He awoke to find himself lying on a beach. The ocean waves broke against the sandy shore before quickly receding back into the ocean. What seemed like birds flew overhead, turning black as they passed under the sun. It was just past the noon hour and the sun still stood high in the sky. One thought came through his mind as the crystal surf lapped under his feet.
I hate water…
Slowly heaving himself to his feet, he looked around. Before him sat a warm sandy shore leading out into an endless ocean, interrupted only by a large cylindrical canister that lay settled into the shore. Its silvery surface reflected the sunlight like a polished stone, contrasting its dim and hallow innards. Perhaps a bio closer to him, what looked like a similarly hallow metallic dome had sunken partially into the sand. Inside both, small metal tubes snaked between panels and boxes that protruded out from the walls. Lights strewn inside flickered on and off before dying out only to flare back to life and continue their erratic dance. Whatever the oddity was, he began to perceive that its size and shape corresponded too perfectly to his own to be a coincidence. It appeared likely that the vessel was what had brought him here. However there was still the matter of understanding where “here” was.
He turned quickly to the right, a bit too quickly. He had only been conscious for a few moments and the sudden change in movement sent his mind reeling. Stumbling back a few steps, he tried to regain control of himself. The ground seemed to move beneath him nearly throwing him back to the ground. Dropping to his knees he gripped his head trying to break through the fog that began to seep into his mind.
“What’s happening to me?” he whispered angrily to himself, his temper beginning to blaze.
Digging his hands into the sand, he tightened his metal fists as though his burning rage would turn the sand to glass. The fog grew stronger and thicker every second, squirming and clawing at his mind trying to drag it back into the blackness. But he refused to allow himself to lose. Harnessing his raging temper he seized hold of reality with an iron grip and refused to release it. The sand beneath him seemed to grow hotter even as his grasp grew more unyielding to the overriding power of the haze.
Gradually, painfully, he began to reclaim control. The fog slowly lifted and gave up its fight, the sound of the waves resumed its gentle chant, and his temper began to return to its naturally simmering boil.
And that, he thought, takes care of that.
Now his mind was free to think and try to understand what was-
Suddenly, it struck him. Something he had failed to truly notice until now. He had thought that the fog had been toying with his thoughts, but now he completely realized the horrible truth.
He could remember nothing.
There was no knowledge of where he was, or where he had been. No knowledge of what had brought him here or why. No knowledge of who he even was. A spark of panic and fear began to grow in his mind as he strained to grasp at a memory, any memory. But there was nothing there to grasp, only pieces of images and emotions that disappeared as soon as he uncovered them. Anger, guilt, energy pulsating around him and light fading into darkness. His panic grew greater as it fed on his frantic thoughts, only to be smothered out by a sudden wave of all-consuming fury.
This isn’t possible! I refuse! he raged, wrenching his hands out of the sand and returning to his feet. I refuse, I have to remember something!
The abrupt sound of cracking glass pulled him back to the beach. Beneath his feet, and extending several inches passed, a sheet of course glass lay where fine sand had been moments before.
“Odd,” he muttered to himself, noticing that the sheet appeared to originate where his fists had been buried in the ground.
With his temper slowly becoming replaced with curiosity, he noticed something else beyond the glass. A crimson red mask lay face up in the sand. Trying not to give the fog a chance to return, he stepped through the glass and picked up the mask. He looked down at its empty eyes as it returned his gaze. There was something about it that was familiar, nearly recognizable. Turning it over, he felt something inside him telling him to put it on. Instinct and memory, both intertwined together, urged him to wear the mask.
Ignoring whatever bits of apprehension that lingered in his thoughts, he turned it over and put it on.
Power rippled through his body as the mask touched his face. Weakness faded; replaced with strength he had never known he had. Any remainders of the fog were swept away in a flood of energy.
Lifting up his hand, he could fell the energy rushing through him. Warmth seemed to ebb and flow through his fingertips. Focusing on the palm of his hand, he could feel the energy slowly move and cluster.
I can control it, he thought to himself as the energy’s intensity continued to rise.
Suddenly, without warning, a flame formed in his hand. Small curls of fire lased off his fingertips before drawing together to form a flaming plume that hung within the palm of his hand.
Out of surprise, he quickly drew back his hand and took a step back. The instant he moved, the flame disappeared. For a moment, he simply looked at his hand trying to understand what had happened. Fire had just materialized out of thin air. And what was more, he appeared to be unharmed by the event. Not a burn or sign of damage anywhere on his hand. When he thought about it, it seemed as though he had not even felt the heat of the flame. He looked back down at the sheet of glass beside him as a thought began to form in his mind.
Could it be possible? he thought.
Concentrating again, he began to focus his energy together.
Collecting even faster than before, another ball of fire leaped from his fingertips and formed in his hand. He could feel the warmth and power inside him flow towards the fire and then seem to dissipate, keeping the flame alive.
He smiled proudly to himself as the fire continued to burn. He was making progress.
As he continued to study the flame, its light glinted off another object lying in the sand, this time covered by the thin layer of glass. Carefully digging through the glass, he silently thanked no one in particular for the fact his body was made of metal. After several moments, he acquired his new-found prize. A long, slender, crimson sword fashioned into the shape of a towering flame. Something about it, like the mask, held a sense of familiarity, despite the fact that he had never seen the weapon before. Thrusting the blade into the air, his reflexes sent energy surging into the blade and sending a plume of fire into the air and scattering the birds that flew overhead.
He followed their flight past the stony bluffs behind him as they slowly disappeared beyond his sight. Until now, he had failed to notice much of the scenery behind him. Rocky black cliffs surrounded the beach on every side and blocked any sight of what might exist beyond, excluding the immense volcano that rose above it. Sea birds could be heard from the forest trees beyond the bluffs and their calls reflected across the shore. Oddly enough, lodged into the cliff-side also sat a large stone carving of what appeared to be a face.
Unimpressed, he simply grumbled in mild irritation and began to walk down the beach. Smoke slowly rose from beyond a small gorge that led out from the beach several bio ahead of him. While he was unsure of where he was going, he knew that this was not where he belonged. Taking one more glance at the canister behind him, a spark of doubt awoke in his mind. Could he hope for a future when he was not even aware of his past? For a moment it seemed as though a voice echoed the thoughts. A dark and ancient voice.
Yet, even as fast as the thoughts had materialized, they vanished. With his fiery will returning, he adjusted the sword on his back and continued on his journey.
True, he had no memory of the past, but that would not stop him. Because there was one thing that he did remember, a phrase that put an end to any of his doubts.
He knew who he was.
Tahu, Toa of Fire.