Right, I’m finally getting close to publishing the story I’ve been working on sporadically for ages (I was working on it before Folly of the Toa came out). As a preview, here’s the prologue.
Edit: added the second scene that I forgot was meant to be part of the prologue… man, we’re off to a great start here
Five-hundred years ago, the same number of Matoran and one Turaga were going about their daily lives. Once, their sole purpose of existence had been to work and maintain an enormous construct, a machine of staggering dimensions with one mission: to re-form a shattered planet and ensure that the events that had destroyed it would never occur again. This plan was nearly foiled on several occasions, but after thousands of years, the planet of Spherus Magna was whole again and the Matoran left the now broken machine that had been their universe. As they met those who had been left behind, their cultures interacted, mixed, and though conflict was far from absent, they eventually could hardly be distinguished from one another. Matoran spread across the entirety of the reformed planet, founding cities with Toa protecting them. New generations were constructed and raised, thriving on this paradise world. Eventually, some would even leave the planet entirely, searching for new worlds to settle as progress continued its relentless march forward. Now, five-hundred Matoran and one Turaga were to become its victims.
An inventor was about to test his life’s work. His creation was a potential miracle, a device that could enable Matoran to travel enormous distances in the blink of an eye. He’d kept it secret, not wanting this power to fall into the wrong hands, but if this test was successful he felt that it would at last be ready to be revealed to the world. However, the test did not go as planned. One variable unaccounted for, one component incorrectly calibrated, one calculation in error and the inventor found himself unable to control his creation. The gate it created was unstable, drawing more and more power as the machine surged beyond what any of its instruments could measure, culminating in a monumental explosion which destroyed the machine and all but killed its inventor. His work was ruined; it would be years before he could possibly rebuild the machine and discover his error. As he lay unconscious, he could not have known that his creation, in its one brief moment of operation, had single-handedly caused the greatest disaster to befall the Matoran in thousands of years. Only weeks later, when he woke up in a hospital bed, a nurse informed him of the catastrophic consequences of his experiment: five-hundred Matoran and one Turaga had vanished in an instant from their homes, their jobs, their lives… and no one knew where they were.
No one on Spherus Magna had even the faintest idea of what had happened to them, or if they were even still alive. As far as anyone could tell, they were there one moment and then gone the next. They had all disappeared at the exact same time, shortly before this explosion destroyed what had, until then, appeared to be a normal Fe-Matoran workshop and several others around it. When the inventor’s work was made public, the Matoran sadly concluded that their missing friends and colleagues were most likely dead, sucked in and destroyed somehow by this monstrous machine. The inventor was imprisoned, forbidden to ever attempt to construct such a device again, and a city mourned the loss of so many of its inhabitants and one of its long-time leaders. A memorial was erected, ceremonies performed, and life slowly returned to normal. No one knew or could have known that those who had vanished were not in fact dead, though they certainly were lost. While the fires were still being put out and the inventor still lay half-buried under the rubble of his home, five-hundred Matoran and one Turaga found themselves standing among titanic trees in a fog-shrouded land, wondering where they were.
Midnight, 6m5, the Garo
Pale moonlight illuminated the thin veil of mist that hung over the tranquil Komisi bay. A faint orange glow coming from inland outlined the trunks of giant trees and the rooftops of Gol Rui on the shoreline; even now, in the middle of the night, Matoran in the Tahai district were keeping the forges hot and ready for the morning ■■■■■. By contrast, the shoreline district of Garo was dark and devoid of activity; the Ga-Matoran had no reason to work through the night, their fishing boats safely moored to wooden piers jutting out into the bay. A small speck of light appeared from within one of the city streets and proceeded to make its way along the waterfront. It was a lantern, carried by a hunched-over Matoran clad in a heavy cloak. Shuffling along slowly and using a cane to steady herself, she passed two piers that each played home to several large vessels. She proceeded down the third pier she reached, though it was much smaller than the previous two and featured one vessel, a small craft moored at its end. Though little more than a rowboat with a small mast able to host a single sail, it would have to do; the Matoran clambered into the boat, untied it from its moorings, then rowed out onto the bay.
It was a slow journey, not helped by her having to stop to recuperate every few minutes. Still, half an hour after she had set off, the city, shoreline, and even the light of the Tahai had all long vanished into the mists. She withdrew the oars into the boat and looked around. There was nothing but water and fog in every direction. Satisfied in her isolation, she reached into her cloak and pulled out a package. After taking another look around, she proceeded to unwrap it. Two layers of papyrus later, its contents were revealed: a small note, which she laid down into the boat, and a cylindrical rod about 20 cm long that gave off a faint, white light. However, its glow intensified to a bright blue at the very moment when her finger touched it, illuminating the Matoran, the boat, the water and the mist all around. In spite of the bright light, she studied the object for a minute, turning it in her hands in contemplation. Then, suddenly, she reached out, suspending it over the water in her hand. She hesitated; one, two, three seconds passed, and then she drew back just as quickly. Again she inspected the rod, watching it intently as though it would provide answers on its own. None were forthcoming. She shook her head.
“We do not need them,” she muttered. With those words, a sudden resolve overtook her. In one quick motion, she tossed the rod overboard. With a muffled ‘ploomp’ it fell into the water, which for a moment seemed to light up all around the boat. Yet that resolve faded almost immediately; within moments, she ducked for the edge of the boat and reached towards where the rod had landed. But it was already too late: its glow in the water diminished as it quickly sank, and within seconds the Komisi appeared dark once again. She continued to peer over the edge of the boat, straining her eyes for the faintest sign of light, but there was nothing left to see. Eventually, she pulled back and sat down in the boat’s thwart. There was now turning back now. Either she was right, or the Matoran of Misira Nui were doomed.