the very first story I ever wrote. At the time, it was one of my greatest accomplishments, and I proudly put in on the internet for all to see. Now, several years later, I look back and see just how far I had to go. In the years since, my stories have grown to new levels of imagination and ingenuity, and I've learned a few things about telling a story. So, this past year, I took it upon myself to rewrite my original epic tale, so as to fit in with the rest of my works, in terms of both quality and world-building.
If this is your first time visiting Huna Nui, be prepared for action, tragedy, romance, and high adventure. But, if you've already read the original, fear not. You're in for a treat as well, as I have made some significant changes, in both the story and the characters. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the ride.