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Grey Snow

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About Grey Snow

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    Fluidic Master Nuva
  • Birthday 01/15/1993

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  1. I've never been a fan of Vastus's build, but that scythe? Oh man, that scythe. And that snake helmet? Such a thing of beauty.
  2. Dude, always awesome to see another Rider fan!

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Grey Snow

      Grey Snow

      I love Newton aside from the puffiness. I don't think any of the Ghost designs have let me down yet aside from a few details here and there. But the blue is really nice, just weird to do Newton as blue, since apples are red.

    3. dotcom


      And Newton's catchphrase even talks about how red they are. It's weird I guess. Guess the swordsman had to be red though...

    4. Grey Snow

      Grey Snow

      Red = Japan, samurai = Japan, I guess that makes some level of sense...

  3. Kopaka does talk more, but I made him the one with cold logic. I figured in this case they can see that there is some dire need to get things done, and he's just being the logical one to get this done. The faster it gets done, the sooner the team can split up and he can be alone.
  4. Epilogue The ebony armored warrior stumbled as he came into a dim chamber. The remains of his shattered chain dragged against the ground at his back, a reminder of the defeat he had suffered. How could he, with all of his spiders, lose to the Toa? “So young, so inexperienced…,” the Lord hissed, “I have years on them. I have skill beyond theirs. I have power greater than they could hope to obtain! How did they manage this? How is that even possible?” He swung his fist into the wall, bringing down part of the rocks. He looked at the spot his fist had broken, and then stumbled on farther. The crimson eyes of a spider followed him through the dark. One crawled on the sloped walls as well, following at his side. “Yes my minions? You have come to taunt me? To mock my defeat?” he hissed. He shouted and slammed his chain down, causing the one on the ground to retreat a few steps, “I still have my power over you! Do not think that my defeat means your freedom! No, it only means that we will work harder…” The spider stepped forward and started to chitter at him. The Lord stood there in silence and listened, nodding his head. “Yes…yes. If the interference of the Toa prevents me from gaining the locations of the Masks, then I must strike a blow at the Toa. I must force the information in return for their safety…” He stood in silence. The spiders watched and looked at each other, then looked back at their Lord. Water dropped from the ceiling and fell into a puddle. The Lord walked through the puddle on his way towards the entrance of the cave. “Their golden armor. That is the answer.” As he trekked through the dense jungle, the Lord finally stopped at a ring of trees. He and the two spiders stood in the clearing and he held his hand out, “This is where you saw the Matoran? Dig,” he hissed. The two spiders began to get to work, using their bladed legs to slash at the ground. It didn’t take long as the dirt flew before something glowing was seen shining through the dirt and grass. The Lord stepped towards it, causing the spiders to move aside. “Yes…this,” he hissed as he lifted the golden object. The small obelisk shone with an unnatural golden light that resonated from within. It was no larger than his hand, yet it contained great amounts of power. It contained the power to change everything. The spiders lifted their heads and started off. The Lord turned and followed them. There was no sense in letting Matoran find them. Soon he heard them come through the brush, only to discover the hole. “Something was digging here!” the Lord heard one Matoran shout. “This isn’t good…” “I’m not telling the Turaga!” the first one shouted again. “Fine, I will!” From that point on silence reigned until the three returned to the cave. Spiders watched him from the dense brush, making no moves to join him. Their leader had been defeated. He was weak. They no longer needed to fear him. “I’ll teach all of you,” the Lord hissed as he entered the darkness of his cave. The shadows were his friend, the darkness his only true ally anymore. He held the obelisk out, letting the golden light shine into the darkness of the cave. His shadow was cast out onto the sloped walls. And then the stone was crushed by his hand. Chunks fell to the ground, landing at his feet. No shine came from the chunks of stone, no light of any sort. They were just rocks now; golden rocks. “Darkness, my oldest and truest ally,” the Lord hissed as he held his hand out, swirling with golden energy, “I have lost my spiders. My army will no longer obey my commands. I am without sword and shield, so become my new weapon. Become something that can rival and surpass the powers of the Masks!” He opened his hand, causing a flash. The golden energy was gone, but something floated before him now. Shadows moved over it and became a part of it. The object was both physical and nothing at the same time. The Lord took it gently into hand and looked at it. The sloped darkness, the elegant, yet cruel beauty. The power. The power was the most important part. He reached up to his face and slid his Kanohi off. He let it fall. With both hands he lifted the new mask up, placing it on his face. He stood in the darkness. It seemed as if darkness slid from his body, as if it were physical. He let out a breath and stood there for a moment, before turning his eyes, which slowly turned from green to crimson. He gazed upon the spiders which still followed him. “If I cannot have the Masks at this moment, then this mask shall do. A mask made of my element. A mask made of my only friend, my only ally, my greatest weapon. The darkness. A Mask of Shadows. What better mask could there be until I claim that great power?” He turned away and threw his arms out, darkness enveloping him and his two spiders. Outside the cave, the other spiders were gathering and looking into the darkness. Slowly they entered, until none remained outside. “They will know and fear my name. Makuta!” Review
  5. Chapter 9 “…and so he told me, ‘Pohatu, you can’t touch a Muaka there!’, and so I replied with, ‘But how else am I supposed to…’,” Pohatu was interrupted by the shouts of his allies as they fought off a horde of Skull Spiders. “Can you stop telling that story, and just take care of the problem?” Kopaka shouted, “You’re the only one who can!” “Pohatu, please!” Gali shouted, “It would make us feel better if you just dealt with it!” There was a loud crash. The four other Toa stopped fighting and turned to look at Pohatu. A giant boulder was smashed into the ground at his side, and a number of Skull Spiders had been scattered from the force of the impact. “See? The problem resolved itself,” Pohatu said. “Well…we can’t argue with that,” Lewa said, “The problem did resolve itself.” Onua, Gali and Kopaka looked at Lewa and Pohatu with a somewhat dumbfounded look on each of their faces, and then resumed their battles, forcing the Skull Spiders back with their elemental powers. They had to focus on the task at hand, not whatever Pohatu was up to. “We have to clear these guys up and find Tahu!” Gali called, “We need a faster way of doing this!” “Gali, flash flood them!” Kopaka called, “Onua! Work with Lewa and create some reinforced, higher ground! Lewa, draw all the plants you can towards the higher ground! Pohatu, you and I will keep them away! Now!” He slashed a spider back and made his way towards Pohatu while the other three moved together. Onua raised a mound of earth, while Lewa reinforced it with roots and wood. Gali, Onua and Lewa moved atop it, supporting the other two from above, while the Toa of Stone and Toa of Ice kept the Rahi away. “Fall back,” Kopaka told Pohatu. He unleashed a quick wave of cold to keep the spiders at bay while the two climbed. He looked to Gali, “Flash flood, now! I don’t care how powerful, just drench them!” Gali threw her trident up and focused as the other Toa rained down energy on the spiders. She shouted and slashed her weapon down, causing the moisture in the air, along with moisture from plants all around them, and the water she summoned and created herself. The plants died rapidly from the swift dehydration, but it was worth it. Water spread out and washed over the spiders all around them. Kopaka thrust his spear up, unleashing his ice powers. The cold energy flashed outwards, flash-freezing the spiders by setting to work on the water that covered them. “Not how I’d have solved it, but it works,” Pohatu said. “Quiet,” Kopaka said, lowering his spear. He felt himself weaken from the amount of power he had just unleashed, and he figured Gali was in the same condition. He looked at the other Toa, “We have to find Tahu and Turaga Vakama, now!” “You have the mask that lets us,” Lewa said. “Point,” Kopaka answered, looking around in every direction, “Of course, it won’t be easy to pinpoint them exactly.” Pohatu was gone, and in a few moments he returned, spinning Kopaka, “That way!” he shouted. Kopaka nodded, “I see something. If you’re confirming, then that must be them.” “Let’s go,” Pohatu said. “You go ahead,” Onua said as the group climbed down from their higher ground, “You’re the fast…” Pohatu was gone before Onua could finish. “Let’s go,” Gali said, running off with the others. Tahu eyed the Skull Spiders that stood around him, bladed legs lifted, as if ready to come down on him should he move. He knew he could use his Hau to shield himself, but he wondered if the Lord knew about that. He wanted to charge right in, but this enemy had taken him down effortlessly. He needed to wait until he could get a proper surprise attack in. “Do you think I fear war with the villages?” the Lord questioned Vakama, shaking his dark head, “No. My army of Skull Spiders can decimate your villages. We already nearly took Ta-Koro, if it weren’t for your Toa showing up.” “The Toa will guard our villages,” Vakama told him, “We both know that the Toa can defeat your Rahi.” “Yes, but how many? If I throw wave after wave at the Toa, how long until they fall? I know my spiders have wounded the Toa of Jungle already, for instance. With enough Skull Spiders, nothing can stop me.” “And how many of them are there?” Vakama questioned, “Who has the larger numbers? The Matoran, or you?” The Lord laughed a little, “Keep in mind that when the Toa were fighting my spiders, I wasn’t involved. Even if you have the numbers – which neither of us can confirm – and the Toa are present, I will lead the charge myself and drag the Turaga through their village, chain around their neck. Nothing can stop me.” He looked behind him at Tahu, whose back was against a tree, “He already proved that.” Tahu glared at him, pressing his left palm to the tree ever so slowly. He was ready to superheat it in a moment. The Lord looked back at Vakama, “Well now. Do you want to surrender, and tell your brethren to do the same? Or do you want me to wipe the lot of you out?” “What is it you even want?” Vakama demanded, “Just our surrender? Or something more?” “Something far greater,” the Lord hissed, “I want those Kanohi.” A look of shock came to Vakama’s face, “The…the Kanohi?” Tahu looked over at them. What were they talking about? What Kanohi? Vakama’s look became defiant towards the Lord, and then he saw something. The Lord saw the look in Vakama’s eye and turned around, taking Pohatu to the side as the Toa of Stone sped with all the speed his Kakama granted him. The Lord was thrown back, smashing through a few trees. Pohatu span around, hurling his boomerangs at some of the nearby spiders. Tahu caused the tree he sat against to erupt into flames. He triggered his Hau as the spiders brought their legs down on him. He shouted, kicking one spider back, and then he drew the flames from the tree into the other spiders around him, clearing his path. “Pohatu!” Tahu called, drawing more flames to himself. He threw them towards Vakama, shielding him in a bubble of fire, “Where are the others?” “On their way!” Pohatu shouted, catching his boomerangs as they returned to him, “Where are your weapons?” Tahu rolled, picking them up. He swung his sword out to block a spider’s leg, then slammed his foot into its midsection, tossing it back, “Right here!” Pohatu turned to see the chain from the Lord coming at him. It wrapped itself around the Toa’s leg, and then the Lord yanked, causing Pohatu to fall. Pohatu shouted, gathering energy into his hands. He threw his hands forward, but before the energy could leave his fingertips, black and purple energy came through the chain and shocked Pohatu, causing him to cry out. He went limp in a few moments. “One, two, six,” the Lord hissed, “I don’t care how many Toa come. Nothing you do will be enough.” Tahu threw his shield forward, but the Lord caught it in his free hand and threw it right back at Tahu, slamming it into his chest. Tahu grunted and collapsed, clutching his chest where he was struck. “Who are you?” Pohatu hissed through the pain. The Lord looked down at him, “Soon it won’t matter who I am, Toa,” he hissed “Oh…wait…you’re…what was it? Lord of Skull Spiders! That was it,” he laughed in pain, “That’s you, right?” “Silence!” the Lord shouted, pumping energy through the chain again, causing Pohatu to cry out in pain. “Ok, ok, silence,” Pohatu muttered. He didn’t receive another shock of energy, but didn’t question it. The Lord looked between Pohatu and Tahu, “Where are the rest of you?” he hissed, “I’ll crush all of you here, then lay waste to your villages with the greatest of ease.” The trees around them began to quiver slightly, and then a series of branches shot out, pulling the Lord’s arms aside. He let out a cry and began to try to force his arms free, while Pohatu undid himself from the chain. He rolled and moved to help Tahu get back to his feet while Lewa walked closer, arm outstretched. “Ah! The Lord of Skull Spiders!” he laughed gleefully. Onua threw his arm forward, causing a wall of earth to rise on their sides, cutting them off from the advancing Skull Spiders. Gali and Kopaka moved forward, hurling bolts of water and ice towards the Lord, pushing him back in small increments. The Lord stepped back, taking a few blows to his chest. He showed no pain upon his face as he took the blows. The momentum helped force him out of the vines and allowed him to crack his chain whip out, knocking the remaining blasts away. “Lewa, hold him!” Kopaka ordered, “Onua, try to take out his footing!” Lewa and Onua thrust their arms out. More vines and branches came snaking out from above, while Onua’s hammer sent a shockwave out for the Lord’s legs. The Lord cracked his chain down to stop the shockwave while grabbing the vines and branches before they ensnared him, and he tore them from the trees. “Gali, same strategy!” Kopaka shouted, firing a barrage of ice spikes forward to distract the Lord. Gali focused on the vines that were lying on the ground and tore water from them, covering the Lord’s feet and ankles. Kopaka acted quickly and froze the water. “Cute trick,” the Lord hissed, pulling his legs up without much effort, shattering the ice. The black armored figure approached slowly, letting his chain drag across the ground, “I grow tired of this.” The earthen wall at his side exploded as Pohatu fired a boulder through it. The rock smashed into the Lord and sent him through the other earthen wall. Pohatu and Tahu climbed through the hole, “We’ve dealt with the spiders on this side,” Pohatu reported, lifting his boomerangs, “All enemies on one side now. You’re welcome.” Tahu superheated his golden sword and thrust it through the hole, sending out a blazing inferno which drove back any spiders that attempted to climb through. “We need to think,” Onua said, “Kopaka and Gali have used a lot of their power already.” “So have I,” Tahu muttered as he cut the flame. Pohatu slashed at any Skull Spiders that attempted to climb through with his boomerangs, keeping them at bay, “I’m still good!” “As am I,” Lewa said, “I mean, I have a little pain from the spider from the other day, but I’m fine.” “As am I,” Onua said, “The three of us will lead the charge. You three can support us.” “Fine by me,” Tahu growled, “As long as we take him down.” The Toa climbed out of the hole and watched as the spiders rallied around their master. He cracked his chain down, “Attack!” he barked. “We’ll handle them,” Gali said, walking forward with her trident, “We can open a path.” She pushed her trident forward. Tahu rested his blade atop it, while Kopaka did the same with his spear. The three focused their powers into their weapons and let them fly, causing them to spiral and mix instead of affecting each other. The three powers smashed through the Skull Spiders with ease. Pohatu dashed forward with his Kanohi Kakama, swinging one boomerang down into the back of the Lord’s leg, bringing him to a knee. Pohatu slammed the other boomerang into the ground, shooting a rock up into the warrior’s hand, causing him to drop his chain. Pohatu span around as he was well behind the enemy. Lewa leapt forward, landing both feet on the man’s chest, taking him down onto his back with a grunt. The Lord shot his arm out, grabbing his chain again. He was about to rise when Onua followed up by slamming his hammer down, causing a shockwave to bounce the Lord into the air. As he fell, Onua swung his hammer again, throwing the Lord through a few trees with the sheer force of the swing. He landed a distance away from the Toa as they regrouped. “No more spiders,” Tahu said, pointing his sword forward, “It’s over!” The six of them put their weapons on top of each other, as Gali, Tahu and Kopaka had done. Six elemental powers began to glow at the tips as the Lord of Skull Spiders rose to his feet, swaying a little. He glared at them, dark power burning in his hands. “Try it,” he hissed, “It won’t work!” The Toa unleashed their combined powers, while the Lord released his dark energy. They clashed in the air, but the Lord’s power was quickly overtaken by the spiraling elemental assault. The energy washed over him, causing him to cry out. Soon the Toa could see nothing of the black armored figure as their energy entirely enveloped him. When the power faded from the tips of their weapons, the Lord of Skull Spiders was gone. The six Toa ran over, finding nothing but a few broken links of his chain. “He fled,” Gali said softly. Kopaka looked around, scanning the area with his Kanohi Akaku, “I don’t see him.” “I can run around and look again,” Pohatu offered. “No, we won,” Gali said, “Besides, I think most of us used too much power. We don’t want to get drawn into another battle, even if this might be our chance to defeat him. But there is one important aspect here; we came together in unity. We have started our duties by defeating the Protectors, and now we stand in unity, as we go towards our destiny.” “She’s right,” Kopaka said, “If we gamble with this, it might end badly for us. And then what would happen to the Matoran who depend upon us?” “He said he was going to wage war against the villages,” Tahu said. He turned and looked back, “But we decimated his spiders. I think, for now, we’ll be fine.” Vakama lowered the wall of fire and walked out of his protective bubble, “You are correct. With his forces in shambles like this, our villages should be safe. However, we will all be on higher alert than before, and rework our defenses. We cannot afford to fall prey to surprise attack, especially not since we know it is being planned.” “Are you alright, Turaga Vakama?” Tahu asked, approaching. The Turaga nodded, “I am fine. I should ask the same of you, Toa Tahu.” Tahu nodded, “Yeah. More or less.” “I don’t know what that dark power he used was, but he hit you in the head and mask with it,” Vakama stated, “Are you sure?” Tahu nodded, “Yes, trust me. I’m ok.” Vakama nodded, “I will trust you then.” He looked at the other five Toa, “We must hurry and see to the collection of the obelisk. We do not know how much power this figure has, or what his revenge will look like.” “Then should we go find it?” Pohatu asked. “Pohatu, speed to the other villages. Alert them of what happened, and tell them to raise their defenses. While you do so, speed me back to Ta-Koro and I will dispatch Matoran to retrieve the obelisk. We shall meet at the temple.” “But I can do all of it!” Pohatu said, “The warning, the obelisk, get you wherever you need to go!” “Pohatu, you are wounded, and the protection of the villages comes first. If you still can run, then you can fetch the obelisk as well.” “Why not have some of us go to retrieve it?” Gali asked, “Tell us where it is, and we will see to the retrieval.” Vakama shook his head, “That’s not how this works. A Toa cannot retrieve it, due to the power it holds. If five of you were to go, Pohatu would be without his power. The obelisk is said to react in a very strange manner when around Toa.” “Fine,” Tahu muttered, “But this seems like a way to make us stick together and put the obelisk and Matoran retrieving it at risk.” “Once Pohatu returns, you six can rendezvous with the Matoran and protect them,” Vakama said, “But you six must be together as you come in contact with it. Do you understand?” “Yes,” Tahu muttered. “Now go,” Vakama said, “Time is of the essence.” As the Toa, minus Pohatu and Tahu began to leave, the Toa of Fire approached his Turaga, “What are those masks?” he hissed. “You heard that conversation?” Vakama asked quietly. Tahu nodded and looked at Pohatu, who kept some distance, “What is going on?” “I will explain it to all of you when I bring the obelisk,” Vakama stated, “Now go. You’ll learn soon enough.” Tahu muttered under his breath and walked away, heading after his brethren towards the temple. Pohatu sped to each of the villages in turn, warning the Turaga of what was coming. Vakama remained within Ta-Koro and dispatched a few Matoran to retrieve the obelisk. “Do you know who this enemy is?” Jaller asked the Turaga, carrying his shield and staff in hand, always looking ready for a fight. The Turaga shook his head, “No. I don’t know who he is, other than that he commands the Skull Spiders. It was true; they do have a leader, and I’m afraid of what his powers can possibly do.” “Well, we’ll fortify the walls, we’ll make sure to break some of our foundation and make the gap wider. Nothing will be getting into Ta-Koro without a fight!” Vakama nodded, “Let us hope that all that come are spiders, in that case,” Vakama said, “If their Lord comes, then we’ll need more than that, and more than Tahu to protect ourselves.” Nuju clicked and whistled, forcing Matoro to relay commands to the Matoran of Ko-Koro. “We need more snow traps! Make more ice spike pits and cover them with enough snow to make it look natural, but not too much that it won’t break when the Skull Spiders walk over them! And…and make sure everyone knows where they are! We don’t want any accidents.” The thought of a Matoran accidentally walking into an ice spike trap worried Matoro to no end. He looked at the Turaga, “Is this really a good defense? We’ll be prisoners in our own village.” The clicks and whistles told Matoro that the Matoran would have to learn, because it was the best defense they had, other than the natural cold. Matoro sighed and gave him a nod. “Ok. I’ll see to the construction.” “What can we do to bolster our defenses?” the Ga-Matoran Hahli asked Turaga Nokama as they walked across the beach. Nokama looked at the village sitting atop the water and sighed, “I do not know, child,” she said softly, “Unless we can tame aquatic Rahi and use them to assist us, I do not know.” “Well…,” Hahli said, “Is there any known way to get them to help? I mean…” “You want to do this?” Nokama asked, “It would be dangerous.” “We’re already in danger,” Hahli said, “Let me help.” “We need everyone we can to be ready to defend our village,” Kongu said, “That includes you, Tamaru.” “I’m not as much of a fighter,” Tamaru said, “Turaga Matau!” “Kongu is right,” Matau said, “I’m old. I’m leaving everything to Kongu in terms of defense. If he says he needs you, consider it to be me telling you to serve and help in our defense.” Tamaru sighed, “Well…I’ve had some ideas for defense. They include rigging a bunch of sharpened sticks to fire out and deter targets.” “Good,” Kongu said, “We need defenses like that. Get to work.” Tamaru sighed, “Ok…,” he hurried off, hoping and praying that the danger wouldn’t come here. Whenua watched as workers sealed the extra tunnels with large mounds of dirt and stone. “Nuparu,” he said as one of the Matoran approached, “Are you certain that every tunnel is sealed?” “All that we know of,” the Matoran responded. “Take a team and make sure this is all of them. I don’t know if they can tunnel and make new ones or not, but I want to be sure we haven’t missed anything.” The Matoran nodded and grabbed a few more Matoran. The group hurried off. The Turaga sighed, “Of all the times for our Protector to suddenly be useful,” he muttered, looking towards the primary tunnel entrance, “I’d hate to seal that too, but…” Hewkii and Turaga Onewa looked across the barren desert that spread out all around Po-Koro. “I don’t know how we defend ourselves,” Hewkii said, “Unless you want Pohatu to raise stone walls around our village or something.” “We might have to,” Onewa said, “It would be helpful, and we have a high vantage point right here on the inside, so we can watch.” “Right,” Hewkii said, “Should I have the forges start making weapons?” Hewkii asked, “We have enough hammers and chisels for sculpting and carving.” Onewa shook his head, “No. I want the Matoran to volunteer first, instead of just being given weapons and told to help protect us.” “I understand,” Hewkii said, “I will fight. You have me, if nothing else.” “I know,” Onewa said, giving the young Matoran a smile, “I know you will do great things.” As the Toa sat at the temple, resting and recovering their energy, Tahu sat alone, looking out towards the beach he had made landfall on. He had already figured he wouldn’t go back to spend any major amount of time there, and he already kind of missed it. He could hear Kopaka, Gali and Onua talking quietly about things of importance, while Lewa complained they wouldn’t let him in. Tahu had already turned Lewa away. Gali had said that she saw a spark of something in Tahu’s eyes. Perhaps he was meant for leadership, based on her words, but he wasn’t sure. He didn’t even want to be a leader. No, Gali, Kopaka or Onua were more cut out for it. But still, no matter what Tahu was supposed to be, he hated that he wasn’t a part of this conversation. He clenched his fist, causing it to heat as he let loose a small amount of his power. He relaxed his hand, letting the heat and flames subside. It wasn’t just this. No. There would be more times like this in the future. Lewa and Pohatu were close. Those three were close. Tahu was close to none of them. Anger affixed itself on his face. His eyes flashed a dark purple for a moment, and a small, dark pulse covered his Kanohi Hau for a split second. His eyes and Kanohi returned to normal, nobody any the wiser, not even Tahu. Something had happened when the Lord of Skull Spiders had grabbed him by the face. Something had happened when that energy came over him and took him down. As Pohatu slid to a stop, the five Toa rose to greet him. Tahu put on a fake smile and echoed the others. “Welcome back, brother.” Review
  6. Chapter 8 Even though it hadn’t been long since the Toa had last met at the temple, it felt like a lifetime ago. The last time they had met, only Gali had been successful in the battles with the Protectors. Kopaka followed in her footsteps, and then Lewa had as well. Pohatu, Onua, and Tahu had just finished their battles. Tahu’s had been the most hard won battle, and had pushed him to the brink of collapse, but thanks to absorbing his foe, his elemental powers returned swiftly. His actual, physical energy took longer to come back to him, but by the time he had come out of Ta-Koro as a hero, he was feeling stronger. All of the Toa had been welcomed into their villages as heroes. They held the respect and admiration of the Matoran and Turaga. Their past deeds as monsters of their elemental powers were overlooked; they had mastered their powers, they had defeated beings made of those elements. They were fighting the Skull Spiders and willing to pledge everything to the Matoran. The Matoran responded with open arms and open hearts. “It feels amazing, doesn’t it?” Lewa asked with incredible glee as the Toa met at the temple again, “A few days ago we appear on this island with no control. Some of them like us, some of them think we’re monsters. We fight monsters, we defeat the old guardians, and now we’re heroes, loved and respected by all!” “When you put it that way it sounds horrible,” Onua said. “What way?” Lewa questioned. “I assume he means the part about defeating their old guardians,” Gali said, “You make it sound like we’re the enemies.” Lewa shook his head, “Oh, come on! All of you know what I mean! I mean, we know the context.” “And there’s nobody around to hear it out of context,” Pohatu said, “I should know. I’m the stone guy. We’re on a giant piece of stone. I’d feel it.” “Or you could ask Kopaka to use that mask of his to look around and warn us,” Lewa said, pointing over his shoulder at the white clad Toa of Ice, “But I don’t think he would, would you?” Silence. “See? Not even a response!” “I’m not going to use my mask for something as childish as that,” Kopaka said, “Can we get to some relevant business?” “What’s more relevant than celebrating our victories?” Lewa asked. “Well, it’s easy to confuse our purpose here,” Pohatu said, gesturing out with his arms, “There’s no celebration.” “We’re at a sacred temple for the Matoran of this island,” Kopaka said, “I don’t think we’re going to celebrate here.” “It would be disrespectful,” Onua said. Tahu leaned against a sloped stone wall, watching the Toa talk to each other. He tensed and turned to look at the stairs, “I feel something.” “Feel?” Gali asked, “What is it?” “Heat,” he responded. They saw the soft glow of the tip of Turaga Vakama’s staff as the Turaga of Fire rose to the top of the stairs. He looked at the six Toa and gave them all a nod of respect. “It is wonderful to see all of you together, after your victories. Seeing the Toa heroes as one is an amazing site.” “We’ve already been together,” Lewa said, “Only we weren’t all heroes at that time. Even though, you know, we fought for the Matoran and clearly weren’t being evil or anything…” “Being of good intention and being a hero are two different things,” Vakama told him, “Keep that in mind.” “It’s a lesson we should have learned from the Protectors,” Tahu stated. “Very good,” Vakama told him. “Why have you come here, Turaga Vakama?” Pohatu asked, “Do you have some information for us? Turaga Onewa was here the last time, but he had information to share with us.” “That is precisely why I have come as well,” the Turaga answered, “I have information for the next stage of your journeying.” “How did you know we’d be here?” Kopaka asked him simply. “The same way all of you knew to come,” he responded, “I saw Toa Gali’s water display from atop the temple, and figured she wanted a meeting of the Toa. After Tahu left, I chose to follow. However, my legs don’t carry me as swiftly as Tahu’s carry him, so it took me a bit longer.” “You should invest in a Kakama then!” Pohatu said happily. He paused, “Can…can Turaga use mask powers?” “Noble Kanohi,” Vakama responded, “A Noble Kakama would be hard to come by around here. I’ll live.” Pohatu nodded. “So, what information do you have to share with us, Turaga?” Onua asked. “It is about two different matters. I can shed more light onto one than I can the other.” “What matters are these?” Gali asked, “Do they involve what Turaga Onewa spoke of? The rumors of the leader of the Skull Spiders?” “I don’t deal in rumors,” Vakama told her, “Although I do buy into the idea that there is an entity of some sort leading them. I have nothing to back up my belief, other than common sense.” “So, what are they then?” Tahu asked. “The first pertains to the armor of gold the six of you wear,” Vakama said, “As you can tell by looking at the Matoran and Turaga of your villages, nobody else has gold. Some Ta-Matoran have yellow, but it isn’t the same.” “I started to think this gold was a symbol of our status as Toa,” Kopaka stated, “I’m guessing that’s not the case?” Vakama shook his head, “No. It is not.” “Then what does it mean?” Onua asked. “This is where I can offer only a little information on.” “Does it have something to do with the legends?” Lewa asked, “Because those seem to have a lot to say.” “They say you are heroes, that’s hardly a lot,” Vakama told Lewa, “But no. These come from rumors. Ancient rumors, but not legend.” “Passed by word of mouth?” Onua asked. The Turaga nodded, “Then how are they not legend?” “Because the one who spoke of this was far from trustworthy,” Vakama stated, “I knew him personally, long ago. The…circumstances were unique, and it gives me some notion to believe him.” “Go on,” Tahu said, “Just give us the information.” “Straight to the point,” Vakama stated, “What he told me was this. The significance of the armor of gold is to herald the coming of the light.” “The light?” Gali asked. “It’s already sunny,” Lewa said, “Or was it always overcast before we came?” The other five Toa and the Turaga looked at him, “I…it was a joke…” “Pohatu and I discussed light and dark,” Onua said, “Does this mean elemental light? Moral light? Something else?” “I am unaware of the true meaning of these words,” Vakama stated, “That is all I know. The golden armor will signify the coming of the light.” “The light,” Gali said, “Not just light. It sounds like something specific.” “That it does,” Vakama told her, “But what? We don’t know.” “Is there anyone who might know?” Pohatu asked, “Or are we alone in puzzling this one out?” “I’m afraid you are most likely alone,” Vakama told him. Pohatu sighed, “Fine, fine…” “And what is the second?” Kopaka asked, wanting to move into something with more solid information. The riddle could be solved later as to what light meant. “There is an obelisk,” Vakama said, “Stone, gold, like your armor. We six Turaga took it upon ourselves to remove it from the temple shortly after your arrival, and had it buried in the forests of Mata Nui. It holds great power, and will give you greater energies than before.” “Why did you hide it?” Tahu questioned. “We still weren’t entirely sure we could trust the six of you,” Vakama answered, “It was for protection.” “I understand, at least,” Gali said, “I don’t know about the others, but I do. You’ll find no anger from me.” “Nor I,” Onua said. Kopaka nodded, “Logical move.” Lewa shrugged, “A little annoyed, but yeah.” Pohatu nodded, “No, no, I get it.” Tahu nodded, saying nothing. “It’s made of stone, but…,” he looked at Pohatu, “Not any stone that you could control. Not any stone any of us had ever seen before. It was…different. It was imbued with the powers of all six of your elements, but carried with it something…different. Something destructive inside.” “A destructive element mixed with the others?” Pohatu asked, “That sounds an awfully lot like what the Protectors used with their blasters.” Onua nodded, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.” “This sounds like it’s connected,” Gali said, “Especially if you couldn’t identify the substance. Could this be where the Protectors originated from?” “I’d like to see this,” Kopaka said, directing up at his Kanohi, “I’m interested in seeing exactly what I can see with my Kanohi.” “Soon enough you shall,” Vakama said, “As soon as I return to Ta-Koro I’m going to send the Matoran out to retrieve it and bring it back here to you six. It shall arrive within the hour.” “Should I speed you back?” Pohatu asked, practically unable to stand still due to his excitement. “No,” Vakama said, “Learn patience. It will greatly help you as you age,” Vakama chuckled a little as he began down the stairs. “I’m going to speed him,” Pohatu looked at everyone else, “Anyone object if I speed him against his will?” “Don’t,” Kopaka said. “It’ll do us some good to just have more time here together, to talk, to understand our fights.” Tahu looked at Pohatu, “If you do it, I’ll burn you.” Pohatu sighed, “Fine…you guys don’t let me have any fun.” “Hey, I’m the fun one,” Lewa said, “I didn’t say you couldn’t. I think you should.” Pohatu’s eyes lit up with glee, but as he looked after the Turaga, Tahu’s hand erupted into flames. “You wouldn’t,” Pohatu said, “We’re Toa! We’re all friends here! But you know what? Good job on actually lighting up. It makes it believable!” He got into a runner’s position. The hour had come and gone. Pohatu still was scratching at his right shoulder where Tahu’s fireball had scorched him. He couldn’t get to the right spot under his armor, so he stood there in discomfort. “The Turaga should have returned by now,” Gali said. Kopaka looked around with his Akaku, “I see nothing.” “Look to Ta-Koro,” Tahu said, “Follow the trail.” Kopaka did just that, looking at the trail from the temple towards the village of fire. Nothing along the path. He froze, “Tahu…Ta-Koro is burning…” “What?” Tahu hissed. Kopaka turned, “I see Le-Koro. Overrun, damaged…,” he span, “Ga-Koro is the same. I see the Matoran tending to wounded!” Pohatu sped off before Kopaka could even look at Po-Koro. Onua ran off as well towards Onu-Wahi, just in case Onu-Koro was also attacked. “What’s going on?” Tahu shouted, running down the stairs. Gali and Lewa came after him, while Kopaka went off another direction towards his own village. Pohatu’s speed brought him to be the first to arrive at his village. He looked around the natural stone outcroppings the Po-Matoran had converted into hollowed homes. The Matoran were around, rebuilding, tending to the wounded. Pohatu stopped once he found Turaga Onewa. “What happened here?” Pohatu asked, fear filling his voice. Onewa looked around, “You passed by so many wounded Matoran,” the Turaga said, “You came to me as soon as you could.” “Yeah…I did…,” Pohatu said. “I am the leader of the village. I am important, but the Matoran are the most important,” the Turaga told Pohatu, “Keep that in mind.” “Yes, yes, I shall,” Pohatu said, “I’m sorry.” “Apologize to them,” the Turaga responded. He rested on his staff, “The Skull Spiders came in force. They attacked in such an organized fashion…there’s no way they don’t have a leader.” “The Matoran defenses weren’t enough?” Pohatu asked. The Turaga shook his head, “Obviously not. They overcame the defenses so easily…they’ve been watching. Something has been watching.” Pohatu clenched his fists, “I’ll…I’ll do what I can. I’ll rebuild, I’ll help fortify the defenses…” “Right now the Matoran need you,” the Turaga stated, “Go to them, show them that you are here for them. And then…and then make sure to defeat their leader, whoever it may be.” Pohatu nodded, “I will. I swear that to you.” He looked around at the Matoran, some of whom had started to gather around, “I swear that to all of you!” Each Toa found their village to have fallen to surprise, organized attacks by the Skull Spiders. Even Onu-Koro had been attacked, for the first time in the history of the village. Onua felt responsible, due to the Protector guarding the entrance to the tunnels, but he soon learned that a new defense had been placed there, and that no enemies had come from that direction, proving his theory that there were other tunnels. In Onu-Koro, the attack wasn’t that devastating, in comparison. Due to being much tighter quarters the defense was stronger, and the Matoran had been ready for an inevitable attack. They had seen the spiders approaching and organized quickly. Using ideas from the other villages, they had a much stronger defense plan based around having seen how the spiders and defense worked elsewhere, and then adapted everything. In Ga-Koro, Gali spent her time focusing her water powers on healing the Matoran, finding another use besides combat for her elemental powers. Healing came first; heal the bodies, then begin help with rebuilding and repairing. Kopaka found that Ko-Koro had been spared from the worst of it, but had still been hit harder than Onu-Koro. The white bodies of the spiders had given them camouflage, although the cold kept them from mounting a long attack. Kopaka had walked past fallen Skull Spider bodies; spiders who just couldn’t handle the cold and had fallen where they stood as they tried to flee. In Le-Koro, Lewa found that the trees had helped both sides with evasiveness and hiding. He could hear some of the Matoran arguing that they needed their village to be higher up in the trees, instead of based on the ground. “But if we did that, the spiders would have just climbed!” he heard some other Matoran complaining. Valid point, but Lewa didn’t voice any opinions. In Ta-Koro, Tahu looked around the village. There was smoke rising, and some of the buildings were on fire. “How…how did this happen?” he muttered. He ran towards Jaller, “What happened here?” he shouted, “The Skull Spiders?” Jaller nodded, rubbing his head, “Y…yeah. They came in force and we couldn’t raise the bridge in time. They found other ways inside too…” “How did these fires start?” Tahu questioned. He turned and threw his hand out, absorbing some of the closer fires, putting the buildings out. “I…I don’t really know,” Jaller admitted, “I took a bad hit to the head right away.” “You did your best,” Tahu said. Then it hit him, “Where is Turaga Vakama?” he almost shouted. “Turaga Vakama?” Jaller questioned, “The last time I saw him, he was going after you…,” Jaller said. It dawned on him that something was wrong, “Where’s the Turaga?” he shouted. Tahu turned and ran to the bridge, “I need to go! I need to find him!” “Go!” Jaller shouted after him, “We’ll clean up here!” Tahu nodded and ran into the charred forest that marked the entrance point of Ta-Koro. Turaga Vakama slowly opened his eyes. The darkness was overtaken by the sunlight flittering through the tree cover. Trees. Great. There was no real way to tell where he was due to the sheer volume of trees on this island. He wasn’t even entirely sure where he had been before losing consciousness. What had happened? Was it a Skull Spider ambush? Some other Rahi? “Where am I?” He had chosen to speak, hoping to get a response that might tell him something. Nothing. “It was a Rahi attack then,” Vakama muttered, “Or whoever attacked me has already left.” Vakama slowly picked himself up from the ground and reached for his staff. He lifted it and let the glow provide heat. He began to focus on it, readying his minimal powers over fire, just in case he should need them. He activated his Noble Huna, making his footfalls become silent as he moved. He needed silence, he needed a level of stealth, just in case. He didn’t know what happened. He needed to take every precaution he could right now. He slowed and stayed hidden behind a thick tree. He heard a Skull Spider clicking nearby, and then saw one walking past, not seeing Vakama due to the difference in angle. Vakama held his breath, then slowly let it out and began to move again. He moved and stayed low, hiding in the brush to get past two more spiders. He crawled free and kept going, but slowed when he saw a spider turning. He moved swiftly behind a tree to avoid being seen. He looked up, seeing a spider clicking its fangs right above him. It leapt down, getting behind Vakama, who moved away, pointing his staff at the beast. “I may be old, but I will still fight,” Vakama hissed, the shine of his staff growing brighter. The spider moved towards him. A small stream of fire escaped the staff, causing the spider to stop. Two seconds later the fire receded inwards, then stopped altogether a few seconds later. The spider moved forward, hissing and baring its fangs in Vakama’s face, but it didn’t strike. “Why aren’t you attacking?” Vakama muttered. He looked at his staff, then thrust the glowing tip into the spider’s head. It burned, causing the spider to let out a screech. It backed away, then scurried off in another direction. “I guess that works,” Vakama said. He looked around, unsure if he could do it again if another spider confronted him. Something was clearly wrong here. Something seemed to be commanding them not to harm him. Something intelligent. There was no way these spiders were intelligent enough on their own to organize and know that Vakama was a better prize unharmed. Vakama stopped wasting his time with his Huna and let his staff return to normal, no longer focusing power through it. “Who’s there?” he shouted. Spiders began to approach, but kept a distance. They watched him with their glowing crimson eyes, clicking their fangs together every so often. “Well?” Vakama called, “Someone is organizing these Rahi! Someone saw the benefit in capturing me, and then in keeping me safe! Where are you? Show yourself!” Vakama turned around, seeing a figure moving through the trees. The spiders in the being’s path parted, opening it up for him. The figure, clad in jet black armor, stopped, allowing Vakama to gaze at the tall figure. He had a strong, yet lean build, and was taller than the Toa. His Kanohi was sleek and black. He held a length of chain in hand, which Vakama believed was probably utilized like a whip. “I thought you would desire some more rest,” the being stated in a voice carrying no malice. It carried an odd calm, with an undertone of a hiss. “Who are you?” Vakama demanded. “Is it not obvious?” the entity questioned. “Lord of Skull Spiders, as some of the Toa have taken to referring to you as,” Vakama said. The entity’s eyes narrowed, “That is not my name,” he hissed. “We don’t know your name,” Vakama responded. Spiders began to hiss. The entity turned, seeing a blast of fire erupting through the trees at him. He moved aside, allowing his spiders to be scorched. Tahu ran from the trees and leapt forward, kicking a spider back. He turned, facing his sword at the Lord of Skull Spiders, and then he lunged forward, shouting as he plunged his sword. The Lord swung his chain down, wrapping it around the sword. He yanked upwards, causing the Toa’s trajectory to change. Using his free hand, the Lord grabbed Tahu by the head and applied pressure. Tahu cried out as he struggled. His body pulsed with black and purple energy and then the Lord threw him into a tree. Tahu’s body crumpled down to the ground. “Now,” the Lord said, turning to look at Vakama, “We have some business to attend to. You have something I want.” “And what is that?” Vakama demanded. “Ta-Koro. Surrender it, or I will overrun and destroy it. One by one I will command the villages; you are but the first.” He lifted his clawed hand and clenched his fist, “What will your answer be, Turaga?” Vakama looked defiantly at the Lord. “You’ve just started a war,” Vakama said. Review The Lord has been added to the gallery linked in the first post.
  7. Chapter 7 Three Toa had come to the conclusion that now was the time to act. Tahu sat alone on the beach, looking at his golden sword, looking at his reflection in the blade. Yes, this was the time. He could no longer take himself as a failure. But no, he wasn’t a failure. He had done something the Protector had not, and helped his people. Tahu knew the merit of protecting the people. He rose from his position and sheathed his sword on his back and looked at the forest ahead of him. It was time. He started into the forest. The beach had been his home since he arrived, and he really hadn’t strayed too far from it. It had been his home since the start, but now was the time to leave it, perhaps for good. When this was over, Ta-Koro would be his home. It would be his true home; a place where he could belong and be welcomed with open arms. Toa Pohatu sped through the desert, eager to get this fight over with. Training with Onua had taught him how to best take on the Protector, but he wasn’t entirely sure. He had faith, but at the same time nobody knew what he Protectors were, or their powers. Just because it worked in theory, on Onua, didn’t mean it would work on the Protector. Pohatu slid to a stop, kicking up a big dust trail behind him. The Protector stood there, looking at him, weapon stuck in the ground at his side. “I’ve come back to challenge you again! And this time, I’m going to win!” Pohatu called. The Protector shook his head, “No. This time you will be destroyed. This time I’ll make sure not to knock you out of the ring. I’ll destroy you.” Pohatu shook his head, “No. I’ve been training. This time I will defeat you.” The Protector looked at him, “Training? Do you think you can train to fight me? You don’t know what I’m capable of. Just because you’ve trained, that gives you theory, but not execution.” Pohatu shook his head, “I know it gave me what I need to defeat you.” “I guess we’ll find out,” the Protector answered, “Now, step into the ring and we’ll end this.” Pohatu did as he was bidden and stepped inside, “I’m ready,” he said, letting the tips of his boomerangs touch the ground. The Protector tore his weapon free of the ground, “Alright. Prepare to be destroyed.” Onua entered the tunnel system that was the entrance to Onu-Koro and the expansive Onu-Wahi. The village had been lucky to avoid Skull Spider attacks, but the single entrance allowed them easier protection. However, Onua figured there were other entrances elsewhere the beasts had yet to find. The villagers of Onu-Koro felt no animosity towards the others, and felt bad for the attacks on their villages. They were the only safe village on the island, at least, for now. Onua sent it out of mind. Now wasn’t the time to think about his people’s luck with the Skull Spiders. Now was the time to prove himself as worthy of the title of Toa. He stopped just outside of the Protector’s domain and looked at him. “This time I’ll hopefully win,” Onua said. “You say hopefully,” the Protector said. “I have an idea how to stop you, but no confirmation,” Onua said. The Protector nodded, “I see. Step inside and let’s end this.” Onua did as he was bidden and lifted his hammer to his shoulder, “Let’s end this.” Tahu came to a stop at the ring of sparse trees the Protector of Fire called his domain. He stepped inside and came out from around a tree, “I always wondered why you chose this position,” Tahu said, “Were you given a spot, or decide this was your spot? The curious part of that, to me is, that this area isn’t near Ta-Koro. A Skull Spider would really have to stray out of the way to meet you on the way to Ta-Koro. I feel like you really didn’t try to protect the village.” The Protector didn’t respond. “What? No answer?” Tahu questioned, “Oh well. What matters isn’t if you respond, it’s this. I’m going to defeat you, and I’m going to be the hero that the Matoran of Ta-Koro deserve. Not you. You had your chance and you failed.” “You also had a chance,” the Protector stated, “The chance to defeat me. You failed.” “I left to protect the village,” Tahu said, pointing his finger at the Protector, “Something you didn’t do. Something you would never do! I do everything for the Matoran, and you do nothing!” “I fight. That’s all that matters.” “How often do you fight? How many Skull Spiders pass this way?” The Protector gave no answer, so Tahu continued to speak, “They were on the brink of being overrun. I came and I saved them. I’m a hero.” “Do you really want to be a hero?” the Protector questioned, “Or do you just want to wear the title?” “Quiet!” Tahu shouted, “I’ll be a hero.” He tore the sword from his back and pointed it forward, “I’ll be a real hero…something you could never be.” “You have to defeat me first,” the Protector said, “You can call yourself a hero all you’d like, but until I’m not here anymore, you’re nothing more than a monster.” “I’m no monster,” Tahu growled. “I may not have seen it, but I know what you were when you first arrived on this island,” the Protector stated, “You were out of control with your powers. The Matoran feared you. To them you were a monster who could burn them all down where you stood.” “The fact that I didn’t says a lot,” Tahu said, “If I was a monster, I would have.” “You can say that. You can argue it,” his foe answered, “However, you’re still a monster until you can defeat me. That’s what you’ve essentially been told before. You’re either a hero or a monster.” Tahu’s golden sword began to glow red as he heated it, “Enough talk. Let’s just put an end to this!” “Your temper is showing,” the Protector said, “Are you sure you’re not the monster?” A blast of fire crackled through the air, smashing into a tree next to the Protector. The tree was burned black where it had been struck, but it hadn’t caught fire. “The next one will be aimed at you,” Tahu growled. The Protector lifted his twin blades and swiveled his blaster on his shoulder, “Alright Tahu. I guess it’s time to actually fight.” “Finally,” Tahu growled, heating his sword again. He ran for the Protector, who stood there and simply watched his approach. Pohatu was playing it safe for now by hurling stones at the Protector as fast as he could. He was utilizing his elemental powers instead of physically picking them up and throwing them with the power of his Kakama, because he figured there was no difference. The Protector was stopping anything before it came close by using his control of the element to stop them. But if Pohatu sped so he couldn’t even see the Toa pick up the stones, maybe it would work. Instead, Pohatu had another idea. He threw another rock and then threw his boomerang after it. It flew out behind the Protector and came out to smash into his back, stumbling him forward, causing the rock to hit the Protector in the chest. “Petty trick,” the Protector muttered, firing a blast at Pohatu. The Toa of Stone threw up his arms, causing a wall of stone to rise. It exploded into flying fragments, but Pohatu was one. “This isn’t!” Pohatu shouted, sweeping out the Protector’s legs from behind. The Protector went down but sent a jut of rock into Pohatu’s chest to stumble him back. The Protector rose and thrust his weapon forward, causing Pohatu to use his second boomerang to block it. He pushed the other weapon back and stepped back, throwing the boomerang. “That won’t work again,” the Protector stated, throwing up a stone wall behind his body to stop the weapon. “I know,” Pohatu growled, causing a stone spike to grow at his side. He kicked it at the base to break it, then sent it flying forward with his powers. The Protector thrust his weapon into the ground, causing a stone wall to rise and stop it. Parts shattered, but the bulk of it rammed into the wall and was stuck. Pohatu appeared behind the Protector and grabbed him by the arms. He threw the Protector across the arena. The smaller warrior hit the ground hard and rolled. As soon as he stopped he lifted his weapon and fired a blast at Pohatu. “Not this again,” Pohatu muttered, triggering his Kakama. He was prepared to use it to evade, and then another thought struck him. He ran for the blast and stopped. He looked at it. It looked like a black core surrounded by crackling brown stone energy. He reached out his hand, but didn’t touch it. Instead he just hovered his hand around it, walking backwards as it progressed forward. He got a feel for it, and felt the stone energy, along with the other power. The stone energy crackled, but soon enough it started to peel away and come into his hand. The black core continued forward, but the rest hovered around Pohatu’s hand now. Let’s try it, Pohatu thought, throwing his hand forward, sending the stone energy out at super speed for the Protector. The Protector had no time to analyze what was coming back at him and took it to his chest. The warrior cried out as he was thrown out of the arena, his chest scorched from the blast. “No!” he screamed, clawing his way across the ground. He clawed and thrust his arm forward, “No! This can’t be!” He managed to put his arm across the boundary again, but his lower body was dissolving. He continued to cry out, saying that it wasn’t fair that he lost. He tried to use his only arm to claw his way inside, but even that arm was dissolving now. Pohatu watched as the Protector vanished before his eyes, turning into dust in the wind. His body had been reduced to stone elemental energy, and it had returned to what Pohatu figured was a suitable habitat for it. “You were a good foe,” Pohatu said, “And you taught me. So thanks for that,” he turned and picked up his boomerangs, “But now I need to see my village. Everyone needs to know about their new hero!” And with that, Pohatu sped off with his Kakama, towards Po-Koro, and his new home. Onua was being cautious. He would take control of the ground and extract lumps of earth before hurtling them forward in rapid fire groups. The spread was always different, and so was the force. Some walls his foe raised were strong enough, while others were shredded. After breaking through another wall, the Protector fired a blast from his chest-mounted cannon through one of the holes, sending it into the ground. A shockwave erupted out for Onua, forcing him to dive and role to avoid it. As Onua came to his feet, he saw the Protector slamming his weapon into the ground, then extracting it. A ridge of earth shot forward, forcing Onua to roll the other way, into a crater that the blaster had caused, but had been covered under a small layer of ground. Smart trap, Onua thought. He pulled himself up, but the Protector had closed the gap and smashed him in the chest with the drill-like weapon it carried. Onua was tossed back and rolled. He slammed his left fist into the ground, sending a shockwave right back, but the Protector evaded easily. Onua came to his feet, gripped his hammer in both hands, and span around, sending the hammer flying forward through the air. The Protector sidestepped it easily. Onua threw one hand forward and caused a fist of earth to come out of the ground. It gripped the hammer, and then Onua broke it at the base and tilted it, causing it to fall for the Protector, weight of the hammer coming down right for the other warrior’s head. The Protector swung the drill weapon up, causing the hammer to stop. That was Onua’s opening. He threw his hand forward, causing a new fist of earth to come from the ground. It plowed into the Protector’s torso and sent him into the wall. The earth of the fist molded over the warrior’s chest, while earth from the wall began to add to it, creating a tight cocoon for the Protector. Onua walked closer, adding more and more earth and force to it. “Your arms are trapped at your sides. I don’t think you can manipulate the earth with them stuck like that. I’ve also added enough earth that your strength won’t be enough. If you try to use your blaster, you might hit me, but I’m pretty sure enough of the energy will be backed up and smash right back into you. I think you’ve lost.” The Protector struggled, but sure enough, it couldn’t get anywhere. It looked at Onua, and then something similar to a smile spread across the warrior’s face. “Well done. I truly am impressed. You fought well, Toa Onua. Go forward now. I forfeit.” The being began to glow black and purple, and before Onua knew it, the Protector of Earth was gone. Tahu pressed his attack without stopping. He was beginning to tire, but he dare not slow. He had no idea how much endurance his foe had, but he hoped the Protector was beginning to tire as well. The two slashed at each other repeatedly, but Tahu was making the first moves. He figured anything the Protector was doing was merely making blocks, looking for an opening. That forced Tahu to speed up his strike to keep a gap as small as possible, but also tired him out faster. He’s playing me…, Tahu thought. He leapt back after his next slash and threw his left arm forward, unleashing a blast of fire. The fire crackled through the air, but the Protector took control of it and redirected it back at Tahu. Tahu had given up control and let the flames come back at him. He realized the Protector was adding his own fire into the mix, assaulting Tahu with both of their flames. Tahu remained inside of the fire, and then the Protector stopped soon after. The flames roared angrily, a pyre with the Toa within. The Protector watched the flames for a few moments, seeing no changes. Then the flames began to move and were being drawn into their center. Tahu was inside, letting out a cry of anger. He was absorbing all of the fire into his body, and then fueling it into his sword. He barked angrily at the Protector, “This is it for you!” he screamed, throwing his sword forward. The golden blade was pulsing with energy; the air around it was crackling from the intense heat. The tip of the sword seemed to explode. There was a loud crack as the energy was released forward. The flames emerging from the weapon burned white hot with anger, with all of the power Tahu could muster from himself and from what he had taken in from his foe. The white flames overran the Protector before he could move to avoid them. Tahu continued to let out cries of anger as the flames continued, giving the Protector no chance at protecting himself or being able to stop them. The stream of fire continued for twenty seconds, and then the white hot flames ended. Tahu lowered his sword, panting with exhaustion. He had exerted a lot of his power, but it had been successful. It didn’t appear that the Protector could handle the white flames or the intense heat. “No…,” Tahu muttered, his eyes opening wide. He saw the flames spiraling inward. Soon the flames were gone, and steam was rising from the Protector of Fire’s armor. The smaller entity walked forward a few steps, each footprint in the ground steaming, the grass burning. “Your fire may shine bright. Your fire may burn hotter. But I am the fire itself! Nothing you do can harm me!” the Protector screamed out in an angry hiss. Tahu lifted his sword, but he realized it was trembling. His body was weakening, his arms becoming tired. All of the elemental energy he had just expended wasn’t helping matters. “What’s wrong?” hissed the Protector, “Are you feeling weak?” Tahu said nothing. He just glared at the Protector. How was he going to do this? He didn’t have the power left. The Protector lunged forward, slashing once. Tahu rolled to the side and thrust a small burst of fire from his left hand into the Protector’s side, but nothing happened. “You can’t beat me with fire!” the entity cried out, slashing Tahu down the chest. Tahu cried out and stumbled back into a tree. He ducked and stumbled aside as the Protector’s sword was rammed into the thick trunk. Tahu shouted and slashed at the Protector’s exposed back, but the being span around to parry with its second sword. “Too slow,” the Protector hissed. The blaster rotated and fired at Tahu, slamming the destructive fire bolt into his chest. Tahu bounced across the ground from the sheer impact and force. His torso armor was scorched. The only thing that stopped him was a thick tree, otherwise he may very well have fallen out of the arena. Tahu picked himself up and shouted, running forward. He took wide, violent swings with his sword. He continued to use his sword to parry anything the Protector tried to do, and then swung his shield at the other being’s head, but was stopped by a sword. The Protector kicked him back and leapt forward, swinging both swords down. Tahu triggered his Hau, and as the sword hit him, he thrust his shield forward, slamming it into the Protector’s body to stagger him back. Tahu panted and was ready to lunge, when he heard a sickening sound. The Protector also looked around, and the two of them soon saw a number of Skull Spiders emerging from the forest around them. “Why are they here?” Tahu hissed, turning around to look at them, both weapons up. “They are my problem now,” the Protector stated, “Our match is on hold.” Tahu nodded, “I don’t like this. Did they come for me?” he muttered. He looked to the distance, wondering about Ta-Koro. “Who knows?” the Protector responded, firing from his blaster, throwing Spiders aside. He ran into battle, slashing at them, unleashing fire into others. Tahu ran as well, shouting. He slashed one back and tossed his shield into another. Using his free hand he unleashed a blast of fire, driving three away. As Tahu fought as hard as he could, he saw the Protector fighting hard as well, lending more credence to the thought that the Protector had limitless endurance. Tahu was slowing, but not the Protector. Soon Tahu moved towards the other being, fighting back to back with the smaller warrior. Anything that came close met their physical weapons, while those that were trying to organize a distance away were assailed with flames. “This is strange,” Tahu muttered. “What is?” the Protector demanded. “Fighting back to back,” Tahu answered, “Technically being allied right now.” “Don’t get used to it.” “Imagine what you could be if you were willing to help the Matoran directly,” Tahu told the Protector, “I see skill and value in you at this moment. Imagine this applied to the Matoran!” The Protector didn’t answer. Both unleashed more fire outward, forcing most of the remaining Skull Spiders to flee. Tahu span around, unleashing a fireball at the last two that neared the Protector, causing them to flee. Before the Protector could do anything, Tahu grabbed the blaster on the other warrior’s shoulder and focused his power into it, causing it to explode and throw both warriors aside. “You’ll pay for that!” the Protector screamed. “For what? Breaking your weapon, or betraying you? Because I only did it a moment before you would have,” Tahu hissed, “The threat was gone.” The Protector ran towards Tahu, blades glowing angrily with flame. Tahu stood his ground, and at the last moment he moved aside and kicked the Protector in the side. The warrior stumbled and rolled before throwing both superheated swords forward. Tahu evaded one, but one slashed him across his side, causing him to cry out in pain. “Now I’m going to end this!” the Protector shouted, his body erupting into flame. The flames erupted out for Tahu, wrapping around him and enveloping him whole. The Protector laughed as he added more and more power. There was nothing Tahu could do now. Tahu let out a roar. The flames around him began to recede inwards, towards his body. The flames that the Protector was unleashing were being drawn into Tahu, betraying their master. “What?” the Protector cried, “No! No!” “Yes!” Tahu roared. He screamed upwards as the flames came rushing at him, soaking into his body. The Protector screamed as he lost control. Being an entity of fire, his body was mostly flame at the moment. His head remained in a shifting state of physical and fire, giving Tahu a mask to look at. “You claim to be the fire itself,” Tahu hissed, “Let’s see if you are!” The fire was coming faster towards Tahu, and soon the flames that made up the Protector were mostly alone, being sucked closer and closer in. “No! No!” “Yes!” Tahu roared, drawing the rest of the Protector into his body. He threw his head back and cried out as it happened, but soon the sheer fire power of the Protector was with him. He panted, and then he looked out towards Ta-Koro. “I won,” he said, “Now I can be your hero.” He stumbled, but he was alive. He had won. His wounds would heal, and his energy would come back to him. He made his slow approach towards Ta-Koro. When he would arrive, it would be one of the greatest feelings he would know. Review
  8. Chapter 6 Tamaru ran through the jungles of Mata Nui. Something was hunting him. He had no idea what it was, but he could hear the sharp footfalls behind him. He had a feeling, but he didn’t want to acknowledge it. If he acknowledged it, it might become real. It was foolish thinking, he knew, but to him that’s all that mattered right now. If he didn’t think of it as a Skull Spider, it wasn’t going to be a Skull Spider. He could atl east have that hope. That faith. As he ran, the footfalls began to fall farther and farther behind. He knew that if he ducked behind a tree, or tried to hide somewhere, he would just be a sitting duck. No. He didn’t want that. He had to outrun the thing, and it sounded like it was working. With the sound of the footfalls being so much quieter now, so much farther behind, it seemed, was he actually outrunning it? Yes! Yes, he had to be! He was going to make it! Le-Koro wasn’t too far ahead! He could make it. He could survive! As he took a corner around a large tree, he froze. There was a Skull Spider standing before him, the white and black body of the spider standing out against the green and brown lushness of the forest. It looked like death. He turned around, looking up. Maybe if he could climb? But then his heart sank. He saw a spider clinging to the tree right behind him; the spider that had been pursuing him had leapt into the trees to pursue. He hadn’t heard it; it had tricked him, gotten this close. He was doomed. He knew that much. There was no way he could deal with one spider, let alone two. Not unarmed like this. He was a fighter. He wasn’t willing to go down, but here there was nothing he could do. He had heard stories of Matoran whom had come across Skull Spiders in the jungles of Mata Nui. He had heard some survive. He had heard them fight them off. He had heard them come out wounded, or untouched, but most were wounded. He’d heard of minor wounds. Ghastly wounds. He’d heard of death. He feared the worst for himself, but then something happened. He turned around to see the spider on the ground, vines shot out of the trees around it, gripping the spider by the body. The spider was flung upwards into a tree and bound there by the vines. It struggled and screeched, trying to claw its way out with its bladed legs. More vines came out, holding back the legs. The spider behind Tamaru looked questioningly at its companion. Tamaru didn’t look back, he just ran. He had to outpace the spider. He had to use this distraction to get ahead, get to the village, where there would be Matoran for defense. Where the Gukko Force would be waiting. Where they would have weapons, where he could get help. Where he could survive. But the spider soon realized that he was on the move, and leapt from tree to tree in pursuit. The spider was faster than Tamaru’s legs would carry him, and that worried him. The spider had the clear advantage of being higher; it could jump, land on him, angle itself towards him. He didn’t know how far a spider could jump, or how it could angle itself, but he was sure that he was going to fall. The spider was going to get him very shortly. Maybe he could move around a tree? Maybe he could zigzag around trees? Maybe…maybe he could do something. But what would work? He wasn’t sure. He wasn’t sure how fast it could move, or how far it could jump. He couldn’t gamble on the variables. But this was his only chance. He looked back out of fear. He knew he shouldn’t; he slowed, seeing the spider about to leap. And then it leapt. He closed his eyes, ready to give himself up. There was nothing he could do now. But then a long moment occurred and nothing happened. He opened his eyes, seeing the screeching spider ensnared a few feet away from him, held back by more vines. It was flung to a tree, but unlike the last one, this one was simply thrown, like a slingshot. He heard the spider screeching as it was thrown. Tamaru heard something behind him and turned around, seeing Toa Lewa landing. The green, gold and silver Toa flashed him a smile, “Sorry to keep you waiting. But, are you ok? I got here as soon as I could. Well, not ‘here’. I’m not psychic; I didn’t know you were in trouble. But…I got lucky. Well, you got lucky, well…we both got lucky. You got lucky you got saved; I got lucky I was able to save you. Well…you look at me like a hero, right? We talk, we laugh, we spoke! It was Kongu who was the buzzkill, but…you think of me as a hero right, even if I haven’t defeated my Protector yet? Your Protector? I don’t know what to call hm. Le-Protector?” Tamaru just looked at the Toa, and sighed in relied. He smiled, “Slow down. It doesn’t matter what we call him, I know what you mean. Toa Lewa…thank you. You saved my life. I…I am in your debt!” Lewa smiled, “I’ve never had anyone in my debt before. Well, I should never say never. If I ever say ‘never’ again, please remind me not to say ‘never’, because I don’t know what ‘never’ is. I don’t know what happened to me in the past, and I’m just rambling again…and you should stop me Tamaru. If I ever get like this, you should stop me. Just stop me…I’m going to stop now. Ok? Ok. Ok, I’m done.” Tamaru just sighed and shook his head, “Lewa, I…will do my best. But I have a feeling that with you it’s not going to work.” “Hey, at least I acknowledge it,” Lewa said, “And then I try to stop and…” Tamaru cut him off quickly, “You’re going to ramble and you’re going to try not to ramble, but you’re going to ramble, so I’m just going to cut you off here.” “Thank you,” Lewa said, and then he put his hand over his mouth just to stop himself from speaking again, because he knew that if he kept going, it wasn’t going to be good. Tamaru just laughed, “Lewa. I don’t know what I would do without you.” “Well, what did you do before me? You’d probably be doing that.” “Good point,” Tamaru responded, “But I wouldn’t have someone I could laugh with as much.” “Yes,” Lewa replied, “I imagine I am one of the best on this island to joke with. Or at least I would hope to be. But without me before it must have been so dull here!” Tamaru just shrugged, “Enough Le-Matoran I’m able to joke with. I’ve heard all their jokes, they’ve heard all mine. But you? You at least are new.” Lewa nodded, “Yes. Yes I am.” Tamaru opened his mouth to say something, and then closed it. “What is it?” Lewa asked, “Did you forget what you were going to say? I don’t know if I could ever forget what I just have so much to say.” “Lewa…,” Tamaru said, “Behind you…behind you!” Lewa span around, seeing a single Skull Spider leaping forward at him. He swung his arm up, but it was too late. The bladed leg dug into his side. The Toa let out a cry and tried to push it away, to little success. Tamaru ran over to Lewa and pulled one of the hatchets off of the Toa’s hip. He swung it down at the leg, causing the creature to hiss and retreat. It stumbled away, limping on one leg while the other three did the majority of the work. Tamaru grabbed Lewa, “Are you ok? Lewa? Lewa?” Lewa looked at the Matoran and gave a small smile, “I…I’m fine…,” he said before dropping his head. Toa Pohatu and Toa Onua had met in the vast expanse of Po-Wahi. The desert spread out almost endlessly, proving to be a nice battleground for them to use for training. No trees, no real Rahi presence, no Matoran – not in this part of the desert, anyway. This was perfect. They could cause as much damage here as they needed to. And, knowing Pohatu, there was probably going to be a lot of it. Onua was far more reserved, but he saw the need in the fight with his Protector on how he needed to improve his fighting, and how he had to become more wild and reckless to even score a single damaging blow. “So, how did you lose?” Onua asked, “If you tell me how you were defeated, I know what to throw at you, and you’ll learn how to counter it. In theory, anyway.” Pohatu looked at Onua and shook his head, “No, no, I get what you mean. I mean, you’ll be throwing earth at me, not stone. I won’t be able to control it and counter it, like I would against the Protector. But…” “But what?” Onua asked. “But…when I threw my elemental powers at him, he used his…and…mine were like nothing against him. I sent juts of rock through the ground at him. One wall stopped them both, no matter how much willpower I kept pumping into it. His power…I don’t know. It’s impressive.” Onua nodded, “Yes. When I fought my Protector, he hit me with his blaster. Well…he didn’t hit me. He fired it enough in my direction and I was hit by an effect from it. It felt…” “Corrupt?” Pohatu put in. Onua nodded once, “So, you felt it too?” he asked. Pohatu nodded even faster, “Oh yeah. I felt it… I…I don’t know what that was. I felt like even if he fired it at me and I had enough time to focus my energies on it, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it. It was…stone energy. Pure, raw, stone elemental energy. But at the same time it was mixed with something else.” “What do you think it was?” Onua asked, “I have my theories.” “I don’t know,” Pohatu shrugged, “Darkness? But…the Protectors…they’re…they’re not evil. They’re not! They’re just…” “Indifferent,” Onua said. “Yes. Indifferent,” Pohatu echoed. “So, their powers mixed with darkness don’t make sense. Is…is darkness even an element?” Onua put his hand up towards the sun, “The sun gives us light. It gives us heat. The sun and fire are somewhat comingling, in a sense. But…just because the sun gives off heat, and we have Toa of Fire, does that mean the sun’s light is proof enough that we have Toa of Light? That light elemental energy is a thing? Darkness is all around us. Darkness is the night. But that doesn’t prove we have a darkness element.” “What do you think it means?” Pohatu asked, “You said you had theories.” Onua nodded, “Theories I do have. They have some sort of dark energy, like, darkness or shadow. But at the same time, the connotation of shadow isn’t necessarily evil, nor is light necessarily good. Light lets us see, but at the same time it’s almost blinding to me. Evil. I’m getting used to it, but at first, light was my enemy, and darkness my home. That doesn’t prove that darkness is evil, and light is good. For all we know, that’s light elemental energy corrupting their powers.” Pohatu shrugged, “Ok, ok, that makes sense. I feel like we’d know if it was light or darkness, assuming those powers exist. I feel…I would know.” “You feel the sun on your armor. The warmth, and the heat, and you can see someone disappear into the darkness and shadows. But just because you know that, does that mean elemental powers work in the same way? Does that mean you can feel their energy?” Onua crouched down, touching the barren ground, “This. This is rock. Gravel. Earth. All mixed together. In essence, this is us.” He threw his hand up, raising a wall of earth to his side, “This, however, is pure earth. I created it. I drew it up.” He touched it, “Feel this.” Pohatu did as he was bid and felt the pillar of earth, “Ok, now what?” “Now, if I were to unleash pure elemental earth energy at you, what do you think it would feel like?” Onua asked. “Painful,” Pohatu said, “I mean, I’d assume.” Onua nodded, “That’s what I’d say. Pain. I don’t know what else you would feel, but it certainly won’t be the same as the feeling of this earth.” Pohatu nodded, “Ok, point taken. So…what do you think it is then? It could be light, it could be shadow, it could be some other element we have no idea about. But…but this argument makes sense. So what do you think?” Onua nodded, “I think. I think it’s…their unique and very nature. The Protectors are not beings like us. They are not beings like the Matoran. From what I understand, they are just elemental entities. Or, that’s what they claim. What does that mean? I don’t know. But they certainly aren’t us. I feel…like this is part of their nature we’re being struck with.” Pohatu looked at him, “I don’t quite get it.” Onua shrugged, “It’s fine. It doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that we cannot take those blasts head on, or stop them with our powers. We’ll have to dodge or stop them with walls. Now, how did he defeat you?” “Ok,” Pohatu said, “He got a few good strikes in…um…blocked my attack. Sent a…big chunk of stone flying right at me. Hit me in the chin, and I fell out of the ring. I decided I wasn’t going to fight him again, because,” he sighed, slowing his speech, losing his enthusiasm, “I felt like I couldn’t beat him. He didn’t do much, but he was able to stop me. It…it destroyed my morale that he was able to stop me so effortlessly. That I was beaten by such a simple move.” Onua nodded, “You’ll have to overcome his defenses. I can create thick walls, and you can break through them.” “I don’t think that’s the problem,” Pohatu said, “I think he was actually holding my element back. The wall that he put up didn’t seem very strong. No stronger than my attacks, at least, and I had momentum. He was just repelling them with his own nature, which is what I would have done too in the same situation. He just stopped everything, he didn’t send them back.” “In that case, use something he doesn’t have.” “My speed,” Pohatu said. Onua nodded, “Yes. Your speed. Use that, and I think you can defeat him.” Pohatu nodded, “Yeah. I have an idea,” he said. He walked a bit away from Onua and threw his boomerangs aside. He threw one hand out, creating a stone spike at his side. He span around, kicking it, and then took control of it while it was in the air with his command over stone. He sent it flying towards Onua. The Toa of Earth reacted swiftly, throwing up a wall of earth. Thick, hard and soft at the same time. The soft elements helped to slow it, and the hard elements made it stop. Onua didn’t have time to react as Pohatu appeared behind him, sweeping his legs out from under him. Onua hit the ground with a loud thud, and before he knew it, Pohatu’s fist was at his face, hovering just above it, crackling with brown elemental energy. “See?” Onua asked, “Speed is your key to winning.” “The weird thing is,” Pohatu said, drawing his hand back and helping Onua back to his feet, “He seems strong, but you’re stronger than me. I took you down with a sweep, so hopefully I can get him by surprise too.” “Yes, they are stronger than Matoran. They’re…they may be our equals in power, but they have none of our sense of duty,” Onua said. “So, how did you lose?” Pohatu asked. “I was struck by his blaster and knocked from the arena,” Onua said, “But don’t worry about me. I know what I’m going to do.” “You made me fight you,” Pohatu said, “You’re fighting me. What do you need?” Onua shook his head, “Reaction time. But I can’t react to you fast enough. Trust me, I can do this one alone.” “We’re a team,” Pohatu said, “Unity, duty, destiny. I figured you of all of us would cling to that.” “I am,” Onua said, “My unity, right now, is not getting tossed into a pointless fight between brothers. Trust me, I’ll win this.” “How is this pointless?” Pohatu asked. “I can’t beat your speed. You won’t use your natural speed, because I need to be faster than it, and that just won’t happen.” “I can lend you my Kakama,” Pohatu offered. Onua shook his head, “No. You need it for your fight, remember?” Pohatu nodded, “I know, I know. It’s just the brotherly thing to do. To offer like that.” “I know,” Onua said, smiling a little, “Pohatu, I believe in you.” “And I in you,” Pohatu told Onua. “I had the chance to smash my hammer into his fallen body,” Onua said, “I’m not a violent man, but…I had to start beating him with my hammer.” “I understand,” Pohatu said, “It’s hard. They look like Matoran. We’re used to…I don’t know what we’re used to fighting, if anything. But I doubt it’s this.” Onua nodded, “I wish we could coexist with the Protectors, but I do understand where the Turaga come from in their decisions to have us fight.” “Do you think the Protectors may be here because the Turaga willed them here? Or something?” Pohatu asked. Onua shook his head, “No. I’d like to find out why they exist, though. It’s a mystery, and it’s truly interesting. Where did they come from? Why did they come here? Or are they here simply to test us? Was this their destiny, in the long run?” “Well, we’ll have to have a nice chat about destiny with the Turaga someday,” Pohatu said, “But first comes victory.” “And trust,” Onua added. Pohatu nodded, “Victory and trust. They go hand in hand here.” “I hope so,” Onua said, “But I wonder, what does defeating the guardians of the Matoran do for making them trust us? We remove their protection, and they hail us as heroes. We could easily be their enemies, coming to destroy them.” “But we’re not,” Pohatu said, “And that’s what counts. We’ll protect them.” Onua nodded, “Yes. We’ll protect them.” Pohatu smiled, “You’re just overthinking things,” he told Onua, “I have a feeling that’s a habit of yours.” Onua nodded and walked off, “I’m going to go fight before I start overthinking some more,” he said, “I suggest you go and do the same. Toa Pohatu.” “Toa Pohatu…I like the sound of that,” Pohatu smiled, dashing off in the other direction. Lewa clutched his side as he made his way towards the Protector of Jungle’s location. Kongu, Tamaru and Matau had attempted to stop him, but he had shaken his head no. The others had no doubt fought their Protectors again, and he wasn’t going to be the last to claim victory. He had been wounded by a Skull Spider, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He was a Toa. He was a hero, as the Turaga kept saying. This was going to be his way of proving it. As he made his way through the jungle he stopped in the clearing where the Protector stood. It looked at him, a grim smile appearing on his face. “Oh. You’re back. You’re wounded I see. This is going to be too easy. Why did you come? Why did you not just run and hide? Why not recover first, and come fight me later? Or,” he chuckled darkly, “is that how you want to die? That’s it, isn’t it? You came to die.” Lewa said nothing as he approached, “No,” he finally said, “I’ve come to defeat you. I took this wound protecting the Matoran, something you should do, but don’t. That’s what makes us different, Protector. I care…and you don’t!” The Protector chuckled, “Care? Heh, care is such a foolish word. I will destroy you this day. I will rip you apart…Toa!” “No,” Lewa said, throwing his hands to his sides, showing he had no weapons in hand, “I will defeat you here today! I will become the hero this village needs! That the Matoran need!” The Protector said nothing. He simply thrust his blaster forward and fired once. Lewa, feeling the pain in his side, rolled. He knew that the pain was going to slow him, but he had to keep moving; he couldn’t stop nor show signs of weakness. He ran, wishing he had tree coverage to use, but figured they would just turn against him. He saw trees being blown apart by the destructive force. Then something hit him. Yes! That was an idea! He stopped and took grip of a hatchet on his hip. He sent the weapon flying at the Protector. The Protector thrust his weapon up, catching it on his blade and deflecting it ot the ground. “You’re down one weapon!” he laughed, “Can you beat me like this?” Lewa took the second and threw it from a different angle, aiming for the Protector’s torso. Once more the Protector blocked it to the ground, “You’re weaponless! Now what? Are you going to try to use your elemental powers? I control them too! You can’t stop me without your weapons!” “That’s what you think,” Lewa said, running forward. His body was glowing pale green and brown. The Protector gave him a curious look, then shouted and fired another blast. Lewa threw his hand forward, unleashing his pure elemental powers. They collided and both powers exploded with sheer force. Lewa was thrown back, but the Protector stood unharmed. As the dust settled, the Protector’s eyes opened wider. “What is this?” he hissed, watching branches shoot in from behind Lewa, lashing at the Protector. He used his powers to subdue some, while using his weapon on others. He wasn’t able to stop them all. For every few he stopped, Lewa sent more from other angles, letting his powers run wild, out of control. Growth rapidly occurred at his feet, but for now it was just small fauna. Branches shot forward, trying to ensnare his foe. They twisted through the arena, and soon a wall was coming forth behind the Protector. Branches lashed out, striking the Protector. He turned and tried to slash them, firing his blast into the wall. More filled any holes he created, and spears of wood continued to stab and slash at the Protector. He was driven to his knees, shouting as he was surrounded. Lewa came closer, prompting the Protector to shout, “You! I just have to stop you…and this will be over!” He lifted his blaster and fired once, but Lewa ducked and twisted to the side, letting the blast fly over his shoulder. He rolled and came up to his knees before the Protector. He put his hand on the other figure’s mask, letting his power flow into him, “No. It’s over now. You’ve lost.” “I have not lost yet!” the Protector screamed. The power in Lewa’s hand was being pushed back, destructive now, due to the Protector’s powers. Lewa was blasted back, cradling his arm, looking at his scorched armor up to his forearm. The Protector laughed and came to his feet, “Now…I’ll defeat you in one more blast!” Before he could do anything, the branches pulled him into the air by all of his limbs. “What is this?” he screamed, “Lewa! Why can I not control them?” “Because, I understand now. That blast told me everything I needed to know about how to stop you. I just had to let my power go wild…let it all flow freely. I held a small amount of control, but now no more! The branches act on their own. You destroyed all of the foliage to create this arena, and the fauna didn’t like that. Now, be gone!” he screamed, coming to his feet. The fauna erupted around him, growing wildly. Lewa was the catalyst; natural growth would deal with the rest. For now, all Lewa had left to do was remove the Protector. The branches pulled the Protector from his arena, causing the figure to scream and fade away from existence. Lewa fell to one knee, panting, “I did it…I did it…” More excitement came to his voice each time, “I did it!” He collapsed among the fauna. His Protector had been vanquished, at least. Now Lewa could earn the title of Toa. Review
  9. Chapter 5 The jungle terrain was harder to maneuver through the closer Tahu got to the mountain shrine. He had to restrain himself from just applying fire and burning it away, but due to how dense it was he didn’t want to risk setting too much on fire. Probably the smarter move. He hacked away at some branches and pushed on through, seeing the other Toa had already climbed the mountain. Or at least he had assumed so, since he saw a set of stone stairs set into the side of the mountain, a message depicted next to the first step. ‘You’re late, signed the other five Toa’ Tahu ignored the message and began his ascent. It took him a few minutes, but as soon as he arrived at the top, he saw the other five Toa standing around the central shrine, the brown armored Toa looking rather pleased. “So, you took my stairs. I was afraid you’d ignore them,” Pohatu said. “Why would I do that?” Tahu questioned. “He believed that his message would annoy you and make you find a new way, rather than relying on him,” the white armored Toa told Tahu. Tahu scoffed, “I’m not childish enough to let that get to me.” “Good, good,” Pohatu said, “Now…” “Let’s get down to business,” Gali said, taking leadership here, “We are to discuss our progress and anything else we have to discuss now that we’re all together for the first time.” “Well, I learned that the Protector of Stone isn’t something to be messed with,” Pohatu said, “Does that count as what we’re supposed to be sharing?” “Yes,” Gali said, “I would assume so.” “You speak as if there’s a set agenda that you aren’t entirely certain about,” Kopaka told Gali. She nodded, “Well, it’s not like one of us organized this meeting.” “No?” Tahu questioned, “Then who did?” “I did,” a voice said from behind. The six Toa turned around to see the figure of Turaga Onewa climbing the stairs. He rested his large hammer’s end on the ground, “Now please, allow me to say my piece.” “Turaga Onewa?” Pohatu asked, moving towards him, “Who is overseeing Po-Koro if you are here?” “The Po-Matoran can take care of themselves for a few hours while I make the trek here and back,” the Turaga answered. “Which just brings to mind this question. How did you get here?” Pohatu asked. “I had two guards,” the Turaga told him, “I’m not traveling alone.” “Perhaps I should see you back to the village,” Pohatu offered. The Turaga shook his head, “No. You are needed here. This old man can make it back in one piece.” “If…if you say so, Turaga,” Pohatu said, clearly not happy about this. He felt the need to watch and protect his Turaga, but if the man was sure he was ok on his own, who was Pohatu to argue? Besides, Onewa was the village leader, and Pohatu didn’t want to anger him or anything. “Elder,” Kopaka began, “You are the one who arranged this meeting between the six of us. What is it you would have us speak about?” “I would have you speak about your progress,” the Turaga answered, “Six Protectors, six of you, six villages. How do you six fare in your trials?” “I have defeated my Protector,” Gali stated, “It took me two attempts, but I managed to overcome him and prove myself.” “Good, good,” Onewa said, “And the rest of you?” “I had to abandon my fight,” Tahu said, “My village needed me.” “I lost, but it will not happen again,” Kopaka said, his tone lower, as if embarrassed to say such a thing. “He was dangerous!” Lewa complained, “He beat me like I was nothing! Next time though…next time!” “I was unable to defeat him,” Onua said, “I have no excuses.” “Yeah, I got beat too, but you know that,” Pohatu told his Turaga. The Turaga nodded, “You could all learn something from Toa Gali. But there is another matter I am here to discuss with you six.” “What matter is that?” Tahu questioned. “Surely you have encountered the Skull Spiders by now.” “I helped fight them off in Ta-Koro,” Tahu said. “I heard,” Onewa responded. “I’ve fought a few,” Lewa said, “Nasty buggers.” He laughed at his own joke. Pohatu shook his head, “No, haven’t seen them yet.” “I fought what I assume were two of them on my way here,” Onua stated, “It was hard to adapt to the sunlight, but I beat them.” “They don’t come to Ko-Koro,” Kopaka said, “I haven’t seen them.” “I saw some in Ga-Koro, being examined by the Ga-Matoran,” Gali said, “They were…pacified.” Onewa nodded, “There are tales spreading the island about the spiders. Tales that are…unsettling.” “What sort of tales?” Onua asked. “Tales that state that the spiders are being commanded,” Onewa responded, “That a great power owns them, and is commanding their every move.” “And do you believe such a tale, Turaga?” Kopaka asked. Onewa looked at Kopaka, “You sound as if you do not believe. Which is fine, but you have not lived as long as I have. I don’t know what you’ve seen in the past, but for all intents and purposes you have only been alive for a few days. I have seen things of nightmare, things that can command beasts. I have also seen beasts act on their own. This could go either way, as far as I’m concerned.” “And why are you bringing this up?” Tahu questioned. “Because it is a very real possibility that you may have to face the mastermind behind the Skull Spiders,” Onewa answered, “I don’t want it to come as a surprise to you, assuming such a being exists. I want you to at least believe it’s a possibility ahead of time and be able to prepare yourselves for an inevitable, potential battle.” “We thank you for that, Turaga Onewa,” Gali told him. “I guess that means we have to defeat our Protectors,” Pohatu said, “It wouldn’t bode well if we had to fight the master of the spiders before we could prove ourselves worthy of being heroes.” “No, it would not,” Onua said. “Master of the spiders?” Lewa muttered, “I’ve got it! Lord of Skull Spiders! Has a better ring to it, don’t you think?” “A name isn’t important,” Kopaka told Lewa. “It is!” Lewa argued, “Otherwise what do we call him or…it? Maybe even her?” “How’s this? ‘Enemy’,” Kopaka responded. “Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it,” Lewa said. “Look,” Tahu growled, becoming annoyed by Lewa and the fact that this wasn’t being taken overly serious, “Let’s ignore this for now and just finish our meeting.” “I have said my piece,” Onewa said, “I will return to Po-Koro now. I wish you all the best of luck in your battles to come. Please, turn to your Turaga if you need anything. We are here to assist the Toa heroes.” “Toa heroes, as in, we’re just Toa,” Pohatu said, “We don’t get to be Toa heroes until after the Protectors are defeated.” “That is correct,” Onewa answered, “Although some of us will impart bits of advice in the meantime.” Onua nodded to himself more than anything. He didn’t want Onewa to know that Whenua had been helping him and giving him assistance before he went to fight his Protector for the first time. “I’ll be taking my leave now,” Onewa said, bowing to the Toa. He turned and descended the stairs left by Pohatu. He stopped on the first step, “Please leave these when you are finished. They are quite nice.” He descended. As time passed, the six Toa remained at the shrine, talking to each other as a group, or speaking to individual members. Lewa and Pohatu sat around, joking more than being serious, while Onua, Gali and Kopaka found common ground and conversation. They were mostly asking about how Gali defeated her Protector, and how far they had to go in the fight before the Protector would surrender, or if they had to destroy the Protector in battle. Tahu sat alone, his back braced against the walls of the shrine. He was listening to Pohatu at the moment, since the Toa of Stone was the loudest and most boisterous of the Toa. “So I told him, ‘You call this a rock? THIS is a rock!’,” Pohatu bellowed, holding a rock the size of his head in one hand, and using his powers to float a rock the size of his own body above the other. Lewa’s laugh was loud, and to Tahu, one of the most annoying things he had ever heard. “And what did he say next?” Lewa asked eagerly. A little too eagerly. Tahu didn’t get how he was getting so into this. “Well,” Pohatu began. He used his powers to set the rocks back into the mountain where they belonged, “He looked at me, and he told me, ‘But I’m only a Matoran! I can’t lift something like that!’, so I told him…” “Can you just get serious?” Tahu practically barked at him. “Well, no, that’s not what I told him,” Pohatu said, “I’m not sure how that even makes sense as an answer.” Tahu climbed to his feet and walked around to face the other two Toa, “Can you, as a Toa, get serious?” Tahu questioned, “Instead of wasting your time joking around, we have a real mission here. We came together to get ready, not to be telling jokes and stories to each other.” “You’re not my master,” Pohatu said, “Or, as Lewa would put it, my ‘Lord of the Toa’,” Lewa grinned, and Pohatu went on, “Why don’t you just settle down and let me do as I want?” “Because we’re Toa. We need to be focused on our goals,” Tahu said. “Living is a goal, is it not?” Pohatu questioned, “And guess what. Living isn’t some bleak thing that happens. Living involves fun. Living involves interaction at a personal level. That’s what I’m doing.” “You must be great fun at parties,” Lewa told Tahu, walking around him, “Look at me. I’m hardly ever serious, but I’m a Toa. Does this mean I’m not meant to be a Toa? If you had your way, would I be here?” Tahu glared at the green armored Toa, “If I had my way…” Gali moved swiftly between them, calm, fluid, like the waters, “Tahu,” her voice was soothing, but he could hear the tone hidden beneath the surface. It was one that was waiting for a spark, one waiting to explode with something of anger, “We are all allies here. We should try to be friends. Don’t be the one who acts like this.” “Acts like what?” he questioned. “The one who doesn’t want to be here. The lone wolf. The one who gets angry at anything,” she answered. “I never said I wanted to do things on my own,” he told her. “No, but you would exclude Pohatu and Lewa, wouldn’t you?” she questioned him, “Do you think the rest of us would want to follow you if you started by forcing members of us out?” “You speak as if I’m leader, and my decisions determine everything,” Tahu told her. “I see a spark in your eyes,” she told him, “I see something great in you. Don’t waste your potential.” “Don’t waste your breath on him,” Kopaka said, “If he wants to be that way, so be it. I may not enjoy the jokes, or the interactions, but I at least see the value in having others. I’ll still work alone, but at least I’m not a jerk about it.” Tahu moved angrily towards Kopaka. Tahu’s body began to heat up, forcing Kopaka to project a cold aura to counter it. The two glared at each other for a bit, and then Tahu turned away, “I should just leave,” he muttered, making his way towards the stairs. “Tahu, wait,” Onua said, walking towards the crimson armored Toa, “Look. We want to be a team. We need to be a team. Unity, Duty, Destiny. We need unity, we need to be together.” “You can have unity in five,” Tahu said. “We cannot,” Onua answered, “The six of us are here for a reason. We are here to protect our villages, and stop the Skull Spider threat.” “Then we can do that on our own,” Tahu said, “Six villages, six of us. We never need to see each other again.” “And if there is a Lord of Skull Spiders out there?” Onua questioned. “I’m sure you five can handle it,” Tahu said. “You abandoned your fight to protect your village,” Onua told Tahu, “You’re a good man. You’re a hero. Right now? Right now it doesn’t seem that way. Go back to being a hero, Tahu. Being a hero doesn’t just mean doing a few heroic things here and there, it means being here with us. It means being a good person, a good ally.” Tahu stood there, and then he descended, without a word. “Forget him for now,” Kopaka said. “Kopaka!” Gali scolded. “I said ‘for now’,” Kopaka answered, “We need unity, but it will come in time. We shouldn’t force it.” Gali sighed, “You’re right…” Kopaka moved for the stairs, “Thank you for your time, Gali,” he told her, “I’m off. I will see to the defeat of my Protector thanks to your advice.” “Good luck,” Gali told him. Kopaka stopped at the top stair, “Thank you,” he said, finding the words strange to use here. He used them none the less and moved onwards, leaving four Toa behind. “I should be off as well,” Onua said, “The sun isn’t as bad as I thought it was, but I don’t want to spend too much time here in one trip. And I need to get back to my Protector as well.” “Wait!” Pohatu said, hurrying over to him, “Onua, let us walk and talk. I have a thought.” “And what would that be?” Onua asked. “Walk, and we’ll talk. We’re not walking yet,” Pohatu said. The two began to descend. Lewa walked over to Gali and put a hand on her shoulder, “So…any advice you can give to me? Because it turns out my Protector is very violent.” “I don’t think so,” she said, “I’m sorry.” Lewa sighed and lifted his hand, “I guess I’ll go too then… Good meeting, Tahu aside.” “He’ll come around,” Gali told Lewa. “Are you sure about that?” Lewa asked. Gali sighed, “I can only hope so.” “If he does come around, it had better be with a sense of humor,” Lewa told her. “One miracle at a time,” Gali said with a small smile. Lewa laughed a little, “Yes. One miracle at a time,” he agreed before descending as well. Kopaka’s footprints were being swiftly covered by the heavy snowfall in the mountains of Ko-Koro. His Kanohi Akaku gave him aid in seeing where he was going, at least. He hoped that the Protector would be at a disadvantage due to the snowfall, but doubted it. He descended down into the warrior’s territory, gaining the unnatural eyes of the Protector upon him. Kopaka strode forward and planted the end of his spear into the snow. “You have returned,” the Protector said. Kopaka figured that if it spoke with emotion it would be utilizing fake shock, if not real shock, that Kopaka was back and challenging it again. “Of course I have,” Kopaka responded, “I still have air in my lungs, and we are not done yet.” “Wasn’t last time enough for you?” the Protector questioned, taking steps towards Kopaka. The buzzsaw began to spin a little, starting slow, but Kopaka figured it would speed up as soon as the figure decided to attack. He remembered the unnatural speed and strength it possessed, and had to be ready to counter anything it threw at him. “No,” Kopaka said, “Because last time you defeated me. This time things will be different. Far different.” The Protector shook his head, “They will, in that you don’t walk out of here with your life.” Kopaka said nothing. He threw his arms to the side, halting the heavy snowfall. The flakes hung in the air around them, motionless. “Is this supposed to be impressive?” the Protector questioned. It drew its arm up and the snow fell, “I have more power than you. I am of the snow, and you are not.” Kopaka shook his head, “I was curious about something. I was curious if your power could break mine.” “It can,” the Protector said, “I could feel your power holding these flakes, and I broke it as if it were nothing.” “I know,” Kopaka said, “And now I know one more thing. One more important detail.” “What detail?” “That I cannot use my powers against you, or I will lose,” Kopaka said, pointing the tip of his spear forward, “I’ll defeat you through other means.” “With your spear? It didn’t go well last time,” the Protector reminded Kopaka. “This time it’s different,” Kopaka said, “Now, let’s finish this.” The Protector threw its arms to the side, halting the snowfall. He began to walk forward, through the snowflakes that hung in the air, then it ran, spinning the weapon at full speed. Kopaka shifted his weight, lifting his shield before his body and drawing his spear back. He waited for the warrior of ice to get near, and then span to the side, avoiding the buzzsaw. The Protector slid and turned, aiming his blaster at Kopaka. Kopaka was fast on his feet, shifting to the side before the blast could strike him. “What is this?” the Protector hissed. “This is fluidity,” Kopaka answered. The Protector glanced at Kopaka’s feet, seeing the snow shifting around them. “You’re using snow and ice to slide around,” the Protector stated, “You’re not using your powers against me, but to aid yourself. It won’t work!” The Protector began to glow light blue, focusing its ice powers. It lashed out at Kopaka’s legs, turning the snow he was commanding against him. As Kopaka slid through the snow, the snow suddenly hardened, grabbing and not letting go of the Toa of Ice’s legs. “You fell for it,” Kopaka said. The Protector looked up from Kopaka’s legs, only now realizing just how close the two of them were. “You…you moved closer in that last move.” “I did,” Kopaka said, swinging his spear forward, clipping the Protector’s mask with the edge of the blade, leaving a deep gash running through it. As the Protector stumbled, Kopaka thrust his hand out, letting his shield fall. A fist of snow caught the Protector and pushed him back to his feet, allowing Kopaka to ram the other end of his spear into the Protector’s forehead, shattering the mask. There was no face behind the mask. All Kopaka saw was a swirling vortex of power, glowing light blue. Snow was being sucked into it, and even with the power of the Kanohi Akaku, Kopaka could see nothing there. “Is this the nature of the Protectors?” Kopaka muttered, “They aren’t even living beings…” “I told you, I am of the ice and snow,” the Protector stated, “This is my form! This is my body!” “Then if that is what you are, begone!” Kopaka shouted, throwing his free hand forward, “I am the Toa of Ice! I command you, and your body! Begone from here, now!” His powers began to dance through his hand, out his fingertips. The command of the snow and ice was not limited to just the area of Ko-Koro, but also the makeup of the Protector. The Protector let out a cry as his body began to vanish. Soon there was nothing left of him, and Kopaka stood alone in the snowy arena. The snow began to fall again now that nobody was keeping it at bay. Kopaka let out a breath and focused, freeing his legs. He picked up his shield and walked from the snowy arena, up the slope again. He turned his attention towards Ko-Koro and began to walk. He had Matoran to protect. Tahu had returned to the beach. He knew he could command his powers, but this was as good a place as any to return to. He was angry, and anger meant he wasn’t thinking properly. Not thinking properly meant he wasn’t controlling his powers properly. He didn’t want to risk anything, so at least part of him was thinking properly, he guessed. He let out a shout. Fire lashed out from his body, blowing sand into the air from the sheer force, rather than being heated to glass. He plunged his sword into the sand and then his shield beside it. He walked into the warm ocean water, but it began to boil as soon as he set foot inside. He fell to his knees, bringing the water up to the lower edge of his mask. He turned and looked back at the beach and the island. He looked up at the sky and took a breath before plunging himself into the water entirely. He looked up through the glimmer of the water at the blue sky. What was his point? He couldn’t defeat his Protector. He saved his people, but they rejected him. The other Toa seemed to not want much to do with him, and he didn’t want much to do with some of them. Where was his place on this island? What was the point of him being here? The questions he wanted answers to were likely never to be answered, he knew that. Or maybe they were in his past, which he had no way of unlocking. He closed his eyes and remained under the hot water, under the sunlit sky, which beat down on the sea. Maybe this was his place. Review
  10. Chapter 4 The Toa of Fire’s legs moved faster than they ever had before, or as far as Tahu himself could remember. That was the thing about amnesia; you never knew if you’d ever felt this state of panic before; this state of terror. If he had, he would know how to handle it, or so he figured. But with amnesia, this was like the first time, and he didn’t know what to do. He just had to hope he was right in how he handled it. As Tahu bounded up the hill, he turned around a tree before running headlong into it. He slowed and panted, looking at the blackened trees around him. Heat and fire had destroyed them, but yet they stood. A testament to their strength, a testament to the strength of the Matoran to stand against the evils of this island on their own, without proper guard. Tahu would make sure they no longer needed to fight for their lives on their own. He would be their new guardian. He ran through the torched forest, towards the dark city ahead. The stone of the buildings were covered in ash, and lava floated around the city. Truth be told, it was more of a castle or a fortress than a city. Just another example of how hard life here was. Putting it in the middle of a volcano probably didn’t help either. Tahu heard screaming and shouting. He lifted his golden blade and hefted his shield into his left hand. As soon as he neared the entrance to the volcano he saw the Skull Spiders. Some remained on the land, while others had leapt into the city and were tearing at the structure. Some Matoran clashed with the spiders, using staffs and shields to attempt to fend off the bladed legs of the spiders. The Matoran were panicking, being overrun quickly. They began to retreat with others, behind the shelter walls, but they weren’t lasting long. The Spiders were tearing the stones away, damaging the doors. Tahu slowed and stopped suddenly. There was no way into the village. The bridge from the village to the other end of the volcano had been raised, leaving lava between him and the Ta-Matoran. He saw that the Skull Spiders were climbing the sides and leaping in from above, but he couldn’t do that. “Lower the bridge!” Tahu bellowed over the sounds of combat, but nothing happened. “I’ve come to help! Lower the bridge!” Once more his cries went unanswered. Tahu shook his head, trying to think. He looked at the shield he carried in his left hand and looked at the lava. He took a breath and backed away. He shouted and ran towards the ledge. He threw his shield and then leapt, landing upon it, making sure to activate his Hau to protect himself from any lava that may have splashed up on impact. As soon as he landed on the shield – now his lava board – he threw his hand behind him, unleashing his powers of fire, using it to propel himself forward. Tahu shot himself around the village until he found a low side to the wall. He shouted and jumped up, making sure to put pressure on one end of his board when he did so, causing it to flip into the air. He snatched it with his left hand as he landed and rolled into the village, coming quickly to his feet and lifting both of his weapons. One Matoran fell as the spider he fought pounded on his shield. The Matoran let out a cry, but Tahu shouted, thrusting his sword forward. The tip ignited, glowing red, and then it erupted into a roaring flame which lashed out angrily, overrunning the spider, forcing it to retreat. Tahu ran over, looking at the downed Matoran, “Are you ok?” the Toa asked, looking around, scanning the immediate area for more threats. “I…I am…thanks to you,” the Matoran stuttered. Tahu gave him a nod, “I’m happy to hear that. I hope you’ll continue to be ok. You and the rest of this village. I must go.” “Go…go and help us fight,” the Matoran said. Tahu ran off ahead. He looked at four Skull Spiders clinging to a wall, tearing at the bricks. Tahu stopped and thrust his sword upwards, unleashing a wave of heat which soon became a thin wave of fire. The spiders let out hisses and started to fall. They fled the area. Tahu shouted as he was blindsided from behind. The spider kept his limbs pinned with its own bladed limbs. It drew its head down, teeth snapping rapidly as it went for Tahu’s mask. “You must not know what my powers are,” Tahu hissed, “The power of shielding. And the power of heat and flame!” The spider’s pincers did nothing as Tahu used his Hau. He let out a shout, unleashing intense heat right into the spider. It started to screech and hiss and climb off. As soon as Tahu could rise, he did, throwing his shield forward. It smashed into the spider’s head and dropped the beast. Tahu moved for his shield, but a spider entered his path. Tahu swung his sword down with a mighty cry, but the spider reared back and parried with one of its legs. The two struggled and Tahu moved back. Tahu wanted to press the attack, but he hesitated for a moment. He glanced to the Matoran at his sides, and then figured that they’d be fine. They were rallying. The spider lashed out, so Tahu blocked with his sword. He pushed up and span his sword around, ramming the hilt of it into the spider’s head, stumbling it back. Tahu shouted and gathered up fire into his left hand, which he thrust into the exposed underbelly of the beast, driving it back. Tahu panted and looked around. The spiders were retreating. The Matoran had rallied behind one of their own, and with Tahu’s presence, they were energized once more. The spiders may have been able to win, but not without a long, drawn out battle. Tahu walked towards his shield and took it up into his left hand before slinging it across his back. He walked towards the lead Matoran, intent on speaking with him. “Did you defeat the Protector?” the lead Matoran questioned. Tahu recognized him as Jaller, the Captain of the Guard. The Toa of Fire shook his head, “No. I battled with him, but…” “If you didn’t defeat him, then why are you here?” Jaller questioned, “You have yet to prove yourself worthy of being our guardian!” Tahu had a calm response prepared. He had sense, he had reason, but Jaller’s words inflicted a wound to him. Tahu tried to restrain his voice, but it wasn’t going to work. “I saved you. I did more than that Protector ever would have! Why do you show your anger towards me, when I helped to save your lives?” he questioned with anger brimming just under his voice, ready to spill over. “Because you are unproven,” Jaller told him, “Your assignment was to defeat the Protector! Then you could be hailed as a hero! As a guardian of the Matoran of this village! But right now? Right now you’re a monster with the power of fire. A monster who was unable to prove himself.” “Just because I didn’t finish my fight doesn’t discount the fact that I saved you!” Tahu shouted, his anger boiling over. A few Matoran withdrew, while some tensed and lifted their weapons even higher, as if believing they could challenge Tahu. “Leave this village,” Jaller hissed, “Until you have done the task laid out to you by Turaga Vakama, you are not ready to be here. Do you think I suddenly grew bored of my training and just hopped up as Captain of the Guard? No. I spent so long working towards this, and my men showed me nothing but loyalty. How can we show you anything when you think you can ignore your duty?” “My duty is to protect the Matoran. That is what I have done this day,” Tahu said, “I was told to defeat the Protector, but does that make it my duty? It does not.” “It makes it a duty,” Jaller said, putting stress on ‘a’, “It may not be your ultimate duty, but it is a duty none the less!” Tahu shook his head and turned away. He walked from the Matoran, “So be it. I won’t be here to save you the next time something like this happens. Just remember, without me, you’d all be defeated right now.” They watched the crimson and yellow figure walk away. The drawbridge was lowered for him, and they watched as he vanished into the charred forest. Jaller sighed, “Raise the bridge! We must set to repairs, now! We must also repair our defenses and be ready. The Skull Spiders will return, and no doubt with greater number. Deterring them once was far from enough.” Jaller turned, watching the figure of Turaga Vakama walking slowly towards him. The Turaga leaned heavily on his staff, and his eyes showed little of the usual intensity. “Turaga, are you ill?” Jaller asked, moving towards him. “I am tired,” Vakama told Jaller, “This is a safe village. It was built in the middle of a volcano, and built as a fortress for a reason. I wanted the Matoran to be safe, and yet today has proven that they are not.” “We will make it so,” Jaller said. “No,” Vakama told him, “Not as you are now.” “What do you mean?” Jaller questioned. “As you are now, you are out to prove yourself greater than the Toa,” Vakama stated, “That is not what you should be doing. Cast aside any thought of Tahu, and focus solely on the Matoran of this village. Before the arrival of the Toa there were never any successful attacks on this village. Even attacks with greater numbers failed. But on this day, shortly after the Toa’s arrival, the attack was a success.” “Are you blaming me?” Jaller questioned, trying to keep his anger in check before his Turaga. His staff shook, but he tightened his grip and steadied it. “No,” Vakama said, “Although I am disappointed in you. Work with the Toa, and let me worry about his duties.” “But Turaga Vakama…it…it was your words that told us not to trust them. You tell us the Toa are heroes, yet…yet you say that until proven, they cannot be trusted. Please, explain this so that I may be able to change our ways.” “They are heroes,” Vakama began, “However; they have a long way to go. Years ago, I didn’t tell everyone to listen to you, even though I could see leadership in you, Jaller. You had to get there first. You had to earn it. It is the same for the Toa. They must earn it.” “That is what I told Tahu,” Jaller said. Was Vakama being a hypocrite right now? Criticizing him for telling Tahu what the Turaga himself had stated? “No. You told him to defeat the Protector to prove himself,” Vakama said, “I had said the same. However, would you not agree that he showed his true self today? He abandoned his fight to help us here. He saved our village. I believe that if he has not earned it yet, he is nearly there.” Jaller said nothing. He just looked at the Turaga for a few moments, then looked down at the charred ground. “What would you have us do, Turaga Vakama?” Jaller asked softly. “If Toa Tahu returns, tell him to defeat the Protector first,” Vakama stated, “Should another crisis arrive, then it is yet another chance for Tahu to show us his true colors. We shall let Tahu do as he will, and show us just what type of man he is. We will see if he lives up to the legends of the heroes, or if he is something else entirely. But after today, I believe in him.” Jaller nodded, “I will remember your words, Turaga Vakama.” “I trust that you shall,” Vakama answered, hobbling away, back towards his dwelling. Jaller looked back the way Tahu had gone. “I’m sorry,” he said softly, “You saved us today. I wish you luck in your fight, Toa Tahu. Defeat the Protector…defeat him and join us.” Gali made her way along the path next to the stream. The sun was casting the first beams of light that day, illuminating enough of the path for her. She didn’t need to see, as all she had to do was walk straight and feel where the stream was with her powers to know where she was going. The light showed her that there was nothing new on the trail. No new tracks that she could see, no sleeping beasts, nothing. It was desolate. Any Rahi that come this way are fought by the Protector. No doubt by now they know not to come this way, or have found another way through this area, such as through the thick forest at my sides. Gali had no other options. It wasn’t that she had to get around; it wasn’t that she couldn’t spend time cutting her way through the forest. She could do either of those things, but her challenge was the Protector, not finding a way to Ga-Koro. When she slowed she saw the pond up ahead, with the Protector’s blue body sitting on a small island. The figure was just as it had been the previous day, and appeared to have not moved at all. She stepped up to the surface of the water, looking down at her reflection for a moment. She hefted up the trident into hand and called out across the water, “I’ve returned! Rise and face me, Protector of Water!” The Protector slowly rose to its feet and looked across the water at Gali. “Is this what you truly wish to do?” it questioned, “I will show no mercy. You shall not escape a second time.” “I am sure,” Gali said, “I need to defeat you so I can prove myself.” The Protector nodded, “Then approach, and let us fight.” Gali leapt into the water, diving deep down. She looked up, seeing the Protector entering as well, driving straight down for her with the use of its propellers. The sharp points on the Protector’s weapon glinted in the small amounts of light the sun was casting into the pond. I have to be wary of those weapons. Here we can cancel each other’s water powers. I have no doubt this time that weapons will decide the battle. Gali shot herself towards the Protector, shooting the water away from her body to propel herself upwards faster. She lifted her trident, focusing the tips towards the Protector as they reached each other. Tahu sat on the beach in the early rays of the morning sun. He had gotten no sleep the previous night, having gone from the Protector to Ta-Koro to the beach. He had spent his time thinking, sitting here in the sand. A few batches of sand had been melted into glass. Tahu had grown bored, and had decided to see what sort of heat he needed to turn the sand to glass. After confirming the lowest amount of heat he required he had grown bored again, but chose to keep thinking. They told him he was supposed to be a hero. The Matoran chided him when he acted like one. He wasn’t sure what his next move would be. He had said things he regretted, but surely they knew he didn’t mean that. He would always come to the aid of the village and the Matoran, should they need him, whether they asked for him or not. He let out a sigh. “I wonder if the others are having similar problems,” he muttered. He rose to his feet and looked to the jungle, seeing some movement up ahead. He drew his weapons into hand and prepared himself, just in case it wasn’t a Matoran. Indeed, it was no Matoran. This figure was clad in silver, green, and gold armor, carrying twin hatchets, which he was carrying around loosely in his hands. He had been humming a tune when he saw Tahu. A smile came across the green figure’s masked face. “You must be Tahu, the Toa of Fire,” the green figure said. “And what if I am?” Tahu questioned. He felt foolish, holding his weapons up like this. He had little doubt this figure was another Toa, just based on the way he looked. The golden armor also helped, but Tahu had yet to meet another Toa. He knew there were more on this island, but he had no point of reference. What if he was the only one with the armor of gold? Of course, that would be foolish. Why would only one have it? But then again, maybe it was just two of them? But again, that would be foolish. Why would only a fraction of their number be armored in gold, instead of all of them? Tahu pushed such thoughts aside, as they weren’t helpful at the moment. “Well, if you were Tahu, I would invite you to something,” the green figure said, “But in case you are not Tahu, I cannot tell you of the secret, or the secret meeting place. Because, as I said, it’s a secret. Just like my memories, and yours, assuming, you know, that you are Tahu.” “I am Tahu,” Tahu growled. “Or you’re just saying that so you can learn the secrets I hold!” the green figure exclaimed, “Perhaps I said a bit much? I should have determined your identity before enticing you into possibly lying…” “I am Tahu!” Tahu roared, unleashing a spiral of flames from his body, scorching the sand around his feet and turning it to glass. “Ok, ok,” Lewa said, backing away. He held his hands up in front of his body, “No need to go all flame happy. I believe you, I believe you…” “Now, who are you?” Tahu questioned, approaching him. For every step he took, the man took one step back. Tahu sighed and backed away, making the figure come a bit closer to the beach. “Me?” the figure asked, “Why, I am Lewa! Toa of Jungle! You haven’t heard of me? Well, no matter. That’s going to change soon enough!” “I’m an amnesiac who’s only been here for a few days,” Tahu said, “With ‘few’ being generous. How would I know you?” “Good point, good point. Sharp one, you are,” Lewa said, “But maybe not as sharp as me. But I did give you that question… Look, anyway, I am Toa Lewa, like I said. I ran into a few of the other Toa recently, and we’re all going to meet up later today. We’re a team of heroes; after all, we should all meet up and talk! I was sent to find and invite you.” “I’m busy,” Tahu said. “Busy fighting your Protector?” Lewa questioned, “I saw a red flamey guy a while back. I assume that’s him? How’s that going?” “I tried, but I had to leave,” Tahu said, “I don’t know how that was going.” Lewa nodded, “Fair enough, fair enough… Anyway! Join us! We’ll have fun discussions, we’ll trade secrets, maybe we’ll even figure out our memory problems! Maybe. Hopefully. …I doubt it. But come anyway!” Tahu sighed, “If it gets you to stop talking, I’ll come.” He quickly raised a hand, “And as long as you’re not this annoying at the meeting.” Lewa smiled, “I’m as annoying as I need to be. You can count on me!” Lewa bounded back into the jungle, leaving Tahu to shout after him, “Where is this meeting? And that’s not an answer!” “Center shrine!” the voice of Lewa yelled back, “And it is an answer!” Tahu sighed and sat down on the sand, in his ring of glass. This wasn’t going to be a good day, was it? Gali avoided a thrust of the Protector’s weapons and span around in the water, gathering energy around her trident. As soon as the Protector changed directions and came back up for her, she thrust the weapon out, unleashing concentrated jets of water from each tip, into the Protector’s body. Two jets struck the propellers, slowing the Protector. She took the chance to thrust a leg out, striking the Protector in the chest. In the water she was unable to send him flying back very far, and the damage was minimal. She had to draw the fight either out of the water, or find another way to do actual damage. She drew her trident back to her side and looked up. She shot herself upwards, out of the water. She performed a flip in the air, landing on her feet on the small island the Protector had sat upon. Soon the Protector threw itself out of the water and landed on the island as well, blaster raised. Gali rolled as a bolt of power flew towards her. As soon as she stopped rolling she thrust her free hand out, sending a whip of water from behind the Protector at the warrior’s unprotected back. The whip snapped into the Protector’s back, causing it to stumble forward. Gali leapt forward, sweeping her trident out, taking out the Protector’s legs with a sweep. As soon as she span the weapon around and poised it over the top of her enemy, a bolt of power flew from the launcher, slamming itself right into her chest. Gali was blown back by the destructive, twisted power within the blast of water. She landed on her back and groaned, looking up to see the Protector lunging forward, pointing the points of its weapon down at her. Gali rolled and lashed her leg out, catching the Protector in the side. The warrior rolled and fell back into the water. Gali wasted no time in thrusting her weapon out forward and focusing her power through it. She lifted the weapon high, causing a bubble of water to emerge from the pond, containing the Protector trapped within. It struggled, trying to break free with its weapon, but it was failing to do so. “I have you,” Gali said, “Surrender! I don’t think you can breathe underwater!” The Protector made no moves. The bubble began to shake, and then it popped. The Protector fell, firing on her with three rapid shots. Gali rolled, avoiding them. The ground exploded where each bolt struck. As soon as the Protector hit the land its knees buckled, and it took a moment to rise again. However, Gali was already whipping around, pointing her weapon at the Protector’s head. “You can control the water as well,” she said, “It was my mistake to put you in a bubble, but not to raise you that high. I figured you’d need a moment to recover. Now, surrender, or I put you down.” The Protector dropped its weapon and held its hands up. The yellow eyes of the Protector looked at Gali, and she heard a voice inside her head. You have bested me. I give up my title as guardian of Ga-Koro, and relinquish responsibility and duty to you. Do as you would with this new duty, Toa Gali. I trust you to protect the Matoran of Ga-Koro. “I will protect the Matoran of any village on this island,” she stated. The Protector began to glow a bright, shimmering blue. There was a flash of light, causing Gali to cover her eyes. When she removed her arm, the Protector was gone, and the blue glow now hung briefly around Gali’s own form. It soon faded. “I have won,” she said. She set the end of her trident into the ground and turned around, looking at the pond she had fought inside of, “This place is beautiful…I can see why the Protector chose it. Perhaps I shall make this my own place.” She lifted her trident and walked across the small island, looking out towards the rest of the path. It wasn’t very long, and up ahead she could see huts made of large leafs of various plants. She could see running water; she could hear the voices of the Ga-Matoran. “There it is. Ga-Koro,” she said softly, leaping back into the pond. She came out the other side and began to make her way along the path. This was her goal, this was her ultimate destination. She had to see Turaga Nokama. She had to inform the people that their Protector had been defeated, and that they had a new guardian. She was a Toa. She was a hero. She was a guardian now. One more thought now pervaded her mind as she made her way there. What of the meeting of Toa later on today? Was she going to be the only one to talk about progress in this battle? No, there was no way. The others would certainly tell their tales, no doubt. She was sure that she was among the last to defeat their Protectors. Review
  11. Thank you. I really wanted to touch on the Toa being uncontrollable monsters of their elements for a while, and this was the perfect place to do it. The Protectors role change was also born of some of their design elements we could see on the leaks, where they looked like they could possibly be more monstrous (and also taken some slight ideas from Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog). I liked the idea of the Toa proving themselves against those rather than just shafting those into being villagers.
  12. Chapter 3 Toa Gali followed the shoreline as far as she could. It had become less of the ocean, more of an inlet as she continued to travel, as expected. There was a lot of greenery around her, feeding on the waters, creating a nice mix of plantlife, water, and sand. It was warm and sunny, creating a paradise. Gali had no doubt that Ga-Koro would be much the same. A paradise, not even necessarily in the same way this was a paradise in its own way. It was the village she was meant to protect, a village populated by those looking to her for help, for protection. She liked Turaga Nokama. She liked the Matoran villagers. There was no doubt in her mind that this was going to be nothing but a good experience. Oh sure, there was bound to be fighting creatures that threatened the village and the people, but the Ga-Matoran seemed to be kind and respectful, and no doubt they would take well to Gali, and she would take well to them. She slowed her pace. Up ahead the stream opened up into a larger body of water, but it wasn’t a lake. It almost looked like a moat with the way it curved around. She moved towards it, seeing that it was a large ring of water, serving as both a moat, and as something larger. It was a moat, which then broke into beach. There were a few inlets separating the beach, creating a large pond. There was a small island in the center, on which sat a blue armored figure with turbines on its shoulders, wielding a harpoon and blaster-type weapon. “Hello?” Gali called, stepping forward towards the moat of water. There was thick foliage to her side, and it appeared to be the same on the other end. It appeared the only option was to cross through this pond, or fight her way through the dense jungle. “Are you one of the Ga-Matoran?” she called. The figure’s eyes slowly came to life. It looked at Gali, but said nothing. Perhaps the figure hadn’t heard? Gali saw it open its eyes and look at her, but…but why wasn’t it responding? She walked forward, to the edge of the moat. “Hello?” she called again. When there came to be no response this time, she crossed over the moat and came onto the beach segment. The figure rose to its feet after that. It looked at Gali, the glowing eyes of the figure made Gali realize that this wasn’t one of the Matoran. No. This was something else. Such power emanating from this one… What is it? It…it feels unnatural. Not evil, but…but not serene. Not good. What sort of being is this? Why is it here? Why does it block the path with its presence? “You are an intruder in this area,” the being said in a voice that was hard to discern if it was male or female. It was soft, deadly. “Turn back now, or be destroyed.” “This is the only way I know of to the village of Ga-Koro!” Gali called, keeping calm. She made no movements to indicate she was a threat, “I am the Toa of Water! I need to get to Ga-Koro!” “You are neither Matoran nor Turaga,” the being stated, “If you wish to pass, you must get past me. I am the Protector of Water, and so I shall defend Ga-Koro.” “I’m not a threat!” she called, “I’m a hero! I’m fighting for Ga-Koro’s sake! You can let me pass!” “I can let nothing pass that is not of Ga-Koro,” the Protector said, “This is your final chance to turn back.” Gali thought for a moment. There was no doubt she could return back towards the ocean and find another way through. Or maybe she could break through the jungle. She was a hero, so shy would she fight against another being that seemed to bare the same job that she did? But there was something amiss here. Was this a test from Turaga Nokama? This was the primary way to the village, and Nokama was sure to know that this was the path Gali would take. Surely this had to be a test that Nokama had set up for her. She had to pass it. She had to do her best. “Ok,” she said, “I will face you, Protector.” She thrust her hand out to the side. Something shot down the inlet and leapt out of the water, supported by a tentacle of liquid. The tentacle handed the trident to Gali, having dragged it from her landing point. The Protector said nothing. It leapt into the water and shot towards Gali like a rocket, propelled by the shoulder mounted turbines. Gali span her trident around in hand and leapt into the blue depths to meet it. Onua was on the move, going to seek out his the Protector of Earth. Turaga Whenua was kind enough to point him in the right direction and to wish him luck. He had tried to offer Onua advice, and normally Onua would have gladly taken it, especially as an amnesiac. However, Onua felt that this was his fight, and his alone, so he refused to hear it. Of course, he said it as kindly as he could. He hefted his hammer onto his shoulder as he traversed the darkness. He felt as though his arm would be sore by the time he found the Protector, and that wouldn’t bode well for him at all. But a quick burst from his Pakari helped him with that issue. The solace Onua got from this was that the Protector was below ground. Granted, he was near the exit to the surface, but still, it would be a fight in some darkness, which Onua’s eyes were perfect for. Of course, the Protector was bound to be the same, but it wasn’t going to hurt Onua’s eyes. That’s what counted. But he’d have to overcome it eventually if he was going to be a Toa hero. If he was going to protect more of this island than just his own people. If he was going to join with the other Toa and fight the Skull Spiders that Whenua had mentioned. He saw some shafts of light ahead, and made his way towards them. He slowed as he approached, seeing the black and purple armored figure standing there, drill-like club in one hand, dagger in the other. Strangely, a blaster was imbedded in the being’s chest. Onua came to a slow stop, “Are you the Protector of Earth?” he asked. He watched as the figure barely moved, and then slowly turned his head, taking Onua in. “You do not come from the usual direction,” the Protector responded, taking steps towards Onua, “Normally I stop threats coming towards the village. Not leaving them. But this is my duty.” “I am no threat,” Onua said, “But I must fight you.” “Threat or no, you will be crushed here,” the Protector told him. Onua lifted his hammer out into both hands, holding it firm before his body. He stood unmoving, a strong, fierce warrior right now. The scholar, the learner, he was gone. No, now all that remained was a mind dedicated to combat. A body built to fight. A mask power to crush this foe with. Onua was ready, but what he was becoming scared him. But this was his duty, on the way to his destiny. He had to do this. He moved forward, hefting the weapon overhead with one arm. With a mighty show of force, he swung the hammer down at the Protector’s head. Pohatu slowed to a stop, a trail of dust behind him. It came around, enveloping him, but he shook his head. “Ok, better watch it next time. It really kills the entrance. Don’t you think?” he asked. The Protector of Stone stood there without saying a word. He was a brown and silver figure, wielding a dual pronged spear-like weapon, his blaster mounted on the middle of it, between the two blades. “I mean, I could have sped up, stopped short, and then entered your area while making a proper, grand entrance worthy of a Toa. But instead of that, I try to speed in, be cool by just kind of appearing, but this cloud of dust from the desert covers me, and it’s not cool at all. But you don’t care about the cool factor at all. You just want to fight me since I came in here.” The Protector said nothing. The silence was eerie. “Ok, not one for words, got it. Well, I’m Toa Pohatu! Toa of Stone! I’ll be your challenger this afternoon.” The Protector thrust the end of his weapon into the desert ground, kicking up dust around the weapon. It took a few steps towards Pohatu, shaking his head, “You are a fool to challenge me of your own accord. I give you one chance to leave my perimeter, or I shall crush you.” “I can’t do that. I’m a Toa, and this is my job,” Pohatu said, “I have to prove myself to the people of Po-Koro! I have to defeat you. Of course, you’re small, and I’m bigger, faster, and I’m sure I’m stronger. This doesn’t feel like as much of a challenge as I figured it would be. But let’s get this over with.” “You’re cocky,” the figure said, “I don’t like that. Most enemies I face are Rahi. Animals that just do as they wish, no real thoughts in their mind. And of course, no conversation. I deter them, and I rest. But you? You speak, and every word makes me want to break your body with my weapon. I want to crush you so badly.” “It’s not happening,” Pohatu said, “I’m the one who will safeguard the people here. You stay here, somewhat near the village, and anything that comes this way is stopped. But there are other entrances! Other paths to the village! You protect only one of them, and even then, only a small fraction of it. As a Toa, I will properly guard the Matoran and the village.” “If that is your duty, that is your duty,” the Protector said, “I only do my duty, as you do yours.” The Protector lifted the weapon and directed it at Pohatu, “Come. The time for talk is over.” “I couldn’t agree more,” Pohatu said, lifting both of his boomerangs up. Lewa leapt from tree branch to tree branch. This was his home, among the trees, among the greenery. He felt that with each step he was making a connection, although he did feel a bit bad about putting his weight on them. But he tried to be light of step to make up for it. Everything here was alive, and he had power over it, but that didn’t mean he could be disrespectful. He stopped and looked out ahead. The trees formed a large ring, the branches even refusing to enter from above. It was just grass, just emptiness, except for a green and yellow armored figure. He wielded a blaster weapon with twin blades protruding from it, crackling with power. The figure’s yellow eyes shifted upwards, taking the Toa of Jungle in. Lewa had not yet entered the ring, and so the figure had no interest. Lewa took a breath and made sure his twin axes were with him. He took a leap into the ring and rolled, coming up onto his knee just in front of the figure. Lewa flashed a roguish smile, “You must be the Protector. You’re shorter than I thought you’d be.” “And you’re more foolish than I thought any could be,” the Protector responded, “Those who face me are either mindless beasts, or those with malice. You’re a fool looking for a fight.” “I’m a fool looking to be recognized as a hero,” Lewa corrected, “Wait, that didn’t come out right…” The Protector watched him for a moment, and then gave no warning. Power flashed from his blaster as a green bolt of energy flew, smashing straight into Lewa’s torso, throwing the Toa of Jungle back. He hit the ground hard and rolled away, a scorch mark covering where he was struck. Lewa groaned on the ground. He slowly came up to his knees, but the Protector was right in front of him, slashing him across the chest with his blade. Lewa rolled and came to his feet much faster this time. He leapt back, avoiding another bolt from the Protector’s blaster. The ground exploded with power. Lewa could feel the energy of the jungle sizzling around the hole in the ground, but it was twisted, corrupt. Jungle energy was beautiful, full of life. This was taking it and condensing it into destruction. “You are no warrior of the Jungle!” Lewa shouted at the Protector. “I do not need to be. I only bend it and twist it to my needs.” The Protector lifted its weapon again, another shot charging. Lewa shouted and threw his hand forward as the blast fired. Tahu had finally decided to move inland. He knew the location of the Protector of Fire wasn’t too far from the beach, but it was still past the treeline. He was still worried about setting something ablaze. I’ve done all the practicing I can. I’m ready, I’m sure of it. The fire is mine to command, and I will command it. Tahu wasn’t worried about the fight that was to come. He had practiced enough, he knew his limitations. However, fighting against the air and fighting against an actual enemy were two entirely different things. He looked up at the sky, seeing that it was becoming dark. Perhaps he should have waited until morning, but Tahu couldn’t wait. No. He had to get this done. He had to face the Protector and embrace his destiny. As he walked he lifted his left hand up, creating a fire in his palm. The flames cast light around him, helping to guide him through the jungle, which started to block out the last rays of the sun. He looked at the flame in his palm, watching it flicker. Something was affecting it. He wasn’t doing this. Tahu stopped and looked around. There was no ring, nothing to symbolize that he had just entered the Protector of Fire’s area. The trees were lesser here, but scattered. Standing ahead of him, soaking in the last rays of sun, was the Protector. Clad in crimson and grey armor, he wielded twin fire swords, and had a launcher mounted on his shoulder. His blue eyes glowed out from beneath his red and yellow mask, glaring at Tahu. “You’ve come,” the Protector said. “You expected me?” Tahu questioned. “Unlike my brethren, I like to know what’s going on. I could feel your flames, I spoke with the Turaga. You are here to try to defeat me to claim your proper place in the village.” “Not try. I will,” Tahu told him, holding his blade out in front of his body. His left hand reached back, taking grip of the shield from his back. He drew it out in front of his body, waiting. “So, you go right into defense,” the Protector stated, “That isn’t the type of man I thought you would be.” “And what type of man did you expect me to be?” Tahu questioned. “Someone who is rash. Someone who was willing to rush headlong at me.” Tahu didn’t respond. “Oh, you are,” the Protector said. “What does that mean?” Tahu growled. “You will see. Soon, you will see.” Kopaka sat on the slopes of the icy mountain, looking out at the setting sun. He bathed in the slight warmth it provided, finding it to be a nice contrast from the cold snow all around him. Matoro had come to speak to him, but he had sent the Matoran away immediately. Kopaka needed his solitude, time to himself. He had been defeated so easily. That wasn’t like him, was it? He felt stronger than that, more skilled than that. He picked up a handful of snow and looked at it. It twisted around in his hand at his slight mental push, and then flew off away from him. He let out a small sigh. Surely he should have been able to defeat the Protector. Surely his destiny was to have made it that far. “Destiny is not my master,” Kopaka said to himself, rising to his feet. His golden armor glimmered in the last rays of sunlight. He turned and walked down the slope, towards Ko-Koro. Gali shot out of the water and twisted in the air, avoiding the tendrils of water that the Protector had unleashed upwards. She fell back into the water and thrust her hand forward, unleashing a blast of concentrated water square into the enemy’s chest. The Protector spiraled out of control with its turbines, then fired a single shot. The blast flew through the water, twisting, bending, and then it slammed headlong into Gali’s chest, throwing her out of the water. She bounced off of the small landmass the Protector had sat upon, and then fell back into the water. This one is skilled. It controls the water just as well as I do. I need a new plan, but what? Before Gali could formulate a plan, the Protector shot for her, slamming its body into hers, sending her reeling. She recovered and threw her hand forward, then she closed her fist. The water tightened around the Protector, pinning it. This was Gali’s chance. She focused the water around the tip of her trident, and then thrust it forward. The power shot forward, slamming into the Protector, breaking it out of the watery grip. However, the Protector only span around in the water and unleashed another blast. The blast twisted around and shot up behind Gali, slamming into her from behind. Air bubbles rose to the surface as air escaped her lungs when she let out her cry. She span around in the water, righting herself in time to see the Protector slamming into her and sending her farther back. She climbed to the surface and moved away from the body of water, panting, dripping wet. The Protector rose and returned to the island on which it sat. The watery being said nothing. Gali was no longer in its territory, after all. “I’ll return,” Gali said softly, moving back down the stream towards the shoreline. The Protector said nothing, giving no signs that it had even heard her. Onua panted. He was strong, he had a lot of endurance, but he wasn’t fast. This Protector was faster, and he didn’t seem to grow tired. Of course, he has yet to throw an attack. He’s wearing me down. I can’t play into his hands, but…but I shouldn’t let him know that I’m onto him. No. I have to keep attacking. If I can feign weakness and surprise him… Onua took hold of his hammer with both hands and gave a mighty swing and shout. The Protector dodged back, evading the head of the hammer. It continued to step back with each swing of Onua’s mighty weapon. Finally Onua swung and twisted his body to the side. The Protector dodged back, so Onua let go with his left hand, swung all the way around in a circle, and kept the momentum of the hammer going. The weapon struck the Protector right in the side, throwing him into the earthen wall of the cave. Onua shouted and slammed the hammer down, sending shockwaves rippling towards the purple armored entity. The Protector slammed his weapon into the ground, cancelling Onua’s shockwave with one of his own. He rose and shouted and fired a single blast from his torso blaster. It flew through the air, and then exploded, causing an eruption along the ground to race towards Onua, taking out his right leg. Onua grunted as he tried to pull himself free. He let go of his hammer, letting the mighty weapon fall. He touched his hand to the spot, forcing the crater to open again. He looked up, seeing the Protector swing its weapon down at his head. Onua shouted and caught the weapon in his hands. “Now we’re getting somewhere,” Onua grunted, using his strength to force the Protector back. His Pakari added to it, as he wasn’t willing to just rely on his own power. Not against an enemy he didn’t understand. Onua gave one more mighty shove and sent the Protector onto his back. He threw his hand out causing the hammer to be shot up from the ground by a shock, landing in his hand. He lifted the weapon high and swung it down. A blast from the Protector’s body cannon slammed into Onua’s torso, throwing him back. He shouted as his body was enveloped by a shockwave, and then slid across the ground, rolling out of the Protector’s area. “The fight is over,” the Protector said simply, leaving Onua lying there. The Protector of Stone swung his weapon low, but Pohatu jumped back, evading the low strike. It was a good thing he was so fast, otherwise he might be having issues. The Protector drew his weapon back and thrust it forward, firing another blast. Pohatu shouted and swung both boomerangs down, raising a stone wall which the blast collided with. The explosion sent the stones flying, throwing Pohatu back across the desert ground. “Perhaps you should forfeit and leave,” the Protector said, walking towards Pohatu. His weapon glowed as more bolts appeared in his weapon to replace the ones he had fired, “You are nothing compared to me. You cannot accomplish your duty at this rate.” “I…I will!” Pohatu shouted as he sat up. He came slowly to his feet and dropped his boomerangs. He threw his hands forward and clenched his fists. He drew his arms back and shot them forward, sending two spikes of stone rippling across the ground for his opponent. The Protector swung his weapon to the side, creating a stone wall which took the hits, stopping them. “You are no match for me. You are a master of your element, in theory, but I am born of it. How can you possibly stop me?” “Through persistence,” Pohatu muttered. “Persistence?” the Protector questioned. He raised his weapon high, and then it came crashing down. A shock erupted into the ground from his blaster, tearing through the ground towards Pohatu. He leapt to the side, but a stone shot out for him, slamming into his chin. Pohatu let out a shout of pain as he rolled and skipped across the ground, landing outside of the area of battle. “Never show yourself here again,” the Protector told him. Lewa didn’t even know what had happened. He was ensnared in vines, hanging over the Protector’s weapon. “Now, you can fall, or I can fire,” the Protector said, “Which is it?” “I like this option,” Lewa said, twisting himself around as much as he could, and then activating his Miru. He floated with the vines, then undid his levitation and span back around, snapping them. He thrust a hand down, sending a vine into the Protector’s face, startling him for a split second, long enough for Lewa to grab a full vine and swing away, landing outside of the Protector’s domain. “I’ll try again,” Lewa muttered, running away. Tahu screamed as his body was heated to levels beyond his comprehension. He fell to his knees before the Protector, looking up at the warrior of fire. And then he heard it. He looked up, seeing smoke rising. “Ta-Koro, right?” he muttered, coming up to his feet. He shook his head and he ran, leaving the fight. It hurt his pride to run, but there was something more important. Being a hero. Review
  13. Chapter 2 “Your Turaga speaks strangely,” Kopaka told Matoro as the two left the white-clad Turaga behind. “I wouldn’t call it ‘speaking’,” Matoro said. “It’s clicking and whistling. It’s not speaking.” “It was a figure of speech,” Kopaka responded simply as the two walked through the snow-covered village of Ko-Koro. Matoran gathered around and watched as the two passed by, amazed by the sight of the Toa in their village. Rumors had been spreading from the other villages about the appearance of beings the Turaga had called “Toa”, but thus far none of them had actually seen any of these beings, except for Matoro, whom had seen Tahu that previous night, along with Jaller. Kopaka gazed at the Matoran as he passed. Some fled into their homes, some stayed and watched, looking in awe, in fear. He looked ahead, ignoring their looks. He wasn’t one of them, and he wasn’t going to be spending a lot of time here. Not now, not yet. He had other matters to attend to. The Matoran were meant to speak of “Unity, Duty, and Destiny”, as he had been told. For now he had a duty, one given to him by the Turaga of this village, as translated by Matoro. He’d see to that, and then work on the unity part when it was over. It was going to be a while until he figured out the destiny angle, however. “Where is this being I am meant to face?” Kopaka asked his small companion. Matoro looked up at Kopaka, the smaller figure’s light blue eyes carrying a new emotion behind them. It looked to be fear. But fear over what? He was on his way to meet the Protector of Ice. The Protectors were not enemies, so why the fear? As if sensing the questions behind Kopaka’s Kanohi mask, Matoro looked away from him, “The Protector of Ice is ahead. He…sorry. The Protector is over the ridge up there,” Matoro pointed ahead, showing Kopaka the location. Kopaka’s scope began to twist and activate. He drew on the power of his Kanohi Akaku and looked ahead and through the ridge, seeing more snow, and a single figure standing within it. “It looks like a Matoran,” Kopaka commented as his scope withdrew and he disabled his Kanohi mask. “Looks aren’t everything,” Matoro told Kopaka. “You think I should fear this entity?” Kopaka asked the Matoran, “It is meant to protect the Matoran, as am I. If you can trust it, then why shouldn’t I?” “Because we trust it to protect us,” Matoro said, “You’re going to fight it.” “So you think it’s going to put up a fight that I can’t win against?” Kopaka asked, “That is not something to fear. It is a reality. Some are simply better fighters and warriors than others.” He lifted his spear and looked down at the edge, “However, I have something it does not. I have a reason to fight. A reason to win.” Matoro nodded once. “The Protectors remain in their areas. Even if our village were attacked by Rahi, it wouldn’t assist us, because nothing was happening in the Protector’s location. Even if the Protector is made of the element of ice, the village of ice is of no real concern to it.” “It sounds like a horrible defense mechanism,” Kopaka stated. “It’s all we have. We don’t know where the Protectors came from, or how to control them. We’re just happy they’re on our side.” “It doesn’t sound like they are, if they refuse to help you,” Kopaka told Matoro. Matoro shrugged, “They fight for us when they can. They don’t harm us, they don’t do anything like that. They’re our allies.” “I’m your ally,” Kopaka said, “Not some creature that will refuse to come to your aid in your hour of need.” “And you are willing?” Matoro asked. Kopaka looked at him, “You don’t even need to ask that.” The rest of the trip was made in silence as the two came up to the top of the ridge. There was a white clad figure down below, wielding a blaster-type weapon in its left hand, and a buzzsaw-type weapon in the right. It was about the size of a Matoran, and could easily be mistaken as a Ko-Matoran, if Kopaka didn’t know what it was. “You can leave now,” Kopaka told Matoro, looking down at his smaller companion, “Return to your village. I’ll come back soon enough, after I’ve defeated this being.” “Best of luck, Toa Kopaka,” Matoro told Kopaka, sliding down the ridge. He landed in soft snow below and started to run back towards Ko-Koro. Kopaka looked on ahead and slid down the ridge on the other side, landing in the zone that belonged to the Protector of Ice. The Protector’s green eyes rested on Kopaka. Kopaka froze and looked at them, shaking his head. Green eyes weren’t meant for a Ko-Matoran, proving to him that indeed, this creature wasn’t a Matoran at all. “Leave this place, or fall beneath my blade,” the Protector said in a voice as cool and cold as ice. Kopaka shook his head, “I can’t do that. I’m here to defeat you and prove myself to the Matoran of this village. I will protect them where you will not.” “And why is that?” the Protector questioned, “Should they not learn and grow on their own? Learn how to protect themselves?” “We have the power to protect them, power they lack,” Kopaka told the Protector. He pointed his spear at the Protector of Ice, “You have a long way to go before you’re a hero. You’ll never be one in the way you act.” The Protector stared at Kopaka before asking a question, “Are you a hero because that’s what legend says you are to be, or are you a hero because that’s what you want to be?” “I will be a hero because that’s the right thing to be,” Kopaka told it, “There is no better calling than protecting the weak.” “Let them fend for themselves,” the Protector said, “Let them grow.” “I’d rather not risk it,” Kopaka stated, approaching with his weapons held tightly in hand, “Now, we’re supposed to be fighting, not discussing ideologies and what it means to be a hero.” “Very well then,” the Protector stated, walking a few steps towards Kopaka, “I will not hold back. I will crush you with everything I have, and then you shall regret ever challenging me, Toa Kopaka.” “You know my name?” Kopaka questioned. “I know the legends,” the Protector stated, “Legends are rarely able to live up to what they are meant to be.” “Then let me prove you wrong,” Kopaka said, pointing his spear forward. He took a breath, looked at his smaller opponent, and then gauged the reach of the buzzsaw. He observed the blaster, and then knew what he had to do. He ran forward, drawing his spear arm back. The Protector made no move. A small jet of flame escaped from Tahu’s hand. He stared at it, then turned his hand up, as if to use the flame protruding from his palm as a torch. He looked around, making sure nothing else was ablaze. He closed his hand, extinguishing the fire. He remained situated on the beach. If things went wrong, he had the ocean at his back to help him. He didn’t want to risk losing control as he walked through the jungle, after all. He’d already accidentally lit one tree aflame, and had barely been able to control it with his powers. He wasn’t chancing it again. He sighed and lowered his hand. “I’ve been at this for hours,” he groaned, “I can create a torch. I can blast streams of fire. I can…somewhat withdraw fire into myself. Isn’t this good enough yet?” He moved over the sand towards where the Turaga had drawn the map. He crouched and observed it, trying to figure it out. He rose and turned to his left, “That way…somewhere.” He sighed and moved closer to the sea. No, it wasn’t time yet. He wasn’t going to risk going through the forest if he wasn’t sure he was ready. He knew he could control himself, but no, he needed to have absolute certainty of that for the Turaga’s sake. He didn’t want any accidents either. “I have to prove to them that I’m a hero, not a monster,” Tahu muttered, “That means staying here a bit longer and…and practicing aimlessly…,” he groaned. He held his hand out as he sat in the sand, creating a flame atop each of his fingers. Each one rose and fell in turn as he commanded. He sighed once more. Gali held her hands at her sides, causing walls of water to rise up. She touched them, then caused them to become a tube around her. She thrust her hands up, closing the tube on top. Not a drop of water fell anywhere, it was all maintained and where it was supposed to be. She lifted one hand in front of her, creating a doorway. She stepped out and turned back around, seeing that the cylinder of water was still standing there. She didn’t make any gestures this time. She merely let out thoughts. The water began to recede downwards, flattening out into the way it had been before. She nodded, “Control. I understand control,” she said, reaching her hand out. A trident rose from the sea, held by a tentacle of water. It placed the weapon in her hand and she stepped onto the beach, letting the water run down from her armor at her command. She looked at the map the Turaga had left behind, and started inland, along the shoreline. She’d be there soon enough, and she’d see to her duty as a hero. Lewa hacked at the vines as they came shooting for him. He ducked and span, hacking away at them, but that didn’t stop them. Vines didn’t feel pain, didn’t have need to stop. They kept going, so he kept hacking them until they were too short to hit him anymore. “I can see why I need control,” he said to himself as he backflipped over one of them, “If this were to happen in the village, everyone would hate me! Well…if there was anyone left to hate me…” He was doing this himself. He unleashed his power on a lot of vines and branches in his line of sight and was sending them at himself. He wanted to train and practice like this, because learning to fight might be a good idea. He took a few hits and rolled, recovering as he hacked another one away. As a series of them came at him, he wasn’t going to be able to stop them in time. He lashed out with his power instead, stopping them and spreading them around his body. “Well, there’s the elemental practice,” he said. He came to his feet and everything stopped. He sighed and held his hand out to the side, bending them in circles around his body. He let them drop to the ground around him and walked out of it, then had them follow him. “Ok, so far so good,” he said. He stopped and fell back, but was caught by a chair of vines and branches. “Firm,” he said, “Good. But at least if I’d fallen into the dirt, there’d have been nobody to see that.” He came up to his feet and nodded, “Yes. It’s working just fine. I should go to the village soon…” He sat down, but the chair was gone now. “Don’t need to mention that though…,” he muttered. He nodded, “Right, now time for another thing. Why do I have gold armor?” Pohatu had stopped wondering about the golden armor he wore and was merely standing in the desert, throwing his boomerangs and watching them come back. Once was confident with that, he’d shoot rocks in the way as they moved back towards him, either to stop them completely, or slow them enough so his hand wouldn’t hurt. He was strong, but the boomerangs came back really fast. But then again, fast was his thing. He set the boomerangs down and held his hands out, creating spikes of stone from the ground. They rose up to his head in height, and then he turned around, creating a sloped wall of stone behind himself. He took a few steps back and dashed for the two spikes he had raised. He activated the power of his Kanohi Kakama and sped for the spikes. He reached his hand out. He shifted himself, gripped a spire, and without breaking it, he let go and grabbed the next at high speed. He released it as he span around, moving towards the sloped wall of stone. He sped up the slope, then down the other side. He threw his hand out, creating another slope as well. He shot up it, then down the other side, into another slope of stone. He was practicing his speed, going as fast as he could. He was practicing his elemental control, unleashing his powers at just the right moment. He’d throw in the occasional stone spike, so that a wrong move would seriously injure him. He slid to a stop and shot both of his fists down, creating two small boulders. His feed slid into them at just the right moment to bring him to a complete stop instead of vaulting him over them. “Ok, so that worked,” Pohatu said. He looked at all the stone structures he had raised, then threw his hands out. He lowered his arms, dropping them back into the ground. He let out a sigh of relief and nodded, “Ok.” He shot his fist out, causing stones to rise beneath the boomerangs, throwing the twin weapons into the air. He had arced them just right to land back in his hands. “So far so good.” Onua sat in a meditative position, his hammer lying across his lap. He had already found control rather quickly, and had few issues with it. He kept his eyes closed, lifting small mounds of earth in a circle around him. A mound would rise, then another, then the first would fall, and so on. He picked up speed, so it looked as if there was a moving lump of earth. He sped up and slowed down the speed without looking at it. He knew it was working, and didn’t know what else to do with his time, for now. He opened his eyes and rose to his feet as it kept going. He lifted the hammer up, lifting it to his shoulder. He stepped over the lump of earth that was before him, and kept it going while he walked away. He raised a mound before his body while the lump continued indefinitely. He was trying to split his control while focusing on his mask. He lifted his hammer high and shouted, slamming the weapon into the mound he rose. He smashed through it and raised another one behind him. He twisted and smashed through it, and then into another one, all while keeping his initial control up. Onua slammed the end of his hammer into the ground, “Um…I think that’s all I can do,” he murmured. He sighed, “I should go find the village and my Turaga.” He lifted the hammer to his shoulder and looked around the dark cavern, “So desolate. Is this entire place like this? No, it can’t be.” He started off into the darkness of the cave, his eyes glowing and showing the way. Kopaka let out a breath as he tightened the grip on the shaft of his spear. He lifted his shield up in front of himself and eyed the Protector of Ice. He slowly began to circle around the warrior, which showed no signs of being weary, unlike Kopaka. “What are you?” Kopaka hissed. The Protector didn’t speak. It lifted the blaster weapon it carried and fired an icy blue blast of energy. Kopaka lifted his shield but staggered back from the impact. “This is the same power I wield. Why should it be so effective against me?” he hissed. “You are a warrior of snow, ice and cold. I am an entity of it. My powers are beyond anything you can do!” “Oh, are they?” Kopaka questioned. He threw his arms out to the side, took a breath, and threw both arms forward with a shout. The snow around them on the ground began to stir. The snow on the slopes around and above them began to shift. It all came crashing forward, focused on the single point of the Protector of Ice. Snow weighing in the tons crashed onto the Protector, covering him completely. Kopaka staggered back from the sheer force of the impact, holding his arms up to cover himself. He lowered his arms and watched, seeing a giant mountain of snow where the Protector had stood. “We’re done,” Kopaka said. He triggered the power of his Kanohi Akaku and looked through the snow. The Protector stood, breathing. He shifted his arm out, somehow moving it under all of the weight. The snow exploded away, raining up and outwards all around its body. The Protector walked towards Kopaka, the buzzsaw spinning. It said nothing. “How…how?” Kopaka shouted. “Are you losing your composure?” the Protector questioned, “I told you, I am an entity of snow and ice. You are merely a warrior, commanding it. My powers exceed yours!” “Maybe they do, but can you exceed my strength?” he questioned, lifting his spear. He ran for the Protector and swung his weapon out, using his superior reach. The entity moved back and fired a shot at him, which he took to his shield. He dug his feet in and froze them to the ground to compensate for the pushback power, then charged forward and kicked the Protector square in the chest. The Protector stumbled back a few steps, then leapt forward. He was fast, swinging the buzzsaw against Kopaka’s shield in no time. The Toa of Ice barely had the time to lift his weapon to protect himself. He staggered back, the Protector being far stronger than the being’s size implied. Kopaka shouted and swung his spear out, forcing the Protector back. He leapt forward and slammed his shield forward, but the Protector’s buzzsaw met it, keeping them locked in a stalemate. “You know that you can’t win this fight,” the Protector stated calmly, as if it were bored. Kopaka glared at it from behind his Kanohi Akaku and shouted, thrusting his spear forward. The blast from the Protector’s weapon struck it, blowing Kopaka back, landing him in the snow on the other side of their arena. Kopaka picked himself up and the snow fell from his armor. He looked at his enemy, who wasn’t moving. He scanned over the Protector with his Akaku, and then shook his head. “I could keep fighting you, but I wouldn’t be able to win. I hate to do this, but I have to retreat.” He began to back away, moving up the slope, never taking his eyes off of the Protector of Ice. “You failed, Toa,” it told him. “I didn’t fail,” Kopaka said, “As long as I have air in my lungs, I have not failed.” He rose to the top of the ridge and turned, making his retreat. The Protector watched him go, and then resumed its eternal vigilance, waiting for the next foolish foe to challenge it. Onua made his way over to the underground village of Onu-Koro. The small earthen huts had glowing stones affixed in some of their windows. There were other, similar stones mounted in the paths in the village. The hunched figure of the Turaga approached, “Toa Onua. You’ve come,” he said, holding a bit of surprise in his voice. He hadn’t expected the Toa so soon, but Onua’s control over his powers was impressive, when he witnessed it. “I’ve learned all that I can learn,” Onua told him. He paused, “Or so I believe. That’s the thing about being amnesiac; you don’t know what you can learn, because you don’t know what you’ve always known. Or what you have to relearn.” Whenua nodded, “Yes, there is logic in your words.” He gestured out to the village, “Welcome to Onu-Koro. This will be your home, for a time.” “For a time?” Onua questioned. Why only for a time? Was this not to be his permanent home, as the Protector of this place? Whenua nodded, “Do not fear my words,” Whenua stated, “Before you can become a permanent resident, and become our guardian, you must accomplish a task. A task that will take you from here for a time.” “And what task is this?” Onua asked. “You must defeat the Protector of Earth. An entity who is made of your very element. Defeating it will prove your power to us all, and then you will be allowed permanent residence here. For the time being, you can stay here and rest, until you choose to fight.” Onua nodded once, thoughtfully. He didn’t know anything about this Protector, nor how to approach it. The only combat experience he had was swinging his hammer at the mounds of earth, and using his pure strength to get through other mounds. An actual fight? “I’ll need time to prepare,” Onua told the Turaga, “I hope that is alright.” “Take all the time you need,” the Turaga said, “Within reason, of course. You must fight the Protector within a few days, lest you get too comfortable.” “And if that happens?” Onua asked. He already knew the answer. He’d have no desire to fight, and would push it off as long as he could. When he would finally be forced to go, he’d have no combat experience, it would all have withered away from him. Or something like that. “You know the answer,” the Turaga told him, “I’m trying to help you as best I can, and that’s how I can.” Onua nodded, “Ok then. I don’t know much about fighting, or about this Protector figure, but I’m ready. Give me a few hours to prepare, and I’ll go and do this right away.” “You don’t want to spend more time getting ready?” “I’ve had who knows how long to get ready,” Onua said, tapping his head, “I may not remember, but I’m certain I’m ready, somewhere in my body, in my soul.” Whenua nodded, “Very well then. I wish you luck in your upcoming battle, Toa Onua.” Crimson eyes rested behind the treeline, watching the beach. They watched Toa Tahu practicing his fire powers, and when he got bored, practicing his swordplay. They slowly slunk away, needing to report this development. The Toa here wasn’t ready, nor did he appear that he would be for some time. It was very nearly the time to strike. The Skull Spiders skittered away, linking up with Spiders elsewhere. The network of Spiders began to relay information back and forth about the presence of these six new factors on the island. A plan was forming. A plan for combat, a plan for war. A pre-emptive strike. The villages were without Protectors, for now. The Matoran would probably be too busy with the knowledge of the Toa. The Toa were too inexperienced to help them, and would probably do more harm than good. Yes. This was going to be the perfect time to strike. Soon the Skull Spiders were amassing near Ta-Koro, knowing that even if Tahu came, the village floating above the lava was doomed. Soon it would be time to strike. In a few hours, the guards would change shifts. Then their weakness would be there, and they would fall to their demise. Review
  14. Chapter 1 Fire crackled on the beach, but no wood burned to support the blaze. Three smaller figures stood on the beach, staying well clear of the blaze. The fire reflected off of their crimson and yellow armors. Even being accustomed to the heat, this was almost too much for them to bear. As soon as the heat advanced, they were forced to move back. Fear stood in their eyes. The center figure – a Matoran named Jaller – tried not to shake, tried to remain standing steadily, but fear overtook him. “I can jump across the rivers of lava, I can fight the Skull Spiders with a staff and shield, I can stand in the presence of the Protector of Fire without fear…but this…” “It’s ok…,” one of his companions said softly as he fell to his knees, “You don’t have to hide your fear…no sane man can remain brave in the face of this, not…not even the Captain of the Ta-Koro Guard.” Jaller looked down at the sand. He looked up with a fire in his eyes, but he knew in no way could it match the flames of this mysterious figure who stood there, on fire on the beach. He took two steps forward and lifted his staff and shield, “I am the Captain of the Guard of Ta-Koro! Answer now! Who are you?” The crimson and gold armored figure remained crouched on the beach, flames wrapped around his body. He turned his yellow masked face up, looking at Jaller from behind a Kanohi Hau. The figure rose to his full height, glass shattering off of his leg as he drew it out of the sand. He took one step forward, cracking the glass that had been formed from the contact of his flames and the sand. The flames erupted out from his body, but didn’t quite reach the Matoran. The two backed away in fear, while Jaller stood his ground. His breathing hastened, but he stood firm and didn’t move. The tall figure took one more step, and then stopped. Jaller looked back to see a hunched figure approaching from the woods, making his way onto the beach. “Turaga Vakama!” he exclaimed, looking between the Turaga and the flaming figure. The man eyed the Turaga, but made no moves, he stood still. “I am Turaga Vakama,” Vakama stated, leaning heavily on his staff, “And you…,” he pointed a finger at the figure, “I know who you are.” “Who am I?” the voice of the flaming figure questioned, holding a slightly gruff edge to it. “You are a Toa,” Vakama stated, drawing in the sand with his staff. He looked at the sand, then looked back at the Toa, “Toa Tahu, as the legend says.” “Tahu…,” the figure said, as if he didn’t know his own name. “Toa…,” his eyes narrowed, “What is a ‘Toa’?” he questioned. “Yes, Turaga,” Jaller said, holding his staff and shield up yet, “What’s a ‘Toa’?” “There is much to be told,” Vakama told the Matoran, turning his back on Tahu. He thrust his staff out, pointing it back to where he had drawn in the sand, “You are a fire elemental, Toa Tahu. You cannot control all of the raw power that courses through you, however. That is clear to anyone.” Tahu didn’t speak. “A Toa is a hero,” Vakama stated simply. He turned to look back at Tahu, “Use the map I drew in the sand to find us, but only when you learn to control your power. You are no hero as you are. You’re nothing more than a monster. Jaller, come,” Vakama said, “Kapura, Nuhrii, we have no business here. We have no business with the Toa. Not until he learns control.” His eyes pierced to Tahu’s very core. “I fear that we have a long wait in store.” Jaller sat on a log with his staff and shield resting beside him. He was a decent distance inland from the beach, but still could he see the flames through the foliage and trees. He knew what this part of the island felt like at night, and knew that right now it was hotter than it should be. “You’re still watching him?” a voice behind him asked. Jaller turned his head and nodded once, “Yeah…” He looked back at the beach, “Turaga Vakama called him a hero. I don’t know how he can be one if he can’t control his powers.” The white armored figure sat beside him on the log, “Turaga Nuju has told me nothing of any ‘Toa’,” he stated, “I do have access to legends, but…but I don’t recall ever reading about anything like this.” “Matoro, you’re a thinker,” Jaller said, looking to the other Matoran, “So tell me. What do you think?” “About this ‘Toa’?” Matoro asked. “Well, what else?” Jaller questioned. “Well,” Matoro started, “You see, I could answer about the idea of the ‘Toa’ in general,” he commented, “Or maybe I could answer about his uncontrolled fire powers. Or the lack of legends. Or…” “I get it,” Jaller said, “He’s supposed to be a hero, but he can’t control himself. Let’s start there.” Matoro sighed and sat in silence for a few moments. He finally spoke, “It’s too hot here.” “It wouldn’t be if he could control it,” Jaller said. He touched a leaf at his side, “I’m almost surprised he hasn’t become so hot that he started setting this forest on fire.” “Let us just hope that doesn’t become a possibility,” Matoro stated. “Yes, let us,” Jaller said, letting go of the leaf. “Jaller, when you became the Captain of the Ta-Koro Guard, do you remember how nervous you were? You weren’t sure if you were doing the right thing. You weren’t sure if you could be a leader, if anyone would listen to you. You weren’t sure if you could fight the Skull Spiders….” “Yeah, I remember,” Jaller said. “Speaking of which, why are you here without an escort?” “Because I knew you’d be here alone,” Matoro said, “And I know you can protect me.” “And if you had been set upon before making it here?” Jaller asked. “Turaga Vakama was in Ko-Koro today,” Matoro said, “He spoke to Turaga Nuju, so…he spoke with me as well, since I had to translate Turaga Nuju’s responses. He stated that there had been no Spiders spotted this entire day, according to the Ta-Matoran. That includes everything in this area. Do you not think it strange, that the Skull Spiders don’t investigate this new figure? Especially one brimming with so much power?” “I guess that is strange,” Jaller said. “If I had to guess, they won’t come near him,” Matoro said, “Or they’re reporting back, or were recalled.” Jaller nodded, “By whoever they serve.” It was an unpopular theory, that the spiders had a master. They were seen as Rahi by some, just beasts that plagued the island. Others figured they had to have a master who was pulling the strings and organizing them. The Matoran who didn’t believe in this theory often cited the fear that there was in fact something strong enough to command them. It was too frightening for them. Jaller believed they served someone, or something, else. “I imagine you can’t tell me what the Turagas spoke of,” Jaller said. Matoro shook his head, “I am sworn to secrecy,” Matoro stated. “Answer this, at least. If you can,” Jaller said, “Did the Turaga mention anything else about the Toa? Or just that Toa Tahu had arrived?” Matoro sat silently, “I can’t speak of it.” “Matoro!” “I’m sorry my friend, but…but I can’t. No more than you can abandon your post or leave your people as the Captain of the Guard.” Jaller nodded, “I’m sorry I snapped at you…,” he said. He sighed and looked back at Tahu, “He’s been burning like that for hours…” “Let us just hope he gains control soon,” Matoro said, “Who knows what could happen if he walks around unchecked?” Tahu looked up at the blue sky. For a day and night he had been burning, and it was still going. Drops of rain began to fall, but as soon as the water touched his flames, it hissed angrily and dissolved. He looked around the beach, realizing that it wasn’t rain. It was the sea. The sea was writhing angrily behind him and being launched into the air. Something was causing the waters to become twisted and enraged, but what? Up the coast on the eastern side of the island, north of where Tahu had landed, a blue armored figure floated in the ocean, not too far out from land. Blue armored Matoran were gathering and shouting, pointing at the figure, but none did anything. The blue and gold armored warrior in the waters had her arms out to her sides. Her eyes were aglow with power. The water cracked and rushed around her, moving angrily. Her power extended greatly down both sides, even reaching Tahu’s location. All she knew was that there was a large fire to the south, and could feel her powers reaching it. A single blue figure moved into the waters. The Matoran behind her gasped, but she ignored them. “Turaga Nokama, it’s dangerous!” one called, moving as close to the waters as she dared. The Turaga looked back and shook her head slowly, “I know the risks,” she said, “But child, this is Toa Gali. I must go onwards.” She turned back and walked farther into the water. Toa Gali looked at Nokama, parting the water between them so that the Turaga wouldn’t drown or be forced to swim. Nokama stood before Gali and placed the end of her staff in the mud, “You are Toa Gali,” she said simply. “Toa…Gali…,” Gali repeated softly. “I feared you may not have a memory,” Nokama stated, “But it is fine. Your past is yours, and we need not know it. But it would seem you also lost your knowledge on elemental control.” Gali lifted one hand into the air and suddenly the tumultuous ocean calmed. The path remained, but otherwise all was as it should be. “I stand corrected,” Nokama stated simply, “You do have control.” Gali nodded once, “I can feel it in my core, so much power, coursing through me. It wants to escape; it wants to flow freely, like the ocean we stand in, and for a time I allowed it. But now I close it, I close my body so as to keep it contained and release it at my will. This power is not my master; I am the master of it.” Nokama smiled behind her mask and gave a single nod to Toa Gali, “Congratulations. That is a lesson that some would fail to grasp, but not you.” “Not I,” she agreed. Nokama turned away from Gali and walked back towards the beach. She walked into the sand and walked past the Ga-Matoran whom had come to watch the arrival of the Toa of Water. Nobody uttered a word. “I believe your name was Turaga Nokama?” Gali called. Nokama turned back to her and gave her a single nod, “Yes, child, it is.” “What am I to do?” Gali asked, “What is my purpose for being here? What should I do with myself?” “I’m afraid that that’s something you must answer for yourself,” Nokama told her, “There is evil in this island, but there is evil anywhere. Some evils are born of a heart’s dark desires, while other evils are natural and cannot always be stopped. “What evil lies on this island could be either one. You are a Toa. You are a hero. It is your job to stop evil and protect the powerless and the weak. Toa Gali, does that answer your question?” Gali nodded as the waters closed the passage she had created for Nokama. “But what are the evils on this island? What should I try to stop?” “That is something you will learn in time,” Nokama told her, “Spend time here, alone. Reflect in peace, and sooner or later, the darkness will come to you.” “And if I can’t tell if it’s dark, or just misunderstood?” Gali questioned. Nokama continued to walk, urging the Matoran to come with her. “That is a question that has plagued many, Toa Gali. It is a question that few have learned yet how to answer. It is a question I cannot answer, even at this stage in my life.” Kongu’s eyes narrowed. His companion, Tamaru, stood at his side, looking with wide eyes. Kongu guessed that this was their difference. He was serious in the times of crisis and need, while Tamaru was a bit more cheerful and not quite as worried. “Who knows what it is?” Tamaru questioned with a more chipper attitude, “For all we know it’s a natural progression of the forest’s life cycle.” Kongu turned his head to Tamaru, “There’s a twisting…,” he paused, trying to find the right word, “…egg…shell…thing! Made of twisted branches, vines and thorns. There’s no way that’s natural.” “Again, how do you know?” Tamaru questioned, “You’re the leader of the Gukko Force. Your life is trying to fly above the forests, not inside of them, like the rest of us.” “Keep in mind, the jungles are filled with Skull Spiders,” Kongu said, “The sky? Not so much. Nothing to worry about up there.” “Except falling off and having a painful landing,” Tamaru replied with a surprising amount of positivity. Kongu sighed and drew the small knife he carried. He hesitantly approached the nest…egg…thing. Tamaru followed after a few steps, scrambling for something. He crouched down and picked up a rock in his green armored hand and approached slowly behind Kongu. The two Le-Matoran stopped. Vines began to slither towards them. Kongu shouted and rammed his knife into one of them, but it didn’t do much. Tamaru shouted and smashed his rock into one, but it wrapped around his wrist and pulled him to the ground. “Kongu!” Tamaru called as he was dragged towards the nest. “Tamaru!” Kongu called, running after him. He ducked under a fine and then lifted his knife to slash at the vine gripping his friend, but a branch came out of nowhere, smacking him in the masked face. He called out and fell onto his back while Tamaru was dragged to the nest. The twisting vines and branches slowly opened and Tamaru shouted as he was dragged inside. Kongu picked himself up and ran at the nest, slamming on it with his fist. He shouted Tamaru’s name, but nothing happened. “Let me in!” Kongu shouted, “I don’t know what you are, but if you want one of us, then take me! He’s innocent! I’m the soldier, not him!” There was a slight shaking. Kongu backed away as the nest began to slowly grate open. He could see Tamaru sitting there on the ground, laughing as he spoke. “Yeah, don’t mind him, he thinks he’s more important than he really is.” “Oh no, everyone is important in their own way,” a new voice said, then laughed, “At least…I think? Don’t lose your memory, Tamaru. It’s not fun.” “I’d imagine not,” Tamaru laughed. “What…what’s going on here?” Kongu questioned in a measured tone, hand still on his weapon. Tamaru smiled, “This is…well, he doesn’t remember his name. But he can control the jungle, apparently.” The figure was clad in primarily green armor, with some silver and gold as well. He had two hatchets, but they sat on the ground at his side. He hopped to his feet and walked forward, carrying a chipper tone similar to Tamaru’s. “My name is…well, I’ll get back to you. I’m…again, let me get back to you. Um…I guess all I can tell you is that I can control the jungle, but you can see that. I don’t know how, I don’t know what my purpose is, but…,” he paused, “I think that’s about it.” “Yeah…,” Kongu said, not quite believing him. There was this tall, armored warrior standing here, trying to convince him that he had complete amnesia, and could control the jungle. Kongu and Tamaru were of the Le-Matoran, the tribe of the Jungle, but they knew that nobody could control it. That was ridiculous. If anything, it was a fairytale told to Matoran that there was once a Matoran of their own kind who set out to become a hero, and who gained the power to control the element associated with him. But it was a legend, nothing more. If nothing else, at least his weapons weren’t on hand. But what were twin hatchets to someone who could manipulate the very jungle around them? “You have nothing to fear,” the large figure stated, “You can put down your knife. Or…or keep it, if it makes you feel better. But I’m not here to harm you.” “What are you here for then?” Kongu questioned. “…good question…,” he muttered. “A question I may be able to shed some light upon,” a voice commented from above. They looked up, seeing an elderly green figure, staff in hand. He was hacking away at vines that constricted him to a tree branch. “T…Turaga Matau?” Kongu questioned. The Turaga nodded, “His name is Toa Lewa. When I tried to approach, this happened. But power like yours takes time to master, so I’m not angry. Or well, I won’t be, if you make sure to catch me on my way down.” “Um…yeah,” Lewa said. As Matau cut the last vine, more vines came up to help slowly lower him to the ground. Matau sighed in relief and stepped on solid ground. “Turaga Matau, leader of the Le-Matoran,” Matau told Lewa, “And you are a Toa. A Toa who can’t control his power, but that’s ok. For now. You’ll learn. Learning always comes later.” “What if he’s a poor student?” Tamaru questioned as he walked over. “Let us hope he is not,” Matau said, “For the fate of the island rests partially on him.” “Um…ok?” Lewa said. “In time you shall learn,” Matau said, “But on your own. Kongu, Tamaru!” he called, walking away, “Reflect on your own, Toa.” As the three left, Lewa stood there, “Um…what’s a Toa?” A brown, gold and gray armored figure raced through the desert, moving like a blur. Behind him came jagged stones coming up from the ground, racing to crush anything. Racing to crush him, if they caught up. The blur stopped and switched directions as rocks shot up in front of him. Where was he supposed to go? He saw a few small figures up ahead, running and scrambling. He went around them in a circle to avoid hitting them, but boxed them in with his stones instead. He finally tripped over something and hit the ground hard. As the stones raced forward to meet him, he shouted and thrust his arm forward, stopping the stones before they hit him. He panted hard, “H…how…?” He came slowly to his feet and unlimbered the twin giant boomerangs from his back. He looked at them and looked at the rocks. He swung one, cracking the rock in half. “I’m not sure how that worked, but I’ll take it,” he said. The two figures climbed out of the rocks and watched him, then ran the other way. “Hey!” he called, but they kept running. He sighed, “I guess I’d better walk…” As he walked through the desert he began to slow when he saw others in brown armor, small, like the two he had met earlier. They looked at him and hid behind boulders. “I’m friendly!” he said, looking around, but he kept walking. No sense in scaring them… He finally made his way towards a small village and slowed down when he saw one approaching. “Finally, someone willing to talk to me.” The figure stopped and rested the end of his large hammer in the sand. “Toa Pohatu,” he said, “I am Turaga Onewa. I lead the village of Po-Koro, which is the village at my back.” “May I enter?” Pohatu asked, “The desert doesn’t offer much.” Onewa shook his head, “I cannot allow it.” He pointed his hammer at Pohatu, “Behind you.” Pohatu span around, seeing rocks racing towards him. He shouted and slashed them down with his boomerangs. He turned back, “What’s going on?” he questioned. “You cannot control your own powers,” the Turaga told him, “You are nothing but a liability at the moment. You must learn control. A Toa is meant to be a hero. Become a hero, not a monster.” “I…I’ll do my best, Turaga Onewa,” Pohatu said, “I’ll prove myself.” “I hope you can,” Onewa said, returning to the village with the Matoran. Pohatu stood there, then sped into the desert. The black armored claws smashed against the thickly packed wall of earth. His green eyes shone in the dark. He supposed he was meant to live underground, if his eyes were this good. He started to fear what the surface might be like. Wait. Surface? How did he know about the surface? Were memories coming back, or was that one that just never got buried or forgotten? He could worry about it later. He punched again and shouted, making a dent in the earth. It slid, so he punched that spot again, seeing some dim light shining through. He drew both fists back and shouted. New strength coursed through his muscles, strength he hadn’t felt before. He smashed clean through it and stepped out from the dome of earth he had been trapped within. As soon as he took a few steps, another dome of earth sprang up from the ground around him. He let out a breath and focused, resting his hand on the sloped wall of earth. There had to be an easier way to do this. He closed his eyes. Think. Think. Think. He felt it shifting under his hand. He opened his eyes and watched as it sank back into the ground. He looked around at the cavern around himself, seeing the dome from before sinking back into the ground as well. “Congratulations,” a voice told him. The figure turned to see a shorter man in black armor standing there, drill-like staff in hand. “Who are you?” the tall figure questioned. “I’m sure you’d much rather know your own name first. Going around without a name can’t be fun,” he said. “No, it’s not,” the tall figure said, “But how do you know my name?” “Because I look to the past. To legends. Of course, predictions of the future are Turaga Nuju’s department, but I still listen. You are Toa Onua, the Toa of Earth. And I see that you have brought your powers under control rather quickly.” “I guess I have,” Onua said, “It wasn’t hard to figure out, after I focused.” “Focus. Always something to remember,” the short figure said, “My name is Turaga Whenua. Onua…there is much for you to discover and learn. I will do my best to guide you, but first you must do something.” “What is that?” Onua questioned. “You must prove yourself a hero.” The snowy mountains of Ko-Wahi stood white against a blue sky. No clouds hung in the sky, and there was an unusual heat, but still not enough to melt the snow. The Matoran named Matoro ran through the snow, trying to catch his breath. There were no Skull Spiders in Ko-Wahi, due to the cold. He could be out here on his own and feel rather safe. Yes, there were Rahi who were native to this area, and some where hostile, but they were easy enough to avoid, and they were few in number. Matoro felt rather safe. He stopped suddenly. He saw footprints in the snow. He crouched and looked at them. There were no footprints nearby, just a random placement right here. An origin in the middle of the mountain. “What’s going on?” he muttered. He looked around, “There was no snowstorm that could have covered them,” he said. “What did this?” He looked up ahead and saw a rush of snow coming for him. He threw his arms up as it hit him, throwing him onto his back. He struggled, but the snowstorm kept coming. Then he saw something moving through the snow. A white hand shot down and grabbed him. He saw a tall figure in white. Instantly a name came to him. “Toa Kopaka…” The white figure said nothing. He just ran, clad in white and gold armor. He had a shield in his left hand, and a spear on his back, presumably for his right hand, the hand currently gripping Matoro. “Hold tight,” Kopaka said in his cold tone. He jumped, plunging down between two sides of the mountain. The two fell, feeling the wind rushing around them. Kopaka shouted and threw his shield straight down. He threw his hand down after it, pulling the snowstorm around them and shooting it straight down. It built up as snow fell from the mountains around them, creating a soft landing for the two of them. They plunged into the snow and slowly came up. Matoro clamored back, away from Kopaka, as the taller figure stood to his full height, weapons in both of his hands. He looked up, analyzing with his scope. He thrust his spear up, and soon a winged Rahi fell, frozen in ice. “So, my name is Toa Kopaka,” he said simply, turning to look down at the Matoran, “Now, tell me more, small one. Start with why I can’t remember anything, if you wouldn’t mind.” Review
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