Author's Note: Well, not a whole lot to say here, except that Roodaka is a lot of fun to write. No, seriously, she is.

Disclaimer: I don't own Bionicle, and I bet if I did, it'd be a whole lot lamer, so be thankful I didn't.

Chapter 2

Roodaka, Viceroy and future queen of the Visorak, stood at the edge of the colliseum which overlooked the broken city of Ta-Metru. She had long ago sent out the Keelerak horde to attack the Toa Hordika, whom she had discovered were traveling within Le-Metru, in accordance with Sidorak's orders. Of course, unknownest to him, Roodaka had given them the extra order of retrieving the Hordika alive, whereas the Visorak king had simply stated their capture, dead or else.

She knew that there was very little chance of defeat for her side. Practically every single Visorak in the area had swarmed the Toa, and each one was driven to complete their mission under the strict penalty of Roodaka's wrath, a fate worse than death itself as everyone knew. She had also sought to strike the Toa during their weakest moment. Through careful planning and observation, Roodaka had managed to get an idea of their movement, what time of day they were most active, and when they would usually retire to sleep. Attacking exactly at nightfall had been a clever move, as the Hordika had also just recently avoided a large battle in Ta-Metru, and were already growing tired. They stood little chance in defeating every single Keelerak and Le-Metru, she knew.

There was always a chance for error, of course. One Toa could possibly slip through the chaos and escape unnoticed, or one of them would be killed accidentilly. Although it was highly unlikely for this to happen, it was still a possibility. Still, Roodaka mused, as long as it was not the red Hordika, she supposed she could let one die or slip through her grasps, but not the red one. No, he was too special to lose. A sadistic smile made its way to her lips. Oh yes, she had many plans for the ex-Toa of Fire...

Her musings were interrupted as a Boggarak approached her cautiously, obviously with news to deliver. Roodaka acknowedged the spider without even casting a glance at it. "Report."

The Visorak relayed its information through a series of humming noises, the only verbal communication a Visorak could create. Roodaka remained quiet and listened intently.

'Four Hordika and four Rahaga captured. Two Hordika and two rahaga were killed during battle, as well as half the Le-Metru Keelerak horde.'

When the Viceroy made no immediate reply, the Boggarak began to grow anxious. It couldn't tell if it's mistress was angry, calm, or in deep thought. Whatever she was thinking, it figured, it was probably bad news for the Boggarak itself.

"Did you find the bodies?" its thoughts were broken by her statement.

The Boggarak struggled to reply. 'There was cave in, and it was believed that the four Hordika and rahaga were buried alive...'

"But did you find their bodies?" Roodaka repeated, slowly turning to face the frightened Visorak. "One must never assume another is dead until they find a corpse. Until then, there is no way to completely confirm that they are still alive or not." her tone was cold and serious, with a deadly edge to it.

The Boggarak scrambled to respond. 'Of... of course, my queen. We will search the rubble for their remains.' it said with a bow.

"See that you do." Roodaka's voice was considerably calmer than moments before, although there was still a hint of annoyance in her tone. She turned away from the ledge and began to make her way to the throne room.

"In the meanwhile," she began, knowing that the Boggarak was following. "Put the Hordika and Rahaga in the cell, and make sure there an no visitors. I will inform our king of our capture." her eyes narrowed at the mention of Sidorak. Fool of a leader, that man. Sometimes she wondered how he ever managed to become ruler of the Visorak, or the ruler of anything, for that matter.

The Boggarak bowed and disappeared into the darkness of the collesieum to fulfill her orders.

Sidorak was not happy. Not happy at all. He clutched the sides of his throne, twitching every now and then, as he listened to his scout's report of the battle. Sure, the fact that they had captured all but two of the Toa Hordika was good news, but he had lost half of his hordein the process. In his mind, the ends almost certainly didn't justify the means.

Blast! He growled, as he sent the quivering scout away with a flick of his wrist. Those Hordika are more trouble than their worth... I knew I should've kill them right as I captured them, instead of letting the venom take care of it. I should've known. Killing someone by dropping them off from a high altitude is a terrible idea, they always find a way to survive...

"My King, Sidorak..."

The irate ruler whirled around to face the speaker with intent to angrily shoo them away when he discovered that the person was none other than his bride-to-be, Roodaka. Immediately he lost all traces of anger and straightend himself. "What is- ah, Viceroy Roodaka. What brings you hear?"

The woman smiled cooly as she watched his transformation. "I see you've heard the news..."

"About the Hordika? Yes, I have." Sidorak frowned, his eyes narrowing. "This time, I'm not going to wait for any 'legendary ceremony' to kill them. I'm going to do it myself, and make sure the job is done."

"Ah, but that is what I've come here to talk about." Roodaka said. "You see, I think we should keep them alive..."

"Alive? Nonsense! They've killed off half of my horde. Half. They're obviously far too dangerous to be kept alive!" Sidorak argued.

The scheming viceroy nodded her head, knowing exactly what to do. "On the contrary, my king, that is all the reason to keep them alive." she savored the quizzical look the Visorak Overlord shot her. "What I mean, my lord, is that perhaps, with a little persuasion, is that we can turn these Hordika into our allies. Valuable allies."

Sidorak raised a weary invisible eyebrow. "Are you sure? They seem rather... determined, for their mission." he said, unsure of his own description.

Roodaka merely nodded her head. "Excellent qualities in a ruthless warrior, for sure. I'm certain with some... time, with them, I can convince them over to our side."

From the look on his face, it was obvious that Sidorak was still wary and unsure. "Think of it as an early wedding gift," she quickly added. "If I cannot convince them to switch sides... then you may be free to kill them, however way you wish."

Sidorak pondered this proposition for a moment, before leaning back against his ebony throne and nodding his head. "Very well, Roodaka. You may have your go at them." he said, cupping his hands together.

Roodaka bowed gracefully. "A wise and most excellent decision, my lord." she said, while smiling evilly. Fool. He has no idea... she thought.

It was hot, and dark. The air was thin, making it hard for her to breathe. Her entire body ached horribly, especially her back. She could hardly move any of her limbs. There was also something warm and soft next to her, something below her. And it was wet, too.

Was she dead? She couldn't tell. She always imagined death to be brighter, freed from all feeling and pain, or trapped with a desolete waste-land with fire and unbearable pain. She never thought it would be this... dark.

She couldn't remember what had happened the past few minutes. Her mind was a blank, refusing to work properly. It must be the lack of air. The lack of oxygen was hurting her brain. How much longer did she have...?

All of a sudden, she felt the pressure against her arm disappear, almost as if something had been pushed off of it. The same thing happened with her shoulder, and finally her back. She felt air return to her lungs, sweet air.

That's right! She had been tending to Matau, who was gravely injured, when the building they were in collapsed. There was a scream, rocks, and suddenly something heavy had fallen down on her, and she lost conciousness.

Summoning all her strength, Nokama pushed all the debris and rocks that covered her and sat up, shaking the dust off of her body. She realized that the soft, warm wet thing she had felt beneathe her was actually Matau, whom she must have been shielding when they were crushed.

Suddenly remembering his condition, she looked at him worriedly, wondering if his lungs were crushed or he had finally bled to death during the cave in.

Although his abdomen continued to bleed, he was still breathing, and even managed to sit up, with a little help from Nokama.

She felt a hand come onto her shoulder, and realized that it was Gaaki. "Are you alright?" the little rahaga asked.

"I'm... fine." Nokama replied with a cough, watching as Iruini assisted Matau with his injury. The Blue Hordika struggled to stand up, her legs wobbling underneath her weight. She leaned on a nearby fallen pillar for support. "Wh... where are the others...?" she asked, her vision obscured by the total darkness that seemed to surround them.

"Gone. Taken by the Visorak." Gaaki replied solemnly.

"And so will we be if don't get out of here." Iruini added, before stopping and sniffing the air. "There are some Keelerak still hanging around here... we need to move. Now."

Nokama felt anger flare up inside of her. "But what about our friends?!" she growled, ignoring Gaaki's pleads for her silence. "Shouldn't we try to help them!?"

Gaaki glared at her, and shook her head. "In our condition, we will only achieve failure, maybe even death. No, we must run now, if we are to ever save the others."

Nokama opened her mouth to respond, when her eyes fell on Matau, who was being supported by Iruini. In his condition, there would be no way they could ever hope t face the Visorak again, and if she just left him, chances are he would die.

But why would you care? the beast side of her questioned. He's a bother... all he ever does is mope, and flirt with you... and it was his fault that he was hurt so badly. He's a weak fighter, you don't need him!

No! I will not abandon him. Nokama shook her head, trying to drown out the Hordika.

Gaaki continued to stare at her, waiting for an answer. Nokama cast a glare at her. "Fine!" she growled, before taking off ahead. "We'll think of a plan later...!"

Iruini frowned, and struggled to catch up with her, while maintaining an easy pace for Matau, who looked at her worriedly.

"Nokama..." the green Hordika coughed, as grey and blue spots danced around his eyes. He leaned against some debris for more support, the small Rahaga unable to provide enough.

"What is it?" the female asked, not even looking at him.

Matau swallowed. "I... I don't... feel... fine... gooooood..." with that, he collapsed and slipped into darkness.

Nokama's eyes widened with fear. "Matau? No!"

Onewa was reminded of something that happened a long time ago, when he was a Toa Metru. Then again, everything before his mutation felt like it had happened ages ago, but this was beside the point. He had been recently turned into a Toa, and had just been captured by the False Dume and thrown into prison alongside Whenua and Nuju. At this point in time, Onewa had grown to hate his companions and attempted to escape the instant he was thrown in the cell. He could remember the fear and desperation he felt as he strained against the prison bars, in a futile attempt to rip them apart. He could also remember the annoyance, anger and impatience he felt with his so-called teammates, specifically Whenua's ranting, and Nuju's endless whining about how their future was bleak and that they were doomed. Not to mention the Turaga Lhikan who was also thrown in jail who had forced Onewa to do stupid and completely pointless exercises to supposedly help activate his mask-power. It was an expierence he had hoped never to go through ever again in his life.

In a way, Onewa was feeling the exact same way he had felt before now, only this time it was much, much worse. Pure rage thundered through his veins, and his injuries from the previous battle had yet to be treated. And now he was trapped with people he had grown to utterly despise.

And now, he was moping in a corner after just fighting with the one who he despised above all, Vakama.

When the Visorak had tossed them all into the cell, Onewa had been the only one was attempting to do something to find a way to escape, like always. He ran up to the bars, and attempted to find a weakness in them. Whenua and Nuju were sulking in the corners of the cell, acting like spoiled little children who hadn't gotten their way, as usual. He was able to keep his anger in check for the moment, but that was before Fire-Spitter began to speak.

Vakama had stood up and had the audacity to tell Onewa to calm down and conserve his energy. "For what?" he had asked. "Begging for mercy? Or wellowing in self-pity? Forget it! Unlike SOME people, I'm actually trying to do something useful, instead of crying a river over my mistakes!"

That had touched a nerve, he knew. The red Hordika's eyes flashed, as he voice became low and hoarse. "What. Did you. Say." it wasn't a question, but a command.

Onewa scoffed, unintimidated. "You know what I mean, fire-spitter!" he growled. "It's just like you! You've failed us yet again, so now you're going to just stand around and start yappin' and cryin' over how you've failed Lhikan and everything! Let me tell you something, fire-spitter: you've NEVER done anything right! I don't understand why Nokama ever thought you could even hope to be a leader. You can't do anything right!" he took a step forward, enjoying seeing Vakama's eye twitch angrily.

He continued, "whenever there was a problem, whenever there was trouble, it was always one of us who fixed it! It was either my plans, Nuju's foresight, Whenua's observations, Nokama's knowledge, or even, Mata Nui forbid, Matau's recklessness, that got us OUT of it! All you ever did was bark useless orders, and when you actually ever attempted to do anything on your own, you FAILED! Utterly, completely, absolutely FAILED! Do you hear me, Vakama?"

Onewa gritted his teeth and walked right up to the red Hordika's face, ignoring the startled and angry cries of Rahaga. "You aren't qualified to be a leader, for anything! I never saw you as my leader, and I never will! Because You. Will. Never. Do. Anything. Right!"

With a blood-curdling war, Vakama pounced and attacked, with Onewa gladly engaging in a deadly brawl.

The brown Hordika couldn't remember everything that happened during their fight. His mind had been clouded with blind rage, his beast obviously had been in complete control the entire time. He could only remember small flashes of clawing and biting... and blood. He remembered feeling blood on his hands and tasting blood, from blows he dealt to fire-spitter and blows he recieved.

He didn't know how long they had fought, but he remembered when they stopped. Norik and Pouks had leaped into the fray and cut their battle short. And while Norik was trying to restrain Vakama, he lashed out at the small Rahaga and actually slashed him with his claw.

Eventually, after a lot of yelling, clawing, and argueing, the two small rahi had managed to calm them both down, although Norik was still badly hurt and bleeding.

Under the ever watchful and wary eye of Pouks, Onewa shot a glare to Vakama from across the room. The red Hordika replied to his glower with a snort, while staring at the wound he had caused Norik, who, despite Kualus's advice, continue to watch and guard Vakama even with his injury.

Onewa scoffed at his so-called leader before curling up in a ball to go to sleep. He had no desire to look at his "teammates", and he was getting tired of their nastly looks. He was only glad Nokama wasn't here, she would probably be giving him a lecture.

Nokama...

Onewa frowned slightly at the thought of his fallen comrads. He didn't really care about Matau, the guy had always been a pain. In a way his probably kind of happy the reckless ex-Toa of Air was dead (although deep down, he knew just the opposite was true). But Nokama... well, she was different.

There was no denying that the ex-Toa of Water was pretty. Heck, she was down right beautiful. Even as a hideous Hordika, Nokama was probably the best looking one among the group. But it wasn't just her looks that made Onewa like her. She was kind, caring, and smart. Sure, she was a little sappy and sentimental at times, but when she actually did fight, she was a deadly opponent. So coordinated, so balanced, she would never miss a move. Onewa liked that in a girl.

It also didn't help that his rahi side had a natural, powerful instinct to want to mate with a female of his species. And as far as he knew, Nokama was the only other female Toa Hordika on the island. Of course, Onewa was able to surpress his purely primal urge for her, but that wasn't to say it was easy to surpress his own infatuation.

The very thought of her dying was a terrifying one. He had already once thought to have lost, when she was poisoned by the Rahi Nui. He never wanted to go through that expierence ever again.

Of course, there was also a chance that she could still be alive. All he knew was that the building they were in had collapsed and she wasn't seen leaving it, according to Norik's story. He didn't know for sure that Nokama had perished in the cave-in. She might've even been planning a rescue mission as they were waiting. Matau, on the other hand...

Well, if the cave-in didn't kill him, which would be a miracle in of itself, blood-loss would've.

Onewa snorted. He shouldn't be worrying about Nokama. If she was alive, she was probably in some place better than in a prison. And if she was dead, well, there had been plenty of times he had wished he was dead during this adventure. It was probably a relief.

With those (somewhat) comforting thoughts in mind, Onewa closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, and dreamt pleasent dreams of killing Visorak hordes and brutally murdering Vakama.

Slowly, Matau's eyes opened. The green ex-Toa took a slow, deep breaths, as he tried to get good look at his surroundings. There was an absolutely disgusting smell in the air, like rancid pork that made it hard for him to breathe. His vision was blurry from sleeping, and it took a few seconds for it focus. When he could see clearly once again, he found that he was staring straight up at a small structure that might have been a fallen support chute. He couldn't quite tell.

Matau became aware of a nearby prescence. He cocked his head to his left, a move he wished he hadn't done, as he neck throbbed painfully all of a sudden. The crippled Hordika shut his eyes cringed in pain. A hand was placed on his neck, as if to soothe it.

"Easy, easy there." Iruini's voice spoke.

Matau opened his eyes and looked up at him. "Iruini... what... happened...?" he choked. Darn, was his body really in that bad of shape?

Iruini sighed, as if relunctant to recount the tale. "You passed out on us due to lack of blood. We carried your body as quickly as we could out of that area of the city and looked for bandages to slow the bleeding. We were able to make some out of some plants we found and patched you up as best we could." It was then that Matau became aware of the rather itchy plant bandages to was currently wrapped around his stomach and shoulders.

Iruini continued, "We found a temporary shelter somewhere on the outskirts of the city and made up a small camp. Right now, Gaaki is searching for some herbs to help improve your condition."

The little Rahaga paused, allowing Matau to take in all the information. After a while, he chuckled. "You know, you're very lucky." he said. "Most other people I know would've been dead at this point... you're a pretty tough Toa to still even be concious right now."

"I... am?" the compliment was odd, especially coming from Iruini's mouth. However, he didn't have the strength to question it right there, so he decided to let is slide and just take it happily.

"Where's Nokama?" Matau asked.

"I... I'm here." a feminine voice spoke up. Nokama?

The blue Toa Hordika walked towards his bedside and knelt down, staring intently at his wounds. Iruini had retreated to the side to give her some space and privacy.

Matau smiled up at her. "Nokama..." he paused. She didn't look so good, he thought. Her eyes were bloodshot, her expression apprehensive, and she kept looking at his wounds, her eyes refusing to meet his. Did something happen? he wondered.

He happened to catch a glance at her claws. His eyes widened. They were completely covered in blood, and not his blood.

Nokama must've realized what he was staring at, as she pulled her hands away behind her back. Now she couldn't even look at his body, shame filling her mind. Before he could even ask her what was going on, she stood up and walked away, revealing the rest of the campsight.

Matau's eyes became glued to the sight before him. There was a small camp-fire going, just enough to provide some warmth for those around it. The suns were slowly rising through the clouds, indicating it was almost day time, although one could hardly see any signs of daylight through the cloud covered sky. But it was none of these that held his attention.

In front of the camp-fire was a dismembered rahi.

An ash-bear, to be exact. At least, he thought it was. The head had been torn off the body and was now lying in a poodle of blood. Scratches and bite-marks littered the face to make it almost entirely unrecongizable. Little else of its body had survived, other than what appeared to be a hand, a leg, and perhaps apart of its upper torso. Although he couldn't completely confirm it from so far away, the blood appeared to be still wet, indicating that it had only been killed a little while ago. But why would someone attack an ash-bear so viciously beyond recongition...?

Matau looked to Nokama, expecting an answer. When she gave no reply, he asked, "what happened to the rahi-beast?"

She visibly stiffened and shut her eyes, as if the question itself had stung her. She remained that way for a few moments before trying to reply. "I... it..." her eyes darted between the corpse and Matau. Finally, she shook her head and snarled. "It was in my way." with that, she walked away.

It didn't take a genius, or Matau, to figure out what had happened. I knew she was mad-angry about losing, but this... he closed his eyes.

He remembered not too long ago, just before they had all been turned into Hordika, the Toa Metru had come across an injured ash-bear. At the time, the Toa were more concerned with saving the Matoran from the colliseum, and were in no mood to bother with a weakened rahi. But Nokama had refused to go on until they did something to help the little ash bear, eventually leading them all to attempt a healing process that no-one knew they could do. Nokama always had a special bond with all living things, especially animals. But now, as a half-beast herself, she had taken to killing something she had once sought to protect.

It made him realize how truly awful the mutation was. Slowly but surely, the Toa were losing their minds. How long would it take before they were all brainless rahi with only an instinct to fight? They would fail the mission, doom all the Matoran, and most of all, they would lose themselves.

If only fire-spitter had been smarter...! Matau thought angrily. If only we hadn't walked-strolled into this trap! If only... we had some food, I'm getting hungry-starved. he laid his head back against the ground and closed his eyes, his once angered mind now clouded with thoughts of meals.

He glanced at Iruini, who had stepped out of the shadows. "I... don't suppose you don't have any food?" he asked, weakly.

Iruini chuckled and shook his head. "I'm sorry, Matau, but until we find some way to treat your injury," he pointed to his bandaged stomach, "your going to have to starve for a while."

Matau groaned inwardly and closed his eyes. This was going to be a miserable time.

Nuju was awoken from his semi-peaceful slumber by an irritating noise. It only took him a few seconds to realize that said irritating noise was none other than Kualus.

After about an hour of death-staring contests between Vakama and Onewa, the two had decided to play a game of 'let's mark our territory'. There was now an invisible line that seperated each Toa Hordika, and if one were to cross the boundaries, that Hordika had a right to smash, claw, punch, bite, jab and a host of other unpleasent things to the offender until he retreated back to his own spot. The only other living beings allowed in each Hordika's territory was their respective Rahaga.

Nuju had long since fallen asleep, while condemning the idiocy of his so-called brothers. However, it appeared that his "roommate", so to speak, was not going to let him rest any longer.

The white Hordika glared at the small rahi. "What are you doing?" he growled.

Kualus hardly even acknowledged him. The small creature was looking up at the wall and making a series of strange clicks and buzzes with his mouth. Nuju had seen him do this before, it was the language of flying rahi. Kualus had spoke it many times during his travels. But when he did, he at least did it with other flying beasts.

Nuju wondered for a moment if the Rahaga had gone insane. It certainly seemed plausible. Kualus always did come off as a little mentally unstable to him...

"Kualus, who are you talking to?" Nuju was starting to get annoyed. The incesscant noises the Rahaga was making was driving him nuts.

Once again, Kualus made no reply. This time, Nuju stood up and walked up to his ear. "Kualus-"

"Ah! Nuju!" the rahaga whirled around, as if he was unaware of his prescence the entire time. "Having trouble sleeping, I see?"

"Only because of you." he snapped. "I called you at least three times. Has your hearing gone?"

"Really? I'm sorry about that..." Kualus apologized. "I was talking to my little flying rahi friends, asking them if there was a way out, but there appears to be none."

Nuju glanced up at the wall that he had been facing and eyed it quizzically. At first he thought there was no-one there, but upon activation of his mechanical eye-piece, he discovered that there were a couple of small ice-bats hanging up in the ceiling.

The ex-Toa of Ice was silent for a while before replying. "So... these things... they talk to you?" he asked.

Kualus nodded his head. "Of course. I speak their language, why wouldn't they talk to me?"

Because they're rahi, he was tempted to say, but instead kept this thought to himself. "I don't suppose you could ask them to fly out of here and find some help, could you?" he inquired.

Kualus nodded again. "Of course I could." He turned to the ice-bats and made a series of clicking noises. Nuju watched with interest. After a while, the bats responded with a low buzzing noise, causing the Rahaga to frown.

"What's wrong?" Nuju asked.

"It's too dangerous for them to leave." Kualus explained, sadly. "They say if that they dare to leave the cell, the Visorak will capture them an devour them."

Anger flared up inside of him. "Then what are we supposed to do!?" the white Hordika growled.

Before he could get an answer, the sound of footsteps echoed throughout the chamber. It was not the quiet, quick and frequent noise of the Visorak's legs against the hard-stone. No, it was a deeper, louder sound, that came at a much slower pace, the sound that came from a two-legged creature.

The noise became louder and louder as the unknown footsteps came closer, waking up the other Hordika. Vakama, who was closest to the cell door, crouched down into a pouncing stance, ready for anything. The Visorak had taken away their weapons and rhotuka, leaving their claws and brute strength as their only weapon. But for Toa Hordika, this was all they needed.

The room became tense, as a shadowed figure strolled up to the cell. Everyone prepared for a fight, as the cell door slowly slid open...

Norik's eyes widened with anger and fear.

"Roodaka..."

To be continued...