Hewkii drew his hand carefully over the chunk of granite, shaping it with his elemental power. A perfect sphere was beginning to emerge from the rough stone. He hoped it was impressive enough. The former Po-matoran sighed, resting from his labor for a minute. "We're sure about this?" he asked his companion. "Just a sphere? Toa Lhikan got statues kio high."
Nuparu looked up from the circuitry he was repairing and nodded. "You heard what Jaller said. Besides, those statues of Toa Lhikan didn't last very long."
"I guess." The kohlii player in Hewkii wanted to see merit given a greater reward than a simple headstone. It didn't feel right, after everything the Toa Mahri of Ice had given, that his sacrifice should just drop into obscurity. But on a Toa team, apparently the majority ruled. So he went back to his tasking of smoothing stone while Nuparu welded in silence.
"Can I interrupt for a minute?" An Onu-matoran stood in the doorway of the makeshift workshop, his arms full of tools and gizmos. "Here's the stuff you wanted, Nuparu. Took us a while to scavenge it, what with everything going on out there."
"Thanks, Unletu," Nuparu smiled at his former co-worker. "Just put it down anywhere."
"Okay." Unletu dropped the unorganized heap in a corner. The neat freak in Hewkii winced at the sight before returning his focus to the sculpture. "Hey, that's gonna look good, Hewkii!" The Onu-matoran ran his hand over a section of the granite. "Finish off all the pores and that'll last a thousand years."
"That's the idea," the Toa of Stone answered briefly.
* * *
"You're really sure that's it?" Hewkii asked one more time, as the five Toa Mahri surveyed the finished creation. "He deserves a lot more than this, you know."
Hahli shook her head. "This isn't about what he deserves. This is about remembering."
"Yeah, well I think he'd like us to remember a little more than just a grave," Hewkii grumbled.
Nuparu carefully fitted the last wire into the socket and slid out from underneath the sculpture. "Trust me, this is a lot more than just a grave. Some of my best work is in there. Hand me the heatstone, someone?"
Kongu obliged, then turned to Hewkii. "Back in treebright Le-koro, we had a specialcertain way of deepburying the ones who darkdied. We made treewood boxes and hungtied them to a hugebig tree so they lookseemed like fruit." His face had a bittersweet expression. "It pathshowed how the fallendeath helpgived to others new leafdawn. They were not just oldbone and gone; their hero-acts keptmade them alive and happycheer forever."
Hewkii let the confusing explanation hang in the air for a few seconds before asking, "Your point is...?"
"My point-thought," Kongu answered slowly, uncharacteristically solemn, "is that to realtruly honorgive a cold-dead hero, you have to speakshow what they gaveleft. Matoro can live spiritblessed forever, if we tellshow how he madegave us a newbetter life."
Nuparu shook his head and attached the heatstone to the generator he'd contrived. "That's the most confusing obituary I've ever heard."
"Treespeak is very specialimportant to me, now that so fewsmall still singspeak," Kongu answered.
Jaller was tempted to roll his eyes, but in a way, he understood the Toa of Air's logic. Yes, maybe everything they had known on Mata-Nui was a lie, but that world had shaped who they were. It had made them strong and brave enough to face the impossible dangers of the past few weeks, and given them the tools to survive in this new world. To completely forget that culture, that history, felt like betraying a friend. Like forgetting Matoro, as so many had already seemed to do. He brushed off his metaphysical musings as Nuparu flicked a switch on the small control panel. "Is it ready?"
The inventive Toa nodded. "Everything's a go."
Hewkii looked their joint creation over with a critical eye. The sphere, suspended a third of a bio off the ground by four elegant protodermis legs, was about two bio in diameter, perfectly smooth and glistened white in the sun. The thick stone shell protected an advanced kind of recording device, similar to the Chronicler's book. The sphere was laced throughout with veins of protodermis to conduct electricity. A simple touch on the surface could activate the device, but a thousand years of howling winds would hardly chip anything away. He grudgingly nodded his approval of the structure. "Let's try it."
Nuparu put his hand on the sphere, stroking it like he would a pet Ussal crab. "Let me go first, in case there's a bug." For several minutes, he kept his hand on the stone, his eyes closed in concentration. "There. Someone else try it."
Jaller pressed his palm to the granite, followed by Hahli, Kongu and Hewkii. Each of them poured all their memories of the Toa Mahri of Ice into the stone, the recorder soaking up every second of their trials together. It was nearly half an hour before they were all finished, each exhausted by the experience. Nuparu bent to reach the control panel again and flicked a second switch. "Perfect! Now, anyone who touches this is going to see everything he did."
The Toa of Fire nodded his approval. "I think he would have liked it."
Kongu looked over at Hahli, who was staring into the sky absently. "You want to speaksay a few solemnwords?"
The former Chronicler nodded, bringing her eyes back down to earth. "Sure." She paused for a second, collecting her thoughts. At last, she shook her head. "No. No, I can't. He didn't need speeches or songs. He never wanted praise or recognition; he wanted his friends to be safe. He lived with lies and deception every day as Turaga Nuju's aid, but he just wanted the truth to come out. And when it did, and we left to find the Toa Nuva, he probably knew more about what we were getting ourselves into than any of us. But he came anyway, even if he did have nightmares every night and woke the rest of us." Kongu chuckled ruefully at the memory. Hahli seemed not to hear and just kept on talking. "Matoro just wanted to have a normal life, one where he could get up in the morning and not hear the warning horns. He wasn't a genius, or a weapons expert or a fighter. He was just a matoran in a world made by powerful beings who didn't care if we lived or died, people who saw us as insects. And he proved them wrong, because he was greater than they'll ever be. He gave everything to save a future he'd never see." She paused for breath and was startled to feel Jaller's hand slip around her own, squeezing it tight.
"Nice speech," he smiled.
She gave a shaky laugh. "I give my best ones without realizing I'm doing it."
Hewkii exhaled softly. Maybe they're right. Maybe he really doesn't need a monument or a museum. It's enough that we remember.
Edited by Steelsheen, Jan 26 2013 - 12:30 PM.