The Shadowed One glared out of a window in his quarters as rain lashed against the panes.
"Something is needed that is unexpected." He thought stalking out of the room, his tail twitching with frustration.
Unnoticed by him or anyone else in the fortress, another flash of lightening illuminated the sky as a partially drowned figure was washed up on the beach.
The storm raged for most of the night, leaving piles of debris scattered over several training areas and the surrounding land.
Grumbling under his breath, Gearan glared angrily at Bladair while Cuife trailed behind as the Dark Hunters made for the storm damaged area.
"Did you have to make that wisecrack?" he growled as the trio reached the nearest pile of flotsam and began hauling it back towards the sea.
"Three weeks triple training and clearing this muck up. All because you couldn't keep your gob shut!" the dull green Hunter snidely added, pulling at a large piece of driftwood.
"Well it did look like that symbol that matoran dote on." Bladair muttered while trying to lift a larger pile of flotsam than Gearan.
"Oi Cuife, quit daydreamin' and help!" the tall dingy brown Hunter yelled before he sniggered as Gearan landed on his rump when the wood he was pulling at suddenly came free.
"Something needs help." A deep slow voice came from the behemoth as he turned from where he'd been looking, Bladair rolled his eyes then he and Gearan paused as the sounds of coughing and retching reached them.
Joining Cuife, the pair watched a small figure attempting to push itself up from the ground,
"What do you think? A new training target or something to show the Shadowed One?" Cuife rumbled after several moments.
"How about both." Gearan replied before all three jumped as someone snapped angrily, "Skiving again, make that quadruple training!" Lariska's acidic tones lashed at them while she stalked around the hapless trio.
"It was…" Gearan started to speak then found himself flat on the ground, blood streaming from his nose.
Before the others could move, the female Dark Hunter spotted the figure staggering to its feet, and take a few steps before falling over.
"Pitiful looking thing." Bladair snorted then swiftly moved back just in case.
Ignoring the disgraced Dark Hunters, Lariska approached the huddled figure drawing her daggers as she went.
Still feeling weak, Rionna blearily looked up at the tall armed being glaring down at her, "Stand up!" the tall female snapped.
After watching the strange being struggling for a few minutes, Lariska growled impatiently before tucking her daggers away then hauled the being up and over her shoulder.
"You lot get back to work." She snapped while walking past the watching trio then carried on back to the fortress.
Knowing from bitter experience that their protests that they found the being would be ignored, the Dark Hunters returned to their punishment, grumbling under their breaths.
"Ow!" a gasp came from the being Lariska had flung over her shoulder, and then she turned her head slightly to look up at the one carrying her.
Rionna blinked puzzled and was about to ask where she was when the Dark huntress growled in frustration before shoving a door open and heading down the corridor.
"Weird looking critter." Thok muttered before absently filching some of Avak's cleaning rags for his own use, "Hmm." Came the reply as the brown Piraka watched until the huntress stopped abruptly as a dull hued Dark hunter blocked her path.
Several minutes passed as the one in the way leered suggestively at Lariska while refusing to move, then Rionna watched stunned as the one carrying her erupted in a blur of motion which left the arrogant one sliding down the wall, gasping for breath.
"Oh man, I'm in trouble!" Rionna thought, managing to catch a glimpse of the damage wrought on the now unconscious Dark Hunter while her captor knocked on a set of doors.
Several minutes passed, then one was opened by a smaller figure, which bowed and held the door open for the Dark huntress before it hurried off on some errand.
Feeling the one she carried shiver, Lariska smiled coldly and when the Shadowed One nodded, his eyes glinting with interest, moved to the centre of the room and dumped her burden before him.
"Those idiots spotted this on the beach." The Dark huntress explained briefly, several minutes passed as no one moved, then the Shadowed One lent forwards, his eyes narrowing as the strange being in front of his throne glanced around nervously.
"It does indeed look weak and pitiful, and we all know that Toa have a deep-seated death wish to protect those kind." his cold voice matching the temperature of the room.
Rionna breathed in sharply, stunned by the realization of where she was, as those in the room laughed venomously.
"I won't let you use me!" a clear voice suddenly rang out, causing a deathly silence to spread through out the room.
The Shadowed One shot out of his throne and grabbed the being by her throat, "You have no say in the matter." He growled as his eyes began glowing menacingly before he shoved her into the arms of the nearest Dark hunter.
"Sentrakh, take her to the laboratory. I'll be along later." He then ordered the being who'd been standing near by just watching silently as events unfolded.
Struggling in the iron grip of Sentrahk's arms, Rionna caught a glimpse of the Dark huntress who'd carried her into the chamber, and another moving closer to the Shadowed One before those leaving closed the door.
While Sentrakh headed for the lab, Rionna continued trying to free herself, thumping at his arms.
"Let me go, you tin plated moron!" she yelled as they reached the lab and the door was opened by another of the smaller figures, it bowed then watched as the yellow and black being carried his struggling captive over to one of the cages and flung her into it.
Winded, Rionna rubbed her sprained ankle while the door slammed closed, then shifted as far from it as possible while cautiously watching those moving round outside.
From the cage joining the one she was in there came a low sigh followed by the sound of straw crackling, slowly Rionna glanced round to find another being watching her.
Slowly a spark of curiosity dawned in the watcher's dull and weary eyes and he slowly shifted closer to the bars.
"A Toa?" Rionna whispered stunned, her eyes taking in the emaciated, mask less and armour less pale chestnut form now leaning against the bars.
"By the light!" she whispered in shock, realizing his legs and one arm were missing, he nodded in reply to her comment then sighed again, "I'm…"
The door slammed open as the Shadowed One stalked into the room, causing those tidying to jump and scatter, Rionna and the Toa also jumped.
Seeing her reaction, the towering Dark hunter smiled maliciously; with him was a dingy grey Hunter who cracked his knuckles in anticipation, "She looks perfect for your plan." he growled, the Shadowed One nodded, a cold smile on his mask.
"But I'm forgetting my manners. You must be very thirsty." He said, attempting to sound friendly while taking a water canister out and throwing it to Rionna.
"Oi, stumpy! What you think you're doin'?" the Dark hunter beside the Shadowed One growled as the maimed Toa reached out to squeeze his fellow captive's shoulder in warning.
The canister had landed at Rionna's feet and while the Toa slumped back, she picked it up and shook it before throwing it as far from her as the bars would allow, "I'm not thirsty." She replied, though desperate for a drink.
"Tough!" the Shadowed One snarled, unlocking the cage door and nodding to the one standing beside him, quickly the Dark hunter entered the cage and caught hold of the defiant being.
For several moments, she managed to cling onto the bars until the dingy grey hunter prised her hands loose and pinioned her under his arm, scooping up the canister as he left the cage.
"Hold her nose." the Shadowed One said, undoing the lid and swirling the contents of the canister around, his eyes glowing evilly as Rionna struggled to avoid the Dark hunter's hand.
The maimed Toa of Stone watched helplessly as his fellow captive fought silently until she had to gasp for breath then the contents of the canister were forced down her throat.
Sinister chuckles came from the Shadowed One and his minion while Rionna spluttered, her eyes flickering as the drugged draught took effect.
A strange lethargy came over Rionna and everything felt distant as she went limp and was carried somewhere and placed down, "Make sure she can't move." A harsh voice snarled from close by.
While Rionna struggled to focus on things around her, the servants hurried to do the Shadowed One's orders.
When they'd finished tightening the straps around the drugged female, they scattered as the Shadowed One went to the work area and lifted down a canister, which glowed with an eerie red light from a cupboard.
The dingy grey hunter looked on with interest as his boss carefully emptied the contents into a large syringe.
Rionna was dimly aware of her t-shirt being tugged up to show her midriff, then something cold brushed over the area below her ribs.
"Just there is perfect." the malicious voice of the Shadowed One broke the silence as the vague sensation of something sharp rested against her side.
A low moan came from the bound form of the captive as the Shadowed One injected the contents of the canister, a vicious smile in his eyes, while the dingy grey Hunter spoke, "It'll take a couple days for it to gestate."
"Spirits protect her!" the Toa of Stone thought as the Dark hunter began undoing the straps holding his fellow captive down as the Shadowed One watched before glancing over to where the pale chestnut Toa watched helplessly.
"I've not forgotten you." he hissed as his minion carried the limp form of Rionna back into the cage and dropped her on the straw before slamming the door and locking it.
The pair then left, the Shadowed One laughing sinisterly, when the laughter faded from earshot, Kūri pulled himself as close as he could to where the limp figure lay.
"Can you hear me?" he whispered, watching the still form of his fellow captive anxiously.
Roughly fifteen minutes passed, then a low whisper reached his ears, "Yes." came the faint reply as a hand rose up and waved weakly before flopping back onto the straw.
More time passed and Rionna found enough strength to brush some of the straw to one side so that she could see the watching Toa, a smile flickered briefly as she whispered, "I can see you." before slipping back into unconsciousness.
Kūri watched as the female lay there, his eyes going over her face, "Yes, you are the one who is part of my destiny." he thought, then settled as comfortably as he could and wondered if his closefriend still thought of him.
Several hours passed before Rionna became fully aware of her surroundings again and slowly raised her head to look for the Toa she'd seen earlier.
Some of the servants had returned to the lab and one was pushing a dish into the Toa's cage, another watched cautiously as Rionna sat up, then pushed the dishes he carried into her cage.
"Thank you." she whispered, even though the very sight of the food made her feel sick, the servant blinked then went to tidy some apparatus near by, surreptitiously watching the female as he'd been ordered.
Brushing a hand over her side, Rionna winced at the tender area then moved to pick up the bowl of water and took a small sip.
"What is your name?" the Toa asked softly when his fellow captive had placed the water bowl down and was prodding the food curiously.
The green eyed being shifted closer to the bars and smiled, "It's Rionna. Were you about to tell me yours when they came?"
"Yes, it's Kūri." he replied, curiously peering at what Rionna wore, "Please, tell me about yourself." he then asked as she settled back in the straw, having moved to pick up the food dish.
Unnoticed by them, the spying servant moved closer as Rionna began speaking, telling Kūri about what she was, where she came from and when he asked her hair and clothing.
"So how did you get here?" he asked after thinking on all that the human had told him, Rionna sighed, "I'm not sure. One moment I was preparing to watch the brightest display of northern lights for a while. The next I'm floundering in a stormy sea, feeling dizzy and confused."
She fell silent and rubbed the still tender area under her ribs while Kūri lent back against the bars and the spying servant quietly hurried off to make his report.
"Would you like this, I don't feel hungry." Rionna asked a few minutes later, stifling a yawn as she offered Kūri the untouched food.
"Thank you." he replied, glancing worriedly at his new friend, concerned at how pale she looked, "What did they do to me?" Rionna enquired after she'd passed the food through to her friend and pushed as much of the straw as she could closer to where Kūri sat.
While Kūri explained what he'd seen, Rionna curled up in the straw and watched him, "No wonder my side hurts." she murmured, wincing again before tugging her t-shirt up.
"Spirits!" Kūri whispered while Rionna swore loudly, where the injection had gone in was a small glowing mark, the same colour as the contents of the canister.
While pulling her top down, Rionna suddenly clamped a hand to her mouth then scrambled for the far side of the cage where she was violently sick.
"Ooooh, shouldn't have drunk so much water." came the reply when Kūri anxiously called out to her.
Brushing her hair back, Rionna suddenly realized the remaining servant was standing beside her cage; he glanced around nervously then passed her a damp cloth.
While she wiped her face, he silently cleared the mess up then covered the area with fresh straw.
"Sorry 'bout that." Rionna whispered, passing the cloth back, her cheeks glowing with embarrassment, "Just don't let him know." came the reply, as the servant hurried away.
Rionna nodded and made her way back to the straw pile, settling on it she quietly reassured her worried friend that she'd be alright.
"I should feel better after a rest." she added yawning again, reaching through the bars into her cage, Kūri gently squeezed his friend's shoulder then sat back and watched her drift into sleep.
I like to use gaelic words for some of my characters names and thought you'd like the translations
Gearan = complain
Cuife = fool
Bladair = babbler