Recount of a Trip to Destral: Part II - The Arrival

Updated: 3 days ago

You can read part one of Keyaji's Recount here

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

As the Kunoi made its way through the harbor towards a single pier not occupied by Xian vessels, Makuta Yantra emerged from the bridge, calling Visca and me to her side. She had already briefed us back in Inoatra about how to behave while we were on Destral, particularly emphasizing that we were not allowed to wander the island or the fortress unsupervised. This wasn’t just because we could get lost, but also because some Makuta were apparently easily irritated by Matoran being in places they weren’t supposed to be, foremost among them the High Chamberlain who was in charge of the fortress and detested troublemakers of any sort. Now, however, our Makuta handed each of us a small triangular stone tablet, bare except for the symbol of the Brotherhood of Makuta engraved on one side. She called it a Tablet of Transit and explained that we should keep it with us at all times while on Destral. Everyone – even Rahkshi and Visorak – would recognize it as a sign that we were employed by the Brotherhood if we should ever be asked to identify ourselves or got in trouble. We were preparing to leave the ship when captain Tikkotu made another appearance. Given his attitude so far I hadn’t expected him to see us – or rather Makuta Yantra – off personally, but as I followed his gaze towards the other end of the pier, I realized that indeed this wasn’t what had motivated him to join us again. A Toa of Water was approaching us, her fine silver armor and Kanohi indicating her as a Toa Hagah. She had a shield slung over her back and carried a spear, what held my gaze, though, was the stone tablet in her other hand. The Toa stopped beside the gangplank and snapped a crisp salute towards our Mistress, introducing herself as Toa Hailari of Makuta Netrux’s Hagah, here to take us up to the fortress, she then handed the stone tablet to Tikkotu, the gleam in his eyes as he read over it indicating that it must either have contained payment or new orders that were more to his liking than shipping Makuta and Matoran around. Makuta Yantra merely nodded to the Toa in acknowledgement before gesturing for Visca and me to leave the ship and follow Hailari. The Toa led the way towards the end of the pier where a carriage was waiting for us. I didn’t recognize the Rahi hitched to it, a six-legged reptile of some sort. Makuta Yantra shrugged when I asked her how it was called, saying that it likely was an experimental design by one of her brethren. Hailari nodded to that. The Rahi apparently was unique, a failed design of a draft Rahi that needed too much fodder and was slower than a Kahgarak and thus was only employed on Destral. It had the definite advantage of being far more placid than a Visorak, however, as the Toa explained with a wink. By the time we had made our way along the broad path twisting around the rock ridges that separate Destral’s harbor from the fortress, it had become fully dark, the only light coming from the wall of the fortress and the small lightstone lantern Hailari had brought with her, although its glow was far too weak to serve much of a purpose except for making us stand out to the guards on the wall. Finally, after what must have been almost an hour, I noticed a brighter source of light in front of us and guessed correctly that we were nearing the gates of Destral. The guards seemed to know exactly who was approaching, as the portcullis was already raised and the two wings of the massive gate opened wide, revealing an opening large enough for fifty Toa to pass through shoulder to shoulder. The entire structure was brightly lit by dozens of lightstones, cleverly spaced so as to present no shadows for anyone to hide in. Half a dozen Exo-Toa, standing with their backs to the walls on each side, added another obstacle for any would-be infiltrator. Dark as it was, I couldn’t make out much more than the silhouettes of the many buildings of varying sizes that were located behind the gate at our arrival. Since I never got a chance to visit any of these, all I ever learned was that they mostly served as various facilities for testing and producing both Rahi and other things invented by the Brotherhood, as well as simple storage buildings. What I could make out even that night, however, was the enormous core fortress with its archaic looking stonework and tall spires towering above everything else, becoming taller and taller as we drew closer along a broad pathway flanked by the life-sized statues of 600 Toa heroes who fell during the Prosecution. Toa Hailari actually mentioned a few by name, pointing them out to us, but instead of reciting them here, I’d rather suggest anyone interested in them takes a look at the lists kept in the Metru Nui Archives. Strangely enough, the core fortress at first didn’t seem to possess a gate of any sort, a broad gap between one of the towers and an enormous five-story building freely giving us access to a great courtyard filled with sparring areas and obstacle courses. I inquired why the fortifications of the very heart of Destral where so at odds compared to the rest of the island to which Toa Hailari answered that they weren’t. Makuta Yantra then spoke up, telling us that the gaps in the fortress’s outer ring could be closed with energy fields, but that I’d best hold back with any more question about Destral’s defenses for the duration of our stay. At this point, it maybe is at the time to briefly address the layout of Destral’s core fortress so that you’ll be able to better follow my recount over the next pages. Simply put, the complex consists of three layers. In the center, the highest of the fortress’s nine towers, the Tower of Guidance, rises into the sky. True to its position it marks the very heart of Destral, where the Brotherhood’s leader resides. Surrounding the Main Tower is the Inner Ring, a circular building with four smaller towers that house the Makuta’s living quarters as well as their main laboratories. Surrounding the Inner Ring, in turn, is the Outer Ring, which can be subdivided into four more or less identical quadrants, separated by the last four towers of the complex and their connections to the Inner Ring – the Library Tower, the Tower of Administration, the Arsenal Tower and the Tower of Fabrication. The curved buildings located between the towers contain workshops, armories, storage areas and quarters for the Brotherhood’s servants and give the fortress as a whole a circular appearance. Having passed the Outer Ring, we were heading through the courtyard towards the Inner Ring and a set of double doors flanked by more Exo-Toa guards. These doors were closed, and Hailari stopped our carriage in front of them. Since Makuta Yantra got out of our transport without another word I gathered that this was as far as the carriage would take us, and so Visca and I scrambled to follow her. We waved goodbye to Hailari as she turned the carriage around and drove back the way we came, then turned in time to see the doors to the inside of the fortress open at our Mistress’ approach. The room beyond was rectangular with another archway – this one flanked by statues of Rahkshi – leading further inwards and a broad corridor opposite leading to the tower we had passed. Several Brotherhood pennants decorated the walls and the floor tiles were arranged in an interesting pattern, but what obviously stood out the most was the room’s single occupant. He was tall, clad in black and silver armor inserted with gemstones and wore a black cloak that only added to his intimidating appearance. The eyes behind his Kanohi were cold and calculating. I never learned his name, but there was no mistaking this stranger as someone other than a Makuta. In fact, as our Makuta later told us, we had the doubtful honor of being received by no one else but Destral’s High Chamberlain himself. By way of greeting, he demanded of our Mistress to know why she had brought Visca and me with her to Destral, to which she replied we were her assistants. It was obvious the High Chamberlain didn’t like that answer, for he gave the two of us a glare that could have scared away a Nui-Jaga before launching into a tirade about safety issues and how Destral would degrade into a cesspool like Stelt if everyone kept bringing their personal “pets” with them. Makuta Yantra calmly waited until the High Chamberlain was finished, then pointedly told him that it was none of his business who she decided to bring with her. Besides, it probably was in the interest of them both that she’d be able to leave Destral soon – and with our assistance, that moment would come a lot earlier. The High Chamberlain didn’t contradict her on that second part, but he did point out that it would become his business if we caused any trouble, in which case he’d be happy to reserve a place on the wall of the convocation chamber, whatever that meant. His silhouette flickered, then he was gone, having teleported away. The moment he had gone Visca told us in a few very choice words just what he thought of this High Chamberlain, but Makuta Yantra was quite serious when she told us we had to be careful not to invoke his wrath, for he had eyes everywhere in this fortress. At the last words, she gestured towards the gemstone eyes of the Rahkshi statues. The remainder of our way proved uneventful. Through the archway, we entered another hallway decorated with more gemstone-eyed stone Rahkshi, climbed up several flights of stairs, entered one of the four smaller towers of the fortress where the Makuta have their quarters and climbed up some more stairs until we reached our Mistress’ apartment. It was big, taking up nearly half of the tower’s floor and consisting of several rooms, the slightly dusty tidiness speaking of rare use. There was an alchemical lab in one chamber and a small library of recipes in another, but otherwise, nothing would’ve seemed out of place in the home of a well-doing Matoran trader except for the size. Makuta Yantra assigned the two of us one of the unused chambers and told us to get some sleep as a ton of work would be waiting for us over the following days. Deciding not to take any chances, that was what we did.


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