...and the storm breaks. After setting up this chapter in the last one, I just couldn't stop writing, and well, here's the result. Enjoy!
I can’t see, but I can smell something… something awful, something rotten. I’m hurting real bad, too, and I can hear a voice. It’s a deep, tremendous voice, clearly from some powerful being, but I can’t distinguish what it’s saying. It’s distorted, like I’m listening to it underwater, but it still sounds threatening. A momentary flash of light blinds my eyes, then things darken again, but I can see now. Everything’s blurry, but I can make out that I’m lying on the ground. I look over slightly… now I recognize where I am! I don’t know its name, but I’ve seen this place before. It’s some kind of dark cave… I can barely distinguish some nightmarish-looking equipment. Is this some kind of lab? Scrap seems to be littered everywhere… my eyes fall on a red shape lying on the ground not far away from me. I blink again, trying to see more clearly exactly what it is. It’s… It’s Tahu!
He’s knocked out, wounded just like me. I try to get up, but I don’t have the strength. Instead, I turn my head, trying to look around and figure out what’s going on. I spot the green figure of Toa Lewa lying on the ground a bit farther away, along with Pohatu… that other, darker one must be Onua… Where’s Gali?
“Watch and see!” I hear her announce from above. I look up. Gali’s there, standing on a stone pillar, facing off against a monstrous, shadowy creature. A blue aura has formed around her, and I can see streaks of it drawing into her body. She’s starting to glow… what is she doing? She’s in mortal danger! We all are!
At last finding new strength, I get to my knees, but my body still isn’t really cooperating. The dark being raises one of its arms, revealing a long chain which suddenly ignites. It’s twirling the flaming weapon around as though it weighs nothing, threatening to bring it down on us at any moment! Gali, meanwhile, now looks as though she is turning into light; she glows so brightly as to make looking at her difficult. I finally get to my feet, but I have trouble standing up fully. Nevertheless, I raise my swords and attempt to call up a bolt of ice to deter our foe, but my power fails me… I try again, but barely manage a wisp of condensed air.
Gali is somehow floating above the ground, and her bright light is now illuminates our enemy. I can see his face; a bizarre mask that looks to have been welded together from scrap, yet it gives off an aura of great power. Bright red, demonic eyes are focused down on my fellow Toa as the demon suddenly raises his arm, then brings it down in a rapid motion, sending the end of the chain on a collision course with her. She’s mere moments from being struck down… At last, a sudden surge of power allows me to move, I run, sprint towards Gali, switching masks as I do so. Activating the new mask, I rise into the air; my momentum still drives me forward as the chain comes careening down onto my sister, who now seems utterly oblivious to what’s happening. I raise my shield, on course to interpose myself between her and the tyrant’s weapon…
Two links in the chain smash into my shield, deflecting the weapon away and sending me hurtling off to the other side. I almost hit the ground, but recover my senses soon enough to re-activate my mask and hover above it. My shield is dented and covered in black burn marks, but it has saved us; I put it away. Now positioned a ways to the right and behind Gali, I can see the chain has been extinguished. Power surging, I rapidly rise into the air, trying to get a clearer shot. About fifty meters up, I raise my blades, calling the elemental power of Ice, then point them down towards our enemy, who seems to be laughing and screaming at the same time in a power-crazed frenzy. Enough of that; I launch a freezing beam at his mask, rapidly creating a sheet of ice to blind him. Gali’s still gathering energy, floating in the air with her arms outstretched. Suddenly, I realize what she’s going to do…
Without warning, a bright flash emits from her; I’m blinded, but my ears all but shatter as a gargantuan explosion rips through the cave, and for a moment I swear I see a tidal wave shooting off in all directions at once… then everything goes silent. I don’t hear, see, or smell anything anymore…
The dream was over.
I pulled back for a moment, back into my own senses. I felt cold.
“You okay?” I hear Jaller ask.
“Yeah… I think so.” I answered, keeping my eyes closed to keep my focus on Kopaka’s mind. “He’s definitely dreaming.”
“You looked like you were gone there,” Gali said worriedly.
“How long?” I asked.
“Only a few minutes,” the Toa of Water answered. I could see some activity starting up again.
“Hang on… I think it’s starting again.”
“The dreams?” Jaller asked.
“Yeah… hold off on Kopaka for a second. I’m checking it out.”
“Be careful,” Gali advised. “You’re looking shaky already.”
“I will, don’t worry.” I turned my attention back on the dreaming part of Kopaka’s brain. Already, it looked to be building to feverish activity.
Ouch… my chest feels like someone just punched it really hard. Twice. I shake my head, then open my eyes. It’s a dark place, again. But there’s a dull, orange-ish light emanating from somewhere in the ceiling. This is a cave, no, a lair… and looking up I can see the inhabitant.
It has no shape, not really... a dark mass, a combination of shadow and a scrap heap, rapidly churning in the air while dark tentacles seem to erupt from it in all directions. I quickly look over my gear; somehow I only have one sword, and my shield has holes in it, but both seem to be otherwise okay. Well equipped, apparently, I move forward, ready to face our foe again. More Toa emerge from the darkness, all looking somewhat battered but otherwise okay, and ready to fight. They… they look somewhat like the Toa Nuva, but different. Their masks, their build, they bear similarities, but they seem equipped with neither the armor nor the weapons that I have seen before. Together, all of us have the dark entity surrounded.
“You are weak,” a thunderous, guttural voice seems to shout from all directions. “I could create better from nothing.” A shadowy pillar suddenly plunges down towards the ground from the bizarre aberration, splitting into six individual beams near the ground. Each beam is coalescing into a solid form… the form of a Toa! I don’t know what to make of this: within seconds, our foe has conjured up six Toa, who appear to be mirror images of all of us, except they are darker.
“We have to take them down!” the red Toa, who I’ve now decided is Tahu, orders. We all ready our weapons; the shadow Toa charge at us. I face off against one wielding a shield and sword identical to mine, wearing an Akaku. He swings first, but I easily deflect the blow with my shield. However, before I can counter, he strikes again, and then again, keeping up an avalanche of sword strikes that I can barely hold off. My darker counterpart he may be, but he appears far more reckless and aggressive than I’d dare to be.
Not far off, Tahu is struggling in a similar manner with his dark opponent, who taunts him as he attacks: “Come, give in to the flame,” it suggests in a dark, twisted version of Tahu’s own voice. “Let it consume you and all you hold dear… I know you can feel it burning deep inside.”
Suddenly, everything turns to black except for a faint red light shining down on Tahu and his opponent. For the moment, the attack on me seems to have stopped. Both Tahu and his counterpart seem frozen in position… then Tahu lowers his blade, raises his head, and closes his eyes. His shadow counterpart dives forward and… is absorbed into his chest. Seemingly knocked out, Tahu falls forward, but instead of hitting solid ground, he is swallowed by a dark sea. The red light fades, but now a dim blue light shines down in the distance above Gali facing her altered self. She stops fighting, and like Tahu absorbs her foe, then collapses into liquid ground. The light fades, but no sooner have things gone dark and a green light appears above Lewa, who does the same thing Tahu and Gali did, followed by Pohatu and Onua.
The shadowy Kopaka re-appears, looking at me just as the Kopaka I knew had done on that train, seemingly peering straight into my soul. “They do not deserve you,” he says darkly. “They do not know your honor, and they will only hold you back. Leave them. Show them how cold the ice can really be.” Everything fades to black again.
For a moment, I think the dream is over, but suddenly a bright light appears, shining down on a silver lake. Something breaks the surface… It’s Gali, slowly rising as though she’s being lifted on a platform. She looks like herself now, like Gali Nuva, but rather than regal, she looks dejected, sad, hopeless. I want to reach out, but find I have no body, no form whatsoever; I can only watch. The other Toa come rising out of the lake as well, all with their own expressions. Tahu, in particular, looks angry. Pohatu, tired. They all stop rising when their feet clear the water, and step out onto the dry shoreline, then each walk off in their own direction, away from each other and into the shadows. I move alongside Gali; now it seems like I have a body as well: I’m Kopaka Nuva again, but I am still not in control of my movement. A dark twisted version of Gali’s voice, shadow Gali’s voice, calls from behind her:
“You are nothing to them. They will not respect you, nor heed your warnings. Stop trying, Gali; you cannot save them from themselves. You are a mere drop in the ocean; weak, worthless, without purpose.” As she walks, I can see Gali’s expression change from sadness to disappointment to desperation… “No matter where you go, nothing you do will matter. So fade, Gali, fade away. There is nothing you can do.” Gali’s crying now, and she stops walking. Around her, I see fleeting images of her and the other Toa Nuva; Gali interrupting arguments between them, then arguing herself at their meetings… Onua appears in front of her; he looks frustrated and exhausted.
“No, you destroyed us,” he says bitterly.
“No…” Gali whimpers, but Onua turns and begins to walk away, then fading into the darkness. Tahu appears, then turns and walks away in the same manner, followed by the other Toa Nuva except Kopaka; me. Gali protests, then begs: “Please, please don’t go. This is not how we end!” but she can do nothing to stop them as, one by one, they all leave her behind. I want to do something, say something, to step in and show her she’s not alone, but I can’t. Defeated, destroyed, she sinks down onto the ground and sits there, head in hands, weeping. Then she turns to me: “Don’t leave, please. Not you too.” I so desperately want to help her, but I can’t do anything… I… I turn away!? I try to look back, but I can’t, I force myself to keep walking away even as my eyes well up with tears. Gali calls from behind me: “NO! DON’T GO! NOT YOU TOO! DON’T GO PLEASE! THIS IS NOT HOW WE END!” I keep forcing myself on with every step; her voice fades with distance, but the feelings linger. The temperature seems to be dropping around me as I find myself walking through snow… looking forward, I see the Ko-Wahi mountains. Soon, they are all around me.
I keep going, seeing creatures moving in the distance, but then the mountains and snow begin to fade again, and… what’s that in the distance? Still walking, I notice a figure has appeared beside me. It’s me! I mean, me, Lis! Lis… she’s talking, but I somehow can’t understand a word she is… I am saying. Suddenly, I extend my arm, shoving straight into her, and she fades in to thin air. How rude! I look forward again, the object that was distant now in plain view. It’s the couch, the couch from downstairs, and I’m looking at it from behind. It’s lit only by an elevated glowing rectangle in front of it. Gali’s sitting on it, seemingly collapsed, tired… I keep approaching, moving around the side of the couch; now I see her again… she’s huge. She looks like she does today, absentmindedly watching the screen while munching on what looks like one of Macku’s sandwiches. She turns to me; her eyes are glazed over, but when she recognizes me they suddenly become clear. I expect her to react as she did last night, when I saw her meet Kopaka again for the first time in years, but instead her face takes on the same anguished expression I remember from her breakdown.
“Why, Kopaka, why did you leave?” she says, tearing up as she does so. I don’t say anything; I want to, but I stay silent. “WHY!?” Gali continues. “You knew I needed you! You knew!” Out of the darkness behind her, Shadow Kopaka appears, apparently having taken on a Nuva form as well.
“Hello,” he greets me in that sick, twisted voice. “Remember me?” He grins as Gali looks to me, desperately, unaware of the monster behind her. I want to pull out my sword, charge, punch him, do anything, but I can’t move. “Of course you do,” the dark Toa continues as he leans down towards Gali. “I am you.” He grins, then turns to the trapped Toa of Water. “Tell him, dear.”
“You knew,” Gali says to me, trembling. “You knew you shouldn’t have left. Why did you? WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME!?” she begged. “I NEEDED YOU!” Shadow Kopaka’s eyes flash bright red as he stands up. He walks around Gali and towards me.
“Look at her now,” he says as Gali turns back to the screen and begins to blow up even more. “Did I not tell you she would only slow you down?” the dark Toa continued, “Turns out I was right; it is good that you listened to me.” He looks back down at Gali, who by now looks utterly helpless, so big that she probably can’t even stand up anymore… “Well done, Kopaka” he grins as everything except his face slowly fades away. His eyes are still staring right through me. “Very. Well. Done.”
I… I can’t take it anymore. “NO!”
I opened my eyes; I was standing, trembling, with sweat running down my forehead, breathing heavily. Gali and Jaller were both looking at me with stunned looks on their faces.
“Lis! What is it?” Gali asked, clearly concerned. I didn’t get a chance to answer before Kopaka awoke and bolted up into a sitting position.
author's note: This was, by far, the most involved chapter I've written in a while, mixing some key G1 imagery with what has happened to the Toa Nuva since the story ended was an interesting exercise, and since these were Kopaka's dreams, I didn't have to follow the official story to the letter (good thing, too, since I've never actually read the books). As to the actual meaning of those dreams... we'll see.
I'll post more chapters as I finish them. Enjoy!