This article was written by BionicleChicken. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.
|United But Not One|
The Skull Raiders: bandits from an unknown land. For the first time in Okotan history, strangers that hailed from outside of the island had come to their humble home. Much to their disappointment, these visitors were not kind. Wherever they came from, they sought riches. Even though it ultimately meant nothing on Okoto, the Skull Raiders and their tribal leader Axato the Atrocious wanted gold. And the place with the most amount of this apparent precious rock was the City of Mask Makers.
The prospect of a large collection of valuables locked in some vault somewhere would have been enticing enough for Axato, but the City itself was built using this material. Axato's avaricious hunger grew once he discovered that the center of Okotan culture was made out of the thing he wanted the most in all of reality.
A twenty year siege was conducted on the City by the Raiders. Luckily, with the help of Ekimu and his twin brother Makuta, the Protectors managed to ward off the Raiders, sending them fleeing to take refuge in the mountains, where they would remain for the rest of their lives.
Or at least that was what would have been, if the Raiders had known how to survive on Okoto's mountain ranges. With no knowledge or intuition on how to thrive in their refuge, the Skull Raiders perished, living up to their moniker as all that remains of them today are their skeletons.
"So what's with the reasoning that we're up against them right now?" asked Izotor, Protector of Ice, incredulously. "Undead bandits from the past back for some reason?"
The Protectors were in what they assumed to be a square in the City of Mask Makers. They were lost in the ancient metropolis.
Narmoto, Protector of Fire, examined his environment. "Of all the things that had happened recently, zombies are really hard to buy?"
"Well, it's the only explanation for what we saw in the jungle," Kivoda, Protector of Water said hesitantly. Some part of him was afraid of what Izotor might do to him if he accidentally provoked him. If his childhood was anything to go by, provoking the Protector of Ice was not a good idea, even if he was comparatively mellow by now. "The being we encountered wore similar armor to the Skull Raiders."
Izotor scoffed. "It's just that of all the things to come at us within the last day, zombies are the last thing I want to hear right now. Where in the name of Kopaka are we anyways?"
Korgot, Protector of Earth, turned to where they entered the square from. Even she was turned around by the intricate architecture of the surrounding buildings, a feat as she was the member of the group with the most natural sense in topography and navigation. The entirety of the City of Mask Makers so far was a labyrinth. She turned to one of the structures around the Protectors. "Alright," she said, trying to piece together what she could find. "So...as far as I can understand we haven't gone too deep into the City as of yet. And these actually look like barracks."
"So this was where our ancestors trained and stayed while the Skull Raiders attacked the City," observed Narmoto. He took a concerned glance at Vizuna. The Protector of Jungle was usually ahead of things, literally. His sensor tail allowed him to gaze into the future, which in turn made him a rather obnoxious psychic that gave vague hints to coming events. But here, in this city, he looked confused. "Vizuna, still--"
"Yes," said the green-armored Protector abruptly. His senses are not as disoriented as Narmoto thought. "Yeah I'm still with you. Just...getting my bearings."
"This is getting us nowhere," said Nilkuu, Protector of Stone as he fiddled with his Sandstone Blaster. "We need to get to higher ground."
"I don't think..." muttered Vizuna, a hesitant look on his face behind Toa Lewa's mask.
Narmoto nodded. "Nilkuu's right. Make us some stairs or something."
Nilkuu walked forward, dragging his Blaster along on the floor behind him. He triggered it, sending an Element Pellet into the stone floor. A stone ramp formed from the Pellet like a tree from a seed. The Protectors followed Nilkuu up the ramp as they were slowly but surely given a better view of their surroundings.
"Nice view," said Izotor as he overlooked the City.
"Why did our ancestors build this place like a maze...?" muttered an exasperated Kivoda. The Protector of Water was right. The architecture of the City of Legends was very much labyrinthian. Streets seemed to be walled off by homes and stores, streamlined to allow limited navigation.
"There!" pointed Korgot. The Protectors followed her finger and saw it: resting on a hill was a structure built in the shape of an anvil, its interior illuminated by a flickering fire that could be seen even from this distance. "That must be Ekimu's forge."
"...I...really didn't think they were serious about it being shaped like an anvil," said Izotor as he incredulously stared at the building's odd design.
"Whatever the case, we need to get there," snarled Nilkuu. "Ekimu's waiting for us."
Suddenly, Vizuna yelled and shoved the Protectors off the ramp, leaping down alongside his allies. The stone ramp exploded, spraying dust over the heroes. Izotor looked up at where the ramp had been and his eyes widened. "What in the--?"
Where the ramp once stood was a small iceberg. Someone had shot at them with an Ice Pellet. "Great, looks like I got thematic enemies now," the Protector of Ice grunted as he stood, his Ice Saw and his Blaster at the ready. "Show your faces! You think you can attack Toa and get away with it?!"
Vizuna stood, woozy and clutching his head. "Everything feels off...everything feels wrong in this place..."
Narmoto clamored to his feet and clutched Vizuna's shoulder. "Vizuna, what's the matter??" The Protector of Fire glanced at his Jungle counterpart's tail. It was violently shuddering, like a swatted fly quaking in its attempt to keep its life.
"Uh, guys?" said Izotor in a worried tone. The Protectors looked up. What they saw made them inhale sharply. Approaching them slowly, their armor softly clanking, their bows drawn, their red eyes glowing in the darkness of their empty eye sockets, was an army of skeletons. "I think zombies are growing on me."