The Crusade - Part II

Kiisha drummed her fingers nervously on the wooden table. Her razor sharp nails put dents in the surface every time one of them plunked down, and she realized after a few minutes that if she didn't stop, she'd owe the barkeeper a new table. Dang it, Jakura.. what the kark are you doing in there?

The Vortixx rose from her seat and paced nervously across the dimly lit tavern. Thankfully, there were hardly any patrons in the establishment that night - just a group of Ta-Matoran soldiers celebrating a recent victory and a romantically-embraced Toa-couple in the far right corner. Kiisha was glad; the last thing this oddball team needed was attention. She glanced over at the res of the group. Marauder, Nuka, and Kaama were busy playing cards - and, from the looks of it, Kaama was winning, Nuka was cheating, and Marauder was just plain bored. Ensilus and Jurok were in the midst of a heated conversation concerning religion and it's significance/credibility. And Nyli was sitting by herself, watching out the window as snow continued to fall like it had for the past three hours.

Kiisha walked over to the Vo-Toa. She caught one of the soldier-Matoran staring dreamily at her as she passed. She had to suppress a grin. If he only he saw me... dance, she thought smugly. Reaching Nyli's table, Kiisha sat down and folded her arms across the tabletop. She had to concentrate hard to keep from tapping her fingers.

"So," she said, feeling abnormally chatty. "What's up?"

The young Toa looked over at the Vortixx and grinned. Nyli had always been of the optimistic sort, which certainly broke the monotony of the rest of the team. Just as you could always depend on the others to be cold and serious (save for Nuka, who was obnoxious and irritating), you could rely on Nyli to provide the sarcastic jokes and entertainment.

"Not much," she replied. "Just dreaming of my warm, cozy hut back in Ga-Koro, surrounded by my machinery and handiwork."

Kiisha had to smile. Nyli wasn't just refreshing to be around - she was a skilled mechanic and engineer, and a useful addition to the team.

"Sound's better than this dump," the Vortixx said, gesturing out the window. "I hear Ga is wonderfully warm this time of year."

Nyli nodded and sighed. "Yep. The Farmer's Fair was supposed to pass through in the next couple of days..."

Kiisha noticed a flash of sadness on Nyli's face. She obviously missed home... something that the Vortixx could connect with. It'd been a long time since she'd seen her own family. She shook her head and stared out the window along with Nyli. It was going to be a long trip...

A table away, Marauder stared down distractedly at his clawed foot, which tapped the floor rhythmically as he pondered his place here. Honestly, he couldn't remember why or how he had been caught and forced into service on Jakura's team - only that it had followed his return to sanity. The memories of his demented past were painful ones, riddled with the trouble he had caused among others and himself. He remembered back to the Outsiders... to Enforcer. Mata Nui, how that Vortixx hated him. And when he recalled his insanity, Marauder supposed he would've hated that Skakdi, too. But he was different now - and he would pay any price to keep from going down that path again.

"Yo, Marauder - you okay?"

Marauder looked up to see Kaama staring at him. The cocky Bo-Toa had his arms folded, and a triumphant smile crossed his Kakama. "We're waiting for you to make your losing move, Skakdi," he said in his strange accent. Marauder snarled and stood from the table. "Forget it," he growled. He decided he wasn't in the mood for cards anymore. "Cut me out."  He then stalked away. Kaama looked over at Nuka, who simply shrugged. The two shook it off and continued their game.

Marauder went off to the bar to order a round. All he could do as he sipped his ale was think of that horrible, horrible moment over the volcano, in that damned cage of Skakdi bones...


More information on these short stories can be found here. 

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