Saturday, November 5, 2016

LoL Chapter 15- First Forest Kiss

Chapter 15- First Forest Kiss

Much to Lewa's surprise and delight, he meets Venimbus for the weekend at their usual spot, Venimbus's tree house porch.
Lewa knocks, smiling and patting his bag which holds the gifts.
When Venimbus open her door, her smile isn't as big as it normally is, and Lewa realizes she still feels bad about their last encounter.
“Venimbus, I have great-good news....But I need to make sure it was a success.” Lewa starts.
Venimbus gets a puzzled look, “Make sure what was a success?”
“Well....I have an odd friend who has a gift in doing things that can't be explained.” He states in Junti.
Venimbus gapes, her eyes widening. “Lewa....when did you learn to-”
Lewa holds up a hand, “My friend helped me with understanding and speaking the basics of your language, but that's not all...I asked her to adjust my system and grant me the Junti enzyme so you don't have to worry. Don't ask me how, but she did what she could....I just need to find out if it was success. May I touch you, Venimbus?”
Venimbus gives him a disbelieving look, but in her own desperate hopes, she holds her arms up for a hug, knowing his touch will make her flustered, and knowing that's a risk he's willing to take.
Lewa reaches in cautiously and wraps his arms around her. When he leans in and places his head next to hers, his heart rate high, Venimbu's body reacts as last time, but Lewa doesn't feel a thing. Suddenly he flares his nostrils, “What is that strange-odd, sweet-tangy smell....?” he half questions.
Venimbus pauses, sniffing, her brows lifting, “I'm not making anything on the stove....That's the smell of....Junti defense toxin.” She looks at Lewa in utter shock, realizing he's not reacting to it. “By the great beings....you can't feel it.” she states in a surprised whisper, eyes filled with astonishment and joy.
Lewa grins, and Venimbus is so enthralled that she hugs him tight, laughing in wonder struck relief.
Lewa chuckles, returning affection and pulling away. “If I can speak-talk Junti, understand the basics, touch-hold without feeling the sting, then I should be able to nibble-eat your foods too.”
Venimbus beams and pulls him inside, the two facing this with a dream come true attitude.

Lewa sits down at Venimbus's table and reaches into his bag. “I brought you some things.” he smiles, setting the toxic fruit chocolates on the table, and the small box with the locket.
Venimbus sits, her excitement remaining and she gingerly opens the chocolate box. “Oooo, toxic fruit chocolates. I do like these, but...” she pauses and looks at him, holding up one, “It's time to see if you can like them too.”
Lewa looks at the chocolate Venimbus holds, knowing this is the first step to testing if his body is truly immune, and he takes it uneasily, nearing it to his mouth, Venimbus getting up and pulling out herbs and water in case he can't handle it. Lewa sinks his teeth into a very small amount of the chocolate, sounding off a shiver when the tang of the fruit hits the tip of his tongue, but after that he remains fine.
Venimbus sits back down, smiling as Lewa starts to smirk, “Hey....that's pretty good.” he chuckles. Venimbus pats his hand, nodding and brimming with delight as she grabs for the jewelry box.
When she opens it she holds the charm up to the light. “Oh, pretty....” she grins.
Lewa nods, “It's the symbol for air, my emblem. There's a picture inside.”
“Inside? Oh, it's a locket...” Venimbus smiles, charmed by what she sees, and when she clicks it open she chuckles and holds it to her heart. “A picture of you, how sweet.”
Lewa grins and sits back in his chair. “Thought you might like something for memory-thought.”

Venimbus gets up and puts the charm on, popping a chocolate in her mouth. “Lets go for a vine swing.”
Lewa sits back up, nodding. “Sure-fine...” he states in a bit of surprise as Venimbus already heads for the door, he himself following her quickly.
Venimbus climbs through the trees, Lewa following above her as Venimbus grabs onto a vine. “Hey wind spirit, can't get me.” she grins, winking and swinging off.
Lewa chuckles and sees she wants to play tag, feeling a sudden enchantment by the way she looked at him and he swings down by a vine, following after her. “Oh yeah, I bet I can.”
 

Venimbus giggles and maneuvers through the trees with a speed and ease Lewa has never seen before, and gets determined, taking in a breath and speeding up, trying to catch her. He nears her just barely, and puts his hand out to tickle her foot, but misses by two feet. “Bah!” he puffs, smirking at her mischievous laugh and continuing his pursuit, always several feet behind, and just when he thinks he's on her trail, she swings out of sight.
Lewa pauses in a bit of confusion, not able to see her and glancing around in every direction. “Venimbus?.....” He peeks around a tree, “Venimbus?”
Suddenly Venimbus chuckles and swings past, Lewa flinching and half grinning, “Oh...you sneaky little turd.” he laughs, swinging after her, and as he gets near, Venimbus grabs his hand and changes momentum into that of a vine dance, Lewa knowing what to do and joining in with a grin.

When they let go and land on separate trees, they look at each other for a long moment, warmth in their chests, and a sense of passion evident.
They both grab a vine again, swinging down from the trees and as they sway past each other they make eye contact, waiting for momentum to bring them closer to each other, the vines starting to sway lazily and Lewa looks at Venimbus who softly smiles, her eyes taunting and captivating.
Suddenly when they're close enough, Lewa wraps his arm around her and lands on a tree branch, his eyes glancing at her lips and he gives her a cautious kiss, brief but meaningful.

Down below, not to Lewa's knowledge, a lone Le Matoran had been watching from undercover in the bushes, his eyes wide and his smile broad. Little did Lewa realize how close they had come to his village, and his secret was not to be for much longer.
Lewa lets go of Venimbus and the two smile at each other, their eyes holding deep question, as though they were seeing their futures before it even began, Venimbus blushing and Lewa fidgeting, feeling stunned and enchanted by what just happened, going to apologize before Venimbus puts a finger to his lips. “Don't feel sorry, wind spirit, I hold the same feelings.” Venimbus states in a hushed breath.
Lewa smiles, letting out a breath. “Let's head back to your tree home. It's getting past-late and I know you need to be in your homeland before it's dark.”
Venmbus nods, swinging off the branch, Lewa following close behind.

When the two are out of view, the Le Matoran bites his lip, unable to hold in titters, and he runs back to Le Koro with the news of what he just saw.

By the time Lewa gets back to Le Koro, it's nearing late evening, around 7, and he lands on the main platform of town.
Matoran who pass him snicker and snort, waving hello and grinning like they know a joke he doesn't, causing Lewa to lift a brow, and as he walks he notices everyone awake seems to be looking at him and snickering.
Lewa’s brow lifts more and he folds his arms, “All right, what's so joke-funny?” he squints, “Aren't you going to let your Toa-hero in on the fun?” he smirks.
The Matoran who had seen him earlier laughs from the trees above, “Quick-ask Turaga Matau, he wants to congratulate you.”
“Congratulate me for what?” Lewa stammers, getting a sinking feeling in his chest, his eye twitching and his heart thudding, “Oh....monkey turds” he grumbles, wanting to find out what rumor is going around, knowing Matau will be the biggest laugher of all if the rumor has spread across town.
He speeds across the platform and flies off for Matau's hut, landing outside his door and knocking. “Matau, it's Lewa, I need to speak-talk with you.”
Matau scuffs to the door a bit tiredly, but his face bears a smile as he opens the door and looks at Lewa. “Come in Toa...” he beckons, scuffing to the side so Lewa can come in.
Lewa sighs and ducks through the door, sitting down on the floor and puffing through his nose. “Word is a joke-rumor is going around, one of the Matoran spill-tells that you supposedly want to congratulate me. What for?” he says with distrust.
Matau sits down slowly and pours some green tea for himself. “Oh....hehehe, we want to congratulate you on your snag-find of a maiden fair. Word is you smooch-kissed this...uh, Venimbus?”
Lewa groans and holds his head, “Mata Nui....someone saw. Listen Matau, it's true, I'm in love, and no amount of tease-taunting is going to shake me from my heart-felt experiences, but please don't go spread-telling this news beyond Le Koro, and don't spout-speak her name. She's a Junti, her kind still have a bit of prejudice towards the air people, but despite that she loves me anyway. All the cultural things I've shared here I've learned from her. If any of her people find out, we’ll both be in for trouble.”
Matau nods. “No worries Lewa, we'll keep your relationship with this sparkle-beauty of a Junti among ourselves, and pray-hope to the great spirit your connection stays stable-strong. Besides, the Ju-Le war happened a long time ago, most the Junti have opened their borders to outsiders, including their windy neighbors.”
Lewa shakes his head, “Doesn't matter, the camp she comes from kicked me out after humiliating me. I'm not getting into details, but I've been secretly friend-dating her for awhile now.”
Matau chuckles, “Soon you'll be bringing out the rings, eh?” he winks with a grin.
Lewa blushes and clears his throat, embarrassed, yet his eyes show he's thinking on that idea, Matau only laughing more, knowing all too well what he's thinking.
“Best of luck to you Lewa, you've done better than I ever could....Nokama was never interested.” he shrugs.
Lewa lifts a brow, “You...joy-liked Nokama?”
Matau pauses, shrugging, “Yeah, once upon a time.”
Lewa gets a puzzled, surprise look. “Didn't see that coming....”
Matau chuckles again. “Well, now we both know something about each other. A few embarrassing secrets shared and kept between us. We know the risks in dating a Junti, especially a beauty like yours, but I'll make sure the truth stays in Le Koro.”
Lewa nods, sighing. “Thanks Matau, things have only just gotten serious, so I need this to be hush-quiet.”
Matau nods and steps back as Lewa stands again. “I best get home, we all need rest-sleep.” Lewa states tiredly as he heads for the door.
“Maybe sometime you can share-tell how you're doing, if you bump into hard-trouble.” Matau smirks, following him to the door as Lewa steps out.
“Yeah....maybe sometime I'll spread-share more of what I've learned, but for now I want this to be hush-quiet. Good night, Matau.” Lewa nods, his eyes more serious than usual, implying he's not joking about wanting his privacy.
Matau nods, “Good night Toa, sleep-snooze and dream well.” he smiles, closing his door, his snickers muffling from within the hut, Lewa shaking his head and flying off for home with a half grumble and smirk.

During the night, Orpheus had come to the low lands of Nu Le Koro in search of a few special plants that grew the best in that region, and he knew the people of Le wouldn’t mind a Junti medic staying around on one of the lower platforms for rest till morning. As he leans up against a tree and sets his head against his medical bag, he notices faint chatter and giggles overhead and his eyebrow twitches.
At first he brushes it off as nothing, just Le Matoran being themselves, closing his eyes for some sleep, till he chances to hear what they’re saying as they move closer through the trees overhead, one chattering to the other about Lewa sharing a kiss with some woman named Venimbus. Orpheus’s eyes shoot open and he sits up in a panic, scrambling closer to the sound of the conversation and squinting as he listens, getting the details that Lewa and Venimbus have been dating, only making his chest throb more as he holds his head and groans. “That idiot…..” he grumbles under his breath, puffing a not so happy breath through his nostrils. “Yep...I knew it...I knew he would do something stupid.” He pauses to think, knowing Lewa lives in the area, and set on the idea of confronting him on a matter that could be more serious than Lewa suspects or even knows.
He settles down again, now unhappy he’ll lose sleep to the thoughts in his head, and grouchily shuts his eyes till morning.

When early morning sunbeams shine down on the platforms, Orpheus twitches awake, snorting tiredly as he sits up and rubs his face. He glances around and reaches into his bag for his old watch, checking the hour and knowing he should get moving while he can.
After shoving his watch back in his medic bag, he stands and climbs the ladder to the higher platforms above, picking a fruit from one of the trees and snacking on it as he walks through the village and looks for someone who can point him in the direction of Lewa’s home.
A half awake Matoran swings by and Orpheus flinches, “Hey….wait.”
The Matoran pauses and hangs upside down from his legs off a tree branch, “Morning, need some aid-help?”
Orpheus nods, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of Lewa’s home or the general area he stays in.”
The Matoran smiles and sits back up. “Our Toa-hero lives on the other side of town, just follow the old bridge-paths till you see the symbol of air on a post-poll.”
Orpheus nods, smiling kindly. “Thank you.”
The Matoran waves goodbye to Orpheus as he heads off in search of Lewa’s home, stopping short when he finds the sign, but doesn’t see a way up to the tree house high above, and he grumbles, glancing around for something to climb.

While Orpheus tries to find a way up, muttering about air types not making their homes friendly for land visitors, Lewa opens his door, a smile on his face, not knowing he had company as he stretches and yawns, still waking up and getting ready for the day.
Orpheus glances at the porch and spots him, folding his arms. “Lewa…..Come down here. We need to talk.”
Lewa looks down at him. “Orpheus…? You’re a bit of a surprise-shock…” He says as he lazily flies down. “What do you bad-need enough to see me?”
Orpheus gives him a blank, tired look, sighing. “Lewa...Is it true you’ve been dating Venimbus?”
“Even if I was-perhaps, what great-business is it of yours?” Lewa questions, more confused than anything by his query.
Orpheus shakes his head. “I heard your people talking about something….something about a kiss. I’m not here to chew you out royally, but if what I heard is true, I believe you have a right to know a few things about our culture that may not be the same here in Le Koro. Did you kiss her?”
“Yeeeeeees……. what big-difference does that make?” Lewa flies down and offers a hand to Orpheus so they could speak in privacy.
Orpheus looks at him a bit puzzled when Lewa puts out a hand. “You want to talk about this in private?”
“Matoran are nice-friendly, but love a good gossip-gab.” Lewa helps Orpheus up onto his porch, and waits for Orpheus to speak as he leads him to his living room to sit down.
Orpheus remains well mannered and sits on the floor, a Junti custom being to lower yourself before the owner of a home or land. Lewa is a bit puzzled by this, but doesn’t question Orpheus’s ways.
“You’ve always been in for trouble, it’s not my business to be in yours, but both me and Kakadeus warned you about dating Venimbus. It’s shocking enough that she actually loves you from the sounds of it, but Lewa….In Junti culture, depending on the tribe, a kiss on the lips can mean a lot more than what it may mean in this part of the jungle. In our culture, that sort of affection is practically a wedding ring before you have the band, and usually for the very traditional Junti, we avoid such affection till after we engage and marry.”
Lewa is  gobsmacked, He knew it meant a great deal, but he hadn't realized just how much Venimbus loved him, and was grateful to know that she cared for him as he did for her. “Truly?” He says, his eyes wide in loving wonder.
Orpheus holds his nerves, “Yeah…..Might want to read up on our culture before you take a nosedive into something you can’t handle. I’ve known Venimbus to be on the rebellious side at times when it comes to customs, but for her to let you touch her like that in broad daylight is a sign you may be in for more than you can chew.”
“What makes you think-ponder that I can’t handle myself? Do I look-seem like a child? Or an adolescent? I am well aware of what commitment-ties are…..” Lewa states defensively.
“I don’t think you want me to answer those first two questions, Lewa. I simply am warning you, as a possible friend with the gut feeling that if you don’t watch your step, you’ll be on my medical table with a mouthful of I told you so, and I really don’t want to have to see you beat up, battered, or in serious trouble. You’re a nice guy….”
“I value-appreciate your thought-concern, but while I may have some read-studying to do, I am not so lost-clueless as you may think.” He says, still miffed that Orpheus doubted him.  
Orpheus blinks and gets up. “If you love her then I won’t stand in your way, I simply came to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Whatever your plans are...well, I can’t say much.” he shrugs.
“Thanks Orpheus, I much-appreciate the warnings, and the concern. But you don't need to worry-puzzle over me.” Lewa gives him a friendly smile to assure him.
Orpheus slings his medical bag over his shoulder, shaking his head. “Have a nice day, Toa…” he states tiredly, helping himself to the door and finding a ladder on Lewa’s porch, smirking and rolling it down, waving goodbye as he climbs off the porch and starts walking back to the village, headed for home.

Lewa pauses in thought from what has just been said, his mind already cranking on what’s to be done.

LoL Chapter 14- Confronting Toxins<<previous chapter/next chapter>>

 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Trillahru MOC

You remember Trillahru, the map maker. Yesterday I finally took pictures of her MOC I made recently. Here she is in the village of Ga Koro just outside someones hut, possibly hers. 

Trill seems perfectly fine as an MOC for playing with, but then it occurred to me that her build and mask type may be mistaken too quickly as an MOC of Turaga Nokama. Unfortunately no choice seems appropriate to get the look of Trill in toy form considering my blue mask options are limited, and the ones that match fairly well to her drawn features happen to be masks associated with big name Bionicle canon figures like Nokama and Hahli. I could have given her the mask of Gali Mata, but that would just cause people to think it's Hahli, and this mask choice may bring the idea that it's Turaga Nokama. 
It's a win/lose sort of deal with how the build of Trill turned out....But the illustrations still make me fairly happy.
This village scene of her posing awkwardly is a digital collage made from selected images of beach scenery and lily pads. Left version is the full detailed image, but I felt blurring the background gave more focus to Trill (right)
 
 I have a main version with blurring and no glowing vignette. This one has an added green filter as a last minute adjustment, to try and balance the realism of a toy placed in a digital setting.

I'm not sure if the green tinting helped, but it's here.
 
Also, I played with shadow direction, trying to figure out which way hers should go in order to create a proper illusion. This one seems to work, yet at the same time I'm not sure if it keeps the right illusion. I played more with this one, aiming to make it seem as realistic as I can without being too extreme in photo editing. The picture on the right might be a better choice as a main image.

I felt the lily pads needed to sink into the water more since Trill still has weight to her. The water also seemed to need a slight ripple, and reflection of Trill's shadow. I added a green tint in lighting, got rid of the white vignette glow, and blurred the hard edges of Trill's form. Seems alright.
Here are the detailed versions of Trill running along a sandy trail. One plain and the other with a vignette frame to make it seem kind of like a postcard.
Again, I blurred the background to help bring focus on Trill. This scene with the hazy vignette seems kind of dreamy to me. It's like an old photo captured in time, Trill no doubt running after Pearllight as the two play during a day of exploration.

In the scene of Trill running, the youthful spring in her movements seem to help diminish the concept of her form being that of Turaga Nokama. And her spear doesn't look like Nokama's staff of authority, it's merely the only thing I had on hand which looked kind of like a spear.
Since I can never decide, here's the non vignette version. Still makes a good picture for a book.

Monday, October 17, 2016

LoL Chapter 14- Confronting Toxins

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EA-nnIWcqJ4/V-WuIqIvtOI/AAAAAAAAcRA/42M6bnoXsqAVqNgj5H6Uf-sSG9N04pxSQCK4B/s1600/LoL%2Bbase%2Bposter.jpg 
Chapter 14- Confronting Toxins

By the third week of January, Lewa and Venimbus find themselves meeting again, Venimbus's longing to see him as strong as Lewa's longing to see her.
Lewa had been learning a lot about the Junti people, and Venimbus was equally interested by the air people, finding flight an enchanting thing.
The two meet in the forest on a sunny afternoon, swinging through the trees by the vines and skimming through sun speckled groves below, their laughter and movement frightening birds and monkeys who clatter and screech.


“Woo! Nothing like a vine-swing through the bright-light sun beams eh, Venimbus?” grins Lewa, his eyes like a child's filled with a deep happiness.
Venimbus smiles and suddenly twists into her vine above the sun speckled clearing in the forest, spinning around and doing odd, yet captivating acrobatics seven feet above the ground, Lewa swinging down and coming to a dead stop with wonder struck eyes.
Venimbus pauses and looks at him with a grin, seeing she has his attention.
“What in Mata Nui is this strange-odd wonder-great dance?” Lewa pikes, enthralled.
Venimbus chuckles, “It's a form of vine dancing, one of many different Junti dances. Vine dancing is one of the hardest and at times most dangerous dance we have.”
Lewa comes closer, “Sounds like an air Toa would fit right in then.” he grins.
Venimbus smiles and swings up, showing him a few more steps to the dance. “It's pretty simple once you get a feel for it. The dances vary to however you need, consisting of different firm twists, tight holds, momentum spins, and weight shift. First step is to wrap your leg in and twist the vine around your middle.”
Lewa grabs a vine and climbs up till he's beside her, following what she does. “Wrap my leg and twist in my middle....like this?” he shows.
Venimbus nods, “Then just swing your legs upward and curve your back.”
Lewa nods, thinking it looks easy, but when he tries it he yelps and loses grip on the vine, then dangles upside down by his foot like a fish hanging from a thread. “Ah monkey turds....” he grumbles.
Venimbus giggles and helps him back up, then shows him again, Lewa getting the hang of it after five tries and learning the rest fairly quickly, a bit rough for his first time, but catching on fast.
Venimbus claps after an hour lesson. “Very good, you seem to be a natural.”
“Really?” Lewa questions in surprise.
Venimbus nods. “Some take months to learn vine dancing, others never catch on. It's a skill, one that requires a very strong core and a knack to feel momentum change.”
“Well, I am a Le dweller, the wind is part of momentum, and I'm quite in tune with my element....” Lewa shrugs.
“Could be why you caught on so well....That and you already have a strong core.” Venimbus lightly flirts.
Lewa glances around with an awkward half grin, rubbing the back of his head.

Venimbus smiles, coming over to him and wanting to touch him, pausing. “Would you like to learn some other Junti folk dances?”
Lewa clears his throat and grins, nodding and feeling half flustered at her being so near.
She holds her arms up and splays one foot out. “We'll try a basic one first, take my hands.”
Lewa nods and does so a bit slowly, following her instructions as they do a basic hand dance and chuckle at each other each time they pop their feet and clap.

Venimbus teaches Lewa up to three basic hand dances. The more they touch hands, the more Venimbus wants to be closer to Lewa, and settles on a Junti waltz. “Lewa, one more dance, a waltz my people invented for....well, couples.”
Lewa blushes a little, realizing she's making room for him to touch her.
When she puts her arms up, she tries not to fidget, nodding at Lewa. “Place one hand on my waist.”
Lewa hesitates, “Uh....well, okay....” he says in a half breath, placing his hand on her waist slowly.
Venimbus starts to show him the footwork to mimic, leading him at first. “Once you get this down, you lead me.”
Lewa nods, and after a moment gets the hang of it and leads her as best he can, smiling as they go. Venimbus's blushing gets brighter and she glances at the trees for a moment.
Suddenly Lewa feels an odd stinging sensation in his hands and he cringes, pulling away and ringing his hands about. “Ow ow ow.....yow that stings. What in Mata Nui?” he mutters, looking at his palms that are red and inflamed.

Venimbus's smile vanishes and her face turns to that of guilt and regret. “Oh I'm sorry Lewa....” She sighs and paces a little as Lewa wipes his hands on a leaf.
“What for Venimbus? My hands just feel odd-sore suddenly...Er...” He stops mid way in sentence, seeing her mournful face and realizing she has something to do with it.
Venimbus looks up from her feet. “It's....a defense mechanism. Your hands are stinging because I accidentally got you with natural toxin.”
“Natural toxin?” Lewa asks in utter confusion.
“Yes Lewa. When Junti are flustered or scared, our bodies secrete a natural toxin, like a burning sweat that doesn't harm us, but for any other touching or attacking us it will cause a stinging sensation. It's a defense mechanism....and I got a little flustered. I'm sorry.” she states in half worried thought. “Here I am, a Junti, my body's defense can sting your hands. I can't share the wild fruits I love so well with you though I've wanted to, but know so many things can hurt you.” she mutters in a heavy tone, almost seeming ready to cry.
Lewa sighs, looking down for a moment in thought, understanding, confused, and concerned at the fact he can't touch her. He realizes Venimbus is fearful of hurting him, and even losing him because of the things which make them different, he himself not willing to let the roadblocks get in the way of his love for her. His mind goes back as he thinks on all the moments he's had with Venimbus, sad that he hasn't been able to enjoy her company and sharing to its fullest. Then suddenly as he remembers the opera he thinks on the name, She Came from the Sky, and remembers Pearllight, knowing if anyone can help him with the issue at hand, she would probably be the best bet.
Lewa looks back up and comes over to Venimbus, pulling her into a gentle hug. “Venimbus, don't grave-worry, we'll figure out a way through this, heart-promise. I'll find a way to make it safe for you to hug-hold and be my friend-buddy as much as you want. I'll find a way.” he nods, his voice carrying determination.
Venimbus looks at him with watery eyes, seeing the strength in his and suddenly her worries are lifted, her confidence in him trusting, and she pulls away so he doesn't risk getting burnt again. “Then Toa of air, you have my hope.”

After this the two know it's time to go, the evening coming on fast, Lewa determined to find Pearl, but knowing it will take time to locate her.


Several days go by, Lewa seeking high and low for Pearl. Since he knows the rest of the Nuva are familiar with her, he decides to seek out the members one by one, hoping one of them knew of Pearl's location.
The first person he visits is Gali, knowing Pearl commonly was with her, but much to his disappointment, Gali isn't home. His search didn't end there though, and he couldn't help but overhear a Ga Matoran talking about Gali who had gone to the region of fire.
“The region of fire...” Lewa mutters to himself, now knowing where to head next and taking a long flight to Nu Ta Koro.

As Lewa flies overhead near evening, he notices smoldering glow spots down below, large lava pockets bubbling, and steam rising up. “Well that can't be good.” Lewa grimaces, talking to himself before he lands in the village and asks around for Tahu, a lone Matoran mentioning about Tahu being with some ice type to cap lava pockets.
Lewa sighs and follows the sound of arguing, knowing if anyone, Kopaka is that ice type. Sure enough he's correct, noticing a layer of ice over several pot holes that were spewing lava at one point.
As he goes he finally hears two grumpy voices and comes up to Kopaka and Tahu, Gali coming over after she finishes flooding the small lava flow from a larger crater. “Brothers, I think that's the last of them. Well done Kopaka.” states Gali.
Kopaka nods and glances at Lewa who comes over and waves. “Tahu, Gali, guys. How are you?” he grins.
“Lewa? Finally coming to my region for a change?” smirks Tahu. “You've been missing the action.”
“Action? What's been going on here?” Lewa questions in concern.
Tahu tilts his head back and stretches. “Oh...we've had some underground lava build up that's been coming through the ground in pockets and getting dangerously close to the village. Had to call in Kopaka and Gali to help cap over the hot spots and move the Matoran to safety...”
Lewa pauses, “Oh...so that's why you've been seek-searching for Kopaka?”
Tahu nods and Kopaka puffs, ignoring the conversation.
Tahu shakes his head, “And what brings you here?”
Lewa rubs the back of his neck, glancing at Gali, “Well, actually, I went to seek-find Gali, heard she came here. I was wondering if any of you know where Pearl is...”
“Pearl? Why are looking for Pearl?” Gali questions.
Lewa sighs, “It's...personal. I need her help, and have a few questions to ask her, nothing too bad-serious, just a small life matter.”
Tahu lifts a brow, getting the feeling it has to do with Venimbus, but before he can say anything Gali pauses, “I don't know exactly where she is at the moment, but she said she was going to relax and watch the sunset. She's probably in her favorite grass grove under the palm trees nearby to my home in Nu Ga Koro. Did you bother checking for her there?”
Lewa's face droops and he face palms, chewing himself out mentally. “No....but I will take your word for it, thank you sister.”
Gali nods and before she can ask details, Lewa flies off, heading back towards Nu Ga Koro.
Tahu looks at Gali and the two shrug, feeling a bit concerned and muttering about Lewa's odd behavior.
“What’s up with Lewa?” Gali wonders. “He didn’t even bother asking if we needed help; that’s unlike him.”
Tahu shakes his head, “Don’t trouble yourself, sister, he probably has something on his mind that worries him more than the matter at hand here.”
Gali nods, suspecting Tahu knows something, but not prying into his business.

When Lewa gets back to Nu Ga Koro and nears Gali's home again, he finds the sun is almost gone from the horizon, appearing to sink in the ocean. After he lands, he dashes along the beach around Gali's property is search of Pearl, calling her name and rustling through the plants. “Pearl, are you here?!” he pants, nearing the grove Pearl sits in.
Pearl sits in the sand, looking at the sky and listening to the ocean, suddenly broken from dreaming when she hears Lewa and looks around, startled by his voice. “Lewa, is that you?”
Lewa comes out from behind some bushes and takes in a breath, “Ah, there you are, thank Mata Nui...”
Pearl lifts a brow and gets up. “Yeah, how are you? And why are you here?” she smiles.
“Well....I...um, I was wondering if maybe you can help me, being that you have that strange suit and all.”
Pearl blinks and comes over, leaning against a tree. “Help you with what?”
“Well...it's kind of personal, but I'm in crave-need of help, I'm desperate. I'm...you see I'm madly in love with a Junti named Venimbus. I love her too much to let her down and let her go, but we have a few things that stand between us, not in mind, but in body. Several days ago I tried to dance with her, but fast-discovered Junti have a defense mechanism where their bodies secrete a toxin that burns anyone non Junti. She felt heart-bad, explained the problem. On top of that she can't share her favorite foods with me if they contain toxic fruits....something only Junti seem to be able to handle, and....well, I so crave-wish I could speak her language fluently and be as the Junti because I love her.” Lewa states, having spewed the story and full truth.
“Oh boy Lewa....you've got your heart out on your sleeves...er, armor. But, I understand, if you love her then okay, I'll see what I can do. Just let me scan you real quick....” Pearl says while flipping her helmet on and letting her suit do the work of figuring out what makes Lewa's system different from Junti, having knowledge of how the Junti are because she's scanned them before. After a moment she cocks her head, “Oh....now that makes sense, Junti contain a certain enzyme in their system which others don't. Seems to be a developed enzyme passed on through their genetic code through the generations and all their years of eating highly acidic or somewhat toxic things, thus leading to an immunity which has been passed down through their children. If my suit can duplicate the enzyme, I might be able to adjust your system so you can touch Venimbus, and eat their foods. But Lewa...remember, I'm kind of spooked by this suit and what it can do, I'm only Human you know....And I do think about the consequences that can come from the use of this elemental crystal.”
Lewa sighs, “I know there are hard-bad risks, but if you can make me like the Junti, I'm willing to take the chance. What about being able to understand their language?”
Pearl pauses while her suit calculates, “Hm...Junti is a developed language on this world, something that branched off from basic Agori from what I heard. But I know you've had to adjust to basic Agori even, because you were shielded from Mata Nui's translation ray...I might be able to mimic the frequency Mata Nui used and adjust it for Junti translation.”
Lewa smiles, “Oh that would be so wonderful-great....I'll owe you a huge-large favor if you can help me.”

Pearl shakes her head, smirking at his enthusiasm and knowing this likely won't be the last time Lewa or someone is asking her to use her suit and mind to help, but she accepts it as something that's meant to be, concentrating as best she can. “Well, let’s see if I can pull this off, I don't know what will happen....” she shrugs, cautiously holding up her hand, the palm disk glowing vibrantly as she puts the suit to work and sets her hand over Lewa's heart light, holding her breath as she keeps her mind concentrated on the idea of Lewa having the Junti enzyme.
Lewa stays very still, his hopes high and his body jittery from the feeling of the odd sound waves vibrating through him.
When Pearl pulls her hand away she relaxes and scans Lewa again. “Sure hope nothing bad happened from that. Feel okay?”
Lewa pats himself, nodding, “Yeah, I feel great-fine...But, how do I know it worked?”
Pearl shrugs, “Only one way to truly know, you have to go touch a Junti or nibble on toxic fruits from their region. Might want to talk to Venimbus about this. As for your language comprehension, I saved that step to make sure the first step of adjusting your system wouldn't hurt you.”
Lewa nods in understanding. “Well...can you try that now? Way I see it, if I suddenly great-understand Junti when I go back to the jungle, that could be the first sign that everything else was a success. I didn't feel a thing, just a buzz-vibration.”
Pearl shrugs, having her suit recalculate. “Give me a second to go back and find the old files of when Mata Nui let off that frequency....And, whoa, good thing I archived that file. Okay, it'll take a moment to calibrate the frequency for Junti....”
After a long moment, Pearl holds up her hand again and places it against Lewa's ear, another vibration entering his body and making his head feel a bit funny. “Whoa...strange-odd feeling, like a massage on my brain and head-thoughts.”
Pearl snickers, “That's what sound waves feel like.” She pulls her hand away. “Now listen, I have a recording of Junti speaking to each other, I'll play it for you and you tell me if you understand what they're saying.”
Lewa nods, cleaning his ears slightly then listening to the recording, his eyes widening, “Mata Nui....Hahaha, I can understand them!” he says with enthusiasm, putting his hands in the air. “They're speak-talking about wheat harvests being great-good for the season.” he grins.
Pearl sees the suit did what it was suppose to and nods. “Good, now all you have to do is go hug Venimbus, I guess.”
Lewa claps his hands and gives Pearl a quick hug, Pearl flinching slightly at his sudden enthusiasm, then smiling and patting his back. “Have fun Lewa, and be careful....”
“Thanks Pearl....Before I go, just to catch up, have you been good-well?” He wonders, in the mood for friendly conversation.

Pearl shrugs, “I've been okay, pretty good actually. What have you been doing?” she questions with a half squint.
“Well...I've been dating obviously, but it's a secret, so no spill-telling. Venimbus and I met at an arena match and later started dating. I've been learning so much from her, and she from me. We've been vine-dancing and food sharing, speak-talking of our past-old adventures and even went to the north for a night at the Ice Opera...We ate this dessert called frozen cream, too.”
“Frozen cream? You mean ice cream?” Pearl questions, interested.
Lewa lifts a brow, “Ice cream?”
“Yeah, was it like chilled milk that's been sweetened and flavored?” Pearl wonders.
Lewa smiles, “Yeah, that's exactly what it was...You call it ice cream?”
Pearl nods, “The stuff is common on my world. Ice cream is a basic treat we keep in a freezer to prevent it from melting. I didn't know they had something like that here. Makes sense for it to be in the north where the cold prevents it from melting.”
Lewa gets interested. “So, what's it like on your world? What foods do you have?”
Pearl smirks, seeing Lewa wants to learn more about other places and details which she never fully got into during her beginning days of meeting the Toa and Matoran, and she flips out a holographic screen from her suit, starting on a long, detailed conversation with video and image references on what her world is like and all the different foods she likes the most, the two having a long conversation and culture share for the next three hours.

By the time they're done, Lewa decides to sleep in a tree for the night, and heads home the next day.


During the morning Lewa swings through the trees, wanting to test the adjustments done to his system,yearning badly to know if it’s a dream come true and thinking about how it might be to speak Junti with Venimbus when he can. On that thought he realizes he might want to practice first with someone else, test his skills so he’s at his best when he meets Venimbus again.
“Where could I go to test what’s been done?” he mutters to himself, remembering the Junti market as he looks over the charm on his neck, an idea forming in his head which makes him grin widely. “That’s it, I can get Venimbus a gift-charm and speak-talk with the locals.”, he thinks, grabbing a vine and swinging towards the market, hoping they’re still open.

When Lewa gets there his ears pick up on bunches of chatter, at first not realizing many people passing by him aren’t speaking Matoran, and he heads over to Jocon’s cart, smirking and hoping he can get some sweets for Venimbus while he’s there.
When Lewa leans against the counter, Jocon peeks his head up from behind the cart and grins. “Well well, look who it is, the love struck Toa of air.”
Lewa shakes his head, “Morning Jocon...I was hoping to buy-purchase some of your toxic fruit chocolates.”
Jocon squints, “For your fine lady I’m guessing. Here, I’d go with the medium box.” he says while setting it on the counter. “Is that the only reason you’re at the market today?”
Lewa smiles and pulls out some widgets. “No, not exactly...I ended up getting an immunity to Junti toxins, but I haven’t yet been able to test out how strong it is.”
Jocon lifts a brow, finding that comment weird. “Let me guess, you discovered the Junti toxin secreted when they’re frightened or flustered…”
Lewa nods, “Yes, and I sought a way to get around that, but nevermind. It’s strange-odd, I don’t remember so many Junti speak-talking Matoran at the market….” he states in half thought as a few people pass by.
Jocon looks at him like he’s crazy, “Uh...if you’re referring to the people who just passed by, not one of them was speaking Matoran, but Junti. What are you trying to pull?” he questions with squinted eyes, thinking Lewa is trying to play a prank.
Lewa pauses, “Wait….they were?” He holds his head, “It worked…” he smiles.
Jocon suddenly mutters in Junti about Lewa being a weirdo who must have gotten into some bad mushrooms and Lewa looks at him, “Eh, I did not! I’m not shroom buzzed or on any kind of venom.”Lewa grumbles back in Junti.
Jocon’s eyes go wide and he freezes, “You...speak Junti already?”
Lewa nods, catching himself and realizing now’s his chance to practice. “Actually, I’d like to work at it a bit more, let’s speak-talk in the Junti tongue.”
Jocon shrugs and continues speaking in Junti instead of Matoran. “Fine, I’ll admit it’s impressive you’ve already gotten this far, as for your immunity to Junti toxins and foods, don’t count on it, even I can’t touch most of the stuff they do. Junti are special…”
Lewa folds his arms, “Forget about that….I can’t explain how, but I can, I just need to test it a bit more.”
Jocon snorts, “Hehe, test your immunity against Junti toxins. What’s your idea? Go and hug someone in the market, have an excuse to shake the hands of all the ladies…”
Lewa glares at him, “No, nothing like that….Change of subject, do you know if Venimbus likes jewelry?”
Jocon pauses, “Yeah, as a matter of fact she loves jewelry, just doesn’t always wear it. If you’re looking for a gift that makes an impression, I’d suggest the charm cart over there.” he points.
Lewa’s eyes get bright, “A charm cart...Thanks Jocon.” He grabs the bag with the chocolates and slides the money to him. “So how’s business been?”
Jocon shrugs, “Perfectly fine, been selling more dried fruits than candies lately. Dried fruit is a well liked thing during the winter months, next best selling thing at the market this month are spiced kabobs, grilled and served with a tangy sauce.”
“Mm, sounds tasty, might sample-try one.” Lewa shrugs, eyeing the kabob cart.
Jokon gets a hesitant face, “Be careful with the Junti spices, you might think you can handle something, till it bites you in the butt.”
“Since when did you care? Ya little prankster…” Lewa puffs.
Jocon shrugs, “Hey, I might play pranks, but I respect a guy who has the guts to touch Junti kabobs.”
Lewa rolls his eyes, “Whatever...I’ll be seeing you, and thanks again.”
Jocon waves goodbye, flopping his hand and shaking his head at Lewa’s odd behavior.

The first cart Lewa visits is the charm cart, going over and looking through all the designs and colors, the one most eye catching to him being the symbol for air. He picks up the charm and sees it has metallic green paint on it, vibrant and shiny when held to the light. “This should make a great-good charm to remind Venimbus of who it’s from.”
The cart owner overhears him and taps his shoulder. “If you want to make a lasting impression with a charm, I’d get the locket version and put a picture in it.”
Lewa pauses, “A locket version? Now why didn’t I think of that. Do you have one in this design?” he says while holding it up.
The owner grabs one like it and clicks it open to show it’s a locket. “We have a little picture booth behind the stand where you can get a photo taken for the charm. It only takes three coins.”
Lewa smiles, pulling out his widget bag. “I’ll take it, and would like the picture too.”
The owner opens a little door and nods for him to come back into the cart where he’s led to a small booth.
“Just sit on the seat, shut the curtain, and look straight ahead at the red dot, then smile.”
Lewa follows the instruction awkwardly and several pictures are taken, his first face one of surprise when a bright light flashes and makes him jump.
When Lewa comes out, the owner laughs after handing him the photos, Lewa looking at the top one and snickering himself. “That glow-bright light-flash was a bit surprising…”
The owner nods. “First time in a picture booth?”
Lewa nods and slips his pictures away, being handed a box for the locket. “Oh, thank you.” he smiles.
The charm seller nods, “Have a nice day.”
Lewa feels content with his findings, now ready to seek out Venimbus and tell her the good news, hopefully able to test his immunity soon.

His final decision is to stop at the kabob stand and try out what Jocon spoke against, wanting to challenge his pallet.
He orders a basic plate of two kabobs with sauce, both sticks of meat appearing grilled and red orange from the spices. Lewa sits and dips the meat in the sauce and takes a bite, Jocon watching eagerly from his cart off in the distance, wanting to see how well Lewa does with Junti kabobs.
Lewa chews and sniffles, surprised by the flavor, but enjoying every minute of it, much to Jocon’s surprise. Lewa looks over at him, giving a thumbs and smirking, Jocon shaking his head and chuckling, realizing Lewa might actually be telling the truth about containing a sudden immunity to certain things.

When Lewa is done there, he leaves the stand and waves goodbye to Jocon, heading back home with his gifts and planning on meeting Venimbus very soon.
That evening he carefully cuts out one of the small pictures of himself, and slips it into the charm, curious about what photographs are and how they work, but knowing that mystery would have to wait.