“It’s in this quadrant, I know it,” a determined voice muttered.
“So you have said many times, but you haven’t been right yet Exeter,” another voice muttered.
Exeter rapped his fists and muttered an oath to Mata Nui that they’d find it this time. The Water Glatorian was equipped with the best armor and sword forged from the Valley. A descendant of Tarix, Exeter had inherited the power of water, however weak it was.
“We will never be able to find it. For hundreds of thousands of years we have tried to follow the sacred oath that our ancestors pledged to the dying Tahu, that we would find the legendary planets. There are three, and we haven’t found one.”
“True,” a Toa of Plant Life said. “But you know that we finally found the last part of our map that the visionary Tarduk found in the dunes. It points to the third legendary planet.”
“That’s what we think Storm,” Dr. Costruire said. A Toa of Plasma, he was a genius creator. He had two mechanical arms sprouting from his back, and he had given himself all sorts of powers. “I have always dreamed of finding the pure legendary element of my trade. However, I don’t think it’ll ever been done. I’m sorry Storm, I’m sorry Exeter.”
“You better find it,” a gravelly voice said. “I can’t support you after this mission. When you return to Spherus Magna, your contract will have run out.”
Typhonus, the Skrall of the group, was the richest of the Skrall. A leader Skrall whose ancestors lived in Bota Magna, Typhonus was a scholar. The Skrall were the smartest and brightest of Spherus Magna.
“We will find it!” Exeter said, banging his sword on the table. Dew began to form on the table and the air seemed wet and sluggish.
“Incredible…” Storm said from the cockpit. Suddenly light and energy flooded the craft, and the four felt the secrets of legend flooding through them.
In front of them was a pillar of energy stretching off into the boundless regions of space. It was coming from a square planet, the strange plant Krux. Krux was the legendary home of the building secrets of the Ancients who had lived when the day was young, and learned the elements of legend. Krux was the home of Creation, the third element, nearly forgotten, but in use everyday in the futuristic miracle of Spherus Magna.
Costruire looked at the Creation nexus and felt his body getting energized until he was falling over in the throes of wonder.
The genius creator awoke to the hum of energy. He faintly heard Storm mutter that it was just Stockholm Syndrome, and not that big of a deal. The aged builder raised himself up, and flipped on his Akaku.
“You do realize that you three are now the greatest explores that I believe in,” Typhonus said, wrapped in his cloak. “The Creation nexus sits in the temple of the Ancients in front of us. A truly historic day.”
At that moment the first trap appeared, bursting into life around the four explores. The temple of the Ancients flared and hissed as fire leaped from the walls and flamed up around them. Even Typhonus was unconcerned as Exeter summoned a rain to quench the fire. The room was filled with steam, and the heat of the fire made even Exeter hot and sluggish.
“Well, no fire can stop I!” Exeter roared when suddenly a wizened voice boomed through the temple.
“Those who dare steal the legendary nexus are doomed to forever be subject to the elements!” the voice was old and cracking, but it still resounded with such strength that there was no doubt that the speaker was one to be feared. “You foolhardy explores know that everyone isn’t pure, and Creation is a very powerful element indeed.”
A flood rushed at the four and Exeter managed to hold it back, but they were too late and the wind blew to life. The temple of the Ancients shook and groaned under the wind. The genius of Dr. Costruire wasn’t going to end drowning so close to the greatest discovery of Toa-kind. He wasn’t going to let that happen.
Only a genius like the doctor could’ve stopped the barrage. When he noticed that the door into the Ancient temple was shut, he realized it was to contain the attacks. Firing an energy orb at the wall, he broke it open. With the wind, it was blowing out of the hole, which stopped the water flow. The wind was gone, but now the outside was howling with the wind.
“Well that works,” Storm said. “Even though we have to trudge through waist-deep water, it isn’t attacking us.”
In response Exeter directed the wall through the hole Costruire made until it was outside as well.
“We can’t solve our problems by changing their location, but we have a fighting chance of delaying them,” Exeter said with a smile.
As they turned a hallway, the elaborate marble carvings of the Ancients faded into soil and rough-hewn stone. It was too much to consider why the Ancients had left their temple unfinished. Or had they?
“Too creepy,” Storm muttered.
“We’ll battle every element if we can reach the Creation nexus!” Exeter yelled.
“You may have won by shattering the wall, but ah, what if the wall is what you need to avoid?” the Ancient’s voice rippled around the room.
How did the recording know? Exeter thought. The ship showed no life forms were present as guards on Krux.
The stonewalls began to squeeze in, the roof push down. The earth, the soil, began to rise upwards. They were moving too fast, and the next marble tunnel was just ahead. Without thinking, Exeter plunged his sword in the earth. Storm stabbed his katana there too. Typhonus put his staff lengthwise between the walls, and then he was followed by Costruire’s buzz saw.
“Get out!” Storm yelled, and he dove for the opening. The other three quickly followed into the marble.
The doctor charged himself with magnetic energy, and the weapons flew out. The tunnel slammed shut leaving a stonewall in its place.
“I see it now,” Typhonus muttered. “It’s a pattern. They’re following the elements chart. Fire, water, air, stone, earth. Brace yourselves, here comes the ice.”
Right on cue the walls froze, and the explorers lost their balance. Hitting the ice caused cuffs to appear, linking the four to the ice. Huge icicles formed on the ice-covered roof and began to crack. Snow created a near whiteout and all four felt the chill of ten below.
“I didn’t think I’d ever be killed in an ice storm,” Storm said with a chuckle. “Thank goodness I won’t be now.”
“What do you—” Typhonus said, but was cut off.
Plants grew in the bitter cold, huge snaking vines that created a shield over the top of the four. There was the sound of icicles hitting the vines, the four meant to end the life of the explorers. The blizzard switched off, and the ice melted away. The vines sagged and moved away.
“They think we’re dead,” Exeter marveled.
“No one but a Toa of Plant Life could’ve survived,” Storm said with a grin.
The next hall was huge and cavernous, arching high in the air. Typhonus looked around, and noticed that the ceiling was lined with spikes. When he looked up, Typhonus shot into the air as gravity began to warp. The other three, sluggish and heavy could only hear Typhonus’ screams.
I have my staff, but no other powers! Typhonus thought. I shouldn’t have been talked into this, should’ve remained in the ship as my clients got themselves killed.
As the spikes drew closer, Typhonus decided he was going to make it to the Creation nexus no matter what. At one of the low spikes, he turned himself sideways to push off it. Flying sideways under the points of the spikes, Typhonus grabbed the bottoms. Swinging there, Typhonus began to loosen the bonds of the rock.
The Ancients never expected such a smart mind as Typhnous to enter the gravity chamber. With the spike breaking off, Typhonus was able to find a safe spot on the ceiling. Locking eyes with Costruire, the doctor mentally triggered an energy ball to fire right at Typhonus. Using the diamond on his staff, he reflected it at a red button. Typhonus fell into Exeter’s arms.
“Impressive!” Exeter said. “Truly magnificent.”
The four continued into the next room, which was small and tiny, forcing them into single file. The doctor’s Akaku let him see that the chamber had much bigger walls, but something was in the way.
What’s next? Storm thought. Sonics?
“The power of sound is one to be feared!” The Ancient boomed. “As sound can cause things to mend, and to shatter into fragments.”
The tiny walls began to vibrate with sound and the room began to shake. Plaster began to fall off the music drums off the speakers, and the muted sound became louder. It wasn’t the rock music of Spherus Magna’s northern tribes, or the gloomy songs sung by the mellow west. But this was pure sound, every single sound of the Ancient’s world combined into one ear-splitting frequency.
There were the sounds of the Ancients, and things too far off and ancient to describe. These noises were ethereal and primal and deep and dark. The cold light and hungry creature, the dream-eater that dwelled deep in the underground. Things that were myths told by the mythical Agori and Toa, long dead with names like Gresh and Tahu. The explorers wanted to listen, to hear the sounds of a world trillions of years before. Only Exeter noticed that his armor was forming cracks as the awful and beautiful noise continued. A little water was all it took, dampening the noise until it played no longer.
“It was killing us,” Exeter explained. No one needn’t doubt him; their armor was proof enough.
The next room was plain and blank with no decoration whatsoever. This time there was no time for thoughts or lecture as the magnets began pulsing. They were trying to rip the four apart, but oddly no one noticed. Other than Costruire, who had de-magnetized the four in secret?
Again the next room was plain, with no sign of traps by the elements. Then the electricity hummed up and began darting around the room, zapping the walls. The walls were white steel, not marble.
“Oh please,” Typhonus muttered.
Holding out his diamond-tipped staff, the electricity fed into the jewel. With the lightning flowing into it, the others walked safely behind Typhonus. When they got out, Exeter splashed water on the staff.
“You have reached the Creation nexus!” the voice boomed. “But I caution you, Creation is a legendary element for a reason! Life and Time’s dangers are obvious, but the warped power of Creation isn’t death or a paradox. It is simply destruction. And destruction can create a Maelstrom that will destroy you and all that you hold dear!”
Huge doors swung open, and there was a pillar of pure creation energy. The explorers were to stunned to speak, and only Exeter could move. He waved his hand near the pillar, and envisioned a treasure chest. It appeared in front of him, and was filled with riches.
“We have found it!” Exeter yelled, pumping his fist. “We can create anything! Never can we be limited by materials, just the creativity of the thinker! This could change Spherus Magna forever!”
Storm approached warily, and dreamed of an elephant. One roared to life, a creature given birth by the mind. A little robotic dog jumped at Costruire, made with mechanical parts that would require a 133rd element to make, but were there.
Maybe all the myths aren’t just myths after all, Typhonus thought. What could I do with this power? I could rule the world, I could be commander of the universe! The Skrall weren’t always weak scholars, they were military men, warriors! Tuma would be proud.
Smiling, Typhonus imagined a huge creature of chaos, a massive spider. It emerged from the nexus tinged with purple energy.
“Typhonus, what have you created!” Exeter wailed in shock.
“I have created the greatest thing you have ever seen. An army of chaos that can be used by the right mind to take over the universe!” Typhonus yelled. “You think to small Exeter, the Ancients, I read the carvings. I’m a scholar, remember! The Ancients detailed how one of their race created an army of creatures to enslave the world. That’s why it’s locked up past these elemental traps!”
The huge spider smashed the robot dog and Typhonus let out a giddy laugh. The creature turned on Typhonus and lunged at him. Typhonus tried to flee, but the creature grabbed him.
“Noooooo, Exeter, Storm, help!” Typhonus yelled.
The huge spider dove into the Creation energy, and dragged Typhonus into it too. The energy flooded the pillar and dark purple gases began to swirl up it. The energy of destruction was released, the darkness lurking in Creation was revealed to the world.
“It’s a Maelstrom! Our work was for naught!” Storm yelled as huge bricks tainted with purple energy flew from the energy of destruction.
One hit Exeter, and he was struggling to get out from under it. He tried to push it over with water, but it was too heavy. Costruire lifted the brick up with his gravity generators, and slammed it on the Maelstrom.
“We have ruined ourselves!” Storm yelled, kicking at a glowing purple rock. “It was like the Ancient said, not everyone is pure of heart.”
Suddenly Krux shook and energy lines shot through the room. Dark bubbling energy seeped up from the ground and suddenly the ground felt unstable. Exeter grabbed Storm and the doctor’s hands and gathered them in a small circle.
There was a blinding flash of light, and Krux was no more. They shot backwards as they found that Krux had shattered, buckling under the forces of the Maelstrom. Now the dark Creation energy lay in the sky as a nebula, endlessly spawning the dark minions of Ancient lore.
“The Maelstrom will destroy us, and Creation is gone forever!” Exeter moaned, on one of the pieces of debris. Smaller worlds floated in an orbit around the Maelstrom.
Costruire picked up a piece of circuitry. What remained of the robotic dog, the last pure product of Creation. A little spark jumped in the wires. The doctor ran around and grabbed the other parts of the dog. He pushed them together and stared down at them.
I wish Creation was still here, that Creation could once again be possible.
The pieces formed together, smashing as one. A little robotic Terrier curiously stared up at Costruire. He broke into a grin.
“It’s still here Exeter!” he said as the dog jumped in his arms. “The last source of pure Creation.”
“We can still defeat the Maelstrom,” Storm said.
“As one, I know someone that can help. Vanda, heard of her?” Exeter said.
Even as the robotic dog yipped and the pure Creation nexus glowed on the rocky debris of plant Krux, a message was broadcasted to Spherus Magna. That the three need the help they can get.
But the Maelstrom narrowed its eyes and the dark force began churning, infecting the land. And that’s where the new four’s story began…