This article was written by Barotai. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.
Rise of Darkness is a short story serial written by Barotai. It takes place in an alternate universe where the Dark Hunters were all infected by Darkness, a virus which spread through psychic links and suggested the user to act sporadically on it's whim before eventually fusing into their minds and taking over their bodies.
The past several thousand years had been quiet. Far, far too quiet.
The Dark Hunters - foul fiends - were known worldwide. They were ruthless and callous, accepting virtually any mission provided the payment was good. They assisted the corrupt officials and tyrants to consolidate their own power, defending their leaders and discreetly silencing and wiping out their opposition. They toppled governments, started wars, assassinated public speakers, kidnapped Turaga, backstabbed their own allies and spread corruption and discontent. No one - from a Bo-Matoran farmer to the leader of Metru Nui - was safe from them.
In the past fifteen thousand years, the Dark Hunters slowly vanished. Murders and assassinations became increasingly uncommon, the tyrants and corrupted were thrown out of power and imprisoned for their crimes, political tensions alleviated on their own, corruption was on steep decline. Without the Dark Hunters to threaten them, political refugees revealed that the ruling class of Xia was actively making weapon deals with numerous of dissident groups, including the Dark Hunters, causing he island's ruling class to be overthrown. Roodaka herself met her fate at the hands of it's oppressed male population during the revolt, attempting to escape the island. The Staff of Artakha was discovered from vaults of Xia and returned to the Archives of Metru Nui by the new government, bolstering the relationship between the two islands. Without someone to spread lies and discontent, Stelt experienced similar revolution and became more liberal, slowly but surely increasing it's standards of living. Without allies to support them, Zakaz Civil War came to an end as Nektann's forces were demolished, causing him and his supporters to go into hiding. Without someone to spread lies, discord and distrust, societies all around the world came closer together, bringing forth the longest period of unity since the League of Six Kingdoms.
But over the course of the millennia, Brotherhood of Makuta found their foes vanishing in thin air very unnerving.
Standing in the elevator, Vitandi, the Toa Hagah of Psionics furrowed her eyebrows as she tapped her foot on the floor impatiently. The guardsman outside mistook her for a common Toa and barred her access, making her wait good twenty minutes to be confirmed a Toa Hagah. For an organization that spanned most of the universe, they were surprisingly inept about the smallest things.
The incompetence seemed to affect the Makuta, too: at one point, she overheard a story about how Makuta Chirox was assigned two different regions literally on different ends of the universe. The problem wasn't fixed for several months and he had to rotate troops between the two islands almost every day, giving him little to no free time until he eventually just gave up and ignored the other island completely a week before it was transferred to Makuta Tridax. Least to say, he was not happy about the whole ordeal.
The elevator came to an halt and the doors opened. Much to her surprise, the room was empty save for two of her team.
"Where is everyone?" She walked in and asked Feimin, the Toa of Plantlife. The Bo-Toa glanced at her but remained silent.
"Hugrakur and Obreyt are with Makuta Vamprah on another floor," Staoreyn, the Toa of Ice leaning against the wall, explained. "Something urgent, I think. You've missed nothing." She nodded and sat down next to Feimin.
"Did they tell you why they're sending us to Odina?" Vitandi asked. "I figured it'd be safer to send a Rahi scout or even the Rahkshi." Staoreyn shrugged.
Everyone in the room turned. Hugreki and Obreyt, Toa of Stone and Iron respectively, stood by the doorway.
"Makuta Teridax explained that a party of three Rahkshi were sent to Odina, but only one returned," Obreyt explained as the five Toa Hagah walked into the elevator. "He decided to have us land on the island accompanied by a support group and investigate, keep them informed through a mental link." He punctuated the last word by tapping his head.
"Makuta Teridax is here?" Vitandi asked with a raised brow, as the elevator doors closed and the platform rose. "Is he that worried about the Dark Hunters?" Obreyt nodded.
"He was here personally to see said scouting party go," he explained further. "Wasn't the first one, either. I understood that the Brotherhood had sent several Rahi scouts there after they found the island, but this group attempted to breach into the fortress proper." Vitandi listened, glaring at the guard as they left the base.
"And he's certain that they didn't just run into a Catapult Scorpion or something?" Vitandi asked again, as Feimin activated her Kadin and took off for the shore. Hugreki followed suit and slid down the mountain on a slab of stone with his powers. Vitandi, Staoreyn and Obreyt continued to walk down the road.
"Supposedly, Odina is barren save for a few small Rahi," Obreyt finished. "The largest predator there is a Cliff Screecher, so... You know." The trio walked for good four minutes down the road in silence, none of them having anything to say.
"So, if things go awry, what do we do?" Vitandi asked as they arrived to the docks. Obreyt cracked his neck.
"We leave," he said simply. "We're a scouting party, not a strike force. Makuta know this."
"Lord Teridax, with all due respect," Norik started again, "I am more than capable of handling a few Dark Hunters. I could still go after and join them." Teridax gave off a deep sigh.
"My orders are final, Norik. This is a reconnaissance mission, not an amphibious assault," he said, unflinching as the reinforced glass of the cell shook from impact. "We cannot afford to anger the Dark Hunters, when we are unaware of their strength. You know that." Norik balled his fists.
"Of course I do," Norik protested. "But the Dark Hunters will strike anyway if they find out we landed on their shores. What they are going to need is someone who has fought Dark Hunters before with them."
"You don't doubt them, do you?" Bomonga asked, looking at Norik questionably.
"Of course I don't!" Norik snapped back, his words punctuated by the glass being struck again. "They're good Toa, each and every one of them! But in the world we live in anyone can be dangerous, even a mere Matoran!" Teridax turned to face his bodyguard.
"Young Toa," Teridax began, glaring down at the Toa of Fire. "Even if you were to join them, you would never make it inside the fortress. Not for the fact that you are ordered not to... but because you wouldn't live long enough to do anything worthwhile." Norik tensed as he stared back at his Makuta before breaking eye contact and backing down.
"I... I apologize, Makuta Teridax." Norik said meekly, bowing while Bomonga moved over to comfort his brother. Without a word, Teridax turned back around to face the occupied cell. Vamprah had not moved even an inch, his eyes trained on the damaged, one-armed Panrahk hissing and swinging at thin air.
"He's right, Norik," Bomonga attempted to reason, his hand on his leader's shoulder. "Marching into an island completely blind risking six to save one is a fool's plan." The Toa of Fire sighed.
"I miss her," Norik whispered. "I really do."
"Worry not, captain," Teridax said, as the crazed Rahkshi screeched and tackled the wall, dazing itself. "You're likely to see Odina soon enough."
- Vamprah's Toa Hagah
- Teridax's Toa Hagah
- Tridax (Mentioned)
- Chirox (Mentioned)
- Panrahk - Infected
- Roodaka - Deceased (Mentioned)
- Nektann (Mentioned)
- Varian (Mentioned, Unnamed)
- The idea of Darkness being a mental parasite was first brought forth by BioSector01 user Angel Bob, who theorized that Darkness first accompanied Sentrakh before he transferred to the Shadowed One during the process that ripped the former of his memories. His abilities, purpose and origins are Barotai's own headcanons, however.
- Chirox being assigned two islands that were faraway from each other by an accident is a reference to a discrepancy in canon: Chirox oversaw both Visorak and Keetongu's homeland, but the fact that these two islands were so far apart from each other - one located in Mata Nui's left wrist while the other was located in his left thigh - was never brought up, explained or fixed.
- Vamprah's Toa Hagah are named after Icelandic words: Vitandi stands for "Knowing," Feimin means "Shy," Staoreyn is from the word which means "Factual," Hugreki is slightly altered word for "Bravery" and Obreyt is slightly altered word for "Immovable" and "Unchanged." Language choice was to reflect Vamprah's quiet, cold nature while the names reflect the general personalities of the characters.