Here's part One:
The night is cold and the ocean wind blows from the north. It’s a clear night, but I can see no signs of life aside from the lights up ahead. I am tired and the bright windows of the town appear smeared, like strokes of a brush that twist as I move closer. I scan the signs that hang over the doors of each building for an inn or tavern. My gaze falls on a sign that at one point must have been painted blue, but now displays nothing but a scratched green symbol and a name: The Azure Tarakava. Quite a pompous name for a rather weary building. I enter regardless.
The interior is a little better, with a high ceiling and a large fireplace within which burns a large pile of dried kelp. At the tables sit some crusty-looking le-matoran and a few local sentient species I don’t recognise. I sit at the bar, indifferent to the strange looks my bright mask attracts. The bartender is one of the local species, taller than most matoran but shorter than a toa, with a silver, lizardlike face and large, green eyes. Upon her shoulder sits what appears to be a small dermis turtle. She turns to me, apparently unfazed by my red hau and height.
“What’ll it be for you?” Her voice is surprisingly alive, as if the grim mood of the town hasn’t reached her at all.
“Do you accept widgets?” I ask.
“Just water for me, then.” I’m not in the mood for a tasty drink, and besides, I’m too tired to truly enjoy one. The bartender draws water from a large metal cask into an old glass mug, which she sets on the wooden counter in front of me.
“That’ll be two widgets.”
“Alright.” I reach into the small pouch I keep slung over my shoulder and draw out the currency. I pay and glance down at the glass. “Oh, could I get some ice in this? I’ve something of an addiction.” I say. The local complies, scooping a few chunks from a barrel behind the bar. I sip my drink and crush the ice between my jaws. Immediately I feel better.
“You’re new to this town?” asks the bartender. I nod. She smiles. “I don’t mean to offend you, sir, but it’s pretty easy to tell.” I look up from my drink.
“You don’t get many toa around here?” I reply, despite my distaste for small talk.
“Not around this tavern, anyway.”
“Hm. Is there a toa here in town?” I don’t know what to expect in villages this far south.
“There are a few on the island, but they don’t come around here often.”
“Hm…” I take another sip from the glass in my hand. The bartender thinks a moment, then says:
“I think I’ve heard of you before. ‘A travelling toa with a hau and a cloak.’ What’s your name?”
“Farathorn.” I’m not even sure why I reply.
I’m confused for a moment. “Yes. Why?”
“Well, most toa have a second name, like ‘Seaswrath’ or ‘Firewind’. Is that not true where you come from?”
“No, I’ve never heard of that before.” I reply. “Do you have a second name?”
“Nope, I’m just Draigu.”
“A Djirian name. Drai means dragon, correct?”
Draigu smiles, apparently impressed that someone like me speaks Djiriai.
“And gu relates to music.” She says.
“Dragon of Music?”
Here's part One:
Well this seems nice. Good chapter.
IT'S SO AWESOME #FRODOXDRAIGU (That awesome) I must ship dis
Umm... Dood... That's my sister's self-MOC. Save the shipping for something else.
It was meant to be a joke, sorry didn't know about that. Great story!
No problem, and thanks!
Excellent. I really like the dim and gritty feel the wording gives off. Looking forward to more.
Thanks. I gave it a bit of a western feel, or at least tried to.
Whatchu talkin' 'bout DNoS?
I rent a room above the tavern with some of my last few widgets. It’s a small, creaky space with a bed obviously built for someone more a matoran’s size. I set my bag at the foot of a tall oil lamp which I light with my finger. Outside the window I can see the town, mostly dark save the moonlight and the light from the windows below. I sigh and flop face-up onto the bed. The ceiling is dirty plaster, covered in cobwebs and bearing signs of entropy - missing chunks and long cracks that bend with the slight sag of the thin board to which the ceiling holds. I roll over and absorb the flame of the oil lamp through my hand. The darkness is relaxing and I fall asleep within a few minutes.
The next morning I go downstairs past the now empty bar and into the outside street. In the sunlight I can see the stands of numerous vendors, selling everything from fishing nets to kanohi masks. I buy some fruit and meat from the cheapest stand I can find using all of the money I have left. I look through my bag and find amongst my various creations and projects a pendant I carved out of driftwood. I sell it to a jewelry merchant, but without much bartering it goes for only 5.5 widgets.
It’s a short walk to the ocean from the town and the morning air feels nice. I sit down on a rock high above the crashing waves and eat one of the green apples I bought. As I chew, I realise I haven’t had one since I became a toa, almost two and a half years. I sit there for about an hour, relaxed by the constant noise of the sea. I head back into town sometime before noon. The main street is much less busy now, most of the fishermen are out on the ocean already. I enter the Azure Tarakava once more and see Draigu behind the bar polishing some glasses. Something like anger awakens inside me and I decide to let the force that brought me here pull me once more: a desire for justice. I pull a stool from under the bar and sit down. Draigu glances over at me.
“Some water with ice please.” I don’t really want a drink, but I need some information and I don’t know anyone except the cheerful bartender. After a few seconds, a glass is set down on the counter with a quiet thud. I set two widgets on the counter and take a sip.
“You ever heard of the Dark Hunters?” I ask, somewhat suddenly.
“Sure, why?” Draigu replies in a slightly confused tone, obviously finding my choice of conversation topic strange. Speaking with people has never been my strong suit.
“I’m trying to locate one of their members. Vadsi, to be specific. You ever heard of him?”
“Actually, a guest here made an offhand comment about looking for him recently.”
“WHAT?! Who? When?” Suddenly trying not to daunt my informant seems unimportant, and daunted she is.
“I- I don’t remember! He was an- another Dark Hunter, I think. Tall. Big sword on his back.”
“When was this?”
Draigu recovers pretty quickly.
“Four or five days ago.”
I’m so close.
“Did he say anything about where he was going?”
“Why do you want to know all this?”
Closer than I’ve been for years.
“I said I want to find Vadsi! I need to find him.”
“Fine. This other guy said something about checking the southeastern portion of the island before he moved on.”
So close I can taste it.
I slide another widget across the counter and run out of the tavern, leaving the slow pace of the last few days behind. I grope around in my bag, running the entire time. I draw out my compass, quickly determine southeast, and take off, going as fast as I can.
About FrodoXMusicalDragon LOL #ShipsCantBurn >:)
That's disgusting. Now shut your mouth and read Part Two.
Hey! Don't get angry at me! Your sister loves you very, very, much...................
I never thought I would say this, but if you insist on shipping everyone with everyone, just go ahead and keep up EkorakXMusicalDragon as you put it. I'll leave final judgement to @frodobell though.
Thanks for taking the bullet for me, Ekorak.
Question: does this take place in the canon universe?
Yes, it does.
The terrain is rough and I don’t reach the next town until sundown, despite running nearly the entire way. This second town sits at the top of a rocky hill and is much smaller, just a few wooden buildings on stone foundations. Here I find one inn, three rooms set atop a restaurant, also the only one of its kind in town. I’m exhausted and not very hungry, so I rent a room, eat some meat out of my bag and go to sleep almost instantly.
The next morning, I wake up as soon as sunlight hits my face through the small window. I’m hungry to the point of weakness, so I order some breakfast from the restaurant downstairs, using my remaining widgets. As I’m about to leave the town to continue southeast, I spot a vendor selling a map of the island, Kriva Nui. I immediately dig through my bag for something to sell. I take some scrap metal, the last unimportant thing in my bag, and sell it to a shop owner without bartering at a ridiculously low price, just enough to buy the map. I enjoy tinkering, but it’s not really a priority to me right now.
I look at the map, a tattered, yellowed piece of parchment with small dots for towns, and locate the first town I came across after I landed, Tara-Koro. To the southeast, I see my current location, a town a little east of the center of the island called Riavo, which I can roughly translate from Djiriai as ‘Rock Town’. Farther southwest, I see two more towns. One is called Thuvo, more Djiriai, although I’ve never seen the prefix ‘Thu’, so I have no idea what it means. The second town, which is farther south, has a name in mixed Djiriai and matoran: Yu-koro, ‘yu’ meaning sun. This town is located on the ocean, probably a port from which the Dark Hunter Draigu told me about means to sail south. There is a considerably larger difference between the distance from the much closer Thuvo to Yu-koro than the distance from Tara-koro to Riavo. It’s a distinct possibility I won’t make it to Yu-koro by nightfall.
I start running at a brisk pace toward Thuvo, downhill into a sparse forest. Here tall pine trees grow on moist, spongy soil. Small ferns brush lightly against my ankles as I run. Up ahead I see a clearing with a large rock in the center, about three meters tall. Upon reaching it, I scramble quickly to the top, hoping to get a better view. The rock is rough, but has few places to hold onto, and it takes me a few minutes to climb it. The summit has a slight slope to it, but I manage to stand. The wind is strong, but the view is breathtaking. The forest is set on a hill which slopes gently downward to the south, where I can see the river upon which Thuvo is set, and beyond that and another expanse of beautiful green, the distant gleam of the ocean. I’m reinvigorated by the nearness of Thuvo, and once I’ve scrambled down the rock I begin running immediately.
Just after noon I enter the mostly wooden town of Thuvo. It has no streets save the main path which runs through the center and, like both towns I’ve visited already on this island, no turaga or toa. From the surplus of workshops and smell of freshly-cut pine I surmise the town’s primary industry is woodcutting. Near the river there are a few ta-matoran selling dried meat and some orange vegetables which are unfamiliar to me. I have no money left and plenty of food, so I decide to continue after catching my breath here. I lean up against a wall and close my eyes for a moment, breathing deeply. After a few seconds, I feel something tapping against my knee. I open my eyes and see a short le-matoran standing a little to my right, looking up at me.
“Can I help you?” I say, with more than a little impatience in my voice. The matoran continues to stare at me for another moment, then quickly snaps back to his senses.
“Oh, sorry. I just wanted to ask if- if you were here because of the skakdi.” I reflect a fraction of a second on my habit of unwittingly scaring timid matoran, then answer:
“No, I’m just passing through to the southwest. Did-”
“Oh.” The matoran looks disappointed and for the first time I notice the tension in not only the villagers’ faces, but in their conversation and movements.
“Is something… wrong?” I ask, although I’m fairly certain I already know the answer.
“It’s nothing. Just… be careful. There are skakdi raiders around here.”
For a moment I feel extremely curious, but I know I only have so much time before the mysterious Dark Hunter I’m tracking leaves and I lose track of Vadsi for good.
The matoran here are just overly anxious, I convince myself. I need to go.
I say farewell to the little villager, not daring to look him directly in the eye for fear that I’ll change my mind.
Resuming my southwest course, I find a small bridge that crosses the river. The thin wood creaks as I walk across its high arch. The forest continues here on the other shore, but the trees are closer together and there are more ferns around their bases. Beginning to run, I feel the moist air in my throat, warm and smothering. There’s a certain taste to it, like the smell of wet wood, but thicker and more earthy. I continue through this forest until nightfall, when I begin looking for a clearing to spend the night in. After about an hour in the dark, I’m tired enough to sleep on anything that isn’t a rock or tree root. As I’m about to give up and just lie down on the soil, I see a large patch of moss in a small moonlit clearing. I sigh, lie down, and close my eyes, already drifting off. Sleep comes easily in spite of my surroundings.
“He’s got a bag. Check that!” A deep, throaty whisper wakes me. I’m about to jump up, but think better of it at the last second. I close my eyes and breathe as regularly as I can, listening intently.
“Snuff ‘im before he comes round, Malrok. I don’t want to deal with a toa for no reason.” A second voice, higher but still rough. I hear the scrape of a blade being pulled from a scabbard. Time to get up.
I leap to my feet, pulling my dagger from my belt. I see figures all around me, mostly around my height, but far more stout. In the dim moonlight, I see also the gleam of teeth, long and white, set into dark skull-like heads. Skakdi.