This is my entry for the one-year anniversary contest.
In the time before time, on the mythical island of Okoto, a toa-hero fell from the sky, with no memory. The protector of fire, Narmoto, informed him of what was necessary for him to know. After a brief encounter with a pack of skull spiders, Narmoto dragged the toa, named Tahu, on a journey to find the golden mask of fire. On the way, Narmoto told Tahu an old legend.
“You know, Tahu,” he began, “You are not the first toa to be on the island of Okoto.”
“I’m not?” Tahu said.
“No. There were six before you. They stopped the invasion of the skull clans.”
“Yes. The beings who inhabit the barren mountains around the regions of this island are called the skull clans.”
“Who were the toa before me?” Tahu asked.
“Their names were Nidhiki, Tuyet, Jovan, Zaria, Kualus, and their leader, Lhikan. I will tell you their story.”
A gold and red toa opened his eyes, and noticed the grey, smokey air around him. “Where am I?” he said. The air was warm, and smelled of Sulfur. Pushing himself up to his feet, he began to speak to himself. “Who am I. Why am I here.”
As he said this, two thoughts came into his head. Lhikan, and Skull clans.
Looking around, he noticed he was in the bottom of a crater. A dull chattering of voices started from the edge of it. Lhikan clambered up the slope, and saw a crowd of small people making their way toward him.
When they came within earshot, Lhikan called out, “Who are you?”
The one that looked the oldest stepped forward. “I am the protector of fire, Nuhrii. I have come to inform you of your quest.”
“What quest? Does this have anything to do with the skull clans?” Asked Lhikan.
Nuhrii stepped back, and opened his eyes wide. “Yes. What else do you know?”
“Only my name.” Lhikan replied.
“Well,” Nuhrii began again, "we must hurry. There will be an invasion from the skull clans, and we need you and the other toa to stop it. There are masks of legend for you all at the temple of time, and every moment gives the clans another chance at overrunning us all.
Nidhiki hooked his scythe on a branch, and swung higher into the air. He was closely followed by Piruk, the protector of jungle. Both of them swinging from another branch, they sailed over a river, and into a tree on the other side. “What is that?” Nidhiki asked Piruk, pointing to a large structure in the distance.
“That is the city of the mask makers.” Said Piruk. “That is where we were before the fight of the mask makers. after that, we all spread into the elemental regions around the island. No one lives there now.”
Piruk then leaped off the branch, and disappeared from sight.
Using his raw strength, Jovan pounded handholds to climb up the sheer cliff leading to the tunnel entrance. On his back was Tehutti, the protector of earth. “This strength is useful,” Jovan said, “but I don’t like it very much.”
“Of course not.” Said Tehutti. “You may be a toa of earth now, but that is not your destiny.”
“It isn’t?” Inquired Jovan.
“No. You are destined to have the power of magnetism. Two of the other toa also will change their elements with the new masks.”
The two quiet beings continued the slow plod up, and up, and up.
Tuyet launched her barbed harpoon onto the shore, and dragged herself onto it. The protector of water, Idris, clambered up behind her. “How much farther is it?” Asked Tuyet.
“We have a ways yet to go.” Said Idris. “You must be patient. It is in the region of earth.”
Kodan, the protector of stone, rushed foreword to the tunnel ahead. Looking back toward the desert, he saw the toa of stone, Zaria, plodding along behind him. “It’s just through this tunnel.” he said. “Hurry up, The skull clans might find us here.”
Zaria sped up to a fast walk, and they entered the tunnel.
Kualus sped down the slope, and into the grey rock of the barren mountain peaks. He smashed into the raw rock, while the protector of ice, Kazi, slid to a stop next to him. “This is the land if the Iron clan.” Said Kazi.
A figure stepped out from behind a boulder. “Yes, it is.” Said the being.
“Mar.” Said Kazi.
“Yes, it is I, The Skull lord of Iron.” Said Mar.
Kualus raised his delta blaster. “Move.” He said.
Mar brought up his daggers. “Good luck making me.” At this he threw the daggers, which sailed harmlessly past Kualus and Kazi.
“Nice aim.” Said Kualus. Then, pain ripped up his back.
“I can control metal.” said Mar. “If there is any of that around, you are not safe.”
Ice blasts came at him from the side, then Kazi jumped and struck with his saw.
“Going two against one?” Said Mar, More daggers flying into his hands. “You really are a fool, aren’t you Kazi.” Then he threw the daggers, which accelerated to the point where when they hit, it split Kazi’s armor. “That should be the last of you two.” Mar said before walking off.
Kualus tried to raise his arms, but couldn’t. He could only move his head. turning to look at Kazi, he said, “What now?”
Kazi lifted his ice blaster, and shot three times into the air. “We wait.” He said.
It was not long before two blue beings appeared. “Idris, Tuyet.” said Kazi.
“What happened here?” Asked Idris.
“Mar was here.” said Kazi.
Idris’s eyes opened wide, before she said, “Let’s hurry. Can you walk?”
“With help.” Said Kazi. “Kualus was hit with the large blades. He is mostly paralyzed.”
Idris helped Kazi up, and said to Tuyet, “Could you carry Kualus? We are almost to the tunnel to the region of earth.”
The four companions made slow progress, but eventually made it to the tunnel to the temple of time.
Nidhiki and Piruk entered the temple of time. “What have we here?” Said Nidhiki.
Twelve beings were already in the room, half of them were about Nidhiki’s size, and the others were the size of Piruk. “You made it.” Said the small red being.
“Yes,” said Piruk, “where Kazi and Idris?”
“They haven’t shown up yet.” Said the brown and silver one.
Nidhiki looked around again, before asking, “Who is everybody?”
The small black being looked through the window, and called out, “It’s them! They’re here!” he then rushed out the door. A couple of minutes later, he came back with two blue and two white beings.
“What happened?” Said the small red one.
“They were attacked by Mar, just outside the region of ice.” Said the small blue.
Everyone scrambled to get the two wounded beings taken care of. Between the ten of them, it didn’t take very long, and the two white ones were leaning against the stone wall. When it was done, the large blue one asked, “Who are all of these beings?”
The small blue one stepped foreword. “I believe introductions are in order.” She said. “I am Idris, and this is Tuyet, the toa of water. Who would like to go next?”
Piruk spoke up. “I am Piruk, and this is Nidhiki, who will be the toa of air.”
All the protectors introduced themselves, and the toa that they brought. Then, Nuhrii said, “We need to get the masks of legend. Toa, we require your masks.”
“Why?” Asked Tuyet.
“Because,” Nuhrii began again, “the mechanism protecting the masks was made so that only when all six of you are together here, can the masks be retrieved. Your current masks are the keys to the device.”
Lhikan and Jovan stepped foreword, and handed their masks to Nuhrii. Kualus also took off his mask, and threw it across the floor. Tuyet, Zaria, and Nidhiki all hesitated, then, one by one, gave their masks to the protectors.
The protectors placed the masks in the slots along the pedestal in the center of the room. When they went in, light shone from them. When the last mask went in, a stone slab dropped down and hid the masks from view.
The top of the pedestal rose, revealing six new masks. Kazi whispered to Kualus, “Now begins the ceremony. It would be me giving you the mask, but another will take my place.”
Nuhrii grabbed the white mask, and handed it to Kualus. “This is the mask of animal control. It will give both the power to control animals, and the power of ice.” After this, he walked back to the masks and selected the gold one. He turned to Lhikan and said, “This is the mask of protection. It can bring a shield at will.”
Kodan grabbed the brown mask and walked to Zaria. “This is a mask of iron, but is also the mask of emulation. It will copy any ability of another being, and allow you to use it for a short period of time.”
Piruk handed a green mask to Nidhiki. “This is a mask of air, and the mask of stealth. you can use it to become silent, and difficult to see.”
Tehutti presented a black mask to Jovan. "This is a mask of magnetism. it will give you the power over magnetism. It is also the mask of flight. Using it can be difficult.
Idris grabbed the blue mask, and handed it to Tuyet. “This is the mask of intangibility. Using it, you can move through walls. Take care not to fall through the floor.”
After this, all the protectors stepped back, with the exception of Kazi. Nuhrii began to speak again. “Your job, toa, is to stop the coming invasion of the skull clans. If you can, stop it before it starts. It is your destiny to do this. Go now, and fulfill it. The Skull King’s palace lies in the mountains in the center of the island.”
“We must leave you now.” Idris said. “We must return to our villages. Good luck to you.” The protectors went to Kazi, picked him up, and left the temple of time.
Zaria looked at the other toa for a moment, then said, “What now?”
“Obviously,” started Nidhiki, “We need to go stop the skull clans.”
Lhikan gazed at him for a moment, before saying, “Do you know anything about them?”
“Well, no.” Nidhiki said, darting his eyes around.
Jovan looked at Kualus. “You are the only one of us who knows anything about the skull clans. What do you know?”
Kualus looked up, and said, “I don’t know much. Although, I do know that they don’t attack straight up. They use trickery, and strategy. Also, they have elemental powers, similar to our own.”
“I would assume that an upfront storming of their lands would be unsuccessful.” Said Tuyet.
“That would be my guess too.” Said Kualus.
Lhikan looked around, and said, “We won’t get any closer standing here.” Then, to Kualus, “Can you walk?”
Kualus staggered to his feet, and a large beetle-like animal rushed into the room “A little. But I’d rather ride.”
A being with a skull for a face looked on. “Either they will avenge me of my former subjects, or the subjects will destroy the masks, leaving me to clean up in the end.” It said.
“The golden mask of fire is up there.” Said Narmoto to Tahu. A swarm of skull spiders appeared behind them. A quick battle commenced, the protector attempting to buy time for Tahu to get the mask. Little time was left, and the protector of fire’s elemental fire blaster ran out of ammunition. All seemed lost, when Tahu placed the golden mask on his face, and used it’s power to incinerate the approaching horde.
“You must go to the city of the mask makers alone.” Said Narmoto, after the conflict. “There, is a wall of history there, the wall of chronicles. You will find where our chronicler went back to add the skull clan events to it.”
While searching the city of the mask makers for Ekimu, Tahu ran across the wall of chronicles. He called the other toa, and informed them of what Narmoto said. Onua suggested that they read some of the wall of chronicles before continuing with their search.
The toa began their trek into the mountains. Flying ahead, Jovan caught sight of a blue and gold figure, then he heard a voice in his head. “Come down here.”
Gliding down, Jovan noticed that the being had a gold skull for a face. When he touched down, he asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Tallsen.” said the voice. “I am the skull lord of the mind, or psyonics, as some prefer.”
“Can you not speak?” asked Jovan.
“I am perfectly capable.” Said the voice. “But what is not said cannot be heard.”
“Why are you here?”
“I have been sent by the skull king to end you and your friends.” said the being, however the voice said, “Not all of us are your enemies. The king is a tyrant, and cares not for any of his people. Most are only loyal out of fear. I must make a show of taking you out, before I return.”
A skull flew with lightning speed, and struck Jovan in the chest. Then, Tallsen brandished the skull on the end of his arm. “I lost my hand long ago.” He started. “I replaced it with this, and can channel my power through it rather effectively.” He then pushed an immobilized Jovan over, where he lay, unable to move. “I must go get the others of your party now.” He said.
Before he could move, his armor locked up, and Zaria strode up to the two. Using his mask of emulation, he copied the power Tallsen used to paralyze Jovan, and punched him in the head. “Call that a taste of your medicine.” Zaria said, before letting Tallsen fall.
“Do not forget that you have allies with us.” Said the voice once again. “Also, stay away from Azure. He is the Cruelest one among us.”
The other toa marched in, and Zaria put Jovan on the Mountain beetle next to Kualus. “Who is that?” Asked Kualus.
Jovan moved his gaze to Kualus. “That is Tallsen,” he said, The skull lord of psyonics. Leave him there."
Lhikan taking lead, the toa made their way toward the tall mountains in the center of the island.
Zaria gazed at the grey, unchanging landscape. As if it weren’t enough that all the land was that dull color, but a storm was moving in, blunting the light from the sun. There was a loud boom, and a visable flash streaked between the mountain ahead, and the clouds above. “That’s strange.” Said Tuyet.
“What?” asked Jovan, who had regained full use of his limbs.
“That lightning,” said Tuyet, “It arced out before going up.”
“I noticed it too.” Said Kualus. “It seemed to come from the mountain.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Said Nidhiki. “Lightning doesn’t strike up.”
Jovan looked at Nidhiki. “Unless you are a toa of lightning. Or one of the skull clan of lightning.”
Nidhiki narrowed his eyes. “Sounds like you know something.”
Jovan looked to the side, looked at Zaria, and jerked his head. Zaria nodded, and suddenly, they could hear each others thoughts.
“Tallsen is on our side.” Came Jovan’s thoughts. “He, and some others will help us when we get there.”
Then came another voice, which only Jovan recognized. "Say nothing aloud. If you do, you will lose all help you could have had."
After that. the link was broken, and silence dominated.
Then, the air was broken with an ear-shattering crack, and a flash of light that dazzled the toa. Standing in front of them was another skull creature, with dark blue and white armor.
Jovan gazed at the being. “Azure.”
Azure turned toward him. “You know my name. That’s good. Gives me more time to blast you out of existence.”
Without missing a beat, Azure fired a bolt of lightning out of his claws. Zaria was saved by his spear, which absorbed the bolt, and dispersed it into the ground. Zaria cried out, and dropped the spear, which fell to the ground, smouldering.
Azure smiled. “Luck” he said, and fired a bolt again.
Lhikan jumped in front of Zaria, and used his mask of protection to block the bolt. “Six against one.” Said Lhikan. “Do you really think you can win?”
“I could easily take four of you.” Said Azure. “Which is why I brought these two. Mar, Tallsen!”
The two other skull lords walked out from the boulders. “Another dull fight?” Said Mar.
Tallsen darted forward, skull raised, only to be thrown back by Zaria’s power over Iron. “We trusted you.” said Zaria.
“Did you actually believe what I told you?” Said Tallsen.
Tuyet dashed up to Mar, who threw two blades over her. She was almost on top of him, when the daggers came streaking back, and right through her, slamming back into Mar with enough force to crack the armor.
“Did you think that would work twice?” asked Tuyet. The blades jumped from Mar, and impaled Tuyet.
“Seems to have worked well enough.” He said, as the paralysis took hold of her.
Kualus aimed his delta blaster at Mar, and fired off three shots, knocking him out, just before Tallsen struck him with his skull.
Zaria copied the paralysis power again, and punched Tallsen. “You little trai-” was all he could get out before being struck by lightning. Jovan rushed through the air toward Azure, only to receive the same fate.
Azure looked at Lhikan. “We are at a standstill. I cannot hurt you, but you also cannot harm me. I will not let you.”
“We may be,” Lhikan started. “But there were six of us.”
Nidhiki struck from behind, knocking out Azure. Becoming completely visible, he said, “What do we do now?”
Lhikan looked around. “Lode them onto the beetle.” he said. “We’ll ride out.” He shook his head, as if to clear it. We’ll take care of Tuyet on the move."
Nidhiki jumped over the wall, and landed by the other toa’s hiding place. Turning of his stealth power, he said to the others, “There are lots of them in there. Most of them look like warriors. If we’re getting in, we are going to need speed, and stealth.”
Lhikan looked at Nidhiki, and said, “Nidhiki, you Jovan, and Tuyet will have the easiest time getting in.” Then he looked around. “I know most of you are injured. Will you be able to make it?”
Tuyet looked at him. “You are going to be the one having the hardest time getting in.” She said. “We can manage.” at that, she walked through the outer wall of the city.
Nidhiki said, “Meet you there.” he soluted the others, before going silent and leaping up the wall.
Jovan looked at Kualus. “Come with me.” He said, flying off. Kualus called a large flying animal, and followed Jovan.
Zaria Threw Lhikan on top of the wall with his iron power, before following the same way.
“Sneaky.” They heard near them. Darting around, they saw Mar and Tallsen. Mar immobilized their limbs. “We can get you in,” Said Tallsen, “But it will require these.” he brought up some chains.
Lhikan and Zaria looked at each other. “Do we have a choice?” Asked Lhikan.
“Yes.” Said Mar. “We can let you go, and watch you fail to get into the palace. Maybe die trying.”
A voice sounded in the toa’s heads. “We couldn’t lose our edge. We will help you take out Oziron, the king, but we needed supprise.”
Lhikan relented. “Take us to him.” he said.
Mar wrapped chains around the toa’s arms, and started leading them down the road to the palace.
On the way, they met with Azure. “Captured. Captured! You captured them instead of killing them!” Azure ranted.
“We are bringing them to the king.” Said Mar. “I believe he will want to deal with them.”
Tuyet and Nidhiki sneaked through the palace, and found their way to the throne room. The magma pools at the sides of the room made it extremely hot. Already there was Jovan and Kualus. “You are hereby found guilty of treason against the skull king.” Said Oziron. “You shall be put to…”
The doors to the throne room opened, and Lhikan, Zaria, and the three skull lords entered. “My liege,” began Azure, “These are two of the other toa. They were taken prisoner, and we thought you would want to deal with them.”
“Excellent.” Said Oziron. “You are guilty of treason as well. All four of you will be put to death.”
Azure pulled up the four captured toa, and began pulling them to one of the magma pools. Zaria unwrapped the chains, and tangled them around Azure. Meanwhile, Mar and Tallsen rushed Oziron. Oziron drew his fire-spinners, and struck at Mar, who went sailing back. “Treachery!” he shouted.
Jovan flew at him, Lance raised, when the king grabbed his mask, and ripped it off, then smacked him with one of the fire spinners. Jovan took flight for the last time, right into one of the magma pools.
Azure had gotten himself disentangled from the chains, when Tuyet and Nidhiki came at him. As Azure began a lightning bolt, Tuyet struck with water. Both Tuyet, and Azure were struck, being connected by water.
The skull king, seeing his second in command go down, shot fire at Tuyet and Nidhiki. Nidhiki got out of the way. Tuyet could not, and was propelled by the fire into a magma pool.
Kualus fired his delta blaster, and the shots merely bounced off the skull king’s armor. He then dashed toward Oziron, swinging his claw. Oziron struck with his fire spinner, knocking Kualus unconscious.
Zaria raised his spear and charged, gathering the power to control fire as he ran. The king sent a storm of fire, which Zaria and Likhan both took, and reversed, striking the skull king with his own power. Nidhiki followed up with a slice from his scythe. The skull king sent Nidhiki flying across the room, and smashed the mask off of Zaria’s face. When the mask hit the ground, it shattered to a thousand pieces.
Without his mask, and being weakened from being struck by lightning, Zaria collapsed. Oziron then brought down both spinners onto Zaria’s head.
Tallsen rushed, swinging his skull, but could not get close enough to use it. Lhikan Yelled at him, “Stay behind me.” Then he ran at The skull king, bringing up the power of the mask of protection. Talsen was right behind him, and when he got close enough, hit the skull king, paralyzing him.
Mar re-wrapped the chains around Azure, and fused some of the links together, while Talsen and Lhikan both bound the skull king.“Your attack has been cancelled.” Lhikan said to him.
“We will lock them up.” Said Tallsen. "You get what is left of your team, and get out of here. We won’t be able to defend you all against the guards.
Lhikan switched masks with the unconscious Kualus, and called a mountain beetle to take the three of them back to the temple of time.
Tahu stopped reading. It was time to begin the search again. “Let’s move out.” He said, and all the toa filed out of the room.
But there was a portion of the wall he forgot to read.
We learned what happened after the events at the temple of time from the two skull kings, Mar and Tallsen. Lhikan, Nidhiki, and Kualus never made it back. It is as if they just disappeared. We believe we know who killed them.
He was the skull king before Oziron. Kulta.