This article was written by CaptainLandr0ver. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.
|The Feral Plains:|
|Release date||November 1, 2016-February 4, 2017 (Lego.com Gallery), April 25, 2017 (CBW)|
|Previous||The Feral Plains: Volume III|
|Next||The Feral Plains: Volume V|
The Feral Plains: Volume IV is the fourth part of The Feral Plains. It was first written in five episodes by CaptainLandr0ver on the Lego.com Gallery with Cap working under the alias "tomatopaste101", and was later proofread, edited and combined into a volume to be released onto the Custom Bionicle Wiki.
This Volume follows up a month after the previous episode, showing the aftermath of Keelo's conquering of the lower part of Vo-Powai. It delves deeper into story arcs and explores the personalities, personal and interpersonal struggles of several characters.
Detras and Ga-Matoran Shensii were slowly trudging up the long-ago flooded Cordak River. Although their feet were heavy, their minds were mostly calm. But every so often Detras would remember something scathing from the past month.
The battles that had occurred. Seeing his friends and former enemies alike captured. All of that had happened a week before Keelo took over a month ago. The words of Turaga Maroona's explanation on the stranger events:
"I believe that our tormentor Makuta Hysterix was trapped as a spirit on the astral plane for quite a while, and soon learned the benefits of his situation. He has used his Mask of Possession to wage a war against us and between each other without ever lifting a finger, since his body was destroyed long ago."
Detras blinked a couple of times and the thoughts went away. He looked back at the old hideout, known as The Washout, which had become a water runoff into the valley during the flooding and earthquakes Keelo had caused. There was once greatgrass there, but now it was barren and muddy. An excellent way of describing the current state of the island.
"This looks like a good spot," said Shensii. She and her protector found a large tree limb and broke it up, and Detras lit a fire to keep them warm. They sat on the edges of a ditch. Shensii could see the cold water evaporating off of her armor, which made her a bit uneasy. But she’d rather be dry than cold, she decided.
Her mind began wandering into darker and darker thoughts. She had no idea what had become of her friends… if they could even be considered her friends anymore. They always used to joke about how the Po-Matoran always won the Kohlii tournaments. They used to have fun together. She decided to spark a conversation with the Toa sitting across from her, knowing that if she kept pondering tears would well up in her eyes.
"What is it like to have elemental powers?" Shensii asked shakily.
"Huh?" replied Detras. He was looking elsewhere, staring into oblivion, waiting for it to stare back.
"Y'know, to be able to control fire and everything?"
"Well, having powers isn't all it's cracked up to be..." Detras began to stare into the fire. In it he saw phantasmagoric imagery of Keelo's overtaking of the lower valley lands.
Shensii was about to remind him of his question, but she saw faintly under Detras' visor that his eyes were welling up.
After a while, she said, "Can I check your burn? I want to see how it is.”
Detras removed his mask, revealing from under the splotch of ash on it the burn on his head. Keelo had given it to him when the Toa tried to free his captured brothers and sisters the first time.
"It's getting better," said Shensii in a positive tone of voice. In reality, it looked the same as it did yesterday, but she knew that he couldn’t see it anyway. The Toa was having a hard time, and so she decided that good news, even about something like this, would ease his misery.
Shensii herself was not in good shape, either. She had mud all over her body from multiple experiences with Keelo. He has proclaimed himself the Emperor of all the island of Powai Nui, but all he was was just a ruthless dictator of a broken conglomerate of Toa and Matoran. His speeches were about creating a better world, using stories from his time as a thief and saying that "he had to steal so he wouldn't go hungry", but they knew the truth. He was, in fact, hungry. Hungry for power and position.
"It looks like it might rain tonight," Shensii said, looking up at the sky. A warm wind was starting to blow, cutting through the cold twilight air. She remembered the day when she declared that she had chosen to be a pacifist, and everyone looked at her with awkward eyes. But she stood up strong and eventually everybody got used to her.
Now she was free from the grips of Emperor Keelo. She wouldn't have to fight, because she trusted Detras, a trust that had been constructed through their last four days together.
"Aren't you tired?" asked Detras. She nodded and laid down in the river bank to rest. Detras stayed up longer and tended the fire to keep both of them warm.
Her dreams were calm, unlike the night-terrors she'd had before, the ones about the bombs and the fires and the destruction. She dreamed that in the morning, they would wake up to all of their friends and allies, and the sun would be shining again, and they would all run down the river to talk in the gardens with no sign of Keelo. They would play all Kohlii together, and then she and the other Ga-Matoran would gossip about Tura and Jeko. The shops would be alive with business and trading and bargaining, and Vandir would be scouting the horizon, which was devoid of any sense of danger.
Somehow she had a certain feeling that this dream would come true. Having no courage to face Keelo, nor enough knowledge to know what had come of her friends, she had faith in it coming truth, and faith can overcome all.
"What is that? What could it be?"
From Omakah's experiences over the past month-and-a-half, anything he couldn't recognize immediately was bound to be hostile. His blurred vision from the past week of barely any sleep wasn’t helping either, and the only attribute he could place on the object was that it was grey and metallic.
There was a dark, silvery appendage visible from behind the gigantic brush, and some other things he couldn't make out.
When he got closer, he started to remember someone. He'd heard about the Dark Hunter, “Alchemist”, who had aided Keelo in establishing his empire. He had heard descriptions of him, but had never seen or met him. This robust and cunning machine fit all of the qualifications to be the Dark Hunter.
His upper region was stockily built, with long, strong legs ending in feet that a large Rahi beast would envy. In place of his head, which was already put on the front of his hunchbacked torso, he had a collection of apparatus all tightly packed together.
At least it had been tightly packed together, for now it was heavily damaged and loose, along with the rest of his body. He was charred and muddied, was missing pieces of armor, several sensing devices, and an entire hand, and had large dents and scratches spread around.
Omakah felt obliged to touch him, and he did. He immediately began to regret his decision, as the machine shuddered and wheezed itself back to life.
He made dozens of strange noises ranging from metallic clanging to something similar to billowing a fire. He mustered the strength to move itself into an upright position, pivoting His rusty joints to clamp his feet as firmly as he could into the soil.
As he looked around, examining the rainy, foggy landscape, Omakah grabbed his Battle Hook and jumped into a defensive position.
“Alchemist” was more alien than anything he'd heard about him. He was supposed to be an efficient, ruthless assassin, but here he was looking more deprived and vulnerable than an oak tree in the dawn of winter. His loosely-fitting parts were shuffling and whirring in a sort of shanty as he finally looked down at Omakah.
"Who are you?" he muttered. An obvious static could be heard whenever he spoke, as if he used some sort of broken speech machine rather than vocal chords.
Omakah stood there marveling at the giant.
"Who are you?" “Alchemist” repeated.
"I'd rather you tell me who you are first," Omakah demanded.
"Well, then, who am I?" asked “Alchemist”.
"I- I believe you're ‘Alchemist’."
"’Alchemist’? What an obscure name. It sounds like the codename of a Dark Hunter."
"It sure does..."
"Am I a Dark Hunter?"
Omakah hesitated before he answered this question. He didn't know how “Alchemist” would react if he found out who he had been. As far as Omakah knew, he could suddenly turn on Omakah with feelings of malice. Then he remembered a lesson Turaga Maroona had taught him about honesty, and how powerful and dangerous a lie could be. But he'd never come across a situation like this.
Retaining that in his mind, the power of a lie, he decided on something that ultimately would most likely change both of their futures.
"No, ‘Alchemist’, you're a Toa."
There stood Lewok, Toa Powai of Air, on the snowy cliff. He overlooked the area where he and Salvina had dueled Alchemist and Hatar... at least up until the point where he saw Hatar's mace flying toward him. Turaga Maroona said that he had been knocked out cold for weeks, and he only remembered everything up until the battle, as well as the previous day. Maroona had been giving him information in little chunks as he recovered, and he knew that Keelo had taken over. He barely even knew who Keelo was, but apparently he was dangerous and powerful.
The Toa was now on a mission from Maroona, an infiltration mission. The stakes were high, but the reward was priceless: Information. Information on Keelo's plans and ambitions, and important for Lewok himself, who he was, and what would become of him.
Lewok leaped off the cliff, and used his elemental powers of Air to both soften his landing and make it a dead silent one. He went through the plan in his head, just to make sure, even though it was short and simple. It wasn't uncommon for him to get sidetracked.
He glanced at the unmanned turrets, and was thankful that they weren't active. Something about them gave him an unearthly feeling of déjà vu. As he stared at them he felt the wind pick up in odd ways. He predicted that something was about to happen in the weather.
Lewok felt a change in the air pressure behind him. Using his Air powers, he felt around and identified a slim but strong Toa who was holding some sort of tool to his head. He identified the weapon as a blaster, and got the same feeling that he'd known it before. After feeling more, he realized it was very similar to a blaster he had engineered with Detras, the Lokhart C5, named after the mythical dragon that supposedly lives beneath Powai-Nui.
"It's too cold to be out this late," said the Toa, "We might have to thaw you out after we arrest you." The voice was hardy, with an accent reminding him of hardened sandstone, but definitely feminine. Lewok still couldn't tell who it was. He'd heard of a female Po-Matoran named Merdana. The voice seemed to fit her description, but he wasn't told that she had become a Toa.
He slowly turned around, and the attacker fired her blaster, but it did nothing. Lewok, recognizing the design of the blaster, had fiddled with it using his powers, disabling it. The figure looked at him, expecting some witty remark, as those where archetypal things for a Toa of Air to do. Instead, he looked her in the eyes and chuckled softly with a tacit expression.
His enemy threw her gun to the side and grabbed her two hookknives from her hip-belt, and Lewok shifted into a defensive position. They both ran at each other and swiped at each other. Lewok slipped and missed, and was hit twice. The first strike hadn't hurt, but the second one did. He could feel the snow shards flying into the tear in his armor.
He turned around, but with the current weather he couldn't see more than three meters ahead of him. Wishing he could do something about the weather, he forced himself to stop shielding his body from the snow. He wanted to make this fight as short as possible, but he might not have had the strength to finish it. The cold was slowly getting to him.
His enemy appeared behind him, but he blocked her swings and threw a couple of strikes at her. She stopped, waved her hand, and a column of stone sprung up, narrowly missing Lewok. He then leaped up and struck his enemy on the shoulder, knocking her into the snowbank. He waited for her to recover, but she did no such thing.
Lewok turned to run, but was met with five armed colonist Matoran and Vandir. The Toa of Air ordered to tell him what he was doing in their empire. Lewok stood in place and stared, as if he were a colored bronze statue, anxiously trying to figure out what to do. Vandir asked him many more times, before he simply ordered the Matoran to fire.
Lewok felt very weak when he opened his eyes. There were otherworldly forces he could feel on his body, and other than that the only thing he felt was an incredible pain in his forehead. He saw a strange world that at first he could not make any sense of. He squinted to try and decipher. Then, he realized that he was being hung upside-down.
As he looked around the dark forested area, he noticed a startling figure in his vision.
"Wh-who are you?" the Toa of Air managed to croak. His voice was groggier than usual.
"Emperor Keelo," said the figure.
Lewok gave a skeptical expression. Maroona didn’t tell him Keelo was an Emperor of any kind.
"Emperor of this land, more specifically," added Keelo. "That includes you as well."
Lewok realized that he wasn't fully awake yet. Was this just some sort of fever dream? The figure who identified as Keelo was one he surely had never seen before. He could feel his mind try to catch up with whatever was happening. He could hear synchronized blaster fires in the distance, which was beginning to match the rhythm of the throbbing pain in his head and chest.
"I follow but one leader," he managed to formulate. He normally wouldn't say anything, but seeing as he was too tired to attempt and escape, his only option was to learn what Keelo was talking about.
Keelo analyzed this reply. He looked into Lewok's somnolent eyes with a stony glare.
"That isn't true anymore, Toa," he grunted. "Soon you will learn to submit."
Lewok began to take Keelo's words more deeply. "No I won't," he said calmly, trying not to show his fear. "Why would I?"
"For this..." said Keelo, and he touched Lewok's forehead. At first the Toa only heard humming, but then he felt something strong. An exceedingly potent power that felt like enough to crack a planet in half. This woke him up completely.
"Why do you need such power?" he asked. Keelo gave him the same look, and he decided he couldn’t rely on body language while upside-down. "In this world, we've learned to be simple and realistic. Elemental powers are not tools of diplomacy."
"This power is for changing that," said Keelo. "I've seen the worst of this land... it is uncoordinated, harsh, and, most of all... leaderless. There are remnants of a government, but none in effect."
After that response, Lewok began to study Keelo more closely. Judging from what he'd been saying, he would've expected to see simply a misguided desire for control in his eyes... but he saw something entirely different. Something more akin to tyranny and malice, a hatred for the island.
"The only way to rule through power of that magnitude is through tyranny."
"Then that's what it might be."
"So you have become a tyrant?"
Keelo became angry and leaped up onto the tree branch Lewok was hung from. "Do you even know who I am?"
Lewok noticed that his armor was red, black, blue and white, a few of the colors of Fire, Earth, and Lightning.
"A Toa, it looks like." To his dismay, his voice wavered.
"That can't be true. No Toa would never do this."
"So you're going to take a new approach to tyranny?"
Using his immense strength, Keelo swung the tree branch down so that Lewok was close to the ground. He felt a jolt.
"If you use that cursed word one more time," scolded Keelo, "You'll get the shock of your life. I've electrified the ground beneath you. I estimate it is enough to set your armor ablaze, so listen to me!"
"Why do you even have me here?" asked Lewok after some time.
"Your mask, Lewok. The Kanohi Vehere, the Mask of Transmission. Able to project and transmit thoughts, even ones powerful enough to hurt another's mind."
"Why would you need my mask?"
"You're going to be my medium, Lewok."
"My power, and my eventual control over this island."
"That is, if you can find a way to use it."
"For now I can only use it through your obedience. Seeing as you're not the most compliant Toa I've met, I think you will need some more physical methods of getting you to obey me." He lowered the branch to the ground.
Somewhere, in the snow, sat Navahko, Wreshi, and their watchman Hatar. Hatar was not there to protect them, but to make sure that they stayed captured. Keelo had decided that due to the trouble they caused (or rather the trouble Wreshi caused that Navahko always got caught up in), they needed to be held captive away from the camp.
It was early in the morning, and while the others were asleep, Wreshi had woken up early. His mind was full of thoughts, especially those about... everything.
"We failed," he thought. "Why did we fail? We're Toa... we..."
He let his mind trail off until he was forced back to now by Navahko shifting. Wreshi noticed that Hatar, who had Wreshi's Recoiling Pickaxe, had positioned it so that Wreshi could touch it. He slowly reached over... and when he touched it, he felt a surge of power he hadn't felt in a while. But with this power came something else... something he knew scarily well. He tried to push it out of his mind, like Navahko told him to, but the chance was too perfect. As Maroona had said, “Opportunity is one of a Toa’s greatest weapons.”
Within minutes, Wreshi had broken the chain connecting him to his brother, disarmed Hatar and flung him to the ground, with split-second intervals of fighting in between. Navahko didn't have his weapon with him, and so had just watched. At first he watched in joy, as he was free, but he then began to watch in horror. He didn’t necessarily like how unfair the fight was.
Finally, he spoke, "Good work, brother. We should escape, while we have the chance. Back to the camp." Wreshi stood still, staring at Hatar's defeated body.
"Wreshi?" said Navahko. "We should go." He looked into the Toa's eyes and noticed something curiously familiar.
Wreshi raised up his pickaxe slowly, in a way that seemed to pleasure him. He sported a vindictive expression in his eyes, which were glowing redder than ever.
"Wreshi! No- stop!" yelled Navahko, although he felt like it was all he could do. Hatar looked up at his adversary and his heart skipped a beat at the sight of his devilish face underneath the dirtied, yellow mask.
Inside Wreshi's mind was something he could never explain. Surely it wasn't him... but in fact it was him, controlled by some mental phantasm that could feel nothing... except for an unholy amalgamation of near-hysterical joy and vindictive ferocity.
Wreshi's pickaxe swung down at breakneck speeds, hurdling toward Hatar. Navahko flinched at the sight of this, but felt he had some power in his body, enough to act upon what he was witnessing. He flung he arm forward, catching Wreshi's weapon such that it stopped a hand's length away from Hatar. The Toa of Gravity opened his eyes slowly to see the white arm above his face, too close enough to focus his eyes on without his head hurting.
Wreshi looked callously at Navahko and lifted his pickaxe. "Why did you stop me?"
Navahko felt confused and scared. "Brother, I know what has happened to you. Everybody has their dark side, and you just need to know how to escape from yours."
"Dark side?" said Wreshi. "I like that description... except it's terribly unfitting. This is my true self, Navahko, the old Wreshi stripped down to bare instinct... the only thing that matters."
"Wreshi, this isn't like you." pleaded Navahko. "You're reasonable, and you need more than instinct." He put on a firm expression. "I can't hurt you, but I know what will get you out of this. Remember the Pocket Dimension, Wreshi. Remember what you did, and what it caused! Corduk shunned you for weeks. You cannot let this behavior take control of you!"
There were other words he wanted to say, such as "witless" and “bestial”. He saw a shy look in Wreshi's eyes; he'd most definitely ridden him of that behavior. But Navahko realized what he was thinking, and what he was about to say, and realized that he likely had a dark side as well. His eyes darting around, he swallowed the words he was prepared to say and predicted them in his head:
“Maybe if you were bright enough to listen to your subconscious for more than the blink of an eye, you’d be able to push these immoral thoughts out of your head. But no, the moment you had the opportunity, you became a Rahi stricken with madness and your minuscule brain decided that destroying everything was the best option! When was destruction ever the best option, huh? Let this sink into your thick skull for at least an hour: in what way has you doing your ‘own thing’ or ‘winging it’ ever done a single thing to benefit our team or provide something to the world around you?! That’s exactly right, never! You’ll never accomplish anything with this mindset, you big-headed, gloating tool of a Toa of Stone, and if you can’t learn for yourself to change your ways, then you’ll likely never get anything done!”
Navahko hadn’t said a single one of these words out loud, but he felt as if he had wailed them out at the top of his lungs. After taking several gasping breaths, he stepped back, allowing Wreshi to step away as well.
- Tura (mentioned)
- Jeko (Mentioned)
- Maroona (mentioned)
- Hysterix (mentioned)
- Salvina (mentioned)
- Five colonist Matoran
- Corduk (mentioned)
- Volume IV marked a significant change in the style and atmosphere of The Feral Plains. Rather than being more of a storytelling type story, it turned more calm, depressing and tacit. CaptainLandr0ver refers to this volume as "The Fall From Grace."
- The end line of Chapter 1 is a reference to a line spoken by Tahu in Mata Nui Online Game while in Mangaia.
- Originally, Chapter 3 referenced Lewok's original mask power, which was going to be the ability to control and predict the weather. Due to his Vehere being important to the story, all mentions of this were removed and/or replaced by other details.
- This is also currently CaptainLandr0ver's favorite Volume of The Feral Plains, and possibly the most well-written.
- During this Volume and in parts of Volume V, all of the characters are outfitted differently. "Colonists" have some mismatched armor pieces, and "Natives" have random grey-colored mechanical bits on them. These were intended as having been remnants of Keelo's reign and the struggle it brought.
- While TFP being released on Lego.com, CaptainLandr0ver went on a month-and-a-half-long hiatus from working on the story and was subject to some sort of depressing feeling. These feelings then turned into the first chapter of Volume IV, and CaptainLandr0ver decided to represent Keelo's conquering as a flashback rather than having occurred during a chapter. As such, many characters are mentioned but do not appear.
- The volume is also the first to sacrifice action in order to give deeper meaning to the characters in the series.