It was a bright afternoon. Sunlight fell through a partly cloudy atmosphere to watch the people of Mata Nui going about their lives. The sea around the island lapped in its normal patterns, turquoise under the happy light. For the most part, the Koros were peaceful on this afternoon. Matoran walked the streets performing their daily businesses – buying and selling, farming, weaving, carving – and the warm glow from on high relieved a little of the weary tension that had sat in their shoulders for too long. On such a fine day as this, with no antagonistic Rahi in sight, none of their friends on the march, it wasn’t so hard for the more optimistic Matoran to feel that the Great Spirit may have blessed them with a rare good day. The wiser ones knew better than to hope.
Somewhere within close proximity to the Koros, unnoticeable at first, there were slight tremors in the earth. Perhaps a leaf or two rustled, or a pebble bounced, snows or sands shifted. The tremors could easily have been mistaken at first for wind, but it was not long before they escalated into discernible quakes. Anyone who stood by chance over the patch of disturbed ground would have been able to tell that something under their feet was moving, may even have been able to hear a rumbling crack. The faces of the first Matoran to notice blanched, and they quickly ran back to the safety of their Koros, shouted the alarm. Nobody could know what was coming from below him or her, but by the feeling of it, it had to have been big.
With the speed of wildfire in dry grass, the fearful word of the trembling in the earth spread, and it was only a matter of minutes before practically the whole Koro was peering anxiously from behind cover at the patch of ground which, by now, was visibly shaking, tossing dust and debris about. The patches were all situated someplace easily within view, right at the doorsteps of the Koros; it was clearly a strategically placed disturbance. The noise of breaking ground was a pervasive growl interspersed with sharp sounds of fracturing rock. The Matoran watched with unconsciously held breath. The warriors among them already had their weapons ready; if today was to be a day when they would fend off an assault, so be it. The Matoran of Mata Nui may have been small, but they were not helpless against Makuta's pet Rahi.
Against what emerged from the ground, though, they stood no chance.
The final cracking noises were loud as gunfire, and the rock of the earth shattered outwards like ten thousand arrowheads, injuring any who were too close. The ground exploded completely into shards, revealing a gaping maw of a tunnel, wide enough for the passage of a legion. And a legion marched forth from the earth, arranged in the formations of a well-trained army. At the front of the columns were brown, spiny creatures wielding sharp-edged staffs. Even the Matoran who had never seen one of these frightful beings before knew that these, and the countless others behind them, were Rahkshi. The many brown Rahkshi of Shattering, which had carved the way for those behind them, screeched in challenge and exploded nearby boulders as signs of force, then moved to the back lines to preserve their strength. The others strode out on their long legs in unison step, weapons held with deadly ease.
Line by line, the Rahkshi emerged from Makuta's secretly-developed system of tunnels, a project he had set his tireless sons to some weeks ago. Each contingent had carved through the earth on their straight paths, and all had simultaneously broken through the final barriers before their targets at the order of their master. Every breed, every shape of spine and pattern of staff, was represented in the ranks, each different color interspersed at random with the others. There were perhaps a hundred Rahkshi at the foot of every Koro, each one a warrior with more speed and strength than two Toa combined. There were no forces in any Koro that could give any challenge to such a host of the staff-wielding creatures.
None in the people in the Koros moved or spoke. They waited for the Rahkshi to make the first move, but the Rahkshi, once assembled before the holes they had stepped out of, stood in still readiness. If any were foolish enough to try and brave the creatures, they were killed before they even reached the tips of the staffs. After any futile attacks ceased and silence returned to the tense standoff, the scattering of red Rahkshi of Fear began to scream, and they were rapidly joined by all their brothers. The cacophony of a hundred shrill voices curdled blood for miles around; the likes of the sound had never been heard on the island of Mata Nui. The shrieks died down after a few seconds, leaving the Rahkshi standing as they were: ready, but motionless.
The people of Mata Nui wondered how long it would be until the army that spelled their doom would strike.