Ceray, Mask of Enhancement
Stara is a Lightning Toa from Inferna Firesword's epics Heroes and Halflings and Lightning Strikes Twice, featured prominently in both. A former exile from her home, the Amari Islands, Stara was eventually cleared of the murder charges she had been condemned for and was allowed to return home, finding love with Toa Metru Nuju in the process.
Stara came from the southern islands of Amari, living in the village of Xi-Koro with other villagers, her best friend being the artist Stiaye. Little is known of her life beyond that, other than the fact she and Stiaye once dared each other to spend the night on the supposedly-haunted island Notus, and got more than they bargined for there.
Stara's life abruptly changed when their Turaga, Taynai, died, about ten years before the Great Cataclysm. Their Toa, Reya, was bound by tradition to create a new Toa at the Xi-Kini's Elemental Well, and all of Xi-Koro believed that a Matoran named Sekmet would be choosen to replace her. However, Reya picked Stara over her, causing many of Sekmet's supporters to reject Stara as their Toa. Stara was saddened by this rejection, though she had a loyal group of friends, including Stiaye and Reya, to support her.
About two months after her transformation, Stara briefly left Xi-Koro to hone her powers in peace. However, during that time, the Xi-Matoran Luxa and Narissa were murdered by Makuta Kiria, aided by the scornful Sekmet. When she returned home, Stara was charged with their murders, since there had been no storms during that time. By the unanimous consent of the village, Stara was exiled from the Amari Islands.
During that time, Stara wandered the universe, doing good whenever she could, but never staying in one place for very long. At one point she lived on Stelt, but unknown reasons made her leave. About 200 years after the Great Cataclysm, she saved the life of a lone Toa of Gravity, who was being attacked by a group of Zyglak. The Toa, called Kronus, felt indebted to her, and offered her a home on the island of Rohaya, with the rest of his team. Stara was initially reluctant to accept, but wound up joining. She eventually trusted him with the secret that she was an exile, but Kronus refused to let that make her leave. He vowed to keep her secret, though he wound up breaking that oath in later years.
Rohaya and Heroes and HalflingsEdit
For the next 800 years, Stara fought alongside the other 19 Toa Rohaya, eventually gaining the increased strength of her comrades. During that time, she struck up a budding romance with the Fire Toa Egan, though it is unknown if it was truely so or not. During those years, she helped the Toa Rohaya fight the Brotherhood of Makuta, and seemed to accept the island as her home.
However, this illusion of comfort was soon shattered. During a routine check of the nearby islands (including the shipping port Shi-Nui), her and Kronus's teammates were slain by Brotherhood forces, lead by the halflings Fyre, Tayra, and Kiria. When Kronus discovered that their proginators were the Toa Metru Matau, Whenua, and Nokama respectively, they fled to Metru Nui, asking for the aid of the other three Toa.
They gained this help, and they returned to Rohaya. There, Kronus, Vakama, and Onewa discovered that the three halflings knew they were there, and they were waiting for them to arrive at dangerous locations on the island: Octipi's Grotto, the Razor's Edge, and Dragon's Watchtower. The only way to gain entrance to the fortress they had once called home was to seize the key fragments that the halflings had in their possession, so they decided to play their game. That same night, Stara questioned the wisdom of following along with the plans of their enemy, mentioning her exiled status as she did to Kronus (both unaware that Nuju had been eavesdropping).
Over the next two weeks or so, the five allies traveled to those locations, defeating the halflings and taking the key fragments from them. During that time, Stara formed a connection with Nuju, born from her admiration of him and his curiousity about her. After regaining the key, she got into an arguement with the Gravity Toa, debating on the best way to end the halflings' days. Their already frayed tempers made them say things they later regretted, and Kronus betrayed Stara's trust in him by revealing to the Toa Metru of her status as an exile. Angry and hurt, Stara fled into the forest, allowing herself to be struck by lightning from the storm going on above her head in an attempt to comfort herself.
Nuju came after her, and she told him of her past. Nuju believed her to be innocent, and they decided to find out the truth of it when their duty on Rohaya was done. Stara returned to their base, though she had now lost some of Vakama and Onewa's trust in her. Kronus attempted to make amends, but she brushed him off, still angry with him.
Using the Kanohi Iden they brought with them, Stara and Nuju journeyed to the fortress in spirit form and possessed Exo-Toa to weaken the prison rack's energy field, giving the captive Toa a chance to release themselves when they attacked the next day. During the night when they returned, Nuju dreamed that something terrible would happen to Stara, though he kept this secret from her.
During the fight, the two of them teamed up against Halfling Kiria, but Nuju was injured during the fight, and when she tried to help him back up, Kiria froze her with her Nynrah Ghostblaster. After saying that she would enjoy making Stara pay, she fired an orb of shadow, intending to kill the Lightning Toa, but Kronus intercepted it with himself. At the moment that Kronus was hit, the now-revived Matau, Nokama, and Whenua broke into the hall, and the five were put to sleep by the halflings.
Stara revived soon after, and joined the other Toa with Kronus, who was dying of his injuries. Three days after the death of the halflings, the Gravity Toa died with Stara by his side, and the two of them made their peace before he departed the world of the living. Stara buried her nineteen teammates that day, thinking that they were at peace, but unaware that a new duty had seized their souls.
The day after Kronus's death, a ship arrived on Rohaya, and when a sleep-deprived Stara came outside the fortress to check it out, she found herself mask-to-mask with her ex-best friend Stiaye, who had voted for her exile years before. Her anger at her friend's betrayal flared up again, and Stara let her anger out at Stiaye, before Stiaye said that the truth of the deaths of Narissa and Luxa had come out, and she had been cleared of the murder charges two years prior. Stiaye had been sent by Turaga Reya to inform Stara of this news. Knowing she had a choice, Stara decided to accept Stiaye's wish for her to return to Xi-Koro as their Toa, and forgave her people for their mistaken judgement.
The night before they were due to leave Rohaya for good, Stara joined Nuju atop the fortress walls, where she confessed that she felt like she was abandoning her teammates by leaving Rohaya so soon after their deaths. Nuju then confessed that he had fallen in love with her, expecting her to scorn his affections. However, he underestimated the similar passions that fired the Lightning Toa's heart, and she told him she loved him back. They were united in heart and soul, even though they were destined to torn apart so soon.
However, they were soon reunited. Five years after the events on Rohaya, Stara's Turaga - who had given life as a Toa - fell ill, and Stara journeyed north from the Amaris to try and find a cure. Her path crossed with Nuju's again, and they were briefly reunited. Stara told him of Reya's illness, and her fear that her home's tradition to replace the Turaga when they died would cause a rift between the two of them. Nuju consoled his love, telling her that he thought (not really) that the Toa Metru would become Turaga again soon. (This actually happened, during the revitalization of the Toa species; though Nuju didn't know this at the time, it was the reason he and his brothers and sister had become Toa again.) Stara returned home, consoled, and when Reya succumbed to her sickness (Stara had been unable to find a cure), Stara sacrificed her powers and named Stiaye as her successor as Toa, thinking her adventures were at an end.
Lightning Strikes TwiceEdit
However, destiny had other ideas for the new Lightning Turaga. Fifty years after the events on Rohaya, three Makuta, Hecate, Tageria, and Deimos, had plans to resurrect the now-defunct Brotherhood, and their best idea was to create a new halfling, using a Turaga as the progenitor. Knowing of Stara's connection to Nuju, Hecate kidnapped the Turaga of Ice and brought him to Enyo, the southernmost of the Amari Islands and locations of one of the last pools of energized protodermis in the universe. There, Nuju's shadow self was extracted and combined with Deimos's essance to create a new halfling on her homeland. When Stara's people discovered the new fortress (created hastily by Deimos) on the barren island and Stara spied on the new halfling with a Noble Iden, Stara discovered her flame was the progenitor of the new menace, and refused to kill him, instead summoning Stiaye home from Shi-Nui.
While waiting for her Toa to return, Stara regularly spied on Deimos with the Iden, trying to discover his purpose in the Amaris. At the same time, an unknown enity began possessing her body during these sessions, sometimes passing information on to her Matoran. One of these fragments of info sent Stara, her second-in-command Adriane, and the village Chronicler Steena searching through the records of their home, and they found an old legend involving Notus. It detailed that a Fire Toa from an alternate universe, called Ajax, had created a Spear that would kill any halfling, and had fled to Notus to keep it out of the hands of those who would destroy it. With his cohorts, Water Toa Cascata and Lightning Toa Audra, they lay a curse on the island that will bring back any Toa or Turaga directly killed by a Makuta or halfling, so the Spear could be protected from shadowy beings. It now became clear to them why Deimos, and Kiria before him, were drawn to the Amaris: they believe the legend is true, and they seek to steal and destroy the Spear themselves.
Not long after they made this discovery, Stiaye returned in the ship Jaswinder, accompanied by the Ice Toa Japoro, Air Toa Aeolus, and Water Toa Amphitrite, fending off an attack by the halfling as they moored. Stara shared her new knowledge with them, and they decided to go to Notus to try and discover if such a weapon existed. They also learned a new fact that steeled their cause, and made them hope that the Spear of Ajax existed: Nuju, if kept in the prisoner rack for too long, would become comatose and unable to move on his own will, something required to destroy a halfling.
That night, when the moons were dark, they sailed to Notus and journeyed beneath the surface of the island to discover a three-headed Muaka guarding the gates. Forced to fight without their weapons, they defeated him by combining elemental powers and impaling the creature with their weapons when they fell from the ceiling, making it disappear (the Muaka had only been an amaglam of spirits). Desending further down into the caverns, they were captured by a group of spirits, led by Cascata. They were brought into the Cavern of Souls and into the dwelling of the new Spirit Chief and his entourage. Stara was pleasantly shocked to see that her old leader, Kronus, was that Chief.
After explainations on all parts (Kronus had been possessing Stara's body and giving her info), they journied futher down, and after a narrow escape from the spirits called the Dark Ones, they entered the presence of Ajax himself. When presented with the test required to use the Spear, Aeolus passed it and gained it for himself. With the light threatening their existance, they returned to the surface and went back to Xi-Koro to prepare.
Two days later, with a storm rolling in, they rowed to Enyo to face down Deimos. Stara, disguised by her Mask of Stealth, was immune to Deimos' strange, soul-numbing power, and attempted to free Nuju. However, Deimos detected and seized the Turaga of Lightning, displaying an odd, vampiric tendancies towards her. A particularily offensive gesture angered Stiaye to the point of breaking their plan and blasting the Halfling of Ice out of the fortress, making the battle join outside.
While Stiaye's group of Toa fought on Enyo, Stara released Nuju and discovered that he was indeed comatose. When Stiaye gained and used the Spear to destroy the halfling, Stara was there to help Nuju regain consciousness. When he asked her if this was real or another dream, Stara offered him two ways for her to prove it was real: the nice way or the nasty way. Which one he chose is unknown.
The night after the death of Deimos, she, Nuju, Stiaye, and Aeolus journeyed to Notus again, where Stiaye was proven to be the chosen bearer of Ajax's Spear. With their curse broken, the spirits departed the world of the living. As their final gift to her, the spirits gave Stara a pair of charms made of spirit steel, telling her to give the other to Nuju and to tell no one else of the charms. The morning after, Stara contemplated Stiaye's new destiny, and was pleased that she would have to keep Nuju with her for a while during his recovery from the trauma being Deimos's prisoner had given him.
Stara, as an exiled Toa, had an interesting character. She was angry with her people, but felt no vengeful feelings towards them, since she would've said the same thing in their place. She was an exile, shunned and hated by all respectable people in the universe, but she still tried to do good. She loved justice, but since she didn't feel that she was a Toa, she was exhempt from the Toa Code, though she followed it still until she was forced to break it. She saw how restricting the Code was during the war with the Brotherhood, and broke it when she was forced to use lethal force.
Stara also was slow to trust initially, but was very willing to trust when someone earned her respect, and saw the betrayal of someone's trust as a captial crime to anyone. Stara was a very decisive person, but like many Lightning Toa, she had difficulties when it came to controlling her temper, often having electricity create a current over herself when she was stressed or angry. She was very daring, though that daring often got her in dangerous situations.
During her time as a Turaga, she softened her personality slightly, though she was still quite the same. Her stint as an exile made her careful to evaluate stories, not believing any side until there was sufficent evidence to back either claim.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Stara, being a Lightning Toa, had power of electricity. She could fire bolts of her element, run an electric charge over her body, cause muscle problems by increasing electricity in the muscles of others, and had a great resistance to her element, at one time taking a hit from a storm's lightning bolt. In theory, she also could absorb the electric charges of robots (such as Exo-Toa), control the electricity in certain machines to hold a sort of technopathy over them, absorb all the electricity in the room and release it in one massive blast, and have limited meteorkinesis, though she never demonstrated this. She was at her strongest when thunderstorms were active.
Stara had a mastery of her Kanohi Ceray, able to enhance her traits by thought. She also had strength that surpassed the average Toa, due to work on Rohaya.
Stara also has a curious ability to move at seemingly superspeed, though it is unknown how she does this. It may be connected somehow to her lightning powers, since she has a faint scent of ozone hanging about her whenever this happens.
- Since Inferna's announcement of a rewrite of Heroes and Halflings, Stara's history may change
- Stara may appear in the announced sequel to Lightning Strikes Twice
- Due to his actions towards her during the one time they came mask-to-mask, it's possible that Deimos may have fallen in love with Stara. This was later confirmed in Inferna's 2010 Valentine's Day special, Beautiful Nightmares
- Stara was originally scheduled to be killed at the end of Heroes and Halflings, but Inferna became attatched to her as a character and spared her, chosing to kill her teammate Kronus instead