The Matoran Universe has fallen. Makuta Teridax holds sway over Aqua Manga. Rhakshi rampage through the lands. Matoran are weakened. But Teridax's shadow vanishes, departing for Bara Magna, and the Matoran erect a new peradise, calling it Xaterex, realm of the elements. There the Great Beings returned to the Matoran Universe, and, proclaiming the combined realms Xultum, the twin universe, and created the Elemental Princes. Eventually rebellion broke out, with the Great Beings and Elemental Princes warring over their kingdoms, and the Dark Hunters and Order of Mata Nui rejoined the fight. Eventually the Great Beings who fought for light, dismayed their creations were warring once again, tried to stop the war, sending assassins with power even stronger than the Elemental Prince's, and gave their leader a weapon designed especially for him- the legendary Scythe of Creation, and unleashed the Dominion Orb-the only weapon capable of killing a Great Being and control Elemental Demons. Skorpix, one of the most powerful Elemental Prices killed their leader, imprisoning his soul in a pathetic Burning Arm of Corpse. To settle the war, the Great Beings gave six of the most powerful Elemental Princes the task of protecting Xultum from the taint of evil: Eostra, Skorpix, Windeus, Nex, Arcturas, The Lord of Psionics and The Seventh Traitor. The Dark Hunter Lariska eventually killed The Lord of Psionics on the Shadowed One's orders, provoking the Elemental Prince-Dark Hunter War, culminating with the banishment of the Dark Hunters from Xaterex and the destruction of the Psionic Kingdom. But the Dark Hunters had given the six a dark idea. They formed an organization dedicated to conquering Xultum, coining themselves the Seven Traitors (with Lariska as the seventh). Eostra called a meeting at Xaltrax and introduced her plan. The five others, along with Lariska, siezed control over the Elemental Princes, and war broke out, ending with Eostra unleashing a Nova Blast of Annihalation, destroying Xaterex and blasting the Matoran Universe into Aqua Manga, severing it from Xaterex and destroying Xaltum. The Matoran Universe was nearly captured when the Traitors began to fall apart. One of the traitors, Arcturas, became dissolutioned with their evil, and destroyed the heart of their power, the Dominion Orb, the only thing in existance able to kill a Great Being, and the key to controlling Elemental Demons, and scattered the traitors. Skorpix, Eostra's most powerful traitor, hunted Arcturas to his death- but not before he creates Shardak, the only being ever created with the power to destroy the Traitors. And, deep within Skorpix's Stronghold in the Tower of Dreams, serving the Corpsian Legion, an organization Skorpix leads after the collapse of the Traitors, The Burnarm toils on, unaware of his powerful destiny...
The Corpsian stood erect atop the ridge, waiting for the Hunted to appear. Beside him, the glowing red eyes of his squadron scanned the valleys for their prey. But the lead Corpsian knew the Hunted would appear by him. The Master had told him. The Hunted were his. There! A snap of a small twig. Metal Shod feet scraping against the ground. The Corpsian tensed, awaiting the appearence of the Hunted. A golden toa, tall and imposing, and behind him, a yellow-and-black toa, and they were coming nearer. The Corpsian signaled to his Squadron, and, silent as the suns' rays, which had begun to creep across the horizon, the crept towards their prey and drew their Scythes. Time for the Kill.
Shardak followed his Toa-Father, Arcturas, across the dark plain. High above them, a sloping ridge crurved upward and met with a frothing river on the plains below. The first sun was beginning to creep over the horizon. He scanned the ground, looking for the herb his Toa-Sister Nightshade had told them to find.
"Arcturas," Shardak spoke, "I think the Herbs are over there." Arcturas strode over, and looked a the plant. Suddenly, Shardak heard the Clang! of weapons being drawn. For the first time he noticed red eyes among the undergrowth.
"Arcturas..." Shardak whispered. And then the Corpsians fell upon them.
The Corpsian Assassin, Shadowbringer, a leader of the Corpsian Legion, Scanned the Battlefield. The golden toa was a strong fighter, but even he fell against the onslaught, and the Yellow toa had never been trained at all. It was obvious by the way he fought. Shadowbringer's eyes narrowed. He'd spotted an easy kill.
Shardak swung his blade, connecting with the Corpsian's Chestplate. the Corpsian staggered backword, but another hurled at him. He'd never fought before, except for training sessions with Arcturas and Nightshade, and this Corpsian was big and agile. He swung his Sword. The Corpsian dodged and followed up with a swing. Searing pain shot into Shardak. In his fury he swung at the Corpsian widly, and two strikes connected with the Corpsains legs. It collapsed. A deadly Corpsian reared above him, drawing a knife. Shardak raisied his blade to block it, but the knife changed directions at the last minute and disarmed him. Shadowbringer smiled.
"Easy. Far Too Easy. Why Arcturas has kept you alive with him, I will never know." Shadowbriger brought down the Blade.
"No!" Arcturas cried. He broke off from fighting the Dark Corpsian he'd been fighting and threw himself at Shadowbringer, hauling him of Shardak. Too late, Shardak saw the Scythe of the Corpsian Arcturas had been fighting a moment before come down on Arcturas. "No!" Shardak shouted, and raced over to Arcturas. Arcturas held out his hand.
"Take this," he said, placing the blade in the hands of Shardak. The Blade of Arcturas. Normally Shardak would've argued, saying he wasn't worthy of the ledgendary weapon, but now he reached out and touched it. A bolt of energy shot up his arm, and his vision went out of focus. Soon the moment had passed, and the Corpsians were attacking again. With a mighty heave, Shardak swung the Blade at at an attacker. There was a bust of light, and the Corpsian staggered backwords, it's armor disintegrating, before it collapsed. Another Corpsian came at him from the side, tearing through amor into the muscle beneath.
"Run, Shardak!" Arcturas yelled as another Corpsian lept at him.
"I'm not leaving you!" Shardak called back.
"Shardak..." Arcturas's voice was surprisingly calm. "You have to run. I'll be dead soon anyway. The Corpsians did not come for you. Run!" he ordered again. When Shardak hesitated, Arcturas spoke again.
"Take care of Nightshade for me." He smiled weakly. Thinking about his sister made Shardak stop. Although they'd often quarreled, he couldn't leave her alone to be killed by the Corpsians later. That thought made up Shardak's mind. He turned and ran. Two Corpsians turned to follow him, but Shadowbringer held up an armored hand. "Do not follow him. He is of no use to us." He looked down at Arcturas. He was alive, but dying. Shadowbringer pointed at the Toa.
The dark warrior stood beside the dying body of his worst enemy. Arcturas, the Sun Mage. A powerful warrior, but not invincible, as the Fury had demonstrated when he cut down the Elemental Prince with his scythe. Now Arcturas lay before him, wounded badly.
"We have caught you," the Dark Lord spoke, "You knew we would, eventually." Arcturas's voice was even
"Yes. But you have not yet defeated me. I have planned this, Skorpix."
"Planned it, have you?" Skorpix responded, smiling wickedly, "I've planned a few things myself, and one of them is your death, Arcturas..."
"You cannot destroy me completely. My legacy survives. My powers survive."
"You were once a great warrior, Arcturas. Now however, I am one step ahead of you. I have planned this for a long time."
"And what have you planned?" Arcturas asked. "Nightshade..." said Skorpix a hint of victory in his voice. Nightshade, beautiful and graceful, strode into the room.
"Nightshade!" Arcturas gasped. "You're...You're..."
"Yes," said Nightshade. "I'm a Corpsian, sent by Skorpix here to spy on you, and eventually kill you. Now, it seems, I'm home. My mission has succeeded. You will die soon." She turned to Skorpix.
"Kill Him," she said casually. Arcturas saw two dark bolts hurling at him. They struck at the same time, destroying his armor. Than there was- nothing.
* * *
Shardak staggered into the camp, his armor badly dented. Nightshade was waiting for him at he cave entrance, smiling.
"Hello!" Nightshade called, then broke off when she saw his dented armor. "What- what happened?"
"We were attacked by Corpsians..." said Shardak heavily. "Arcturas told me I must leave him, to return to you."
"Where?" Nightshade asked. It was comforting Shardak that he heared a tinge of worry in her voice. I'm not the only one. Shardak pulled out the Blade of Arcturas.
"He gave me this before he died."
"Why?" with awe and almost reverence, Nightshade ran her silver hand down the blade, feeling its edges and it's dents.
"I don't know..." Said Nightshade eventually. "But it was his most prized treasure. Keep it safe for him." Nightshade grabbed her sword.
"We must go. If the Corpsians find us we're dead."
"But... Where?" asked Shardak, confused.
'Deeper into the woods' was all Nightshade would say. Shardak followed her out of the cave.
Late that Night, Shardak saw glowing eyes, and dark shapes striding through the darkness. The forest was alive at night, with warriors everywhere. He glanced at Nightshade. The beautiful toa was resting. Should he leave her? Then Arcturas' words echoed in his head. "Take care of Nightshade for me." If those beings were hostile, he couldn't remain here. Silently, Shardak Strode into the Night. It was dark. He heard the sounds of a patrol in the distance, but nothing near him. He took a step forward and looked around. Darkness enshrouded most of the scenery, but cliffs were barely visible in the Shadowy illumination. The patrol was still far away, so he was safe. Then an armored hand clasped his shoulder, holding him tightly.
"Do not speak. I am Silencer, the Hand of Mata Nui's second in command... and you are tresspassing on our territory. Which means you must be put to death." The dark figure dragged Shardak into the shadows.
Dark shadows twisted and writhed, completely shouding the cliffs from sight. For a split second, lightning flashed, cutting through the darkness. The dark tower's spire rose hight above the cliffs. Then the lightning vanished and it was gone. Within the tower, Burnarm watched the storm outside. His dull brain barely contemplated it, except now, Burnarm was thinking of the days he was free, without this Semi-Life. Something welled up inside him, something buried deep within. Then his Semi-Consiousess overwhelmed his old half-buried memories. The constant throb in his arm pained him once more. Like all Burning Arms, his red arm continuously was shot with searing pains. Then a Corpsian appeared in the doorway. His silver-and-yellow armor was dented from the struggle to capture the Rogue Traitor, Arcturas. Burnarm stared at the figure. An Aspect of Corpse, Burnarm thought, wondering why this high-ranking Corpsian would come to see him, a mere Burning Arm. He realized that this was his 'brother', one of the first Corpsians. Then the Aspect, Corpse(as he was nicknamed), spoke, his voice twisted and ancient, but deadly.
"Follow me. The Fury has a need of you." Behind his mask, Burnarm's eyes opened widely. The Fury was possibly the strongest of all the Corpsians, feared by all. Even his dim brain could tell that this was big.
"Why would the Fury want to see me?" He asked Corpse, almost bursting with the joy of being needed, "Does he need me to see him, or for him to see me, or should I-" Corpse cut him off.
"Why he would call upon you is beyond rational. But the Fury knows all. If he has a need for your stupidity, he can have it. You are useless to us." Burnarm's stupid brain ran over the statement and decieded it was a compliment. He turned towards his brother, smiling. "Follow me! I can help the Fury. I'll show him the right way to be stupider than I am!" Corpse's eyes narrowed in contempt.
* * *
Corpse watched as that idiot of a Corpsian departed for the group of Corpsians gathering their weapons. The Legion gathered into a smooth V formation, flowing across the plains winding like a snake closing in for the kill. The only thing to mar the Legion's beauty were the two figures staggering behind. His brothers, like he, were some of the first corpsians. Burnarm and their brother, A Copy of Corpse. Corpse stared at them, blundering clumsily forword. One day he would really have to do something about those idiots. The Aspect watched as the rest of his squadron gathered behind him, then drew their blades, following the first army into the stormy night.
* * *
Burnarm charged forward, knocking into another Corpsian. With a single slash, the Corpsian cut him down, slicing of his arms. Burnarm collapsed, then wached as the flames reformed his arms, then solidified them. He charged clumsily after the rest of the squadron, and watched as the armies vanished into the shadows, their dark armor making them nearly invisable in the gloom. Corpse appeared behind Burnarm, grinning evilly. "Silencer is away. The Hand is virtually unguarded. They will fall before us." Then he was gone. Burnarm drew his sword, a strange scythe he found in storage, as the first attacking unit charged into the stronghold. Two others moved to bar off escape routs for any Hand agents. Then Corpse tensed, and charged as the fighting broke out within the stronghold. The rest followed him. Burnarm raised his sword above his head and yelled a barbaric warcry.
* * *
Ion leaped over a fallen Corpsian, swinging his blade-gun at another. The Fighting had pushed the Hand of Mata Nui-- the only organization capable of resisting the might of the Corpsians-- back towards the third chamber in the base. Three Hand agents had already fallen, with others unconcious or dying, and the few who continued fighting were backed into corners. The Corpsians had overrun their last lines of defense, leaving a few warriors still struggling. Ion sheared of the Head of a Corpsian, then shot a red glowing beam that seared one in two. Neither of the injuries would keep them down for long, as Corpsian's bodies had very high regeneration powers. With a start, Ion realized the Corpsians had made it past them, into the central chamber. The Hand's traps would not hold them for long. Mata Nui help us, Ion prayed, and more Corpsians charged at him.
* * *
From his veiwpoint, Burnarm watched the battle. His place had been replaced smoothly by another unit, with the Corpsians overrunning the Hand's last defense. Burnarm started as Corpse appeared beside him. "Follow me," said the Aspect. "We will go and take the Hand's secrets for the master."
"Why choose me?" Burnarm asked. "I'm useless, except to the Fury, who I'm supposed to make stupider."
"Be thankful," Corpse said emotionlessly. "You are one of those very few who can die and not be missed."
Shardak heared the sounds of battle first.
"It is as I feared," Silencer said grimly. "The Corpsians are attacking our camp!" Without waiting for Shardak, Silencer vanished into the night. The battle was subsiding, and the Corpsians were shouting victory. I can't let these beings be slaughtered by Corpsians, Shardak thought. He failed to help Arcturas, but these beings he could help. He could save them. He heared sounds of a patrol up ahead, and raced for them. He collided with a tall, black armored figure with spiked shoes and a Kanohi Crast.
"Quick!" Shardak cried. "The Corpsians are attacking your camp! Silencer sent me!"
"How do you know Silencer?" hissed the white armored being.
"He captured me, but let me warn you when he found I was a Toa," Shardak said.
"It is true. This being... He speaks the truth," said the being to the others in his troop. "I am Guardian, the current leader of the Hand of Mata Nui," he said. "These are Baral, Morak, and Kyhrex." The others nodded in turn.
"Let us go," said Guardian. "Baral, go and alert the other patrols." Baral nodded, then dissapeared. Shardak fell into the swift pace alongside Kyhrex as the Hand Agents charged.
* * *
Burnarm, the Copy(who was called simply copy), and Corpse were pacing forwords, ready to take the Hand's treasures. Corpse was brimming with expectations. Soon the Hand would be destroyed, and the secrets would belong to the master. And he, the loyal and powerful, would claim the reward.
"Copy, Burnarm, grab the box," Corpse said, gesturing towards a large chest that lay unopened in the corner. Burnarm and Copy moved towards the box, ready to open it when a large sword sprang at them. Burnarm staggered backwards, shocked, as the sword swung, ready to cleave him apart. Then Corpse was there, dragging him backwords.
"We have been spotted. Burnarm, go patrol the east hall."
"You want me to betray the east wall?" asked Burnarm, marching off in the opposite direction. "East wall, I'm coming to betray you!" Burnarm shouted, colliding with the wall. The half-blind Corpsian tried in vain to betray it, and when that failed he began screaming and started to beat it up, his flaming arms having no effect on the powerfully enchanted stronghold. And then Morak was there. He whacked Burnarm hard on the head, who gave way instantly, collapsing. Corpse cursed, and swung at Guardian, who doged, knocking the Corpsian into the wall. It slumped, unconconcious. Shardak and the Hand agents charged, screaming defiance as the Corpsians began to fall.
* * *
Shardak swung the Blade of Arcturas, unleashing a blast of hot light and disintegrating a Corpsian's chestplate. beside him, the toa Guardian had called Kyhrex had dismembered a Corpsian with her protosteel claw, and fried another with a bolt of air intwined with lightning. Shardak stared. From her blue armor, he'd assumed Kyhrex was a Toa of water. It seemed she controlled air, though. I'll ask her later, Shardak decided as a Corpsian slashed at him with its dagger-sharp claws. But the tide was turning on the Corpsians, who'd been driven back towards the entryway. Shardak slashed again, but more Corpsians began to revive themselves. A grotesque Corpsian hurled after him, bleeding from what should've been mortal wounds. But the Corpsian was still fighting. They're invincible, Shardak thought in horror. With a start, he realized he was alone in the hallway. All the other Hand agents had been pushed back towards the second room. We can't win, Shardak thought, even as two more Corpsians began to drag him down. Shardak began to fall... And then Baral was there. Baral, leading more Hand agents forward, into the fight. The Corpsians broke ranks and fled. Shardak swung at the Copsians as the ran, and stopped. Standing there, in jet-black armor, was the Corpsian who had killed Arcturas. Fueled by visious hatred, Sharadak swung his blade at the Corpsian leader. The Corpsian blocked with ease, and stabbed out. Shardak fell beneath the onslaught, then stabbed out again. When he looked again, the Corpsians were gone. More agents were pushing away the last of the Corpsians. Arcturas is dead, Nightshade is gone. Shardak thought. All that remains is vengeance. With a wild yell, Shardak tore of after the Dark Corpsian.
Corpse strode through the mud, Copy behind him. Burnarm followed clumsily, returning towards the Tower of Dreams. Windeus was waiting for them.
"Have you destroyed the Hand, Aspect?" Windeus asked, speaking quietly, but menacing beneath the dark tones.
"We would have, had it not been for this idiot!" screeched Corpse. "He raced into combat and banged around until reinforcements arrived. He must be destroyed!" Corpse hissed, rounding on Burnarm. "Have I the permission of ripping his miserable armor apart?"
"No," Windeus replied calmly. "I will handle this." Burnarm breathed a sigh of relief. "I will...change him..." hissed Windeus, and wind wrapped around Burnarm, suffocating him until he collapsed. Then Windeus began to sort through armor scraps, ready to change the Burning Arm...
* * *
Windeus looked through the Burning Arm's mind, looking through half remembered dreams of a time before Skorpix killed him, and enslaved his corpse. Windeus began to sort through the Burning Arm's brain, looking through the eyes of a creature that held within him the depths of stupidity. Then Windeus touched the light. The light came to him, flowing through his body. The Copy screeched and collapsed, unconsious. And then Burnarm began to glow...
* * *
And then the Burnarm began to glow, and the light spread across his body. Windeus drew the scythe Burnarm had been using and handed it to the writhing creature. Burnarm twiched, and opened his eyes... And the semi-life was gone. The searing pains in his arm ceased. His armor twisted and writhed, becoming darker, stronger, and more powerful. The light vanished into the body of the body of the being that had once been Burnarm. The Scythe melted and boiled, re-aligning itself with it's new owner. The black-armored being stood up, inspecting the scythe. Then power flashed from the Scythe, and in the cliff reshaped itself into a grassy meadow.
"There," said the being. "I've fashioned a training ground for you." Windeus and Corpse stood open-mouthed, staring at the once-Corpsian through astonished eyes. Copy began to rise, and a ray of power flashed from the Scythe, reshaping the face of Copy, who stared at them, and moved as an Aspect would, graceful and powerful. His armor was yellow and blue, his feet clawed, and he wore a silver kanohi.
"What have you done?" Windeus asked, still shocked. "I fashioned a new brain for him, the fool," The once-corpsian said happily.
* * *
Skorpix watching the Corpsians training in the new field. Copy was far more powerful than any Copy of Corpse should ever be, but the Once-Burning Arm was on par with an Aspect. Skorpix watched as an Aspect, probably Corpse himself, whirled at the being, but the being deflected it and knocked the Aspect sprawling. "You are strong," the being said. "But your powers are nothing compared to the might of Blast." Intruiged, Skorpix moved over to where the being was standing.
"Why do you call youself that?" Skorpix asked.
"What?" asked the being.
"Blast," hissed Skorpix. "Well..."said the being, raising the scythe. Because I can do... hhis!" Light flew from the scythe, blowing a huge hole in the ground and toppling a small cliff. "Oh," Skorpix replied, almost faintly.
Blast strode over to the training ground, waching as his power flowed around him. Blast began to charge, then stopped. He needed someone to train with him. As he thought, he raised the scythe, firing at the ground, which swirled, and when it cleared, a matoran was there. It had a black rhakshi-like head and grey and black armor, with Razorsharp claws.
"Who are you?" Blast asked, staring at the matoran.
"You created me to train with you," said the matoran. "I am Silver."
Blast and Silver redied their blades, but Blast was superior each time, as he was faster, stronger, and larger. Windeus watched from the sideline. Smiling.
"Yes... yes... with more training, he will be able to eliminate the Hand forever..."
* * *
Blast listened hard to Windeus' murmuring. Destroy the Hand forever? Why would I want to do that? He'd never had any morals about anything before. But now...These beings, whatever they were, wanted to use him as a weapon against their enimies. He was Blast. he did'nt want to be used. He didn't like what Skorpix was trying to do, and he hated the idea of wiping out the Hand, an organization that had stood so long against the evil of the Traitors. After a thought, he said to Silver.
"I don't like Skorpix's ways. I'm leaving. And if anyone tries to stop me, I'll bring the Tower of Dreams down on them."
To Be Continued in Blast Alone
* * *
Shardak ran forward, running after the retreating Corpsians. Corpsians were fast, and the Copys and Burnarms were soon left behind. Shardak ran for so long that his vision began to go blank. A dimensional rift opened near him. Darkness began to tear a veil in reality. Shardak was being pulled into the rift. With a cry, Shardak tried to resist the pull, but it was to much for him. With a final cry, Shardak was spat out, where he collapsed on the hard, cold ground.
A vortex of shadow twisted Shardak around as he was sucked into the darkness again, and fell. As Shardak shook his head around, his vision began to refocus. He was in his world again. He didn't know how long he'd been away, but it wasn't a short time. It felt as though he'd been trapped forever. He fell to the the ground--and saw he was looking at a toa's mask. Kyhrex. The Hand of Mata Nui surrounded him.
"What.." Shardak trailed off. "You fell into one of our dimensional gateway traps," said Guardian. "You must come with us." Shardak was yanked roughly to his feet, and walked forward surrounded by enemies.
"Where are we going?" Asked Shardak uneasily. It seemed they were taking him back to camp. "We would've offered you membership, but now... since you ran away with the Corpsians, we will have to execute you."
"What!" Shardak asked. "I was chasing them-- not--"
"The decision is up to a choice few of members... Including myself. But until then, you are a prisoner."
* * *
The Hand camp was much neater then it was before in the fight. It held many more members then before as well. The patrol that had captured him consisted of a black and silver toa called Blast, two toa of water, Kyhrex and Viri, and a matoran, Dark. Guardian led the patrol towards Silencer, the beastial-looking toa that had captured Shardak before the battle. "We captured him after two months of searching. He stumbled into a dimensional gateway trap we set." Two months! Shardak thought. He'd been trapped in the gateway for two months. His brain could barely take it all in. Guardian spoke again.
"Atarus, what shall we do with this toa who was aiding the Corpsians?" Shardak tore his gaze away from Silencer and followed Guardian's line of sight. The toa-- Atarus-- looked like the mirror image of Arcturas. They wore the same masks, and had the same gold-colored armor on.
"Where do you come from, toa?" asked Atarus.
"I'm a wanderer. Until my toa-father and I were attacked by those Corpsians and he was killed."
"What was his name, toa? asked Atarus again
"Arcturas," said Shardak defiantly, daring Atarus to recognize the name. For a moment, recognition flashed across Atarus' face, along with something else-- Anger. Then it passed. '
"And you are..."
"Shardak," repeated Atarus thoughtfully. But the name seemed to mean nothing to him. Then Silencer spoke.
"The decision has been made... Kill him."
* * *
The Elemental Princes Flareus and Banrax were fighting. Not that they did much else. They were always competing for Skorpix's attention and the position of second-in-command. Right now, it belonged to Banrax. And Flareus was not happy about it. Banrax doged the swiping claws, then batted Flareus with his razor-sharp wings, slowly, however, Banrax was tiring. A few more minutes and Flareus would be rewarded with the position of second only to Skorpix and Windeus... A bolt of lighting struck Flareus, frying his armor. Nightshade was walking towards them.
"You idiots." hissed Nightshade. "Fighting against each other when there's that rogue Burning Arm out there. Skorpix would like to see you-- now." Flareus followed Nightshade into Skorpix's stronghold, but turned toward Banrax, snarling, "I'll beat you yet." Then the Darkness flashed across the tower, swallowing its inhabiltants once again in a dark, twisting, entropic void.
The Corpsians were massing.
Nightshade watched the grim Annihalators of Corpse readying their weapons. Aspects with whips circled the weaker Corpsians, rounding them into squadrons. More Corpsians then ever before were there. Skorpix had created many recently, and now the Corpsians were preparing to throw their full might against the Hand. Turning, Nightshade wached as Shadowbringer and Skorpix strode over to her.
"Behold," breathed Skorpix, his voice rasping and laden with malice. "The first dawn in a new world."
* * *
Shardak was shocked.
"You can't just kill me!" he yelled at Silencer. "I was following that Dark Corpsian, not joining him!" That made Atarus pause.
"A Dark Corpsian?" asked Silencer eventually.
"Yes!" cried Shardak. "He had the darkest black armor I've ever seen, and he had these minature Scythe-things that killed Arcturas."
"Dagger-Scythes..." mused Silencer quietly. "Made of Shredsteel. A single cut can slice your soul open." Turning to Shardak, he said,
"That dark corpsian was The Fury. One of the most deadly Corpsians and their undisputed leader. You do not want to be on his bad side. You have made your deadliest enemy ever. The Fury is ruthless and merciless. If he caches you, or anyone helping you, he'll rip your soul open." Shardak had gone cold.
"You are very dangerous, Toa. But an enemy of the Corpsians is my friend. You may join the Hand if you wish. Welcome, Shardak." The Hand crowded around him, Kyhrex and the dark toa Blast being the first to offer their congratulations. But even as Shardak became among friends, he felt a tremor of unease. Something was happening out there, and he didn't want to know about, but he know, somehow, he would....
* * *
Skorpix stood high above the wispy clouds, watching the Corpsians gather. He'd created more and more Corpsians using the powers of Annihilation he'd gained over time. Dark power of death wisped around him, empowering him. Soon the hand would be destroyed, broken beyond repair, and Skorpix would call the Elemental Demons forever using the power of the Dominion Orb, a feat his old mistress, Eostra, had never managed. The world rustled around him, and he saw Windeus emerge from the Tower of Dreams. There was a ripple as Skorpix morphed with the ease of and accomplished Shapeshifter, and using his wings, flew down to join the Corpsians. Raising an armoured claw hight above his head, Skorpix watched the silver catch the light, and the black draw darkness into it.
"It is time!" Skorpix screeched, "Time for the Seven Traitors to reclaim what is rightfully ours! For too long, Corpsians have been reviled and hunted! Now, we are the Hunters! It is time... to Annihilate!!!" The Corpsians banged against their sheilds in approval and screeched their power to the dark sky above.
From his point of veiw, Morak, the Hand's spy in Skorpix's legions, watched in horror as the Corpsians gathered, ready to destroy the Hand. Somehow, he needed to delay them. somehow, he needed to foil their plans...Morak watched as the Corpsians redied to charge, and made his move.
Morak dodged Skorpix's blow as Baral ducked to one side when Flareus flung himself into the fray. Beside him, Guardian, one of the Hand's leaders, looked at his quarry. Shadowbringer was fast, but Guardian was faster, slamming the assassin into the wall. Shadowbringer gurgled and collapsed. Guardian turned, and Banrax, the traitorous Elemental Prince of Water, began to grapple him. Banrax was stronger, however, and Guardian fell under the onslaught. Banrax's wings came down on him, hard. Guardian fell. Baral slashed his chains at the Elemental Prince. Banrax dodged, and blasted a spurt of water at the toa of Iron. Baral staggered backwards, and Nightshade slashed him down. Baral fell dead on the hard rock. Morak, knowing the fight was going against him, began to edge away from the princes. Banrax brought down a hard strike on Morak, and Skorpix ripped his erstwhile servant apart. Morak screamed and fell. His friend's cry woke Guardian. Knowing they'd lose if Morak fell, he shrugged Shadowbringer of him, and struck Banrax over the head, knocking him backwords where he lay limp on the ground. Now that they were both free, they charged at Nightshade. Baral's death must not go unpunished. But Nightshade dodged away, blocking their strikes with her poisoned blade. Skorpix hauled Guardian away, and sank his teeth into the Hand's leader. Morak began to edge towards the edge of the battlefield. Suddenly Guardian burst out of the claws of Skorpix, flinging the Elemental Prince away. Flareus smashed into Morak, but Morak easily disabled him.
"This Isn't the end, Skorpix..." snarled Guardian. Skorpix hissed in reply,
"I will kill you all, one day...one day your precious universe will be destroyed...and so will you..."
* * *
Within his dark chambers, Skorpix stood in a place of absolute evil. The place of his lord. Skorpix kneeled before the dark shadows. Waiting. Then the shadows coiled, and Skorpix vanished.
Within the dark dimension of the Elemental Demons, Skorpix was wrapped in shadows. Evil envoloped him, the by-product of thousands of years of taint and hatred. Then the voice spoke. It sounded like everything and nothing. It sounded like a multitude of voices was speaking.
Skorpix's essance moved forward. The voice spoke again.
You wish to appear before us?
Skorpix's essance coiled and twisted, awed by the presance of the Elemental Demon.
"I bring news of the Hand..." spoke the dark essessce.
Have you exterminated them, Skorpix? Asked the demon, although Skorpix knew full well that the dark lord knew the answer.
"No..." Skorpix replied. "We have opened the gateways and are waiting for the solstice. Then we shall await your return."
Find Eostra. The voice spoke again. Skorpix's essance recoiled from the mass of blackness in shock. Eostra was the one being that he truly feared.
My Messengers are coming.
Skorpix, after regaining composture, began to speak.
"We await your return, Dark One. Already I have contatcted Lariska. She is almost ready to launch your virus, in its dilulated form, upon the Matoran. It will corrupt the boundries between our worlds. At the winter solstice we will be ready. We will flood the land in death, Dark One. The Seven Traitors will live again, and the world will fall before us." The voice of the multitudes spoke again, and Skorpix, possibly the strongest evil entity ever to exist in the Twin Universe, believed this being to be the most deadly thing he'd ever met.
Bring the Toa to us. The disembodied voice spoke again.
"The Toa...I thought it was Arcturas you wanted?" asked Skorpix. Arcturas is useless to us now. The Toa are the key. Bring them to us.
"But if the Toa were to join the Hand"- The Demon cut him off. '
They have already joined the Hand.
"What!!" Skorpix screeched, "I will rip that traitorous Corpsian apart!!!!!
There is no need to be angry... It is you we love. The Toa will never take your place. Free us Skorpix...free us...and you will never... Never... Lose us again....
Three years later...
"Dodge! Swipe! Roll!" Shardak blinked as Blast called out a command when the Toa of Water Viri slammed into him. Shardak leaped backwards and slashed Viri to the ground, then turned on Melnox and caught the mutated toa on the arm. Melnox responded with a burst of fire which Shardak countered with a bolt from the Blade of Arcturas.
"Duck!" Blast called out as the Toa of Air known as Echo swiped a sword over his head, narrowly missing Shardak's Ignika. Shardak cleaved upward with his Dual Blades, given to him by Silencer, and Echo fell sprawling in the dust. Two Down. Thought Shardak. He was training his last session. If he won against five enemies, Viri, Melnox, Echo, Dark(a mutant matoran), and lastly Toa Scarapar, he would be granted full membership in the Hand of Mata Nui. Guardian should be here. Shardak thought. Guardian and Morak had died in a recent raid on the Corpsian stronghold. Blast and Kyhrex, who had mentored him, were watching him intensly, while Silencer stared with ambivalence in his eyes. Shardak whirled backwards in a complicated reverse sequence to block Scarapar's blade as Melnox threw a fireball at him. Scarapar was an oddity. During Silencer's adventures, a ray from a Prototype Ignika Mask Shardak wore hit a strange bug, turning it into Scarapar. Scarapar was quite gentle and kind, but still, a Skakdi, Zoth, was out-of-his-mind afraid of the toa. But there was little time to think as Shardak blocked another fireball. He wasn't going to be able to keep this up much longer. Dark lept onto his back as Melnox threw a fireball, giving Shardak and idea. He slashed at Scarapar as a feint, then dropped his weapons and threw Scarapar into the path of the fireball. Dark tried to pull Shardak down, but Shardak tossed Dark hard at Melnox. As both of them fell in a tangled heap, Shardak snatched up the Blade of Arcturas and fired at them, engulfing his competitors in a nonlethel blast, one just enough to hold them still for a while. Shardak whipped around, looking for more opponents, but there were none. Silencer stepped forward.
"Shardak," he said "I now greet you as a full member of the Hand of Mata Nui. Blast has taught you well. Come with me." He motioned to Shardak and Blast. They had become good friends during Shardak's training, and Blast and Kyhrex had taught him to be one of the best fighters in the Hand. He could never equal Kyhrex, as she was supernaturally fast and agile, but he was nearly on par with Blast. He followed Silencer to his chambers.
"Now." Said the beastial toa. "The things I am going to tell you must never leave this room. Evil Corpsian assassins are leading an overwhelming force to slay you, as they are Arcturas's enemies."
"How!" gasped Shardak. "Who-"
"The Corpsians." Said Silencer coldly. "I assume you know of them."
"Enemies!!" cried Shardak. He never mentioned any enemies! Silencer looked stunned.
"You have never heard of the Seven Traitors?"
"No..." said Shardak. Silencer sighed.
"The Seven traitors are Arcturas' archenimies. They sent the Assassins to kill him. You cannot share his fate. They were the most powerful Elemental Princes of their age. One was deadly powerful, One was wise, another was agile, and another was smarter than any one today." Silencer's voice dropped to a whisper.
"They say another could control the dead. They killed Arcturas, and you cannot share his fate. So I will send you, Kyhrex, and Blast to Voidrealm, where you will be safer." Kyhrex strode in.
"Let us Go," she said. Heart heavy, Shardak followed Kyhrex and Blast towards Voidrealm.
The Darkness of Voidrealm suffused Shardak, chilling his muscle. Two days had passed since he, Kyhrex, and Blast had left the Hand for Voidrealm, and Shardak wondered, not for the first time, if this was a good idea. Voidrealm was a dark place, filled with the spirits of long-forgotten Toa on ancient quests, and innocent Matoran and Agori who had died when the deadly diseases struck the realm. The world deeply unsettled them all, and the three walked on in grim silence. The Scrape of Metal-Shod feet jerked Shardak into the present. Six Corpasians, consisting of two Burning Arms, Three Aspects, and a tall, powerful being wearing an upgraded version of the Hau. Shardak recognized him as Shadowbringer, a Corpsian Assassin who’d helped kill Arcturas.
“Shadowbringer,” Blast spat, unable to keep the fury out of his voice. Shadowbringer, along with his sister, had nearly killed Blast once.
“Burnarm,” Shadowbringer growled. “Your death has finally caught up with you...”
“Really?” Blast replied. “I always imagined my death would be something lean, mean, and exciting…you don’t exactly fit the bill.”
“Well,” said Shadowbringer, “then I will let my slaves do the work for me.” Dark, deadly Corpsians, mostly Chargers and Copies, with a few Aspects of Corpse. Chargers of Corpse were small, implike beings with heavily armored fronts, and served as rank-and-file troops in Corpsian armies below Burning Arms. Blast was now more worried. They were three toa. How long could they last against over threescore Corpsians? The dark wave charged forward, Chargers hurling themselves madly into the fray, with Aspects and Copies readying to strike.
For a moment, Shardak felt as though he was back on the hilltop where Arcturas had fallen, then at the battle for the Hand’s Base. But his fingers wrapped around the blade, and steely determination formed within him. Next to Blast and Kyhrex, he was the best fighter in the Hand. Now he would fight. The Corpsians struck, the first wave being Chargers led by Copies. A Charger struck him, but it deflected harmlessly off Shardak’s armor. With a downward stroke, Shardak cleaved a Charger in half, then whipped around and unleashed a Nova Burst at a Copy, knocking its burning body into the shadows. Blast had caused a rift to open in space, causing Corpsians to scatter in confusion. Kyhrex used her Protosteel Claw to slash into a Corpsian, then dance out of reach as a second Corpsian aimed a blow at her. Shardak hoped that some day, some how, he would be as fast as Kyhrex. But as powerful as the three toa were, the Corpsians were deadly fighters. Shardak winced as a Zamor Sphere fired by a Copy knocked the wind out of him, and two more hit Blast, felling him. Kyhrex dodged three that were shot at her, then neutralized one midair. Shadowbringer leered before him, and Shardak knew he stood no chance. This Corpsian was as fast as Kyhrex. Nevertheless, Shardak swung Arcturas’ Blade at him. Shadowbringer dodged, and knocked the dual Blades from Shardak’s hand, then shot Bolts of fire at his other hand, causing him to drop the Blade of Arcturas.
“Pathetic,” Shadowbringer growled. “How your resistance has managed to survive all these years is beyond me. Now it would be enjoyable to kill you, but I have…other plans.” Shadowbringer waved his hand, and three aspects dragged Blast’s limp form away.
“As you waste away here, let this knowledge torment you: more Corpsians are massing. In a few hours, your precious Hand of Mata Nui will be utterly annihilated. Now I will return this traitor of a Corpsian to the tower, where we shall decide what to do with him.
“He-is-no-Corpsian-“ Shardak spoke in shuddering tones. “He is my Toa-Brother.”
“Ha!” Shadowbringer laughed, “Never trust family, Shardak. They will always let you down.” Then the Corpsians were gone, leaving Shardak and Kyhrex alone in the Dark Void. All around them was the eeriness of death.
Skorpix was smiling. He was near the Tower of Dreams, watching Flareus and Banrax fight. They’re feuds were almost amusing. Sometimes, for the fun of it, He’d choose a side, then switch loyalties when the original ally needed him the most. Banrax shot a bolt of water at Flareus, who turned it into vapor with his powers of fire. Banrax hurled a mountainous pillar of sand at Flareus, burying the prince beneath it. Skorpix’s smile faded. He turned to Windeus, who looked equally puzzled.
“Banrax,” asked Skorpix, “where did you get that Sand?” Flareus emerged from the pile, changed, as though warped by the Sand. Eerie power emanated from Banrax, making Skorpix pause. Then both Flareus and Banrax were gone, buried in sand. When the sand cleared, a deadly looking Elemental Demon was there. Parts of Banrax and Flareus were within it, and the Evolution Sand still coated his body. Skorpix and Windeus watched with dawing recognition.
“Banrax…” Skorpix spoke, shocked.
“Hardly,” rasped the being. I am Flox, Elemental Demon. Bow before the might of the Ruler of Dimensions.'"
Atarus watched the Elemental Princes with horror.
“Flox….” He cursed. He should have guessed that Banrax and Flareus harbored this demon within them.
When the Great Beings shaped the universe, they created it from primal entities of elements. Some were willingly created into the modern Elemental Powers. Others, like Flox, resisted. He was a fusion of the modern elements fire and water and fought the Great Beings. Finally the Great Beings created the spear of fusion’s prototype and used it to create the elements fire and water. Once the elements were created the Elemental Princes were formed and any demons that still fought were exiled to a dark netherdimension. But an imprint of Flox survived on his consciousness of the Princes formed out of his elements. Flox was rarely summoned and when he was, misery and destruction followed. During the Seven Traitor’s War , Flox tore off the heads of his victims and stacked them in a 100 foot tall tower and when Xaterex was destroyed it was Flox who added it to the Field of Shadows, cutting it off from all other dimensions. If Flox appeared now it could be catastrophic for the hand. Atarus readied his light gun. This needed to end. Now. Skorpix slashed into Flox, who screeched in fury. Windeus aimed a blade at Flox’s head, but Flox simply crushed Windeus under his Fist. Atarus’ mocking voice rang out.
“So the great Skorpix cannot fell his own slaves. If only the others could see you now.”
“I’ll crush you,” Skorpix snarled, dodging a blow from Flox ‘s tail. “Rip you apart.” Three bolts of lightning rang from the cliffs Nightshade, Shadowbringer and a Corpse’s Fury.
“Kill this thing!” Skorpix screeched at them. The assassins obeyed immediately with the other Corpsian spinning at Atarus. Skorpix felt satisfied as he brought down Atarus. Skorpix leapt at Flox, readying his annihilation powers. Flox replied with a mountain of sand which crushed Skorpix below. Atarus kicked the Corpsian backwards, hoping to stun it, unfortunately it just kept coming at him, again and again and again. Nothing could still the undead. Finally Atarus shot three bolts of light from his gun. The light ricocheted off the walls at Atarus’ command, stunning the Corpsian for a brief instant. That was all Atarus needed. Firing blasts from the gun at Flox confused the demon. Windeus recovered, managed to haul it down before a column of sand sent Windeus flying backwards. Nightshade leapt at Flox, pinning him down, while Shadowbringer struck at Atarus. The Corpse’s Fury had recovered and stabbed at the hand agent. Atarus ducked but Shadowbringer flicked the Light Gun from his hand. Atarus drew a dagger and threw it at Shadowbringer, with epic force. Atarus smashed into Shadowbringer, wrecking his armor. Shadowbringer growled savagely and struck Atarus, sending him staggering into Flox momentarily distracting Nightshade. Flox leapt away from the fray and vanished. Seeing Flox go Atarus knew his work was done here. Throwing a rusty sword at the Corpse’s Fury, Atarus vanished, charging off, ready to return to the hand.
Skorpix awoke, shaking the sand off his now twisted body. Dark spells of healing were piercing his body together, but it would take hours for the damage caused by Flox to heal. “Where is Flox?” Skorpix spoke to Shadowbringer, though he looked at Nightshade,
”He ran off towards the cliffs, Lord”, replied the male assassin.
“Nightshade, find him and return him here." Nightshade nodded then ran off after Flox. Windeus staggered upright.
“Call the Fury inventor,” said Skorpix. “ We are ready to experiment on the Piraka snake.” Windeus nodded, and Skorpix turned to his ranks of Corpsians. Soon. He silently promised. Soon.
Nightshade ran across the plains, Wind whipped in her face, her graceful strides matching her exceptional beauty. She never felt more alive than when she was ready to kill. She could hardly wait to sink her daggers into Flox. There! Nightshade saw Flox racing along the riverbank. She made no sound as she stalked the Demon like a shadow, and left no trace where she stepped. Her dagger meterialized in her hand, coated with poison. In the other hand she grasped the Spear of Fusion. She placed the Scaldera over her face, and struck Flox like a viper. Flox hurled sand at her, but Nightshade dodged and stabbed him with the poisoned dagger. Flox whirled at the now weaponless Corpsian girl, but suddenly a second dagger meterialized in her hand. Flox snarled and threw more sand, this time mixed with fire. Nightshade ducked, whirled around, and slashed him again. Flox lept on her, pinning her down, but it was too late. Flox had weakened too far, and was becoming Banrax and Flareus again. Flox staggered away from her, hurling globes of water at the Corpsian which fizzled into mist before they hit her. The Banrax in Flox's body tried to push itself toward her, But Flareus had assumed control of Flox's body, and without the Elemental Demon to power it, anarchy reinged within the body. Nightshade drew the Spear of Fusion and sank it into the Demon's writhing body. Banrax and Flareus were once more there. Banrax looked around wildly, then dashed off towards the Valley Swamp. Flareus looked around, dead-eyed.
"What hapened?" he gabbled out
"You were possessed by an Elemental Demon," Nightshade replied.
"I..." Flareus gasped. Nightshade understood. There was simply nothing you could say after being possessed like that. With faltering steps, Flareus followed her back to Skorpix.
Flareus watched the Nightshade with admiration. Had anyone seen her, no one would believe that this poised, graceful Toa had killed an Elemental Demon. Nightshade looked like nothing more than a young, if eerily graceful Toa. In a way, Nightshade was more deadly than any other Corpsian.
"We have to go rescue Blast." Shardak finally broke the silence. He and Kyhrex had been too numb to say anything since Blast's capture.
"The Corpsians went that way," pointed Kyhrex "Northeast. Their base must be just outside Voidrealm."
"But Silencer told us--" Shardak began, but Kyhrex broke in
"Sometimes you have loyalties to something greater than orders. Every toa must help another, unless there is no other way." Kyhrex spoke with a passion that could only come from one that had experianced it.
"It happened to you, didn't it?" Shardak's fear for Blast made him reckless. When Kyhrex replied, it was no more than a whisper "Yes. The team that I fought alongside, the Toa Ultimate, were chosen to wield two Elements each, air and water, in my case. Mata Nui sent us to the Doomed Universe, where reality no longer existed. It was on the other side of the Veil-"
"Veil--" Shardak cut in, but Kyhrex continued.
"I watched my companions fall aound me, and could do nothing. I saved the team leader, Sarda, however, and the Hand brought us back from nothing. Sarda died soon after in a Corpsian raid. But it was my punishment- the will of Mata Nui."
"I don't see why you-" Shardak began.
"Thousands of years ago the Island I lived on sank beneath the sea. I worked on sentry duty there. I saw a mask in the water, the mask you wear today." Shardak was too stunned by these revelations so to speak.
“Passed it and its curse on to a Po-Matoran named Dekar. It ultimately ruined him, turning him into Hydraxon, erasing all memory of his former life. I destroyed the life of a Matoran and was punished by watching my Toa-sisters and brothers die and be powerless to help them." Shardak realized how hard it was for Kyhrex and how much rescuing Blast meant to her. The Death of a whole team. Shardak thought. It was a wound that would never heal.
"We won’t let Blast die,” said Shardak. “We’ll rescue him. There is the Corpsian Base." A Dark Tower, cloaked in shadow, stood like an open wound a Black frothing tear in reality. He saw Kyhrex stiffen in rage at the sight of the tower.
“The Tower of Dreams,” she said. “Corpsian Legion headquarters."
“No Corpsians seem to be here,” whispered Shardak.
“Many are at war with Toa or Dark Hunter Servants. And there are many more inside,” Kyhrex replied.
“How do we sneak by them?” asked Shardak.
“Try to act inconspicuous,” Kyhrex replied. “And if a few Corpsians attack I’ll hypnotize them. When we get to the prisoners, we’ll fight." The Toa entered the stronghold. It was largely deserted with mostly chargers and Burning Arms, who either avoided contact with you without orders (the former) or walk off to “betray the East Hall” (the latter).
Finally the Toa reached the cells.
“The Holding cells," Kyhrex whispered. “There are many high-ranking Corpsians here, so do not try to intentionally fight them.” As they entered to cells three copy guards raced at them. Shardak aimed the Blade of Arcturas and in an instant the copy was nothing but ashes. The two other copies were quickly dispatched by Kyhrex, one torn apart by air the other drowned in a miniature wave. But the Corpsians had been alerted. Shardak saw the glowing red arms of Burning Arms and the somber black-armored aspects. Shardak slashed into burning arm, then cut off the legs of a copy. Kyhrex used her air powers to bind them. As the copy put himself together Kyhrex turned him to vapor in a blast of air and water mixed with lightning. “Get blast” Kyhrex hissed at him and Shardak raced to Blast’s cell.
“Blast!” Shardak cried.
“Shardak?” Blast gasped. “Let’s go!” Shardak took his scythe of creation and handed to Blast.
“I’ve missed that,” he said. The the toa dashed forward.
“Run!" They called to Kyhrex. Kyhrex kicked over the copy she’d been fighting and raced up into the Tower of Dreams. They were free! Shardak was ecstatic.
Then they heard it. A voice they all knew.
A voice that all knew very well.
“Hello Shardak,” Nightshade walked into the room with three Aspects of Corpse. Shardak stared at her in shock. She wore a metallic silver Kanohi which seemed to almost hypnotize you.
“Nightshade…” Shardak gasped. “No. You are not—“
“Arcturas said the same thing to me before he died.”
“Then you’re a Corpsian!" Shardak gasped. “You killed Arcturas!”
“I was sent by the Fury to find and kill Arcturas. I led him into a trap on the cliffs and the Fury brought his dying body here.”
“No!” yelled Shardak.
“Yes,” Nightshade replied calmly. “He was just as shocked as you were when he lay dying here. He just couldn't believe that the toa girl who he took pity on had betrayed him, and he died in despair.” There was an almost gleeful look on Nightshade’s face as she recounted the story. Shardak was too stunned to speak. His entire past was unraveling before him. Nightshade murdered Arcturas. Nightshade led him into a trap.
“We- we pitied you,” Shardak’s voice broke, “we pitied you, and you betrayed us!” Shardak’s disbelief had turned to anger.
“Yes. And now I have returned to the Tower of Dreams.” Shardak looked at Kyhrex and Blast, but they seemed to have been rendered helpless somehow by Nightshade.
“Kanohi Scaldera,” Nightshade smiled behind the mask. “Kanohi of Seduction. Your friends will not be able to help you. Now I will Kill Kyhrex, and you can join Blast in the holding cells.”
The Aspects drew their scythes and sprang at Blast. Instantly he was freed from the spell, but it was too late. The Aspect, with one swipe of his scythe, had felled the Toa. Kyhrex was on the Aspects like a blur as she slashed apart the second Aspect. As the Corpsian's regeneration powers brought him back together, Kyhrex felled him again, than moved toward the one who'd felled Blast. As Kyhrex charged, the Aspect whipped around to meet her, but was cut off by Shardak. The third aspect sprang at him, and Shardak recognized the distinctive yellow-and-black armor of Corpse. As Corpse charged him, Blast rose shakily to his feet. Corpse snarled something in the nasal speeches of the Corpsians, then slashed his sword at Blast. Shardak was on him like a flash, and Corpse fell to smoldering pieces. As Corpse, not totally destroyed, began to renit his body together. Blast, seeing the Corpsians momentarily neutralized, dashed towards the exit. Shardak and Kyhrex fled out a second door. The three Aspects turned to give chase, but Nightshade called them back.
"They won't get far." She smiled that evil smile of hers. Shardak, burning with anger, dashed after Kyhrex. Nightshade had killed Arcturas. It was almost too staggering to think about. His life had finally been stripped away forever, but Shardak sensed a new beginning. They'd escaped the Corpsians and were about to return to the Hand. Pride welled within Shardak. I'll Never let you win, Nightshade! He dashed after the fleet Kyhrex. Now if they could just return to Blast, they'd--
Then he saw it.
The Fury stood before them, Shredsteel Dagger-Scythes gleaming in his hands.
* * *
Skorpix, high in the tallest spire of the Tower of Dreams, cared nothing for the disturbance below. He had only eyes for the blue Skakdi snake swimming in the tank filled with water, and the carefully crafted robot built to resemble a spineless Skakdi lying on the table. Tall statues of ancient Corpsians lined the hallways, but Skorpix payed them no heed.
Windeus interrupted his thoughts.
"The Inventor is here to see you now, Lord Skorpix."
"Show him in." Skorpix commanded, and a tall, buglike being entered the room. His armor was dark ebony mixed with yellow. The Fury Inventor had retooled his appearence to resemble that of an ancient makuta, Bitil, who had served Skorpix in the past. He was eventually killed, for the second time in his life, by the Hand of Mata Nui agent Ion during the Aftermath of the Seven Traitors war and Zoth's betrayal.
The Fury Inventor's nasal voice interrupted him. "We will now experiment on the Piraka Snake, and fuse him to this mechanical suit."
"Do It." Skorpix commanded, and the Piraka was roughly jerked out of his tank by Windeus. As the Piraka gasped for air, The Fury poured the Energized Protodermis on the Snake. Insantly, the armor changed to the Half Organic/Half Biomechanical body of a living being. The Skakdi's spine connected to the body fully, and the eyes glowed with new light. The Skakdi/Mechanical Hybrid stood. "At last." Vezok smiled his skull-like grin.
"After years of lying in that stupid tank, after years of being fused to that idiot Reidak and the others, I am free."
"Not completely," smiled Skorpix. "I am still your master, Vezok, as I have been for thousands of years when you were a Piraka Snake."
"What do you want me to do?" grumbled Vezok, wishing he could be free, but unwilling to take the chances against thousands of Corpsians.
"You'll see." Skorpix gestured to one of the statues, and a horrible hissing voice that Vezok knew all too well spoke.
"Who dares call Zaktan!" snarled the being, and Skorpix recoiled. Zaktan's voice was not dissimular to that of Varkanax.
"Zaktan, It is Skorpix, Prince of Earth. I am the lord of evil and ruler of the Corpsians."
"You cannot command me."
"I can," Skorpix smiled, and Zaktan froze where he stood. "Now. I will send you with this other Piraka. There is a Hand of Mata Nui agent--
"Are they like the Order of Mata Nui?" Zaktan hissed. "I hate the Order. They imprisoned me for years on Daxia, then Teridax blew me up. That was annoying!"
"Fool!" Vezok snarled, "get on with the times. The Order has long since been defeated by Teridax, and now Skorpix seeks to continue Makuta's work in this universe."
"Listen!" Skorpix snarled. "You will go with Vezok to apprehend a Hand agent called Atarus. He is around here somewhere. Kill him."
"Is that all?" Zaktan hissed. "Consider it done.The Dark Hunters gave me harder missions." The Piraka grabbed an axe from the wall, then turned to Vezok.
The next day, Banrax was crawling through the mud of the Valley Swamp. It had huge plants, making canopies and water, muck, and plants everywhere. But, in a strange sort of way, it was a beautiful place. The light was of a blue-ish shade making the swamp dark and eerie. Banrax climbed a huge plant, then leapt off and flew through the swamp, looking for the assailants that would inevitably come to search for him. Then he saw it and chuckled silently to himself. Ah, Nightshade. You may impress Flareus, but unless you're trying to lure me your hiding skills are worse that that of a stupid rahi's. Nightshade's sensor fins attached to her Kanohi Scaldera were poking out of the giant blades of grass in the swamp. Banrax sped up and did a roll mid air, landing on a large mushroom over where Nightshade was. She was eyeing a peculiar rahi that Banrax recognised as a Skimmer. They were near invincible creatures that, when scared, would shoot of in amazing speeds. Their strength was amazing; they could carry two elemental princes, even though they were one sixth the size of one. And, however hard even Skorpix tried, they were impossible to defeat. Fury, as the famous inventor and scientest was nicknamed, calculated that there was something about them that prevented them from being destroyed by anything but natural means. Banrax watched Nightshade for hours.
Eventually, she sighed.
"Give it up, Banrax. I know you're up there. You make my job so boring." She looked up at him. Banrax was startled.
"How?" he growled. Nightshade smiled and held up a tracker.
"Being on Windeus' side is a good thing. He programmed you into my tracker." Banrax then waved his arm and sand started flowing down onto Nightshade. She smiled and blasted the sand with lightning, scattering it. The Skimmer, who had been oblivious to everything before, now shot off to the other end of the swamp.
"Come back, Banrax. I'm sure Skorpix would just love to reward you. After all, you surely showed him that you were the more powerful Elemental Prince. Flareus is a fool and will never gain Skorpix' favor... So come back." Nightshade said this very flatteringly and sweetly. Banrax faltered.
"He... he told you he would reward me?" Banrax asked. Nightshade smiled.
"Oh, yes... He has grand things in store for you." Banrax swooped downward toward Nightshade.
"Okay then... I suppose I can come back. Get on," he said. Nightshade hopped onto his back like a legendary corpsian and the two shot off toward the Tower of Dreams.
"Welcome back, Banrax," said Shadowbringer, playing along with Nightshade's hoax. He was standing on the cliff surrounded in lava; it was the entrance to the Tower and a boiling-hot realm. Banrax nodded to Shadowbringer and Nightshade smiled behind his back. She and Shadowbringer followed Banrax all the way to the top of the tower where they blocked the door.
"I'm here for my reward," Banrax said. Skorpix smiled.
"Here's your reward!" he hissed and clicked his claws together. Orange writhing tentacles appeared out of thin air and sealed Banrax to a giant protosteel tower that emerged from the top of the Tower of Dreams; it was, quite literally, the tower for which the structure was named. Banrax was sealed to the tower and Skorpix started to smile his twisted, evil smile.
The Fury stood before them, his Shredsteel Dagger-scythes gleaming in his hands.
"Shardak." Kyhrex spoke tensely. "Run away. Save Blast."
"Go." The Fury slashed a blade at Kyhrex, who dodged, and narrowly blocked the blow. Kyhrex watched Shardak dash into the night after Blast, then turned and faced the Fury. The Fury slashed his Scythes at her chesplate, and she narrowly staggered away, surprised at the Fury's strength. Quick as lightning, the Fury's Scythe changed directions and struck her arm, deadening the muscle beneath. Even though the scythe hadn't wounded her, Kyhrex was stunned. Mata Nui, he's fast! she thought. She knew now that she couldn't even let the The Fury hit her. One blow could kill her. The Fury slahed again, and Kyhrex activated the jets on her Hand of Mata Nui Flex Suit. Designed by Tahhiti, a Hand of Mata Nui inventor, the flexible enhanced her agility while granting her protection of a far more cumbersome armor. As the Fury staggered away, blinded momentarily by the flash of light, Kyhrex slashed her blade at him. The Fury, faster then a striking cobra, recovered and tore a peice of armor from her chestplate. Kyhrex could almost feel the cold ice as it nearly ripped into the weaker muscle beneath. The Fury thrust both daggers at her like a spear, and Kyhrex dodged away. The Fury's Scythes broke away and tore into her leg armor. Instantly Kyhrex felt a little less fast as the Flex Suit lost its effect. The Fury, sensing weakness rent a deep gouge in her chestplate. Kyhrex barely managed to tear away the Scythe at the hilt before it sank into her chest. The Fury's second Scythe whipped around, and Kyhrex jumped away. The Fury's blade changed directions again, and tore off one of her jets. He's toying with me. Kyhrex thought grimly. He'll finish me when he wants to. The Fury stabbed again at Kyhrex, and in a final effort, Kyhrex activated her remaining jet. Nothing happened. Mata Nui, no. Kyhrex gasped as she saw the Fury, knowing she'd failed, charge. As the Fury came beside her, his mask inches from her own and his Scythes poised to swing and end her life, the jet flared to ignition. The Super-Hot flames caught The Fury in the face, scalding his mask. The Fury staggered away from her, his mask melting over his face, and fell to the ground. Kyhrex smiled. She'd defeated the Corpsian Leader and allowed Shardak and Blast to escape. Kyhrex began to stride away from the ruins.
Craaackk. Kyhrex turned, and saw the Fury, his mask completely melted, eyes burning with hate behind the ruined Kanohi, hurl his Dagger-Scythe at her. Too late, Kyhrex realized she'd exposed her side, and tried to turn. The Scythe sank deep in. Kyhrex felt soulsplitting pain as cold of the Shredsteel engulfed her body. She willed her limbs to move, but they wouldn't respond. Another cold began to chill her body-the cold of death. She had failed, and now she would pay for it. Kyhrex looked down, expecting to die, when she felt her body desprately rally, and the pain ceased. Kyhrex's limbs, however could no longer support her body, and she fell. As she lost consiousness, the pain of the Shredsteel returned, and her life began to ebb away slowly.
Shardak finally caught up with Blast on the edge of Voidrealm.
"Blast!" Shardak called out. The Toa halted.
"Where's Kyhrex," Blast said, panting for breath.
"The Fury found us," Shardak replied. "Kyhrex is holding him off."
"You think she'll...defeat him?" Blast asked finally.
"If anyone can do it, she can." But Shardak secretly shared his Toa-Brother's worry. He'd seen firsthand how deadly the Fury was. He'd even defeated Arcturas, whom Silencer himself had acnowleged as a powerful Elemental Prince. But not as powerful as the Seven Traitors. Shardak thought grimly. When he slept at nights, the Traitors haunted his dreams. Atarus' words lept into his mind Evil...Powerful...they will hunt you down... Shardak shook his head.
And Nightshade! She was a Corpsian Assassin. She'd betrayed Arcturas! She was his enemy, a traitor. In the cold pit that was his life today, he knew that she'd killed Arcturas. Now, looking back on it, it should have been blindingly obvious that she was a traitor, worse then all the others. She was a dark stain on his life, sent by the Corpsians to lure Arcturas to his death.
"We need to rescue Kyhrex," Blast said firmly, interrupting his horrible thoughts.
Shaking his head, Shardak turned to Blast. "Silencer told us that the White Lightning Division of the Corpsians patrol his area. They'll be after us."
Shardak lifted the Blade of Arcturas, new resolve building within him.
"Corpsians!" Shardak hissed to Blast, as the dread soldiers closed in. These were not the common aspects Shardak and Blast had faught in the battle for the Hand's base, these were Eliminators from the White Lightning Division that patrolled Voidrealm. Shardak shook his head. They'd been making good progress, and now, the Corpsians were closing in.
"Run!" Shardak screeched and Blast melted into the shadows. Shardak watched the Eliminator's keen senses kick in and they drew their Daggers and charged. Blast and Shardak, however, were already out of sight. When the Eliminators vanished, Shardak sighed releif. This was the third patrol they'd encountered that day, and they'd all been copies and burning arms. Now that the White Lightning Division was after them, things were more dangerous. He hoped that, somehow, they could escape against all odds...
Silencer stood, bound in the Corpsian's Base near the tower of dreams, wondering if Shardak and Blast had survived. But by aiding them, he'd enginnered his own capture. The Hand's leader looked around at the Corpsians beside him. They were all high-ranking Corpsians draped in black cloaks and holding Shredsteel daggers. They wore no armor, but their mental and psionic powers were immense. Dark Annihilators stood there as well, armed to the teeth with Shredsteel blades and spears. He spotted one with distintive yellow-and-black armor holding a tall Scythe made of rusted steel. He guessed it was a prototype. Hunched over Eliminators from the White Lightning Division prowled the primiters. He also saw a Corpsian girl, probably not even thirteen years old, standing among them. This was unusual. Corpsians too young to be much use for fighting were kept apart from the rest to be trained. Silencer sighed regretfully. He was well and truly trapped.
Then he saw the Fury.
The leader of the Corpsians was tall and deadly, his deadly scythes of woven shadow gleaming malevolently in the half-light. but that did not grab Silencer's attention immediatly. His mask did. Something had melted his mask onto his face, melding it together in a grotesque mess of muscle tissue and metal. His eyes, dead pits of shadow, gleamed with madness and evil power.
"So... The great Silencer..." The Fury pressed his mutilated face closer to Silencer's. "Is fianlly ours..."
"I'll never be yours, you old bat," said Silencer meeting the Fury's gaze with difficulty. The Fury's eyes were black orbs of night that absorbed light.
"You know you'll never kill me." The Fury regarded him with the dispassionate gaze of one in power.
"You are ours," he repeated.
"Well, what'll it be then, Fury?" Silencer asked boldly, knowing this moment would come eventually. A showdown against his archenemies.
"Behead me? Rip my soul out with those scythes of yours? Have your slaves torture me to death?"
"No, Silencer..." rasped the Fury "We want you alive...for now. You can go free...If you give us the information we need." The Fury paused, relishing his power over the Hand's leader.
"Where is Arcturas' Toa?" Silencer smiled. "Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you. Kill me if you wish."
"No," said the Fury, smiling. "You are free to go. But if we find that you lied to us, you will die. Understand?" The Corpsian girl moved to stand beside the Fury. She grinned evilly at Silencer.
"Go." Silencer recoiled. The girl was from the assassin species, that much he could tell, but she seemed to hold far too much sway for any young Corpsian. Silencer had seen high-ranking Corpsians turned to dust for speaking in a Corpsian meeting, but the Corpsians acted as if nothing was amiss. Baffled and annoyed, Silencer left, aware that the Corpsians were watching his every move.
Shardak and Blast ran.
They ran for their lives, the Corpsians right behind them. Shardak didn't know when it had gone so wrong, but he and Blast had been coralled into the heart of Corpsian territory, and were being hunted down. They would pay the highest price of all for challenging the might of the Seven Traitors. They would die.
Suddenly, Blast laughed. Shardak turned to him, wondering what had caused him to break into mirth.
"Blast, this really isn't the best time for jokes..." Shardak began, but Blast cut him off.
"If Corpsians have a failure, it's the fact that they persue you without thinking. This entire complex is built on a complicated series of lava lines that lead to the Laverna realm. We lure the Division in here, use our powers, and ka-boom. Exit Corpsians." Shardak smiled, releived to have a plan again. They could only wait...
There was a flash of light as a lantern sliced through the darkness of Voidrealm. Shardak saw the Corpsian standing like a demonic horror clutching a lantern and a long scythe. More Corpsians surged toward them, and Shardak tensed, ready to activate the lava lines when the Corpsians struck them. The tall Eliminator dropped his lantern and slashed the Scythe into Shardak's shoulder. Shardak felt deadly pain as the Scythe struck again. As Shardak fell to the ground in pain, Blast activated the gates. Shardak was dimly aware of Blast shouting to him, but he had eyes only for the scythe about to end his life. Closer the scythe came, flame burning into the handle. The Corpsian stiffened as the flame struck him, consuming his scythe in a flash of white-hot flame. For a breif instant the Corpsian stood there, his armor torn and ragged. Then a second bolt consumed him utterly. Blast screamed a warning as he vanished down the tunnel, but Shardak could barely hear him over the roar of the all-consuming flames. Shardak dodged away from a surviving Eliminator, but a second, his armor charred and his mask in peices swung a scythe that caught him on the leg. Shardak staggered, but he had already caught up with Blast. Blast grabbed him, and Shardak limped out of the cave. An Eliminator staggered toward them, raggedly swinging a broken scythe, but the cave blew sky high in an enormous flash of white light that consumed the Eliminators. Blast and Shardak stood at the edge of Voidrealm, watching as the awesome power consumed their eniemes utterly.
Farther away, Silencer saw the explosions. So Shardak, Blast, and Kyhrex had survived. But they appearently were not wise to the Corpsians tricks, and another squad from the White Lightning was moving to cut them off. He needed to help them. drawing his blade, Silencer set off to find Melnox and Ion.
Shardak and Blast stood at he edge of the cliffs, watching the explosions. At the very least, it had made their persuers a little less cocky. They'd not encountered a single Corpsian since they left Voidrealm.
Something moved in the half-light.
Blast tightened his grip on the Scythe of Creation, and Shardak raised the Blade of Arcturas, ready to blast any Corpsian that came near into oblivion. Then Blast let go of the Scythe.
"Silencer, is that you?"
"Yes, it's me" The figure said tensely. "After all the training we gave you, you still aren't wise to the Corpsian's tricks. Another war party is coming to cut you off any miniute now." Like shadows, Ion and Melnox meterialized behind Silencer.
"We need to leave. Now." Melnox spoke. "The Corpsians are coming." Silencer nodded.
"Where is Kyhrex?" asked Ion.
"She was fighting the Fury-"
"The Fury? One of the highest ranking Corpsians? He was there?!" said Silencer. "We will leave. Now. The Corpsians are out on battalion strength, and won't rest until we're dead. And we will be, if we don't hurry. It's just a matter of time. The Corpsians are ruthlessly efficient, like the Seven Traitors that came before them. Silencer ran off into the gloom, with Blast and Shardak close behind.
"Do you think Kyhrex will live?"
"I hope th-" Blast broke off.
Suddenly Shardak saw what Blast had seen.
Shardak drew his sword.
Silencer and the others redied their blades.
The Fury stood before them, Shredsteel Dagger-Scythes gleaming in his hands.
"Fury." Silencer spoke the word coldly.
"Silencer," said the dark being. Shardak stared at the Fury's face in shock. His mask and face were a mess of dripping gore. His jet-black armor shone in moonlight. He twirled the shredsteel dagger scythes in his hands effortlessly and, if it was possible, smiled.
“Die, Silencer!” snarled the Fury, and slashed both his Scythes at Silencer. Silencer staggered away from the Fury, and tried to land a blow of his own. The Fury leapt away nimbly, and brought down his Scythe. Shardak winced as he felt the Toa’s pain, the pain of Shredsteel ripping into a soul.
A low-ranking Toa of Fire of the Hand appeared from the darkness. “Sir” He gasped to Ion. “The Corpsians are attacking on all fronts! The Hand is positioned raggedly in one on one duels.” Ion cursed and drew his sword. Hundreds of Black-robed Corpsians had materialized like smoke behind the Fury, swinging their scythes confidently. A Copy sprang at Shardak, ripping into his armor. Instantly Shardak lost all his energy as the Copy’s power sapped his strength. Shardak shot a burst of energy from his blade, and the Copy went down. A dark Aspect stood before him, his Scythes tearing apart his dual blades, but Shardak whipped the blade of Arcturas around and sliced into the Aspect’s armor, felling the Corpse. Ion was a few feet away, fighting a shadowy and earth being. Shardak saw
And still Silencer fought the Fury, their scythes and knives clashing as the deathly warriors fought their deadly battle to the death.
Silencer slashed one knife at the Fury, who leapt away quickly, disarming Silencer. The Fury counterattacked, tearing a ragged wound in the Silencer’s side. Silencer staggered backward, and the Fury tore another gash with his deadly scythes. The Fury then lunged but one of scythes was stuck in a rock upon missing.
The Fury was lightning fast, even after being attacked. He shot around Silencer in circles, obviously trying to confuse him. But Silencer was a seasoned fighter. He watched the patterns of the Fury and fired his protodermis launcher at the spot he knew that the Fury would go next. Just as the Fury slid onto the spot, the blast hit, and froze his feet. Silencer shot both the Fury's hands, freezing them, and then chopped off one hand. At that second, the Fury broke free of his frozen prison and kicked upward, knocking Silencer backwards. Silencer rolled mid-air and landed on his feet, but his back was exposed and he was nearly impaled. Growling at his miss, the Fury jumped upward. Silencer sighed. He had gotten away again. But then he felt the stabbing pain of shredsteel in his arm and realized that the Fury had tricked him. Silencer used the knife stuck in him as propulsion and flipped the Fury onto his back. He ripped the dagger scythe out of his arm and shot the Fury with ice, but it couldn't freeze him. Then he ran forward and impaled him with his knife. The Fury leapt up with his knife and got ready to pounce. Then Silencer had an idea. He flipped backward on top of the rock and grabbed the Fury's knife. He held it high above his head and as the Fury threw his knife, Silencer let go with one hand and grabbed it. Then, when the Fury leapt, he stabbed both of the knives downward, impaling him in the rocks. The Fury was dead.
With the death of their leader, the Corpsians broke ranks, their emotionless faces simply vanishing from view. The slow-witted Burning Arms did not catch on at once, and the Hand agents began routing their enemies.
Then Shardak saw them.
Thousands, a whole army of Corpsians, charging up toward the Fury’s besieged soldiers. Too many for the Hand to even touch. Deadly Warlords of Corpse led Annihilators into battle as normal soldiers. Aspects were foremost into the battle. All were high-ranking, and they were far too few to last against them. Everyone would die.
“Go!” Silencer yelled at them from atop the ridge.
“We can’t leave you!” Ion yelled back.
“You must.” Silencer’s breath was slowing. “My destiny has been fulfilled…but theirs has yet to come.”
“Look to Atarus to guide them in the way.”
“I…cannot” Ion spoke sadly.
“You must.” Silencer spoke as though, in his darkest dreams, he’d known the moment would one day come. “I’ll die anyway.” Shardak looked at the Hand’s deputy, and knew he was right. The Fury had injured his body beyond repair.
“This is…not the end.” Silencer slurred. “It is a new beginning.”
Shardak saw that below, the Corpsians had cast the ripped bodies of many Hand agents into the disease-ridden realm of voids. Their corpses were horribly mutilated, as if the Corpsians had cut the Toa’s bodies to pieces ‘’for fun’’ before killing them.
It was horrible. Horrible. The Corpsians were evil. And worst of all, his own sister was one of them.
Hatred for Nightshade burned in Shardak’s chest.
“Go Now!” Silencer cried as the Corpsians rolled toward him like a malevolent storm of annihilation.
Blast stood beside Shardak and Ion. “Come.” He said tensely. “Blast…” Shardak gasped
“We will find a way to defeat them. I don’t know how, but we will defeat them.”
I spark of hope still burned in Shardak’s chest.
“Blast!” Kyhrex’s voice called out. Shardak was ecstatic. Kyhrex was alive!
We will win. He promised himself, and in a way, he told the Seven Traitors too.
Then he was gone, disappearing into the Shadows, the sound of Silencer’s warcry as he charged his enemies, defiant to the bitter end.
Eostra (Mentioned Only)
Nex (Mentioned Only)
Lariska (Mentioned Only)
The Elemental Prince of Psionics (Mentioned Only)
The Seventh Traitor (Mentioned Only)
The Shadowed One (Mentioned Only)
Various Elemental Princes (Mentioned Only)
Various Assassins of Light (Mentioned Only)
Various Dark Hunters (Mentioned Only)
The Great Beings (Mentioned Only)
A Corpsian Leader
Three or more squads of Corpsians
Varkanax (Voice Only)
Sarda (Mentioned Only)
The Toa Ultimate (Mentioned Only)
Nightfang (Not mentioned by name)
Two Aspects of Corpse
|Xaterex Multiverse Continuity (v|e)|
|Original||Dissolution | Nightfang's Tale | Blast Alone | Writhing Darkness | Condemnation | Expulsion | Impact|
|Rise of the Traitors||Twilight Void | War of Space and Time | The Eternal Game | Nexus of Evil | Utter Destruction|
|Future||Inflammation | Annihilation | Implosion|