It was Dusk. The air was crisp and the sky was black. Except off to South, the sky was a fiery red. Lordanian hid in a ditch next to a dirt road, a black cloak covering him. He scanned the opposite side of the road. It was a level field dotted with the black silhouettes of trees, and, in the daylight, would have been a beautiful spectacle. Lordanian was not here on a tourist trip though. He looked up and down the road. Nothing. He looked back across the road and saw a bush in the opposite ditch rustling. He didn’t have further time to investigate, however, because just then he heard the sound of a cart coming up the road. He grasped his blade and the cart came into vision. It was a covered cart, small, probably only big enough for half a dozen Matoran. Lordanian guessed it was a merchant’s cart on its way home from market. A single Kikanalo pulled it. With its horn sawed off; it looked half the size it really was. As the cart came closer to Lordanian’s location, he slowly crept out in front of the Kikanalo and grabbed its reigns. The beast struggled and yelped but Lordanian held it tight. He held up his sword to identify the driver by its light. A lone Onu-Matoran sat in the seat. When he saw Lordanian his face turned pale.
“Please don’t hurt me,” he squealed.
Lordanian lowered his sword.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said, pulling down his hood, “I’m a friend.”
The Matoran shook in his seat, the color still drained from his face.
“F-Friend? We d-don’t see much of f-friends these days.”
“Look, I’m a Toa see? Now I don’t want to detain you, do you know where the nearest Toa base is? You see I’m…”
He didn’t get to finish the sentence, however, a blade pierced the Matoran’s back tearing through his chest. The Matoran gasped for air and tried to say something, but he never got to it. The blade receded from his chest and a hand pushed him off the cart from behind. Lordanian lifted his blade just as the cover of the cart exploded with a piercing roar. As the shreds of clothe fell to the ground Lordanian stared at the figure standing in the cart. He, or I should say, it was tall and dark, with double-jointed knees and razor sharp claws the size of spearheads. Its face was more of a monster then a Matoran. With a long snout and rows and rows of yellow teeth, and covering his body, instead of armor, he wore fur skins, or at least, that’s what Lordanian thought they were.
“Ha ha ha,” the monster laughed. Its voice was deep but scratchy, “A Toa are you? Well I’m afraid we don’t permit Toa ‘round here!”
Lordanian took a step back as the creature bent over and picked up its blade, freshly stained with Matoran’s blood.
“Who are you?” Lordanian demanded.
“Fear the wrath of The Harvester!” it roared and leaped from the cart with unbelievable agility and its blade raised high above his head.
Lordanian had just enough time to jump to the side and avoid the beast’s wicked blade.
“RAA!!” It growled, “I will stick you like that blasted Matoran!”
Lordanian pulled out his other heat sword and parried the monster’s blade then kicked it in the stomach landing it on his rear, like a child playing in the dirt. The monster let out a pathetic wail.
“You shall not beat me! For I am The Swiper of Souls! The…”
Just then, a green figure walked up behind the beast and wrapped his arms around its neck. The Swiper of Souls looked very unimpressive sitting there; all limbs flailing, being choked to death by a stranger.
Lordanian thought the battle was won, but Swiper bit the green figure’s arm and managed to wriggle out of his hold. The savage made a quick U-turn and pounced on the green figure, but the stranger was also swift. As the monster leaped at his face, he held it’s head back and threw it backwards hitting a tree trunk with a sickening crack. The stranger rose quickly for the creature was still not dead. The green figure pulled a sword off his back and tossed The Swiper it’s blade. The beast took up the sword and looked inquisitively at the stranger. The stranger nodded at the beast and took a ready stance. It took Swiper no time at all to decipher the situation. When he saw the green figure’s sword rise he jumped at him, blade in hand. The Swiper landed behind the stranger but the stranger whirled around just in time and their blades clashed. Lordanian stood dumbfounded as he watched the newcomer land blow after blow on the beast’s person. Apparently dueling wasn’t one of The Swiper’s strong points. Then with one final slice to the monster’s temple, The Swiper fell, defeated.
“You are beaten,” the stranger said, looming over his fallen opponent.
“Then go ahead,” said The Swiper, “Kill me!”
“I would,” said the stranger, lowering his blade, “but it is against my vow.”
He turned from the beast and looked at Lordanian. He was about his height, with long armor and a sort of hunched back. His head was covered in dreadlock sort of antennae and his eyes…there were none. Where there should have been eyes were black, empty sockets.
Lordanian stammered, “I, uh…I’m Lordanian, Toa of Fire. I assume I can call you ‘brother’?”
Just then, The Swiper leapt up behind the green Toa and was about to strike when an axe blade was embedded in its back. The stranger spun around and caught the dead creature, its arms frozen high above its head and an axe blade stuck square in its back. The green figure set The Swiper down gently as Catok approached. Catok ripped his axe from the carcass and glared at the newcomer.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“I am…I once was a Toa,” the stranger said, “I heard the disturbance and thought I would assist.”
“What do you mean, ‘once was’?”
“Catok,” Lordanian cut in, “he was just trying to help.”
“Won’t be much help if you’re not willing to take a life,” he sniffed, looking the stranger up and down, “I asked who you were.”
“My name is Adiemus. I was a Toa long ago. During my exile, I tried to stay out of the way, but recent events have forced me to come out of hiding.”
“Wait,” Lordanian said, “What recent events?”
“How can you not know? The Hunters have been here for almost a year.”
“Look sir,” said Catok, grabbing Adiemus’s arm, “We haven’t been here in a while. We don’t know what you’re talking about, so if you’d be so kind to explain…”
“I’m sorry, I’m still trying to figure it all out myself.”
“What do you mean? Look around! Haven’t you seen the state this place is in?”
Adiemus lowered his head, “You don’t know how many times I wish I could look around.”
Catok let go of his arm, “W-what did you mean?”
“I am blind.”
“But how did you defeat that monster?” Lordanian asked, “The feats you did are advanced even for me.”
“No offense Lordanian, but I have been around much longer than you.”
Lordanian pulled off his cloak revealing the Golden Hau. Adiemus froze.
“You possess the Hau?”
“Uh, yeah…I thought you couldn’t see?”
“I can feel its power. You are brave, Lordanian, Toa of Fire. To possess the Golden Hau is dangerous. Your very being could burn up right before us and it would be like you never were.”
Catok cut in, “Lordanian, how can we trust this guy? We don’t even know where he comes from…”
Adiemus spun around, “I was Adiemus, legendary Toa of Air. I fought alongside Toa you could only dream of meeting. I planned many battles and peace treaties with the Order; I was a victorious general and warrior. …And I loved a woman…”
“…But that being is no longer. I ran, and I never looked back. I was a coward, and I live the life of a coward, now, and forever.”
Lordanian and Catok stared at the Adiemus, in surprise, but also in pity.
“…Perhaps we should talk,” Lordanian volunteered.
“Yes,” said Adiemus, recomposing himself, “There is much to talk about. Come, I’ll take you to a safe place. But first, we must secure the wagon and the dead bodies.”
“Sounds like fun,” Catok grumbled.
And C&C you shall recieve. Intense, that is the description of this story. It is very well written, and the characters are intriguing. Keep writing, I will be reading!
P.S. Darn it! I was ALMOST the first commenter!