|Group(s) involved||Rebels; Loyalists|
|Date||April 23 - April 26, April 29|
|Page(s)||39 - 49, 55|
The battle begins. Razekiel shoots a volley of arrows into the air that rain down on the Rebels, wounding several. Votan gets them out of harm's way while Alta heals them.
Angry at his friends' injuries, Tommi hurls himself at Razekiel, telekinetically repelling him into the wall, surprising both Raze and Rahkar with the intensity of the attack. However, Dark Raze emerges practically unscathed, laughing. He declares that the Rebels stand no chance against Zyrul, and that the armor belongs to him now, before he fires another volley at them.
Hak stands by as Lazok and Alta fight Seshu. Lazok tries to tell Seshu to back off, not willing to hurt him. Nevertheless Seshu continues the fight for a while until Lazok finally convinces him to retreat.
Raze's Dark Mind tempts him to kill. The thrill of the power is too much for him, and Raze starts beating up Tommi, discovering new powers of creating green flame that his Dark Mind grants. Raze notches an arrow tipped with flame, but before he can shoot, he notices Rahkar looking at him with an expression not of anger or hate, but disappointment. Raze's Dark Mind fades away, and he lowers the arrow, extinguishing the flame.
"Rahkar. I'm so sorry."
Rahkar shakes her head. "No, Razekiel --"
Just then, Tommi charges right into Raze with an elbow to his face, knocking the Toa of Air out.
The Rebels discuss their next course of action. They've suffered casualties and caused a commotion already, so they can't make the extra push to Zyrul's office for the Armor. Instead, they flee to Ko-Metru and Chaza's house,
Pohaka returns to the Academy, catching strange glances because of his apparent death the previous day. He, Mahkaal, and Kraal run into VMN, who after getting his initial shock, tells Pohaka of the rumors of the Rebels hiding out somewhere. VMN knows from a note that the Rebels are hiding out in Ko-Metru, and Pohaka decides to go and follow them there. Pohaka, VMN, Mahkaal, Kraal, Striper, and Gera thus form Operation: Backup, borrowing a ship to fly into a nearby Knowledge Tower and camp there.
Razekiel wakes up in the infirmary, and realizes that the Rebels have escaped. Worried of the consequences of his failure, but more angry at himself for losing control, he writes a letter to Rahkar and has his pet Rahi bird send it to wherever she's gone. Then he goes to his room to brood.
Meanwhile the Rebels are also staying over at Chaza's house, with Rahkar having to put up with Chaza's fanaticism with all things Le-Metru by telling him about her past. They, along with some other Rebels, also explore the Knowledge Tower Chaza's apartment is in. Lazok goes back to the Academy to scout and make sure their tracks are covered.
Alta feels uncomfortable when some of the other Rebels start treating her like a leader, asking her what they should do next.
Eventually, the Rebels and Chaza gather at the heated Core of the Knowledge tower one by one, and go to sleep. Unbeknownst to them, two shadowy figures sit watching them.
The mysterious pair wait until they are all asleep to attack, and the Rebels are hard-pressed, caught by surprise and in an unfamiliar field of combat. Before the pair can press their advantage, however, one finds a blade held to its throat.
Pohaka steps out of the shadows, surprising everyone with his status, and the rest of Operation: Backup follows. The reinforcements and renewed morale allow the Rebels to defeat the two.
A joyful reunion follows, as Pohaka explains how he survived. Afterwards, the Rebels get into an argument about their next course of action, which Alta quickly puts an end to, citing their need to be united.
Meanwhile, Lazok, having taken care of things at the Academy, heads back to Ko-Metru. He is ambushed, however, by the pair of Hunters from before: the Ragdoll Hunter and the Five Heartlights Hunter. The Ragdoll Hunter is here to have a rematch, though it couldn't come at a worse time for Lazok. Nevertheless, "Ragdoll" attacks, keeping Lazok on his toes with his superhumanly flexible body and invulnerability to physical blows.
The match lasts for almost forty minutes with both more or less evenly matched, until Lazok manages to trap Ragdoll in the ground. Even trapped, the Ragdoll puts up a bit more of a struggle before Lazok finally knocks him out. He attempts to interrogate the other Hunter by holding Radoll at swordpoint, but Lazok isn't able to get any information out of the other Hunter before Ragdoll wakes up. Pleased that he had a good fight, Ragdoll tells Lazok that he will spare him, and leaves. The other Hunter, however, also wants to stretch his combat muscles.
The Five Heartlight Hunter fights with Lazok for a bit, with Lazok losing steam while the Hunter stays fresh. Finally revealing his stamina to be limitless, the Five Heartlight Hunter nevertheless retreats, promising a fairer fight in the future.
All across Metru Nui, a thunderstorm begins.
The Rebels decide to finally go after the Armor, and split into two groups: a Distraction Squad, to create a diversion for the Retrieval Squad to find and reclaim the armor.
While preparing to set off, Rahkar receives the message from Razekiel and reads it. In the letter, Raze confesses his lineage to Rahkar as the reason for his Dark Mind, and asks that for her sake, to not let Razekiel anywhere near her or her friends. Shocked and saddened, Rahkar nevertheless prepares for the mission.
The Distraction Squad travels back to the Academy via chutes, while the Retrieval Squad goes to find Pohaka's airship to use.
Rahkar leads the Distraction Squad through the chutes towards the Academy, all the while thinking about Razekiel and his Dark Mind. Telling herself it wasn't Raze who tried to kill them, she puts the thought out of her mind, and, seeing the other Rebels looking to her for her orders, shouts "charge!". The Distraction Squad storms the gates of the Academy, causing the needed diversion.
The Retrieval Squad stands ready for Alta's orders. Apart from her, the squad consists of Hak, Pohaka, Mahkaal, and VMN. But before they can make their move, however, something changes that throws their entire plan into chaos.
The False PremiseEdit
Razekiel shows up at Zyrul's door for orders. Zyrul tells Raze that his 'friends' have stormed the Academy for the armor. But it is a false premise, for -- Zyrul whips off his robe, revealing the coveted armor strapped to his chest -- they will have to get it from him.
Zyrul promises that he will 'deal with' Razekiel for his failure later. But first -- Zyrul leaps off the balcony of his office, landing in the midst of the battlefield.
Zezak and Alta are the first to recover from the shock of Zyrul's appearance. Zezak foolishly mocks Zyrul, while Alta charges at the Headmaster with her twin swords drawn. A blind Toa named Astray hears the commotion and heads down to the battlefield.
Alta's sword strokes, fueled by rage, are predictable and easy to deflect; Zyrul does so with an almost bored expression on his face, 'lecturing' Alta on the techniques of true swordplay. Finally, with an admonition not to challenge him until she learns something about true skill, he gives her a light shoulder wound then blasts her away with a sonic wave.
The blind Astray has finally gotten to the battlefield, and gleaned the situation from his other senses. Falling to the ground in sorrow, he begs the Headmaster to stop. "I know that these Toa caused a disturbance, but couldn't you deal with them some other way? They're rebels, yes, but I know that they're good people too! You wouldn't have let them into the Academy if they weren't! I beg of you, don't harm them! Please, Master Zyrul!"
Zyrul glares at the Toa. "If you want these rebels to rampage The Academy, then you might as well join with them. But I plan to do what I can to dispose of them. I'm only thinking of The Academy in this instance. Now go inside before you get hurt."
Two more Rebels have attempted to sneak up on him during this exchange, though Zyrul easily incapitates one after the other in quick succession, defeating one with his sword and downing the other with a gravity field.
Detecting Zezak's use of an Illusion to get close to him, Zyrul smiles before stabbing his dagger into the leg of the real Zezak. "T'were you a more powerful Toa, I would've killed you instantly," the Headmaster says. "But I would much rather toy with you." Knocking Zezak away, Zyrul sheathes his swords as he draws closer. He notes the look of defiance on Zezak's face, and starts a small earthquake so no one one, save Zyrul, can stay on their feet. In a Kakama-aided run, he appears before Zezak, then in a succession of Pakari- and gravity-based attacks, pummels Zezak a few more times, leaving the Toa of Lasers groaning.
Zyrul smashes his fist into Zezak's stomach. SLAM! "Need I remind you of the Three Virtues?"
Zyrul kicks Zezak. His eyes narrow into slits. "Get up. Defend yourself."
Before Zyrul tortures the poor Toa further, however, Dwin leaps out of the shadows, transforming into a Tahtorak. Tahtorak-Dwin's roar is cut short, however, when Zyrul uses sonics to collapse a column on Dwin. "I have nothing against you personally. Maybe I'll let you live if you stay out of the way."
Two more Rebels attempt to interrupt; Matuk charges at Zyrul only to be slammed brutally into the floor with a gravity attack, whereas Tommi's attempt to telekinetically wrest the armor off of Zyrul meets with little success as Zyrul matches and overwhelms Tommi's attempt with a telekinetic assault of his own.
Dwin has by now gotten free, and transforms into a Flame Creature, shooting up into the air and hurtling down at Zyrul with the force of a meteor. The Headmaster easily dodges, leaving Dwin to smash into the ground, the force of the blow leaving the Toa of Fire unconcsious.
Hak, Hiraga, and Kanui are next to make an attempt, with Hak's Nui Spear bolts proving ineffective, and Hiraga summoning several clones as well as shooting a volley of plasma balls. Kanui attempts to create a sonic blast.
Zyrul combines his katana into two blades and goes into a spin, quickly killing all of Hiraga's clones, ripping Kanui's mask off his face, and dealing a mortal wound to Hak. Then, slashing the real Hiraga's feet, the Headmaster sends the Toa of Plasma crashing to the ground. Even with all his pinpoint attacks, however, Zyrul doesn't kill them. It was rare to have such an intense battle; he preferred that it last.
Zyrul turns back to Zezak, struggling to get up. "The strongest Toa I've trained at the Academy?" Zyrul declares. "Me."
But that boast is the moment Tommi has been waiting for all this time. With one final effort, the Toa of Air telekinetically pulls the armor off of Zyrul, throwing it to Alta, who tucks it under her shoulders. VMN gleefully shouts, "We're winning!"
Too soon. A blast of fire from Zyrul strikes VMN's back, and he collapses in pain. Zyrul himself advances upon Alta, twirling his katana. "That tool of yours is not something you can comprehend! You will never understand or be able to harness its true power! Now why don't you give me that back like a good little Toa before I have to kill you for it..."
Alta nevertheless attacks, throwing the armor over herself and fighting with renewed vigor.
While they fight, Zyrul continues to talk. "Your friend should never have taken that armor in the first place."
Alta jumps and brings both swords in a downward slice, meeting Zyrul's crossed katana.
"You know you'll never win. My Arrahk found that armor and since no one had claimed it at the time, it was just the same as you finding it in the first place."
Alta begins fighting with both her swords now, not just making them move together. Zyrul quickly keeps up his defense.
"You know..." he says, staring into her eyes. "...this officially makes you one of those rebels. Those rebels that have been dying and have never yet won a battle against me."
Her swords go wild, so fast that Zyrul has to concentrate hard on each one. This is different than he is used to. She is attacking, not afraid of being killed. Rather than being focused on staying alive, she is focused on killing him.
All of a sudden, so fast and so sudden that no one, not even Zyrul, could have predicted it, she parts Zyrul's swords from each other and with reflexes like a Muaka strikes him upside the arm.
Zyrul leaps away, more from shock than from pain, noting that the armor is beginning to take its effect; Alta is channeling its power. He steps forward, actual rage in his eyes for the first time since the battle has started. "A lucky move, Toa." His swords burst into flame. "But you won't be so lucky once I show you what true elemental power is."
Rahkar watches from where she is fighting off an Arrahk. Their deaths are inevitable, she believes, but if by some chance they get out of this, she will make sure to find out all she can about this armor that has given Alta the power to wound Zyrul. Finishing off her Arrahk, Rahkar runs toward Zyrul, aiming to provide assistance.
Gera also joins as well, and the three press their advantage. But a fresh wave of Arrahk pours into the courtyard, distracting the Rebels long enough for Zyrul to gather himself.
He realizes his mistake; he has been treating this as a game. But no longer. Ridding himself of anger, he gets serious, targeting Alta again. His swords drive through her defense madly, striking her every so often. Finally, Alta falls to her knees, barely keeping her defense up.
"Are you ready for your death, Toa?" Zyrul asks. But just then, Zezak rejoins the battle despite his wounds.
"You fool!" the Toa of Lasers shouts. "You cannot defeat me!"
Zyrul laughs, brutally taking down all of Zezak's defenses and cornering him. "Such pride. Such foolishness. I am the Master. You are the pupil. And we are not equals."
But Alta has taken this moment to activate the armor's power as she saw Tommi do two days ago. She reaches the same realm Tommi did, meeting a Toa bearing a striking resemblance to herself.
Toa Hahli Inika.
Seeing the familiar glow in Alta's eyes, Tommi recognizes what she is doing, and stands by her. "Zyrul," he declares. "This armor is ours. And we will fight against you for it to the end."
Tommi and a revived Alta attack Zyrul, just as a group of Arrahk carry off a now half-dead Zezak to the prison.
Meanwhile, Lazok finally arrives at the Academy, and is briefed on the situation by Dwin, before directing the Rebels toward the airship in their retreat.
Evil is PowerEdit
Gera and Pareh rejoin the battle against Zyrul, while Alta and Tommi retreat, with Alta attempting to retreat to the airship now that the armor is secured. However, Razekiel finally emerges onto the battlefield, shooting a warning shot at Tommi. "Fool. Zyrul's power is undefined, it is limitless. You will never defeat him And you will never defeat me."
"I beat you before!" Tommi retorts. "And I'm about to do it again!"
When Tommi manages to wound Raze on the thigh, Raze's Dark Mind takes over completely, and he throws himself at Tommi, tearing into him. "The Dark Mind is superior. The Dark Mind is nothing, it is the potential in everyone. It is the potential in me. And with the power, I can do anything."
Tommi finally realizes that it isn't Razekiel who is speaking, but this other entity that identifies itself as the Dark Mind. "Razekiel...why do you do this? Why do you give in to this evil?"
"Fool. Razekiel is not here. Only the Dark Mind exists. Razekiel is dead. And this evil you speak of, it is within everyone. You see it within you, within Alta, within Zyrul. Evil is power, and power comes from the ability to accept the fact that you are all that stands between ultimate power and yourself."
Tommi snorts. "That's a load of Gukko dung."
Tommi throws his sword at Razekiel again, who dodges it this time and shoots an arrow at Tommi, ironically nicking Tommi in the thigh -- the same place Tommi wounded him. The fight gets more savage as the Toa start to exchange blows. Both manipulate the air to propel each other up into the sky, continuing the fight there.
When an arrow accidentally strikes an Arrahk, however, it identifies Razekiel as a potential enemy. Tommi takes the moment to escape into the airship. As the craft lifts off and Raze manages to convince the Arrahk of his loyalty, Zyrul ends his 'battle' with Gera, leaving Gera gravely injured and weaponless.
The battle in over.
Who won? Nobody can really tell. The armor is no longer Zyrul's, but Zyrul remains alive and more aware. On top of that, the miniature rebellion had taken a severe blow. There is a great understanding now.
Zyrul is in charge.
And there is a reason that Zyrul is in charge.
He has fought his way to being in charge.
And he isn't going to let anyone take his authority away from him.
-= End of Saga 1 =-