This is the fourth installment of my 8-part short-story series. I am particularly excited to post this one, since I spent a lot more time on it than the previous three. So here, it is, Web of Karzahni!
This short story contains some spoilers, for those of you who haven't read the 2010 Story Serials yet, be warned!
Web of Karzahni
The wearer of the Olisi, the mighty Karzahni, stared around in horror. Dozens, no hundreds of Matoran were surrounding him. His Matoran; the ones he had made into his slaves.
He turned his head back and forth, once again trying to raise his hand to strike them down, but to no avail. For some strange reason, his feet were riveted to the ground, and his hands were stuck to his sides, as if held there by glue. And the screaming, all around him, he heard shouts of pain, of anger, and of vengeance. There was one scream though, that towered over all the others, an earsplitting screech, one of distress and terror.
Karzahni scanned the crowds of Matoran, searching for the source of this scream. After a while though, he realized that the scream was not coming from any of the Matoran, it was coming from him.
Karzahni looked around as the Matoran converged on him, piling up over his body, beating him with their fists, and tearing his armored plates off. He screamed even louder as he was ravaged by them, why couldn’t he move?!
One of the Matoran, one of stone, came into view, in his hand he held a hammer, and on his face he wore a Kanohi Komau. Karzahni stared at the Matoran, he recognized him from somewhere, and for some reason he was even more horrified by the Matoran’s presence. His eyes widened, and he let out one last scream that echoed around as the Matoran raised his tool, and brought it down on Karzahni’s heartlight…
Karzahni’s eyes snapped open. He looked around; he was sitting on his throne in his own realm. He tested his left arm, then the right; yes, he could move them both freely. Everything seemed normal once more, all except one thing; he was still screaming.
Karzahni looked down at the ground, and immediately understood why any being would be screaming now. A Po-Matoran, who wore a Komau on his face sat at Karzahni’s feet, his eyes still closed. After a moment, the Matoran looked up and opened his eyes. Karzahni managed to say through his screams, “What … are … you?!”
The Matoran replied, “You cannot explain sight to one who is blind.”
Karzahni threw out a hand, sending the Matoran hurtling across the room. He pointed at the Matoran of stone and screeched, “Get him out! I never want to see him again!”
Two Matoran clad in dull gray armor that may have once matched the colors of their elements grabbed the Po-Matoran and dragged him away, though the servant of stone put up no resistance.
Karzahni watched him go, his screams finally dying down in his throat, whether this was because the Matoran was gone, or because he was growing hoarse he did not know.
As the three Matoran disappeared from his line of sight, Karzahni remembered back to when this Matoran had first arrived. His name was Velika; he had come from a land he would not reveal, though his homeland was of no interest to Karzahni, so he hadn’t bothered to force the information out of him.
The Matoran’s friends had sent him here because they believed him to be insane. Karzahni dismissed this notion almost immediately, and had attributed Velika’s problems to laziness. But whenever Velika had been told to work, he had replied with strange riddles, and showed no signs of complying. Karzahni had punished him physically, but when it showed no signs of changing the stubborn Po-Matoran, Karzahni had been forced to use a different approach.
He had ordered Velika to be brought to him, and commanded him directly to work, giving the Matoran one last chance to comply, but the Matoran had simply said, “You cannot teach a Gukko to fly by striking it.”
Karzahni had activated his mask power, but then something had changed. Karzahni’s Mask of Alternate Futures was supposed to create an alternate reality within a dream that Karzahni chose based off the target’s past, but instead, Karzahni himself had ended up within his own alternate reality, with Matoran surrounding him. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Velika was supposed to be the one experiencing the nightmares, not him. Karzahni shuddered, and tried to push the thoughts out of his head, but he would never truly be the same…
Velika hit the ground and slid several bios across the dusty ground. He glanced back behind him at the two Matoran who had thrown him. It made him so sad, thinking of how helpless and defeated they must feel.
He turned and looked at what lay in front of him: a tunnel, with a worn out and barely visible inscription written at its entrance. Even if the words had been clear, nobody would have been able to read it; nobody, except Velika, for it had been he who had etched the letters into the stone so long ago. He walked up to the inscription, and fury built up inside him, for the inscription read, “The path of hope.”
Velika walked into the tunnel, following its straight and narrow path, reflecting on the incident he had had with Karzahni as he went.
Inside this body, Velika still possessed the ability to negate mask powers, and even had the ability to use them against a target if he concentrated enough. But alas, that was all he was capable of.
Being inside a Matoran body had its limits, but when the time was right, Karzahni would pay for what he had done. Velika hated to kill one of his own creations, but the tyrant would be too much of a danger to the plan if he wasn’t disposed of at some point.
He considered Artakha, Karzahni’s ‘brother,’ though he had not had a chance yet to see him in his new form, Velika figured that he too would be a problem, and would have to be removed as well.
Velika turned his mind from his plans for correction, and decided to think about what had gone well. He had managed to leave the land of Karzahni without being forced to hurt any Matoran or the Manas that guarded the entrances, and was now on his way to the island of Voya Nui, an island that would become a very important ground in the future.
This was not by accident either; it was because the island housed one of the most powerful objects in the universe, The Kanohi Ignika, the Mask of Life. It would be Velika’s mission, if possible, to protect the mask from those who would wish to use it for evil, and guide the rightful heir to the mask.
Velika smiled a little as he thought of the herald, a Ko-Matoran named Matoro. Unlike any other being in the universe, Matoro’s mind was designed and based off of a Great Being, one named Angonce. Matoro would, if the plan succeeded, bring the mask to the core of the universe and enter the Codrex. There he would reawaken Mata Nui. Velika stared ahead, pushing all these thoughts away, and focusing on the long journey that lay before him…