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


SF

Shadow Fire is a story written by Toa Hydros, which dipicts the climactic battle between Toa Hydros and Makuta Verahk.

Chapter One[]

IMPORTANT! Please view The Hydros Chronicles #47 before reading this story.

Le-Metru, Metru-Nui

He watched over the prone form of his red and green-armored foe, his crimson eyes never wavering even as panicked Matoran ran this way and that. They held no importance to this individual… at least not now.

For his foe, the impact after suddenly materializing three stories above a busy street in Le-Metru would not have resulted in unconsciousness had he been expecting it; but as Makuta Verahk often told his students, one could never expect a battle to go as planned.

That was one of the things Verahk loved about combat: The unpredictability that could allow anything to happen.

Verahk was brought back from the world of his musings by the sound of armor scrapping against the pavement. He chuckled as he watched the hulking figure pull itself into a kneeling position.

“I suppose that new contraption of yours doesn’t provide as much protection as you originally thought.” Verahk heckled, earning a glare from his opponent.

Toa Hydros gave a snarl as he got to his feet, giving a quick glance to the armored machinery on his left arm that was part of the Exo-Frame H10, which enclosed his body within a mechanical suit, hoping it had not been damaged in the fall. He then gave a look around, noting that they were no longer in Karda Nui.

“Where are we?” Hydros demanded, ignoring the Makuta’s prodding.

“Where else would a legendary clash begin, Hydros?” Verahk replied, giving a moment to glance around at the buildings and frightened Matoran bystanders. “The City of Legends of course, otherwise known as Metru Nui.”

Hydros began to slowly circle around Verahk. He had used a large amount of the Exo-Frame’s energy earlier in his fight against Verahk and the longer Verahk talked, the more energy the suit regained.

“Why have you brought us here?” he asked, never taking his eyes off the Makuta.

“I brought you here, Toa, simply because of my belief of great opponents meeting equally great deaths.”

Hydros’ eyes narrowed behind his mask. “What are you talking about?”

Verahk merely laughed and said, “Enough talk Toa.”

Raising a talon, Verahk sent a bolt of darkness into Hydros, sending him into a nearby wall. Hydros managed to regain his senses just in time to duck as twin shafts of laser vision burned holes in the wall where the Toa’s head had been a moment before. Rolling away to gain distance, Hydros got to his feet and fired the Midak Skyblaster attached to the Exo-Frame’s left arm. The light sphere struck home sending Verahk stumbling backwards a few steps. Recovering quickly, Verahk whirled around and unleashed a sonic scream that sent Hydros reeling.

As Matoran ran screaming, Hydros attempted to regain his thoughts. Luckily, the helmet of his suit managed to filter out the brunt of the earth-shattering sound. He was just sitting up when Verahk’s razor-sharp talons sank into the armor that now shielded Hydros’ shoulders. Like a great falcon, Verahk then spread his wings and took flight with his prey held tight in his grip.

“Perhaps I should carry you high and allow you to fall.” Verahk cackled as he carried the Toa above the city. “Who knows, maybe you’ll make it half-way through the Archives by the time you finally stop.”

Exerting as much strength as his right shoulder could muster, Hydros managed to break it free of the Makuta’s grip. He then drew back an armored fist and sent it on a collision course with the side of Verahk’s head. Caught off guard, Verahk lost his other grip and was send spiraling through the air away from Hydros, who had just activated the rocket boosters attached to the Exo-Frame’s ankles.

Hydros allowed himself a quick smile as his opponent righted himself in midair. Verahk obviously wasn’t expecting the Exo-Frame to increase Hydros’ already considerable strength. Angling his jets, Hydros surged forward and slammed into the Makuta’s midsection with shattering force.

“Sorry, Makuta,” Hydros said as he sank the H10’s claws into Verahk’s armor. “but dieing isn’t part of my schedule for today.” The Toa then began carrying Verahk higher and higher, hoping to take the battle someplace where innocent bystanders couldn’t get hurt.

“Then allow me to change your plans!” Verahk hissed as he sent his knee into Hydros’ gut. While the H10 took the brunt of the blow, it was still enough to force Hydros to release his grip. “When I am through with you, Toa, you will be nothing more than another corpse rotting in the sun.”

With that, Verahk released a wave of magnetism that sent Hydros flying. He managed to right himself just in time to receive a blow from a giant fist made of pure shadow, sending him through one side ofa building and out the other. Hydros continued to fly backwards until he slammed into another building, its outer wall just barely able to take the impact intact.

After shaking his head to clear it, Hydros looked up to see Verahk barreling toward him. Activating his jets, Hydros flew forward to meet his opponent, only to veer to the right at the last second. Before Verahk could react, his Toa opponent stopped, whirled around and unleashed an intense jet of flame from his hands.

It hit its mark, sending Verahk through the building Hydros himself had slammed into a few moments before. Before Hydros could fly after him, however, the Makuta’s winged form burst from the roof and began firing bolts of lightning and shadow.

Suddenly on the defensive, Hydros activated his Kanohi Hau, summoning a energy shield to deflect the blasts as he flew backwards, keeping his eyes trained on Verahk the entire time.

“What is the matter, Toa?” Verahk laughed as he continually forced Hydros to block his attacks. “I thought you were a warrior, not a coward. Lower that shield and face me.”

Hydros knew he was being baited and continued to keep his shield active, unaware Verahk was merely keeping the Toa distracted as he used his power of gravity to lift a Ussal cart from the street below. Seeing an opening, the Makuta sent the cart flying toward Hydros. It hit the Toa hard enough to disrupt his concentration, causing the shield to drop. Taking advantage, Verahk hit the Toa with a blast of lightning, sending Hydros spiraling toward the ground.

“No, Toa.” Verahk said as he caught the Toa before he could hit the ground. “You will not perish so easily. If I am going to kill you today, I want it to be a victory to remember.”

With that, the two combatants vanished from the scene.

Chapter Two[]

Xia

In a flash of white light the hulking, armored form of Toa Hydros was rudely tossed away from his opponent, and sent skidding across the ground before coming to rest in front of a large pile of debris. He managed to get into a sitting position before half a ton of armor and darkness crashed down on top of him feet first, driving the Toa into the pavement.

Why does Helryx insist on giving me the tough missions?, Hydros thought in a daze as he heard the distant cries of surprise and fear coming from fleeing Vortixx.

Hydros’ senses were just returning to him when Verahk’s talons sank into his armor, lifted the dazed Toa above the Makuta’s head, and threw him from the small crater the impact hade made.

Hydros hit the ground with a audible thud. Though his Exo-Frame was taking the majority of the damage, Hydros was still aching from being tossed around like a play toy.

Unwilling to be caught off guard again, the Toa rolled to the right just as Verahk’s armored feet would have crushed his head like a fruit. The Toa then downed his winged opponent with a leg sweep that knocked the Makuta’s feet out from under him, sending Verahk to the ground with a satisfying crash. Hydros sprang to his feet and brought his fist down, intending to smash Verahk’s mask, and his head along with it.

Verahk had other plans.

With a thought, the Makuta conjured a barrier of shadow energy that blocked Hydros’ fist as effectively as any shield. The Makuta then hit Hydros with a burst of lightning that sent his Toa opponent flying.

Hydros got to his feet in a flash, just as Verahk was charging. Hydros met his challenge and came at the Makuta at top speed, only to be flipped and sent to the ground by a swipe of the Makuta’s powerful forearm. Mere seconds after hitting the ground, Hydros was lifted by and invisible force and thrown into the wall of a crumbling Xian warehouse.

As Hydros sat up he found the H10’s internal screens allowed him to see nothing but static. A few knocks to the machine’s helmet fixed the problem, allowing Hydros to see as Verahk’s taloned hand closed around the Toa’s protected head, squeezing with an almost unnatural strength.

Hydros quickly responded by sinking the H10’s claws into the armor of the Makuta’s arm and ripping the limb away from its body with a great heave. Hydros got the decapitated hand away from his face as he heard Verahk roar in surprise and dismay as his precious energy began to leak out.

“That’s for hurting my friends,” Hydros sneered as he tossed the arm away.

Verahk wheeled on him and charged forward with a roar of anger, hitting the Toa with a backhand and sending him sprawling to the ground. He then bend down and picked up his severed limb and reattached it to his body through the use of his Mask of Regeneration.

“And that,” Verahk hissed as he tested his healed limb by opening and closing his clawed hand. “is for being a constant annoyance.” He punctuated his point with a blast of darkness. It hit the Toa with shattering force, hard enough to actually severely dent the Exo-Frame’s chest plate.

As the blast flung Hydros backwards through the air, the Toa managed to get off several shots from his skyblaster. The spheres of light scorched several spots on the Makuta’s armored form, though one went straight through the metallic membrane of Verahk’s left wing.

Verahk winced and growled in pain as a small portion of the energy directing that wing’s movement was effectively incinerated. His hate-filled eyes fell on Hydros, who was just getting up. Without even bothering to repair the damage with his Kanohi, Verahk rushed forward and executed a perfect leaping kick that hit Hydros directly in the chest, sending Hydros back to the ground.

The Toa rolled to avoid an armored fist that left a small crater where Hydros’ head was a moment before. After getting to his feet, Hydros found himself bending and twisting in every way possible to avoid slashes from the Makuta’s talons. After first seeing the Makuta’s new form, Hydros had expected his opponent would have been slower, less agile, and more manageable.

No such luck. If anything, Verahk’s fighting style was now more deadly than ever. Backed by rage and the knowledge that Teridax was close to achieving his goal (not to mention this struggle with Hydros was bound to bring Dark Hunters to investigate the commotion), Verahk was fighting with a ferocity Hydros had never seen before.

A voice belonging to neither combatant was heard from the right. Hydros was able to keep Verahk from attempting to rip the Toa’s throat out long enough to spare a glance.

What he saw didn’t fill him with confidence.

Standing near a half-ruined Xian foundry was a tall shadowed form, one hand grasping a bladed staff while crimson eyes watched the two trade blows. Next to him was a bizarre yellow armored warrior with four arms.

Hydros had never encountered the yellow one before, but his companion? Him he knew.

The Shadowed One, Hydros thought as Verahk finally calmed long enough to realize they were not alone.

The Shadowed One smiled coldly, as recollection as to who he was looking at took hold.

“Hydros,” the Dark Hunter master hissed. His gaze then met Verahk’s. His smile turned to a frown of distaste. The Shadowed One turned to his companion.

“Capture the Toa,” he ordered. “We have things to discuss.”

The Dark Hunter complied. He made a silent gesture in the Toa’s direction. Before Hydros could determine what was going to happen, he found the Exo-Frame was beginning to shut down. The Toa was also feeling a strange sensation on his own body. He glanced at his had to discover it – no, his entire body, as well as the H10 – was slowly turning to stone, rendering him immobile.

“As for you, Makuta,” The Shadowed One said as he turned his attention back to the Makuta. “you have nothing I desire, and I have fought the Brotherhood long enough to know there is no point interrogating or imprisoning one of your kind.”

Verahk’s eyes narrowed as The Shadowed One’s glowed with energy.

“That leaves only one option.”

Twin lances of crimson energy bathed the Makuta in a glow of energy before a bright light blinded the others. Once it faded, there was nothing left on the section of pavement Verahk had been occupying.

The Shadowed gave a cold smile. He looked in Hydros’ direction as the effect of Sentrakh’s power slowed, leaving only the Toa’s head unaffected. He was about to order Sentrakh to gather up their prisoner when he felt a strong clawed hand grip his shoulder.

The Shadowed One was roughly turned around to meet the gaze of Makuta Verahk, very much alive. Before the Dark Hunter leader could so much as yell a word of warning to Sentrakh, the Makuta sent his staff away with a backhanded swipe of his talon. A moment later, the Dark Hunter found his neck in the vise-like grip of Verahk’s clawed hand.

“Teridax may have been able to give you something of a challenge a millennium ago…” Verahk said in a voice colder than the icy peaks of the Shadowed One’s homeland. Sentrahk wheeled around and charged as he realized his master was in danger. His efforts were ultimately futile as shadowy tendrils appeared from nowhere, constricting the yellow warrior tightly before he was finished off by an explosion of telepathy that sent the Dark Hunter’s mind reeling into unconsciousness.

Verahk hadn’t so much as taken his eyes off of the Shadowed One.

“… but you will find that my power is in a completely different league, Dark Hunter.”

With that, Verahk plunged deep into the Shadowed One’s mind, searching and shifting through the Dark Hunter leader’s memories and thoughts, seeking to leave the Shadowed One with something to remember him by. Combining the Dark Hunter’s own memories and fears with ones Verahk himself created, the Makuta set his little distraction into play.

All of this happened within a fraction of a second. As Hydros waited for the affects of Sentrahk’s power to ware off, he watched as the Shadowed One give off a scream of sheer terror and agony before going limp in Verahk’s gasp. Hydros found he was able to move by the time the Makuta released the Dark Hunter leader, leaving him to spill onto the dusty pavement, his eyes wide open though unseeing, with only the occasional twitch of his hand or tail giving any sign he was still alive.

Hydros charged as Verahk stalked toward him, but found himself seized by the throat. He was about to counter when a familiar flash of light blinded him.

Chapter Three[]

Zakaz

Hydros’ senses returned to him as he and Verahk reappeared into existence. Caught off guard, he was unable to block a blow delivered by Verahk, sending the Toa flying in the opposite direction until he finally slammed into the remnants of what appeared to be a fortress.

Managing to get up quickly, Hydros was able to retaliate with a blast from his skyblaster, sending Verahk sprawling. The Toa quickly got to his feet and looked around. The internal scanners of the H10’s helmet making note of the surroundings… or at least what was left of the surroundings. For miles all the scanners managed to see was ruined wasteland and a few fortresses, most of which looked like they had seen better days.

“I trust you have visited the badlands of Zakaz before?”

Turning to Verahk’s voice, Hydros caught a glimpse of a red and black-colored blur just as it slammed into his midsection, sending the Toa sprawling into the dust. As he regained his senses, Hydros saw Verahk’s clawed foot come down on top of his face, forcing the Toa’s head into the ground. The suit’s helmet managed to hold as Verahk continued his attempt to crush the Toa’s skull.

“I’ve seen you in action, Hydros… whether you knew I was watching or not.” Verahk said calmly as he continued to apply pressure to his foe’s head. “I was interested in your unusual abilities, as well as your reputation among the lowly criminal society of this world. I had hoped you would become a powerful foe one day…” Verahk took a moment to listen to the muffled insults Hydros was spouting before continuing. “but it seems my suspicions were wrong, Toa. You are exactly like the rest of your kind: Weak… feeble… pathetic.”

At this point the armored helmet was beginning to buckle, and Hydros’ attempts to remove the Makuta’s foot had been unsuccessful.

Time for a different approach.

“I will end this farce now, Hydros,” Verahk said as he prepared to end the battle. “and spare you the humiliation of being defeated in front of anyone…” The rest of his sentence would never be spoken, as Verahk noticed smoke rising from his foot. Looking down, Verahk saw twin points of light appear on the foot holding Hydros’ head to the ground. A moment later, twin shafts of pure energy burst from Verahk’s foot.

Screaming, the Makuta removed his foot and backed away a few steps, giving Hydros the opportunity you get to his feet, the “eyes” of his helmet still glowing with energy. Turning his gaze toward Verahk, Hydros unleashed another blast. It hit Verahk squarely in the chest, sending the Makuta stumbling backwards.

Unlimbering his sword, Hydros rushed toward his disoriented foe with the intention of slicing him in half for the indignity that was forced upon him during his short time as Verahk’s servant. Swinging his blade, Hydros expected to hear the satisfying sound of armor being reduced to ribbons. Instead, however, he heard the sound of his blade clashing against a sword that had suddenly materialized in Verahk’s clawed hand.

“Very nice, Toa.” Verahk said as he held Hydros’ blade back. “You’ve proven the strength of your abilities… now let us see your skills with a blade.”

Using a powerful gust of wind, Hydros forced Verahk away and charged forward. Meeting his challenge, Verahk rushed forward, sword at the ready.

Before they could collide, however, an energy blast appeared from nowhere, striking the earth in between them. The combatants were sent flying before hitting the ground hard. Pulling himself into a sitting position, Hydros looked up to see a gigantic reptilian Rahi standing on the top of a nearby hill. Sitting atop its back was a red-armored Skakdi, while several others gathered around the beast Verahk recognized as a Tahtorak, weapons drawn, hands crackling with elemental energies, and eyes blazing with power.

As they were getting to their feet, the roar of another Tahtorak drew their attention. Turning around, the two enemies caught sight of another group of armed Skakdi.

“What’s going on?” Hydros asked, not really expecting an answer.

“We’ve obviously stumbled onto a Skakdi battlefield.” Verahk answered, keeping a weary eye on the first group.

With a chilling battle cry escaping his lips, the lead Skakdi of the second group urged his comrades to surge forward. Meeting his challenge, the commander of the first group signaled for his battalion to charge.

Watching the tide of multi colored Skakdi rush toward him, Hydros was unable to see Verahk charge. The Makuta had taken advantage of the distraction, plowing into Hydros’ midsection before activating his teleportation power, whisking them away just as the twin armies converged on the battle field.


To be continued…

Characters[]

  • Hydros
  • Verahk
  • Several unnamed Matoran
  • Several unnamed Vortixx
  • The Shadowed One
  • Setrakh
  • Several unnamed Skakdi
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