Recount of a Trip to Destral: Part I - The Journey

by Keto Keyaji, Akutana e Metru Nui, recorded 85,024 a.A.

The island of Destral – for those who do not know – is the seat of the Brotherhood of Makuta. From this place the organization’s leader and its functionaries initiate and guide the Brotherhood’s operations throughout the universe. Alongside its political role, Destral also is a center of science and research, containing one of the largest collections of artifacts and knowledge in the universe, some of it even being rumored to be too dangerous to fall into the hands of anyone else. In combination with the Makuta’s natural reclusiveness it thus isn’t a surprise that Destral is heavily fortified and access to the island is strictly regulated, non-Makuta only allowed to enter with a Makuta’s permission.

I had the great honor of gaining such a permission by accompanying the Makuta of Inoatra, whom I served as an assistant at that time, on a research trip to Destral in 42,732 a.A. Of course, I’ve told my colleagues of the Akutana and my friends about this trip, but I had long neglected the need of writing down my experiences in a proper document, especially since my travel log is accessible in the Archives. Upon rereading it some time ago, I noticed that it tends to jump between topics too much, and that additionally I gained knowledge in the meantime that makes me able to explain things better in places. Thus, I have tried my best to bring my rather dry travel logs to life in this recount, but as always with my texts about the Brotherhood of Makuta, be aware that I might have interpreted things I heard and saw not completely accurately. Additionally, more than 40,000 years have passed since my trip and anyone who might visit Destral nowadays might find things to have changed in the meantime.

In all the years I had worked for Mistress Yandra, the Makuta of Inoatra, I had never imagined I’d ever visit Destral – the thought didn’t even cross my mind at that time. As Makuta of Inoatra, it was my Mistress’ job to keep an eye on the region and take care of problems the locals couldn’t settle themselves. This required her near constant presence, which in turn meant she lived and worked in Inoatra, only leaving infrequently for short amounts of time to meet with colleagues or do some research. As one of her assistants, this naturally meant my place was in Inoatra as well, and not somewhere else.

It thus came as a great surprise to Visca, a Ko-Matoran chemist also serving as a lab assistant, and me, when Mistress Yandra announced she needed to visit Destral for a longer period of time and that she required the two of us to accompany her. Visca nearly fainted at the prospect that he’d see the famous laboratories of Destral, and I admit that even I had to take a seat to not get overwhelmed by what we had just been told. Matoran – scholars – getting the chance to visit the seat of the Brotherhood of Makuta, this was unheard of, a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Needless to say, I was more thrilled than I had been when I got the allowance to visit the Metru Nui Archives’ Fikou Web to study its flora.

That night I dreamt of walking through the endless halls of Destral’s library, my lightstone’s glow illuminating shelves stacked high with tablets containing the keys to all the secrets of the universe.

I remember quite vividly that it was a sunny day when we left Mistress Yandra’s lab at the foot of the Koikhi Mountains towards the city of Risuva on the coast of lake Gadukai, where a courier ship of the Brotherhood was already waiting for us. Our group was small, only consisting of Mistress Yandra, Visca, me and a pair of Rahkshi guards, although the latter were just there for appearance’s sake. In all my years at my Mistress’ side I can’t remember a single time where her Rahkshi were forced use their powers.

While many regions harbor a neutral opinion on the Brotherhood since most Makuta hardly interact with their assigned peoples, and a few places, like Metru Nui, look at the Brotherhood with open dislike, the same cannot be said of Inoatra. Mistress Yandra always tried her best to lend a hand or share her wisdom when asked for help and was respected and well-liked in her region. It were her constant support and efforts to reassert some semblance of law and order after the turbulent times of the Prosecution that played a major role in turning Inoatra from a ruined battlefield into the peaceful and serene region it is today.

With a heavily armed ship flying the green, black and red banner of the Brotherhood lying in Risuva’s harbor, the citizens of course expected us when we reached the city near midday. A small crowd had gathered at the city gates when we arrived, at its head Kavakawi, the local Turaga. After we had exchanged greetings, Turaga Kavakawi immediately inquired about the presence of the ship, the captain of which had refused to say more than that he was here on Brotherhood orders.

When traveling by herself, Mistress Yandra of course usually didn’t need ships to get around, so the last time anyone in Risuva had seen a Brotherhood vessel dated back to the Prosecution and it is understandable people were worried. Turaga Kavakawi’s relief thus was palpable as our Mistress explained the ship’s purpose to him as well as that she’d be away from Inoatra for an undefined amount of time.

After this we made our way to the harbor without further interruptions, although I could see heads turning and work being interrupted as we passed through the winding streets of Risuva.

Once I got sight of our ship, I understood the Turaga’s worries only too well. About 50 bio in length, it dwarfed the fishing and trade vessels in the harbor, the various weaponry mounted on its deck probably possessing enough firepower to reduce Risuva’s docks to a pile of rubble within minutes.

The captain, it turned out, was a grim looking Steltian of the upper class by the name of Tikkotu, his crew a mix of multiple species from all over the universe – mercenaries hired by the Brotherhood all. Rahkshi, Exo-Toa and Visorak make for poor sailors. Since Mistress Yandra called the ship – the Kunoi – a courier ship, I expected Tikkotu to be used to having passengers, but you wouldn’t think that from the way he acted. He answered our Mistress’ questions only reluctantly and ignored Visca and me completely except for telling his first mate to keep an eye on us and the machinist – a Vortixx – to keep us out of the engine room. As if a chemist and a healer were interested in engines!

Not being welcome below-decks suited Visca and me just fine, however. We were supposed to reach Destral before the end of the day, and so we simply dropped our packs next to an enormous ballista under the glowering stare of a sailor and leaned on the rail to get a last look at Risuva and Inoatra.

What the Kunoi’s crew lacked in hospitality, it made up for in efficiency. As the two of us watched the snow-capped mountains in the distance, the ship was already exiting the harbor and picking up speed.

As is well-known, the island of Destral is unique in the way that unlike other islands it has no natural position, instead being capable of teleporting all across the universe. It is this feature more than anything else that has given the Brotherhood its distinctive advantage in the past, enabling this originally small organization to politically dominate our universe today. The constant fears of most rulers – being overthrown violently or being cut off from trade routes – don’t apply to the Brotherhood thanks to Destral’s teleport mechanism. Should their armies fail them, the Makuta could always retreat, should a sea blockade cut them off from trade, they could simply move their headquarters to the doorstep of a region willing to trade.

All I ever managed to learn about how this astounding mechanism worked, was that some sort of machinery in Destral’s bowels is responsible for this unique ability, however. Certainly, no living being besides the Makuta has ever seen this mechanism and given that neither the Nynrah Ghosts nor the Vortixx have so far managed to even guess how a mechanism on this scale could work, I doubt that this secret of the Brotherhood will ever be unveiled.

At the time of our journey, Destral was anchored about two kio southwest of Xia, no doubt restocking its weapon supplies, for everyone knows Xia’s factories are famous for their tools of destruction. Since the weather was fair and the sea calm, the Kunoi made excellent time, plowing through the water at an astounding speed, soon leaving Inoatra and the Northern Continent behind.

The crew largely kept ignoring us, although every so often some of the sailors threw uneasy glances at the bridge where Mistress Yandra and Tikkotu had gone, and of course at the two motionless Rahkshi guards in front of it.

While Viska was content enjoying the ride as he had never been on an oceangoing vessel before, I soon grew a little bored. Eventually, after a few tries, I managed to engage one of the sailors in conversation. He was a brutish looking Steltian of the middle class with an impressive carving of a Doom Viper in the metal of one of his massive shoulders – no doubt done by a Po-Matoran given the exquisite quality. The sailor wasn’t inclined to tell me his name or what specifically his job was on the ship, but I got some history about our vessel out of him. The Kunoi apparently had originally been a Steltian trade vessel (which given the build of the ship likely meant it was used for piracy) and had always belonged to Tikkotu. During the Prosecution they had been hired by the Brotherhood who was in need of ships, fulfilling many different roles depending on what was currently needed. After heavy damage to the ship and the loss of half the crew during the Battle of Nynrah, the Kunoi had been repaired and reassigned the role of a courier ship. Since the Brotherhood paid well and regularly, Tikkotu kept working for the Makuta even after the war, although the Steltian sailor hinted that the Kunoi’s captain hoped to one day have his ship serve as a war vessel again.

Aside from this little conversation, the journey was uneventful, and so we found ourselves nearing Destral as the daylight was dimming. The first indication that we were drawing near was the enormous smoke pillar hovering over Xia, fed by the countless chimneys of the island’s factories and workshops. Soon, however, we could also make out the silhouette of the island-fortress of Destral, six of its nine great towers clearly visible against the sky from our point of vantage and appearing in the dying daylight like spires made of solid light and shadow. Truly, no mere words can properly summarize my first impression of Destral. Like the Coliseum in Metru Nui, it is a sight you have to make for yourself to get a true impression of the place.

Aside from the core fortress with its towers, the only thing one can make out from the water are sheer cliffs topped by impenetrable-looking grey walls, in turn regularly intersected by small guard towers. Rahkshi and Visorak patrolled these fortifications, and here and there I was sure to have made out the glow of an Exo-Toa Armor’s optical sensors as well.

I was beginning to wonder how we were supposed to land on an island that was ringed by cliffs just as we rounded enough of Destral to see its docks. I think they were the only part of the island that disappointed me, who had seen the great moorings of Metru Nui, the busy and chaotic wharves of Stelt and the many different ships bouncing on the waters of lake Gadukai. The ships I saw moving through the oily-looking water here were almost all bulky Xian cargo vessels, their dark gray hulls blackened by the soot of their homeland. Once anchored at the docks, the sailors began unloading their cargo with the typical Xian efficiency onto Rahi-pulled carts waiting on the piers. Other regions’ harbor areas usually are densely covered in buildings and full of deckhands, merchants and pedestrians, but Destral’s docks just featured a small stone tower where likely the harbormaster had his office and half a score of Rahkshi trudging around the area. Nothing in this place indicated that this was the entryway to the fabled island of Destral, except the towers of the fortress looming into the sky behind a series of rocky ridges that barred the visitor’s view of the main gates.

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