"Stop. I see him." The voice was soft but cold and firm. A white armored hand pointed out at a lump of snow and ice a few yards to the north. The lump was glowing softly with a metallic light. "Implant the dart," the voice said. Shadowbringer pulled out a small, thin, tube-shaped object and pressed a small button on its back. A very thin and almost invisible silver dart shot into the snow with a Click! The tracker was set. Nightshade's job was done.
"Ow!" Blast heard a muffled yell and opened his eyes; However, when he did so, he instantly regretted it, as bits of freezing cold ice dropped into his eyes, making him yell too.
"B-blast?!" it was Shardak's voice, Blast noted.
"Yeah, yeah," he said.
"I'm here." Blast heard scratching sounds and suddenly he saw sunlight. Shardak was looking down on him.
"Get up," Shardak said. Blast kicked his way out of the snow and stood up. "Sweet Mata-Nui," he said breathlessly.
"Where are we?"
"I don't know..." Shardak said, looking around. The entire world, as far as they could see, was covered in snow and ice. What had to be the most distinct feature, however, was the mountainous, ice-covered structure about a mile to the north, with a huge orb crackling with energy set on the top. Shardak stared at it.
"It can't be."
"It is..." Blast said. The Tower of Dreams?! How could that be? It had just been destroyed...Blast remembered the time like it was just yesterday- he and Shardak used the Weapons of Good to blow it to smithereens. But here it was, in all its beautiful and dark glory, standing as if that had never happened. What had happened while they were gone? And for that matter, Blast thought... How did they get back?
Chapter One Edit
"How in the name of Mata-Nui did this happen?" Shardak asked. Blast frowned.
"I don't know. I don't even think it's possible...And I don't even remember how we got here. Do you?" he asked, looking at Shardak. Shardak looked deep in thought for a moment, and then he too frowned.
"Well, we might as well do our best to find out what's going on here. And you know what that means." Blast said it firmly as if there were no other options. They would storm the tower.
"Storm the tower?" Shardak asked. Blast nodded. Shardak smiled grimly.
"Let's do this, then." Blast smiled in return and felt a heavy metal cylinder materialize in his hand. It was his trusted weapon, imbued with the power to create- the Scythe of Creation. He slid his armored finger down the side of it and it extended into a full pole with a large, shining silver blade at its end. He then concentrated and he and Shardak glowed with white light- when Blast looked down at himself, he was suited up in cold-protective armor, as was Shardak. Nice job. Took you long enough to get the Scythe, I've been waiting, I said a familiar voice inside Blast's head. It was his good friend Silver, a Matoran he had created that had suffered through many of his hardships. He had another, rougher voice speak up. Hey, Silver, don't hog his head! I wanna talk too! Blast almost laughed out loud at Dust's comment. They were communicating with him telepathically. Nobody will be "hogging my head", thanks, Blast thought back. Thanks, though. I'll need you guys' help if I'm going to get this done.
"Blast?" Blast was snapped back to reality by Shardak's voice.
"Oh, uh, sorry. I was communicating with Sil- Wait a minute," he said out loud. "Where are you guys?" We're in the Hand's base. The real question is where are you? Blast thought for a moment. I think we're back on the surface, he thought back to them. But it's all covered in ice. There's nowhere like that on the surface, Blast, Silver told him. And the Tower of Dreams is gone. You're definitely somewhere else. Blast contemplated this.
"Shardak," he said. "Silver says the Tower's gone. We're not on the surface, at least the normal one- We're somewhere else." Shardak nodded.
"I was starting to think so."
"We should go. Before it gets dark or something...It'll probably take us a while to get around whatever defenses they have," Blast said. Just as he spoke, he felt the Scythe of Creation morph in his hands- It was now a large, frozen solid axe with a claw as a hilt. In the Matoran language along the side was the word "Brutality". Blast grinned.
"This is gonna be fun."
As it turns out, it was not, Blast thought. Panting, Blast reached the top of a spire of ice a few yards away from the Tower. Shardak soon reached him and the two surveyed the area. There appeared to be nothing guarding the Tower, but Blast was sure there were traps concealed under the ice and snow.
"I've got an idea," Blast said, muttering. Shardak looked at Blast questioningly. Blast raised his axe and shot a bolt of silver energy down at the ground near the base of the Tower. The bolt changed and formed into a small mindless drone that bore much resemblance to Silver. Blast closed his eyes and pointed his palm at the drone; soon, it began to move, and Blast slumped down onto the cliff. The matoran turned to Shardak and waved.
"It's me," Blast said from the machine, in an emotionless, metallic voice. He maneuvered the matoran around the Tower's base, brushing aside snow and scraping ice to try and find traps. After about twenty minutes, Blast turned back to Shardak.
"Nothing," he said. Blast stepped forward and tripped, slamming the matoran's body into the ground. He stood up mechanically and turned around to see what he had tripped on. Oh, no... he said, staring at the thing. It was the lifeless form of a Toa of Water, partially covered with snow. Atop the cliff, Shardak stared at the corpse with horror. Ice crystals were literally bursting out of the toa's back, as if they had grown inside and ripped their way out. Shards of armor were scattered around the body. Blast looked up at Shardak.
"Well, evidently, there's something out here," he said in the same mechanical voice. Shardak nodded. "We'd better be careful," he shouted to Blast. Blast then brought the Matoran's body to the middle of the clearing at the base of the tower and triggered a detonation.
Blast sat bolt upright atop the cliff and watched as the mechanical body exploded, casting a momentary red and orange glow around the smooth, reflective ice. Following the first explosion were three more, smaller ones- Apparently traps triggered by the heat of the explosion. Then it dawned on Blast. The traps relied on body heat for activation- the mechanical matoran body had none. He quickly told this to Shardak, who grimaced.
"How will we make it through?" he asked. Blast thought for a moment. He then slashed his axe through the air, and bolts of pure heat rained down upon the clearing. Around a dozen explosions were triggered at once, and Blast was sure that the area would be clear.
"Ready?" Blast asked. Shardak nodded and the two of them leaped down from the cliff with the agility that came only from being part Elemental Prince. The two of them quickly ran through the clearing and pressed their bodies against the base of the Tower. Shardak glanced at Blast. Blast signaled with his hands to move up the Tower, a feat which would require digging their weapons into the side to climb. Blast quickly materialized two white daggers into Shardak's hands, and he began to scale the side of the Tower. After a few minutes, Shardak tapped the side of the Tower twice. Blast felt the sharp vibrations and looked up. Shardak had reached a large gap in the side of the Tower that looked like an exit of some sort. Blast shrank Brutality into a small cylinder and summoned two daggers. Blast, too, began to climb the tower and soon reached the large gap where Shardak stood.
"Well, let's go, then," Shardak said uneasily. He and Blast turned around- but they were faced with huge blast shields. Blast chuckled to himself. Blast shields, he thought. He raised his arm and used his powers of Iron to fold the door into itself, shrinking it into a small metal cube. He picked the cube up and threw it off the side of the Tower. So far, so good. Blast and Shardak proceeded into the Tower and saw immediately that not much had changed. The halls were still a monotonous tone of black which was pierced only by the occasional torch. Suddenly, Blast heard footsteps. And they were headed their way.
Chapter Two Edit
Blast quickly grabbed Shardak and pressed his palm into his armor. Shardak became completely invisible; Blast did the same to himself. Blast pressed himself against the wall and waited. He soon saw the being who made the footsteps and stifled a gasp.
It was Skorpix.
He had changed drastically. He only had two legs, and sharp drifts of ice grew out of his arms. His wings were made of metal and ice. Skorpix's head turned and stared right into where Blast was.
"So, tell me- Why'd you lose the legs?" Blast asked sarcastically. He became visible and rolled between Skorpix's legs, then quickly turned and kicked him in the back. Skorpix, unfazed, turned around, but said nothing. He raised one of his wing blades and sliced it down into the place where Blast had been five seconds previous. Blast had his fingers wrapped around Skorpix's neck. Then, Shardak, too, became visible, and stabbed both of his knives into Skorpix's back. Skorpix crippled and fell to the ground, dead. Blast stared at the corpse, wide-eyed with shock.
"How in the name of Mata-Nui did that happen?!" he asked, looking at Shardak. Shardak shook his head.
"I have no idea. There's no way we could single handedly kill Skorpix." And yet you have, Silver said telepathically, sounding puzzled. Shardak raised his palm and engulfed the corpse in flame. It quickly burned away, leaving no trace of the feud.
"Well, we've no choice but to continue," Blast said. Shardak nodded.
"All is going according to plan. As you said it would," Nightshade added quickly. Skorpix nodded, looking rather bored.
"Honestly," he said, in the cold, low rasp that was his trademark, "I wish they had somehow gotten around our planning. It would have made things more interesting." Skorpix drummed his fingers against the side of his throne. With a jolt, he leaped up, shot out his metal-and-ice wings and morphed his hind legs back into position. He landed on all four of his legs, and though he was heavy, only lightly.
"Let him in," Skorpix said, approximately two and a half seconds before one of the Slave Corpsians guarding the throne room's door registered a banging coming from the outside. Using his mask, Skorpix had briefly glimpsed the future- one of his favourite activities. The Slave Corpsians pulled the large doors (enchanted by Twilight Lords) open and a worn-looking Toa of Air stumbled into the room.
"I'd..." he panted. "I'd like to serve you!" Skorpix hid a smile and looked falsely seriously upon the toa.
"Oh, would you, now?" he asked, and then looked deep in thought, as if he were actually considering it.
Blast and Shardak darted quickly around the mazelike halls of the Tower. As they climbed higher and higher, the air seemed to grow more frigid. About the fourth time Shardak and Blast stopped for a break, the clank of armored footsteps sounded around the halls. Blast quickly used his abilities to make the two invisible and, once again, pressed himself to the wall. One of the beings creating the footsteps stepped into Blast's line of vision.
It was Skorpix.
And not only that- there were three of him. Three two-legged Skorpixes, staring right at Blast and Shardak. Blast sprang forward and pushed his palm at one of them, using a powerful gust of air to blast one of them backwards. He had recently discovered his ability to use small portions of elements beyond his control- he assumed this must have been part of his past as a warrior. Shardak quickly tackled the fallen Skorpix and ripped his mask from his face. Shardak then proceeded to brutally slice the Skorpix's head off with his dagger. Blast, meanwhile, ignited one of the Skorpixes into a brilliant blue flame and watched it burn. The one remaining Skorpix was shot with a bolt of light by Shardak and then incinerated by Blast. Blast then burnt the final body and stared at Shardak, speaking for the both of them.
"That was too easy."
"Way too easy," Shardak agreed. Blast thought for a moment. They're clones, said the voice of Silver, matter-of-factly. Did you see how they look different? They're two-legged and armored differently, they're weaker, and there were four of them. Put two and two together, Blast. Blast realized Silver was right- these were clones, most probably created to scare and distract intruders. However, they may also have been aspects- Could Skorpix see through their eyes?
"They're clones, Shardak," Blast said, and echoed what Silver had told him. Shardak grimaced and nodded.
"Yes, that must be it," he said thoughtfully. "But are they asp-" He was cut off by Blast. "I was just wondering the same thing. I don't know." After pondering this further for a few moments, Blast and Shardak continued along the winding path of the Tower until they reached a large set of black doors with red patterns etched into them.
"His chamber," Blast said. Shardak nodded.
"There's no way we can get through those," Shardak said. Then, looking upward, Shardak's eyes gleamed. "Look." Blast followed Shardak's gaze and saw a hatch in the wall. Blast had no idea what it was, but he immediately used his powers of Iron and crumbled the door. He gestured to Shardak to climb through. Shardak scrambled into the hatch and was followed immediately by Blast. Blast took the crumpled metal and expanded it back into its previous form of a door, leaving no trace of intrusion. He and Shardak climbed through the tight metal passages and soon saw light filtering through the side. Shardak looked to the side and motioned for Blast to come forward.
It was a small, slitted grate, and through it Blast could see Skorpix and a Toa of Air. The Toa of Air was standing, looking out of breath, in front of the four-legged Skorpix. Skorpix looked the same as the clones, ice armored and tall, with minor differences, such as the placement of the armor. Skorpix was looking at the Toa.
"Oh, would you, now?" he said. The Toa raised his large air scythe and nodded enthusiastically.
He was promptly made deceased.
Blast saw two Slave Corpsians guarding the doors burst into laughter as the green-armored Toa slumped to the ground. Skorpix pulled his wing blade out of the gash in the Toa's armor and raised his palm. The corpse froze solid and Skorpix proceeded to shatter it like glass. He snapped at the Slaves.
"Clean up this mess. After all, it is proper courtesy to clean the home for visitors, is it not?" Skorpix smirked and looked at the vent where Shardak and Blast hid silently. Using telekensis, he ripped the vent's covering from the wall and mockingly beckoned Blast and Shardak out of their hiding place.
"You actually thought you had invaded my citadel without my being aware?" Skorpix shook his head in mock disappointment. "My, my," he said. "You two are disappointing..." Skorpix raised his hand and reconfigured the walls with his mastery over earth to form a large archway.
"An entrance for my guests of honour," he said. Blast took this opportunity to bolt from his hiding spot. He concentrated and waited for the Scythe of Creation's small portable cylinder to appear in his hand. Nothing happened. Skorpix chuckled.
"Looking for this?" he asked, holding up the metallic grey cylinder. Blast shot a powerful gust of wind from his palm and levitated the cylinder out of Skorpix' reach. Skorpix was startled for a moment but then regained his snide manner and combated Blast's gust with a more powerful burst of wind.
"You are but part Elemental, fool," he said, looking at Blast through his cold and dead looking eyes. "Your strength simply does not compare to mine." Blast raised his palm again in anger as if to light Skorpix aflame, but was distracted as Shardak somersaulted from the wall and bashed the two Slave Corpsians against eachother, knocking them out cold. With a quick movement of his hand Shardak sent a scatter shot of light bolts flying around the room. Blast jumped into the air and spun around just reaching where the Scythe floated in the air, and grasped it. Skorpix then created a living hand out of the room's floor and it grasped Blast tightly.
"Stop squirming, little Toa, and you might live a few seconds longer," Skorpix hissed. As Shardak was running toward the mound of earth the enchanted doors burst open and the unholy Elemental inventor, Windeus, burst into the room. Windeus used his mastery over the air and lifted Shardak up, choking him.
"Just in time, Windeus," Skorpix said casually. He tightened the hand's grip on Blast. Windeus flung Shardak into a wall and Blast heard a sickening crack of armor breaking. Now's your chance, Silver's voice spoke. Change the Scythe and send it flying! Blast smiled at Silver's idea and did as he was instructed: He changed the Scythe of Creation into its fully extended blade form and sent it cartwheeling at Skorpix' head. Though it missed him, the holy blade scraped Skorpix' armor, leaving a white hot gash. Skorpix grimaced as the Scythe clattered to the ground.
"Your time is up, mutt," he said, referring to Blast's half-Elemental Prince-half-Toa combination. Blast suddenly had an idea- One that would break Skorpix's concentration and hopefully allow him to break free of the earth-hand's grasp. Blast used his newfound wind control and lifted Skorpix's ice-drift armor off of his shoulders. Skorpix, looking annoyed, simply tightened the hand's grip. Blast then, however, twisted the armor, so that their sharp ice tips were facing downward, and sent them careening for Skorpix's head. Windeus, distracted by inspecting Shardak, did nothing to stop them and they smashed into Skorpiix's mask. Skorpix's mask was not dented or even scratched, but he was smashed backward into his stone throne and the earth-hand crumbled into dirt. Blast quickly summoned the Scythe of Creation into his hand and sent a burst of healing energy at Shardak. Blast then created a Dual Energy Blade out of thin air and hurled it at Shardak's just waking body. Windeus whipped around, seeing the blade coming, and sidestepped just as Shardak, with the agility of an Elemental, snatched the Blade by its handle and stood up, facing Windeus. Skorpix was just standing up, and Blast knew that he stood no chance against the two Elemental princes together- they had to escape.
Blast looked around the room quickly. There were no visible escape routes, so he'd have to make one- Using his minimal and not-yet trained power over Earth, Blast mimicked Skorpix and rearranged a wall to form a large hole leading outside. Blast didn't know if he'd survive the jump out, but he knew for sure he'd die if he stuck around here. Quickly beckoning to Shardak, Blast shot forward and dove headfirst out of the hole in the wall. Shardak quickly followed him and, whirling midair, shot his hand up and sealed the hole. Blast turned to face Shardak while falling and smiled. Shardak was looking stunned- he had only reflexively sealed opening and had not known that he had the ability to control Earth. It must be a trait among all Elementals, Silver's voice said to Blast. To control all elements. I think you're right, Blast thought. Well, if I don't make it alive, it was nice knowing you! Blast was now nearing the ground, and just before he hit he shot a burst of wind at the ground. It propelled him upward and allowed him to drift to the ground safely. Blast saw Shardak still falling- and he wasn't trained in air control... Blast quickly upon landing shot Shardak upward more with bursts of wind until he fell to the ground safely.
"Thanks," Shardak said breathlessly. Blast smiled.
"No problem. We've got to get you trained in that..." Blast let the sentence trail off. "Let's find shelter and then we'll see what we can do about your skills."
"Damnation!" Skorpix shouted and shook the Tower's throne room. Windeus had backed up against the enchanted doors, even he fearing Skorpix's anger.
"I was sure we had them this time!" he screeched. "And how did we lose them?! How?! A window!" He shot a bolt of shadow at the ceiling, causing it to rumble and shake. "I don't care if we didn't create it, it's still a window!"
"Master Skorpix, we do still have the tracking device implanted in Shardak..."
"Actually," Skorpix said, walking slowly toward Windeus, "when you flung him against the wall, it broke off with that." Skorpix pointed to a bit of golden armor on the floor. A small metal dart was barely sticking out of the side of it. Skorpix raised his hand and sent writhing coils of electricity around Windeus's body. Windeus in turn, however, raised his hand and froze the coils solid. He picked them up and quickly slammed them at Skorpix, only to be blocked by Skorpix's wing blade.
"Well played, Windeus," he said, smiling. Windeus dropped the frozen electric coils to the ground and shattered them with his armored foot.
"So," he said. "A new plan." Skorpix nodded.
"Call the assassins."
Shardak and Blast had trekked the snowy terrain outside of the Tower for hours and had finally come upon a slanted opening in a mountainous snowbank. Inside was a small, tight cave, the back covered in thick ice, that would at least keep the Toa from being mauled by violent rahi. At this thought, Blast wondered- Where were the rahi? He'd seen none on their way across the terrain...
"So," Blast said as Shardak stepped into the cave, "I guess I'll try and help you with your elemental abilities." Shardak nodded and set his energy blade against the side of the wall.
"What first?" he asked.
"Fire would probably be most helpful right now. Concentrate on fire, the vision of flames, and heat -Maybe imagine the flames coming out of your hand- and that might help you conjur it up," Blast replied. Shardak closed his eyes and seemed to concentrate, holding his hand outstretched. A small ball of flame grew out of his palm and shot toward the wall, melting a tiny hole in the tightly packed snow.
"Did I do it?" Shardak asked questioningly. Blast simply motioned to the hole. Shardak grinned and now, eyes open, shot another fireball, narrowly missing Blast's head.
"Hey, hey! Watch it, pal!" Blast said, smiling. "Now learn to keep it in your hand, like this." Blast kindled a small flame and let it hover in the palm of his hand. It radiated warmth throughout the small frozen cavern. Shardak attempted this, however, the ball of flame fizzled out moments after he created it.
"Eh. It'll take you time," Blast said. Shardak looked a little disappointed.
"Anyway, I'll get us a fire and we should take turns keeping watch. We'll need rest." Blast then turned around in the cramped cave to get more room. He hit his arm on the cave's wall and shouted. "Did you hear that?" Shardak asked confusedly. "Me shouting? Yes, Shardak, I heard it!" "Not that! When your arm hit the ice...it sounded like it was hollow." Blast frowned and whacked the ice with his fist, ignoring the pain. "You're right...it is hollow. We've got to see what's behind here." Blast aimed his hand carefully at the ice and shot a spark at it. The electricity rippled violently through the ice, shattering it with a blast like a gunshot. Behind the shattered sheet of ice was a long, pitch black tunnel. "Well, let's go, then," Shardak said, frowning. Blast lit a fire in his hand and the two started down the tunnel. It went lower and lower, but oddly, the deeper in they went, the brighter it got until they were in an enormous open chamber with icicles hanging from the ceiling. The light seemed to be filtering in through a large dome of ice that was the ceiling. Blast froze when he saw what seemed to be a toa standing in front of him. He looked at Shardak, who nodded. "Turn around now or we'll blast your head off," Shardak said. He and Blast both had their palms open and aimed at the Toa. Nothing happened. "Turn around!" Blast shouted. The Toa still did nothing. Blast and Shardak then carefully walked around to face the Toa. He was wearing white armor and a deformed, odd grey mask. "Something's funny with his eyes. What's wrong with them?" Shardak asked, looking at the glazed over, dim eyes of the Toa. "They're frozen over." The mechanical voice was loud and metallic. It rippled through the room with such force that Blast jumped. "Who are you?" "I am the Disector. And you are my prey." Blast and Shardak turned to face the center of the room. What Blast had previously though to be a large rock was actually a frosted-over large mechanical creature. It was relatively short but had large, long arms with several sharp instruments protruding from it. At its head was a cyllinder with a blue orb, an optical sensor, protruding from the end. The Disector raised its left arm, with a claw, a large sharp knife with a laser sight, and some grinding gears, and a magnetic pull started forcing Blast and Shardak to the center of the room. "Do something!" Shardak shouted. Blast raised his hand and shot a gust of wind at the arm but the magnetic pull continued. Blast then used his own magnetic powers, reversing them, and started pushing the arm away. With an odd click it hung limply at the Disector's side. There was an angry buzz and this time the Disector raised its right arm, with a drill and an odd shovel like object, and shot arcs of freezing energy like ropes at the pair of Toa. Blast and Shardak were both caught and were now being pulled forward again-- toward the large, deadly drill.
- Chapter unfinished.