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- "Over eighty contestants were dead now, and only two still lived. Only one could ever, ever return, and it was survival of the fittest. If Fairon faltered, for even one minute, his opponent would kill him. And he had to win, for Leviathos, Fyxan, and Tanuva. Beings who had died so he could live. Beings who had risked everything in their battle with Antidax. Beings who had been noble, even in the arena."
- ―Fairon's thoughts
The Eternal Game is a unique contest-story in the Xaterex Multiverse Storyline that tells of the vicious Eternal Game, a massive, yearly fight to the death competition to hold the population of the Veiled One Empire in fear. The story was written by Varkanax39, and both TheSlicer and Jareroden97 co-authored chapters. Originally a short story written by Varkanax39 that became a story contest on this wiki, multiple stories have been written based on this story's main concept, and it still remains the most iconic and quintessential of all Fight to the Death stories.
- 1 Story
- 1.1 Prologue
- 1.2 Chapter 1
- 1.3 Chapter 2
- 1.4 Chapter 3
- 1.5 Chapter 4
- 1.6 Chapter 5
- 1.7 Chapter 6
- 1.8 Chapter 7
- 1.9 Chapter 8
- 1.10 Chapter 9
- 1.11 Chapter 10
- 1.12 Chapter 11
- 1.13 Chapter 12
- 1.14 Chapter 13
- 1.15 Chapter 14
- 1.16 Chapter 15
- 1.17 Chapter 16
- 1.18 Chapter 17
- 1.19 Chapter 18
- 1.20 Chapter 19
- 1.21 Chapter 20
- 1.22 Chapter 21
- 1.23 Chapter 22
- 1.24 Chapter 23
- 1.25 Chapter 24
- 1.26 Chapter 25
- 1.27 Chapter 26
- 1.28 Chapter 27
- 1.29 Chapter 28
- 1.30 Chapter 29
- 1.31 Chapter 30
- 1.32 Chapter 31
- 1.33 Chapter 32
- 1.34 Chapter 33
- 1.35 Epilogue
- 2 Characters
- 3 Reviews
- 4 Trivia
Suddenly, Shardak felt a rift in time, similar to the time he'd fallen into a Hand of Mata Nui dimensional gateway. But this was different in ways Shardak could not fathom. His body aged, his Kanohi Ignika vanished before he collapsed on the ground, his body weak, his mind aching as he recalled the past few days. Or nightmares, as he'd rather think of them. But he knew they were more real then anything.
He saw the storms of the Far Realm bearing down on them, saw Icyklia and Kyhrex calling to him to run, saw the vicious battle where Abinak and Xandrek were killed, saw thousands of Soul Marauders attacking Zralk and ripping him to shreds, saw the Soul Eliminator toy with him before hurling him into the void, and lastly saw the crazed Fenrakk Mage holding Ryger, Icyklia, and Kyhrex's limp bodies, and watched the sky explode as the Twilight Void was ripped apart and the crumbling spire and all the combatants vanish into the Far Realms. He and Blast were now totally alone.
There were no happy endings this time. The Hand had been destroyed by the White Lightning Division. Above, Eostra had won. Below, the realms were in chaos. The Toa were almost totally quelled. Hopelessness washed over him. Everything had been lost. Nightshade had even killed Arcturas, just to spite Shardak. Nightshade... Shardak hated her. She'd drawn him in to a war against the Corpsians, and even after Arcturas had been restored to him, she'd killed him again with her deadly soul-eating dagger.
But Shardak knew that he couldn't stay like this. He needed to get himself and Blast out of here. Reaching over to his Toa-Brother, he shook at Blast's limp form. The Toa blearily opened his eyes.
"Shardak..." he said.
"Yes, its me," he replied
"You're alive." said Blast. Then he looked shocked.
"Oh, Mata — Kyhrex!"
"She's gone." Shardak told him hopelessly. "After you fell, the Fenrakk Mage grabbed her, Ryger, and Icyklia. When the storm struck the tower, they were absorbed."
"Mata Nui, no..." Blast gasped in horror. "We are FINISHED."
"No, we're not." Said Shardak. "We can still win, but we need to survive. We can't do anything if we stay here. We need to find more Toa who can fight. Then, maybe, we stand a chance."
Then a raspy, nasal voice spoke.
"You never stood a chance, rebels," The Soul Eliminator said.
Soul Marauders! thought Shardak, and cursed. He should have known that the Soul Eaters were near. The Corpse dogs had the ability to track souls. They'd followed him here! Three Soul Defenders holding Midak Skyblasters took aim on him. Okay. he thought. Kill me. I don't care anymore.
But the Soul Defenders didn't fire. They simply turned to the Eliminator, who gave a small nod.
"Come, Toa." the Eliminator said quietly. "You will join the Eternal Game."
"What—?" Shardak gasped, but they all suddenly dematerialized.
When their bodies reappeared, they were standing near the spires of Metru Nui. Many tall beings wearing armor and holding whips were following miserable Matoran slaves.
"What are those beings?" Shardak asked the Soul Eater.
"They are Kodax." he replied. "Follow me."
The Toa walked, surrounded by their enemies, until they came to the Coliseum. It was tall and shining, not at all like the ruins that Shardak remembered. Something was wrong here. Why did the Corpsians not recognize him? What were the beings called Kodax doing here? Did they rule the city now? Surely Metru Nui couldn't have fallen to the Corpsians already? He didn't know.
"We are here." The Eliminator snarled, and entered the Coliseum. Shardak gasped.
Within the building, there was a large stage, along with a crowed of Kodax and Toa standing beneath it. Atop the stage stood a tall, gaunt Soul Eater. Standing to one side of him there was a tall, jet armored Kodax. On the other, there was-Nightshade! Rage threatened to overwhelm him. His Toa-Father's murderer stood before him, garbed in an Aspect's black cloak. What was she doing here? But there was no time to ask the Eliminator, for the Soul Eater on the stage spoke in an ancient, twisted voice.
"Greetings, warriors of the Corpse Empire, and welcome, contestants, to the Eternal Games!!"
Maniacal cheering filled the air.
Corpse Empire?! Shardak thought. What has happened?
The Soul Eliminator on the stage began to speak a lot of gibberish in Corpsian, which was greeted by more maniacal cheering. Then Shardak heard a phrase that he recognized.
"...Five thousand years ago, we crushed the Hand of Mata Nui..."
So they were in some kind of nightmare future.
"And threw all those that rebelled into an ever changing arena to fight forever."
The audience's cries reached fever pitch as the crowd roared and screeched.
"Now we will send in more, to replace those that have died."
No...no... thought Shardak desperately. Not us...
"And they will fight, as their forebears fought before them."
The Soul Eater began to read off the names of the other contestants: Kiina, Hahli, Nightwatcher...
A tall Toa of Shadow stood as the Eater spoke the name "Nightwatcher."
Shardak shuddered. The being was vicious. He could never fight that.
These four joined two of their other competitors, whom Shardak heard referred to as The Fallen Six. All looked as deadly as Nightwatcher.
"...Leviathos, Tetrack, Ixtil, Mersery, Soalaz..."
Five more warriors joined the already impressive crowd.
"...One Odina Drone, Brominax, Acrox, Antidax..."
With a start, Shardak realized that three of these were Great Beings. How powerful were these Kodax/Corpse lords, to bring even the primal entities that made the universe under their rule of terror?
...Fairon, Fyxan, Fyxon, Shardak, Blast!" finished the Soul Eater.
Shardak and Blast stood numbly when their names were called.
"Contestants, follow me." ordered a tall Soul Render.
Hopelessness washed over Shardak. They were totally trapped.
And if the Kodax and Corpsians didn't kill them, the other competitors would.
Fyxan stood in a tall, domed chamber along with the other competitors. Many of them were from his planet, and both foe and friend were standing shoulder to shoulder, hardly waiting to kill each other. But most of all, Fyxan watched the traitor Kodax called Fyxon. Under the influence of a deathly being called Void, he had betrayed them to all to be a spy.
The Kodax's eyes switched to Iruka, who looked breathless at the chance to fight in the Games. He, Kawa, Ghost, Kouhiimaru, Naraku, and Alloy formed a group known as The Fallen Six and were allies with two Toa of Light called Ravdev and Lekhop. Fyxan thought it was quite ironic; two Toa joined a group of evil lords, but he said nothing.
Other alliances included a group led by Leviathos with Tetrack's Brotherhood of Gigas Magna, and a group led by an alternate "Toa" Mata Nui. A small group led by a Demo-Makuta called Kojol had forged a larger alliance with a group led by Zaeron.
"Ready to be deployed to the Arena," ordered the Render supervisor.
Well, here goes my life. Fyxan thought grimly, as he stepped into a tall metal cylinder.
"Just remember," The Soul Eater went on. "In the Arenas, you kill. Or you die."
The Soul Eater observed nearly 80 beings, stripped of weapons, ready to leave for a realm of death and devastation.
And only one would ever return.
Shardak felt a rush as the tube tore upward, ready to be deployed into a realm of death. He and Blast had considered joining another group, but in the end decided to fight for themselves only. Besides, there were other beings already there who may team up with them. But Shardak knew he could not win. The competition was too great.
"We're here," said Blast grimly as the pod opened. Shardak stepped out — and gasped.
He was standing on a colossal game board. A deathly black sky that held but a few feeble stars cast a half-light on the ground. Shardak glanced around at Ravdev and Harlen, the two Toa standing nearest to him. They looked equally amazed. Nightwatcher, Ghost, Iruka, and the Skrall leader Tuma did not look the slightest bit fazed. With a roar, Nightwatcher ripped apart his glass prison and charged towards the game board. Shardak watched Kental's prison open, then Ravdev's, then his and Blast's.
"Go! Run!" screamed Blast. Shardak charged into the battle. He saw three caches of weapons, arrayed near a central podium. Farther away, tunnels began to open. A vicious Lavawight charged toward the central podium, where the fighting was thickest. Ravdev turned and followed him. Shardak took a breath, then plunged into the battle.
Blood and armor splashed all over his body, and all around him, it was impossible to tell who was alive and who was dead. Harlen charged at him, tearing his arm. Shardak winced in pain, then slashed out. Harlen was a good fighter, but luckily, neither of them had a weapon. Harlen lashed out with a fist, sending Shardak sprawling into the dust. The wild-eyed toa leered at him — then his fist fell to his side, and his shattered body fell to the ground. Shardak spotted Kental, armed with a Shattering Gun, spring away from Harlen's corpse.
Ravdev, her face set in a mask of grim determination, charged forward, then gasped. Shardak turned, horrified to see the Toa of Light had fallen into a pool of lava where a square of the board had once been. Shardak saw the Lavawight grab a long spear and ran her through. As her eyes glazed over with death-mist, he ripped out the weapon, and Ravdev collapsed, lifeless, on the ground, her blood mingling with the lava that had insured her death. Two dead before they even reached a weapons cache.
With a yell, Shardak leapt onto the alter, and grabbed a sword. It wasn't the Blade of Arcturas, but it would do. A huge Stitched Scion lumbered toward him, swinging a mace. As Shardak was flung from the alter, the Scion's lower half shattered, blown to bits by Iruka, and Nightwatcher lopped off its head.
An updated alternate Tahu leapt toward the podium, grabbed a weapon, and dashed into the night. Lewa sprung after him, but Ghost, armed with his Crystal Scythe, ripped him down like a reaper. Lewa lay unconscious; not dead, but Shardak wouldn't bet on him surviving the day.
A warrior called Sen charged past Shardak, who raised his blade, but Kawa was quicker. She grabbed the warrior and slashed him open. Sen collapsed backwards, desperately trying to flee, but Lekhop grabbed a Staff of Light and fired a bolt from the tip, killing him.
Shardak spotted a Toa of Ice called Soalaz flee toward the next weapons cache, where Ixtil and Mersery already stood. Shardak grabbed a second blade and slashed at random in the direction of Soalaz. He thought he saw the Toa go down, and fled.
How many have died? Shardak wondered, as the battles at the caches continued. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
The dark arena held no answer for him.
Snarling, Kojol lept at Nightwatcher, who blocked the attack with one Skrall blade. The force was such that the Demo-Makuta collapsed on the ground. Nightwatcher raised his sword to finish him off when a Toa called Vakx lept at him, taking Nightwatcher by surprise. With a swipe of his blade, Nightwatcher slashed open the nuisance, but Kojol was back on his feet, Zaeron by his side. Kojol fired a swipe of Shadow at Nightwatcher, who blocked it with a powerful burst of his own. Kojol fired again, putting Nightwatcher on the defensive. Zaeron fired a blast of elemental power from his blade, covering the retreat of the rest of the alliance. Kojol turned, ready to follow, before his armor was shattered by a blast of sonic power.
"It's shattering time." Kental snarled, readying his gun to fire at Nightwatcher. Suddenly, Tuma broke off from the Toa of Fire he was fighting and leapt at Kental, taking him down. As blood and armor were ripped apart, Tuma finally was thrown backward, where he fell, lifeless and shattered. Kojol chose the moment to flee, and tore away from the second cache. Acrox sprang forward to continue the fight with Nightwatcher and Kental.
Ixtil was a wise Matoran. Under his guidance, the Matoran had formed a great nation. But now, in the arena fighting alongside Mersery, he worried. He was doomed. Brominax was grappling with Tetrack and Kelvar, a corrupt Toa of Lightning, while Nalek and Zaster were ripping at each other viciously with both blades and elements. With a screech, the currently winged Makuta called Dredzek flew down upon them as they fled toward the third cache.
Hahli, Kiina, Kawa, a Toa called Phoenix, and the Toa of Fire that had been fighting Tuma at the battle over the second cache, came. Ixtil recognized him as Igniter, a vicious rogue Toa. Dredzek fell into a plunge, ripping at Mersery with his talons. Mersery conjured eight glowing spheres of fire, which detonated on the Makuta's body. His armor melting, Dredzek, snarling, hurled a shadow hand at Mersery, flinging the elder to the ground helpless. Kental broke away from the main battle between himself, Nightwatcher, and Kental. Seeing Ixtil undefended, he fired the shattergun. Pain shot through Ixtil's leg as the armor and muscle shattered. Dredzek, breaking apart from his fight with Mersery, grabbed Ixtil, and flung his torn body to the ground. Ixtil gasped his last breaths before his eyes clouded in death.
With a roar of rage, Mersery lept at Dredzek, slashing his body nearly in two. Leaving the dead Makuta on the ground, he charged toward the third cache. He saw Nightwatcher leap after him. Had he killed Acrox and Kental? He saw the remaining combatants turn visious. Most of the fighting was over, with most of the warriors in small duels around the first and second caches, or fighting at the third. Phoenix slashed Kiina apart. Hahli, Kiina's ally, sprang away from the Pheonix, and electrified Igniter. The stunned Toa staggered into Nightwatcher, who cut his head off. Iruka slashed at Hahli, who dodged, but Kawa grabbed the Toa and hurled her lifeless body to the ground.
The battle was over. and the survivors began to gather the weapons that lay around them.
Shardak heard the voice of the Kodax announcers, announcing the end of the initial battles. Then they listed off the names of the dead. "Hahli, Kiina, Igniter, Raverak, Ixtil, Harlen, Sen, Ravdev, Soalaz, Dredzek, Scion, Jorbyy, Acrox, Tuma, Vakx." the Kodax listed off the names coldly and clearly.
So the first battles are over. Shardak thought. The first days were always the bloodiest, as the contestants fought over the prized weapons.
Inspecting the battlefield, He saw Leviathos, Krakanus, an Odina Drone, Tetrack, and a few other contestants pacing the battlefield, salvaging weapons. So Leviathos' and Tetrack's alliance had won the battle at the caches. He slunk away into the shadows, keen to avoid detection. As he walked, he pondered the dead contestents. Hahli and Kiina he had seen, but never knew.
Kiina, in his universe, had been possessed by Gorast in the hybrid wars. He could still see her crazed eyes leering above him, dual trident ready to strike... Shardak shook his head, trying to shake off the memory. Igniter, Ixtil, Raverak, Dredzek, Altor, Jorbyy, and Acrox he had never known. But Harlen he'd seen die a gruesome death, shattered by Kental, and Ravdev's death was even worse. And Soalaz...he must have killed him. Shardak realized he'd become a wicked fighter in the past year. He hoped it hadn't changed him.
And Blast was still missing.
Mata Nui, keep him safe. Shardak thought desperately. And there he remained, sleeping only scantly; watching for his enemies, who would kill him at the first opportunity.
Nightwatcher watched as Krakanus and Tetrack, followed closely by an Odina Drone, loot the third cache. He would never admit it, but he liked it here. It was always night, with very faint stars. Leviathos, though he had been the one to broker the deal, was long gone. He could not join with his enemies.
Well, poor him, thought Nightwatcher as The Odina Drone hefted a huge spear and passed it to Krakanus. It was their alliance that had won the initial battles. The huge amounts of weapons were theirs.
Quiet as a ghost, Nightwatcher slipped away from the rest of his group, watching the night as the Kodax announcer repeated the death toll for the first day. So Iruka, Ghost, and the rest of the Fallen Six had survived. A pity. And there was that Toa of Light too, Lekhop or whatever his name was. He was with them.
Harlen was dead, and Kental's whereabouts were unknown, but Rando was with the group led by Mata Nui. Most of the other alliances had fractured, though Zaeron may have still been with Radiak and Kojol, Nightwatcher didn't know.
I'm done here, the Toa of Shadow thought as he slipped away from his group. Tetrack and Krakanus were resting, while the Odina Drone stood guard. For a split second, Nightwatcher thought about murdering them all. But no, Tetrack would be roused quickly, and even though he was confident he could overcome all of them, Tetrack could deal nasty wounds.
No...besides, they may still be useful, Nightwatcher decided, and vanished into the darkening gloom. Soon the arena would be roused, and the fighting would begin. Nightwatcher raised one blade, then slashed a square on the board completely in two. Satisfied, the Toa of Shadow walked into the forest, were the board ended. He would wait for someone to kill here.
So Nightwatcher had won the initial battles, and his alliance had claimed the weapon caches. Kouhiimaru followed close behind his leader, alert for any movement. Ghost floated silently beside him, while the Toa of light Lekhop and the other Fallen Six followed him. Iruka cursed again, wishing that Ravdev had survived.
The calculating female Toa had created the alliance between them, and had been far more intelligent than Lekhop. While he felt no pity for her death, Iruka vowed to kill the Lavawight. She would have made a useful Exiled One, and could possibly have joined the Fallen Six as well. Then again, Lekhop would be a valuable ally in a fight, as he was a deadly warrior. Just the sort of slave I need here, Iruka thought as they walked toward the volcano in the distance.
Suddenly, Kawa, who had stepped on a square behind him, screeched, then vanished. She had simply disappeared.
Where did she go!" snarled Iruka.
Kouhiimaru raced over to his leader. "She's gone, so is Alloy. They all vanished on different squares."
Iruka spat viciously. Could this night get any worse? Naraku moved over by Ghost and the regrouping survivors.
"Are they dead?" he asked Kouhiimaru.
"Tonight, when the Kodax announces the death toll, we will know," he replied.
Iruka was already formulating a new plan. "Come," he said to his remaining five servents.
"Where are we going?" Naraku asked. "To try to find Kawa and Alloy?"
"No," hissed Iruka. "We will go to the volcano."
Mersery raced from the bloody battlefield, scraps of armor clinging to his body. His ally, Ixtil, was dead. His achenemy, Millennium, would be after him. He was hiding in the forest now, unsure of where to go. Back to the caches would be impossible. They'd already announced the deaths today, and it was early morning. A feeble sun had risen. Mersery wondered who would die today. This whole "Eternal Game" was sick. Worse, he knew if he didn't kill, he'd be killed.
Raising a small axe, the only weapon he had, Mersery walked quietly toward the forest. He'd spotted Iruka and four other warriors going that way earlier this morning.
A blast of force knocked him off his feet.
"Well, hello, Mersery," snarled Millenium, his scarred face inches from Mersery's own.
"Now we meet here, in an arena, for the last time."
Mersery didn't want to give Millennium the satisfaction of knowing he was frightened, but he was unable to conceal his shock as another being walked to stand by Millennium. The being was a powerful white Toa of Ice, armed with two Ice blades.
"This is Onika. He makes a remarkably good slave. Too bad you won't be given the same opportunity," snarled Millennuim as he raised his axe to attack. Mersery narrowly blocked, and the shock deadened his arm. Onika raised a blade, ripping a long wound down Mersery's left leg. Mersery whipped around, cutting a deep wound in Onika's arm. As Onika regained his strength, Milennium attacked. Mersery blocked his first blade, taking a shallow cut on his forearm, but the second blow cut off his hand. Knowing he had the upper hand, Millennium slashed open Mersery's side.
Then Onika attacked. Before he could hit, Mersery flung his axe, burying the lade in Onika's chest. Mersery noticed that Onika's eyes were empy, and as his body collapsed, his eyes never glazed over.
With a roar, Mersery lept at Millenium, dealing a blow with his fist in Millennium's eye. With a screech, Millenium slashed Mersery from chest to foot. Like a puppet that had all its strings cut, Mersery slumped to the ground and died instantly.
Looking regretfully at Onika's corpse, Millennium departed, leaving one more warrior dead.
That night, Iruka and his four warriors watched as the Kodax announcer spoke. Were Kawa and Alloy dead?
The Kodax announcer spoke, his loud voice ringing across the arena.
That was all.
"So know we know. They are alive." Kouhiimaru said emotionlessly.
"We will find them." hissed Iruka.
The sun had risen the next morning, and Shardak awoke. He knew he couldn't stay here for long. The gameboard was controlled by Tetrack's Brotherhood, and the forest was no safe haven either. So he was on the move again.
He spun around at the sound of a snapping twig. Standing behind him were two Toa, wielding spears.
One of them (named Spirak) snickered. "Well, I was hoping for some excitement. What about you, Spiruk?"
The one named Spiruk raised his spear. "Ah, yeah, but we have to deal with what we have."
They then launched into combat. Shardak slashed Spirak across his leg, but was knocked down by Spiruk.
"Now you die!"
Shardak flung his sword upward. "Never!"
To his surprise, he stabbed him in the chest .Spiruk made a gurgling sound and fell over, dead. Spirak looked from the body to Shardak, and fled. Shardak got up and looked at the slain Toa, disturbed. Arcturas' death and Nightshade's betrayal had really changed him, hopefully not for the worst.
Lekhop and the remainder of the Fallen Six were making their way to the volcano. The Toa of Light was truely appalled. He was surrounded by four evil beings, and saw his Toa-sister, Ravdev, slain.
Eventually, he spoke up for the first time. "What are we doing here?"
Iruka stopped. "That is none of your business, Toa."
Lekhop sighed. He hated all of this, this vulgar "Eternal Game", being around the Fallen Six, and everything else.
Naraku pointed to the north. "I think I see the volcano."
Iruka chuckled. "Excelent, follow me."
Lekhop and the other three members followed him, Lekhop wondering just how long he would survive.
Toa Rellier ran out of the forest, terrorfied. He had encoutered...something in there. What he had encountered was Makuta Serrakaan, and he had barely escaped him with his life, and sanity. He ran like there was no tomorrow, not daring to look back. Eventually he stopped and looked back, not seeing anything.
He sighed. "I survived."
He got up, not knowing he was being watched by a pair of sinister eyes...
Alloy stood up. His body had reknit quickly after he'd been flung through a portal. The Droid looked around him. He was standing in some sort of chamber, and it was moving. The Stars whizzed by. Was he on some kind of spacecraft?
Yes! Alloy raced to the front of the starship, an saw a brilliant view of the shadowy lands, full of feeble stars. Unused to being left alone, the droid sized up the situation. He was outside of the arena, as he heard no Kodax announce the deaths of the competitors. He was seemingly alone, but the craft was large, and every chamber could conceal an assassin.
But with this, I could rule the Fallen Six, Alloy thought, grabbing at the wheel. Usually, it would take over 6 warriors to pilot the craft, but Alloy was clever. And as he felt his brain merge with that of the ship's computerized systems, Alloy knew he had won.
Lock on. Forward, Alloy commanded, and the Starship shot past thousands of glimmering stars.
And Alloy smiled.
Below, within the confines of the arena, Nightwatcher moved silently to his pet's rendezvous point. The tall green sillouhette of the Rahkshi of Growth blended eerily with he setting sun.
"Good," said Nightwatcher. "So you made it here."
Just then, the voice of the Kodax announcer ring out over the arena. "Spiruk."
Only one had died today. Nightwatcher briefly wondered who could have killed him, then turned to the Rahkshi of Growth.
"We're leaving," he snarled. "Something really big's happening out there, and we're going to pay them a visit."
Tahu and Gurren walked through the forest, supporting the badly wounded Lewa. After th battle at the first cache, Gurren had barely managed to get Lewa away from Naraku. Now, they were returning to their base camp.
Things had not gone well for their small alliance. They'd barely gotten away from the caches with any weapons, and were now farther away from most water sources. Mata Nui help us! thought Tahu desprately. They'd been lucky to have escaped the battle alive.
Then he saw his worst nightmare.
A tall, well armored being was coming toward them, obviously stalking the three.
"Orthodax!" he hissed to his team.
Realizing he'd been spotted, the being drew a wickedly curved scimiter with his dagger sharp claws and grinned. Then he charged.
Shardak was becoming used to the arena. It was usually night, with a feeble sun appearing every so often. But now, it was night again, and Shardak sneaked through the trees, trying to avoid any other competitors. What he'd done to Spiruk had seriously disturbed Shardak, and he'd vowed to avoid the others and kill only when he had to. Then he would find Blast.
Suddenly, Shardak realized, absorbed in his thoughts, he'd wandered into a fatal trap.
"Hello, Toa," said a tall, thin Kodax. Six more beings, five Kodax led by Krakanus, were closing in. Of Tetrack or Nightwatcher, there was no sign.
"You are dead, Toa." Krakanus leered.
Spiruk had never meant much to him. He was a fool who charged into battle without hesitation, without ever even considering whether or not the strategy would immediately get him killed. Still, Spiruk had been his brother, and now things had become personal.
Spirak didn't care about the Eternal Game. He didn't care about winning. All he cared about was staying alive long enough to escape the terrible place. That, and vengeance on Shardak for his brother's death.
He'd sat in the undergrowth and watched, silent as a phantom, as the Elemental Prince moved quietly under the light of the massive red sun. He listened carefully, not making a move, even as his target vanished from his sight. He could still hear him, and that was enough to make a rather good estimate of his position.
Spirak felt a small insect bite at his neck, but knowing all too well that the slightest motion would alert Shardak of his presence, allowed the burning pain to spread through his body. It was a particularly painful bite, and he dimly wondered what kind of insect that was.
Then he felt a growing weight on his shoulder, and knew that it was no insect.
Forgetting all about his target, he turned around and rubbed the steadily growing creature — something that appeared to be a miniature green Rahkshi — from his shoulder. As he watched, stunned, it grew to his height, then higher, then higher. It towered above him like the sun itself, its hands large enough to crush him like a twig, its eyes gleaming at him like massive emeralds.
"Why, hello," said the voice of the being that he recognized as Nightwatcher.
He turned around, but in all directions there was nothing to be seen, save the trees, the sun, the sky, and the massive Rahkshi. He turned around again, and found himself looking at the Toa of Shadow's leg.
"This here is my pet," the new arrival said as Spirak began to stutter in terror. "It is what is called a Rahkshi of Growth. Convenient little things to have around. They also are particularly good at scaring beings out of their wits." he leaned down, so the faces of the two Toa touched.
"Then again, so am I."
"W-w-what do you w-w-want?" said Spirak, his teeth chattering.
"What do I want?" said Nightwatcher. "I want to get out of this miserable game, much as I enjoy it. And, if I understood correctly, the winner of this game can leave. So far as I know, the only way to win the game is to make sure no one else is left to attempt to do so. And so, to answer your question, I can quite definitely say that what I want is for you and the rest of my 'rivals' to die."
Spirak was so terrified now that he was incapable of making any more noise, nor of moving as Nightwatcher picked him up.
"I have been holding myself back for the last few days. I thought it would be enjoyable, picking them off one by one like maggots. But there is no time left for enjoyment. Tomorrow, every last one of my foes will be ground into dust."
Nightwatcher began to squeeze, his fingers wrapping around the Toa's chest.
"And if you wanted to know why I decided to kill you before everyone else," growled the being who had once been Toa Charon, "that's just too bad."
A sickening explosion. Blood shot out in all directions from the body of his helpless victim as Nighwatcher's powerful hand crushed his helpless victim's torso.
"There's something going on here," Nightwatcher growled, staring at the horrible-looking corpse as he dropped it back on the ground. "Something beyond what any of us can fathom, except possibly me. And once all of you weak scum are grounded into dust, I'm leaving this place."
He looked up at the sky. The sun had gone now, and now the only visible lights were those of the eyes of Nightwatcher and his pet.
"Come, Girahk," he said. "It's time to go kill some Great Beings."
Brominax walked silently through the forest, tracking Antidax. The rebel Great Being had ended up in this accursed place as well, and Brominax felt it was his duty to hunt Antidax down and kill him once and for all.
Stay down, he motioned to Fyxan, as the Kodax stood to confront Antidax. We can't be seen, Brominax thought desprately.
Suddenly, a huge shadow loomed above the two beings. His eyes feral, Tetrack rose from behind them like a phantom. With a start, Antidax saw what was following him, and turned backwards.
Faster than lightning, another being raced from the undergrowth, striking Fyxan. Brominax recognized the traitor Fyxon as the two Kodax locked in mortal combat. He turned to Antidax. "I'll finish you, even if Tetrack destroys me afterward."
"No, you won't," hissed Tetrack.
Six Kodax appeared like mist from the surrounding woods.
And Brominax realized, at that moment, just how much trouble they were in.
"Follow me, Vakax," Maserix ordered as the tall, brutal being turned away. "Don't want to get lost in this arena, do you?"
Maserix, using his deadly powers, had taken over Vakax's mind. He made the perfect slave — deadly and stupid. He'd been smart, but his will had been overwhelmed by that of the Great Being's.
A jolt of deathly cold struck Vakax and Maserix. The two beings turned, and were in a different place altogether. Some sort of stationary spacecraft.
"We're not in the arena now," hissed Vakax.
"No, this is some sort of spacecraft. Stationary."
Vakax turned away, but Maserix's cold fingers on his shoulder stilled his movement.
He led the being down the narrow passageway that opened into a spectacular view of the night sky. The Stars feebly flickered, and dusky planets shone through the darkness. It was brilliant.
Stooping down, Maserix saw that the chamber was some sort of launching pad. Most were empty, but one, a small white craft designed for two, was still there. Then, looking up, he saw the pulsing lights of another ship in the distance. And Maserix knew with a feverent certainty that another competitor was on that ship.
"Follow me," he ordered his slave. "we're taking down that ship."
Vakax lumbered over to join Maserix in the small space. There was an indefinite supply of air within, but Vakax barely fit. Maserix hoped that the lumbering thing would not destroy the roof. The change in pressure would kill him instantly.
As Vakax flew the ship across the heavens, Maserix saw they were closing with the ship.
"Lock on target," Maerix hissed. "Ready, aim, FIRE!!!!
Shardak was surrounded. Six strong Kodax, led by Krakanus, were all aiming weapons at him. Was it possible he could escape this? Another being was also with them. Phoenix was holding a torch and spear, her face set in a sardonic smile. with a start, Shardak realized it was a Scaldera, like Nightshade's Kanohi. Hatred flared in his chest as he recalled Nightshade slash her poisoned dagger at Arcturas as she cut him down...
Shardak shook his head, clearing his mind. Krakanus seemed to be in no hurry to let him die. The dark Makuta raised his blade. "Finish it," he ordered a red-armored Kodax.
And thinking of Nightshade fighting Arcturas gave Shardak an idea.
"Wait!" Shardak yelled. The Kodax stopped, his spear inches from Shardak's throught.
"Krakanus, I challenge you to single combat!"
Krakanus stopped. Then his face twisted into an evil grin.
"Or are you going to run and hide, and let your strike team do the dirty work for you?"
Krakanus' red eyes glowed with evil hatred.
"I accept. Name your terms."
"Winner lives. I win, and you die and the Kodax let me go. You win, and I die."
With a flourish, Krakanus drew his sword. His two other clawed hands gripped halfspears. Shardak held only his temporary sword.
"Here, take this, Krakanus," said Phoenix, passing him the Blade of Arcturas. Shardak hissed in fury as Krakanus drew the sword. Flame burst from the tip.
"Is this little Shardak's sword?" asked Phoenix. "Does it make him angry to see it used against him?"
She was taunting him, trying to make him lose focus. And as he cleared his mind, Krakanus attacked.
One spear lurched at him, which Shardak narrowly blocked. Krakanus slashed his sword down Shardak's leg, drawing blood. The other spear stabbed out at him, narrowly missing. Panting, Shardak tried an attack, but Krakanus easily blocked it. Shardak had fought intense battles against deadly opponents, but this Krakanus was one of the toughest he'd ever fought. Once again, the blade lashed out, ripping a gash in his shoulder.
He's playing with me. Shardak thought. He'll finish me off when it suits him. He slashed out again, but faster than the eye could see, Krakanus blocked. Shardak parried the next strike, but Krakanus had already stabbed him again. With a kick, Krakanus sent Shardak sprawling to the ground.
"So this is the best that Shardak can do?" asked Phoenix mockingly. "There were many Kodax betting that you'd win, you know. Too bad they'll all be disappointed."
Krakanus lunged, and the battle dissolved into a brutal, senseless attack. Shardak stagged away, Krakanus spearing. Shardak ducked a blow, and Krakanus kicked him to the ground.
"You are dead," snarled Krakanus as he raised the sword for the final strike. Shardak though about attacking now, but he knew that the Halfspears would block him. As Krakanus brought down the blade, Shardak exploded upward. Krakanus was ready, and tore the sword from his hands, stabbing a visious wound through his back with one spear. Pain exploded through his body as Krakanus slashed the sword down, cutting through his armor to the bone. With a last effort, Shardak ripped the spear from Krakanus' hands and stabbed out. For an instant, the two warriors stood face-to-face as Krakanus brought down the sword. With every inch of strength he had left, Shardak stabbed the spear upward. Krakanus broke away, fury in his red eyes, which turned to pain as Shardak jabbed the spear up through Krakanus' armor and into his heart.
Slowly, very slowly, the Makuta Lord sagged and collapsed on the ground.
And the Kodax stood shocked for one instant, then raised their spears...
Hissing a vile curse, Fyxon ripped at his archenemy's chest. The hated Fyxan was his to kill, Tetrack had promised him. More Kodax charged from behind the trees, slashing their swords at Brominax. The Great Being felled one, slashing it open, and sliced another's head off. Tetrack, seeing his shock troops were ineffective, lashed out with a chainsaw. Brominax dodged, and a third Kodax ripped open his shoulder. Seeing Brominax distracted, Tetrack slashed again, nearly beheading the Great Being.
Brominax stopped. He'd heared something. The clash of steel-on-steel. Fyxan, breaking apart from the stunned Fyxon, heared it too. Tetrack cursed. "The other group, led by Krakanus. Kill the attackers!" With a single blow, he slashed Brominax to the ground. The deadly rotating weapons ripped deep gouges in the beings armor, and Brominax collapsed. Without pausing to see if he'd survived, Tetrack turned, the Kodax following him.
Clang! A spear was flung past Shardak as the Kodax chased him across the forest floor. A second took him in the shoulder. Shardak stumbled, and the the pain of his wounds was so great that he almost stopped.
But the thought of Blast, alone in the dark arena galvanized him. As he ran, a third spear whizzed at him, and Shardak knew this time, it would not miss. Shardak threw out a hand-
-and the blade burst into flames. Startled by the sudden drain of energy, he stumbled and fell. The Kodax had given up persuit.
He sighed. "I've escaped."
Then he saw the tall, dark figure of Tetrack, followed by Fyxon and more Kodax, and realized he was far from safe...
Blast stood atop a hill near the volcano as darkness fell, and the Kodax announcer gave the death toll. "Krakanus, Spirak." He'd known neither of them. After four days in the arena, he was beginning to tire of the constent worry that more of his ememies would find him. Iruka and the Fallen Six were operating near the volcano, he knew, and wondered if they were toying with him.
A dark shape strode into the night, cutting off his thoughts. A tall, well-armored being. Iruka? No. through the stars half-light, Blast made out the Element Lord of Technology. The tall being spoke an inaudible word, and a door in the mountainside swung open. The Lord dissapeared into the shadows.
What is he hiding? Blast wondered.
Prisoners, supplies, or... Intruiged, Blast drew the Scythe of Creation and raced off in persuit.
Jaller wandered through the shadowy forest, looking for someplace to hide.
The events of the battles had made made the Toa of Fire sick. All of them, forced to compete in this "Eternal Game" fighting to the last one standing. All of a sudden, Jaller heard something he turned around,to see a black figure in a hood and cloak.
He raised his weapon. "Who are you?"
The figure advanced, slowly.
Jaller took several paces back, with an overpowering fear coming over him. "W-whoever you are, stay back!"
He ran toward the being, his sword raised. It would be the worst, and last, mistake he ever made in his life. The being stabbed Jaller in his stomach area, downing him. The Toa looked up to see the horrific being's mask glowing. Blood started pouring from the unfortunate Toa of Fire's mouth, so much blood, that he eventually drowned in it.
Makuta Serrakaan turned away from the grisly scene, looking for another victim.
Millennium walked through a deserted battlefield, looking for something to kill. His huge axblade, still stained with Mersery's blood, slashed through the undergrowth, crushing any Rahi in his path. Suddenly, he heard a voice behind him."Millennium..."
Millennium turned around, to see a tall being, clad in black and green armor. Millennium raised his weapon. "Who are you? What do you want?" The being looked at Millennium.
"I have a proposal." Millennium eyed the being. "What kind of proposal?" The being answered.
Millennium thought for a moment. He may be useful, the Shadow of Ages leader decided.
"All right... I accept," he said aloud.
The being smiled. "Excellent."
Millenium asked him one last question. "Wait, what is your name?" The being stopped.
"My name...is Makuta Benjarmin".
Maserix cursed. After he'd fired on Alloy's ship, the droid had jerked it out of the way. He'd been following the ship for three long days, and on the dusk of the fourth he finally had gotten within firing range.
"Ready to fire," he ordered Vakax. As the hulking being complied, Maserix grinned. It would be a fun night.
"Well, what have we here?" Tetrack Nui lifted the feebly struggling figure of Shardak above his head.
"A meddling Toa? I compliment you on defeating Krakanus. But you'll never defeat me!"
He turned to a tall, black armored Kodax lord. "Velnax, search the area. There may be more here." The Kodax turned and vanished among the trees.
Shardak was lifted higher, so his eyes locked with Tetrack's. It was like gazing into the eyes of pure insanity. Dread froze his heart, and his gaze burned through Shardak's body.
It was worse than pain.
"You can't win, Toa." Tetrack rasped. "This is the end..."
"No!" A new voice spoke.
"This is the end for you!" A Toa of Light was standing on a slope above them. Tetrack breathed a curse, dropping Shardak to the ground. Twenty Kodax drew their blades, Velnax leading them.
"Fairon," Tetrack hissed.
"Tetrack," The Toa replied. Two more beings appeared beside him. Fyxan and Brominax.
Tetrack was done being subtle. "KILL THEM!!!" he screamed. The Kodax charged forward. One was flung to the ground by Fyxan, another torn apart by Brominax. Fairon went at Velnax, and spear clashed on sword as the two, Toa and Kodax, fought.
Shardak did not join in on the fun. Before the Kodax could kill him, he vanished into the growing dusk.
It was almost the end of day nine in the arena. With luck, the battles would keep the others distracted.
Shardak was done getting pushed around by Kodax.
The turned away from the fading sounds of battle to find Blast.
"FIRE! FIRE!! FIRE!!!!" Maserix screeched as their ship was struck by almost fatal impact. They needed to board, soon. Otherwise Alloy would escape, and they would die. Their ship was gaining. Alloy's was weakening. Soon, they would be able to board...
As they shot another blisteringly hot volley of missles at Alloy's ship. As the ship swerved toward them from the impact, Their damaged miniship slid into the boarding area. "Come, Vakax." Maserix spoke softly, his voice betraying none of the excitement he felt. "Let's destroy him."
Kental strode through the abandoned corridors of the huge stationary spacecraft. After the initial battles, he'd hidden for four days in the foliage, before being teleported here. He was trapped within this confines of this accursed ship, with no way out. as the edged along the corridor, he kept his gun cocked.
A flash of light made Kental jump backward as Rando strode into the room. Kental recovered quickly, and ran back down the long corridor. As he turned, another being, a Glatorian of the Ice Tribe, cut him off, as did another being, colored golden. Tanuva. Three other beings folllowed. Kental hissed. An alliance. He'd walked right into a trap. But Kental had one final option. As the group closed in, Kental aimed his Shattering rifle. He could kill them all with this.
As he fired three shots at Rando, Tanuva sprung, ripping a wound in his side. Kental was temporarily blinded, and his three shots randomly struck different objects. Two blew a hole almost through the wall, the third struck Rando, and the toa reeled back and fell to the ground. Kental raised a spear, and used the hilt to fling Tanuva backwards. As Kental recovered, a white and red warrior slashed a firey sword across his leg. Kental recognized Destrik, a bulky Toa. Kental shuddered, but fired eight rapid-fire bolts at the toa. Two missed, but all the others struck dead-on, shattering the toa to hundreds of bloody shards. Blood gushed from the destroyed corpse. Kental sprung at another being, Sanurak, but he dodged and the missles impacted against the wall. Sanurak charged, and Kental staggered out of reach. As he began to recover, Tanuva hit his golden body against Kental's own. Kental began firing at random, but Tanuva yanked the Shattering Gun from his hand, and fired two bolts of energy at Kental. The explosion blew two holes through Kental's body and tore through the weakened walls. Four more bolts flung Kental's body through the wall and into the starry sky. The change in pressure killed him instantly. Tanuva, Rando, and Sanurak wached as Kental's disintegrating body spiraled away from the shuttle out of sight.
There was no time to stay here and honor Destrik. The shuttle was beginning to crumble as the lack of air began to destroy the remaning walls.
The three warriors joined the Glatorian Antarus and thier other ally in the central corridor, and together, they raced deeper into the shuttle.
Suddenly, complete darkness envoloped them. Tanuva crashed into Antarus as light dissapeared.
"Say your last words." grinned Treix.
The tall, dark-armored being flung a wall of pure shadow at the three warriors. Tanuva and Rando lept away as quickliy as they could, but the wall hit Antarus dead-on. He died instantly.
Treix flashed a dark wall of shadow at Rando, flinging the toa backwards. Rando groaned, wounded but alive.
Tanuva still stood.
"Die, fool." Treix flung a dark curtain of solid shadow against the toa of infinity. Tanuva ducked, and it rebounded off the wall. Treix reabsorbed it, and flung more shadow. This bolt struck Tanuva hard. He twisted to avoid the impact, but it was to late to escape all the damage.
With a huge burst, the corridor erupted into a bloodbath as two more beings appeared in the entryway. A white Glatorian lept at Treix. Tanuva recognized Avarus, another member of their alliance. Treix lashed out. A wall of shadow struck the glatorian, crushing him to death. The last member of their alliance, Stradax, fired three pulses of light at Treix. With the demon off-balance, Tanuva shot five blasts from the Shattering rifle. With a screech Triex was flung away down the airtight corridor they'd emgered from. His cry reached fever pitch- then stopped.
Concerned, Stradax and Tanuva walked over to Rando. The toa was alive, but wounded.
"Treix..." He gasped.
"He's gone. Possibly dead."
"And now you are dead." The silver toa Nalek stood there, facing Zaster. Three other beings were with them: Zaeron, Altor, and a Stitched Arcanist.
Tanuva whirled around, then realized the truth. They were about to fight. And he and his wounded allies were caught between them.
Then Nightwatcher emerged from the half-gloom, and Tanuva felt a rush of despair...
Deep within Alloy's ship, miles away, a tall, dark-red figure walked through the darkness. The toa looked around, so none knew what she would do.
"Antigravity suits," she murmered, voice slightly muffled by the dark hood she wore.
She drew a blade against the first, ripping a small tear in it. Nothing major, but if it were used, it would be fatal to the user.
Phoenix grimly completed the task Tetrack had assigned her.
The small Lavawight lept from the edge of the cliff face, where the earth met the volcano. He longed to be free of this accursed world and become part of the lava again. For a few days, it had been spewing ash and volcanic rock, and tomarrow, the lavawight knew, it would explode.
But the Lavawight knew this was not an ordinary Volcano. It had been made by someone.
Perhaps the Kodax who ran this accursed Eternal Game.
Now he'd lept directly into the volcano, into the lava so hot it could melt a being's bones. With a crash the Lavawight struck the lava, spewing red-hot flames across his tortured body. It reminded him of the days when he'd been one with the volcano, his veins corsing through the earth's core...
...The being shook his head, clearing his mind from his once-life. He would complete a deadly act that would destroy all competition in the game. Then he would seek out the being who made him and kill him. And then he'd die. The end.
But not before he took the Fallen Six and the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna with him to the grave.
The Lavawight saw a crack in the volcano's side. He flung his bulk against the door and it swung open.
He found himself in a small, stone chamber. It was totally deserted. The lava golem turned, and saw a huge screen, showing the volcano's slopes, and a computer below it. The being sat in a chair, keying multipule codes in Lava-Speak, codes he knew would open the computer's lock. The being's eyes lit up as he found he was able to control the coming eruption.
Suddenly a voice rang through the volcano. It was the end of day 10 in the arena.
"Kental." That was all.
Tomarrow there would be many more.
"Where, exactly, are we going?" Benjarmin growled to Millenium.
The tall, dark being turned, and raised his axe.
"To see my...accociate." He replied. "He will tell you all you need to know."
Then Millenium turned.
"Who are you, anyway? You were not announced with the contestents.
"I have...friends." Benjarmin hissed. "Makuta who brought me here to...play."
"And why did you choose me to be your ally? What can I give you, except a quick and rather gruesome death?" Millenium snarled, bringing his pitted and scarred face close to Benjarmin's.
Then Benjarmin uttered the same words Nightwatcher had used on the fourth day of the Game.
"Something is happening here, something bigger then anything but perhaps I can fathom... and we will find out."
In an instant, a tall, visious clawed being apperated before them.
"Dredzek." Benjarmin spoke the name cooly, as if he'd known all along that the Makuta would be here. "But...You died." Millenium managed to gasp out.
"Mersery killed me. Or so he thought. Mersions always were a bit...arrogant. He thought I was dead..."
"But my essence managed to survive, and I returned here, where Benajarmin repaired my ruined body. And now I know something that you do not."
"And what could you know that I do not?" Millenium rasped, beginning to lose patiance.
"The Element Lord of Technology is here. He has a small army assembled underneath these cliffs. An army that could eleminate all other contestants from the game forever."
Dredzek leaned in, and a wave of dread washed over the two other beings.
"The Baterra are here."
Night had fallen over the arena. In the darkness of the caves, only one beins were moving. A female Matoran adventurer, holding a pack of supplies in one hand and a curved sickle in the other, strode through the caverns below the arena.
Her name was Speewaa, and she was fighting for her life within these depths.
Her friend, Jorbyy, had been killed in the huge bloodbath over the weapons. She and her pet Sacarabax, Spaunauh, had escaped.
Later, she'd watched as the powerful Robotic Elemental Lord had entered these caverns, and she'd followed. By the time she'd realized it was a death trap, It was too late. The caves were fillled with Torshurrr, and worse-the terrible robotic nightmares known as Baterra. Now, on her third day in the caves, she was starving
I'm going to die here, she thought. And never see light again. Then resolve built in her. But I'll take as many Baterra as I can with me before I go down. Aiming her missle launcher, she carefully crept along the passageway, igniting a torch from her pack. Spaunauh instinctively moved away from the light, crawling into the pack. Speewaa smiled. Her Scarabax was all that remained of her original life.
As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, Speewaa scanned the corridor, picking out a blueish form in the distance.
Torshurrr! The word exploded in her mind. The deadly beings owned this area of the cave.
Closer...closer the Torshurrr came, still creeping forward, then--
With lightning speed, the Torshurrr lept at her, but Speewaa was faster, firing three rounds. The first missed, the second blew apart the thing's legs, and the third smashed through the creature's skull, killing it instantly. All light gone from its eyes, the Torshurrr slumped to the ground.
"Nice shot." A new voice made Speewaa jump. But when she looked up, she saw it was a Toa. He was young and strong, but his eyes seemed to come from the distant past, and seemed to be fighting barely repressed memories within his skull.
"Who...are you?" the matoran asked in awe.
"I am Blast, leader of the Hand of Mata Nui.
Speewaa looked at him blankly. The name meant nothing to her.
"But some have called me Crystillix. Or Burnarm."
Cystillix! Speewaa had heard the name before, she was sure of it. But she could not quite place the memory.
"I am Speewaa, Matoran of Infinity. Adventurer. Warrior."
"Do you know a way out?" Blast asked her.
"I wish," she said. "I've been searching for an exit, but there are none. What brought you here?"
"I followed the Element Lord into this place, but when I did, the exit closed behind me."
"Then we should form an alliance. Mabye two warriors can accomplish what one cannot."
Speewaa drew her sickle, and Spaunauh crawled onto her shoulder.
Crystillix drew a long Scythe that gleamed with power, and the two turned and walked deeper into the caves.
Tetrack hissed in obvious annoyance. Fairon had escaped, and he'd wounded Velnax in the process. Now the Kodax was limping, and was slowing their progress to the volcano. But now, they were finally there, as night began to fall. Tetrack heard the booming voice of the Kodax announcer, saying there had been no deaths today.
Now there would be more.
Target: Iruka, Kouhiimaru, Ghost, Naraku, and Lekhop, who were making their way across the opposite side of the volcano.
"Hyyyhhi!!!" Velnax screeched, flinging himself at Kouhiimaru, and before the being was able to react, hauled him down the side of the volcano.
Naraku, spotting the danger, tore a Kodax from limb to limb, the body falling 100 feet to the bottom of the Volcano. Ghost raised his crystal scythe, and glided toward the Kodax, knowing he had all the time in the world. Iruka hit Tetrack dead on, and the two beings tumbled toward the edge. Tetrack grinned and tore large gouges across Iruka's chestplate, sending them to the very edge of the cliff face. Iruka managed to jump away at the last minute, but Tetrack could not react quickly enough and the hulking Kodax lord plummeted over the edge. His chainsaws broke his fall, but Iruka managed to flee in time, joining Lekhop, who was fighting an Odina Drone. Iruka crushed it between his fingers, then turned on another Kodax lord...
...Within the artificial volcano, the Lavawight saw it all. The ghost of a smile flickered across his face. "Lava lines." his hissed. "Engage..."
...Naraku dodged a blow from a green and red armored Kodax, then struck the Kodax wildly with his sword. The being went down, then Naraku whirled on another Kodax, who dodged away, eyes widening. Naraku turned, and ten thousand tons of molten lava hit him dead on, scalding him to death before he could even scream. As his burning body plummeted into the void below, Tetrack spun around and tore apart his head. Blood mixed with fire as he fell to his doom.
Iruka reacted quicker. grabbing Lekhop, who cried out in surprise, he flung the Toa in the path of the oncoming lava. It didn't halt the flow, but gave Iruka time to dodge away from the molten rock. He watched impassively as Lekhop's body was crushed apart by the lava spill. As Iruka spiraled down the volcano's side, desprately attempting to right himself.
Tetrack reared above him like a demon from Karzahni, dragging the leader of the Fallen Six over the edge of the cliff with him as the molten lava hit both beings. Tetrack was torn away from Iruka with a cry of rage and was crushed beneath the volcano.
Iruka, wounded badly and barely clinging to the edge of the cliff, saw a hand snake out from beneath the rubble, and knew that Tetrack was still alive.
Iruka's claws flashed in the night as he raced to rejoin the battle.
Tanuva watched as the battle broke out all around their alliance, the Stitched Arcanist downing Nalek, before being smashed by Nightwatcher. Zaster tried to dodge the oncoming bounty hunter, but was forced backward toward the wall. At the last minute, Zaster flung his weapons to the ground and grabbed Nightwatcher dragging him into the wall. Then-
They were both gone. The other combatants fled, their cries mingling as they traded blows.
"I'm going after them," said Rando. "Tanuva, go after the others." Tanuva nodded, then watched as Rando vanished. Then he and Sanurak raced down the corridor.
Suddenly, Tahu appeared, firing a jet of flame from his blade, frying Sanurak to death.
"Die!" snarled Tanuva, firing the Shattering Gun. Tahu dodged, but collided with the wall and vanished. Tanuva saw a limping toa of air coming at him, but a flash from the Shattering Gun took him down-
Then Gurren appeared out of nowhere, followed by Tabaris and Orthodax.
Tanuva drew his blade, then cocked his Shattering Gun, ready to fight the invaders.
"We are here." Maserix said as their shuttle slid into Alloy's ship. Vakax followed him out of the shuttle, onto the starcraft, ready to kill...
Tanuva winced as Orthodax tore his shoulder open. Reeling backwards, the Toa of Infinity staggered into Tabaris, who slashed open his side. Gurren lept at the monster, but Tabaris made a weird hissing noise, and Gurren collapsed, bleeding, onto the floor.
"I've been expanding my repetoire," Tabaris leered. "A new way to torture."
He made the same nasal sound, and Tanuva's scars from past battles reopened, wounds long healed reopened. Tanuva fell onto his knees, ready to die.
"Oh, no, not just yet." said Tabaris, smiling. "I'm not going to let you die so easily."
Gurren staggered to his feet, leaping at Tabaris. Caught by surprise, the being was slashed open by the toa's sword.
Tanuva staggered to his feet as Tabaris fell, firing two shots from the shattering gun. Tabaris waved his hand, and none of the bolts hit him. With a growl, Orthodax cut Tanuva down again with his huge scythes. The Toa of Infinity was running on reserve power now, and was near death. Tabaris, sensing this, moved with astonishing speed. One minute he was fighting Gurren, the next he was standing beside the fallen toa. Orthodax had cut Gurren to the ground.
"I'll take that little toy." Tabaris snarled, slamming Tanuva's weakened body against the wall of the starcraft. Tanuva's fingers could no longer support the weight of his weapons, and the Shattering Gun fell from his hands. Tabaris grabbed it, took aim, and fired.
Just then Gurren stood up, covered in blood and grime, and flung himself at Tabaris. The dark lord, taken by surprise at the toa's assult, missed the shot he'd aimed at Tanuva. As Gurren lept, Tabaris fired ten rapid rounds at a rate that was near impossible. Tanuva winced as Gurren was blown to shrapnel.
Tabaris turned to Tanuva. "Sorry for the interruption. Now, my brave little hero, your time is up."
Tabaris struck with lightning speed, flinging the toa away down the corridor. His keen hearing picked up a dull thud as Tanuva's mortally damaged body hit the ground with a sickening crunch.
Orthodax climbed to his feet rather unsteadily. "Did you kill him?"
"I really couldn't care less. Now Orthodax, it's time to pay Nightwatcher and the others a... visit."
Together Orthodax and Tabaris vanished through the wall.
Velnax watched as Kouhiimaru fell into the volcano's molten basin. The battlefeiled had reached the edge of the Volcano now, and falling in was near certain death. The Kodax lord, wounded during his battle with Fairon, had barely been able to overcome Kohiimaru.
Velnax cursed as he saw Kouhiimaru dig a spear into the side of the artificial volcano, breaking his fall just above the molten pits. Then he raced back intro the battle. Ghost was holding his own, each strike claiming the life of a Kodax soldier, and the lava lines were killing even more. Iruka, however, was fighting for his life. There were just too many Kodax here. Velnax grinned. His spear struck Iruka's side. The dark being grimaced, then slashed out a claw, decapitating Velnax. The Kodax was flung over the edge of the volcano, into the molten lava. As he impacted, he stabbed his longspear upward, snagging Iruka's armor. Iruka screeched as he was pulled into the lava with Velnax. Deathly pain shot though Velnax's body as the lava crushed his body to broken shards. A crest of lava hauled his molten body away. Iruka slid away at the last minute, digging his huge swordblade into the cliffs. His armor was melted, but he was alive. hauling himself out, he rejoined the battle. A Kodax lord, Valtrahk, and four of his leiutenents, were fighting Ghost and Kouhiimaru. The others had broken ranks and fled after the death of Velnax. The lava lines quickly claimed one, and Ghost cut down two.
Iruka lept, claws extended, and ripped apart Valtrahk. The Kodax's powers healed most of the injury, but he fell down the side of the volcano. Iruka watched until his body dissapeared from view. Kouhiimaru cut down the last of the Kodax.
"So..." Iruka hissed. "One of the Six is dead. But there is still a chance for Alloy and Kawa. We will find them, but first, let's pay the creator of this trap a visit."
The Lavawight turned, away from the bloodbath on the screen, to see the three dark beings enter the room.
"So..." said Iruka. This is the being responsible for the death of Naraku."
The Lavawight tried to flee, but Ghost blocked his way. There was a single flash of his scythe, and the Lavawight was gone. Not even a speck of dust remained to mark his passing.
"We will leave." hissed Iruka. "There is killing to be done."
Suddenly, there was a collosal explosion as the volcano exploded, consuming the Kodax on the slopes of the volcano. Kouhiimaru glanced at the screens, and saw Tetrack, his armor ragged and crushed, staggering away from the volcano as it blew to peices. Valtrahk and six other Kodax followed him.
Then the chamber was consumed, and Ghost dissapeared, teleporting away. Iruka grabbed Kouhiimaru, and the two were flung from the side of the volcano. they both landed, their armor crushed by the fall. Both were alive, but unconcious.
Ghost apperated beside them. He made no sound at all, just watched as the artificial volcano exploded, fire raining down over the arena, setting fire to the forest.
Fire that would spread.
Rellier sprang at Alloy, his blades slashing into the droid's armor. After fleeing from Serrakaan, He'd been teleported to this chamber. He'd eventually found Alloy in this huge command center on the starship, and had attacked the droid. Alloy stabbed, then abruptly changed directions and stabbed his blade into Rellier's side. Rellier took a brief moment to heal the wound, then stabbed Alloy's leg. The robot staggered, and Rellier thrust his blade into Alloy's back. Alloy snarled, springing to his feet, then turned to see Rando, Tabaris, Nightwatcher, Orthodax, Vakax and Maserix enter the room, Tabaris holding the Shattering Gun. Nightwatcher was fighting Orthodax, while Vakax and Tabaris cut each other's armor to bloody shreds, neither ready to die. Rando was fighting them all.
Tabaris cut Vakax to the ground, then turned and fired the Shattering Gun at Rellier. There was an explosion of blood as the Shatterer struck Rellier's head, blowing it off his neck and into armored peices. His body slumped to the ground. With a screech, Maserix broke away from Rando, and charged Alloy, smashing the droid through the fragile glass that seperated them from the pressure change of outer space. The droid was crushed to death instantly by the change in pressure, his body going limp. Vakax climed to his feet and turned on Nightwatcher, but the Toa of Shadow released a bolt of dark flame that knocked Vakax towards the glass. Vakax manged to pull himself away from certain death, then tensed as he saw Phoenix and Tahu approaching, both wearing antigravity suits. Tahu fired on Vakax, who simply absorbed the impact, turned on Orthodax. The two beings snarled, then began their battle.
Then all the combatents turned, and saw fire consume the ship. Without Alloy to control it, the ship was exploding.
What had moments before been a battlefield was now a place of chaos, as all the beings tried desprately to flee from the all-consuming flames. Rando, his eyes throbbing from the flames, watched as Maserix appeared next to the badly wounded Vakax.
"To the ship!" the Great Being screamed. "Get to our ship!" The two warriors fled down the narrow corridor. Nightwatcher followed them out, but the others were not so lucky. Rando knew that in a matter of moments, if they all didn't find some way to escape, they'd die. Orthodax was desprately trying to flee after Nightwatcher, Phoenix and Tahu were ready to fly away using their suits. Tabaris was fighting Rando, his eyes glittering in the half-light of the flames. Rando fired a huge blast of air at Tabaris, sending the being smashing through the glass. A huge roar of flame exploded in front of Rando's eyes, and when he could see again, Tabaris was gone. A Portal? Rando wondered, then flung himself into the battle. He saw an explosion of armor as Vakax crushed Orthodax to shreds, and heared Vakax's scream as Tahu struck him with a blast of flame. Vakax turned, but Tahu was flying away with his suit. Maserix fired a bolt from the Shattering Gun, striking Tahu's wing and sending him carreening through the walls of stars. Rando breifly wondered how he had gotten that, as it had been last seen with Tabaris, then all thoughts vanished. Vakax leered over him, ready to crush him apart like he had done to Orthodax. Rando braced himself for the pain, but then a conflagration of flames exploded before his eyes. A Nova Blast! Phoenix had fired one at Vakax, sending his burning body deeper into the inferno, and she'd grabbed him, and dragged him above the inferno, atop the now open roof of the starcraft.
Rando breathed again.
"Thanks for that, Toa-Sister." he panted. He couldn't belive he was alive. He joined Phoenix, and together, they watched as the starship was consumed by fire, and heared the desprate screams of the dying as they fought to escape their fate. Rando took another deep breath, and gasped. He was unable to breath.
He, stunned, looked down-
-And saw Phoenix's dagger potruding from his chest.
A dark stain of blood was slowly spreading across his body, but Rando simply stared at Phoenix, unable to beleive that the Toa who had saved him would have betrayed him this way.
"Why?" He finally chocked out, his vision blackening.
Phoenix's voice sounded like it was coming from far away.
"Because in The Eternal Game, there can only be one survivor."
The last thing Rando saw before darkness claimed him forever were the flames of the destroyed starship as his body plummeted into the inferno.
With a roar, Vakax sprang into the cockpit of his small starship. Maserix followed, and the two beings began to fly out of Alloy's exploding ship. As they began takeoff, Maserix whipped around to see Zaeron standing next to Vakax, fighting him for control of the ship, sending it spinning into the dark skies. Maserix looked back at the burning ship, and saw Nightwatcher, in an antigravity suit, leap from the edge of the burning ship, smashing into the side of the small starcraft. The ship spun wildy as Vakax lost control, sending them reeling to one side. The wing of Nightwatcher's suit smashed into the wing of the starship, and neither survived intact. Nightwatcher tried to hold on, but was sent spinning away from the ship in a ragged freefall.
Maserix turned to Zaeron. "That takes care of him. Now I'll finish you."
Zaeron let go of the wheel and blasted a bolt of both light and shadow at Maserix, sending the Great Being reeling. Maserix cursed, and sent arippling curtain of flames at Zaeron, covering him in flames. As Zaeron put out the flames, Vakax, who had regained control over the ship, grabbed Zaeron and began to crush him. Zaeron retaliated, flinging Vakax backwards and sending him smashing through the starcraft's side. Vakax never got the chance to scream as the change in pressure crushed him to death, his crumpled body sent spinning away from the broken starcraft.
Maserix began to morph, changing into a shapeless form that needed no oxegen or was affected by pressure. He floated through the cockpit and dissapeared.
Zaeron's ship began to explode, the engines smashed by Vakax's fall. Zaeron tried desprately not to be crushed by the pressure, hiding on the far side of the ship. As he was about to die, the starcraft exploded, sending Zaeron's burning body, completely crushed by the pressure change, spinning through the Wall of Stars.
Tahu flew away from the burning remains of Alloy's ship, willing his wings to fly faster. When he was a safe distance away from the wreckage, he paused.
I'm alive, he thought. Free from the Eternal Game. He would no longer have to kill or be killed. He was totally free, away from all the contestents. No one could come after him. Gazing ahead, he saw a large blue planet in the distence. He would try to fly there. Then he could start a new life, away from the dark Game, away from his guilt over Lewa's death at the hands of Tanuva. Free from the Eternal Game.
He'd fly to that planet. He could be a Toa-Hero again, not the murderous monster that the games had forced him to become. Then he'd try to return to his old planet, to see Pohatu, Gali, and the other Toa Nuva, then he'd-
Rrrrrrrrip. Tahu looked down, confused, wondering what had caused the sound.
Then he watched, horrified, as a tear began to open a crack in his star suit. A single crack, and the change in pressure would kill him instantly.
He'd picked a suit that had been sabataged. He didn't know who had done it, or how it could have happened, but it had. The Toa watched as the crack became wider, and opened a rent in his suit. He died instantly, his head drooping in death, his shoulders loosening. Yet still he moved.
A lone figure that would float forever among the stars.
Zaeron awoke in pitch-darkness.
What the... the Toa of Twilight thought, confused. He was supposed to be dead.
I wonder if this is the afterlife. He thought. Kind of dull.
He rose to his feet, and waited while his eyes adjusted to the gloom. He was standing in some sort of cavern complex. Bats, spiderlike rahi, and other small creatures flew above him. So I'm alive. He thought. But how? His last memory was of him spinning, consumed by flames, away from the wreckage of Vakax's starcraft.
Then he looked down at himself and gasped
He was covered in bloodred armor from head to toe. His hands were clawed, but otherwise he seemed to be the same. His eyes, however, clowed a deep sapphire color. He noticed a large flaming sword lying stabbed into the rocks beside him. Using both clawed hands, he pulled it out. It glowed a dark crimson color. When he helfted the sword, it felt like it was made for him. He felt a thrill of elation. With this, I can finish off everything in these games.
Zaeron knew he could finish them off, but he wouldn't yet. The two beings were obviously after something, and he would find out.
The once-toa felt his armor become it's usual dark shade of ebony, his claws retract into his armor. He could blend in better in this form.
Zaeron was hunting.
Nightwatcher entered the large, stationary spacecraft and was greated by the sounds of screams.
Tabris and three other Toa were deuling with a being Nightwatcher regognized as Zlatrix. Three of Tetrack's Kodax were there as well, fighting another Toa. More beings were racing to join the battle.
Nightwatcher raced at a dark-armored Kodax, grabbing him and putting his blade at his throat.
"Where is Tetrack?" Nightwatcher demanded. The terrified beings spoke in a rush.
"He's going to the volcano, that's all I know!" He screamed.
Nightwatcher stabbed his blade through the Kodax's throat, then sprang away from the raging battle. Opening his antigravity suit, he paused as a small, green being floated out. Nightwatcher pointed one obsidian finger at the battlefeild.
"Girahk, finish them," the bounty hunter ordered. The Rahkshi grew into a Toa-sized being, then raced to join the battle.
Nightwatcher took one last look at his pet, then stepped into the wall and dissapeared.
Nightwatcher's shining green eyes reflected the yellow light of the fire that tore through the forest around him. A volcanic eruption was a simple thing to defend against, at least if you had powers like him, and fire was terribly easy to walk through. Of course, the same could not be said for everyone: he watched, his face twisted into a half-smile, as numerous beings around him screamed, entering their death throes.
They, he reflected, were the lucky ones. After the night was over, all the others would wish that they had died earlier
He had made a promise several days ago, to kill the Great Beings, but he had delayed it for some time; first he wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no chance that he could lose to any of them. Antidax had disappeared, and Nightwatcher didn't care where he was. All that mattered was that he was out of the way.
Now, only Brominax and Maserix remained. He was certain that he could take them on himself, and he would most certainly do so after he... tied up the loose ends.
He finally reached his destination, and continued his leisurely pace, approaching his goal. A once-great being stood before him, even taller than he was. It was the Kodax named Tetrack, but he no longer deserved to be called a leader. He limped, his leg having been damaged heavily, his shoulders hunched. His body was heavily scarred by the flames, and his face was completely unrecognizable. Only one of his eyes remained, there were several teeth missing, and he looked to Nightwatcher like he was scared.
"Nightwatcher?" Tetrack croaked. "Please... heal me."
"I would love to," said the ex-bounty hunter, his smile widening. "That is, if it were my home universe and you had enough widgets to pay me for it. Here, however, you're nothing but an empty shell."
"Please..." gasped Tetrack looking down at him. "Together... we can escape this accursed game... Then you can have as many widgets as you want..."
Nightwatcher returned his gaze, his smile widening even more, until it covered his entire face in a terrifying expression. "Oh, please. You know as well as I do that you planned to betray me once we had defeated all our foes. Sadly, you never considered the possibility that I was planning the same thing. Foolish you."
With surprising speed given his injuries, Tetrack attempted to use his enormous size to bring Nightwatcher down with one thrust of his flaming sword, but Nightwatcher dodged it easily.
"You have no chance against me," grinned the Toa. "No one here does. And they will all die. Starting with you."
With that, Nightwatcher flicked his sword lightly, spearing the massive being in the heart. Tetrack screamed, but Nightwatcher telekinetically blasted his dying form into a tree, knocking the fallen being into the ground, where his body began to burn. Still alive, Tetrack screamed loudly, each scream conveying a powerful hatred towards Nightwatcher, but no one came to aid him, and Nightwatcher remained there until the screams ended.
Good, Nightwatcher thought. Only two of my foes remain. The rest can be easily dealt with. It is time for this "game" to end.
Fairon, Fyxon, and Brominax looked on in silence as the fire spread through the trees. They were at the edge of the forest, and it appeared that they were the only ones in the area.
As they watched in silence, the glistening moon rose higher into the darkened sky. Fairon, Fyxan, and Brominax looked towards one another, and slowly began to walk away from the scene of death and devastation, their heads bowed.
"This Eternal Game has changed us," Brominax muttered. Fyxan looked at him, and Brominax nodded knowingly. "We're murderers now, brutal killers. We've become the very things the Enforcers of Gigas Magna hoped to destroy. And for what?"
Fyxan did not answer. He looked up into the sky again, but saw that the moon was hidden by a cloud of smoke emanating from the wreckage of the ship. "How many others are left?"
"If Ixtil were here, he'd be able to calculate it in one instant," Fairon joked, then, remembering that their friend had fallen in battle, bowed his head. Brominax came over to him and patted him on the shoulder.
"We've all lost companions before," said the Great Being gravely.
Fairon finished counting on his fingers. "Including us, I'd say about fifty. Give or take a few."
"Fifty to go, then," said Fairon, raising his weapon and slinging it over his shoulder. He nearly dropped it when Fyxan grabbed his other shoulder tightly with his fingers.
"Did you see that?"
"Did I see what?"
Brominax was already in a battle stance. "The moon. It's gone!"
"Something's happened," said Fyxan, preparing for battle himself. Brominax cast a great beam of light in that direction, and what they saw was nothing less than unimaginable.
"Holy Mata Nui..." gasped Fairon, who had abandoned all pretense of discipline and dropped his weapon on the ground his mount and eyes wide open, staring at the terrible apparition.
Around the gameboard, fifty other beings looked up into the heavens and gasped at the horrible sight. The thing that had been blocking the sun had been a massive pyramid, which had sprung up among the cover of darkness. Clearly, the Toa, Makuta, and Kodax were not the only beings who had decided to make alliances.
In his own section of the playing field, Leviathos blinked in Brominax's light and looked upward. "Holy Mata Nui. It's a..."
"Massive..." said Speewaa...
"Pyramid..." gasped Millennium...
Even the Element Lord of Technology was astounded. "Of Scarabax."
He turned to his minions. "We dare waste no more time. We shall conquer this entire arena. And then, we shall be free forever of this accursed Eternal Game!"
Millennium and Benjarmin readied their weapons, looking down from the cliffs upon the massive army. The Baterra stood motionless, awaiting their orders, though had they been sentient, they would have cheered.
Nightwatcher looked down at the burning grass and saw Girahk, in his miniature, Scarabax-size form, approach him through the flames. The Toa of Shadow gently bent down to pick it up in his hands.
There is no turning back now, he smiled. The final battle has come at last.
Now, time to deal with Brominax...
Serrakaan twirled his weapons elegantly, slicing off the heads of a pair of Kodax. More Kodax surrounded him, but with a single wave of his hand, blasted them all with lightning. One managed to break free of the tendrils of blue flame and charged at the Makuta. Serrakaan chuckled, and while still blasting the remaining Kodax into burning corpses, he outmaneuvered the one that was charging at him and stabbed him through the heart.
He stopped blasting his foes with lightning, and strode calmly over the field of corpses. He looked up momentarily at the massive pyramid of Scarabax, which some of the more foolish contestants were attacking vainly, but decided not to worry about it. It held no danger for him at the moment. He would instead tackle some more worthy opponents.
He turned around, his sharp eyes looking into the distance. Far away, in the opposite direction as the army of Scarabax, lay a small mountain. He looked closer, and he could see a strange silver figure marching in his direction, accompanied by a large army of strange robotic beings. Interesting. Perhaps he should investigate.
By "investigate," of course, he meant, "destroy everything in his path."
Yes, he decided. That sounds like fun, he thought, unaware that two other parties already had their own plans for stopping the Element Lord...
Zaeron moved stealthily through the caves, pursuing his quarry. He knew enough about them now to understand that they had no chance against him. But if he wished to win the game, then that meant that all his foes had to be exterminated. Including the Element Lord and his Baterra. So perhaps, just perhaps, he could make a temporary alliance with Speewaa and Blast to bring their foes down.
Yes, that would make a very fine plan.
The cave opened up into the air, and Zaeron watched Blast ready his weapons. The Element Lord of Technology had departed already to battle, and the Baterra were following him in even lines. He felt his sword again, and gently stroked it with his remaining hand.
Then a dark hand grabbed him tightly around the neck. He managed to hang on to his sword, but moments later, before he could attack his unseen opponent with it, in was knocked out of his hand. He thrashed around like a Vandrox in a Muaka's jaws, but a long, pointed, three-pronged blade which Zaeron recognized as Dredzek's claw came to his throat.
"Make one noise and you're dead," hissed the Makuta.
"Kill him now," said the voice, which Zaeron realized belonged to the entity Millennium. "He's of no use to us."
"No," said Benjarmin, coming around to look the Toa of Shadow in the face. "He is of use to us. He can help us kill the Baterra."
So I'm not the only one who had the idea of using other people to take the Baterra out for you, thought Zaeron bitterly.
"He's weak!" argued Dredzek, who had apparently sided with Millennium. "Let me kill him!"
"No," Benjarmin answered. "For the moment, at least, we need allies."
"Really? And who would 'we' be?"
Zaeron fell to the ground, gasping, as Dredzek ended his chokehold and spun around to face the new speaker, Blast. "What do you want?" said Dredzek, who appeared ready to pounce onto his Toa prey. His claws gleamed wickedly in the moonlight, and he gestured menacingly at the black Toa that had appeared before them.
"The same thing you do, apparently," said Speewaa.
"An alliance, you say?" said Millennium, amused. "Look at them, Benjarmin. What could we possibly want with two Toa and a Matoran? I say kill them now and get this over with."
"They're expendable, yes," said Benjarmin, "but not at all useless."
Who are you calling expendable? thought Zaeron, and he suddenly had a powerful urge to shove his sword into Benjarmin's throat.
"Very well, then," said Millennium. "We go to fight the Baterra. Bear in mind that if any of you die, I'm not going to miss you much."
The six of them tramped out of the cave and onto the side of the small mountain. Millennium and the two Makuta simply levitated themselves to the bottom; Blast, Zaeron, and Speewaa watched enviously as they climbed down arduously.
I am going to kill them all, Zaeron decided. And then I shall look upon their rotting corpses and proclaim myself the master of this universe.
He thought about that for a moment, wondering at how he could had changed so much in this short time in the Eternal Game.
And then he smiled.
Shardak stopped running. Breathing heavily, he looked around — there were no foes to be seen. Managing a gasp of relief, he dropped to his knees, letting go of his weapon and letting it fall to the grass, gasping for precious air. His eyes were illuminated by the terrible light of the fire in front of him.
I suppose I had better be grateful, he decided. I'm lucky to be alive.
He remained in his position for a few moments more, as his heavy breathing slowly eased. Looking around him, he picked up his weapon with a slim yellow hand, returned to his feet, and looked around him once more. He ignored the crackling of the fire as he turned around; what he was looking for at the moment was an enemy.
Or, better yet, a friend.
Where had Blast gotten to? He had not been listed so far in the body count, and Shardak had spent much of his time recently in the forest. Now that there was no longer a place to hide, he had two choices: Find allies or die.
A rustling sound came from nearby, and Shardak turned back around to find himself looking up at two of his foes, which he recognized as Vitran and Lesorask. He vaguely wondered why they were not with the rest of their team, but then shook his head mentally. I have more important things to do right now, he decided, staring at Vitran's armor-plated chest.
"Don't move an inch," growled Toa Lesorask, powering up his Rhotuka shield. "It might make things a bit less painful for you."
"I wouldn't count on it," responded Shardak, slamming his shield into his enemy's and knocking him off balance. Lesorask stumbled, and that was all the time Shardak needed to deal a swift kick to his head, sending Lesorask into the edge of the still-raging forest inferno.
He turned around to face Vitran, who was twirling his Makuta staff too quickly for the eye to see. Shardak desperately tried to catch it in his shield, but that gave Vitran enough time to launch his Tridax pod. Suddenly, two pairs of shadow leeches were onto him, and he was forced to swat them away. This gave Vitran the advantage again; now he was wielding his staff like a club, trying almost to smash Shardak. The tactic would likely not have worked in normal circumstances, but Shardak was stunned, and he was being pushed back once more towards the flames by the sheer ferocity of the tactic.
Suddenly, Shardak ducked, momentarily catching Vitran off guard, and managed to unleash a punch to the head. With the one hand that was not wielding his weapon, Vitran caught it, and attempted to use his hold on Shardak's arm to push him to the ground. However, Shardak had anticipated that, and instead rolled over on the ground, winding up behind his foe. He immediately held onto his shield with both hands and smashed it in Vitran's face.
Vitran hissed in annoyance, letting go of his weapons. Shardak began to taste victory, but then his foe used his claws to slash at him, carving another new gash in his armor. Shardak stepped back two paces, accidentally letting down his guard, allowing Vitran to knock his shield out of his hand with his left claw. Now weaponless, the two fighters looked at each other, breathing heavily, analyzing one another's defenses. In theory, either of them could have unleashed their powers on the other, but such things require concentration — and focus is one of the most important parts of battle. So here they were, left with no weapons but their hands and feet...
Or so it seemed.
Vitran suddenly jumped forward. Shardak neatly rolled over, but Vitran suddenly activated a hidden impant in his leg, unveiling his leg blades. He grabbed Shardak by the shoulders and brought his leg sharply upward, slicing through Shardak's armor. Shardak winced in pain, but managed to summnon enough energy to deliver a powerful punch in the face that sent Vitran backward before the Makuta had time to kill him. Both fighters scrambled to their feet, staring each other in the eyes and reconsidering their attack plans.
Shardak knew there was no way he could win this fight. He was strong, yes, but Vitran was more experienced and cunning. There was no chance to win.
Shardak used his Life powers to reanimate Lesorask — not his soul, but merely his body, as an empty corpse that could do his will. This left him almost open to attack, and he only barely managed to dodge Vitran as he picked up his staff and attempted to cleave him in half. Vitran came upon him once more, cackling, and slashed at Shardak once more, grazing his armor and knocking him to the ground.
"Have a good time in the underworld," Vitran cackled. Shardak braced himself for the oncoming blow—
And then the reanimated corpse of Lesorask attacked Vitran from behind.
Vitran was so shocked that he dropped his weapon, which gave Lesorask enough time to grab him by the throat. Vitran attempted to activate his powers—
But then Lesorask speared him through the throat, and Vitran never wanted anything again.
Shardak looked upon the grisly scene, shaking his head mournfully. With a single thought, he released his hold on Lesorask's corpse, and as he looked down, he heard the body hit the grass with a hollow thunk. He glanced upwards momentarily, and saw that the bodies of Lesorask and Vitran were lying side by side, as the rain slowly began to pour onto them. Behid him, he noticed that the fire was slowly going out...
Why? he wondered. Why must we do this? Such mindless killing... Why?
Then the sounds of battle attracted his attention, and in the distance he saw a small mountain, covered in once-green trees that were now aflame, sending smoke high into the air...
Sounds like Blast, he decided, and began to run in that direction as fast as his legs could carry him.
Meanwhile, Blast was inside of the world of his dreams.
Not his good ones.
He and Zaeron were fighting back-to-back, trying to keep from being crushed under the weight of four dozen Baterra. Speewaa was next to them, battling valiantly against her mechanical foes despite her small size. Still, a plasma blast from a Baterra threatened to overwhelm her. Blast watched as she ducked another blow from a huge baterra, then stabbed at a second warrior. Dredzek and Millenium tore apart a baterra, then crushed another. However, Zaeron was tiring, and Speewaa would not hold out for much longer. Blast watched as Zaeron shapshifted, becoming a huge being with a huge claw in one hand. As a Baterra sprung, Zaeron decapitated it with his claw, then morphed back into his natural shape and took out another with a blast of both light and shadow. Blast winced as Speewaa was struck by a plasma burst fired from a hulking gray Baterra. She thudded against the wall of the cavern and fell limp to the ground.
"Speewaa!" Blast shouted, and raced over to the Matoran. She was alive, but injured badly. She could not continue to fight. Too late, Blast realized it was a trap. He saw Millenium stride toward him, raising his huge axe.
"You've served your use." Millenium snarled. "I'll kill you both!" He raised his axe, ready to cleave Blast in two. As the dark lord was about to strike, a blue blur flashed through the cavern. A Torshurr! More of the insane blue monsters hauled Milennium to the ground. The ark lord released a blast of energy, stunning the Torshurr, but it had given Blast time enough to grab Speewaa and flee up the cavern stairs. As the group of Torshurr came to, the Baterra attacked their sworn enemies, forgetting about Millenium and Dredzek. The Makuta was following them, but his bulk made it difficult for him to persue them through the narrow caves. Dredzek lashed out with a Shadow Hand, and hauled Speewaa to the ground. With a roar, Blast sprang at Dredzek, hauling the Makuta to the ground. Dredzek lashed out with his claws, tearing open a gash in Blast's shoulder. Blast winced and lashed out again, flinging Dredzek against the wall and grabbing Speewaa. the Matoran was wounded, but ran beside him, matching him every stride. A gray blur flashed by Speewaa and Blast screeched in pain.
"More Baterra!" Blast screeched, as hundreds of mechanical shadow soldiers came charging out of the caves around them. Blast was a scything wirlwind of power, cutting down his enemies faster then the eye could follow. But for every Baterra he felled, he was hit again and again by the soldier's swords.
Then Millenium and Dredzek emerged from the tunnels, followed by an incorporeal entity Speewaa belived was Zaeron, and Speewaa realized they were fighting a losing battle.
"Run, Speewaa!" Blast screamed as Dredzek struck him with a blow from his claws. "Find Shardak! He'll help you!" Then there was an explosion of carnage as the battle began.
Speewaa ran from the battle, persued by a small group of Baterra, with only one thought in her mind: Find Shardak.
And below in the caverns, the final battle below the arena began.
Kojol was in a living nightmare. The pyramid of Scarabax was no longer a pyramid; instead, it was a swirling, awful mass of purple beetles that covered the ground. They were swarming up Kojol's knees, and he was desperately using all the Makuta powers he could think of to annihilate the creatures. And even as he killed some of them, more swarmed up to him.
Killed by beetles. What an embarrassing way to die...
He looked momentarily at the corpse of Radiak, which Scarabax were scuttling over, racing towards him with all the speed their little legs could summon. He used some of his disintegration powers to blast some of the nearby beetles into oblivion, their ugly corpses joining the pile of the both living and dead ones that covered the ground around him. He created a small vacuum in a circle around him, shooting the Scarabax into space, where they could harm him no longer. Then he made a massive cyclone that came in circles around him. And yet still more came...
Time to get out of here, he decided, and attempted to teleport away. But he found that a mysterious force was blocking his ability to do so. Instead, he attempted to levitate off of the ground...
And then he found himself under attack by Makuta Dronax. Kojol had not anticipated this, and desperately raised his claws to defend himself. Dronax pressed his advantage, and slammed his weapon's hilt into Kojol's face, stunning him, and prepared to slice his foe in half in midair. Kojol managed to recover from the attack, and did a midair somersault over his foe's head. He tried to stab Dronax from behind, but Kojol's foe was stronger and better in battle, and deflected the attack with a light slash of his sword, and with the same movement he severed one of Kojol's arms. Kojol looked down for half a second, and saw that the Scarabax hordes had already covered his limb...
But half a second was all that Dronax needed to catch him off guard, and the smaller Makuta kicked Kojol hard in the head, stunning him and causing him to stop levitating. He fell five bio from the sky, onto the swarm of Scarabax. Dronax swooped down from above, trying to spear Kojol in the gut, but the one-armed Makuta managed to deflect the attack in time. However, he felt that the Scarabax were crawling up his body, trying to down him while he fought his foe...
But then he saw a weakness in Dronax's defenses; his left arm was scarred, and he was unable to defend properly with it. Kojol aimed some of his laser vision at the injured area, but the disciplined Makuta barely winced; he had long been trained not to react to pain. But Kojol knew now what to do next; he pretended to go weaker, warding off Dronax's blows by even smaller amounts, and the Makuta continued, the light of victory in his eye, and all the while the Scarabax crawled up Kojol's head...
And then Kojol activated his laser vision, blasting Dronax in the heart. Dronax was blasted back by the impact, and Kojol wasted no time in jumping down on his fallen form and removing Dronax's head. He quickly activated his powers and blasted away the Scarabax that covered him, and rose into the air to continue his journey across the playing field.
However, a fast-moving flying target is an easy one for one such as Kefo or Stradax. Simultaneously, both beings fired their plasma weapons, and the screaming Kojol fell out of the sky for the last time.
Kefo and Stradax nodded to one another, and looked around at the remaining members of their team. Tanuva, Torek, Mata Nui, Avarus, Kutrak... Many of their teammates had died. But soon, very soon, they would be led to victory...
"Tanuva," said Stradax, saluting the Toa of Infinity, "lead us on our way."
Meanwhile, far away, the group led by Brominax was fighting a horde of Torshurrr. Fairon and Fyxan were back-to-back, slicing through them with ease. Meanwhile, Brominax and Leptys (who had just rejoined the group) were moving around like whirlwinds, their weapons blurs of silver as they chopped at the body parts of the beasts. At last, the battle ended the only way it could have: with the defeat of the last Torshurrr.
"Well done, the two of you," said Brominax to Fyxan and Fairon.
Fyxan spat in the ground. "This is making me sick. How many more innocent beings have to die?"
"Remember," Leptys answered, "this is the only way we can return to our universe: by winning. We must return in time to stop the Order of Darkness. Otherwise, the universe will fall into darkness forever..."
"You have more pressing concerns than the Order of Darkness," said a voice from the shadows, and all of a sudden, a whirlwind of darkness jumped out at the Great Beings.
"Maserix," muttered Leptys.
"I believe the two of you shall at last be some worthy adversaries," said Maserix, twirling his staff and grinning wickedly at the two Great Beings. How about this? If you win, you can kill me. If and when I win, you and everyone else will die. How's that?"
"Absolutely perfect," Brominax replied, jumping at Maserix and trusting his blade at his foe. Maserix turned it aside with a light flick of his staff, but the move was a feint, and Brominax went for the leg. Maserix blocked that as well, and managed to counter the entire series of attacks that Brominax had conjured up.
"Enough, fool," Maserix sneered. "Now it's my turn..."
Maserix began a quick thrust, which would have knocked Brominax's head neatly off his body had Leptys not decided to intervene then and block the attack with a powerful two-handed block. Maserix growled at him, and then the battle began in earnest; Brominax and Leptys jabbing at their foe, with the other Great Being deflecting their attacks and proceeding with his own. The fighters seemed evenly matched.
Fairon and Fyxan prepared themselves to plunge into the battle, but Brominax saw their quick approach and shook his head, and Fairon and Fyxan understood: they were to leave, and let the Great Beings' battle take its own course. Thus, the Toa and Kodax ran away from the fight. A strange being, cloaked in powerful shadows that rivaled Maserix's, watched them leave.
"Girahk," he ordered to a strange creature, no larger than an insect, that lay in the palm of his hand, "follow them. Do not kill them until I give the command." He knelt down, not making the slightest sound, and lowered his hand to the ground. The creature scuttled off in the direction of the two beings of Light.
Meanwhile, the battle of the Great Beings continued. Neither of the three had yet begun to tire, and the battle most likely would have gone on for days had they not been interrupted. Neither of the three beings, their minds concentrating solely on the battle, anticipated the massive blast of pure energy that would have killed anyone but a Great Being. As it was, all three of them were knocked back several bio. They immediately rose to their feet, and the "interruption" appeared before them.
"I hope you don't mind," said Nightwatcher. "It's just that I love crashing parties."
The three Great Beings formed a circle around the Toa, the battle forgotten. With a roar, Maserix hurled a powerful wave of shadow at him, but Nightwatcher merely flicked his hand, and the energy was dissipated.
"Please," Nightwatcher laughed. "That's almost pitiful. I expected better from a Great Being."
With a roar, the enraged Maserix summoned a great globe of energy and hurled it at Nightwatcher, but instead of being disintegrated, he merely smiled and caught it, its energies still contained.
"You disappoint me, Maserix," smiled Nightwatcher, blasting Maserix with his own power, sending the Great Being sprawling. Maserix's shock was terribly evident on his face.
"No one..." he gasped... "No one... It's not possible..."
"I was... gifted... by the Omega Beings themselves," Nightwatcher replied coolly. "I have killed Great Beings before," he said, looking around almost mockingly at the two other Great Beings, who stood there looking coldly at him. "Do you want me to prove it? I shall prove it as many times as you want... say, perhaps three will suffice for this occasion? Unless, of course, you care to fight me in another way..."
Nighwatcher drew his sword to make his point, smiling calmly as he looked around at his foes. Maserix smiled almost as broadly as he prepared his staff. "There is no one in the Matoran Universe who can fight as well as I!"
Leptys and Brominax also answered the unspoken challenge, preparing their weapons. "Well, then," said Nightwatcher, his smile almost as big as his face by now, "it appears we have a consensus."
Maserix yelled as he charged into the fight, holding no atom of his power back. Had anyone else been watching the battle, they would have seen a pair of blurs, one tall and black and one short and gray, clashing sliver blurs together at twice the speed of sound. Maserix's eyes were squinting sharply in rage as his weapon was thrust at Nightwatcher's. The two other Great Beings joined the battle, and Nightwatcher responded in turn, altering his strategy and his speed so that he no longer used one double-bladed weapon; instead, he used two single-bladed ones, which held up against the Great Beings' attacks just as easily. Maserix was a thunderstorm of rage, calling upon the shadow to guide his sword; Brominax was a blur of light, whipping his weapon around like the air itself, and Leptys was a whirlwind of force, his staff and shield creating the perfect rhythm. Very few forces against the universe could have stood up to such a brutal assault, and yet Nightwatcher was one of them; he was expending as little effort as possible, while within him a massive cauldron of energy boiled...
"WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE?" Maserix roared, his weapon moving so fast now that it could no longer be seen...
"As I said before," Nightwatcher responded, as exasperatingly calm as ever, "I was gifted by the Omega—"
"SHUT UP!" Maserix roared, all his efforts concentrated on silencing the awful voice that was resonating in his mind—
"Oh, by the way, Maserix," said Nightwatcher with a sneer, "I'm not from the Matoran Universe."
And there he made his fatal mistake. He had concentrated so much on his offense that a massive hole had opened in his defense, and Nightwatcher used the opportunity to, with one swift strike, end the long career of the Great Being Maserix. The other two Great Beings had no time to react as Nightwatcher impaled them both with his twin swords, letting go of his weapons and pinning the two surviving Great Beings to the ground with the swords in their chests.
"Now you see what a terrible, terrible mistake you made," grinned Nightwatcher, the great cauldron of force within him bubbling up to the brim as he looked down at his two helpless foes.
"And now... time to level the playing field. In the literal sense."
Nightwatcher released the energy contained inside his body with a scream of triumph, and the bodies of the three Great Beings were pulverized in the white-hot blast...
And the Toa of Shadow watched as the massive explosion ripped through the landscape. Even though there was no possible way any being could hear (save himself) over the terrible noise of the blast, he laughed as he had never laughed before, a great, triumphant screech...
Victory was his at last.
Antidax stood in his chambers, watching as the Kodax of the Order of Darkness surrounded him. He had, with the aid of an ally, brought a small fighting force into the arena at the beginning of the games. Despite the setback of Tetrack failing to overcome the Fallen Six at the volacno, but all was still going according to his plan. Tetrack was missing, his Kodax army scattered after the battle with the Fallen Six. However, the Brotherhood of Fear was still intact, dispite the death of Krakanus, and had joined the Brotherhood and the Order.
His "ally", the Makuta lord known as Malok, also watched the small armies massing. Antidax still harbored reservations about him. Despite the fact that he had brought the Order of Darkness here at Antidax's command, and recreated the Brotherhood of Fear from virtually nothing after the death of Krakanus, he was too cunning and powerful to stay Antidax's leiutenant. He wanted command of the entire legion, not just the Brotherhood of Fear. And Antidax was his only obstacle.
Antidax knew this, and fully intended to dispose of the Makuta after the defeat of the Fallen Six and the other competitors.
After all...there can only be one winner in this "Eternal Game" and that will be me.
The Great being watched as the army coalesed into a single fighting force. Spinorak was leading the Brotherhood of Fear, Valthrak leading the remainder of Tetrack's Kodax allies as well as the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna, and the Order of Darkness, personally commanded by Antidax himself.
This has gone on far too long, this game. It is time for the storm to break.
Blast cleaved through a Baterra, and watched as Zaeron's incorporeal claws tore through another. Zaeron cared nothing for Blast, but still fought beside him against the Baterra armies. Blast watched as Speewaa fled, eight Baterra following her, and saw Millenium strike him down with his huge axe. The Mechanical Baterra cut down Benjarmin, then swarmed over the large Makuta, who attempted to bat them away with his claws. Blast turned and struck a blow at Millenium, but his Scythe simply glanced off the dark lord's armor. Millenium turned on him, his axeblade swinging at Blast's side. Blast blocked the blow, then whirled around as he felt a stinging pain in his back. Millenium's blade had struck him there. Blood welled from his wounds as he fought to remain standing.
"The Axe of Eternity." Millenium snarled. "Can implant illusions in a victim's mind. You don't see where it hits before it's far too late."
Blast cursed, and whipped the scythe around. Dredzek lept at him, claws extended, and brought him to the ground. Zaeron struck with blinding speed, flinging Dredzek against the walls of the cavern with a blast of light. Blast cursed again when he saw there was nothing between him and Millenium. The Shadow of Ages leader had raised his axeblade hight above his head, ready to crush Blast beneath the Axe of Eternity.
Then the cold, toneless voice of the Element Lord of Technology cut through the battle.
Hundreds of warriors broke away from Zaeron and Benjarmin, and watched as the entire cavern opened up into tunnels, leading to the world above. Blast gasped. If the Baterra struck now, they would annihilate the combatants above. None would survive.
"Zaeron!" Blast called "We have to stop them!" Zaeron turned to look at Blast, and a look of calm evil crossed his face.
"Oh, I will stop them. After they have destroyed everyone else in the arena."
A look of shocked horror came over Blast's face. "So it was you who hid the Baterra in the caverns. You approached the Element Lord, and told him to lure us down here."
"Yes, some of the most powerful contestents. All of them must die if I am to rule the arena."
"But Tetrack, Nightwatcher, Tabaris... they're still out there. One of them will destroy you."
"No, they will not. I command them all."
"So you serve Antidax." Blast spat. "You're conspiring with him, Tetrack, and the Kodax to bring ruin on everyone in the arena!"
"Finally, he sees the truth!" Zaeron cackled, and insane laugh of one drunk on power. "Antidax approached me after I fell burning from a straship during a battle with Vakax and Maserix. He offered me more power then you can ever dream of. Enough to reshape a universe. Nightwatcher, Tabaris, Vakax, Maserix... All will cower before my Baterra army. All will perish before my might. But now, you will die, full of knowledge that nobody else will ever, ever know..."
Zaeron watched as the Baterra turned and raced into the realms above. "This is the end, Toa." Then he smiled again as the Baterra closed in on Blast.
Fairon stood near the empty weapon cache, watching as a small group of about fifty Toa massed below. All of these were old warriors, survivors from eternal battles long before he had been captured by Corpsians and forced to fight in the Eternal Game.
Beside him stood Leviathos, who stared, his thoughts unreadable, at the armies of Kodax that massed near the other weapon caches.
After he had heard of the ressurection of the Brotherhood of Fear and the return of the scattered Brotherhood of Gigas Magna, Fairon and Leviathos had found many toa willing to fight against the armies of Tetrack and Antidax. All were seasoned fighters, willing to fight to the death if need be.
So it comes down to this. Open war for the final battles of the games. Fairon sighed as he realized how much he had changed after entering the games. Once he had been a hero, now he was a warped murderer, forced to kill even innocents or die at the hands of those just as terrified of oblivion as he was.
"Fairon!" A ragged shout cut through the air. Spinorak.
"This is your final chance to surrender to us. If you fight, you will be crushed by our Kodax soldiers, and either way, by the time the sun rises again in this arena, there will be a new order ruling this land under Antidax, Spinorak, and Malok! This is the end. Surrender." Spinorak's voice became quieter, his threats more evil.
"Never!" Fairon called back. "We will fight and defeat your armies. Your soldiers only fight under threat of death, but ours fight to be forever free of this accursed battleground!"
"Very well then." Spinorak snarled back. "You have sealed your fates."
"ATTACKKKK!!!!!" screamed both Fairon and Spinorak at the same time, and flung themselves into the fray. Fairon watched as the armies met at the second cache, elemental bolts firing across the battlefield as the clang of steel on steel rang over the armies. He saw Toa fall, wounded horribly by Order of Darkness soldiers, and saw Kodax collapse over them, spears imbedded in their hearts.
And neither side doubted that these would be the only caualties of the day.
Blast dodged the claw of a Baterra, then kicked out at Zaeron. The Toa easily dodged, and slashed his blade down at Blast. Though Zaeron felt pity for Blast, he knew the only way for him to survive the Eternal Game was to kill the Toa, and use the Baterra to invade the surface world. Blast swung his scythe at Zaeron, but the incorporeal Toa doged easily, the blade passing through his side.
"Give up, Toa." Zaeron snarled. "I can shift into virtually anything. There is nothing that can kill me."
Another Baterra jumped at Blast, who dodged, and watched as the Baterra whipped around and slashed another wound through Blast's chest.
"Oh, and the Element Lord and some of his elite Baterra are persuing your little Matoran friend. She's trapped, cornered, begging for mercy...but the Baterra have none."
Blast snarled and ducked a blow from Millenium's axe. All was chaos as a full-scale battle broke out. Though Millenium was evil and treacherous, he was fighting on the side of Blast against Zaeron's Baterra legions. All was a blur as armor and corpses collasped on the ground, shrapnel flying through the air. Dredzek was fighting eight Baterra at a time, cleaving through them with evil accuracy. Millenium lopped of the heads of Baterra and crushed them beneath his foot, and Blast faught Zaeron, the two toa fighting each other across the battlefield. Blast tore a sword from Zaeron's hands, then blocked a second blade as it came flashing out of the darkness. Blast slashed out with his scythe of creation, then fired three rounds from his Zamor sphere launcher. Zaeron was flung backwards, and Blast grabbed Zaeron's blade and stabbed the Toa through his leg. Zaeron hissed defiance, and flung a dagger through Blast's hand. The Toa cried out in pain and flung the Scythe at Zaeron, who slashed out a half-solid claw at the weapon, and the Scythe clattered against the wall. Blast raised Zaeron's sword, then threw himself into a complicated series of attacks and feints. Zaeron reacted quickly, and blocked all of the strikes with lightning fast presision. Blast felt a twinge of admiration. Zaeron knew all the tricks. Zaeron's half-air, half-solid form lept at him and flung him to the ground. Blast dodged away from Zaeron, and into an oncoming Baterra warrior, who he gored through the chest. However, he'd left his bck unguarded, and Zaeron slashed out with his ghostly sword, cutting through the Toa's armor. Blast felt a terrible, numbing pain as the sword tore through muscle then bone. And then he felt somthing else-rage. Zaeron hissed as he saw Blast recover from the blow, and watched the Toa, blood pouring from his wounds, stagger towards Zaeron.
Zaeron snarled. He would shift into his dedliest form and cut the Toa to shreds. He braced himself for the charge. Blast did the same, and the two toa flung themsleves at each other, blades extended.
And both Toa knew that this charge would end the battle, for one way or another.
Speewaa ran from the Element Lord and the Baterra, Benjarmin following her, blades drawn. Both groups were trying to kill her. This is the end. she thought numbly. The last battle for me. As she raced through the tunnels, she finally lost the Baterra warriors. For now, I will die. she drew the sickle, which glowed with power. Blast had imbued it with Creation powers, using his scythe. And she owed it to Blast, who had quite possibly given his life so she could live, to use the power one final time. She would brake the Sickle, releasing the massive destructive energy contained within. It would kill her too, and possibly kill everyone else in the caves, but she had to do this. Had to make sure that neither Millenium nor the Element Lord made it to the surface. She watched as the Baterra appeared at the cavern's entrance, followed by Millenium and Benjarmin, who were fighting the Baterra. Dredzek was nowhere to be seen. If she could not stop them, the Baterra would destroy all the contestents and the Element Lord of Technology would win the games. Benjarmin spun around, a maelstrom of devastion, each swipe of his claws ending the life of a Baterra. But still the Baterra came, like a wave of unstoppable power the Baterra charged over the beings in the cavern below. Speewaa raised the sickle above her head and raised it to break open the power...
Blast, wounded horribly, staggered toward Zaeron as Zaeron began to change. Blast felt as if everything was moving slower, as if this was not happening. He could barely hear the screams of Dredzek as the Makuta desprately fought the Baterra hordes. Zaeron built up a huge blast off annihilation power, redied to strike. He would fire as he had never fired before. He would crush Blast, then kill the being that had slain Onika. then he would-
Blast struck! Slammed into Zaeron, flinging his blade over his head. Zaeron saw an opening, and stabbed outward with his blade. Zaeron struck again, and Blast's sword clattered from his hands. Zaeron raised a claw and slashed Blast backwards, flinging him to the ground. Blast flung out his hand and threw his Scythe of Creation at Zaeron, stabbing the dark toa through his chest. Zaeron hissed defiance, and as Blast struck again, released the annihiltaion bolt. Tendrils of dark power flung across the caverns, striking off Blast's scythe of creation and rebounding, stricking Zaeron. And then Zaeron began to fade, and then he turned to dust, and then he was gone, his incorporeal form drifting through the wall.
And when Blast opened his eyes again, Zaeron was gone.
Speewaa raised the sickle, ready to end the lives of every being within the caverns, when Millenium flung a mangled Baterra off him and struck the weapon from her grasp. As she was flung against the wall, Millenium brought down his axe. Speewaa dodged, and the blade struck her leg. lancing pain shot up her side. Millenium raised his axe again, and Speewaa knew this time he would not miss.
Suddenly, a Baterra broke through the throng of robots that were fighting Benjarmin and flung itself at Millenium, forcing him to change direction of his blow to decaptiate the Baterra. At the sight of more armed warriors, the Baterra charged at Millenium, hauling the titan to the ground. Speewaa tried desprately to flee to saftey, dragging her injured leg behind her. She was almost to the cave's edge when Benjarmin appeared before her, stabbing his spear through her chest. As she gasped for a breath that wouldn't come, Blast, his armor in tatters and his eyes gleaming in rage, appeared at the cave's entrance, firing a bolt of pure destructive energy from the Scythe of Creation that turned Benjarmin to dust.
Benjarmin died before he could even realize his victory, consumed utterly by a blast from the Scythe. One moment he was there, the next there was nothing but dust to mark his passing. He had been utterly obliterated by the blast.
Blast was raging. The sight of Speewaa dying beneath Benjarmin's spear had enraged the Toa, causing him to use the Scythe in a way he had never used it before-to destroy. Noticing the sickle lying on the cave floor, he realized what Speewaa had tried to do. I'll finish what she started. Blast vowed. Then she will be able to die in peace.
Millennium saw the Toa appear in the cavern as well. Blast grabbed the sickle and flung himself at Millennium even as the Baterra charged at both dark lord and Toa. Millennium's axe was flung from his grasp, allowing Blast to strike first, bringing down the blade on Millennium's arm. Millennium screeched in pain, then swung his axe at Blast. Blast narrowly blocked the blow, and as Blast counterattacked, Millennium cut a Baterra apart with his axe while he blocked the Scythe with his claws. Blast feinted with his Scythe, then stabbed out at Millennium with the sickle, forcing Millennium backwards. Millennium charged forward, crushing Blast's armor apart and stabbing Blast in the leg with the hilt of his axe. Blast turned and blocked another swipe from Millennium's claw, then gasped as the axe cut him across the chest.
Millennium grinned and flung a bolt of energy at Blast. Blast counterattacked with another Bolt from the Scythe, and the bolts riocheted off the walls, consuming three Baterra. Another Baterra flung himself at Blast, who blocked the Baterra's attack narrowly with the scythe, then blocked Millennium's axe with his sickle. A bolt of energy flashed across the battlefield as Millennium attempted to attack Blast, flinging him backwards against the walls. As he tried to recover, Millennium charged forward and hammered Blast with his axe, flinging him into a Baterra. The mechanical warrior was consumed by another blast of energy, and Blast blocked Millennium's axe with his Sickle. A stabbing pain shot up Blast's leg as he realized that Millennium's axe had been an illusion, and was now imbedded in his side. But Blast was done running. He was already terribly wounded, and would not let Millennium win the games. If Millennium or the Element Lord of Technology triumphed, then it would all be for nothing. Everything would die, above and below.
As Millennium bore down on him, Blast raised the Scythe above his head. Millennium dodged his blade, and redied his axe for the final blow.
"This is the end, I think." Millennium said whilst bombarding Blast's mind with his powerful telepathic powers. Blast resisted Millennium's power, and ducked as another burst of energy exploded above him. As Millennium swung the axe around, firing a bolt of power at Blast, Blast flung the sickle at Millennium's chest. As the sickle fell and Millennium released the energy burst, Blast flung out his hand-and shattered the Sickle into glowing shards across Millennium's chest.
Slowly, the leader of the Shadow of Ages sagged and fell to the ground as the explosions began, obliterating Millennium, obliterating the Element Lord, obliterating the Baterra, consuming them all in firey half-light.
Blast ran to Speewaa's side. Her breath came in small gasps.
"Did you...kill him?" she asked, the effort to speak causing more blood to flow from her wound.
Blast nodded. "The Baterra will never walk the surface world."
Speewaa relaxed, watching as Spaunauh crawled onto Blast's hand. "Go..." she gasped. "Win the Eternal Games." Her body gave a small shudder, then went still.
Blast bowed his head. Rage seething through his body. And, by the dying Matoran's side, Blast made a final promise to Speewaa.
I will find who has caused this, and try to destroy him. For anyone who would murder an innocent Matoran is evil.
Fairon charged at the Kodax army, cutting through a Spearfighter warrior that had felled two toa. A Kodax charged him, but Fairon speared it through the chest. Yanking his Lance from the corpse, Fairon cleaved through a Kodax that jumped at him, then dodged the shaft of a Makuta's spear. Kaluu! Fairon thought, though he had little time to think as he blocked Kaluu's first strike and bashed him against another Kodax with his Lance. A huge Kodax lord reared above him, weilding an axe, and slashed his blade across Fairon's leg. Fairon winced, then fired a bolt of lightning from the end of his lance, flinging the Kodax backward. As the Kodax recovered, Fairon stabbed him through the heart. He charged across the battlefield, a mass of destruction. Beside him Leviathos was using his limited Time abilities to slow the Kodax down, then crushed them to shrapnel as they came nearer.
But Fairon and Leviathos were about the only ones holding their own. Fyxan was barely able to overcome a Makuta, then fell backward against another Spearfighting Order of Darkness soldier. The bodies of slain Toa warriors who had died at the hands of the first ranks of Kodax littered the battlefield. Fairon flung himself through the shrapnel of armor and weapons, then cut a Kodax across his back. The Kodax turned around, grimacing, but Fairon crushed it between a sword and spear. A second spearfighter struck at him from behind. Fairon felt a stabbing pain as the blade connected, then hissed in pain and fury as he cut the speartip from the shaft. A blast of light shot from Fairon's lance obliterated a small group of Kodax warriors, and three more Kodax fell beneath Fairon's blade. Leviathos guarded his back, cutting any Kodax who came near them. Fyxan, though badly wounded, joined them, and the three formed an unstoppable triangle of spears, swords, and elemental blasts. Every time Fairon's lance struck a Kodax, it sounded another deathblow for an enemy. Fairon watched as Leviathos savagely tore open a large Makuta's armor, then turned on a Kodax from the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna and decapitated him. Fairon paused for a moment, amid the corpses of his ememies, to inspect the battlefield. Most of the Kodax foot soldiers were dead, a scattered few still fought small groups of Toa. Most of the Toa soldiers were dead also, about fifty elite warriors reamined, fighting Makuta from the Brotherhood of Fear. Fairon turned, and charged a Makuta, crushing him against the walls of a cliff until his antidermis began to spew from his body. He watched as Fyxan, covered in both his blood and the blood of his enemies, turn a Kodax into shrapnel with his Shattering Gun, and blew a Makuta to shreds. Three more Kodax charged Leviathos, who crushed them beneath his blade.
However, Fairon noticed how badly wounded Fyxan was, and even Leviathos was showing signs of weakness. Fairon himself was not badly wounded, but he was tiring. And if they fell, the Toa would fall, and the Order of Darkness would rule over the arena.
Fairon had no choice now. He slashed the Kodax he was fighting apart and yelled out:
"Reserves, engage!" hundreds of Toa, many armed only with Shattering Rifles, began to charge as they fired bolts from the Shatterers, turning remaining Kodax and Makuta to dust. Massive catapults from behind ememy lines opened fire on the toa, flinging shells, rocks, and other ammunition at the Toa army. three were killed before they could reach the enemy, and another four fell, badly wounded. Most would die, and those few that survived would be crippled for life. A few more Toa drew swords, and began to engage the endless armies of the Order of Darkness. Fairon cursed as he remembered how, nearly a month ago, Tetrack and Krakanus had captured the main supplies of the Weapons Caches. The seige engines must have come from the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna. Fairon scanned the battlefield, looking for Velnax or Tetrack, but saw neither of them. The remainder of the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna appeared to be commanded by an arrogant Kodax lord known as Valthrak. Fairon charged him, realizing that if he killed Valthrak, the Brotherhood, without commanders, would surrender, causing the Brotherhood of Fear and the Order of Darkness to lose an ally.
And then the giant shockwave rippled through the arena, consuming the combatants in a firey white light just as Fairon connected with Valthrak. The Kodax flung out his spear, about to gore Fairon through the back, when the shockwave consumed his spear utterly. Valthrak snarled defiance, and grabbed Fairon, hauling the Toa into the heart of the Shockwave with him. Fairon cried out and desprately tried to grab onto something, anything to hold on to, when Valthrak, his face contorted in rage, struck Fairon across the back with his claws. Fairon roared in pain and kicked out, flinging Valthrak backwards. The Kodax was unable to stop himself from plummeting into the void of white hot light, where the shockwave fried him to death. Fairon's fear turned to panic as he realized how easily he could die. As he tried to cling onto nothing, he was sent carrening backward, into the heart of the shockwave. No!!! Fairon thought as he readied himself for the darkness of death.
And then Leviathos, his armor horribly charred and his body gored in a dozen places, flung himself at Toa Fairon, grabbing his friend out of the path of the shockwave as it began to consume the armies of the Toa and Kodax, killing many and wounding many more.
Fairon looked around. They were in a small cave. Leviathos had erected walls using his time ability, flinging the shockwave's blasts into the past as it came closer. Fyxan was standing beside him, aiding his freind in a desprate effort to stop the shockwave from entering the cave. The cave itself was dirty and dark, and it had obviously once been a tunnel. Something had caused a giant cataclysm in the tunnels, burying them far beneath the earth with no way out.
Leviathos walked over to Fairon. He looked exausted. Dried blood covered his body, and his eyes were bloodshot. Fyxan followed.
"I've done all I can." Leviathos said. "We have perhaps a minute before my Time barriers collapse and we are consumed."
"We have to find a way to stop Nightwatcher!" Fairon hissed, despair making his voice ragged. "He'll destroy us all!"
"You have far bigger problems then Nightwatcher." Snarled Tanuva.
The Toa of Infinity stood before, his armor scarred and his Kanohi pitted. The rest of his alliance surrounded him. A few had minor injuries, but most were fighting fit. Fyxan, Fairon, and Leviathos were badly injured, and were far weaker.
"Soon the Shockwave will consume all of the arena, and the Order of Darkness and the Toa will all die. Only we shall survive, safe in this cavern, until the shockwave is ended, and we shall be the victors of the Eternal Game!" Drawing their swords, the Toa moved in for the kill.
"Forty seconds..." Leviathos murmered as the Toa struck.
Tanuva charged at Fairon, striking his shoulder. Fairon grunted in terror and lashed out, striking Tanuva across the back with his sword. He saw Fyxan fighting three other warriors, Torek, Kefo, and Mata Nui. The remainder of the alliance, Kutrak and Stradax, charged Leviathos. No! Fairon was desprate. If Levaithos' concentration was disrupted, it ment death for everyone in the games.
"Thirty seconds" Leviathos hissed, desprately trying to keep his barriers strong. If a single bit of force energy entered the cavern, they were all dead.
As Kutrak raised his sword, ready to decapitate Leviathos, the Noctian yelled out "Stop, all of you! This is a mistake!"
Tanuva lowered his sword. "What?" he asked, voice guarded. "Do you expect us to beleive that, fool? You are lying so you can turn on us at a later oppertunity."
"We have literally twenty seconds before this entire thing comes down and we all die. There will be no victor then. But if we band together, then we at least have a chance to defeat the Order of Darkness and stop Nightwatcher."
Tanuva paused, thinking it over. "You lie. My powers over Infinity will protect me." His lip curled. "Kill them. Kill them all."
"Ten seconds." Leviathos gasped in wild panic as the Toa charged.
"Wait!" screamed a new voice.
"Stop fighting! He's coming!" A Toa had appeared, charging out of the collapsed tunnel. He was the most wounded Toa Fairon had ever seen. His armor was nearly gone, his body scarred from countless battles. In one hand he held an oddly-shaped scythe, and in the other he carried Millennium's Axe of Eternity. The scythe itself seemed to reinforce Leviathos' barriers, strengthening them with great power. Neither Fairon nor Leviathos recognized him. But Fyxan and Tanuva did.
"Blast!" they spoke at the same time. "What happened?" Realizing the barriers were temporarily strengthened by the Scythe, Blast told them his story. About following the Element Lord of Technology into the Caves below the arena, about the Torshurr, his meeting with Speewaa, and his alliance with Zaeron, Millennium, Dredzek, and Benjarmin, the battles with the Baterra, Millennium's eventual treachery, Speewaa's sickle, and the battle with Zaeron. Finally, he told them in hushed tones about his fight to the death with Millennium and Speewaa's death at the hands of Benjarmin. All of the being's eyes widened when Blast recounted how he had killed Benjarmin with a bolt from the scythe of creation, and about the death of Millennium and the destruction of the caves.
"So Millennium is dead." said Leviathos. "What of Dredzek?"
"He's coming. He wasn't in the cave with Millennium when the caves were destroyed, and I believe he made it to the surface with a small contingent of Baterra. But the main army is destroyed, and Millennium's ambitions are destroyed."
"And the remainder of the Baterra?"
Blast smiled for the first time since Fairon had known him. "After the Element Lord died, his control room was opened. I deactivated all the remaining Baterra within the caves as well as the remainder on the surface. It is inconcievable that any of the Baterra survived, save the few Dredzek has under his control. And what in Mata Nui's names has happened here?"
Fairon recounted Nightwatcher's return, how he seized control of the arena, killing Maserix, Leptys, and Brominax and unleashing the shockwave. He recounted their battle with the Order of Darkness, Nightwatcher's shockwave striking them, and the devastation of the arena. He finally told of his battle with Valthrak and Leviathos' shelter.
Tanuva recounted the battles aboard the starship, the death of Kental, his defeat, and the return of his alliance, then told of the fight with the Scarabax and their entry into the shelter.
"So many, many more contestants are dead now, and the arena is in the darkness of the eternal night."
"We have to stop Nightwatcher and Dredzek, as well as Zaeron and Antidax. They were working together, right?"
"While indeed Antidax approached him with the plans to realease the Baterra using the Element Lord as a puppet master, I believe Zaeron is acting alone. Something's happened to him-he can shapeshift. He's not evil, he simply wishes to win, like we do."
Levaithos spoke. "Nightwatcher and Antidax are the most deadly threat now. We have to stop Nightwatcher from destroying everything, and with Mata Nui's help"-Leviathos shot an ironic glance at Mata Nui-"I belive we can defeat this threat."
"But Dredzek may arrive at any minute!" protested Tanuva. "We have to stop him, as well."
"I will stay." Fyxan spoke quietly, his voice steady. "I'm the most wounded of us all. I'll hold him and his machines off as long as I can. Until I die."
"But the caves will collapse around you as soon as Blast leaves the caves." pointed out Leviathos. "If you die before he reaches you, he'll escape unharmed."
Blast unlimbered his Scythe. "Take this, Fyxan. The Scythe contains the power to hold the time walls up a few more minutes."
Fairon stared at his friend, and watched as Blast gave away his most prized possession to the Kodax. And at that moment, Fairon didn't care that everyone in the Kodax Empire was watching, every one of the remaining Toa stood within the chamber. This moment was only for the two friends, parting, unlikely to ever see each other again.
"No one can tell me." Fairon said, his voice cracking. "That there are no heroes in the Eternal Game. May the Great Beings be with you, Fyxan."
"And you, Fairon." Fyxan turned, and readied his own blade and the Scythe of Creation, and prepared to face Dredzek.
"Where is the shape-shifter?" Fyxan asked Blast.
"I'm not sure. He escaped destruction of the caves after the death of Millennium. He's out there somewhere, planning his next move." Blast turned to Fairon.
"Come, Toa-brother. Let's end these games once and for all."
As Tanuva, his group, Fairon, and Blast exited the cavern into the shockwave-covered arena, Fyxan spoke one last warning.
"Watch out for Zaeron."
Tabaris watched as his starship flew across the Galactic Universe, watching the magnificent veiw of stars and planets as they flew past his speeding vessel. After the death of Zlatrix at the hands of Girahk, the Rahkshi of Growth had vanished through a portal. Tabaris, after using his powers to enslave the Toa soldiers aboard the stationary vessel, had attempted to follow him, however, he was unable to acess the portal. Girahk had closed it behind him.
He and his toa soldiers seized control of the remaining starship abourd the spacecraft, a large, slow moving warcraft with armed artillary and blades. Now they were alone in the Galactic Universe, flying through the stars on a warship. But a weird thought nagged at him, and it had troubled him the entire game.
Why were these starships here? They were obviously not meant to be descovired by the contestents of the games. It was obviously there for a different reason.
A hypnotized toa soldier ran up to him. "Lord Tabaris, we are surrounded. Three fighter ships and a larger warcraft are in our vicinity, closing in for the kill."
"On screen." Tabaris ordered and the face of a large red and black armored warrior appeared among them.
"Hello, Tabaris." Ganthrex snarled. "This is our part of the Galactic Universe. Surrender or die."
"I will elimate you, then return to the Eternal Game and destroy all of the contestents there!" Tabaris snarled.
"We have three fully armed fighter ships and one warship. You have one lightly armed warcraft. This will be no challenge." Ganthrex smiled, then spoke one word in a subtle hiss.
Tabaris readied his ship to fire, and took down one of the smaller fighters. It spiraled, in flames, down, down and out of sight, injured, but not destroyed. Tabaris hissed orders to his crew.
"Ram his warship. We may not be able to take out his entire group, but we'll take down him." The mindless Toa heard the orders and converted the remaining power to the engines.
"Fire!" Ordered Tabaris, his ship's blaster cannons exploded a second fighter ship. The third, seeing Tabaris' ship's life signs fading, began to close in for the kill.
"Don't fire." Tabaris ordered. "We'll draw them in and destroy them utterly."
Ganthrex's warship was closing in now, seeing Tabaris helpless in space, and was toying with him as a Shallows Cat plays with its prey.
"NOW!" screamed Tabaris as the warship closed in, striking the other ship. It had no time to block, no time to turn, and no time to react. There was an explosion of flmaes as the entire front of the ship exploded, sending most of Tabaris' crew to their deaths. The smashed windowglass had allowed Ganthrex and his Toa slaves to board, and all of them were charred, injured, and wounded. Ganthrex struck Tabaris, their blades meeting as the two warriors began their fight. Explosions began as the entire warship began to burn. The remaining fighter was firing on them, hoping to destroy them. Ganthrex's warship was half-destroyed, and was pulling away from Tabaris'. Tabaris watched as the warcraft was consumed in a firey inferno and vanished into the Galactic Universe. A damaged fighter, off-balance and desprate to strike a target, opened fire on Tabaris' ship. Tabaris' Toa slaves retaliated, firing down the starcraft. The starship fighter was nearly completely consumed, but managed to get one more fire off before Tabaris' laser cannons destroyed it. The ship split into firey peices and vanished into the stars, to float forever in the spatial antigravity. Tabaris smashed Ganthrex's mask apart, and Ganthrex retailiated, smashing Tabaris' chestplate into nothingness. Tabaris raised his sword and cut Ganthrex's legs out from under him, then, with the same backstroke, lopped off his head. As soon as his body collapsed on the floor of the burning starships, the remaining toa slaves on board were freed of his control. One turned and tried to flee, but Tabaris blocked it, invaded his mind, learned of the location of the rest of Ganthrex's servants and killed them all. The remainder of Ganthrex's forces on the fighter ship raised their damaged craft and readied to ram the already burning warship.
"Fire!" Tabaris ordered his crew, and the laser beams decimated the ship's wing, sending it crshing into the side of the warship. The Toa slaves, suddenly freed of Ganthrex's mind control, had no time to revel in their freedom before they were consumed in a firey inferno as the starship spiraled into the atmosphere below. Only Tabaris and three of his Toa slaves, trapped in a small, unburnt corner of the warship, remained alive.
Soon the starcraft will pass through the atmosphere. I will return to the Games and be crowned victor. The one survivor. The dark lord paused, reveling in his sense of triumph.
The final battle is about to begin.
Fyxan stood alone, within Leviathos' cavern, watching as the Scythe of Creation fed rays of power to Leviathos' time barriar, keeping him safe until Dredzek arrived.
Safe. Fyxan thought. Ironic.
Dredzek was the final remaing warrior of Millennium's alliance. After the death of Millennium and the annihilation of the Baterra armies, Dredzek had fled, with a small legion of Baterra serving him. Fyxan had remained behind Blast, Tanuva, and Fairon to stop him from bringing the Baterra to the surface world. Even a small group of Baterra could cause a lot of damage, and could easily tip the balance of the games in favor of Dredzek.
Suddenly there was an explosion as rocks cast shrapnel and dust in Fyxan's face. A tall Makuta, his eyes bright and confident, strode from the ruins of the tunnels, ten Baterra following him.
"Dredzek." spat Fyxan, his voice betraying none of the rage and terror he felt. He drew his blades, preparing to hold the Makuta off before he fell.
Dredzek watched as the puny Kodax charged him, his Scythe swinging wildly. He weilded his blade, however, with skilled prescion. The Kodax struck, his scythe failing to even penetrate Dredzek's armor. His blade cut a small gash across Dredzek's armor. The Makuta turned, motioning to his Baterra to stay out of the fight. He could crush this Kodax alone. Dredzek lashed out, ripping the scythe from Fyxan's hands with a single blow from his claw. His second claw missed, and Fyxan brought his sword around for a second strike. The clang of steel on claw reverberated through the caverns as Dredzek moved in to block the blow, and the Makuta slashed out again, tearing a ragged gash in Fyxan's armor. The Kodax turned, and struck the Makuta a blow across his face. Dredzek screeched in rage and struck out at Fyxan again, denting his chestplate, but forcing Fyxan back a step. Fyxan hissed defiance, and returned the blow, his blade simply glancing off Dredzek's gleaming armor. The Makuta laughed an insane laugh of one used to destroying his enemies, then lashed out a Shadow Hand at Fyxan. Fyxan could not dodge in time, and was caught in a bolt of pure darkness, constricting him. Fyxan tried to scream, but the coiled shadows constricted tighter around him, about to destroy him. Dredzek smiled.
He had initially planned to kill any competitors he found there outright, but he had met a being that had told him that Fyxan was there. A tall, dark cloaked spectre who had no face, simply an empty hood. It had chilled Dredzek to his twisted spirit, and the being's voice was chilling and emotionless.
It had told him that he would encounter a white-armored Kodax within a cavern above, and was told not to kill him, simply to imprison him in temporal statis. And now, for whatever reason, Dredzek felt comepelled to do so. He didn't know why the being wanted him imprisoned, not killed outright, and he did not care. Once he had won the Eternal Game, he would watch how everything played out, and would kill every enemy of the Shadow of Ages.
A pity that their master will never return. Dredzek was somewhat annoyed at the death of Millennium, as he had been a strong master once, but in the games, he was glad that Millennium was dead. For he knew that even if he, Benjarmin, and Millennium had survived, Millennium would have killed them, and returned to the Corpse/Kodax Empire as the sole victor.
Dredzek raised Fyxan above him with the shadow hand, and flung Fyxan into Leviathos' time walls. Fyxan dove for the Scythe of Creation, but Dredzek was faster, grabbing the Scythe from the ground. Fyxan flung his remaining weapon at him, but Dredzek lashed out his claw and the sword crumpled to the ground in fragments. Dredzek snarled an inaudible hiss, and bonds lept from the time barriars at Fyxan, locking him in statis, beyond space or time.
Dredzek inspected the Scythe with intrest, realizing its true potential.
Those who have used it before were weak. They did not know its true powers. They called it the "Scythe of Creation", but in my hands it will truely become the Scythe of Destruction.
Dredzek, cluching the Scythe in one clawed hand, strode from the cavern, entering the whiteness beyond.
And Fyxan would wait, trapped for ten long years, until Dredzek's spell unraveled completely and he would be free, for whatever dark reason the hooded being had intended...
Blast, followed by Tanuva, Fairon, and Leviathos charged through the shockwave, protected by Leviathos' limited time abilities, while they struggled to make out the arena. Even though they were all powerful Toa, the alliance was finding it hard to survive in the arena. The other competitors could be anywhere, and were hunting still for the alliance. Torek, a golden toa warrior, folowed by Mata Nui and the Glatorian Avarus, brought up the rear. The remaining two members of the alliance, Kutrak and Kefo, had left on a mission assigned to them by Tanuva, one that neither Blast, Fairon, nor Leviathos knew about. Blast did not trust Tanuva or his cohorts, but they needed them. Both Leviathos and Blast were badly wounded.
Suddenly, a loud voice boomed over the arena, announcing the death toll for today. It was long, and Blast attempted to pick out the ones he knew. Valtrahk, Velnax's deputy and the erstwhile leader of the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna. The Baterra. The remaining Torshurr that Blast had used for a diversion. The Element Lord of Technology. Millennium. Benjarmin. Fyxan and Speewaa... He knew them all.
"How many are left, you think?" Blast asked Fairon, trying to take his mind of Fyxan, who knew he was going to die, and walked to his death. And Speewaa, who never had a chance...
"I'm not sure. Ixtil would know. But three nights ago there were about fourty left. Now, there's about 25 left, total. Maybe a few more"
The announcer concluded by announcing the deaths of Vitran and Lesorak, neither of whom Blast had known. He was relieved that Shardak was not among those listed, however.
He's still out there Blast thought. I'll find him soon.
But a thought was nagging at him. What will I do? We can't both win the games. Blast put those thoughts aside and decided to focus on their task ahead. To eliminate Nightwatcher and Zaeron, and defeat the Order of Darkness armies. It would be nearly impossible, but Blast knew that if they could regroup the Toa armies, they could stop Nightwatcher's shockwave and possibly end the games.
"Can you see them?" Fairon asked Leviathos. "Yes." said Leviathos. "Most of the soldiers are dead on both sides, pulverized to death by Nightwatcher's shockwave, but I'd say about one hundred Kodax and a few Makuta are still fighting against nearly eighty Toa." His voice craked. "They're at the void."
"The Void." Fairon hissed. "Oh, Mata Nui."
"What's the Void?" Asked Blast.
"The Void is a massive fissure in the gameboard. If you step on a series of squares, you'll fall into a bottomless pit. Someone did fall in, however, during the initial battles at the weapon caches, and the void is opened, wide and dark.
"You'll have to tell me about it, if we survive."
If we survive. Thought Blast. Not very likely. Still, his offer was genuine.
"I will, Toa-brother." Blast replied.
If we survive.
He turned to Leviathos. "How far away are the beings at the void?"
"Not very far." came Leviathos' reply. "They'll see us soon, unless we either submit to Antidax or Nightwatcher or attack.
"Then we fight!" cried Tanuva, and his shout of defiance was heard by all as he led the charge to the edge of the Void. And only one thought was in Blast's mind as he charged.
Nightwatcher's shockwave has forced the remainder of the contestents into this one area. Soon everyone who is still alive will be here. Only one will survive this battle.
Let the Games begin for real.
Kutrak and Kefo wandered alone through a distant, untouched portion of the arena. Here the shockwave had not spread yet, but Kutrak was sure it was only a matter of time. The Empire wanted the games to be over, needed a climatic finish. And then it would be over. It was night, and Kutrak had listend to the death toll anxoiusly, hoping that none of Tanuva's alliance was dead. None were, and both Glatorian were relieved by that fact.
But they were not relieved about who they were going to meet.
"We're here." Kefo said grimly, interrupting his thoughts. They had reached a tall crevice in the volcano's side. Spires of obsidian stood tall and twisted like grim sentiels on duty.
"We have to enter." Kutrak told Kefo. "It is our only hope to win the games."
Kefo nodded, and the two Toa stepped into the chamber and gasped.
Within the Volcano was a small stronghold. Animated Toa and Kodax corpses armed with basic swords and spears stood at attention, ready to kill the invaders. But the Glatorian barely looked at them. They only had eyes for the four lords standing before them.
Iruka stood at the center, his massive sword raised, ready to kill. Ghost floated beside him, a spectre behind the lord. Kouhiimaru stood beside his leader, while Kawa, eyes cold, leaned against the walls of the cave and stared distainfully at the two Glatorian.
"Well, well, two Glatorian. Two more corpses to add to my collection." Iruka spoke softly, but with a hint of menace in his voice. And Kutrak stared at the dark lord. He was a perfect physical specimen, his armor neatly fitting his body. He was tall and strong, with no physical scars on his gleaming armor. Kutrak looked at him with respect and nearly admiration. Here was power, here was greatness, here was strength. It radiated from Iruka's body like an aura of power, and he his bloodred eyes reflected off the darkness. Kutrak felt so insignifent beside this being of power, like he was nothing at all.
"What do you want to say?" Asked Kouhiimaru, guarded. He was also powerful, and move with deadly grace.
"I have a preposition for you." Kefo answered, struggling to keep his voice from trembling. "You know of the shockwave that had destroyed much of the arena. It will be here soon-" He was cut off suddenly.
Ghost floated to his leader's side. "Kill them at once, lord." He snarled. "They are nothing but Glatorian scum, worth only as zombies to serve me."
"No! Let him speak!" snarled Kouhiimaru and Kawa, almost in the same breath. Iruka looked undecided.
"We will give you anything." Kutrak said. "And once our foes are eliminated, we will decide the victor."
Ghost snarled his displeasure. Iruka, however, looked interested. And Kefo and Kutrak waited, waited for the leader of the Fallen Six to decide the fate of both them and their alliance.
Iruka spoke again.
The besieged toa army had been nearly defeated. Surrounded on all sides by over one hundred soldiers, they had stood no chance against the armies of Antidax. When Blast had appeared on the cliff's edge, leading the charge into the crevice at the edge of the Void, Fairon noticed it took them a couple of minutes to react.
"Fire! Fire you fools!" Antidax screamed at his armies. A hulking Makuta from the Brotherhood of Fear turned as Zamor bullets began flying through the air at the Toa. Fairon saw Stradax stagger as he was struck by a Zamor bullet, and saw Avarus fall, shelled by the Order of Darkness armies. Fairon dodged one, then watched as Tanuva engaged a soldier Kodax. Like on the first bloody day of the Games, there was no hope of knowing who was alive or dead. Peices of armor and crushed bodies were falling across the battlefield. Fairon saw a powerful looking Toa of Air drag a Kodax into the void with him, and Tanuva falling beneath an onslaught of Kodax warriors. Fairon broke apart from the Kodax he was fighting, and threw his lance at Tanuva's attacker. The Kodax, run completely through by Fairon's lance, fell to the ground. Tanuva stood up.
"Nice throw." He grinned, then vanished into the battle. Fairon still did not intirely trust the Toa. They were uneasy allies for the moment, but for just how long Fairon was uncertain. Even Leviathos or Blast might spear him through the back any second.
I have no friends here. Only enemies.
Fairon, unarmed, punched a Kodax in the face and sent him reeling. As he reached for his spear, a Makuta charged him. Fairon recognized Necuas, a shadowy Brotherhood of Fear Makuta. He slashed out with a wingblade and flung Fairon backward. Necuas charged him and slashed down on the Toa with a sword. Fairon dodged, and Necuas cursed in rage. Fairon grabbed the spear and raised it against the Makuta's charge. Necuas struck, smashing the blade apart with a single claw. The Makuta struck out, claws extended about to strike Fairon-
There was an explosion of blood and flames as Necuas' corpse was flung backward, consumed instantly by a Flame Gun, leaving nothing but charred, smouldering fragments of a Makuta. Fairon saw Jetrak, a Toa warrior, aim to fire the Flame Gun at another opponent bearing down on him. Fairon dodged a Kodax spearfighter and joined Jetrak, who was fighting Kaluu and a Shadow Toa he recognized as Shadrus. He struck Shadrus dead on, crushing his armor apart, while Jetrack readied to fire the Flame Gun at Kaluu. Fairon grabbed the stunned Shadow Toa's sword and lept at Kaluu, who slashed Fairon against the cliffs with a swipe of his hand. Fairon lept to his feet and struck Kaluu even as the dark Makuta tore Jetrak from limb to limb, peices of his corpse landing on the ground. As Fairon reached out for the Flame Gun, Shadrus sank his teeth into Fairon's shoulder. Fairon whirled around as he grabbed the Flame Gun, postitioning to fire at Shadrus. Kaluu roared and flung the two beings off him as Fairon fired, his blast reducing Shadrus to a pile of ashes in seconds. Kaluu turned on Fairon as Fairon whirled the Gun around to aim at the Makuta lord. Kaluu tore a deep gouge in Fairon's armor, crushing Fairon's already dented chestplate to shreds. He raised his claw for the final blow as Fairon aimed the Flame Gun at him. Kaluu struck out, crushing the Gun and grabbing it from Fairon's hands in an instant just as Fairon fired.
"Do you really believe that such a weak weapon could ever succed-" He began, but Fairon had already fired, and the crushed remnent of the Flame Gun exploded in his face. Kaluu screamed as the fire ate away his face, his hands, and finally consumed him in a firey inferno. The burning Makuta staggered away from Fairon before his charred body collapsed, smouldering, on the cold earth. Fairon turned as a Shadow Matoran sprung at him, then slammed into an unnarmed Kodax. The Kodax threw a punch, and Fairon staggerd backwards, breath knocked out of him. The Kodax raised his hand for another blow, but Fairon was faster, dodging the blow, grabbing a spear, and raising the spear above his head. The Kodax's shriek of triumph was cut off by a a half-scream, and Fairon saw that the Kodax's neck was impaled on a spear. Fairon ripped the spear out, then turned on another Kodax, stabbing it through the leg. As the Kodax fell, Fairon turned to survey the battlefield at the edge of the void.
The two armies were scattering, mostly the Toa and the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna forces. The Toa were either fleeing or turning on each other, and the Brotherhood was scattering because they no longer had any organized command. Under Tetrack, they had been a powerful force, and under Valthrak they were able to retain control over much of the arena, but now, with no centralized command, the Brotherhood was scattering. The Brotherhood of Fear, despite the loss of senior leadership, was still holding its own against the Toa army. And Antidax's Order of Darkness, while numbering about twelve warriors left, was still fighting. Around them, the shockwave was closing in, and Fairon knew if they didn't stop it soon, even the eye of the storm would be doomed, and Nightwatcher would win the Eternal Game.
But a thought still nagged him:
If we kill Nightwatcher, are we helping Antidax?
Fairon did not know the answer to that question.
We'll think about Antidax later. Nightwatcher must be stopped first if we are to win the Eternal Game.
But he knew that only one could survive, and he wondered what, in the end, would happen to them.
Will I have to kill Blast or Tanuva? He thought. Or worse, Leviathos? Could I do that?
And the worst part was, Fairon knew, after being in these cames, that he could.
Seeing Blast and Tanuva fighting back-to-back against a small group of Brotherhood of Gigas Magna soldiers, Fairon motioned to them.
"Come. We have to stop Nightwatcher now!" Tanuva nodded, and the three Toa charged toward the raised incline, where Nightwatcher was fighting Malok, ready for the final confrontation.
Nightwatcher's green eyes glowed in the darkness as he watched Antidax hurl another bolt of shadow at him. Nightwatcher dodged, but was unable to stop Malok's next strike. Searing pain- a feeling he had not felt in years- shot through his body. With a roar of rage, Antidax fired again, crushing Nightwatcher's shoulderplate to dust, causing Nightwatcher to stagger, off balance. Malok raised his shining sword to strike again, but Nightwatcher blocked the blade with a glowing Skrall tribal blade he'd found at he beginning of the games.
Nightwatcher surveyed the battlefield. Only eleven contestants were still fighting, the rest were Kodax and Toa. Nightwatcher estimated that less then thirty Toa still stood, and about ten Kodax still fought. A two Makuta from the Brotherhood of Fear were fighting, while about five soldiers of Tetrack's Brotherhood continued to fight in small groups. Antidax was winning. His plan was nearly completed. And while Nightwatcher cared nothing for the lives of the Toa, he knew that Antidax had to be stopped if he were to win the Games.
Nightwatcher's shockwave had pressed closer to the battling warriors, and the massive pryrimid of Scarabax still covered the moon. Nightwatcher could hear the Kodax announcer's voice announcing the death toll for the day.
Malok turned on Nightwatcher, snarling, as Antidax struck the Toa of Shadow. Armor was torn to shreds as the two most powerful contestents in the games fought to the death. Nightwatcher saw a golden blur appear as Tanuva fired rounds from a Shatterer at Malok, impacting across the Makuta's armor. Blast raised a large blade above his head and stabbed Malok through the leg. The Makuta stumbled, and Leviathos charged him, hauling him toward the edge of the cliff. Malok roared and lashed out at Tanuva. The Toa of Infinity tried to dodge as the shape-shifter's claws began to grow larger and he struck Tanuva, crushing his armor and body and wounding him horribly. Blast turned and stabbed at Malok again, and Malok barely dodged the blow. Nightwatcher whipped around as Antidax, snarling, struck him again, his bloodred eyes glowing with hatred as shadow energy exploded in Nightwatcher's face. His mask melted across his face, and blinded, he staggered backward. Antidax attacked again, darkness striking Nightwatcher again and again. Nightwatcher, able to see again, whipped his blade through the air and aimed for Antidax's neck. Antidax dodged, and Nightwatcher's blade buried itself in his shoulder. Nightwatcher ripped the blade out, and slashed his blade with lightning speed, hitting Antidax and drawing back faster than a doom viper. Antidax turned on Nightwatcher, his face bleeding and his armor dented, and blocked Nightwatcher's next blow. Nightwatcher turned and saw the Toa who were fighting Malok were watching their conflict in amazement. Antidax struck out with one spear, and Nightwatcher's blade flung it from his hands. Antidax's second blade cut out, beneath Nightwatcher's guard, and Antidax's blade struck Nightwatcher's side. Nightwatcher turned on Antidax, tearing through his other shoulderplate with his sword, and Antidax flung shadow in his face. Antidax blocked Nightwatcher's strike, and Nightwatcher countered Antidax's next bolt with a bolt of destruction of his own. Their dark lightning struck each other midair, and they cancelled each other out. Nightwatcher was able to get another bolt out at Antidax before the great being could ready his own blow, and the two beings redied their blades and prepared to fight to the death for the last time.
Blast lashed out at Malok, and the Makuta blocked, turning on the badly wounded Tanuva. Fairon hit the Makuta from the other side, while Leviathos tore Malok's armor apart, his brutal teeth sinking into Malok's chestplate. Fairon turned and readied to strike Malok again, but the Makuta was too fast and vanished back into the battle. Blast noticed that Nightwatcher's shockwave was nearly up to the cliffs now, and almost all of the Toa soldiers were dead. Even the Order of Darkness soldiers were falling. As Blast slashed at Malok again, a shadow reared up behind him.
Spinorak! Krakanus' deputy had appeare out of nowhere, and Blast narrowly dodged his first blow. Spinorak's claws grabbed him and shoved him against the cliff face. Blast lashed out, and Spinorak's shadow hand tightened it grip. Spinorak was laughing as Blast suffocated, his vision blurring as Shardak appeared out of nowhere, grabbing a gun and aiming it at Spinorak. And then Spinorak's cold eyes glazed over, and he began to fall, and the shadow hand vanished, and Spinorak's body disintegrated and his dust scattered on the wind.
Shardak walked over to Blast, the gun in one hand, the Blade of Arcturas in the other.
"I've finally found you!" Shardak smiled. "You're alive!"
Then his face fell. "But Blast, I've done terrible things here."
"So have I, Shardak." Said Blast, thinking of Benjarmin and the Element Lord of Robotics, and the Torshurr he'd used as a diversion to escape the Baterra. "So have I."
Shardak helped Blast to his feet. "We have to stop Malok! He'll kill Leviathos soon if we don't stop him!" Shardak and Blast charged the Makuta lord together, Shardak aiming and firing the disintegrator at Malok. Malok dodged, and Blast raised his sword and slashed the Makuta across the chest. Malok turned and swiped Blast's legs out from under him, and the Toa fell to the ground. Leviathos ripped another gouge in Malok's armor, and watched as the Makuta was forced back. Malok brought down his claw on Fairon, and the Toa crumpled to the ground. Blast could tell that he was alive, but injured. Fairon stood up, his mask smashed across his face, and charged at Malok. Before Malok could kill Fairon, Shardak struck the Makuta across the back with the flat of his sword. Malok roared in pain and fury and flung Shardak to the ground. Before he could get up, Malok reared above him and readied to bring down his claws on Shardak. And Blast knew what was about to happen a second before it did.
Malok struck down on Shardak, slashing Shardak's hand just as Shardak raised the gun and fired. Malok slashed the gun from his hand just as it struck him directly in the chest, leaving nothing but dust to mark the leader of the Brotherhood of Fear's passing.
A Kodax charged up the mountainside and slashed out at Fairon with a short sword. Fairon blocked, decapitating the Kodax, and charged down into the valley to stop the Kodax from mounting the cliff. The last of the toa were dead, and now the Kodax wished to join their leader. Fairon cut a Kodax in two with his sword, then lopped off the head of another. A third peirced him through his unarmored side, and Fairon slashed off the tip of his spear and consumed him in a flash of light.
Suddenly a blur of incorporeal energy appeared beside him as a tall Toa of Twilight began to meterialize beside him. Even before he had finished the morph, Fairon knew who he beheld. Zaeron.
The Toa's face was a mask of hatred. "This is my victory. My games. I will destroy you all!"
"You're insane." Fairon managed to get out.
"Shut UP!" screamed Zaeron. "I'll rip you to shreds!"
He began to morph into a hulking red beast as he hurled himself at Fairon. Hands changed to claws, Kanohi warped and changed. Zaeron's half-morphed body had nearly reached him, half-claws extended. Fairon knew he was going to die, knew this was the end. Time seemed to be slowing down as Zaeron was about to strike. His claws were fully morphed now, and they extended-
Time was slowing down. Fairon saw Leviathos rear up behind Zaeron, spatial powers at his hands. Zaeron was vanishing, trying to return to his incorporeal shape, but he was vanishing into a dark void. His insane, dying eyes stared into Fairon's as his body disintegrated into the void of space, leaving behind a black void identical to the one in the ground, where the Kodax were fighting against Shardak and Blast, Shardak consuming multipule targets with the Disintegrator.
Fairon stood up, looking at Leviathos in awe. "That was a new one."
"I used by Time abilities like I never have before, sucking him back into a time when he never existed. When nothing ever existed."
Fairon shuddered, wondering what he would do if the games came down to him and Leviathos.
"We have to stop Nightwatcher now!" Fairon saw that the shockwave had nearly reached the cliffs.
This is our last hope to defeat Nightwatcher.
Antidax snarled in rage as he blocked a whip made of shadow that Nightwatcher had slashed him with and retaliated with one of his own. Nightwatcher staggered backwards, and Antidax fired three pulses of Shadow at Nightwatcher. Nightwatcher's claw swiped away one, and his sword blocked the other, but the third hit his leg. Nightwatcher'svision blurred, and he was weak, so weak he could barely fight. Antidax slashed a clawed hand at Nightwatcher, but Nightwatcher blocked it, and slashed Antidax's chest open. Antidax retaliated with a blast of shadow energy, and Nightwatcher was barely able to block it. Antidax fired again, and Nightwatcher was sent flying into the cliffs. He quickly stood, and Antidax shot a whip of shadows at him. Nighwatcher turned, but Antidax's Kanohi began to glow, and terrible wounds began to reopen on Nightwatcher's body.
Oh, Karzahni. The Kanohi Sempra. Nightwatcher thought, parrying another blow from Antidax.
Suddenly Blast lept at Nightwatcher, knocking the Toa of Shadow off-balance. Nightwatcher turned, and staggered away from Antidax's next blow. Antidax readied his sword for the killing strike, when Shardak raised the Shatterer and aimed it at Antidax while Blast turned and stabbed Antidax though the side. With a swipe of his claws, Antidax flung Blast out of the way. As Shardak locked on his target, Antidax turned on him. His Sempra glowed, and suddenly wounds appeared on Shardak's legs and hands, causing him to stagger backward to the edge of the cliff. As more wounds appeared on his chest, he lost his balance and fell off the edge of the cliff into the void.
Shardak!" screamed Blast as he saw his friend vanish into the void far, far below, until he vanished. "No!' Hatred for Antidax burned within Blast, and he flung his blade at the Great Being. Antidax blocked the blow, but was unable to block a blast of shadow fired at him by Nightwatcher. Blast turned to Tanuva, who lay wounded on the ground, and saw Levaithos and Fairon racing up the cliff face, trying to get past the Kodax to reach the remainder of their alliance.
"Shoot a bolt of fire into the sky." Tanuva gasped out. "It's our last chance." Blast looked at the Toa, puzzled, but called on his Elemental Prince powers and shot a bolt of flames into the sky.
Suddenly, six beings broke through Nightwatcher's weakened Shockwave, charging at Antidax and Nightwatcher and smashing their armor apart in a devastating charge. Some charged up the cliff face and struck the Kodax on the cliff face. Blast stared in shock as he saw Iruka, Kouhiimaru, Ghost, Kawa, Kutrak, Kefo... All charging up the slope and cleaving through the Kodax. Antidax snaled and slashed Kutrak in two, then stabbed out at Kawa, who dodged and raised her spear to strike him down. Antidax blocked the blow and retaliated with another, stabbing Kawa across the chest. Kawa turned around, sealing her death fate. Antidax's Sempra glowed as the power conained within tore open her neck and she fell dead to the ground. Kouhimaru was still fighting alongside Kefo, and Iruka charged at Nightwatcher.
Nightwatcher turned and fired a bolt of shadow at Iruka, crushing the leader of the Fallen Six against the cliff and brought it down on top of him.
Nightwatcher turned to Antidax. "Sorry for the distraction." He charged, and Antidax blocked his first strike. Nightwatcher parried, and slashed out again, striking the Great Being across the back. Antidax turned on Nightwatcher, and flung his body backward against the cliffs. Nightwatcher stood, and slashed out at Antidax, forcing him back a step. Antidax flung all his power into the next attack, crushing Nightwatcher's armor to peices. Nightwatcher blocked Antidax's downward thrust, and stabbed Antidax through his leg. Antidax stumbled, and attacked again, this time goring Nightwatcher's face. Blood fell in Nightwatcher's eyes, leaving him blinded and weakened terribly. Antidax charged forward, grabbing Maserix's corpse. The shockwave was weakening, receading. Nightwatcher cleared the blood from his eyes and struck Antidax again, crushing the Great Being against the cliff face. Antidax dodged Nightwatcher's strike, and slashed Nightwatcher across his knee.
But Nightwatcher could no longer feel pain. His body was completely numb to everything, save one thought: Kill Antidax.
Antidax charged down on him, and Nightwacher grabbed the Disintegrator. As Antidax struck, he fired. Antidax's mental sheilds blocked most of the blow, but he was unable to stop it all, and his arm didintegrated into nothingness, leaving just the ematicated, useless bone. Antidax screeched and crushed Nightwatcher's body agaistthe cliff, but Nightwatcher blocked the blow and smashed the last of Antidax's armor to nothingness.
Below, the Brotherhood of Fear disintegrated into nothing as the soldiers were consumed by the lightning. The Brotherhood of Gigas Magna scattered as word of their elite commanders' deaths spread throughout the battlefield. The Kodax were fighting a losing battle against Tanuva, Blast, Kefo, and Kouhiimaru. And Antidax felt despair as his last, greatest plan began to unravel before him.
Nightwatcher charged again, crushing Antidax's armor beneath his blade and goring him through the chest. Antidax struck with his blade again, his Sempra opening wounds on Nightwatcher's body. Nightwatcher fell backward and Antidax stabbed him through his side. Nightwatcher dropped his sword and raised both his arms in an uppercut, smashing Antidax's body and flinging the Great Being away from him. Nightwatcher slashed out with his claw, disarming Antidax, and moving with grace bespite his injuries, caught the blade and stabbed Antidax throught he heart. The Great Being's eyes glazed over as he saw his plan fall apart around him utterly. His body convulsed once, then lay still.
Wounded horibly, Nightwatcher stood, taking the remaining power from Antidax and Maserix's bodies and readied the shockwave, willing it to destroy every last one of his opponents.
And then the moon appeared. Nightwatcher turned, and saw a starcraft, burning horribly, fall through the atmosphere and consume the pillairs of Scarabax, allowing the moon to shine over the arena, casting light opon the final battle below. And then Leviathos stood, his armor nothing but tatters, and rasied his arms, calling the spatial powers he had discovered, turning the shockwave into nothingness.
Nightwatcher saw Giriahk land beside him and grow, until it stood taller than he did.
So the shockwave did not finish them off. Nightwatcher observed, his face impassive. I will do it personally.
Then he heared a cracking noise coming from below the cliff, the one Nightwatcher had brought down.
Iruka, his armor crushed and broken and his sword pitted and scarred, stood, his eyes burning with dark power as he rose from the ruin of the cliff and hurled himself at Nightwatcher.
Iruka fought Nightwatcher across the cliff face, his huge sword cutting into Nightwatcher's back. Nightwatcher may have once been powerful, but his fight with Antidax had been exhausting and the destruction of his shockwave had taken the last of his energy, Still, he was a powerful opponent, and still hoped to win the Eternal Game. Iruka slashed Nightwatcher through the chest, and Nightwatcher screeched and raked his sword across Iruka's back. Both beings, their armor pitted, broken, and destroyed, fought each other across the edge of the Void, both trying to kill the other. Meanwhile, on the other side of the cliffs, the battle had become a free-for-all. After the death of Antidax, the leaderless Brotherhood of Gigas Magna soldiers had surendered or fled, and the remainder of the Order of Darkness scattered, trying to destroy the remaining contestants. There were now only about ten contestants left in the games now, and Blast struggled to remember their names.
Leviathos, Fairon, me, Nightwatcher, Tanuva, Kefo, Serrakaan, Dredzek, Spaunah, Ghost, Iruka, and a few others. The betting must be getting really hot in the Kodax/Corpse Empire now, and all were betting on which contestants would survive the day.
Blast saw a Toa of lightning he recognized as Kelvar, a servant of the Makuta, fling bolts of lightning across the battlefield, electrocuting Kefo. The Glatorian's fried body fell to the ground. Tanuva roared in rage and lept at Kelvar, raking off the Toa's head with his sword. Her head went in one direction, her body the other. Her last bolt electrified a Kodax warrior, and wounded another. Tanuva lept at Blast, and it was clear their alliance was over. This was the final battle of the games, and only one could survive. Blast saw the burning starship come hurling down through the dark sky and crush the pyramid of Scarabax to nothingness, and wondred if any contestants were still aboard. Kouhiimaru was fighting Leviathos, and Ghost had decapitated a Kodax and turned on Girahk. The Rahkshi grew bigger, slashing out at Ghost, who turned and slashed his glowing Crystal Scythe through the air, striking Girahk's chestplate. Blast cleaved through a Kodax and charged into the bloodbath, his blade slashing off the tip of a Kodax's spear. Blast saw Kouhiimaru charge him, his blood coating his body from head to foot, and stabbed his spear through Blast's shoulder. Blast stabbed his blade through Kouhiimaru's side, and Kouhiimaru smashed his fist into Blast's unarmored chest. Blast turned around and stabbed at Kouhiimaru, but the Fallen Six member blocked his blow, and stabbed his spear into Blast's side. Blast turned and lashed out with a blast of flames, and temporarily blinded Kouhiimaru. Kouhiimaru's burning face appeared as he walked through the flames, his body burning as he aimed his spear for Blast's heart. Blast dodged the blow, and the blade struck the earth. Blast saw Leviathos, the corpse of a Kodax haning from his claws, rip a huge gouge in the dark Toa's body. Kouhiimaru speared Leviathos through the side, and Leviathos roared in pain and tore the ninja apart. Kouhiimaru flung his body against Leviathos, and stabbed his spear into Leviathos' chest. Leviathos broke away from the horribly wounded toa, and as Kouhiimaru charged, Leviathos braced himself for Kouhiimaru's blow, and as the Toa struck, Leviathos slashed Kouhiimaru nearly in half. His body fell to the ground. Blast saw a Kodax sprung at him, but he blocked the speartip, and stabbed the Kodax through the face.
Suddenly he saw another being appear before him, and then he saw Dredzek charge into the valley near the Void. The Blood Summoner. Blast thought.
Serrakaan. He whispered, and the name itself chilled him horribly. Dredzek was fighting Serrakaan, using the Scythe of Creation. His claws were slashing down at the Makuta, and Serrakaan's powers opened terrible wounds in Dredzek's body. He saw Leviathos tear a Kodax apart as it lept high into the air to strike him, then Ghost appeared, swinging his Crystal Scythe. Leviathos slashed out at Ghost, trying to use his time powers, but was unable to use them after the energy it had taken to erase Zaeron. Ghost stabbed his Crystal Scythe through Leviathos' chest, and Leviathos felt his body chill. He slashed out with his claws, but was unable to strike the phantom. Ghost slashed out again, and too late, Leviathos realized he was standing at the edge of the Void. Ghost charged Leviathos, and their battle continued. Blast locked blades with Tanuva, and thrust his sword down through Tanuva's legs. Tanuva slashed out again helplessly, and Blast, hating himself for what he was about to do, slashed at Tanuva's legs and readied to stab the Toa through the neck.
There was a screech as an orange blur appeared before him, and Blast saw Tanuva's mangled body hanging from his talons. Tabaris. Blast thought. The one remaining contestant. Tabaris cut down with his sword, and Blast dodged out of the way. Blast saw Tanuva, badly wounded, slip away from the battle and flee. Blast stabbed out at Tabaris, but Tabaris blocked his blow with fluid ease and smashed Blast's body against the cliffs. There was a terrible explosion of pain in Blast's back as the Toa realized how badly wounded he was. He saw Spaunah's corpse fall from his body, and he knew she had been killed in the fall. But he had to be strong. For Shardak. Blast hoped fevrantly that Shardak was still alive, and that one day, if he won the Game, he could find his friend. Blast looked over the battlefield to identify the remaining fighters. Only two Kodax were still fighting, and Levaithos and Ghost were locked in a desprate struggle. Nightwatcher and Iruka were still fighting as well, and Fairon was fighting beside Leviathos. Eleven of us left. Blast thought. He noticed Ghost was fighting the Rahkshi of Growth. The Rahkshi would grow larger, then Ghost would use his crystal scythe and shoot antimagic rays at the Rakshi. The Rahkshi collapsed backward, and slshed out at Ghost, but Ghost dodged and gored the rising Rahkshi through the heart.
Eleven warriors to finish off.
Blast charged back into the battle, swinging his sword at random. He saw a Kodax turn halfway around just as Blast cut off his head. The other Kodax charged him, blocking his first blow, then, as he slashed out at him, dodged away from Blast's blade. Blast saw the Kodax leap at Leviathos, and the two warriors tumbled to the ground. Ghost, his Crystal Scythe dripping blood, appeared before Blast. Blast tried to block the blow, but Ghost's Crystal Scythe slashed down on him, and icy pain spread through his body. Ghost attacked again, forcing Blast to the very edge of the Void. Blast struck out, but his blade simply passed through Ghost's. Ghost's icy scythe stabbed Blast through the arm, and Blast was unable to block the blade. A freezing pain spread through his body, and he staggered on the edge of the Void.
"Good-bye, Toa." Said Ghost as Blast's body pitched over the edge of the Void.
Nightwatcher saw Blast fall into the Void, and knew he had one less contestant to finish off. Iruka blocked his next strike, and slashed across Nightwatcher's undefended chest. Nightwatcher cut down on Iruka, but Iruka dodged away from the blow, and smashed his spear into Iruka's face. Iruka screamed in rage and slashed his blade across Nightwatcher's side. The Shadow Toa blocked, and Iruka speared his sword into Nightwatcher's stomach. Nightwatcher ducked away from Iruka's strike, and flung a bolt of Shadow at the Dark lord. Iruka retaliated, and used his sword to block the blow. Nightwatcher shot another bolt of darkness at Iruka, and Iruka staggered away from Nightwatcher. Nightwatcher slashed Iruka's side, and Iruka speared him in his chest. Iruka's claws flashed in the moonlight as he raked them down Nightwatcher's face. Nightwatcher punched Iruka in the face, and Iruka reeled backward. Iruka recovered quickly, and clawed Nightwatcher across the back. Nightwatcher grabbed Iruka, but Iruka tore himself away from Nightwatcher's grasp and slashed his sword across Nightwatcher's undefended chest. Nightwatcher retailiated, spearing Iruka through the shoulder, and Iruka stabbed Nightwatcher's leg. Nightwatcher stabbed out at Iruka, and Iruka flung at bolt of Shadow at him. Suddenly Nightwatcher noticed that Iruka had lured him to the edge of the Void. How could I have missed that? Nightwatcher thought, then realized how weakened he was from his fight with Antidax. Nightwatcher struck out at Iruka, but Iruka, disarmed him and grabbed his blade midair, stabbing his swords through Nightwatcher's chest. Nightwatcher saw the Rahkshi of Growth, its body horribly rusted and torn, fall over the edge and disappear into nothingness, and saw Ghost raise his Scythe in victory. Nightwatcher stabbed out at Iruka, but Iruka kicked him in the chest and stabbed Nightwatcher through the shoulder. Nightwatcher grabbed Iruka's body, and Iruka speared him across his chest. He flailed in Nightwatcher's grasp and they both threw bolts of shadow, but nothing could stop their bodies as they gained speed at he edge of the void-and fell over the edge. The two horribly wounded beings fell in a ragged free-fall, plummeting deep into the chasm until they disspeared from view.
Fairon slashed apart the last remianing Kodax, and tore a wound in Dredzek's body. Dredzek snarled in rage, and his Scythe ripped a gash in Fairon's chest. Leviathos was still fighting Ghost, but he was fighting a losing battle. Ghost was far too powerful to be defeated easily. Dredzek slashed his claws down Serrakaan's back, and Serrakaan responded by tearing a gouge in Dredzek's armor with his mask power. Leviathos tore through Serrakaan's armor, trying to escape Ghost's wrath. Ghsot turned on him, and slashed the Crystal Scythe down Leviathos' back. Leviathos struck out at Ghost, tearing a horrible wound in the Angel of Death's chest. Ghost slashed out with his Crystal Scythe, but Leviathos, his eyes raging, smashed the scythe to peices with a blast of dark energy. Ghost screamed as he realized his Scythe had been destroyed, and grabbed Leviathos. Leviathos broke free from Ghost's grasp, and Ghost struck out with his claw, cutting Leviathos' chest open. Fairon knew at that moment there was no chance that Leviathos would survive. Leviathos gagged on his own blood, and turned, staggering, away from the Dark One. Ghost slashed out again, backing Leviathos against the cliff face. Leviathos flailed desprately in his grasp, but was unable to stop Ghost's claw from cutting a second horrible wound across his chest. His dying eyes turned to lock with Fairon's, and he spoke in a half-whisper.
"If you ever..." Leviathos gasped to Fairon as he wrestled with Ghost. "Return alive to Gigas Magna..." He chocked out as Ghost cut down with the Scythe again. Leviathos gagged on his own blood. "Tell them I did this...for freedom." Then he grabbed Ghost and slashed out at the Dark Angel with his scythe. Ghost snarled as Leviathos tried to punch him, but could not dodge Leviathos' next blow, and with one more heave, Leviathos hauled the last member of the Fallen Six into the void of darkness with him.
"Leviathos!" Fairon screamed as he saw his friend disspear over the edge of the chasm. A red blur flashed past him. Fyxon! Fyxan's brother had appeared out of nowhere, and the dark red warrior lept at him and stabbed down with his spear. Fairon slashed up at Fyxon, and smashed his spear to bits. He raised his hand, and Fyxon thudded against the rocks where he landed, limp. Fairon saw Tabaris break away from Serrakaan, and decided it was time to get the Karzahni out of the Void. And only one thought ran through his mind.
Eight of us left. Only eight.
Fairon stopped running in a small clearing. He was near the edge of the gameboard, but none of Tetrack's alliance, who had last controlled the area, came after him. Fairon guessed that they were still in the chasm, fighting the remainder of the Fallen Six or the other contestants. He could only wait, trying to count who had survived the battle at the chasm.
Fyxon is alive. He thought. But so far, he hasn't really made many offensive attacks. With so few left, I doubt he would try to take on a Toa on his own. There's also that Kodax soldier who escaped the battle, but he's not a real threat. He struggled to remember the rest. Tabaris. He's a threat, as is Dredzek and Serrakaan. That leaves me, Phoenix, and Tanuva.
Without Leviathos, Fyxan, or the other members of the alliance that had entered the battle with him, Fairon felt alone and lost. Only one of their original team still lived, and with so few warriors left in the area, Fairon knew he would not rejoin him. He wanted to win. As for the other alliances, either all or most of the Fallen Six were dead, and only Fyxon, the Kodax, and Phoenix remained from Tetrack's original alliance of the Brotherhood of Fear, the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna, and the Order of Darkness.
The alliances are fracturing.
Fairon's thoughts were cut short as he heard the Kodax announcer's voice booming over the arena. In a cold, impassive tone, the announced the names of the dead.
"Girahk, Nightwatcher, Leviathos, Shardak, Antidax, Blast, Kelvar, Kouhiimaru, Mata Nui, Kefo, Kutrak, Kaluu, Spinorak..." The list went on. Fairon realized nearly twenty contestants, as well as about thirty of Antidax's servants and over ten Toa. Fairon realized that Iruka had not been listed in the death toll. Could he have somehow survived his fight with Nightwatcher? Fairon thought it seemed hopeless, as Nightwatcher had literally flung them both into the chasm, but realized that Iruka may have, on the way down, been able to save himself by digging his claws into the stone. Another threat. Fairon thought, and he wondered how he would survive on his own in the arena, where everyone wanted to kill him. When the Games began, he had been with Fyxan, Leptys, and Brominax, and later he had been part of the alliance with the small group of Toa who had opposed Antidax's team. But after the battle at the chasm, all of his erstwhile allies had either been slain or had fled. But Fairon knew he had to win. To honor his promise to Leviathos.
Fairon rested for a while, and awoke to the rays of sunlight streaming over the hills. A brilliant sun had risen over the arena, very different from the weak one that had shone before. It seemed almost paradoxical, that such a beautiful sunrise could shine over a place where so much death had taken place. And Fairon felt, more than ever, his impotence.
The Corpsians are turning me into someone I don't want to be, someone as evil as they are. The arena is warping me horribly. How can I even think about killing Tanuva, a Toa who was once as noble as I was?
Fairon knew he could not answer those questions. He felt as though he was slowly losing his identity, killing parts of himself as he killed his opponents.
Fairon waited for another few minutes, watching the sunrise, then moved on. He needed something to treat his injuries. His wounds were festering, and could kill him if they were not treated properly. Then it hit him, almost like a physical blow. The Fallen Six! The Fallen Six, before attacking the other contestants in the violent battle near the Void, had based themselves around the volcano. Fairon had witnessed their battle with Tetrack's Kodax team on the cliffs. He was willing to bet that they had left their supplies at camp, not brought them, intending to return to their stores after the battle was done. But now the organization was scattered, broken, most of the members dead and their leader lost in the Void. Fairon knew that they had probably left border guards, as well as guards at camp, to protect their supplies. What guards, he did not know. He had seen three or four undead in the battles at the void, and wondered if they were under the control of Ghost or the others. Fairon wondered what Kutrak and Kefo had promised them for their help in the battle.
He was sure it was nothing pretty.
Of course, the Six had their own agenda, and had betrayed the group for their own power after the death of Antidax. Fairon turned, careful to watch for any of the other contestants from Antidax's alliance, or even another fighter, who may have enroached on Tetrack's erstwhile territory after the death of Antidax. But no one appeared to challenge him, and Fairon entered the Fallen Six's territory. Fairon turned his head, making out the chamuflaged forms of three undead. All three were Toa, but not ones he recognized. They had not spotted him yet. Fairon walked silently through the charred undergrowth, trying hard not to be seen. Fortunately for him, the zombies had extremely bad eysight and were unable to distinguish his form from those of the charred shrubs.
Fairon aimed his lance of light, completely confident that he could finish off the zombies in an instant. An arc of light cut through the bright sky, consuming the first undead instantly. A second undead whirled around, and Fairon fired two more bolts, consuming the zombies.
Three down. Fairon thought, but something nagged at him. Too easy. The Fallen Six would have left more border guards.
Then, too late, he percieved the diabolical cunning of the Corpsians. It was a way for them to lure the nine beings still trapped in the arena into a single area to kill each other. Iruka, the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna, and the remaining contestants would be there, knowing that the Fallen Six would have kept most of their supplies at camp. After the battles at the Void, the crowds would be thirsty for more bloodshed. It was time for the beings locked in the arena to fight once more.
Darkness began to fall over the arena, confirming Fairon's suspicions. The weak illumination would force the contestants who did not have sufficient night vision to use their elemental powers or some other type of light to see well, thus betraying their location to the other competitors. Fairon snapped his fingers, and a faint light shone in the darkened arena. He was leaving the forest, and returning to the sights of the initial battles, as well as the volcano caves, where the supplies would lie, there for the taking.
This is insane. Fairon thought. I'm about to run into a free-for-all against Iruka, Phoenix, and the others. He thought of his homeworld, and the planet of Gigas Magna, under the harsh rule of the Kodax and their Corpsian overlords. He thought of Rantu, Vinax, and all the other Toa of the Order of Mata Nui. They would all be gathered at Gigas Nui, watching and cheering for him. The thought of returning home gave him strength.
Fairon's thoughts were inturrupted as he saw another light flashing past his face. Fyxon! He cursed, and fired a bolt of light at the Kodax traitor. It clipped him on his forearm, and he fell past Fairon's line of vision. He saw Fyxon stand and run, engaging a dark, cowled figure in combat. Blood flowed from his wounds, and Fairon recognized Serrakkan as blood exploded from Fyxon's body and he fell dead to the ground.
Seeing that the storm had broken, Dredzek, his armor gleaming in the half-light, grabbed a sack of supplies and charge for the cliff. An undead struck him, startling the Makuta and causing him to drop his supplies. Fairon made out the form of the Kodax, a spear in his hands, enter the battlefield and stab Dredzek through his side. Fairon spun around, expecting to see more Brotherhood of Gigas Magna members appear.
There was a stab of pain, and Fairon winced, collapsing on the ground, a dagger in his leg. He saw Phoenix appear from the darkness, another knife in her hand, poised to throw. She flung the blade at him, and Fairon raised his arm to block the blow from striking his heart and killing him. He winced in pain as the blade struck him through his arm, deadening it completely. He raised the Lance, aiming for her heart. He flung the spear, but was unable to target correctly and the lance shattered against a rock.
Phoenix smiled as she realized her target was virtually unarmed, and turned on him. Fairon drew a dagger, but was unable to even raise it to throw before Phoenix slammed into him, knocking him to the ground.
"So this is the end of the games." Phoenix said. "I'm going to kill you, Fairon, just like I killed that other toa, Rando. Soon the other contestants will exterminate themselves, and the remainder of my warriors shall win the games." She drew a dagger, and raised it to cut apart his face. Her smile turned pure evil.
"I'm going to cut your body to shreds."
Fairon tried to struggle, but Phoenix drew another dagger and Fairon fell still.
"This is the end of the Games, Fairon. There can only be one victor. And it will be me." She grinned, but her smile was empty, and her eyes pitiless.
"Let's see how well you struggle when your arms and legs are removed." She raised the blade as a shadow loomed behind her. Phoenix screamed and dropped her knives as a large figure lifted her into the air and held her in his armes.
"You killed Rando?" Tanuva's eyes were blazing, his face was a mask of fury. "You pushed him off the starship into the flames?!"
Phoenix struggled, kicking at him uselessly.
"Let go of me, Toa filth!" She screamed, struggling uselessly in his arms. Tanuva's face contorted with rage as he raised her strugging form higher into the air and snapped her spine in two. He tossed her corpse onto the ground and spat at it.
"She deserved to die for what she did to Rando."
"You-knew Rando?" Fairon asked, too stunned by Phoenix's death to say anything else. One second ago this warrior had tried to kill him. Now she lay dead, her body food for the Rahi.
"Yes, I knew him. He was a brave, noble toa, who never was forced to kill anyone in the arena. She killed him." He said, spitting at Phoenix's corpse again. "Shoved him off the cliff of a starship after he had escaped to fires below. He never stood a chance. Now his death has been avenged."
Fairon lay there, absolutly weaponless, waiting for Tanuva or another contestant to come and finish him off.
Tanuva grabbed a sack of supplies. "Take this and go." He said solemnly.
"You're not going to kill me?" Fairon asked, not believing what he was hearing.
"You know how this game has twisted us." Tanuva said. "They're trying to turn us against ourselves. If I have to die here, I want to die as a Toa, not as a murderer. I want my last act to be to help someone to win the games nobly, and so that I can die, in my own way, undefeated."
Fairon nodded. "I understand." He said. Tanuva did not want to win the Games. He had nothing left. He just wanted to die as a hero, not live as a dark victor. It was the only way he believed he could atone for what he had done.
"Now go!" Iruka will be here any minute!" He said. "He'll be furious about them taking his supplies! Run!"
Iruka broke thorough the trees, his face a mask of rage as Tanuva grabbed the one remaining sack and fled down the slopes, Iruka after him.
Fairon turned away from the battlefield with the supplies that would save his life, then ran for the trees, where none would find him. Once out of reach of the battling contestants, Fairon opened the bag. Within it, he saw that it contained three small sacks of medicine and three short, stabbing spears. They wouldn't be as useful as his lance of light, but they were usable. His vision was fading, and Fairon knew he was about to lapse into unconsiousness. Using a leaf, he carefully applied the medicine ointment onto his leg, forearm, and chest. The injury on his leg was the worst. Phoenix's dagger had wounded him horribly.
The sky lit up as the Kodax announcer listed the names of the fallen. "Fyxon, Phoenix." Six left. Fairon thought wearily. The Kodax, Iruka, me, Dredzek, Serrakaan, and Tanuva. Fairon clung to consiousness desprately for a single minute, watching the lights flash across the dark night sky of the arena, before the darkess claimed him.
Fairon awoke a few hours later to the sound of tramping feet. More undead. He thought, his green eyes barely making them out in the gloom.
He held one shortspear in each hand, the tip of the spear glowing with his Elemental power. The third he had strapped to his back. Fairon knew he had to be silent, because the undead could easily find him if he made a sound. Slowly, he crawled through the thick undergrowth that served as the border between the Fallen Six's territory and that of the Kodax. Only a single member of that alliance, one of Antidax's soldiers, still lived, and the territory was empty. The Fallen Six's territory, however, was well defended by Iruka's undead soldiers. Fairon wondered if Iruka had killed Tanuva. There was no way to tell if the Toa was still alive, but Fairon felt doubly committed to winning now, to make Tanuva unforgettable.
There was a sharp crrrak as a twig snapped as he dragged his leg over the undergrowth. Oh, Karzahni. Fairon snarled to himself as the undead turned their heads as one. While Fairon was confident he could eliminate them, his trademark powers of light would bring the remainder of the contestants down on him.
Fairon's arc of lightning cut across the charred forest, striking the lead undead dead on, destroying him instantly. His three followers reeacted more quickly, and dodged his next two bolts. They, in unison, raised their weapons, and spoke in dull, hollow tones.
"You are tresspassing on the territory of Iruka the mighty. You must die."
Fairon threw his spear at the zombie that had spoken, goring it through the chest before it could take another step toward him, and blocked the sword of another of the undead. The two others stabbed out in unison, both their spears glancing off Fairon's armor. Fairon decapitated the zombie who had stabbed out first, and blocked the sword of the second. The third attacked while Fairon gored another zombie through the heart, and stabbed its sword through Fairon's wounded leg. Fairon snarled in pain, and stabbed it through the heart. The cold gray eyes of the zombie rolled back into the once-toa's skull and it collapsed dead on the ground. The final zombie parried Fairon's next blow, but was unable to stop his spear from puncturing it's neck, destroying the undead.
Fairon knew that they were not living Toa, just a sadistic reanimation made by Ghost, but it still unsettled him.
Time for this sadistic game to end, once and for all.
Tanuva lept down a rocky cliff face and fired a single blast of elemental fire at his persuer, who flung himself over the edge of the cliff after the Toa. Tanuva turned, and saw Iruka struggling to maintain hold on the sheer cliff. Tanuva slammed against the edge, desprately looking for something that could brake his fall. If he fell off the edge of what had once been the volcano there would be nothing below him to brake his fall. The Toa of Infinity slammed the hilt of his sword against the rocky cliff for support, managing to cling onto a small overhang. A few more, simularly shaped rocks were farther below him.
"I'm coming for you, little toa!" Iruka screeched from somewhere above Tanuva. Tanuva saw Iruka seconds before he was able to react, and the two beings slammed against each other, both falling over the edge of the cliff. Tanuva punched Iruka across his badly scarred chestplate, and writhed out of Iruka's grasp before the dark lord could register the hit. Tanuva grabbed onto the rock face, and Iruka was flung against the cliffs somewhere below him. The leader of the Fallen Six screamed as he was unable to stop himself from colliding head-on to the cliff face, and dislodged the ledge Tanuva was clinging onto. Tanuva lept away, but one of the rocks struck him across his leg, shattering the bone. Tanuva roared in pain, but was dorwned out by Iruka's scream of victory as the Toa of Infinity landed on the ledge where Iruka stood. Iruka stabbed his sword through Tanuva's helpless body, killing the Toa before he could even realize that Iruka's sword was in motion. Tanuva's body fell into the trees far below as Iruka lept of the ledge, watching as the huge boulders that fell from the edge of the mountain crushed Tanuva's corpse to pulp.
Iruka turned away from the scene, a plan slowly forming in his brilliant, twisted mind.
Now, to finish off Fairon...
Fairon crossed into Kodax territory, his twin spears raised as he looked for other opponents. He knew that Tanuva, though the Toa was powerful, could never hold out against the power of Iruka. The dark lord may even have already finished off the Toa of Infinity and was now persuing him.
His thoughts were disrupted as he heard the voice of a Kodax rasp across the arena. It was not the announcer, but the voice was raspy, hissing, and the words were clipped.
"To the final contestants of the Eternal Game: At the first weapons cache you will find a single teleporation ray, that you can use to return to the capital of the Corpse Empire. It is usable once, and it is the only way to leave the arena. May only one return!"
The dark, cold arena became silent once more, and Fairon then knew how the games would resolve. The Corpsians were becoming bored, since the bloodbath the other night, they had witnessed very little action. They wanted a climatic final battle. Tabaris, the Kodax, Serrakaan, and all of the other contestants would be there, desprate to claim the one way to win the Eternal Game. And Fairon thought of brutal Tabaris, who had almost killed Tanuva with a single strike, Serrakaan, who was silent, deadly, and darkly powerful, and Iruka and Dredzek were even more powerful. How could he win? For a moment despair engulfed him.
But when he stood, his eyes were gleaming with anticipation. He could not show weakness, not now, not here.
I can win. I will win, because while they fight for power, greed, or hatred, I fight to be free of the game forever. I fight for Leviathos, Fyxan, Brominax, Tanuva, Ixtil, and the Toa, they fight for themselves. Tanuva gave his life for me, and I owe him to use all my power to win these games-or die fighting.
The Toa of light turned his back on the Fallen Six's empty territory, and readied his spears, ready to fight to the death one final time.
Dredzek stood at the edge of the gameboard, his cold eyes regarding the weapon cache. Once, it would have been protected by Tetrack, or another of his servants, but now, it was unguarded, for there were no alliances left in the Eternal Game. The last of Ghost's undead had been destroyed after the battle at the Fallen Six's base, finishing off the last link between Ghost and Iruka, and of the once-great alliance of Tetrack, Antidax, the Brotherhood of Fear, and the Brotherhood of Gigas Magna, only one Kodax remained.
Dredzek was sure that Iruka had killed the Toa of Infinity. The leader of the Fallen Six was raging after the destruction of Ghost's undead slaves and Tanuva's theft of his supplies, and would kill the Toa easily. Tabaris, though he had not been presant during their struggle at the Fallen Six's base, would not miss his last chance to escape the arena, and the weaker contestants, like the Toa of Light and the Kodax, would be there, hoping to finish off at least one contestant before they were gutted. The only contestant Dredzek feared was Serrakaan, with his bloody powers and his dark cloak.
This is the end of the Games. Dredzek had no doubt of that in his mind. Only one contestant would ever leave the bloodstained arena alive, and after one final night of torture and slaughter, it would be over.
The contestants were all spread around the edge of the cache, waiting for one of them to make a move, to seize the one way out of the arena.
Iruka made his move first. Charging down into the crevice, he had almost reached the sack that contained the Teleporter when Serrakaan barreled into him. Blood exploded from Iruka's body as the Makuta struck him with his skelatal claws, ripping apart his unarmored chest. Iruka roared in pain and lashed out at Serrakaan, and the Makuta dodged away. Dredzek made his move then, rushing toward the cache, where the final battle was about to begin.
Fairon saw Iruka charge, and watched as Dredzek and Serrakaan made their moves. He paused for one moment, trying to take in what had happened, and charged Dredzek. His leg had healed nicely, but he was still slightly off-balance. Out of the corner of his eye, Fairon saw Tabaris, armed with a large sword, as well as a ranged blaster of some sort, charge toward the battlefield. In the darkness, he could make out the silent form of the Kodax, hiding like a shadow in the charred trees at the edge of the gameboard. He did not make any move to try and grab the bag, however. Fairon wondered briefly what he was playing at.
Suddenly the Toa of light felt himself falling, and a sudden stab of pain in his shoulder. He saw that the square that he was standing on had suddenly turned to water, and realized that Tabaris had shot him in the shoulder with an elemental pulse. The water had not done him any serious harm, but it had distracted him. He remembered Ravdev, who had been killed after she had fallen into a pool of lava.
Tabaris fired again, but Fairon was ready, and blocked the pulse with his spear. There was an explosion as his spear was comsumed by the flames. Fairon flung it to the ground. Tabaris readied his sword as Fairon slammed into Dredzek, flinging the Makuta off Iruka. Dredzek snarled in rage, and raked his claws down Fairon's back. Fairon raised his remaining spear, but Dredzek glared at him, and an explosion of shadow struck him in the chest, flinging him backward several bio. Fairon hit the ground hard, the breath knocked out of him. The toa forced his weakened limbs to stand, and raced back in to the battle. He could not show weakness now. Every single Toa, Kodax, Noctian, Makuta, and Corpsian was watching him.
Fairon smashed against Tabaris' shoulder. Tabaris whirled around, and smashed his claw against Fairon's mask, tearing it nearly in half. Fairon raised his spear, and stabbed it through Tabaris' leering face. Tabaris roared in pain, and flung Fairon off of him. He leered above the Toa, his sword connecting with Fairon's spear. Fairon speared out desprately, then saw a tall, thin black blur rise from behind Tabaris. As Tabaris raised his blade for the killing blow, blood exploded from him outward, as if suddenly his body forgot everything it once knew about holding itself together. Peices of Tabaris were flung across the battlefield, a few striking Fairon and covering him in blood. Tabaris' crushed body gave a final gurgle, then the once-great lord drowned in his own blood.
Serrakaan raised his hand, dark power crackling at his fingertips as his power began to grow once more. Fairon turned away from both Serrakaan and Tabaris' horribly destroyed corpse and charged Dredzek. The Makuta whirled around faster than lightning, and his claws puncured Fairon's shoulder. Fairon stabbed out with his spear, tearing a gouge in the Makuta's armor. Serrakaan suddenly appeared behind Fairon, and blood exploded from Dredzek's body. Dredzek swayed backward, then somehow regained his strength and smashed the cloaked Makuta's chestplate to peices. Serrakaan recovered quickly, and more blood poured from Dredzek's body. Dredzek snarled weakly and glared at Serrakaan, and a burst of shadow struck the other Makuta, smashing him against the edge of the overhang. Dredzek turned back to Fairon, covered in blood. The Makuta of Versuva's claws were mangled and crushed, his body was leaking Antidermis, and his gleaming eyes were dulling. Fairon stabbed his spear through the Makuta's leg, and Dredzek fired another burst of shadow, which flung Fairon against Iruka, who was locked in combat with Serrakaan. Startled, Iruka attacked, smashing Fairon against the cliff. Fairon recovered quickly, though even his determination was weakening. His enemies were very powerful, and he was weak, wounded.
No! He thought. I will not die for the entertainment of the Corpsians! Raising his spear, he noticed Tabaris' arm, still clutching the sword, lying near him. Racing over to the arm, be pried open Tabaris' dead hand and grabbed the sword. It throbbed with power, and energy flooded his body. Serrakaan appeared before him, his emaciated claws raised to deal a death blow, and Fairon fired a blast of light from the sword. It hit Serrakaan directly, and the Makuta was flung backward. Fairon slashed the blade down on Dredzek's hand, where the Makuta held the Teleporter. Startled, Dredzek flung the Teleporter to the ground, and Fairon grabbed out at it. Dredzek made a move for it, but suddenly blood began to tear his body apart as Serrakaan appeared before him, power crackling at his skelatal fingertips. Dredzek retailated, and Serrakaan raked his claws down the other Makuta's damaged shoulder. Fairon turned away from the battle, and ran toward the trees, holding the Teleporter.
Suddenly, something slammed into him, tearing the Teleporter from his hands. Fairon saw the Kodax, grinning evilly, holding a spear in one hand and the teleporter in the other. Then, suddenly, his face changed from triumph to horror as he dropped the spear. There was an explosion of blood and armor, followed by a single scream, as the Kodax's head went flying one way, peices of his body the other. Serrakaan stood in the Kodax's place, his claws outstreched as he grabbed the Teleporter. His claw pointed at Fairon. Fairon looked around wildly, hoping to see either Iruka or Dredzek appear to challenge Serrakaan, but no one came. Serrakaan raised his claw, ready to summon his dark powers over blood-
And then the arena exploded into flames. They erupted sporadically, appearing out of nowhere across the gameboard. They began to spread, rising higher. Fairon charged Serrakaan, flinging the Makuta backwards, into the fire. More flames exploded near him, and Fairon knew he had to get the Teleporter before the arena was consumed. Serrakaan screeched as the Teleporter was ripped from his hands and it landed on the ground. The Makuta's cloak erupted into flames and Serrakaan disspeared into the inferno. The smoke stung and bit at Fairon's eyes as he raised the Teleporter-
Then Iruka emerged from the flames. A wild, insane light shone in the leader of the Fallen Six's eyes, and it was clear that he had lost any remaining threads connecting him to rationality.
"Iruka!" Fairon yelled. "We have to get out of here! Come, I'll get the Teleporter to work for us!" Iruka raised his claws, and he rasped in a malevolent voice.
"Give me the teleporter!" he snarled. "This is my victory!" Fairon stepped backwards, at the edge of the inferno. It was erupting from the ground, and it was now alomst surrounding them. Soon there would be no way out.
"GIVE ME THE TELEPORTER!" Iruka screamed, and flung himself at Fairon, Fairon raised his sword, and they hacked at each other, physically and mentally. Fire erupted all around them, consuming the arena. Clouds of fire were exploding across the arena, blocking out the stars. The entire place was burning, but there was no way out now, no turning back. He could hear Dredzek's screams as the fire consumed him, destroying the last of his antidermis, but all around him was red. Red flames, red, insane eyes glaring at him, red explosions as the arena consumed itself in the raging conflagration. Iruka stabbed, Fairon blocked. Fairon slashed his blade across Iruka's leg, Iruka speared him through the chest. Blood and armor were flung across the blazing arena, and Fairon saw Iruka, his body burning and his eyse glowing with insanity, appear through the curtain of fire and stab out at him once more. Fairon blocked, but the fight was becoming dangerous as the ground began to crumble and the flames lept higher. Iruka stabbed Fairon through the arm, reopening the wound Phoenix had delt him the day before. Fairon barely blocked his next blow, and he stabbed wildly at Iruka. Iruka slammed against him, trying to force him into the fire. Fairon felt it burning at him, and fired an explosion of light from his sword. Some struck him, but most of it hit Iruka, flinging him into the flames. Iruka screamed and collapsed on the ground, his eyes gleaming as he began to stand. Fire wreathed his head like a crown of stars, and orange flames erupted all over his body.
Fairon was tiring, and he was hardly able to comprehend the flaming arena. The sky had exploded into red fire, and more flames erupted from the ground. Iruka was still alive, however, some demented power kept him clinging to life. Fairon felt just as he had when the Games first began. Over eighty contestants were dead now, and only two still lived. Only one could ever, ever return, and it was survival of the fittest. If Fairon faltered, for even one minute, his opponent would kill him. And he had to win, for Leviathos, Fyxan, and Tanuva. Beings who had died so he could live. Beings who had risked everything in their battle with Antidax.
Beings who had been noble, even in the arena.
Fairon's vision blurred. He could see Iruka readying his blades, and charged, his spear stabbing into Iruka's chest. Fairon raised his sword, and blocked Iruka's blow. Iruka lashed out again, and Fairon narrowly blocked the blow. Iruka stabbed out, forcing Fairon to take a step backwards to avoid being killed outright. Iruka stabbed out, cutting a deep wound in Fairon's side, and Fairon ducked away from the next blow. Iruka stabbed outward, then flicked his blade into Fairon's leg. Fairon winced in pain, stepping backward. His foot tried to hit solid ground, but intead it met nothing, and Fairon began to fall. He looked down, and saw a dizzying drop into a chasm of flames, far below. Iruka stood over him, smiling in triumph. Fairon tried desprately to regain his footing, and as Iruka's blade slashed down, Fairon flung his sword away, into the abyss. Iruka looked at the falling weapon, puzzled, then Fairon launched himself into the air, striking Iruka in the chest. Iruka roared in pain and stepped backward, and Fairon punched out at his fist, sending his sword skidding to the edge of the chasm-and over it. Iruka screeched in rage, and flung Fairon off him, toward the edge of the cliff. Fairon still desprately clenched the teleporter, knowing that he could not let it go if he ever wished to be free of the arena. Although the arena no longer existed. It was simply an inferno, save for the two beings who still fought their final battle on the edge of the world. Fire was exploding everywhere, and Fairon's eyes were fixed on the skies. As Iruka punched him across the chest, he vaugely wished that he was able to see the stars one last time before he died. Iruka was forced back a step, and Fairon seized the advantage, slamming the dark lord into the fire. Iruka snarled in pain and dug his claws into Fairon's side, lacerating it horribly. The toa of light struck out with his fist, but Iruka forced him back again. Fairon tried desprately to force the titan to the ground, but Iruka had the advantage of superior size and could use that to his advantage. Iruka slashed his claws across Fairon's back, forcing Fairon to the edge of the cliff. Iruka raised his claw for the final blow, and just as he struck, Fairon dodged, and struck Iruka dead-on across the back. Iruka's weight hauled him into the chasm, and Fairon tried to pull himself away from Iruka. The dark lord stood for a second at the edge of the chasm, smashing his fist into Fairon's face and clawing apart his mask. Fairon forced Iruka backwards again, and Iruka smashed his fist down against Fairon's leg. Fairon cried out in pain as Iruka hauled him to the very edge of the chasm and over it. Fairon tried to hold on to the rocks, trying to grasp the edge before Iruka pulled him into the fire. Fairon grabbed onto the cliff's edge, and Iruka's claws dug into his legs, his weight threatening to haul them both into the chasm.
Fairon held out a hand, hoping that Iruka would see that they may still escape the arena. Iruka's eyes raged, and he grabbed Fairon's hand. "Die" He snarled, and pulled them into the chasm. Fairon screamed as he realized he could not grab onto anything and they fell into the inferno. Fairon grabbed out as their bodies slammed against the edge of the cliff, and caught his hand on a rock overhang. Iruka snarled weakly and pulled them, and the rock began to crumble.
"NO!" Fairon screamed in despiration, and kicked out at Iruka. The blows connected, and Iruka reeled backward, still trying to pull Fairon into the chasm with him. In a final act of despiration, Fairon kicked out at Iruka as hard as he could. The blow connected with Iruka's face, and with a single, terrible scream, lost his grip and fell into the abyss, into the blazing inferno.
Fairon watched as his last, greatest enemy vanished into the abyssal void, and knew, without a doubt, that the games were over.
Then I won. He thought. They were probably cheering for him now, but he felt nothing. After nearly a month of running and hiding and killing, he could not believe that the Games were over. And that he was still alive.
Fairon rasied the teleporter and fired, watching as the last of the arena disspeared into the flames.
And then his body was split down to subatomic leval and whisked out of the arena and back to the Empire.
Two Days Later...
Fairon sat in the Collisium, beside the Kodax and Corpsians of the Empire, ready to watch the final copies of the Eternal Game. The Empire was ready to broadcast it in full to the entire universe.
Fairon didn't want to relive the arena, to see all of the contestants die their horrible deaths over again. But he knew that it had to be done. Even now, he could not show his emotions to the empire. Victors had to be strong, and Fairon knew that if he ever wanted to return to Gigas Magna, he must not betray himself now.
Fairon watched as the contestants gathered in the Coliseum, and the Soul Render announce the names of the contestants. He saw the beginning of the Games, and watched the intial battles. He saw Harlen explode into fragments, and Ravdev's greusome death. He watched Kojol fight Nightwatcher, and he saw himself trekking through the forest after the battle, and his powerful battles with Antidax, Fyxon, and Tetrack. He watched the battles on the starship with intrest, as he had not been there during that battle. He saw Alloy's death, Zaeron gain his mysterious powers, watched Speewaa kill a Torshurr, and the unlikely alliance fight the Baterra. He watched Leviathos gather a small group of Toa to fight Antidax's alliance, and he watched the brutal fight with the alliance with revulsion. He tried desprately to force his features not to betray any emotion, but he saw that the Corpsians were laughing as they watched the Toa fight and die.
They then cut to the battles against Millennium and Benjarmin, and he saw Fyxan's imprisonment. He wondered if the Kodax was still trapped there, or if he had been consumed utterly by the flames.
He watched the final battles, but now he felt no emotions at all. He felt as though he was watching total strangers fight to the death in another game, another time. He saw the final bloody fight, and the arena consumed in flames. It was truely magnificent, despite the fact that two warrior were fighting to the finish at the center of the fire.
Finally, he saw the climatic death of Iruka, and saw himself fumbling with the Teleporter, before leaving the arena. And the Kodax laughed, and the Corpsians, while they betrayed no emotion, seemed extremely amused by the final fight.
And while Fairon watched the fight, a promise began to take shape in his mind. It was what Tanuva had truely been trying to say, what he had avoided for so long:
The Empire must be stopped. It cannot rule over us this way. I must find a way to fight them. This is why Tanuva let me live. Because he knew if I won I would attempt to bring them down. And it must end. It must end here.
The most deadly part of the Eternal Game is about to begin.
Leviathos awoke to pitch-darkness. His armor was scarred, his body horribly weakened, and he wondered where he was and how he had survived.
"Where am I?" He asked himself, as he stood, and paced around. He used a small spark of his power to create a light, and saw he was in a darkened city. It was night, and totally immersed in darkness. The stench of death hung in the air. The city itself seemed abandoned, empty. Windows were smashed, buildings falling apart, and the entire structure seemed ready to collapse.
Suddenly, another light appeared behind him. Leviathos turned, and saw a tall, dark-armored being holding two swords standing above him. Beside him stood the Rahkshi of Growth. Nightwatcher. Leviathos thought.
"So this is how the games end." Nightwatcher smiled. "With me finally finishing off an extremely annoying Noctian." He raised his sword, and Leviathos prepared to fight back, his claws extended.
Suddenly a voice spoke, a hissing, shadowy rasp that chilled Leviathos to the bone. The three beings turned, and saw a tall, cloaked being standing beside them. He was perched on a raised rock directly in front of them, and his hood concealed his face.
"Do not fight." It was a command, and Nightwatcher, unused to hearing orders from anyone, halted his blade midair.
"Who are you?" The bounty hunter asked. "And why should we obey you?" he drew his sword.
"Ah, Nightwatcher and Leviathos." The being spoke in the same chilling, raspy voice. "Both powerful entities. Both beings who carry the blood of the Makuta within them. Welcome to Xaterex."
And as he raised his arms, they saw that his hand was completely skelatal.
To be continued in The Shadows Coil....
- "...It's an awesome story."
- "...I've had the privilege of writing a few chapters, and believe me, this really deserves a spot on the Main Page. It's intense, and it's large cast of characters makes it complex, but not overwhelming... So go ahead and read it."
- "I think the Eternal Game is really cool."
- "...So epic..."
- "This is such an awesomelly epic story! Plenty of blood-curling violence, death, and chaotic destruction. This survival of the fittest contest is bound to make you beg for more with it's well-timed cliffhangers and its ongoing body count. However, you can't help but feel that behind everything occurring in "the game," something far more sinister is being planned, and its not just the contestants schemes of trying to kill each other off that's the complication, but rather, it seems like someone, or something, is manipulating everyone trapped in this game. Can't wait to see more! Encore!"
- ―Chicken Bond
- "I can closely compare this story to water. Calm at one moment, the next, a tsunami that engulfs and kills. It features very interesting character development, bringing out the sides of beings you would never see. Alliances being forged after the blood and death of a battle. Good and Evil meaning nothing anymore, everything works perfectly together."
- This page won Featured Story.
- The Eternal Game is the 5th longest page on the wiki. At one point it was the 2nd longest page on this site.