So, I typed this up to make a G2 story. I wanted to expand on the character of the Protectors more, and the idea of Okotoan families.
That was how far out of line the distant green speck was. All the other five colored lights were close enough to being in line. Yet the green light was out of line with the rest, and presumably, by the time it came in line, the line would have been broken. Okoto's saviors would not be summoned today.
Pojay shook his head. He wished he could just aim his bow at the sky, shoot the light in the sky, and pull it to where it was supposed to be. Yet, even he, who could not miss a target at 100 bios with his back to the target blindfolded, could not shoot the lights in the sky.
Pojay shook his head. He felt the small extensions on his feet twinge, and looked up to see Pove, leader of the fir village, enter the door of Pojay’s treetop home.
“Still staring into the sky?” Pove said.
“It’s almost there,” Pojay said. “Almost. How many more years will it be before they come in line? How many of our children will have to live in fear of those Skull Spiders?”
“I know,” Pove said. “But standing around looking at the stars won’t solve anything. We have to make our own luck.”
“Yep.” Pojay agreed. He walked out the door. Pove watched him walk wordlessly out the door. Sometimes, Pojay seemed normal, but he rarely showed much emotion, if any. He had seemed hopeful when the stars started to come into line. Now, seeing that the stars were not going to line up anytime soon, Pove wondered if Pojay would return to his old self.
Pove walked out after Pojay. It was time he went back to his village. The other Protectors had already gone back to their villages. Pove wondered if any of the villages had been attacked in the Protector’s absence. He certainly hoped not.
Pove was beginning to tire of the meetings with the other Protectors. They took him away from his wife and young son. Pove was getting old, and his son, Povar, was too young to take his place.
Perhaps Pove would cherish the meetings more if he knew how many of his fellow protectors would not see any more meetings.
“A leader must always be brave,” Pose thought, facing the bull in front of him. “He must never show fear, even if he feels it.”
The bull drug his paw along the ground. Most islanders would be slowly backing away by now, or just flat-out running in terror and making the bull charge, but Pose slowly took a step forward, his eyes locked with the bull’s eyes.
If he had been honest with himself, he would have realized his attempts at bravery bordered on idiocy. At any minute, the bull could decide Pose was a threat and charge. The thing was twice his size and about three times as fast, and Pose had not brought any weapons with him. Not even the knife he usually stowed away in his leg armor.
Step by step, Pose approached the bull, getting slower the closer he got. Finally, he was close enough that he could touch the bull’s snout. Slowly, he raised his right hand…
The name was not said loudly, or suddenly. Nevertheless, Pose glanced away from the bull’s eyes for a fraction of a second. In that moment, the bull, jerked its head, its horn knocking Pose off his feet. Then it turned and bounded away.
Pose got up and brushed the dust off himself. He turned to see his father, Poron, approaching.
“Why did you do that?” the old Protector said.
“I needed to show I could be fearless,” Pose said. “Someday, I’ll be a Protector like you.”
“Not if you get trampled by a bull, you won’t,” Poron said. “At least have a knife with you.”
“Dad, you know a Borogg Bull would know I was armed,” Pose said. “I would never have gotten that close. I almost touched it.”
“Son, you know as well as I do that touching that bull could have calmed it just as easily as it could have made the thing mad,” Poron said. Then he shook his head. His son was determined to tame a wild bull, and nothing Poron could say would deter him from that dream.
Poron started walking back to the villages. “It’s getting late,” he said. “We should get back to the village.”
Pose started to follow. Then his dad held up a hand. Pose stopped, listening, and then he heard the unmistakable hiss.
The small creatures had plagued Okoto since the Pokoto shockwave, the mysterious wave of power that had wrecked much of the northern region and knocked the Mask Maker Ekimu into a coma. The spiders had various different abilities, and they fed on an islander’s life force. No matter how many Skull Spiders the islanders drove away, more came. Pose had heard his father say something about a prophecy, but when Pose asked, Poron had said that Pose was not old enough yet to hear the prophecy. Pose had promptly asked who came up with that stupid rule, earning a swift punishment.
Pose glanced around. Very rarely were Skull Spiders so close to the village during the day. Were they getting braver?
Poron listened carefully. The hissing noises did not get louder. Good. That meant the Skull Spiders weren’t getting any closer. “C’mon, let’s go,” he said to his son.
But Pose had disappeared.
Pose snuck carefully among the rocks, following the hissing sounds, until he saw the spiders. They were green ones, the kind with X-Ray vision. That meant that if they didn’t already know he was there, they would soon. It was only once Pose saw them that he remembered he had no weapons.
Pose decided it was a good time to leave. He was about to do just that when he heard a loud roar, one he had never heard before. All at once, all the spiders began crawling towards the village.
What are they doing? Pose wondered.
He turned to leave, to go find his dad. Then he heard more hissing. He climbed to a small vantage point and saw several red Skull Spiders swarming toward the village, between him and where he had left Poron. To the north, he could see a horde of blue Skull Spiders coming toward the village as well.
What’s going on? He thought. These things never stage organized attacks like this!
Pose took off, running back to the villages. He no longer cared if the Skull Spiders heard him. He had to warn the village before it was too late.
Pose nearly ran into a group of Skull Spiders at one point. Finally, he saw the lights of the Stone Village. His father was opening the main gate. Pose felt a wave of relief at the sight of his dad.
“Dad!” he called.
Poron turned, and Pose nearly screamed. Poron’s mask was gone. In its place, a silver Skull Spider was on Poron’s face.
Pose ran to his dad, eager to rip that monster off his dad’s face. As he watched, Poron raised his blaster. He fired several shots at his son. Just in time, Pose threw himself to the ground.
When Pose got to his feet, Poron had gone inside the village. The main gate was still wide open. Pose stood, stunned, for a moment. Then he heard the hissing, and remembered the monstrous horde of spiders approaching the village. His mind reeling, Pose took off. The main gate was still open. Pose had to get to it and shut it, so that the spiders couldn’t come in. Breathlessly, he stumbled into the village. “Lower the gate!” he cried.
No one answered. Worried Pose ran to the gate control. He tried turning the crank, but it was jammed. Finally, Pose gave up, grabbing for his knife before he remembered he didn’t have it. Frantic, he grabbed the nearest sharp object, slashing the rope with one strike, and the gate came down with a loud crash. Pose sight in relief.
Then a blaster shot smashed a hole through the gate.
Pose turned just in time to see his dad dissapear down an alleyway. The Skull Spider was still on his face.
Pose realized a crowd had gathered to see what the commotion was. “Seal that gate!” he ordered. “Don’t let a single spider in!”
Then he took off to find his dad.
As it turned out, his dad had gone home. He was standing in front of his wife, Rain, when Pose ran through the door. Poron turned to his son, and Pose glanced at the blaster in his dad’s hand.
“Dad, what are you doing?” Pose said. He glanced at the Skull Spider on his dad’s face. Was that thing somehow controlling his father? Pose knew the Skull Spiders had many special abilities, but mind control wasn’t among them.
Poron did not say anything. He slowly pointed the blaster at Pose. Pose held up his hands. “Woah, you’re not going to shoot—”
A shot rang out. Instinctively, Pose ducked, but the shot went wild, hitting the ceiling. Pose realized why: his mom had grabbed Poron’s arm and twisted it so that the blaster wasn’t pointing at Pose. Poron elbowed Rain, then turned and ran. Pose hesitated for a moment, then went to check on his mom.
“I’m okay,” Rain said. “Go. Your father needs your help. That… thing is controlling him.”
Pose nodded and went to go find his dad.
By daybreak, the news had spread like wildfire. The Skull Spiders had staged attacks on all of the villages. And now they evidently had the power to control minds.
The Stone village had been unharmed. The villagers had managed to construct a makeshift gate, keeping most of the spiders out. Many villages were not so lucky, and many lives had been unexpectedly lost that night. And life on Okoto seemed a whole lot more dangerous.
Poron had disappeared. His friend Poeye, leader of the Ice tribe, had left the village upon hearing the news, following Poron’s trail. Pose had wanted to follow as well, but he knew he now had to run the village now that his father was gone.
At the next protector meeting, Pose glanced at the grim faces of the other Protectors. Pole, Poeye’s son, should have been there in Poeye’s place, but he was nowhere to be seen,
“The Skull Spiders were always a threat,” Pove said. “But they were never this organized. And they certainly couldn’t control minds before. What changed?”
“Maybe someone else—or something else—controls them,” Pose suggested. Swiftly, he explained the roar he had heard shortly before the attack.
“We must find out what this creature is,” the Protector of the Earth Village said.
“Agreed,” said Pojay. “Someone send a scout to the Ice village, find out what’s going on there. I’ll organize a team. We will find this beast.” He turned to Pose. “And we will find Poron, too.”
Pove shook his head and glanced skyward. “It almost seems like today should have been the day.”
“The day for what?” Pose said.
The Protector of Water turned to him. “Your father never told you the prophecy yet?”
Pose shook his head. “He said I wasn’t old enough yet.”
“I see,” said Pojay. “Well, it’s time someone told you about it.”
“What is it?”
“The reason we never give up hope, and will always have hope,” Pojay said. “It’s the Prophecy of Heroes.”