This was written a while before Guardian, near the beginning of the new year. It's another short prequel, and though it was written first chronologically it comes later than the other. In my opinion this is the better of the two, and one of the best pieces I've ever written.
Note that while the story does feature the recently named Protector Vizuna, he is not referred to as such in the story. This is simply because the story was written before his name was announced, and I opted against editing the name in for various reasons.
As always, enjoy! All constructive criticism and feedback is greatly appreciated.
Drops of dew patter against my roof as they drip down from the leaves above. It sounds like the obsidian fields of the Region of Earth, alive with the sounds of a hundred chisels being hammered into the rock. I visited the fields once. The harsh landscape assaulted my senses with smells and sights the likes of which I have found nowhere else. I much prefer the lush greenery and fresh air of the jungle.
The morning sky is clear as the crystal pools found in the lowest levels of the jungle. The sun is just a sliver on the horizon, painting the heavens with an indescribable blend of reds and yellows. The sunbeams stream through the web of leaves and branches, casting strange and beautiful shadows over everything as far as the eye can see.
A single melodic note breaks the silence. A morning bird is awake and has dared to be the first the sing the song of its kind. As the bird begins the melody, another joins it. Then another. And another. Soon the jungle is alive with their symphony, the morning song that will rouse the villagers from their slumber as it has every day for as long as anyone can remember.
I sit on the edge of the platform upon which my house is constructed, my legs dangling over the side. The height does not bother me, nor does that fact that the thousand foot drop would certainly end me if I were to fall. My kind does not fear. My kind does not fall.
The village comes alive around me. Villagers emerge from their huts, breathing in the fresh morning air. They gather their tools, their hammers and spades and fishing poles, and proceed along the hanging bridges that connect the huts to one another as they go merrily off to their work. Hunters, farmers, builders, and too many others to name.
The dew is still dripping from the trees when I finally rise to my feet and return to my hut. I must prepare for my trip to the great library in the Region of Ice today. It will be a long and cold journey, but well worth it. There are things I need to know, and they can only be found in the library.
I take one last look up at the sky before I enter my humble home. The stars are going out, all but six bright ones have vanished into the lightening dawn. I frown for a moment, unfamiliar with these strange stars. It is not uncommon for the light of a new star to appear in our skies. But never before have six appeared in one night.
As I watch the stars begin to move. It is barely noticeable at first, but soon becomes more pronounced. They are growing further apart before my eyes. They grow larger as well, as if they are getting nearer. What are they? Are they sky rocks like the ones that fell out of the heavens four summers past? Or perhaps they are stars that no longer wish to light the sky and are coming down to rest at the bottom of the sea?
Comprehension dawns. There are six of them. Six. They are not sky rocks or stars. They are our salvation.
The Toa are coming.
All thoughts of the great library are pushed back into the recesses of my mind. Now that the Toa have arrived all our problems will be solved, and all our questions answered. There are more important things to attend to than my petty attempts to do another’s job for him. Toa Lewa will require a proper greeting, one fit for a Hero. The villagers must be rallied. A procession must be organized. A celebration must be planned.
As I swing from my secluded tree to the rest of the village on a vine hanging from the treetop canopy, I feel invigorated. Alive like never before. I am met by my personal attendant when I arrive. Kongu looks at me oddly, sensing my mood and noting the lack of travel supplies.
“Protector, are you not going to the library today?” he asks.
“Nay, Kongu,” I say. “There is no longer a need. Something grand has happened. Now off with you, spread the word. The Toa have arrived.”
The villager’s eyes widen as he takes in the joyous news. “Oh yes, Protector. I will tell every soul in the Jungle.”
I chuckle to myself as the young one runs off. He is so full of spirit, so enthusiastic about his work. Perhaps too enthusiastic sometimes. But his devotion and intellect are admirable. I have no doubt he will make an excellent Protector after I am gone.
As I follow Kongu to the center of the village I feel as though I am on the threshold of something great. I do not know what the future will bring, but I know today is the beginning.
The beginning of something new.