|Location||The Academy, Le-Metru, Ta-Metru, Ga-Metru, Ko-Metru, Onu-Metru|
|Group(s) involved||Rebels, Loyalists|
|Character(s) involved||Hiraga, Hak, Elkayen, Komar, Saeras, Alta, Tommi, Lazok, Razekiel, Haruko, Ektris, Pohaka, Kraal, Rahkar|
|Date||April 26 - April 29|
|Page(s)||49 - 54|
|->||Love in the Air (BZPRPG)|
In their hasty efforts to escape, the Rebels have unknowingly left one of their number behind: Hiraga the Toa of Plasma, who has been wounded both physically and emotionally. Believing that the others have left him to be hunted as a soon-to-be wanted convict for attacking the Academy, Hiraga decides that the person he has hated all his life is now the only one he can depend on...
Elkayen stays huddled in his room, feeling the beginning of his transformation. Seeing the Rebels' fleeing airship, he leaves the Academy to run after it, but midway through, the transformation occurs -- Elkayen becomes a bipedal tiger humanoid, the White Tiger. He continues his pursuit of the Rebels.
Komar and Saeras have made it successfully out of the Academy using the distraction provided by the Rebels' battle with Zyrul. After Komar distracted the Arrahk, they made a detour to Ta-Metru where Saeras convinced a Ta-Metruan to forge a Great Mahiki. Now, disguised as a Toa of Air, with Irak as his bracelet, the two Toa make their way down the streets. However, Saeras is progressively showing signs of the Madness that infected him.
"Saeras, brother..." Komar finally pleads after a day of avoiding the authorities, "You need to rest. What are you doing out here, anyway?"
Saeras reminds Komar that he doesn't need to travel with him. "I'm a marked Toa now, and you'll certainly be seen as my accomplice. You were safer back at the Academy."
"Better to be travelling around with a marked Toa," Komar responds, "then twist my values around, brother. I'm staying with you. Now answer my question."
Saeras coughs and leans against a nearby wall before answering that he knows what is happening to him. He explains that there is someone that he met during his time as a Matoran, who might know a way to reverse the infection; even if it isn't terminal, he doesn't know if he might pass the Madness onto Komar.
Komar helps Saeras to his feet. "That, brother, is a chance I am willing to take."
"Then let's keep moving," Saeras says. "If you insist that I need rest, brother, we'll need good shelter before the moons break out from behind the clouds."
"Why?" asks Komar, puzzled.
Saeras is quiet for several steps before responding. "You don't want to know, Komar," he says forlornly. "You don't want to know..."
Hak is escaping through the forest, having also been separated from the main group. While he is following the airship, he runs into Hiraga. Hak asks if he is all right. "Save it!" Hiraga shouts. "I'm tired of you. You betrayed me."
"Betrayed you?" Hak asks in disbelief. He asks Hiraga what's wrong.
Hiraga answers that because of the Rebels, he will now be a wanted criminal. But, he swears, the Rebels will pay for discrediting him. And the next time they meet, he promises he will be stronger than Mata Nui himself. Clearly insane, Hiraga runs away, disappearing as quickly as he has come.
Reign of TerrorEdit
Hak makes his way toward Ta-Metru. After treating his wounds, he asks a forger to upgrade his arrow katana, then leaves to think out his next course of action.
However, Hiraga has secretly followed Hak, and enters the forge after the Toa of Gravity leaves. Hiraga forces the Matoran to make him a few masks, then heads toward Ga-Metru. Once there, Hiraga begins destroying the buildings and streets, killing a Ga-Matoran in the process. He then declares the beginning of his 'reign of terror', adding that he plans to ally with Zyrul to avoid the repercussions of his participation in the Academy attack. He leaves to attack Ko-Metru next, followed by Ta-Metru.
Meanwhile, the Rebels' airship lands in Ga-Metru, and Alta stumbles out, horrified at the scene that greets her -- Ga-Metru lies in ruins, several people killed from the collateral damage. After getting over her initial sorrow, Alta runs off to see what she can do to help the survivors, with Tommi running after her.
After he catches up, Tommi comforts Alta, then deduces that it was Hiraga who committed the crime. Fearing for the safety of his own home, Le-Metru, Tommi decides against staying to help Alta and the Ga-Metruans, and goes to Le-Metru.
Confrontation in the ArchivesEdit
Lazok tries to get the Rebels to stick together, but, worried about their own homes, the Rebels split up to their separate Metrus. With no choice but to do the same, Lazok goes to Onu-Metru, running into Hiraga outside the Archives. He confronts the Toa angrily, and the two begin to fight. Their battle eventually takes them into the sub-levels of Archives, where Hak joins them, having followed Hiraga after the Ga-Metru attack.
Hiraga intentionally destroys the Visorak exhibit, freeing the swarms from stasis and distracting Lazok. Just then, Hak arrives, and takes Hiraga on in battle instead while Lazok tries to contain the breakout.
Hak yells at Hiraga, asking what the karz happened to him. Hiraga replies that if the Rebels had never made him join, he wouldn't have fought Zyrul, and he wouldn't have gotten into trouble. Hak tells Hiraga to get ahold of himself, reminding that he joined the Rebels out of his own choice -- and he should have known the consequences.
The battle continues, until Hak's persuasion finally gets to Hiraga. He collapses, realizing the true extent of what he has done in his insanity. He begins to sob, saying that he will have no choice but to commit suicide to atone. Hak manages to convince him against it, but depressed, Hiraga leaves toward Le-Metru. Worried at what Tommi might do to him, Hak follows, leaving Lazok to clean up the mess in the Archives.
Hiraga goes to Le-Metru, where Tommi sees him. Tommi attacks, thinking he's up to no good, but Hak intervenes.
Hiraga, still depressed, says that now no one will ever trust him, and attempts suicide. He only manages to severely wound himself, however, and Hak and Tommi hurriedly take him to the hospital. After leaving him there, Hak and Tommi go back to Ga-Metru.
The Dark Mind DecipheredEdit
Razekiel explains to friend Haruko and new student Ektris the concept of the Dark Mind.
Razekiel tells Ektris that the Dark Mind is not a sort of disease, rather, an entity which represents all the potential power in a person. "Take, say, Zyrul, for example. What we've seen of him is only half of his enormous power. Even though he doesn't know it, what he calls 'full power' could only be a fraction of his true power. The Dark Mind unleashes everything that he is capable of, which we can tell right on the spot that it'd be a lot."
Razekiel goes on to explain that the Dark Mind originates in those whose body and mind it sees fit to use as a vessel. It doesn't necessarily seek the strongest, it seeks the one who has the most potential. It's not a matter of destiny. Throughout the years, one can even find the Dark Mind in the Great Legends themselves. "Remember Toa Vakama Hordika? When he was allied with Roodaka, his full power was shown."
Ektris nods wisely, and Haruko tries his best to take everything in. "So...so there's no way to destroy this entity?"
"Not really, no. Unless you, well, you..."
Ektris and even Haruko know what he is talking about.
"Don't even think about it, brother. There's no way we'd resort to that."
Raze smiles at his friends' promises not to kill him even if he loses control. "Thanks, guys." Then he suggests a sparring session among them.
White Tiger finally catches up to the Rebels' airship in Ga-Metru, running into Alta and explaining his condition to her. It's similar to a werewolf effect, which originated with Brotherhood of Makuta experiments and was passed on through the centuries until Elkayen was infected. However, he promises not to let it take control of him.
Inside the airship, Pohaka fixes Kraal up as best he can. Now that they've effectively rebelled, they can no longer go back to the Academy.
But the question is: If we can't go back to the Academy, then where can we go?
Rahkar has the same question. She muses by herself, then in irritation realizes that when she and the others travelled to Ko-Metru and Chaza, they chartered a Metru Nui-owned airship. Because Zyrul can track that information, they can no longer go to Ko-Metru.
Rahkar calls a meeting, gathering together the Rebels. She breaks the somber news to them, adding that while they can get their belongings and try to run, no matter where they go the Arrahk will only follow them. Unless...she shakes her head. "No, that would be stupid."
"What?" Alta asks.
"What if...What if we passed the Great Barrier? To Mata Nui?"
While the Rebels adjourn to think over the idea, Alta is confronted by the strange Toa of Fire from before, Pareh. He requests that she meet him in the Archives sub-levels, then disappears.
It has been a few days...Saeras and Komar have in this time seen a number of fugitive toa besides themselves running about in Le-Metru.
They have finally found Saeras's dear friend, a female Le-Matoran and healer named Kairi. Kairi is shocked to see Saeras in a such a terrible state. The diagnosis is no less uplifting.
Diagnosis: Madness, terminal stages. Contracted via blood transmission.
Prognosis: Uncurable due to lack of proper medicines.
Now, Saeras lies in near delirium,Komar and Kairi watching anxiously for the ending. Irak has shifted into the form of a small kofo-ngeru, a feral feline rahi indigeonous to Le-Metru, and lies on the bed next to his ailing master hoping to comfort the Toa.
Saeras, however, is deep in the throes of a frightening vison...
Saeras was a Matoran again, standing in the ruins of the Great Temple, as an eight-foot draconic figure with spindly wings was walking through the dust and mist towards him. Once the toa-like beast came into view, Saeras did not know what to make of the monster. It was mostly green, black, and gray; but there were obvious patches of orange on its neck and musculatures and red on its feet. There was not much detail to make out as the rest was silhoutetted by the lack of light.
Blue on green eyes looked down upon Saeras as the creature flicked its long, silvery tail.
"Chosen son..." Saeras heard a voice speak.
The rahkshi headed beast leaned down to face Saeras eye to eye. "Son. You were forged from my remains... I inhabited you as a spirit in the hopes of bringing you home to your inheritance."
Saeras sensed sadness. "... but..."
"But a dark spirit has tainted your body and I cannot inhabit you anymore. I must make my leave."
"B-but... what is going to--"
"If there is time, never sleep and keep standing... beware the darkness and stay full in the light until the curse is broken... For one hand on the ground means the Rahi is behind you and both hands means the Rahi has you..."
And the spirit vanished before Saeras could ask any more questions...
Saeras then heard a low, canine growl behind him... He turned and all he saw were long, sharp, slobbering teeth.
The Animation Toa awakes with a jolt and a pained shout, then rolls out of bed and onto the floor coughing and gagging on all fours. Then the pain. It starts in his hands and feet then it shoots through every fiber in his being, burning pain like being stretched and crushed on a bed of sharp rocks in the boiling crater of a volcano. With an inhuman shriek, he breaks the dying lightstone in his room with a clawed fist, forcing the shocked Komar and Kairi to back away from the berserking Toa.
Irak runs out of the room, barely able to hold his feline form together as a piercing howl shoots through the night.
Komar finally summons the courage to look in the room as the pained snarling calms down some. A pair of fever-wild eyes glow in the moonlit dimness and stare at Komar as if the new beast doesn't know the Electricity Toa...
"S-Saeras?" Komar asks, still in shock and half-hoping the wolf-like beast will respond to his name.
The Kohm barks and whimpers then leaps out of the window with the crash of protodermic glass...
Kairi comes into the room and finds Saeras's mask on the floor. A dismal feeling of failure is felt, as if though someone has died... In a way, someone has.
The mighty Toa Saeras is Toa no more...