Posted Mar 28 2012 - 03:24 AM
Chapter 2: The Six Toa
Tahu walked on, with the bridge and gate lowering behind him. A matoran with a blue Mask of Strength ran after him, but then changed direction. His first thought was of being locked out, but then he remembered the Rahi. He began running, trying to collect the masks as fast as he could. So this is how to save the Matoran. A scavenger hunt. Great. He decided the first mask he wanted was the mask of speed. It would let him spread fires onto the dark servants of Makuta faster than they could see. If Pohatu has one, and he's the Toa of Stone, maybe it's in Po-Koro. Tahu took out the map and saw that the fastest way to get there was back through Ta-Koro and to Onu-Koro. He ran back to Ta-Koro.
Jala saw Tahu running back. What is this? Has our great Toa retreated? No!
He ran to Turaga Vakama. “Turaga! Is Tahu retreating to this village? Or is it a warning?”
Vakama shook his head. “No, Jala. He would never do that. Maybe he has a question. But it is no doubt on his quest. He was foretold to be the fiercest Toa, and never one who gives up.” He turned to a Matoran at the gate and bridge lever. “Kapura!”
“Open the gate!”
Kapura pulled the lever, then checked the clock. “It's time for my practicing, at the art of moving very quickly by walking slowly!”
Vakama knew what Kapura meant. No one but them knew, though. “Go! Keahi, man the lever!”
Keahi jumped out of his seat. “Yes, Turaga!”
Tahu ran into Ta-Koro. “Just going through these tunnels! I'm checking Onu-Koro and Le-Koro for the Masks of Strength and Speed.”
Vakama looked at him. “Ok. Go. But don't forget, you could find a Mask in the least likely place! A mask of Water Breathing could very easily be in Onu-Koro!”
Tahu thought that was strange, but he made a point of looking anyway.
He kept on running to the tunnel. It descended underground. The darkness was a bit annoying. “Maybe Turaga Vakama should have given me the mask of Night Vision early.”
He read two signs over tunnels. One tunnel was to Le-Koro, one was to Onu-Koro. He had an idea. Igniting his sword, he went down into the darkness of Onu-Koro. He met an Onu-Matoran.
“Who are you, Matoran? And how can you live in such darkness? It's almost pitch black, lit only by lightstones!”
The Matoran laughed. “I am Tehutti. And any brighter is annoying. We have better night vision than other Matoran, but only Whenua can see in total darkness. He has the Mask of Night Vision.”
Tahu once again wanted that mask. “It must be convenient down here.” He walked onward into the village. Matoran everywhere had work, selling things and feeding Ussal crabs. He walked down into a passage. The Matoran smiled at the sight of him. He burned the earth and rocks in his path. He thought he saw a red glint, but it was blood.
“What did this?”
He rubbed his finger against it and smelled it.
“This isn't a mask, it's blood! But how?”
He came to a dead end and turned around. I'm getting sidetracked. Time to head up to Po-Koro. But he saw something move in the distance.
“What? What the?”
He ran after it. They went through tunnels. Maybe that Mask of X-ray vision would have been more useful. He burned through the tunnel walls, melting them. Nothing, not even lightstones were here. These tunnels weren't made by Matoran. He chased it until he realized he had reached a dead end. Running back out, he heard the sound of a smash on stone. Boulders fell from the ceiling and sealed him in. It was a cave in! Thinking quickly, he slid on the ground under the stones. He wasn't fast enough, but he planned for that. He activated his mask and stopped the rocks. They slid down into small heaps on each side of him.
He jumped over the pile of rocks and chased after the animal. It had two masks, one on each claw.
One infected, one was red. A mask of Strength in his color! That one was his! He chased the creature, but it broke a wall with it's stinger and ran on.
“Oh no. You're not getting away from me!”
He drew his sword and pointed at the creature, making a wall of fire in front of it. He shot a fire blast out the end of his sword, and sent the creature through the fire. It whirled around and charged at him with lightning speed. He activated his mask and stopped the sting. He stabbed the ground and set the ground under it on fire. It leaped over him and ran away, bashing the wall with its tail to seal the wall. That was easy for him to burn through, but it was already above ground.
“That's MY mask you have!”
He climbed out with his sword and ran after it. In the light, he recognized it as a Nui-Jaga, a giant scorpion.
He jumped onto its back, and stabbed at its head. The sword cracked some of the armor, but he was bashed off by the stinger.
He was sent flying off of the great beast with one good blow.
“No...these Rahi might be strong, but a Toa is stronger!”
It escaped with his mask. He tried to chase it, but he had a bigger problem. Nui-Rama, giant insects with claws and sharp teeth flew at him.
An infected swarm was headed for him! He saw a black figure leap down. Was this the one commanding them? No. This one was levitating up and down, hopping on Nui-Rama. Was this Lewa, the Toa of Air? Or was it Onua, with a mask already found? He was frustrated. He hadn't gotten a single one. The black Toa was clawed on the back by four Nui-Rama and fell with a scream. He slowed his fall with his mask to stop his death. Tahu was too busy fighting to notice. He slashed one down, then as it came back at him shot it down with fire. He pulled off the infected masks, but it still tried to fight him. Maybe these Rahi were particulary fierce. He made it slam into his Mask shield, then slid under it. He did a Chinese getup and flipped with his sword, slamming it into the ground and burning it. Another of them charged at him from the back, and he didn't see. The ground shifted under him and he was dragged out of the way just in time. The infected Nui-Rama hit the normal one, and they started fighting. So Makuta's control was lifted with the removal of the infected masks. He got to his feet.
“Who in Mata Nui did that?”
The black Toa answered, “You can thank me later. That little shift of the earth saved your life!”
“Are you Onua? The Toa of Earth?”
“Yes,” the black-armored and clawed hunchback answered. “I am.”
“A Rahi escaped with my mask!”
“We'll find it. We'll have to!” Onua stabbed the eyes of a Nui-Rama with his claws and made it spin in the air, trying to shake him off. Another one came and knocked him off, but the first one was still spinning. Tahu heated his sword and sliced through it like butter. The second one pulled back, then flew at Onua again. He made a hand of soil stretch from the ground and pull it down. He switched to his mask of Strength and ripped off parts of more Nui-Rama with his claws. Tahu blocked attacks then returned with blazing fires. He ducked under one, and Onua finished it as it flew. Tahu saw one coming from behind Onua and burned it.
“Come on!” Onua yelled. “We can go through—here!”
He opened a tunnel and Tahu followed. He turned back to melt the armor of several Nui-Rama partway and push them together. He slashed down one down and it fell into the tunnel.
“Onua, special delivery!” Onua clawed into it's deep muscle and tossed it up.
“The delivery is for you, Tahu!”
Tahu pulled the Nui-Rama that he fused together over the hole. More Nui-Rama killed them, but followed Tahu and Onua. Onua sealed a wall of earth there, and Tahu melted it, making something like lava. The Nui-Rama ran through and ended up fused together and roaring in pain. Tahu sliced their heads off unceremoniously.
“I hate those things.” Tahu said.
They ran through the tunnel and found a destroyed Nui-Jaga nest with a dead purple Nui-Jaga. “Did you know this was leading here?” Tahu asked.
“No, we just needed a quick escape.”
Tahu and Onua looked around. Tahu burned the slimy goo and eggs to cinders. Onua shifted the soil out of the way so he could have a look around.
Tahu said, “I wish Lewa was here. He could blow out the dust and grime I burned up.
“You've met him?”
“No. Turaga Vakama told me all the details of our quest.”
“Oh. Turaga Whenua did the same to me, and told me to listen to the earth. I think I can do that.”
“I'd expect that from you.”
“Well, a better skill than burning what you could have listened to.”
“Ha. Fire consumes and illuminates. Very useful.”
“But Earth is the root of the universe. It has so many ways it goes, and all must stand on it.”
“Did I say that the other elements were unimportant? We must work with unity, as our elements do.”
“Yes. Sometimes we will be forced to learn from our mistakes though. That will make us strong.”
“Better not to make them. Now let's go and get the masks!”
“But there could be—see? One for Lewa, up on the wall. A mask of shielding.” Onua made the earth holding it release it, and it fell to the ground with a clatter.
Onua said, “Ironic. Lewa has the mask of levitation, and it would have been useful here. At least his mask is safe.”
Tahu answered, “You have one too.”
“Yeah, but it's not on my Suva. I can't switch that fast.”
Before Onua finished, another Nui-Jaga returned to the dead body of the purple one. This one was blue—and it had Tahu's mask of strength!
“Tahu, let's take it together!”
“No! This is my fight! Put your mask on your Suva! I have a score to settle with this one!”
“This is bad...I'll let you learn from your mistake.”
Onua turned away and left. He returned quickly, because he had the luck to find Onepu, captain of the Ussalry, and give him the masks of shielding and levitation to put on the Suva. Tahu drew his sword and trapped the Nui-Jaga in a circle of fire, then used the distraction to shoot it into the wall with fire. He tried to melt the wall into lava, but it ran to the side and stung him. He flew to the other side. It struck at him again, but he stopped it with his mask. He stabbed the ground and melted it under the Nui-Jaga. He stuck his sword straight into the lava and heated it more. The beast knocked off his mask as he brought the sword up and flipped it over. He stabbed down at its exposed belly, but it rolled over and knocked him with its stinger into the wall, far from his mask. It went for his mask, but he made it hit a wall of fire. Enraged, it struck at the mask with a burning stinger. He jumped in front, but it slammed him into the wall with the stinger and tossed him aside. He whirled around and cut the tail off with his heated blade, and it screamed at him. It grabbed the mask of shielding with its claw. Tahu swung his sword, but being maskless took its toll on him. The swing was too weak, and it bit his arm, causing him to drop the sword.
He burned the inside of its mouth and it let go. He feinted a grab for his mask, but took the mask of strength instead, surprising it. He had his full energy back, and his strength. But it took him by surprise and punched him. It threw his mask of shielding aside and bit his head. He couldn't get it off. He fell, and by pure luck, his hand landed on the sword handle. OW! Maybe I should have accepted his help! No! I can't die crushed by an overgrown—He heated the blade and stabbed it with enhanced strength, burning its organs from the inside out. Even the mechanical parts and armor melted to slag. –insect! He put away his sword and threw the monster aside.
“Ok, Onua. I could have used your help. I almost lost my life and my first mask.” Tahu grinned, and so did Onua. “But I still won.” Onua's face darkened, and he almost facepalmed. Seeing Onua's expression, Tahu said, “I did learn that we must have unity, even when pride is threatened.” As an afterthought, he added. “I am so awesome.”
Onua laughed. “Glad to see you learned your lesson.”
Tahu was happy. “Yeah. I guess I did. Now who did you give those masks to? I saw your Suva when I passed through here, it wasn't that close.”
“Onepu, but he just went to deliver them. Give it to me, and another member of his Ussalry can deliver it on the back of an Ussal crab.”
Tahu gave the Mask of Strength to Onua and put on his mask of Shielding. Onua gave the mask to an ussalry member to put on the Suva. They walked up out of Onu-Koro and onto the desert.
Tahu said, “Let's search a bit. This way.” They went on to a cliff. “This cliff...it's so high. The perfect place for Makuta to hide a mask. Let's go up.”
Onua said, “I'll go underground and come out on the other side. He stabbed his claws into the ground and made a tunnel.
“Good! I'll search above.”
Tahu climbed the cliff, sticking his sword into the cliff with every step up. He even jammed it into a Mask of Strength for Pohatu. “IN A CLIFF?! WHAT KIND OF HIDING PLACES ARE THESE?!” He went up and met Onua at the top. Onua reached for his mask of speed, but a Nui-Kopen, a cousin of the Nui-Rama, took it and flew away.
More followed, each armed with a stinger and more powerful wings and claws. One flew by with Tahu's mask of speed.
“Onua, your mask should be at your Suva by now! Grab my hand and levitate us up there! Now!”
Onua switched his mask and they got on two Nui-Kopen. Onua changed back to his mask of strength. The Nui-Kopen tried to sting Tahu, but he blocked it with his shield and put it off balance. He took off its infected masks and threw them down. Onua did the same, and Tahu summoned his mask of Strength.
Tahu said, “I have a plan! Let's break these animals and chase the others!”
Onua ripped the stinger off of his Nui-Kopen with his claws and strength. Tahu did the same with his sword, and they used their enhanced strength to steer them. The wild Rahi tried to shake them off, but they pulled on the Nui-Kopen's heads and flew them to the ones with their masks. Tahu went up and airstruck all the other Nui-Kopen with fire, causing them to burn all over. He kept the supply of deadly flames in good stock until they died. He ran out of elemental energy. By now they were having a hard time keeping up. Tahu went forward to the last two enemies. Onua killed his steed and jumped off, slowing his fall with the mask of levitation. But that made him too slow to land on the enemies, and Tahu had to grab his hand and save him. Onua made the ground shoot up and one Nui-Kopen was hit with flying trees. They were getting close to Le-Koro, and endangering the Matoran! It flew at Onua, and met his claws. He ripped it apart headfirst with his mask power, and took his mask of speed. Nui-Rama were headed straight at Tahu and Onua though, and Onua put on his new mask. He slashed at their eyes with enough speed to blind them all. His strikes were too fast, and he, unlike Pohatu, had sharp weapons. Suddenly, a green Toa swung on a vine and hit the last Nui-Kopen in the head with an axe. It released the red mask of speed, and he made a breeze to bring it to Tahu. Onua caught it while Tahu was busy steering. He switched back to his mask of shielding as a Nui-Rama came to attack, but when he blocked, he didn't have enough strength to steer. Onua and Tahu fell.
“Tahu, you fool!”
“What's worse, death by falling, or death by Nui-Rama?”
A female voice said, “Try not dying at all, friends!” Gali, the blue Toa, jumped from a tree, and made a wave from the swamp water below to swim in. She used her mask to breathe the water, and caught Tahu and Onua in the wave. She released them and they all fell on a bridge—one on the treetops.
There were no Le-Matoran around though.
Lewa slowed his fall down and joined them. “Come on, let's drive these Nui-Rama back!”
He made a tornado that swept them all up, and Tahu added his own power to the mix.
Lewa said, “Haha! Yes! Time to let them down! Have a nice quick-fall, thieves!”
Tahu facepalmed. “The hive is right there, why didn't you blow them there and let the hive burn?”
“I called them thieves for a reason, fire-spitter. They kidnapped some Matoran! That's why the rest hide in bushes and trees! Even Turaga Matau must do it! I have told them I will stop the swarm, and they can hide! But they are used to quick-moving and sing-song fun. They hate being still and quiet, like Onua here. You are Onua, right? You're hunchbacked! Odd-strange.
Onua answered, “We of Onu-Koro prefer the silence. I heard in Ko-Koro it's even quieter.”
Lewa said, “Boring!” He levitated and blew himself to the hive.
Gali yelled, “Wait! We can do it together! Lewa!”
Tahu turned to leave. “Never mind him, we can get him later. Maybe he'll learn a lesson about teamwork, like I did.”
Onua put a hand on Tahu's shoulder. “What if he learns it a bit too hard? I'll go with him. Gali, absorb the water from this, and I'll use it to travel to the hive.” He made a pillar of earth, taken from the swamp, and Gali dried it out to make it more firm. Onua went after Lewa.
Tahu looked at him as he left. Without turning to Gali, he said, “I hope they get back alive.”
She said, “They will. It's their destiny. Well, Turaga Nokama said that destinies are usually completed.”
Gali gave him a mask of levitation in his color. “I found this for you. I collected my X-ray vision, Levitation, and Shielding masks.”
“Thank you. But I have nothing for you.”
Gali smiled at him. “In Ga-Koro there are two masks next to each other. But they're guarded by a group of Tarakava. We can take them together.”
“What are they?”
“Your X-ray vision and my Strength. We'll go when the other Toa come back. Oh, and I helped Lewa get a mask of Water Breathing.”
“I hate standing around. We need to get more masks!”
“Patience, Tahu! When they return, we go! We must find each other! Unity is our power!”
“If you insist...” Tahu growled and paced around. Gali sat down. Tahu thought, I just HAVE to find more masks. Sitting around won't help! But then he remembered how much working alone had nearly cost him. He sat down, but then got up. He couldn't help but pace.
Lewa stumbled in the darkness. There was little light, and little chance of not being spotted by a Nui-Rama. But he could move more silently than even the nearly mute Kopaka, when he wanted to. Onua followed him.
“Onua, how did you get here?”
“Never mind. I came to help. Tahu learned that going alone is a problem the hard way.”
“Ha! He's a slow-foot hot-head!”
“Your head could use some cooling down too. At least he was more mature.”
A patrolling Nui-Rama suddenly ambushed Onua from the back. He increased his strength and ripped out some of it. It spun in midair and met Lewa's axe. It fell and screeched.
“Hurry, Onua! I need to get my mask, it was knocked off! And more are sure to come!”
Onua had better night vision, and saw what Lewa didn't. Lewa grabbed a mask of levitation, and Onua yelled, “NO!” But it was too late. Nui-Rama closed in from the other side, and Lewa attacked Onua. He had put on an infected mask.
Onua threw Lewa with his strength into the group of Nui-Rama. Some Nui-Rama left to try to stop a mass breakout. Takua and a Le-Matoran named Kongu were riding a Kahu bird and leading a mass breakout.
Mounted Le-Matoran flew in and hit Nui-Rama while taking back other Le-Matoran. Onua was tackled through two walls by Lewa, who boosted the tackle with wind, but he picked up a mask of Shielding in his color and Lewa's mask of X-ray vision along the way to his fall. Throwing off Lewa, he clawed his stomach, and spun him around. He stuck his claws into Lewa's chest, but not enough for a lethal blow, and kicked him away from the back, ripping off some skin and armor. Lewa yelled at him in rage that was not his own. Lewa could see everything but couldn't control himself. Onua gave the masks to a Le-Matoran on a Kewa. “Take these to the right Suvas.”
Tamaru answered, “Yes, Toa Onua!” Seeing Lewa attack Onua again, he said, “And get that thing off his face!” Tamaru flew away and the evacuation was finished.
Onua pushed his claws onto Lewa's wrist and took the axe. He punched Lewa as he dived for his axe, but Lewa blew him out of the hive and sent him falling to his doom out of the hive. He levitated onto a tree. Lewa slowed his fall and joined him on the tree. Tahu and Gali jumped and levitated to join the other two.
Tahu had a plan. “Gali, grab the Nui-Rama with Lewa's real mask with your hook, and grab Lewa's infected mask!” Gali did both, but Lewa pulled her hand off and blew his axe from the hive to his hand. Onua caused an earthquake that caused the tree to fall, but Lewa had more agility. He knocked Onua to the ground with his axe and levitated gently down.
Gali was being dragged away. Tahu used his mask of strength to keep his hold on her. “Gali, put your claw between its hand and the mask, then let go of the Nui-Rama before my grip slips!” She did that and pulled the mask free. Tahu's feet slipped, and they fell, but Gali levitated and grabbed Tahu, then put her hook into a tree. Tahu stabbed the tree and they both climbed up.
Onua put on his mask of speed, and ran around Lewa. Lewa made a tornado spinning the other way, and Onua was swept up. But Onua's arm was fast enough, and he grabbed the infected mask. Lewa was taken with him though, instead of the mask coming off. Lewa hit him with his axe and made him nearly let go.
“If you think that will make me let go, Makuta--” He tore the mask off and used his mask of strength to rip it apart. “--think again. Lewa, are you okay?”
Lewa was embarrassed. “Maybe I should listen more. Thank you, brother.”
Gali gave Lewa his mask and he put it on. Then Tahu ordered all the masks they had to be placed on the Suvas, except for their first masks.
Tahu said, “I think that was hard enough.”
Onua yelled, “Not for them!” Nui-Rama flew after the delivery Matoran and the Toa.
Gali hit the Nui-Rama with a wave and trapped them in a ball of water. “Tahu, boil it!”
He did that, and the Nui-Rama died of suffocation and burns, after a minute.
Lewa looked at them, “Again I see why Unity is important. And that wings are useless in water.” He laughed, and so did the others.
Tahu was the first to speak again. “Let's go to Ga-Koro, then. There are some masks there, according to Gali.”
Onua looked over in the distance. “Wait! The other Toa approach from Ko-Koro!”
Tahu ran first. “Come on then!” He was followed by Lewa, and then by Gali.
Gali spoke to Onua. “So, Onua. You seem to be the wise one among us.”
Onua smiled. “Maybe. But I hate that topic. It makes me fear overconfidence in my own...wisdom.”
Gali smiled back. “That's very wise, Onua.” They both laughed. “Now let's meet the other Toa.”
The six Toa met together. Kopaka stood, tall like the others, and white. He had a sword and a shield. This sword was even sharper than Tahu's.
Pohatu was quite a sight. He was brown, and hunchbacked. But he also had an upside-down torso, giving him more strength with his legs and speed with running. He had short, stubby arms with spikes coming out the sides. He had no weapons, but he had metal attachments on his foot armor so that he could kick at full power without hurting himself.
Tahu approached them. “Kopaka. Pohatu. Come, and join us. We can fight together.”
Kopaka spat. “I hate not being able to work alone.”
Pohatu nudged Kopaka with his knee. “Come now, brother. I've saved your life too many times for you not to know we must work together. Greetings, friends.”
Kopaka said, “I suppose.” He didn't bother to say greetings.
Tahu broke in. “Now that we're all more or less accquainted, let's go and find our masks! We have a job to do! And you, Kopaka, seem too hardheaded and cold to learn the lesson I did about Unity.
Lewa said, “I learned it harder. Take his advice. I didn't quick-learn like he did.”
Onua said, “But I saved him. That's what friends are for!”
Gali walked up to Kopaka, unlike the others. “And that's what unity is for.”
Kopaka turned away. “Whatever.” This Tahu is just full of hot air. Lewa is immature, Gali forces unity, Onua always talks about experiences that I could learn from. I'm losing my patience, even Pohatu's friendliness can get on my nerves.
Tahu broke the silence of Kopaka's thoughts yet again. “If you don't mind, we'll go together now. To Ga-Koro!”
They marched on to Ga-Koro.
Comic 9 is up!