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This article was written by Chicken Bond. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.

New Beginnings

New Beginnings is a short story written by user Chicken Bond for Toa Hydros and his storyline. It takes place during and shortly after the Raid on Artakha, and shows the creation of Henarck and how he eventually became part of the Society of Guardians.

Terrified screams echoed down a long, narrow corridor. Screams riddled with fear and horror, as another tremor shook the fortress. Stones of indescribable age fell from the ceiling, clashing against the floor and splitting, coughing up a thick cloud of dust.

Amongst the confusion of the chaos and destruction strode two beings, one a tall, winged, four-armed monstrosity, the other, a male Vortixx, carrying a bladed spear. Both walked with an air of confidence and relaxation, giving off an impression that the havoc being wrought around them was nothing new to their eyes.

As the corridor’s foundation continued to wail and groan, a bronze set of double-sided doors entered view. The larger being smiled sinisterly. Their objective was near. The two beings continued their pace until they stood directly in front of the doors.

With a powerful swipe from his arm, the larger being knocked down the doors. His companion looked at him with a combination of awe, fear, and respect.

“Y-your skills in combat are very refined, master Kojol. Tell me, do we near the Kanohi Avohkii?”

Kojol’s crimson eyes shifted to meet his accomplice’s gaze.

“Indeed we are. If my knowledge is correct, the Avohkii should be stashed somewhere in this room.”

The Vortixx shifted his gaze to the now exposed room in front of them; a massive spherical-like chamber littered with uncompleted inventions, weapons, tools and more; all of which were aligned on a number of towering shelves.

“The question is,” continued Kojol. “Where do we start?”

The Makuta of Artakha and his assistant strode into the room, weak sunlight reflecting off their armor, channeled through large panels of glass on the ceiling.

Kojol had been through much this day. The Brotherhood had decided to organize a raid on the island of Artakha for the recently created Mask of Light. Teridax had requested a subtle operation, an unnoticeable theft, though Kojol had thought otherwise.

Artakha was a large region, filled with numerous defense mechanisms and traps waiting to spring on potential intruders. Rather than risk such a time-consuming covert operation, Kojol had decreed that a full-scale invasion was in order, an invasion that was, at this point, going ahead well. Though his first wave of Visorak, Exo-Toa, and Rahkshi had been crushed, Kojol had successfully launched a second wave against the residents of Artakha. And this time, they had broke through.

Kojol rummaged through the contents of the shelves, trying to locate the mask the Brotherhood craved, yet no such luck turned his way.

The Makuta roared in fury, slamming his fist against the shelf with all his might in anger. He was not in the mood for a long, tiring search. The shelf wobbled uncontrollably, before colliding with another, then another, and another. Finally the last shelf slammed against one of the nearby brick walls, causing the structure to crumble entirely.

Kojol’s Vortixx ally widened his eyes in shock; because hidden behind the very wall that had just collapsed, was a shrine-like room containing a small, metallic box. The servant ran towards it, and almost effortlessly, ripped the lid off.

“What do you see?” demanded Kojol.

His assistant didn’t reply. Instead he turned to face his master with a surprised face as he raised his left arm to reveal the Kanohi Avohkii in his hand.

Kojol chuckled. “Excellent! Our mission has finally been completed.”

“Or so you think,” cried a new, intimidating voice.

Kojol turned around to see a mighty, 10 foot tall figure standing before him, his body clad in dark green and gray armor. In one hand, he carried a large scythe; it’s metal surfacing gleaming in the sunlight. The tool had obviously been freshly plucked out of a weapons forge. On his face, he wore a mask of beautiful and intricate design. A masterpiece of craftsmanship from time's past long ago.

“Artakha,” muttered Kojol. “I did not expect to see you on the battlefield.”

Artakha perched his head menacingly, the angular slits of his great Mask of Creation giving off a strong feel of menace.

“Give me the Avohkii, Makuta. Call off your army, before I’m forced to ensure that they return to Destral without a leader. Your master would not be pleased with that.”

Kojol laughed hard. “If you really think that I would surrender the greatest threat and weapon posed to the Brotherhood to someone like you, then you are deeply mistaken.”

“By who’s authority do have the right to steal it from me, let alone invade my land?” demanded Artakha, his voice echoing throughout the chamber, as another tremor shook the fortress. "By who's law?"

"By the authority of the Brotherhood of Makuta, of course. By the law of the Makuta!" roared Kojol. "You cannot win this one, Artakha. You are a relic of the past. A relic of a time long since gone. An exile. Surrender now, before I'm forced to raze this island."

Artakha assumed a fighting stance. “No, Kojol, I will not. You will have to go through my power first before you claim that mask. Do you believe you can face a foe that was old when the universe was young?”

Kojol chuckled lightly. “You are so misguided, Artakha. Now… meet your fate!”

Kojol launched himself into the air, and with an unpredicted speed for one with such a bulky form as Kojol, angled his wings and plunged straight at Artakha. The ancient creator had little time to react, and was dealt a blow that sent him flying across the atrium until he made a solid impact against one of the far walls with a horrible cracking sound. When the dust cleared, Kojol could see that Artakha had been blasted halfway through the wall.

Kojol laughed mockingly, and turned to face his fearful servant. Kojol's eyes were cold and empty when they met his servant's, a mere pit blackness and emptiness. A void of oblivion.

“Stay out of this until I give the command, Vortixx. I will deal with him personally.”

The Vortixx nodded and backed off into the far corner of the room, not wishing to get caught in the crossfire between these two powerful warriors. Kojol turned to face Artakha at the sound of him brushing rock dust and fragments off his shoulders. The Makuta charged forward to meet the legendary ruler, priming his sword as his weapon clashed with Artakha’s scythe. The two parried blows for seven seconds, neither being able to break past each other’s defenses, until Kjol swiped at Artakha with one of his clawed hands, forcing Artakha back a few steps. Kojol then fired a blast of Shadow energy from his clawed hand directly at Artakha.

In that instant, the world abruptly blurred for a second, and when Kojol’s sight cleared, he noticed Artakha was gone. Kojol looked around frantically for his foe until he realized the problem. There was one corner of the room that he was not looking in. He tried to face it, but his mind instinctively told him not to. The Makuta ignored the strong cries of his mind and looked in the right-hand corner of the room, and there, he saw Artakha.

“Nice trick,” began Kojol. “A nice combination of teleportation and metal manipulation. Who knew you had it in you to try and conceal yourself by telepathically shrouding yourself from my perception? It would have worked on a normal being, but on a Makuta…” Kojol raised his hand. “Not a chance.”

Kojol then fired a powerful blast of Sonics in conjunction with his Accuracy powers. The combination was deadly, and it hit Artakha dead on in the chest. Taking advantage of this distraction, Kojol leapt forward and parried with Artakha’s scythe.

“You’re even worse than a visually-impaired Exo-Toa! Perhaps, you should just accept that your day is over, old one. Greater forces have emerged to subside the weak from the strong, and your time has come to be divided from your acclaimed and mythological power.”

Artakha did not reply. Instead, he raised his arm and bowed his head with his eyes shut tightly. An obvious sign he was concentrating. Before Kojol could realize what he was doing, a wave of excruciating pain washed over Kojol’s mind. He instantly clutched the cranium of his head as the pain gradually increased. He fell to his knees as he began to take sharp gasps of air.

The pain was so much that Kojol was even able to see Artakha charge forward and hit Kojol with a powerful swipe from his scythe that sent him flying back several meters through the massive hall.

Kojol lay on the floor and groaned as the pain in his head faded. Artakha approached him slowly as he twirled his weapon in his armored hands. His pace stopped when he standing directly over the battered Makuta.

“Do you have any last words, traitor?”

“Only one,” grunted Kojol. “NOW!”

In that second, Kojol’s servant darted forward, raising his spear and channeling its mighty powers at Artakha. The orange bolt struck the mighty ruler, and instantly a horrific sensation washed over him.

Artakha dropped to his knees, trying his best to tolerate the pain. He felt is essence shifting; splitting, as if a part of himself was trying to rip itself free from his body.

Finally, the pain was too much, and Artakha let out a scream that shook the very foundation of the room. Kojol covered his ears in shock at the sound of the mighty, supersonic wail. Then, the screaming stopped and Artakha slumped to the ground, unconscious.

It was not the pain the Spear caused that had rendered Artakha out cold, it was more the fact that due to the effects of the blast, a new green and gray armored being lay on the floor beside Artakha, fresh smoke rising from his body. The being was similar to the ancient ruler, yet different in every respect at the same time. For starters, the being looked much more youthful than Artakha, and was roughly the same height of a Toa.

Kojol stared at the being for several seconds, his face contorted with confusion and fascination. Then he turned to face his Vortixx ally, only to find him lying dead on the floor, warm steam rising from his body.

Kojol chuckled lightly. Obviously the foolish Vortixx had not been able to use his weapon properly, and as a result, its mighty powers had a backlash at him, and killed him. Not to worry. He was merely another pawn in the Brotherhood's game. Kojol’s gaze turned to the Spear of Fusion. It was a dangerous yet useful tool, one he shouldn’t let fall into hands of his enemies. Perhaps Teridax would know where to hide it, only time would tell.

The Makuta then twirled the spear and raised it over his head as he began to initiate the beginning stage of a killing blow. Aiming at Artakha’s neck, Kojol began to bring the blade down when he was suddenly forced away by the impact of a massive blizzard. Kojol ran behind one of the room’s towering shelves as he looked around for the source of this bizarre weather condition. As the temperature began to drop even further, Kojol growled as he realized the cause of the commotion. Artakha had obviously been very clever when installing this particular defense mechanism into the room, which apparently reacted when its maker was sufficiently harmed by an external, hostile force. He could barely see anymore, and the blizzard was too powerful to allow him to make his way back to Artakha and the thing.

Though he wanted to stay and finish Artakha off, he knew he couldn’t. His forces were already beginning to wither out at the hands of the island’s numerous devices and booby traps, and he knew he would have to pull back soon. He had his primary objective: the Mask of Light, meaning there was no real need to remain on this island further. Besides, the temperature of this room had already dropped dramatically, and Kojol could feel his essence slowly beginning to freeze.

And so, if a little reluctantly, the Makuta of Artakha then departed as another mighty quake shook the fortress' foundation; in one hand, the Spear of Fusion, in the other, the gleaming mask that was the Kanohi Avohkii.

Henarck roared as he parried his blade with that of his enemy’s. Again, he would attempt a stabbing maneuver, a parry, a block, and then another strike. All of these moves seemed to be countered by his foe, whose sly face continued to echo mockery. Henarck growled furiously as he attempted to disarm his enemy, though was so focused on his offensive strikes that he failed to realize the gap he had left in his defense.

With one clean strike, Henarck’s enemy had knocked the warrior’s sword out of his grip, and sent a kick that sent him tumbling to the ground. Henarck looked up with bitter contempt as his enemy chuckled lightly, his orange eyes exposing every hint of enjoyment.

“You have been challenging me for hours now, Henarck; and yet victory has yet to come your way. Perhaps it is time I finish this little farce off here and…”

His enemy suddenly paused mid-sentence at the sound of someone clearing their throat, and turned to stare upon a high platform where Artakha stood, his eyes glaring with a mix of fatigue, concern and calm.

“I think that will be enough for today… Toa Skydrax.”

Suddenly, the enemy’s appearance altered, shifting into the form of a tall, lean Toa of Air equipped with a menacing double-bladed sword and claws.

“As you wish, Artakha,” He replied coolly.

Henarck rose to his feet and stared first at Artakha, then at Skydrax. The Order of Mata Nui liaison had been specifically requested to train Henarck in combat, using his Kanohi Makiti to shape-shift into various beings. For this lesson, Henarck had been forced to battle Skydrax in the form of the famous Lepidian bounty hunter Raduke. Without another word, the Toa turned and exited the grandiose chamber through one of the far doors. Once gone, Henarck turned to Artakha with a look of annoyance and desperation.

“Brother, if you had just let me spar for a while longer, I would have succeeded in defeating Skydrax!”

Artakha let a tired, weary sigh escape his lips. "I doubt it, my brother. Skydrax is a powerful warrior, and not one to be taken lightly. Believe me, if I can be defeated by Makuta Kojol, then I'm sure you would stand no chance against the likes of a warrior as skilled as Skydrax or Raduke."

“Have you forgotten that had it not been for Kojol’s raid, I would never have existed? I am you, after all; or at least, a part of you.”

Artakha walked down from his platform and strode straight towards Henarck, and only stopped his pace when their masks were nearly touching.

"No, Henarck I have not forgotten the day when Kojol stole the Avohkii, and I was most pleased when the Order of Mata Nui finally eliminated him. His very power created you: a being forged from my very essence. However..." Artakha cut off as he turned away to look at one of the far walls. "You are not 'me,' Henarck. A part of me, perhaps, but not me. You don't act, think, look, or even walk like me."

“Then what am I to you?” demanded Henarck, rage slowly bubbling within him. "What am I in your eyes?"

Artakha paused for a moment; his tired, old eyes sinking into a weary sadness. “I see you…. as a reflection, Henarck. A reflection of who I could have been, had my life journey been different or taken a different turn.”

Henarck scowled nastily. “Is that all I am? A reminder of person you couldn’t be or become? Is that it?!”

Artakha turned to face Henarck again, his eyes glinting with a faint air of intimidating menace.

“You are a representation of someone I could have been, yet in the end, did not become. You are young, reckless, energetic, and a warrior, not to mention childish on occasion. A polar opposite to me. I am old, patient, settled, and weary. We are two different people, Henarck: I am the person that came to be, you are the person I could have been had my life taken a different twist.”

There was a long pause. Both Artakha and Henarck glared at each other daringly, neither willing to back down from a potential argument. Finally, however, Artakha broke off from the argument and walked off towards one of the far doors.

“Now if you excuse me, my…. Brother. I have matters to discuss with Skydrax. I trust you will use this time to rest up and think about your next duel. I will see you later.”

And then, without another word, Artakha was gone.

Henarck strode down one of the many corridors of Artakha’s fortress. Night had fallen over the island of Artakha. His foul mood, however, had not changed in the slightest since his conversation with Artakha. Childish? he thought. Childish? CHILDISH!? I am not childish! If I was, I would neither have the strength nor courage to be where I am today. If I hear another degrading thing come out Artakha’s mouth I’ll... I’ll…

Henarck’s thoughts trailed off at the sound of loud conversation echoing down the next corridor. Henarck sprinted down to edge of the corridor, and peaked around the next turn. He could here two voices: one belonging to Skydrax, the other to Artakha. The two were standing outside the grand doors of Artakha’s personal chambers.

“How have the Order’s efforts been to remove all those alive with the knowledge of my island's location?” asked Artakha.

“They have been strained,” replied Skydrax. “It’s been a difficult to eliminate all these people. Not because we’re having difficulty removing them, but simply because we’re having difficulty tracking down all these beings because there are so few of them, in all honesty. Only a select few know of the location of this place. Fortunately, I hear Tobduk's efforts to eliminate them have been very successful, nonetheless.”

Artakha nodded slowly, a look of deep thought and contemplation on his face.

“And how are things… within the Society?” asked Artakha, his voice no louder than a whisper. There was pause.

Finally, Skydrax spoke up again. “Things are… edgy. We haven’t been able to seek out even a small trace of Verahk in months. We have several people suspected of being associated with him under our watch, though we don’t have any solid evidence to imply they are in fact his minions.”

An expression of sheer confusion decorated Henarck’s face. Who was this Society? Who was Verahk? What was Skydrax and Artakha’s connections to all this? So many questions, yet many he feared would never be answered in his lifetime.

“Well, I’m afraid I need to be off, Artakha. Krataka will be expecting my latest report, and I should be departing. Though don’t worry, I’ll be back to train the kid soon.”

“Very well, then. Until we meet again…” Artakha turned away and opened the doors to his chamber. Without a second glance at the Toa of Air beside him, Artakha entered his rooms and closed the double doors behind him. Skydrax simply stared at the spot where Artakha had once been standing for a total of two seconds before turning in the opposite direction and pulling out his Protosteel sword.

Henarck watched curiously. What was this all about? His mind could only wonder. Abruptly, Skydrax whipped his blade forward in some kind of slicing motion. As he performed this movement, the blade seemed to cut a tear into the air itself, and as swiftly as the tear had appeared, the cut expanded to form a large, circular portal, large enough to fit a Toa-sized being in it. Skydrax strode forward and entered the portal, his motions fluid and graceful as he did so, suggesting he was accustomed to these strange occurrences. Henarck’s eyes widened. It was some kind of inter-dimensional portal!

As soon as he had passed through, the portal began shrink dramatically, and a puff of sharp, cloud-like energy, that was purple in color, began radiating from the trimming outskirts of the portal. Henarck had to make his mind up: Either he could stay here and not have his questions answered, or he could venture off into the unknown and try to find them out, or at least something close. His decision was made in less than a microsecond.

As the portal grew smaller, Henarck ran around the corner and charged with all his might at the opening. I'm not going to make it! Henarck thought to himself.

The portal was now so small, even a Matoran would have difficulty trying to get through. However, Henarck was not one to give up. As the narrowing portal grew smaller and smaller, Henarck leapt forward and dived through the inter-spacial gap mere seconds before it closed completely, shifting and twisting his body to ensure that the lower half of his body would not get cut off and left in his native world. His chance to rejoice was brief, however.

Now, he found himself plunging violently through inter-dimensional space at high speeds. Deeper and deeper he fell through the bizarre void between different worlds, and his fall only grew shakier as his speed increased further; he was spinning wildly out of control. Henarck closed his eyes as he plunged through a bright, white opening in space, which was followed by an instant of deep darkness.

Henarck slowly opened his eyes again, his mind a blur, and his head dizzy. The metal floor he was now lying on was surprisingly warm. Summoning his remaining strength, Henarck drearily got his feet and scanned his new surroundings.

The first thing that became apparent was that he was no longer in Artakha’s fortress. In fact, it was apparent that he was not on the island of Artakha at all. At this present moment, Henarck was standing in a large, empty hall with numerous Kanohi masks and weapons lining the walls of the chamber, many with designs Henarck had never seen before.

As he continued to speculate his location, a strange, echoing voice spoke to him. Take it easy there, my friend. You just partook in an unusually rough ride through dimensional space. Hopefully you didn’t suffer too much damage.

Henarck instantly spun around in search for the owner of the voice, though the room was empty. “Who’s there? Show yourself!”

Now, now. Let’s not get offensive. I’m simply trying to talk to you, or at least your mind.

“Whoever you are, I ask you to show yourself!” barked Henarck again. Had anyone else been in the room, they would have been under the assumption that Henarck was completely mad. Many people usually thought that when they saw others having half-conversations with thin air.

I have a better idea. Why don’t I navigate you to me.

At that instant, a grand set of double doors spontaneously opened, apparently of their own accord. Cautiously, Henarck passed through the doors and into the corridor beyond it. He walked out into what expected to be a small corridor, which actually turned out to be a massive, complex hallway filled with an uncountable number of doors, many of which being on different levels and plaforms.

He walked lowly down the massive, atrium-like corridor, his nervous feelings reflected in his cautious strides. This “corridor” was absolutely massive, and there were way too many doorways to even consider passing through. To add to the complexity of this place, many other smaller corridors were forking off from this one, making navigation around this place even more confusing.

It felt as if there was more than four hundred twist and turns to this single corridor than there were on the entire island of Artakha. He was just beginning to speculate that the voice he had just heard was a figment of his imagination when it suddenly spoke to him again.

The fifth door on the right, Henarck. Try not to get lost. We have much to discuss.

“Shut up,” Henarck muttered to himself, uncertainty and nervousness mingled in his tone.

As instructed, Henarck approached the fifth door on the right-hand side of the hall, and after five seconds of hesitation, pushed his way through the entrance and into the next room.

What stood out the most from the previous rooms he had just been through was that there were actual people in this room. What unnerved him was the fact that he absolutely had no idea who these beings were. There were four of them in total standing in the room, each different in appearance as they were in characteristic.

The person on the far right was a tall being bearing silver and black armor, with a matching pair of razor-sharp claws. His dark orange eyes seemed to gleam as bright as the forges of Artakha themselves, a notion which also seemed expose a blazing well of emotion behind this one’s calm disguise of cold detachment.

The being standing next to him was a different thing entirely. He was completely covered in silver and gray livery, which was in a design that was both totally alien to Henarck, yet strangely familiar at the same time. He was roughly the same size as a Toa, and wore a mask that seemed to have been carved in the likeness of the Kanohi Ignika, the legendary Mask of Life. For such a bizarre-looking warrior, he did not seem to give off an intimidating presence, but rather, a feel of warmth and wisdom and knowledge.

The being standing on the left was very tall, standing roughly about eight feet in height. Like the being on the far right, he too was adorned in silver and black armor, though his eyes were lime-green in color. Though he did not look particularly menacing, he looked powerful enough to pose a challenge. Henarck, however, decided he was not the sort to fight, but instead, his very stance suggested that he was more a philosopher than a warrior.

Then there was the person standing in the center of these people, who was perhaps the strangest of them all. He was obviously a Toa, but the coloring and design of his mask and armor was something he had never seen before. His body was colored in shades of gold, silver, gray, black, and yellow. He looked a unique and well-seasoned warrior, but when Henarck dared meet this one’s very gaze he saw something completely different. He saw old eyes. He saw eyes that looked like they had been made to seen terrible things over and over again, and had eventually grown tired of such sights. They burned like the sun, yet even Henarck could see the fatigue and weariness that lay in their depths. They blazed with an aura of experience and power; and what those eyes were currently looking at, right now, was him.

“Thank you, Mersery, for guiding Henarck here. I almost feared he was going to lose himself in the depths of our home.”

“Who are you!?” demanded Henarck, fearfully. “Identify yourselves!”

“Of course,” began the Toa, a friendly smile curving on the lips of his golden Hau. “My name is Krataka. And these two on my right, are Atukam and Ignika Nui, and on my left is Mersery. We have been expecting you for some time.”

“Where am I?” asked Henarck fearfully. “What do you want from me?”

"Now, take it easy," said the one named Ignika Nui. "Take a deep breath, and let us talk to you. You just took a very rough trip through dimensional space. It's very dangerous to tail after a fellow traveler when they have already passed through a portal. Fortunately, neither you nor Skydrax were injured in the journey, the latter of which shall be arriving soon."

“You haven’t answered my question,” growled Henarck. “Where am I? And why am I here?”

There was a long pause. Finally, Atukam spoke up.

“You are within the depths of the Fortress of Ages, the headquarters of our organization: the Society of Guardians.”

“I’ve never heard of you,” replied Henarck.

“I’m not surprised,” said Krataka. “Very few outside of our organization know of our existence. Not even members of the Order of Mata Nui know we exist, apart from those who are actually part of our group. This absolute secrecy allows us to operate more flexibly than other organizations. But now, onto the matter of your presence here. You were brought here because…”

Henarck couldn’t take this anymore. It was too much to take in, his head was swimming. Before Krataka could finish his sentence, Henarck sprinted out the room and straight down the corridor, Krataka bolted off after him until he reached the open doorway.

“Henarck, wait!” he called out. But Henarck wasn’t listening. He just wanted to go home. He didn’t want his answers anymore. He didn’t want to know what this Society did and why they did it. He just wanted to go home.

Henarck spun around the next corner and sprinted up to the closest door and passed through it. Once inside he closed it shut, locked the door, and leaned against it, panting heavily from the great run he had just enacted.

“And where do you think you’re going?” asked a familiar voice.

Henarck looked up to see none other than Toa Skydrax himself standing before him, his cool aura ever present on his battle-hardened expression.

"Skydrax?!" Henarck began. "What is going on? Please, I just want to go home!"

“And what is home to you?” asked another familiar voice. As the world began to blur before Henarck’s eyes for a second, the mighty form of Artakha materialized before him.

Henarck was speechless. How could Artakha be involved in all this?

“What are you doing here, Artakha? I don’t understand what is going on?”

At that point, the door behind him unlocked, and Krataka, Atukam, Ignika Nui, and Mersery entered the room to stand beside Artakha and Skydrax. Artakha then chose this moment to speak.

“It was easy to figure out you had come to this place when no one within Artakha was able to tell me your whereabouts. And as to what is going on, Henarck, this is your recruitment.”

“Recruitment?” asked Henarck. “Recruitment into what?! You don’t mean this… this… Society?”

“Indeed I do. I have been an ally of theirs for some time now, Henarck. Now be quiet, I need to talk to you.”

There was another short pause before Artakha finally resumed his speech.

“Since the very moment I learned of the nature of your existence, I swore to myself to take care of you to the best of my ability. I have tried to train you as a warrior, to better protect our land from external threats such as the Makuta. I have tried to allow you to sow roots of your amongst my realm and home, but sadly, I haven’t been able to train and care for you properly.”

Henarck looked into Artakha’s eyes. Behind their looks of regret and sorrow, he could also see something that resembled guilt. Was it guilt for not being able to manage Henarck properly? Or was it because he had allowed Henarck to be created in the first place?

“As hard as it is me for me to accept this,” continued Artakha. “I have failed to establish you into the world properly. I have never been one to mentor and guide others over lifetimes, and I certainly am unable to now. I am… sorry, Henarck. But I am simply incapable of building you a life within the boundaries of my land. I tried, I really did try, but my realm was always too small to contain your energy and ambitions. That is where the Society came in. They knew you could become something great, something better, so myself and Krataka began preparing you for this very moment of truth.”

Henarck did not know how to feel. Sorry? Angry? Guilty? None of those emotions seemed suitable for this situation.

“You have always been seeking a bigger and better life, Henarck,” Artakha said. “And now I offer you the opportunity to have that life. Join the Society of Guardians, my brother. Adventure into the deep realms of the unknown, see the things even I will never be able to see, and right the injustices that so many have wrought.”

There was silence. Henarck considered. He faced the opportunity to go back to Artakha, the only place he knew in the universe (and also the place he considered home), and continue to live out his life normally. Or he could allow himself to be incepted into this strange, new organization. He could embrace a new world, a new life, a new home. His decision was made up in seconds. The answer to this offer came to him in a flash.

“Very well,” he began with smile. “I’m in. But before we start discussing the nature of my recruitment, I want to know exactly what you do, why you do what you do, what your goals are, and where my new room will be in this massive fortress of yours.”

Krataka grinned cheerfully. Even Artakha allowed a satisfied, yet sad, smile to decorate his wizened face.

“Of course, of course, Henarck. The Society of Guardians was formed several centuries ago to combat the concealed threat of Makuta Verahk. We have made it our primary goal to hunt him down because of the countless atrocities he has committed. Our operations are so small, that even factions like the Order of Mata Nui cannot detect us. We…”

Krataka’s words just trailed off into Henarck’s mind. Right now, none of it mattered. A wide smiled stretched across his face. It was a new start for him, a new dawn. In fact, he would even go as far to call it a series of… New Beginnings.