Towers of white crystal once dominated the landscape of Ko-Metru, back in the early days of the Toa Metru and for tens of thousands of millennia before then. Within the last day, a miracle had graced the City of Legends. Yes, there was the miracle of the life of the Great Spirit being restored, but there had been another smaller miracle that had been overshadowed by the great sacrifice of his translator. The Knowledge Towers, as with the rest of the city, had been restored to its former glory.
It was into one of the Towers of Thought that Jaa led Turaga Nuju, former elder of Ko-Koro, into. Jaa had long ago been a scholar in towers such as this. Now, he was relearning these skills that were lost to him by a hand of darkness. Nuju remembered back to his first glorious adventure through Metru Nui, seeking out the lost Matoran Ehrye. Jaa had helped him then, whether he remembered it or not, just as he did now. Ascending the Tower of Thought took little time as they were eerily empty, even for such a presitigious tower as this one.
Nuju knew why. Mata Nui, have mercy on his soul.
Arriving at the top, he half-expected to see him waiting there, looking up into the stars. That was ridiculous of course. He was dead now. Nuju would never see him again. Jaa led Nuju to look out over the City of Legends. The streets were filled with celebrations, but Nuju knew that they were actually empty.
Jaa pointed up into the sky. He had explained to Nuju before entering that there was a story dancing in the stars. It was as if the dead had written a journal, waiting to be seen by those down below. Looking at the region to which Jaa motioned, Nuju saw the Red Star glowing brightly as ever. The stars that surrounded it had a newfound glow, no longer dying. And in those stars, Nuju read the story of Matoro, glowing brighter than them all.
The universe is a riddle. Nuju smiled. Sometimes the riddle can be solved just by looking around you.
Matoro, Toa Inika of Ice, felt his head be smashed against the rock walls of a winding stone Cord. The hand belonged to Vezon, the insane Piraka that wasn’t a Piraka, former guardian of the Kanohi Ignika, the Mask of Life. With his head ringing, Matoro struggled to fire a blast of ice and lightning from his energized ice sword. The blast missed Vezon completely and struck the opposite wall.
Jaller and Kongu unleashed blasts of fire and air respectively which struck Vezon square in the chest. Matoro collapsed to the ground, clutching his head. Shaking it gently, he stood up and joined the other Toa Inika around Vezon. Jaller, Toa of Fire, reached down and ripped the Spear of Fusion from Vezon’s hands.
The former guardian of the Mask of Life had followed the Toa Inika down the Cord from Voya Nui, the entrance that Axonn had opened up for them. After losing the Kanohi Ignika to the seas that surronded Voya Nui and Hahli being rescued by a strange Matoran who talked of a city beneath the sea, it became clear as to where the Toa were meant to go next.
Matoro was wondering what this meant. Destiny had an odd way of presenting itself. If the mask was meant to be used beneath the surface, why did it wait to travel there until after the Piraka and Toa Inika had rushed down beneath the surface of Voya Nui to retrieve it. Matoro smiled, remembering Nuju’s views on the universe. “It hints at the path you are meant to walk,” the Turaga of Ko-Koro would say, “but never makes its message clear.”
“Give that back!” Vezon barked at Jaller as his hands glowed with red hot energy. Jaller ignored the plea and the Spear of Fusion burst into flames. From behind Vezon, the Toa Inika could hear a swarm of footsteps.
The Zyglak were returning.
The Zyglak had proven to be a formiddable threat on the journey down the Cord so far, being immune to attacks made with the Toa’s elemental powers. They had escaped narrowly and continued onwards. The Toa Inika had also learned, through carvings, that the Zyglak were somehow connected to the Krana. Nuparu had been the one to spot the carving itself – out of a pool of liquid emerged a hideous creature resembling the Zyglak and a Krana. More carvings followed with what looked like Matoran and Bohrok, but the details had been worn away with time, making them completely unreadable.
Vezon leapt to his feet and turned to the Zyglak, smiling as any Piraka would. “Take the Toa!” Vezon yelled giddily. “Kill the Toa, and I will lead you all to glory!”
The Toa Inika raised their weapons, what little they would do. If Vezon was leading the Zyglak, then they needed every weapon they could find, even if it meant striking them with their weapons rather than channeling their elemental powers through them. To the Toa’s surprise, however, the Zyglak grabbed Vezon and hoisted him over their head.
“No!” Vezon shouted. “Not me! I’m clearly not a Toa! No weapon, no special powers, no mask – well, anymore at least.”
Jaller unleashed a wall of fire between the Toa Inika and the Zyglak and Piraka. It might not affect the Zyglak much, but anything helped. Matoro followed suit, creating a wall of ice, behind the wall of fire.
Turning to his team, Jaller whispered one word: “Run.”
“How do we continue on from here?”
Kongu looked to the other Toa for answers. Toa Jaller, who had served as their light for the journey so far, was exhausted, after several hours of fending off the Zyglak. At the long last, the Zyglak had retreated, but now the Toa might be without a light.
Hahli, Toa of Water, smiled. “Remember back when we first arrived on Voya Nui, hiding in the cave.” Hahli reached to her face and removed her Kanohi Elda, the Mask of Detection. A bright light shown in the Cord, blinding them.
Hewkii grabbed her mask and shoved back onto her face. “We won’t be able to see like that.”
Matoro let his arms down from his eyes. They burned and his headache roared. Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw something slither by but disregarded it. He couldn’t think, nor see straight in this state.
“I’ll lead from the front,” Hahli replied.
The Toa exchanged glances. If Hahli led in the front, it would spare their eyes from pain. But if something were to attack her, she would be vulnerable, assuming whatever was attacking them couldn’t see either.
“I think I should scout ahead, and let you guys know what the dangers are up ahead,” Matoro offered, referring to the Kanohi Iden, the Mask of Spirit.
“No.” Jaller’s reply was short and to the point. “We can’t risk being short one of our own, should another Zyglak patrol attack.”
“I’ll be fast. No more than a minute,” Matoro replied. With that, the Toa of Ice’s body went limp. At the same time, eerily enough, the entire room went dark as if Jaller’s fire had been doused with water. Suddenly, the room went light again as Hahli’s face glowed with the Elda removed. By that time, Matoro was sitting upright once more.
“The way ahead is clear,” he said as he stood up. “Let’s go.”
Matoro scouted ahead, seeing nothing to be immediately concerned about. There were a few small Rahi skittering across the stairs, but nothing that would be harmful to the other Toa Inika. Turning, Matoro raced back up the Cord to the other Toa Inika.
If there were blood in his veins as a spirit, it would have been frozen, even for a Toa of Ice. Hahli was leading the Toa Inika down the Cord with the Elda in her hand and the other five Toa Inika falling in behind her. Including the Toa of Ice, Matoro.
This couldn’t be real, but it was clear that one of his worst fears was. Perhaps this was a trick of the Kanohi Ignika? An alternate universe? Deep down, however, Matoro felt the connection to his body and knew that it had been invaded. But by who?
Matoro quickly looked around. He couldn’t contact Hahli. She didn’t have her Kanohi Elda on. And there was no one else that could see him.
Matoro turned to Hewkii, who had whispered in Jaller’s ear. “How so?” the Toa of Fire asked.
“The Toa of Ice.”
“I don’t think that’s Matoro.”
Matoro smiled. There was hope yet.
Looking over at the physical Matoro, Jaller saw that the Toa of Ice seemed to have an aura of darkness around him. Shifting towards, his fellow Toa, Jaller decided that he would what exactly he had seen during his journey down the Cord.
However, before he could do so, a spear flew from behind him between their heads. More Zyglak had arrived from behind. There were more Zyglak than they had seen before. Kongu unleashed a tornado with lightning entwined. It struck the Zyglak, but did not hurt them much, the bolts of lightning knocking them backwards slightly.
“Lightning,” Nuparu whispered. He turned to Jaller. “The Zyglak are immune to elemental powers, correct?”
To answer Nuparu’s question, Jaller unleashed a stream of fire, which struck some nearby Zyglak but did not burn them.
“The lightning we received from the Red Star is clearly not elemental,” Nuparu explained. “And if it’s not elemental, then it has an effect on the Zyglak.”
“Lightning is lightning, right?” Kongu asked.
Hewkii hurled rock with lightning. The rock struck the Zyglak. The lightning hurt it. “It doesn’t have to make sense right now, it just has to work.”
Hahli unleashed a stream of water with the electricity and it washed over the Zyglak. Hewkii, Jaller, Kongu, and Nuparu sent elemental blasts near Hahli’s water and lightning blast, adding some of their lightning to hers. The Zyglak howled in pain as they slowly backed away. Matoro joined in, not even sending blasts of ice with lightning, but lightning alone. The electricity traveled from one Zyglak to another, creating a chain. When it was over, Zyglak bodies littered the ground. Not dead, but out for the count. Matoro stared at his body, as the other Toa Inika turned to face him.
“How’d you do that?” Kongu laughed, thoroughly impressed with Matoro’s feat. “I hate getting my air in my electricity. Any chance you can help me separate it too?”
“No, he can’t,” Hewkii replied, staring harshly at the Toa of Ice that stood before him. “He’s not Matoro.”
The entire cavern went silent. When Matoro finally spoke, the voice of their nightmares spoke. “Very well.” It was the voice of Makuta.
“Leave!” Jaller ordered. “Leave now, Makuta!”
“And why should I? You have need of Matoro. He is very crucial to your quest for the Mask of Life.”
“We will destroy Matoro if it means that we can destroy you as well,” Jaller replied. “You were dead once. You can be dead again.”
Makuta laughed. Matoro shuddered. The Toa Inika stood steadfast, however, raising their weapons towards Makuta. Slowly, Makuta’s laugh died away. “You are serious, I see. So be it.”
Makuta/Matoro waved his hand at the Toa Inika. They simply collapsed, as they fell into a deep slumber. Makuta/Matoro turned to face the spirit of Matoro.
“It is time I returned your body, now isn’t it?” Makuta smiled as Matoro’s body collapsed. The spirit of the Toa of Ice wasted no time returning to it.
Standing, Matoro faced the green sludge that had filled the zamor spheres of the Piraka on Voya Nui. He could still hear the voice of Makuta in his mind, however. “You must be more careful if you are to survive the Pit, Matoro.”
“You don’t give up easily, Makuta. I have feared you for as long as I can remember, and you were never seen as simply surrendering at gun point.”
The green sludge seemed to smile. “There was more at stake than simply your body and my life. I also came to warn you.”
“Warn me?” Matoro chuckled. “I’ll heed no warning of yours.”
“You had better. Have you ever heard of the Iden Stone?” Makuta asked.
Matoro did not reply.
“Of course you haven’t. It is a stone with the ability to increase your power by tenfold. One of my brothers informed me that a Zyglak got a hold of it. It mutates you with the power, as long as it is in proximity with your spirit. Those who live in the Pit were once like that, full of power. But there power has been ripped from them. Now they are hungry for the power they lost. Very hungry.”
The green sludge seemed to just disappear – Matoro didn’t get a good look as to where it went, but he expected to see Makuta in the near future. Makuta had posed another riddle to him, dancing around the answer. Nuju would have known what to do. Sometimes, you have to figure the answer out for yourself.
A hand fell upon his shoulder. Turning, Nuju saw Turaga Vakama. Jaa had left a while ago, as Nuju read into this journal in the stars. Nuju whistled and tweeted, excited, explaining to Vakama what he had seen. Vakama smiled sadly as he heard Nuju’s tale. Matoro had been a large part of the Turaga of Ice’s life and now that he was gone, there was a void. There would be much healing to come, but it seemed that Nuju accepted Matoro’s death and was now ready to celebrate his life with the rest of them.
This entry probably stretched every single rule and might not be allowed in the end. But it was enjoyable to write. I wish I could manage my time better so I could have perfected it, but I’ll enter anyway.
Let’s Keep Bionicle Alive,