As Orxon’s eyes started to flicker open, the first thing he noticed was that they were not moving anymore. That must mean Rurak have managed to steer the boat out of the storm and presumably made a stop somewhere. Either that or they had sunk in the storm, and if that was the case Orxon could not tell the difference between the living world and the afterlife.
He scanned his surroundings, and saw he was still in the cabin of the ship, which definitely ruled out the possibility of this being the afterlife.
He felt a weight on his left shoulder, and when he moved his head to check what it was, he froze and blushed heavily. As he and Veerah had fallen asleep, something Orxon couldn’t remember when it happened now that he thought about it; her head had been resting on his shoulder.
This posed a dilemma, since he didn’t want to wake her up, but he also needed to check out where they were. He gently pushed her back, rose up and then carefully laid her on the bench.
As he was about to leave the cabin, she mumbled something in her sleep. He couldn’t pick up what it was, but for one second he thought she had said his name. He shook his head, thinking that it was probably just his imagination.
The first thing he noticed was the abundance of trees in front of him. When he looked down, he saw a lot of sand. It seemed they had stranded on a beach, and when he jumped down from the ship, he saw Rurak chopping at some trees nearby. When the Ta-Matoran finally noticed the Toa approaching, he started smirking in a way that Orxon had gotten used to during the course of these last days.
“Why didn’t you wake us up when we landed?” he asked the Ta-Matoran captain, now having seen there was a hole in the ship.
“Sorry, but I just couldn’t bring myself to wake you love birds up” he said, his grin growing wider. Orxon sighed for what felt like the millionth time these past days.
“There’s no way I’ll convince you that I don’t have feelings for her, I take it?” he asked with defeat in his voice.
“Exactly,” Rurak nodded. “The signs are there, even if you can’t tell it yourself.”
Silence fell as Orxon considered his friends words, and thought back to how he had felt as of lately, and he could tell he had felt happy for the first time ever since he met Veerah. That was something he couldn’t argue against.
“I don’t know… maybe you’re right after all.” The words were like a whisper, but it was enough to make Rurak stop what he was doing.
“So you’re finally admitting?!” he asked in surprise.
“I said I don’t know,” Orxon replied. “But I can’t deny that I’ve felt happier ever since I met her. But even if you’re right, it doesn’t change anything.” Rurak looked a bit puzzled upon hearing this.
“What does it not change?” he asked.
“Well… I hardly doubt she feels the same about me. In fact, if there’s indeed love, I’m pretty sure you don’t fall this fast for someone you just met.”
“Maybe so, but there’s nothing wrong or unusual with it either. Besides, I can tell that she does care for you.” Orxon’s heart beat a little bit faster upon hearing his friend’s words. He shook his head, clearing that thought.
“Well, I suppose that maybe I’m the first one that she can consider as a friend. But I doubt she feels that way about me.”
“I think you’re just afraid of asking her out,” Rurak said, grinning again.
“It’s… It’s not that…”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I… I can’t… I can’t promise her a future together, if I can’t guarantee one for myself,” he finally admitted a thought that he only now realized had dwelled within him.
“Am I really talking like I’m admitting I have feelings for her?” Orxon thought to himself after hearing his words come out of his mouth.
“I see your point,” Rurak said after a small moment, nodding thoughtfully and surprisingly enough being serious. “So you won’t back away from getting your vengeance on that Makuta fellow?”
“I can’t,” Orxon replied. “I’ve come so far now… if I give up, then… all the lives I’ve taken… it would have been for nothing. A giant waste, because I was angry and felt the bloodlust.”
Silence fell between the Toa and the Matoran, as the gravity of Orxon’s words were felt by both of them. For the first time, Orxon only now thought there was a very real possibility he would die by going up against Narzhul the Makuta. Of course, he had always known that possibility existed. But then it had felt so far away, and now the thought that this could be the last days in his life hit him hard.
“So… I saw the hole in the ship…” he said, changing the subject and pushing his thoughts away. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Well, your gravity powers could prove useful, but I had another task in mind,” the Ta-Matoran captain replied. “For the both of you actually.”
Orxon turned around, and spotted Veerah walking up towards them. She smiled at him when she came up to them, and Orxon smiled back. When she turned to Rurak, he frowned thoughtfully back to his earlier conversation with the captain and his admission. It didn’t seem like she had overheard their earlier conversation, at least she didn’t show it.
“So what actually do you have in store for us?” Veerah asked, bringing Orxon back to reality.
“I saw some puffs of smoke a while back from there,” he said and pointed towards that area. “I want you two to go check out that area and see if you can find anyone there. Partly because I don’t have all the tools necessary to repair the ship, and… well, I frankly don’t know where we are…”
“Wait… You have no idea where exactly we are?” Orxon asked.
“I’m afraid not, that storm forced us into territory where I haven’t been in before.”
“Well, alright then. Are you ready to leave now?” Orxon asked Veerah. She nodded.
“Then let’s go.”
They had traveled for approximately three hours, and they were going through a thick forest. The terrain was not easily navigated and occasionally they would hear movements presumably from Rahi, but it didn’t seem like they wanted to be spotted.
Orxon was noticeably on guard, as even though the wildlife seemed to leave them alone, the forest had a rather dreary atmosphere to it. It didn’t scream like a death trap of it, but if Veerah would have decided herself, they would have tried to find another way.
Orxon wasn’t very talkative right now either, she could tell. Throughout the whole journey today, he hadn’t spoken a single word since they left Rurak with the ship. She didn’t know what it was about, and despite not having dug through his mind, she could still feel how something were radiating inside of his head.
The temptation to use her Psionic powers was there, she had to admit. But no matter how hardly she wanted to, she wouldn’t let herself do it. If she did, he would have noticed due to his previous experience with that particular power. But even if he wouldn’t have noticed, she couldn’t do it. She considered him a friend, and after all this time, she couldn’t risk losing the very first person that she could actually consider a friend.
She had time to think now, and she realized that deep within her, there was a longing for something more. But why? They had met just a few days ago, and even that would be considered very quickly for making friends. But for wanting to spend the rest of her life with him? Does that even make sense? Or maybe she was just mistaken, and she was just overjoyed for having a friend.
The silence and her thoughts were about to eat her up, so she finally decided to break the silence between them.
“So… um, what Kanohi is that you’re wearing? I’ve never seen it before.”
Orxon looked a little bit confused at first, presumably because of how long they’ve been quiet. It didn’t take long for him to catch on though.
“Oh, this? Well, it’s a Kanohi Arthron, the Mask of Sonar. It’s… well, the way it basically works is that I can sense objects or beings when they move, kind of similar to how bats find their prey. I’m actually having it activated right now, and I can sense all the Rahi moving about in our general area.”
“Oh, wow! That sounds very useful.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“It looks good on you too.”
“Wait, did I just say THAT?” she thought to herself right after the words left her mouth.
“Um… thanks…” Orxon looked embarrassed and like he didn’t really know what to say, but it didn’t look like he was as embarrassed as how Veerah felt right now. It was so bad, she almost whished for the ground to open up below her.
Now the two Toa were silent again, but this time it just felt incredible awkward. The fact that she couldn’t come up with anything to say right now made it worse.
“I haven’t seen you use your Kakama yet, but I’d imagine that’s a really useful mask too,” Orxon finally broke the silence.
“Yeah… I… I suppose…” Veerah said with some doubt in her voice, which seemed to show as Orxon looked confused at her. It was only after a few moments that Orxon looked like he had realized what she had meant.
“You haven’t… you haven’t been able to use your mask power yet?” She only nodded to his question, as it was something she was ashamed to admit. While Orxon certainly was different to the other Toa from her island, she was still waiting for him to laugh at her. But he didn’t.
“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, you know. It is after all the hardest part to do when you’re a new Toa, and when you also don’t get a lot of support…” He stopped his words as he almost touched on the subject of her past. “Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I was also very late to find my mask power amongst my brothers and sisters.”
“So it’s… normal?” she asked.
“Definitely,” he replied. “And if you ever want to talk about it, or if you need some help along the way, don’t be afraid to ask me.” She nodded gratefully at him.
“Thanks,” she said.
Despite what she already knew of him, he always managed to surprise her expectations. Her past must really have been something else, in comparison to Orxon’s past, for her to have such low expectations of other being’s thoughts and reactions. To her, it was unbelievable how someone could be so kind and understanding. Especially when that someone had lost everything because… why had he lost it all?
Only now, Veerah realized that Orxon hadn’t told her the reason why the Makuta known as Narzhul had decided to massacre his home island. But from what she could understand, it seemed that there hadn’t been any real reason as to why Kastra Nui of all places had been devastated.
Seemingly this Makuta had just woken up one day and decided to obliterate a random island. Veerah thought that she had seen evil amongst her so-called “brothers” back home, but this… This was just someone who wanted to watch the world burn.
After a while, Orxon stopped and Veerah followed suite. Looking forward, they saw the end of the forest and a clearing through the trees. There was also a small hut located atop a hill, which seemed to end with a cliff.
Orxon looked concentrated towards the hut, probably using his mask power to sense if there were any living beings in the hut or in the near vicinity. After a few seconds, Veerah asked “Do you see… I mean, sense anything?”
“Not really,” he replied. “The hut doesn’t look big though, so I don’t think it belongs to even a being of our size. But I think we should be careful regardless, we don’t know what to expect.”
“Good idea”, she said, and they went towards the small hut. Once they approached it, Orxon walked up to the door and knocked on it, all the while looking ready to draw his sword. Veerah stayed a bit back, considering that the only weapon she had currently were her psionic powers.
The door opened, and out walked an old Turaga. The blue color on the Turaga marked her as of the water element, and she was holding a cane with a small ball on the top supporting her frail body. Wisdom seemed to radiate from her aura, but what caught Veerah’s attention were her eyes behind her Kanohi Rode. The white haze on them showed the Turaga was blind, but despite this she looked directly at her visitors.
“Ah, Orxon, Veerah! I have been waiting for you!” the Turaga said. The two Toa looked confused at each other, and Veerah couldn’t decide whether she was more surprised that the Turaga could see them despite her blindness, or that she knew who they were.
“How do you know our names? And how did you know we were coming?” Orxon asked the obvious questions that were on both of their minds.
“The Great Spirit whispered your names to me in my sleep and showed me when you were going to appear.” The Toa were of course familiar with the Great Spirit, but neither of them seemed to recollect that Mata Nui ever spoke to anyone directly. Veerah started to think that maybe this Turaga was just a crazy person, as that seemed to make far more sense.
The reason she thought it made more sense, was because after the Karzahni she had went through she honestly had lost faith in the Great Spirit of Mata Nui.
“Ah, but where are my manners? Come in, come in!”
Veerah looked unsurely at Orxon, who seemed to not know what to make of all this. Nevertheless he shrugged and followed the old Turaga in to her hut. Veerah hesitated for a moment, but reluctantly she followed after Orxon.