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  1. I see them as Matoran buddies and as Takua becomes Takanuva, and then a year later (not counting the flashbacks years, because thats what they are, flashbacks)Jaller becomes a Toa Inika, and then a Toa Mahri. And Takanuv returns in 2008 as the "Shadow Takanuva" Imagine how cute it would be if they both met eachother, now both as Toa.
  2. My entry for the BZPower Fanfic Exchange; this story is for ArchAngelleofJustice, who wanted to read about why Jaller and Hahli stopped flirting with each other between 2003 and 2006 (and also about Nobua, who gets a cameo later on - though I had to look up who he was first!). I can't help but wonder if, perhaps, the prompt was supposed to inspire a more jokey story rather than something heavily serious - but the idea most appealed to me as a way to delve deeper into Jaller and Hahli's thoughts and mindsets, which is something I love doing. Plus, there was one particular key thing that I could imagine having a big effect on the two of them and, well... the idea spiralled from there. So even if it's not quite what you were anticipating, ArchAngelle, I hope you enjoy it anyway! ^^ ----- Additional note - sorry if my writing is a bit clumsy; I'm more used to writing individual roleplay posts than whole stories, and my style maybe didn't adapt as neatly as I'd like. That said, it was definitely a fun experience; thanks for giving me a chance to play around in the heads of some of my favourite Matoran! ----- “I don’t much like this, Hahli.” The Ga-Matoran who he addressed raised a single, expressive eyebrow. The statement was so vague, she couldn’t help but think, that Jaller could be referring to just about anything; and yet, she had a feeling that she could get it in one guess if she tried. She didn’t even need to know him as well as she did; the Captain of the Guard had been on edge ever since the Kolhii tournament had wrapped up… and it didn’t take a genius to trace it all back to the mask that sat, now, carefully propped up on his desk. Its glow had dimmed; while the magnificent golden finish still caught the flickering torchlight, it no longer cast out the bright ray that had enveloped Jaller at the stadium, or even the warm glow it had seemed to cast as the Turaga had pored over it. Now it just looked as if it were… a mask like any other. Amazing to think that it held such power, such hope… And even more amazing, that it was the Matoran who she loved so much who had been chosen by it. Not that Hahli couldn’t see why; brave, smart, determined… why wouldn’t it chose him? “I dunno… for a mask, it sure has good taste.” Her tone was light, teasing… just as it always was around Jaller. That was just the kind of relationship they had; while other Matoran might tire of a friendship (or something more) built around joking and flirting, Hahli wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Jaller was too busy for a full romantic commitment; and living on opposite sides of the island made it impractical – though evidently not impossible, according to Macku – to keep up anything of that kind long-term. In contrast, this? The blend of light-heartedness and intimacy… it suited them both. Which was why, for a moment, she was surprised when Jaller whirled on her, his expression taught and even… dare she think angry? He didn’t immediately speak, but his brows were lowered in a glare that gave Hahli pause. Whatever this was, it really was troubling him; and Hahli quickly dropped the teasing attitude to really take stock of her partner’s mood. She’d thought, perhaps naturally, that Jaller was just feeling a bit overwhelmed with the responsibility of it all. This was, after all, a different kind of task than he was used to; hunting all over the island for a mysterious Seventh Toa, rather than having a specific enemy to face, to plan and strategize against… she had imagined he’d just felt like he was in over his head, but would quickly come to terms with it. That was, after all, the Jaller she knew. This, though, was… more than that. Something was genuinely bothering him; and if there was any time to drop the joking and teasing that characterised most of their interactions, it was now. Hopping up from the bed, she crossed to Jaller, took his scowling face gently in blue-armoured hands. “Do you ever…” Jaller shook his head a little, his scowl softening into an expression of… what? Concern? Resignation? He just looked so put-upon by this that Hahli really felt for him. She might not have understood, but that didn’t matter; she would support him anyway. A few moments later, Jaller continued. “Ever feel like you were chosen for something that wasn’t meant for you?” He held up a hand to forestall her immediate answer, clearly more thinking aloud than actually asking anything. “I know a thing or two about Duty; it is the virtue of Ta-Koro, and all. But this isn’t my…” He hesitated, seeming to be on the fence about giving voice to something specific; and then changed his mind, correcting himself and looking away from her. “I mean, doesn’t feel like it’s mine. I know where my Duty lies, and this…” “Maybe Duty isn’t that simple?” Taking his hand, Hahli led the captain back over to his bed. Jaller looked, for just a moment, like he wanted to protest; then simply allowed her. The two Matoran sat there, side by side; Hahli swinging her legs slightly where they overhung the edge, while Jaller remained stiff-backed and upright. When the silence dragged without him answering her, Hahli tried again. “I know it’s not quite the same; but I had a similar feeling when the Turaga chose me for the Kolhii team. I’d never even played Kolhii before, I felt like completely the wrong choice… everyone was really supportive, even Kotu, but I still felt like I was completely the wrong choice.” Despite himself, that got a snort out of Jaller. “Tell that to the fact you kicked our butts.” “Exactly.” Undeterred, Hahli gave him a playful jab in the ribs, then pressed on. “See what I mean? It felt so wrong at first, but clearly it was the right choice. That’s gonna be the case for you too, you’ll see.” “But I’m not--!” Jaller cut himself off, swallowing his outburst with what looked like great difficulty. There was, evidently, something that he wanted to say… and, just as clearly, he didn’t feel it was right or appropriate to do so, and as he looked away from her Hahli felt a slight pang of regret in her heart. Didn’t he fully trust her? Was this the price for the unserious nature of their relationship? “It’ll be okay; you know that, right? We still have each other… nothing’s going to change that, Jaller. I promise.” Finally, she sensed some of the tension starting to leave the Ta-Matoran’s muscles. He didn’t say anything more; but the way he leant back against her, allowing her to support him for a little while instead of relying only upon himself, told Hahli that she’d managed to get through to him. Beneath the teasing, the joking, there was something very genuine between them; and though the moments when it shone through were rare, they were also very precious. *** The morning dawned bright and surprisingly clear; for once, the ever-present smoke that rose from the fortress of fire seemed thin, allowing a cold dawn light to bathe the ancient stones in a colour other than reds and oranges… and, for a Matoran who’d long awaited an opportunity to see more of the island, Jaller found himself unexpectedly reluctant to finish getting ready to leave. The Mask of Light was tucked away neatly in his backpack, his trusty spear was at his side, he’d arranged whatever supplies they might need for the journey… And now, he dawdled uncharacteristically as Takua and Turaga Vakama crossed the main square. Ta-Koro was his home, it was true, and Jaller told himself it was natural not to want to leave it behind for a while… but, when it came down to it, that was far from the reason he was unhappy. He’d been away from his village many times before; leading the backup force for the Kini Nui defence, then helping the other villages stand strong during the Bohrok War, not to even mention numerous scouting missions back before the role of captain had fallen to him. Each time, he’d left the village proudly, his head held high, on a task that he knew was of the utmost importance… On a task that he knew was his own… He still had misgivings about the whole thing. Jaller wanted, more than anything, to scream to the heavens themselves that HE WASN’T THE HERALD, that it was Takua who found the mask, Takua who it had picked, Takua who had earned this duty… and yet, he couldn’t bring himself to say anything. Even last night, when his companion was the one Matoran who he cared about most in the world… he hadn’t been able to trust himself to say anything. He couldn’t… wouldn’t… look like he was trying to squirm out of a duty given to him… no matter that the duty wasn’t even his in the first place. All the same, it weighed heavily upon him. That, and… for the first time, he had someone in Ta-Koro who he wished he didn’t have to leave. A Captain of the Guard couldn’t let his personal feelings get in the way of his duty, it was true, but that didn’t make it exactly easy to say goodbye to Hahli. He hadn’t done so yet, in fact; he was aware of her walking just behind the three of them, but he hadn’t yet decided what he wanted to say to her. There was so much… and yet, also, so little. More than anything, he wished she could come on this quest too… but he couldn’t force that upon her like he had on Takua. Besides, she had her own home and friends and places to be; it wasn’t fair to ask her to come along on a task that not even he knew how long it was going to take, how long he’d be away… Still, a little sigh escaped him. Hahli, it seemed, had developed an ability to read his mind… or maybe she just knew him that well, for her voice spoke up in his ear almost as soon as his thoughts had started to wind down. “Look, don’t get mushy, Jaller. I have no time for a long goodbye.” “I… was just gonna say…” Turning to face her, Jaller abruptly realised that he had no idea what he had been going to say. Staring into those lovely eyes – yellow, though they appeared tinted blue behind the Kaukau’s visor – taking in every feature of her small, armoured form at a glance, he felt more emotions than he could name welling up inside him. Whatever it was he was going to say, he wanted it to be serious, meaningful, to let her know something of how much she meant to him… What slipped out, therefore, was none of those things. “You owe me a rematch on the Kolhii field.” “Well, then.” At the sight of her raised eyebrow, Jaller could have smacked himself. What had that line even been meant to be… rematch on the Kolhii field? Really? If he was honest, Jaller supposed, he’d been thrown by Hahli’s return to their usual banter, had grabbed for something that felt true to that… and had settled upon the most Mata-Nui-awful line that came to mind, apparently. “You’d better hurry back.” Also apparently, Hahli was content to run with that. Placing hands on her hips, she started to saunter off, looking far less troubled by the whole situation than he was… only to pause and shoot a final parting line back over her shoulder. “Because I’ll be practicing.” Several minutes and a brief lecture from Turaga Vakama later, and they were off. Pewku, Takua’s trusty ussal crab, trundled easily over the stone bridge that joined Ta-Koro to the wider island of Mata Nui, carrying the two Matoran on their way; and who knew what lay ahead? Takua was leaning forward, seemingly eager to be off again; and for a couple of moments, Jaller observed his friend. For Takua, adventure was his life, the blood in his veins… being out like this was nothing new to him. While, for Jaller himself… travel called to him in its own way, sure. But everything he truly loved was back in Ta-Koro, now behind them. The sturdy stone walls, the shadows of the volcano, they were his home, and it was never so easy for him to leave as it was for Takua. Even less, now, when he knew Hahli was back there… and despite all his resolve to the contrary, Jaller found himself turning to look back. He half convinced himself he could see a blue shape up high on the battlements, watching them leave… a shape that rapidly became a speck, and then nothing he could make out at all, as Pewku carried them swiftly on. “Hey. You still in there, or…?” Takua’s voice from his side jolted Jaller out of his thoughts. The bridge now, too, was behind them, the three travellers on the verge of entering the twisting paths of the charred forest; and Jaller quickly lifted the Avohkii in front of his face to determine which way it wanted to guide them. Even as Pewku began moving again, the Captain could still feel his friend’s eyes on him. “Yeah… yeah. I just got a funny feeling. Like… I’m not gonna see her again.” He didn’t need to specify the her; his relationship with Hahli was no secret, even if all it ever amounted to publicly was teasing and banter. Takua knew, he was sure. Knew, and was clearly weirded out by the direction this was taking. Rather than answer directly, the chronicler rolled his shoulders in a noncommittal shrug. “Hey, come on. You’ll be back with Hahli before you know it; the wars are over now. Nothing’s going to get in our way with that thing on our side.” He gestured vaguely at the mask, before turning his attention back to their road. “Yeah. Sure.” Not altogether reassured, Jaller nonetheless sat back, putting the thoughts away. As Captain of the Guard, he had great mental discipline; and now was the time to put that to the test. He’d see Hahli again, in Mata Nui’s good timing… and until then, there was no space to mope about. He had a job to do. *** Kini-Nui, some time later. She took the trail down towards the Amaja-Nui in something of a daze. Just a few weeks ago, Hahli would never have imagined treading the sacred ground of the Great Temple all alone; she’d come here just once before, with all her fellow villagers, for the Naming Day Rebuilding Ceremony. And yet… everything that had happened recently was enough to make her head spin. For a shy Matoran who’d never once dreamed of adventure, she’d been dragged clean out of her element and could see no obvious way to go back; ever since Turaga Nokama had chosen her to be Kolhii champion, things had spiralled. Some of it, she would admit to herself, was just the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – the attack on Ta-Koro, for one – but beyond that… visiting the other villages for the Kolhii tournament, finding the sacred crystals, placing them in the temple in Ta-Wahi… none of that was exactly accidental on her part. She’d stumbled upon them almost without intention the first time, granted, but her curiosity had led her on. Still, none of that had quite prepared her for being whisked away to the island’s spiritual heart after placing the last of the crystals. She was here, and… she had no idea what she was meant to do now. The horrible creatures that had destroyed Ta-Koro, she had seen heading for the temple just before sunrise; she’d also seen the giant tornado whipping around the area that – she hoped – could only have been the work of Toa Nuva Lewa; and then the eruption of light that, had she been closer, would have been blinding? That had to mean only one thing, right? That Jaller had succeeded in his task, that the Seventh Toa had been found? What she should have done, perhaps, was wait where she was for the Toa to find her when they left the Kini-Nui; but doing so was the last possible thing on Hahli’s mind. If Jaller had been successful, then she wanted to be the first to get there and congratulate him… and maybe, just maybe, tease him about taking so long. It had been… how long since he and Takua had set out? Hahli had honestly lost track. Of course, the island was a big place to search; but such teasing was only in the name of flirting, and they both knew it. She could hardly wait to see him again… and also, it had to be admitted, she was curious to see this Seventh Toa. Where had he or she come from? Had they been hiding under the island the whole time, waiting for the Herald to return their mask? The Ga-Matoran didn’t know, but she was eager to learn all she could about this new addition to the roster of heroes. Maybe Takua would share his notes on the subject with her… Scrambling over the rocky debris that littered the base of the giant Pakari statue – hadn’t that been a Toa head when she’d been here last? – words of greeting for the one she loved were already on her tongue… until the sight before her stopped Hahli in her tracks. Rahkshi lay dismembered all around. Six Toa Nuva stood solemnly by, some with heads bowed, while others watched the proceeding in silence. A seventh, golden-armoured being was walking away from them; but it was hardly the triumphant scene of victory she would have expected from the defeat of Makuta’s minions and the discovery of the island’s latest hero. And then, as the golden being moved to pass her, Hahli’s eyes fell on the limp, yellow-masked form in his arms. “No…” The word was a whisper and it was a scream, all at once. Time seemed to stop moving at all for Hahli as her gaze traced the beloved red-armoured form; one hand rested over his still chest, while the other dangled limply out of the unfamiliar Toa’s grasp. His head, too, lolled lifelessly; while the outlines of her brave captain’s mask looked just the same as ever they had, beneath it his eyes were closed, and none of his features moved. His armour, too, looked just as she remembered it… a little scuffed, maybe, but nothing that indicated he’d died a violent death. Unbidden, her hand reached out in his direction, as if trying to stop the Toa in his path, or to call him over to her, but no words came out. He might not have even noticed her; as the frozen moment seemed to pass, he continued on his way towards the shattered remains of the Suva Kaita, and Hahli felt herself sink to her knees. She couldn’t take it in. Jaller… he… couldn’t really be… Her breath sounded loud in her own ears; her heartlight flickered rapidly, picking up pace as she wrestled with the sight she’d just seen. It wasn’t right… Jaller was supposed to return to her after he’d found the Seventh Toa… they were supposed to have all the time in the world together… not this, not THIS! She didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to process… it seemed false, unreal; and yet, at the same time, all too real. Ta-Koro’s bravest had fallen. She was only dimly aware that the Toa Nuva seemed to be splitting up for the moment. To each, it seemed, the burden of Jaller’s loss lay heavy on them; Matoran had died before of course, in the Makuta Wars, but that had mostly been before the Toa had arrived. None of them, she numbly supposed, had quite seen a sacrifice like Jaller’s, and each seemed to need their own time to think on it, to come to terms with what had been lost. Hahli wasn’t sure she’d ever come to terms with it. She didn’t sob or cry… in honest truth, she felt too numb to do anything of the sort. A massive hole had just been torn in her heart, and she ached for the fallen captain; but her emotions seemed to have shut themselves down, preventing her from feeling the true extent of grief and loss. It almost felt worse – she felt attached to and detached from what had happened, all at once, and couldn’t process any of it fully. No-one seemed to notice her as, at length, she slowly picked herself up. Her mind still felt horribly blank, as if it were registering the pain in her heart but not able to properly process it or understand it, and Hahli hardly knew what she was doing as she moved to follow in the new Toa’s footsteps. His strides were long, and he had already reached the Suva; but still, she traced his steps, moving numbly through the carnage of battle. None of the other Toa tried to stop her as she reached the steps and began to climb them. Slowly; one, then another, then another… she barely registered them any further than to avoid tripping on them. With agonising slowness, the crest of the shrine came into view. The Toa had been busy in the time it had taken her to reach him. He had cleared away a patch of the stone, making a space for Jaller’s body, and was preparing to place the captain’s prone and maskless form into its final resting place. His kanohi, Hahli saw – that familiar yellow Hau – hung suspended in a pillar of light over the ruined Suva; a memorial tribute to a fallen warrior. This Toa, too, seemed not to have noticed her; he knelt down, starting to lay Jaller’s body into the stone grave he’d prepared. “Wait. Please…” She outstretched a hand in front of her… for what reason, Hahli couldn’t quite fathom. She was just a shy little Matoran; how was she supposed to stop a mighty Toa from doing anything he wanted to? Why should some newcomer to the island even care that this, the bravest of Matoran, was loved by a little nobody like her? And yet, all the same, the Toa paused in his action, turning to face her. “Hahli…” It should have surprised her that he knew her name. It didn’t, really. The pause was all the permission Hahli needed; in less than the space between one breath and another, she was scrambling forward, over the stones that the Toa had moved aside, to reach the red-and-yellow armoured body. Jaller… he looked so vulnerable without his mask, so fragile in death that she was almost afraid to touch him, lest the remains of his form crumble at the slightest contact. She had loved him, had loved him dearly, and looking at him now… Now, she felt her eyes grown moist. She couldn’t think of any words, anything to say… just a deep, deep sense of loss and regret in the core of her being. Slowly, ever so slowly and carefully, she took Jaller’s lifeless hand in her own, clasping it between them. Had the two of them ever just… held hands like this, when he’d been alive? Offhand, she couldn’t remember. Maybe that one first time, back on the beach outside Ga-Koro? In fact, searching back through her memories… she found a distressing lack of genuine moments of warmth between the two of them. Just teasing, flirting, never taking anything seriously… and though it had been the very nature of their relationship, Hahli had always counted on the thought that someday they’d be able to be more than that. Someday had never come. “He saved me, you know.” That was the Toa’s voice; heavy with grief of his own, it nonetheless carried a ring of familiarity to it that – in another time and place – Hahli might have been able to recognise. For now, though, she was so consumed with her own thoughts that it was all she could do to just acknowledge his words. “Without his sacrifice… I probably wouldn’t be here at all. He showed me who I truly was, but…” He swallowed, almost stopped there, then kept going. “Such a price.” And I never got to say goodbye. The thought rose, unbidden, to Hahli’s mind. Their last words together… stupid banter over a Kolhii rematch. No real goodbye – she’d prevented him from giving the sincere farewell that he’d seemed to want to… it was almost like he’d known – just more flirting, joking, not letting it become too serious. Perhaps it had been a defence mechanism for her; but if it was, it had blown up in her face, leaving an empty void in her heart, one that she had no meaningful memories to fill with. Had anything sincere truly ever passed between them? She wished that she could say it had. Jaller, she knew… Jaller would be proud. He’d done his duty, and if he’d died bringing it to be, then… as Captain of the Guard, Hahli supposed, he’d probably always been prepared for this day to come one day. But she’d been so certain that it never would, so convinced that they had all the time in the world… Would it have changed anything, if she’d allowed their relationship to become something sincere? Maybe not… but she’d had the capacity to give him something meaningful; and had always held back. And, now that she was finally realising that… it was far too late. At some length, she stepped back, releasing the Ta-Matoran’s hand. There were so many things she wanted to say to Jaller; but she couldn’t bring herself to say them to the vacant corpse. On impulse, she touched her forehead to Jaller’s; hoping that, somehow, that simple action could reach beyond the grave to convey to him all that she’d wanted the two of them to mean to each other. It was a vain hope; no-one ever came back from death, and Hahli knew that the only thing to do was trust his spirit to Mata Nui. Still, all her emotion was poured into that one single touch. Slowly, then, she stepped away. Inclining her head to indicate to the Toa that she was done. Rather than watch as he again lifted Jaller to his final resting place, Hahli turned instead to look up at the mask where it was suspended, empty eye holes staring vacantly out and across the island. And, though she said and did nothing right then and there… Hahli knew in her heart that she was going to take it down from there, and carry it with her all her days. A tribute to the bravest Matoran who had ever lived… and a reminder of her terrible mistake in failing to appreciate the short time given to them. *** “Halt, little one.” When so little time had passed, but so much seemed to have happened, Hahli could hardly bring herself to be surprised that the giant titan that was half Takua and half Makuta had singled her out. Between her stowaway ride down to Mangaia; appointing herself as Chronicler for the Toa of Light, who she had belatedly recognised as Takua in a new body; climbing back to the surface to summon the Turaga and Matoran on his orders; and now, playing witness to not only this final clash between Light and Darkness, but seeing the first steps being taken to awaken the Great Spirit… Surprise felt like a thing of the past for her. So, she slowed, turning to regard the massive being. With its one glaring eye of Makuta’s juxtaposed against the otherwise more friendly visage of Takanuva, with its mishmash of golden and rusted steel armour, it should have been a fearsome sight; but Hahli found herself unafraid. If anything, she was expecting a reminder from the Takanuva half of the being about making sure she got this down accurately on the Wall of History… What came next, therefore, was a shock to even her. “That mask… needs life.” The Matoran’s gaze dropped to Jaller’s Hau, still clutched in her grasp. True to her earlier intention, she had indeed taken the mask down from his memorial; first, she had set it upon the front of Takanuva’s vehicle, and, when that had been abandoned at the entrance to Makuta’s lair, had carried it with her ever since. Now, she simply stared at it, wondering what the titan could possibly be getting at. Of course it needed life… but the life it needed was Jaller’s, and he was gone for good. Hahli didn’t think she’d quite be able to bear seeing the mask given to some stranger just so that it wouldn’t remain inanimate. Still, when a fusion of a Toa of legend and the most evil being ever known held out its hand to you, you didn’t very well refuse it what it wanted. With some reluctance and trepidation, Hahli placed the kanohi in the being’s giant hand, watched as it set the mask down on the stones beneath their feet. She didn’t know what to expect and, quite honestly, was reluctant to find out. The being stretched out its hand over the mask. Raw power seemed to flow from its form, dancing around its fingertips, coalescing in its palm. Beneath this energy, the surface of the mask shimmered, almost becoming golden as the power – light? Or something else entirely? – flowed down into it. Slowly, it tipped backwards, as if it were no longer lying flat on the ground but as if it were being worn by someone invisible who was, themselves, lying prone. The Ga-Matoran opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again, not certain what to even say… And in the time it took her to do that, the ‘invisible’ body had resolved into one that was clearly visible, and Hahli felt her heart skip a beat. Jaller lay there now; his eyes still closed, his body as unmoving as when she’d last seen it, and Hahli felt a fresh wave of grief threaten to consume her. She didn’t know why the titan had seen fit to recreate the dead form of the Matoran who she loved, but… the thoughts, the emotions choked her. And then— Then— For a moment, Hahli was certain she’d imagined it. She almost thought that, through a vision blurred with emotion, she’d seen the body blink its eyes; but of course, she couldn’t have. Jaller was dead, and the dead didn’t come— A breath, half sigh and half groan, from the direction of the red-armoured body, cut that thought off even before it could finish forming. She didn’t understand it, had no idea what was going on or how the titan had managed it… but Hahli didn’t waste a moment more in reaching the other’s side. Against all likelihood, against all possibility, he was trying to get up… grasping his arm, she helped him climb slowly to his feet. He seemed confused, disoriented – though who could blame him? – but right then, Hahli wasn’t in any kind of place to form a response. There was only one thing she could think of to say, to do. “Jaller…” And she hugged him tightly, in a way she never had before. All the emotion of the last twenty-four hours, ever since she’d seen Takanuva carrying his body, welled up in her and she honestly wanted nothing more than to just cling to him desperately. She could hardly believe it, yet she didn’t want to risk not believing in case that somehow made it not real anymore; and if she didn’t have any flirting, teasing comments to offer him? That was because she now knew he meant indescribably more to her than they could ever convey. And if Jaller wasn’t exactly returning the hug so much as just hanging off her, letting her support him? She could live with that, too. Whatever they had once had, whatever they had once been… it was different now. That difference, she assumed, would become clear; but until then, all she knew was that she wanted to stay as close to Jaller as she could. In time, they would see. In time. *** Sand was kicked up beneath his feet as Jaller trod a path along the familiar golden beach of Ta-Wahi. Familiar… and yet, unfamiliar, all at once. With all that had happened, it felt as though a lifetime had passed since he’d last stood on these shores; and maybe, in a sense, it had. The captain wasn’t sure he quite grasped the details of what Takutanuva had done for him even now, after Takua had filled him in… was he, then, back in his old body? Or had a new form been created for him? If he went back and moved those stones at Kini-Nui, would he find his old one still there? It wasn’t a theory Jaller much wanted to test. It certainly felt, though, like he was seeing the world through a new pair of eyes. That might have been figurative or literal; Jaller honestly couldn’t say which. But he did know one thing; he’d been dead, and now he wasn’t. And that… Was a Karzahni of a lot to take in. Further down the beach, he could see the Toa Nuva gathering. Turaga Vakama had promised them that, at last, he would reveal many of the mysteries surrounding the island of Mata Nui, and would tell them the truth of the underground city that Takua had discovered in the wake of Makuta’s defeat. It should have been a thrilling time, of discovery, of moving on to find where their true destinies lay… And yet. Jaller deliberately stayed away from the small gathering, preferring to remain lost in his own thoughts. As momentous as the occasion was, it was still overshadowed by the many troubled thoughts that weighed upon his mind, and he wasn’t quite prepared to move on with that future until he’d at least straightened a few things out. He’d died. Jaller remembered that as clearly as anything. Throwing himself onto the Rahkshi’s staff to protect Takua; feeling the awful, crippling fear overwhelm his heart; the detached sensation of just knowing that he was about to die… he didn’t want to dwell long on them, but the fact remained that they were inescapably etched in his memory. Jaller had been prepared to die in the line of duty, many times before; but never before had it actually happened. And now, knowing how it felt, would he ever be prepared to do so again? And what kind of guard captain would he be if he wasn’t? He remembered, too, his return to life. It was fuzzy, indistinct, in much the same way as waking up from a long sleep; he’d first been aware that he felt cold, that his body was stiff and achy… and then, before anything else, of Hahli grasping him and clinging to him desperately. Hahli… Looking back over his shoulder, Jaller could just make out her form, sitting with the Toa Nuva and Turaga. There was another piece of his life that didn’t quite feel like it fit back into place in his new perspective on the world. He didn’t love her any less than he had before, of course, yet at the same time… something was different. After he’d been revived, they’d barely had chance to exchange more than a couple of words; between seeing Takutanuva get crushed, being herded by Turaga Vakama onto their respective spots of the Three Virtues symbol, and Takua’s discovery of Metru Nui, there had simply been too much happening. But that was the way things had so often been in their relationship. So why did this feel so different? Even now, he still hadn’t had chance to sit down with Hahli and discuss anything. She’d been kept busy in her new role as Chronicler – and a more deserving Matoran, for the post Takua had vacated, Jaller couldn’t imagine – and he’d had far too much on his mind to seek her out. He wanted to get his own thoughts straightened out, in privacy, before he talked them through with anyone else. Even her. He represented Duty, Turaga Vakama had said. But even Duty needed time to come to grips with everything. His whole perspective on the world had been forcibly shifted and, while he didn’t really expect anyone else to understand… it was important to him that he came to terms with it in good time. The problem was that he didn’t know where to start; it was just too much to take in. There was a reason, Jaller figured, that the dead didn’t usually came back – and that was because the memories of that death were incredibly hard to deal with. And here he was, the weird exception to that. He just couldn’t quite process it. His feet continued to scuff through the sand as he walked, his path unplanned, his direction undetermined. He was just moving idly, with no thought to spare for where he was actually going; his mind was spinning in circles, like an out-of-control ussal cart. Everything seemed, from his perspective, to have changed, and it was hard even for one with his legendary discipline, to focus on any one thing for long enough to work it out fully. But he could at least try. First of all… his duty. It was the thing Jaller always came back to, the very core of who he was; and yet, looking at it now, he felt as though he hardly recognised it. He’d literally died in the line of duty; did that affect it, for him, in any way? It could seem, almost, as if he’d fulfilled his duty and his destiny in that moment, in dying so that the Seventh Toa could be born; and, if that was the case? Then what did the fact that he was now back mean for that? Was his duty just the same as always? Or, now that his destiny had played itself out, and subsequently been ‘rebooted’, did he have a different duty altogether? Had destiny accounted for the fact that he’d be brought back to life, or had Takutanuva deliberately gone against what destiny had established by returning him? And if the latter… what did that mean for him now? Was he even still Captain of the Guard? Was he still worthy of that post? That was another thing Jaller found himself struggling with. In the past, sure, he’d been willing to die in the line of duty; but there was a difference between being prepared for that to happen and it actually happening. Recollecting his final moments still left Jaller cold, and he had to face the very real possibility that, put in a situation where he once again came face to face with his own mortality, he might just… freeze up in the face of such debilitating memories. And in that case, was he even fit to lead? How could he possibly ask his soldiers to risk their own lives, when the prospect of doing so himself might stop him cold? Even if Vakama reassured him a hundred times that there would be no such need for an organised guard on Metru Nui, Jaller wasn’t going to be lax when it came to considering it. No such thing as too much security, especially in a completely unknown land. But if he wasn’t fit to lead the guard, then…? He shook his head. Questions upon questions that he had no answers for; and that he nonetheless had to work out on his own, because no-one else on Mata Nui had ever been through something like this. It was with some surprise that Jaller noticed his path had led him back to the ruins of Ta-Koro. Had only a week or so passed since he and Takua had ridden out of the fortress’ gates, confident that nothing could possibly go wrong on their quest? It had never once crossed either of their minds that there simply might be no Ta-Koro for them to return to afterwards… and though Jaller felt a pang for what had been lost, it was a far more detached feeling than he might have expected. His home was gone… but when everyone on the island was on the verge of leaving their homes to head to a completely new land anyway, that seemed to have much less significance. Besides, the old guard-house, the one on this side of the stone bridge, remained standing; its interior rooms had been left abandoned during the reconstruction of Ta-Koro after the Bohrok War, but never completely dismantled, and the Ta-Matoran ventured inside. The place where he’d spent many of his hours during the Makuta Wars, strategizing and planning and preparing for the inevitable day when the Makuta’s forces would try to overrun them completely. Seen from the other side of having died… it all felt like so long ago now. He kept on coming back to that one thought. He had, perhaps, lost track of how long he’d been standing there, lost in such musings. It was only the sound of his name being called, by a most familiar voice, that brought Jaller back to the present. Tucking away the remaining strands of thought that he still had yet to resolve, the captain stepped out of his old strategy room, raised a hand in greeting. “Right here, Hahli.” And there… was another aspect of his life that he needed to think through seriously. “I didn’t expect you to be along so soon. The Turaga’s stories are over already?” “It’s been two hours, Jaller.” Shaking her head slightly, Hahli stepped to his side, and moved to intertwine her fingers with his own. To Jaller, the contact felt more awkward than it would have before; but nonetheless, he didn’t resist her delicate touch. “Today’s tales are done, though there will be many more days’ worth to come. But…” She tilted her head slightly, regarding him. “What are you doing all the way out here?” “Thinking, mostly.” The answer was returned instantly. It was the truth, after all; and while he didn’t feel like he wanted to go into great detail yet, Jaller also felt as though he had nothing particular to hide. It was natural, after all that had happened, that his mind would be busy. “I just needed some time to myself, before we all start work on the boats.” “Thinking? Sounds dangerous.” Though Hahli nudged him gently, though her tone was as lightly teasing as it ever had been… neither Matoran quite seemed fooled by it. Hahli shuffled her feet, looking like she wanted to say more but not quite knowing what, while Jaller couldn’t quite bring himself to reciprocate with their traditional flirting banter. What had, previously, always just been their way with each other felt unnatural now, empty and forced. And even as Jaller summoned a grin in reply, he had to admit he wasn’t quite sure where that left them. He wasn’t sure where he stood with anything right now; Hahli least of all. What they’d been, what they had… the occurrence of his death seemed to hang like a shadow over all of it, and it felt wrong to lead her on without knowing how that affected… them. “Listen, Hahli…” As she turned to him, expectant, Jaller realised that whatever he was about to say was unlikely to be the same as what she was hoping to hear. He cleared his throat awkwardly, before trying again. “We’re both going to be busy over these next few days. So much has happened, so much is going to keep on happening… we’re not going to have much time to spend together.” “So… you’re saying…” Hahli frowned. She seemed to be of the impression that he was going somewhere with this; though, if he was, Jaller couldn’t have said where. He didn’t want to break anything off with her, but he also couldn’t just keep pretending like nothing had changed. He rubbed the back of his head, trying to piece together what he wanted to say – and unintentionally leaving it wide open for Hahli to take a guess of her own. “You’re saying we should make the most of the time we have together before that?” It wasn’t quite what Jaller had been leading to; but he found himself unable to think of anything better to say to correct her. “Sure. Let’s go with that.” *** She probably shouldn’t be surprised by this development, Macku reckoned. Her relationship with Hewkii was, after all, no big secret. While romance between Matoran wasn’t exactly frowned upon, it was also regarded by many as an unnecessary complication; for most of her brethren, the Three Virtues were the core of everything. As many in the village contributed their own skills to work, from the flax-weaver to the rope-maker to the shipwright, so Unity was exemplified. Their dedication to all that they did represented their Duty. And Destiny… that was harder to pinpoint, for the Ga-Matoran, but still a crucial part of everyday life. Their bond of sisterhood was just one further indication of Unity; and was all that many felt they needed. Relationships based around emotions such as romance were uncommon; to most, they seemed to fall outside the realm of living by the Virtues. Macku rather thought otherwise – what greater Unity was there, after all, than the bond she and Hewkii shared? Their commitment to each other could be taken as an additional Duty with which to honour the Great Spirit; and Destiny was sure a lot more enjoyable when you had someone special to share it with at the end of the day. Still, such things were uncommon… so it really could be no surprise to Macku if she found herself as the go-to expert on the subject. Behind her blue Huna, she struck a smile for Hahli. Her Kolhii teammate had been troubled by something for a few days now, Macku had noticed, but she’d never quite found the opportunity to say anything to her. As the inhabitants of Mata Nui had been hard at work building boats for their journey over the Silver Sea, all of the Ga-Matoran found their expertise being called on frequently as those from the other villages, who had no seagoing experience to speak of, sought their advice. Macku herself wasn’t even a shipbuilder by trade, but she knew a thing or two about handling boats; so she, too, had been rushed off her feet. It was quite a relief, then, to have a quiet moment mostly to herself again. Much of the work on the boats had been completed; and while Marka the shipwright was still busy overseeing the final details, most of her fellow Ga-Matoran had retired from the scene for a while, as members of the other tribes put the finishing touches to their work. Macku had actually been planning to seek out Hahli for herself, just to see if everything was alright… but it turned out she hadn’t needed to. Hahli seemed to have had much the same idea. Now, she sat subdued upon an upturned bucket that had been used to carry materials to and from the shipbuilding site. Macku, leaning against one of the few trees in this part of the island that hadn’t been stripped bare for the materials it could provide, watched her shrewdly, but kept her thoughts to herself for the moment. Whatever Hahli wanted to say, she expected it would come out in its own time, not from any prodding on her part. A little longer passed, before Hahli seemed to decide on exactly what she wanted to ask. “It’s… Jaller.” Of course it was. Hahli’s relationship with the Captain of the Ta-Koro Guard was no secret; so, when she’d come asking for some advice, Macku had easily guessed who it was they were going to be talking about. For herself, the athlete had never been Jaller’s biggest fan – he was too stuffy, and tended to treat everyone as though they were soldiers in his guard, whether they liked it or not – but she respected that Hahli saw something in him that she didn’t. Her friend continued to elaborate. “I know I shouldn’t be surprised, after all he’s been through. But he’s distant now… he’ll spend time with me, if I ask, but I don’t think his heart is in it anymore. We used to, well… you know…” “Flirt all the time?” Macku supplied with a slightly raised eyebrow. It had been a curious way to conduct a relationship – though it certainly had helped to bring Hahli out of her shell, for the first time in memory – but she also supposed that she had no grounds on which to judge… her relationship with Hewkii, after all, had started with her and Kotu playing pranks on him rather relentlessly (and, in her case, unsubtly), and had only slowly grown from that into something serious. “Yeah. That.” Hahli looked a little abashed at being so blatantly called out; but she pressed on anyway. “It just feels awkward now, though. Not just because he doesn’t reciprocate anymore, but… it’s not really sustainable for a relationship, is it? I mean, you and Hewkii, you do more than flirt aimlessly all the time, don’t you?” “Oh, you bet we do.” A grin touched Macku’s face for a moment, before becoming serious again. “It’s not just that though, is it? You’re really troubled by something.” Hahli looked as though she was tempted to deny it; then, her defences crumbled. “It’s… he died, Macku.” Her yellow-eyed gaze bored into Macku’s own. “I thought I’d lost him forever… and when I looked back on the times we’d shared and could only see moments of dumb flirting, nothing that meant anything, it was almost too much to bear. It was like I’d wasted our time together. If we’re going to pick up our relationship again, I want it to be something meaningful this time. Something that, if anything happens to either of us, we’ll have something that was worth looking back on.” “Hahli…” Okay, that was heavier than Macku had been expecting. Perhaps she shouldn’t have been surprised; she didn’t know any details, but the whole island had heard of Jaller’s sacrifice at least in passing. And while Macku couldn’t exactly relate to that – while she’d come close to losing Hewkii once, during the infamous sickness of Po-Koro, it had never actually happened; she couldn’t imagine it, and she honestly didn’t much want to, either – it was no wonder that Hahli was struggling. “Look… I appreciate you coming to me for advice; but this is really something you and Jaller need to talk about between you. I can’t tell you how he feels about this, or what he’ll want to do.” “I know that.” Hahli rarely ever sounded impatient, but there seemed to be the barest touch of that clinging to her tone now. “And I would… if he’d even talk to me much now. I know he’s busy with work on the boats; but I even invited him along to hear the Turaga’s stories with me the other day, and all we managed the whole time was small talk together. I don’t know if I should push him to talk to me more seriously, or…?” “Talking helps.” Macku nodded thoughtfully. It was, indeed, always good advice to talk through any problems in a relationship – her and Hewkii’s seemed to be mostly plain sailing on that count (perhaps a bad choice of words, as Hewkii couldn’t stand water), but even they’d had their moments. However, a second thought occurred to her, too. “But sometimes... you might just need to let him have some time.” At Hahli’s quizzical expression, Macku continued. “Like you said, he’s literally been to death and back… and I can’t speak from experience, but that probably gives a guy a whole lot to come to terms with. It’s easy for you, having lost him and got him back again, to want to pick up right from where you left things; but look at it from his perspective for a moment. He’s been through an experience that he probably doesn’t expect you to understand, and doesn’t want to burden you with.” “I could offer to listen to him? I don’t mind hearing…” “You could… but you might wind up hearing exactly what it felt like for him to die. I don’t know about you, but I’d struggle with it if Hewkii was giving me a blow-by-blow account of experiencing death, even if he was alive again now.” At Hahli’s resolute expression, Macku shrugged a little. “I mean, you do you, I guess. But I think the best thing to do is give him some space; let him know that you’ll still be here for him whenever he’s ready to talk, but that you’ll also respect that he maybe needs time to sort through it all himself before he comes to you.” It probably wasn’t what Hahli had wanted to hear; Macku rather suspected that her friend had come to her hoping for an instant resolution… and wait until Jaller’s ready certainly wasn’t that. Macku herself knew for a fact how hard it could be to just hold back when the one she loved needed some space – it had happened between her and Hewkii before, and doubtless would again eventually – but just because it wasn’t easy didn’t change that it was probably the best thing to do. “Mm.” Hahli’s response was incredibly noncommittal, and Macku wasn’t sure whether that meant the other had accepted or rejected her advice. “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. If anyone knows that, it’s me… A way back now, when I still had to sneak out of Ga-Koro to spend time with him, I found Hewkii with a lot on his mind that he didn’t want to share with me. I could have followed the advice I’m giving you now; but instead, I badgered him over and over to talk about it, to let me in on the secret… I wouldn’t let it go. It kind of soured our relationship for a while.” It hadn’t lasted, of course; neither of them had been able to stand things being frosty between them and, when they’d approached the matter again, Macku had been hasty in apologising. In time, Hewkii had revealed that Po-Koro as a whole had been going through a bad spot of Rahi attacks at the time, and he had wanted to keep her from getting caught up in the trouble, so it wasn’t exactly like Hahli’s case here… but Macku thought that her advice was sound. Hahli seemed to be pondering this; behind her mask, Macku thought she could detect the hints of a frown on her friend’s features, but any specific thoughts went unknown to her. The athlete tapped her fingers together rhythmically, mostly for the sake of occupying herself while she gave Hahli a few moments to formulate a response. “I guess you know best.” She didn’t sound entirely convinced, and Macku bit back a sigh. Maybe the reason most of her fellow Matoran weren’t interested in talking relationships was that no-one would heed sound advice until they found it out for themselves… but hadn’t she been the same, back in the day, after all? Turaga Nokama had tried to offer her advice on occasion and Macku, secure in her own confidence, hadn’t listened much. When it came to talking with the one you loved, maybe there really was no better teacher than personal experience. Rather than express any frustration, Macku simply shrugged. “Maybe I do; but you know Jaller best.” She wasn’t even going to argue the point; partly because she already knew that wouldn’t be the way to get agreement out of the other, and partly because… for as much as good advice could be universal, it also depended a lot on the couple. “I can only give suggestions – what works for Hewkii and me might not for you. Take a look at what you know about Jaller; if my advice matches, use it. If not, well…” She punctuated with a small shrug. “I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong.” That seemed to please Hahli more. Macku wondered, for a moment, if she hadn’t just unwittingly paved the way for Jaller to be subjected to the never-ending barrage of questions about whether or not he wanted to talk that she’d thrust on Hewkii that one time… but it really wasn’t any of her business. In any case, if the two of them had come out of that okay in the end, then surely Hahli and Jaller would, too, and… well, it seemed likely to Macku that Hahli would approach the matter with just a little more tact than that. “Thanks, Macku.” Hahli hopped up from her seat, looking decidedly happier than she had at the beginning of their conversation… such as it had been. While she was great at giving tips for sports, like canoe racing or Kolhii, not even being in a successful relationship herself made Macku really feel qualified to offer romantic advice. She was an athlete, not a counsellor, and she rather felt like that showed. But she’d at least got Hahli looking at the situation from a different perspective, so that had to count for something. In fact, the new chronicler seemed positively cheerful again now. “We’ll figure it out somehow; you’ll see.” *** At long last, the shores of Metru Nui rose into view. For many hours, the glistening spires of the island city had been visible in the far distance; far away and yet tantalisingly close, all at once. For much of that time, as the silver sea swept by beneath them, Hahli had been hard at work, organising all the notes she’d carved based upon the Turaga’s stories and sharing bits of one tale or another with her curious fellow passengers when they asked, but… even so, her mind had only half been upon her task. The other half was occupied by her anticipation. Almost every few minutes, the new chronicler would sneak a glance ahead, at the slowly rising skyline that belonged to the towering metropolis she had heard so much about. A home from so many, many years ago that no-one present – save for the Turaga – could remember… and while Hahli knew that the place was going to be little more than a ruined shell, which would need a lot of work before it could truly be habitable again… Could anyone blame her for being excited? This expectancy had even, if she was completely honest, put most thoughts of her situation with Jaller out of her mind. Of course, she still wanted to talk to him, wanted to understand how he felt, and all… but the opportunity simply hadn’t presented itself. It had been the very evening of her consultation with Macku that the announcement had been given that all work on the boats was completed, and that they would set sail first thing in the morning; and every Matoran who wasn’t of the fire or earth tribes had hurried back to their homes to gather any possessions that they wanted to bring with them. For herself, Hahli hadn’t had a whole lot to fetch. Her kolhii stick, perhaps, and a couple of more personal items… she’d planned on rushing back to the Amaja Circle to catch Jaller that very evening, but it wasn’t to be; she’d been roped in to help her fellow villagers pack – Nixie, in particular, had armfuls of star charts and had absolutely refused to leave her precious telescope behind – and, by the time morning had rolled around, everyone had been far too busy for her to be seeking any personal time. She kind of wished she and Jaller had at least ended up on the same boat; this was the kind of moment that would have been perfect to share together. But… At least she knew, now, how she wanted to approach him when they next did get a moment together. No longer content to simply sit still, not now that they were so close to landing, Hahli packed up her stone tablets full of stories. Tucking her chronicler’s staff under one arm, the water villager carefully picked her way between the rows of still-seated Matoran, making her way towards the boat’s bow. It didn’t much surprise her to find that she wasn’t alone; an Onu-Matoran wearing a purple Hau was eagerly leaning out over the bow point, as if that little extra distance would speed their boat along faster. He didn’t seem to notice her arrival; and Hahli, who didn’t recognise him personally, had other things on her mind than conversation. The city was growing closer all the time; and, to both the left and the right, Hahli could see other Matoran vessels cutting their way through the liquid protodermis. Keen eyes picked out Jaller standing proudly at the prow of another boat to her right, looking every bit the captain that he was, and Hahli gave a wave in his direction. For a moment, he didn’t seem to notice her, either; then, his gaze drifted across, and he gave a small nod in her direction. Hahli’s heart swelled at even that little interaction and, more satisfied than she had been before, she settled in beside the Onu-Matoran to wait for the landing. The wait was, indeed, not much longer; within the span of maybe twenty minutes, the boat at the lead of the formation had come to rest at the shoreline, with hers following suit in a matter of minutes. The Ga-Matoran could see a group of unusual Rahkshi-faced beings, who she supposed had to be the Rahaga, rushing to greet the Turaga, helping to pull their boats ashore, while the villagers from the other boats managed themselves. Her Onu- companion, who had taken half a moment while they were landing to introduce himself as Nobua, made point of being the first Matoran out of their own boat; he struggled for a few moments to heave the vessel up the shore, before Hahli and some of her fellow experienced Ga-Matoran moved to give him a hand. Everything was busy, bustling with Matoran moving every which way as they beached the boats, disembarked and began unloading, mostly managing to get under each other’s feet a lot. Unity was not particularly obvious on display here, today, but no-one seemed to mind; everyone, Hahli suspected, was simply reeling from being in a location so foreign to them all. Foreign… and yet very familiar. In the middle of all the business and bustle, the chronicler slowly came to a stop. Though she had no personal memories of the ruined cityscape stretched out before them, it all felt so very… very… like she really did know it. There were no memories, but such a sense of familiarity – of homeliness, even as battered as everything was – that took her breath away. The only word Hahli could find for it was… Magical. Matoran were still moving this way and that in the scene of barely controlled chaos; but for a moment, for Hahli, everything seemed to still. Lowering her gaze from the skyline, she had just happened to catch sight of something through the crowd; a very familiar pair of eyes had caught her gaze, for just the barest of moments, from behind an equally familiar yellow Hau… and, whether that moment had been intentional or not, Hahli decided to seize on her opportunity. If it was now or never… then she chose now. Carefully, she began to push her way through the crowd. ----- (Continued in the post below because the post cut off here for some reason!) -----
  3. Sorry if this becomes a bit disturbing but I'm sure Bionicle has done worse! I was rewatching Mask of Light a couple of days ago when I noticed something about Jaller's revival. Jalller is killed by Turahk and is left dead on the floor of the temple's entrance. Takanuva takes his mask with him as a good luck charm. Anyway in the end Takanuva uses Jaller's mask to "revive" Jaller and bring him back to life, a new body for Jaller is made using the mask as the base. Doesn't this mean that there is a maskless dead Jaller still up on the surface? What would happend if Jaller were to see this?!
  4. This is my response to the June 9, 2018 daily prompt on /r/fanfiction. "Your characters are off to their favorite celebration! Is it a party? A festival? Just the day they met their lover?" Jaller and his squad had just successfully fended off a Muaka. They lured a mob of Fusa to where the Muaka was lurking, forcing it to retreat. The last time they had tried to fend off a Muaka, the Guard burnt down an entire forest. This new tactic was far less destructive, although it required them to locate potential threats before they closed in on Ta-Koro. As they entered the gatehouse, a strange Matoran with a blue mask rushed by. One of Jaller's squadmates hissed at the stranger. "Get out of here!" "Watch it, Nuhrii!" Jaller reprimanded. "Your duty is to protect our citizens, not harass them!" "But he's - " Jaller turned around. "He's nothing. You're a member of The Ta-Koro Guard. You're better than this!" Nuhrii looked deflated, but still managed a "Yes, sir!" The squad soon dropped their discs, bidents, and shields in the gatehouse. Jaller dismissed them, allowing them some sorely needed downtime. They'd won a victory today, but how much longer could they continue to hold out for? Jaller stared at his map, looking for any routes that were left under-patrolled. The Ko-Koronans had not been heard from in some time - he would have to send a team to patrol the icy North March. That would not be a popular order. If only he had more warriors. A patter of footsteps interrupted Jaller's thoughts, and a Matoran barged into the gatehouse. "Captain, Turaga Vakama is summoning us!" "Whatever for, Brander? Doesn't he know I'm busy?" "The Turaga wants to hold a Takara!" A waste of time, thought Jaller. And why call one now, when my guards are tired and morale is running thin? Still, he wouldn't turn down a request from the Turaga. Jaller headed out of the building and into the village. Matoran were scrambling into the stone building that they held the Takara in. Jaller marched up to Vakama's right hand. Kapura was already at Vakama's left. "Is this really the time, Turaga?" asked Jaller, assuming a deep stance. "I must ensure that Ta-Koro is adequately defended." "This is the perfect time", Vakama gently answered. "The flames have spoken to me. I believe this time, the Toa will hear our call. Besides, it would do you good to take a moment to enjoy yourself." Jaller managed a smile. Vakama was right. They'd won a great victory today, and it was time to celebrate. Soon, everyone had found their place. The musicians began their deep, fast beats, and the entire room erupted into a continuous wave of arms. Jaller threw himself into the dance he had been performing for as long as he could remember. Hear our plea, Great Tahu.
  5. So trying to get back into making MOCs and decided to make a Toa Mata-fied version of Matoran Jala/Jaller based on his Mask of Light colors. Almost done and went ahead gave it neck articulation. However, now I've decided to go the extra step and give him limb articulation as well. Any advice for pose-able limbs that are about the same length as Toa Mata limbs, and look good with the Toa Mata body?
  6. Tahew Onnewer Pohattew Gallii Lewer Kopacker Vackammer Whennewer Onaywer Nockammer Mattau Newjew Newii-Rammer Newii-Jagger Tarackavver Mewacker & Kannay-Rah Mannas Mackewter Matter Newii
  7. I finally got around to reading Downfall, the last of the Bionicle chapter books that I hadn’t read yet. While I was prepared to be moved by the final scenes in which Matoro sacrifices himself, I wasn’t expecting another scene earlier in the book to inspire me to write this. I normally don’t read or write this type of fanfiction, but the idea got stuck in my head and refused to leave. Apologies ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barely able to keep walking any longer, Jaller finally allowed himself to give in to exhaustion as he stumbled into the makeshift infirmary. After so long behind “enemy lines”, as it were--- first as occupants of the universe ruled by Makuta Teridax and then as mind-slaves of a group of cultish Skakdi--- he and the other four Toa Mahri finally had arrived at a place of relative peace and safety. Jaller still wasn’t sure how he had been freed from the slavish devotion to the Skakdi and their leader, a strange, golden-skinned being calling itself Irnakk^ with a muscular frame and immense proportions. He seemed to recall a bright red radiance, so dazzling and yet somehow evil-feeling that it hurt his eyes to stare directly at it. Then there were two of the Agori, the native Matoran-like beings of Spherus Magna, one with the coloration of the Ice Tribe and the other wearing strange orange-colored armor that Jaller hadn’t yet witnessed on any of the other inhabitants of this planet. And once they were gone… Jaller and his team’s free will returned. None of the other Mahri had been able to explain it, either. Maybe the Skakdi just lost concentration. Maybe the effect had worn off over time. Whatever the case, the Toa had decided to play it safe. Outnumbered and without their powerful Cordak Blasters, they had agreed to pretend to still be under the Skakdi’s control until an opportunity to escape presented itself. That opportunity came a few days later, in the form of an attack by the Toa Hagah, aided by Tahu, Gali, and Onua. With Irnakk elsewhere for the moment, the Skakdi alone were no match for the combined powers of nine Toa… especially given the multitude of powers that Tahu alone possessed, thanks to his Golden Armor. The former residents of Zakaz had quickly surrendered the Mahri, rather than risk seeing their impressive fortress destroyed a second time. After that, it had been only an hour’s travel back to the camp that the Toa Nuva had established near the fallen Great Spirit Robot, thanks to the power of Toa Iruini’s Kanohi Kualsi. Now Jaller and his team were being set upon by Toa of Water, Toa of the Green, and a number of other beings possessing healing powers. Iruini, too, was being shepherded onto a bed, thoroughly exhausted from repeated use of his mask’s power. Jaller, his thoughts deep in shame, barely noticed as his various wounds were healed one at a time. The mission had been a disaster. They had had to be rescued by other Toa--- more experienced Toa, more powerful Toa. Their first mission had ended with the death of a teammate, the second with an embarrassing failure that required others to step in. Without our destiny, he thought, what are the Toa Mahri? A bunch of novices with the somewhat-useful ability to breath underwater. No track record of battles won, no unity. We saved the universe… but that was all Matoro. His destiny. His selfless act that carried the day. Jaller closed his eyes and allowed sleep to fall over him. If Matoro were still here… he mused as the darkness overtook him. If only he were still here… we might still be something. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You know, Matoro, you don’t have to keep secrets anymore. What? Back when you were a Matoran, working for Turaga Nuju, you heard all sorts of things the Turaga didn’t want us to know. Sometimes it seems like they don’t want us to know anything. You were sworn to keep what you heard to yourself. For years, you knew all about Metru Nui and what happened there and you kept it secret. I had no choice. I did what the Turaga felt was best. I know that. But doing that made you alone among the rest of us. Now the Mask of Life is doing the same thing and it can’t be helped. Still, you have to remember you are part of a team now -- you don’t have to keep everything inside anymore. What do you mean, “the Mask of life is doing the same thing”? Do you remember, back on Voya Nui, when Kongu insisted you be the one to take the mask away from Vezon? He didn’t explain why at the time. But he told me later that he had read the Ignika’s “mind” and it wanted you to be the one to carry it. You’re the only one who can touch the Mask of Life without being cursed by it. Kongu wasn’t sure whether to tell you or not. I told him I would. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was hours later, as Jaller explored the Toa camp--- his new home, for now--- that Hewkii approached him. “Hey,” said the Toa Mahri of Stone. “You have a minute?” “Something bothering you, too?” Jaller asked his deputy. “Yeah… you could say that. Something.” Jaller motioned to an unoccupied tent. “I think we both need to unload a little bit.” When both of the Toa were seated, Jaller motioned for Hewkii to speak first, but to his surprise, the Toa of Stone shook his head. “It’s nothing, really. Just a silly… uh, wish. You start. You seem really upset.” Nodding his thanks, Jaller began to explain. “It feels like… we’re lost. We can’t work together as a team, we can’t do anything, since… since Mahri Nui.” Since Matoro died, he didn’t say. He didn’t want his teammate to know that he was still fixated on that--- the Mahri had already discussed the issue several times, and each time it ended with them all assuring Jaller that he shouldn’t blame himself. I know that! he wanted to shout. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel incomplete as the leader of a Toa team that’s one member short! Hewkii seemed to think about this for a moment. “You mean, like our last mission?” “Exactly! We couldn’t stop the Skakdi from creating the fusion, we couldn’t even try to attack it, and in the end, we pulled nine Toa away from valuable work just so that they could save us from a bunch of half-witted thugs! They still have their fortress, and that Irnakk thing is still out there! We accomplished nothing!” To Jaller’s surprise, his friend smiled. “You think that was a failure? We gathered weeks’ worth of information on those cretins and their leader! It’s one of the biggest threats to the Matoran and Agori that’s out there right now, and the other Toa only know it exists thanks to us!” Seeing that his leader was still unconvinced, Hewkii added, “Thanks to your leadership, Jaller.” “Yeah, right,” Jaller grunted. “If you can call ‘getting your team to the right place at the right time to be brainwashed’ a form of ‘leadership’. Tahu or Norik probably would have found a way to beat the entire army and Irnakk without having to call on any other teams for assistance.” Hewkii frowned. “Are you just determined to be pessimistic?” “No, no, really, I’m not, it’s just…” “Just what?” “It feels like there’s something missing!” Jaller snapped. “And you know what I mean by that! You know exactly what I mean!” Hewkii sighed. “You mean there’s someone missing.” When Jaller didn’t reply, he continued. “Are you ever going to get over this? It wasn’t your fault.” “I know that! Of course I know that! But it was his destiny to save Mata Nui’s life. What if… without him… we just don’t have a purpose?” “It was his destiny to save the Great Spirit. And it was ours to help him get there.” Hewkii paused, then added, “Jaller. Matoro’s last act was to save us. He wanted us to keep going, even without him. You know that.” “I… yeah. You’re right.” Jaller smiled. “I think I just needed someone to remind me. Thanks, Hewkii.” “Of course.” Hewkii looked around absentmindedly. “So, uh, can I talk about my… ?” Jaller nodded vigorously for his friend to go ahead. “I was talking to some of the Agori. Have you… uh… learned about their way their society works?” Jaller chuckled. “You mean that thing they do where two beings pair up as lifetime companions? Yeah, it’s strange.” Hewkii looked uncomfortable. “Right. Well. I was talking with Trinuma… the Order’s been working with some of the Agori scholars to establish a comparison of knowledge between our world and theirs. They found some kind of ‘operating manual’ for the Mata Nui robot in Metru Nui’s ruins, written in an Agori script, and some of the scholars were able to decipher it…” Jaller thought about this. “What’s the problem? Did it reveal something about the Matoran, or the Toa, that was… unflattering?” His friend stared at the floor. “Sort of. There’s this one particular term it keeps coming back to… ‘canon’. It means stuff that’s part of how the Matoran and the rest of us are supposed to work. Anything that’s permitted.” He paused for a moment. “It looks like some of the files were edited after the robot launched, but… they describe our full range of emotions. Everything we’re supposed to be able to feel.” Jaller didn’t seem to be getting it. Hewkii added, “That drive to be with another being, Jaller. It’s not in there. We shouldn’t be able to feel that. It’s not canon.” Jaller stared at him. “Well, of course not. Our society doesn’t work like that. We don’t need it.” Hewkii threw his head back. “But I can feel it! Every day, I think of Macku, and how our worlds are different now, because I’m a Toa and she’s a Matoran! I want to spend time with her and form a closer bond with her than I have with any of my Toa-brothers or Toa-sister! And I know she feels the same way about me! Who cares what’s ‘canon’, anyway?” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We haven’t always been the best of friends. I guess it’s tradition -- fire and ice rarely get along. But I wanted you to know… I think the Ignika made the right choice. You do? Why? Because anything you are asked to do -- even if it’s hard, or painful, or you hate having to do it -- you get done. Look, Matoro, back on Voya Nui you once questioned your worth to the team because you aren’t a warrior. But being a Toa isn’t about who’s strongest or toughest or has the best mask power. It’s about spirit. And by that measure, you are a great Toa. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “Do you know what I mean, Jaller?” Hewkii’s voice brought the Toa of Fire back to the present. He blinked. “I’m sorry, what did you say?” “This--- this feeling. Do you know what I’m talking about?” Slowly, Jaller smiled. “Yeah. I think I do.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^ A reference to Wiriamu’s fantastic epic, Battle for Spherus Magna.
  8. This is a story I wrote quite some time ago. I had it posted on some external sites, then thought: why the heck is it not posted on BZP?! So here it is, my first story ever posted here. I hope you like it! I have a few others like this, all focusing on members of the Toa Inika/Mahri when they were still Matoran. Let me know what you think! -------------------------------------- The island of Mata Nui, ~1,001 years before Mata Nui's reawakening. Where in Mata Nui's name are we? Jala sat alone on a felled tree staring out at the nearby beach and the ocean that lapped at it. A cool wind blew in from the ocean, and the liquid that filled it was blue, which struck him as odd. The only ocean he'd ever seen, the one back at home surrounding Metru Nui, had been a deep silver. This thought led him back to his original query: where was this new place? Why was what appeared to be the entire Matoran population of Metru Nui on this island? Who had brought them here? Perhaps that Turaga who had given him his new mask would know… Jala's old friend, Takua, came running, water dripping from his armor. "What's wrong, Jala?" he said. "Afraid to go swim with the rest of us?" "Are you kidding?" Jala replied. "I'd rather surf on lava!" "Come on. Hahli's there." Jala hesitated. "S-so?" "Just get off your high… log, and have some fun for once. We've been busy building temporary huts all day, and when we finally get a break, you want to spend it sitting down?" "Sure. It helps me, ah, recover energy more quickly." Takua shook his head. "Jala, we aren't on Metru Nui anymore. There are no vahki to give you a slap on the wrist if you're slacking. Trust me, I've checked." Jala's mind wandered. Metru Nui… The name sounded familiar. My old home! he remembered. How could I have forgotten something like that? He shook off the thoughts. "I know that, Takua. It's just that… well, it doesn't feel right to me. I feel like I should be doing something important, not splashing in that weird blue ocean." Takua sighed. "I see you're just as much a stick in the mud as always. Guess I can't make you come over if you don't want to, but if you ever do decide to, you're always welcome. Or maybe you'd rather go sit with the Po-Matoran?" He gestured toward the brown armored villagers, all gathered together farther down the beach and noticeably farther from the water as well. Jala chuckled as he saw one Ga-Matoran—Maku was her name, if he remembered correctly—attempted to pull out Huki, an old acquaintance of Jala's. They'd often shared tools to help each other with their respective duties. Sometimes, Huki needed incredibly delicate shapings in his sculptures, and he'd found that the easiest way to accomplish them was by using a heat-staff, which Jala would provide. In turn, Jala would borrow one of Huki's hammers or chisels to his own detail work on… On what? Jala found that he could not recall what it was he used to work on… back in… "Thanks, Takua," said Jala. "You go have your fun. I think I need to talk with those new Turaga. Do you know who they are?" "No clue," Takua said, starting to walk away. "You know, you're right," he called back. "The color of the water is definitely weird." --- "What is it you wanted to ask me, Jala?" the red Turaga said, turning to face him. This was yet another thing struck Jala as odd: this Turaga, who was a complete stranger to Jala, knew his name. "Turaga, I—" Jala floundered. He knew there was a specific question he'd wanted to ask earlier. Something important, regarding the past… He searched his mind to no avail. "I… was wanting to ask you who exactly you and your companions are." The Turaga chuckled. "It's me, Jala. Vakama." Something extremely distant seemed to stir in Jala's mind, but he ignored it. He cocked his head. "I'm sorry. Should I… know you?" Vakama looked shocked, almost… sorrowful, but only for a moment. "Nevermind that now. I am Vakama, and my fellows are Matau, Nuju, Whenua, Nokama, and Onewa," he said, pointing at each fellow Turaga in turn. "We will do our best to lead you here on this, our new island home, which we've agreed should be named Mata Nui, in honor of the Great Spirit." Jala nodded. "I see. An honor to meet all of you," he said, bowing his head in respect. The Turaga nodded back. Turaga Nuju suddenly broke out in a series of strange-sounding whistles and clicks. He seemed to be trying to communicate a message… "Ah, what did he say?" Jala asked. The other Turaga laughed gently. "We have no idea," Whenua said. "It's something he picked up from an old friend, but he has yet to teach anyone else how to speak it as well." Can this day get any crazier? Jala thought. He cleared his throat. "Well, Turaga, I've been having some concerns lately, primarily about—" "Hey!" Turaga Matau suddenly shouted. "Get away my airships!" He ran as quickly as he could over to where some Onu-Matoran had begun dismantling one of the beached airships that Jala assumed had carried the Matoran here. "Those ones probably have the right idea," Whenua mused. "The airships would certainly be a good source of building supplies, wouldn't you say, Onewa?" "Certainly," the Turaga of stone replied. "We'll find no better immediate well of resources as those. It would be a waste to just leave them sitting there forever." "You were saying, Jala?" Vakama said. "Yes, Turaga," Jala said, praying that he wouldn't be interrupted again. "I have some concerns regarding our security." "Ah, yes. I have had some thoughts on this matter as well. Is there anything specifically that you've noticed?" Jala took a deep breath. "I believe I've seen a Kane-Ra in the area." Vakama's eyes widened. "Oh… That may pose a problem." "May?" Whenua said. "If we're camped in the Kane-Ra's territory, you can bet your mask it will try to… remove us." "Exactly," Jala said. "I was wondering if you'd have any ideas on how to secure the camp, or if, perhaps, we should move…" "Or both," Nokama suggested. "Tearing down what we have built will take some time, but would be best if a Kane-Ra is around. We'll still need some defenses to keep us safe in case it decides to attack while we're in the process of moving." "I agree," Vakama said, nodding. "Jala, recruit some other Matoran and inform them of the situation. Use whatever materials you can gather, including anything you want from the airships—even if Matau yells at you—to prepare a suitable defense." He rested a hand on Jala's shoulder. "Our welfare may depend on your success." Jala blanched, then saluted. "Of course, Turaga," he said, struggling to keep from stuttering. "You can count on me." --- "You do know we're facing a Kane-Ra bull, right, Jala?" Aft asked. Jala finished pulling off a sheet of metal off the outside of an airship. "I do," he replied. "And I have a plan on how to deal with it." "I don't see how something like this will slay such a great beast," Aft said, holding up his own sheet of metal. "It won't, but I don't intend to slay it. We only need to delay it long enough for us to get out of the way." "So… a trap, then?" "Precisely." "Using sheets of metal, long pointy sticks, and…" "Shovels. We found some in one the airship's storage garages, and we'll use them to dig a giant hole." Aft shook his head. "I can't say I see what you're doing, but… you seem like the best one to take care of this. That Turaga chose well, I think." Jala extended a closed fist toward his friend. "Thank you, for being willing to follow me." Aft bumped Jala's fist with his own. "Of course. But if you get us all gored, I may be a little upset with you." --- "The creature-beast approaches!" the Le-Matoran scout, Kongu, shouted. "Right," Jala said. "Everyone ready?" He looked to his gathered squad of Ta-Matoran. Each held a long spear whose tip had been dipped in pitch and set aflame. They appeared nervous, but determined. Jala heard heavy rustling in the trees beyond the beach. "Have courage, brothers!" he shouted. The large red bull burst through the brush, sending a group of Nui-Rama into the air as it went. Jala and his Ta-Matoran backed up, keeping their fire spears thrust out toward the Kane-Ra, slowing its charge. It roared and feigned charges at several, but always stopped shy of the flames. "Close around it and move toward the pit," Jala commanded, struggling to be heard over loud buzzing of the unsettled swarm of Nui-Rama. "Keep backing it up until it falls in!" They began the slow process of keeping the bull contained, giving it just enough space to think itself free, toward the place where the true trap lay. Aft gave a desperate cry as he was lifted from the ground by his shoulders, an orange Nui-Rama gripping him in its claws. The Kane-Ra, sensing a point of weakness, charged the opening, running through despite the fire spears of nearby Matoran. "Help!" Aft shouted from above. Jala looked up just in time to see his friend receive a brutal sting in the back from the Nui-Rama. Jala shuddered at the sight of Aft going limp in the Rahi's claws. No time to freeze, he thought. Lives are at stake. Move! "Nuhrii!" he called to another Ta-Matoran. "Take the squad and try to herd the Kane-Ra again. I'm going after Aft." Nuhrii saluted and ran to catch the bull, commanding the remainder of the guards as he went. Jala searched the air. It was full of Nui-Rama, still buzzing nervously after being disturbed. He soon sighted on the one that held Aft, and it appeared to be trying to get away, its progress impeded by its own fellow Rahi. Jala changed his grip on his spear and threw it up into the swarm, but it was knocked aside by the other Nui-Rama. Cursing, he ran forward, underneath the swarm. It was difficult to keep pace with the Nui-Rama above—the shifting sand underfoot on didn't provide a firm surface for running—as well as keeping track of it. When the creature eventually cleared the swarm, Jala took time to search his surroundings for a means of getting to it. He spotted a round piece of driftwood and a vine that looked rather useful… He grabbed the items without slowing down. This wood felt familiar in his hand. Like… like a disc. You can't have him! he thought as he swung the disc up at the Nui-Rama. It clipped the Rahi's wing, disturbing its already burdened flight. It dropped fast, nearly crashing in to the sand. Jala ran quickly, catching up to it. Gathering what little strength he had left in his legs, he jumped up onto the Rahi, swinging the vine he'd grabbed around the creature's neck. Mata Nui, what am I thinking!? he thought as the Rahi bucked wildly against him. The Nui-Rama let go of Aft, now trying to reach up and remove the Matoran on top of it. It's arms were just short enough that if Jala moved carefully, he could avoid being grabbed. That didn't stop it from trying, which distracted it enough for Jala to exert some control over the direction of its flight. He tugged with the vine, yanking toward where the Kane-Ra had gone. Jala's eyes widened as he saw what had occurred. Several tents and makeshift huts on the fringes of the camp had been destroyed by the bull. He was thankful to see that no Matoran seemed to be hurt. He could see Nuhrii and the others making some progress as the beast took time to fully dismantle a small campsite that Jala himself had set up. It rammed its head into a brown tent, tearing it up from the ground. A gust of wind blew in its face then, plastering the cloth to its snout. The Kane-Ra roared in anger, trying to remove the thing that obstructed its vision. The Ta-Matoran guards charged then, poking the beast with their spears. Jala soon reached the bull himself, still on top of the Nui-Rama. One shot at this… He dropped off the Nui-Rama and landed on the bull's back. He grabbed hold of its horns and headed it toward the hole they had dug earlier. The bull responded to his sharp tugs and ran toward the pit, still blinded. The beast lost its footing over the edge and tumbled down. Jala leapt off, barely grabbing the edge of the hole himself. He looked down to see the Kane-Ra sprawled out at the bottom. The pit wasn't too deep, only about 15 feet. Then a shadow passed over him. "Need a hand, Jala?" a voice said from above. He chuckled. "Wouldn't hurt, Hahli." He grabbed her extended hand, hoping she didn't notice the way his heartlight sped up, and was pulled out. Once he was safely above ground again, Hahli called to her fellow Ga-Matoran. They ran forward and tossed a large net down over the Kane-Ra, giving it a new obstacle to struggle with. "Nice touch," Jala said, nodding. "Once it gets through that and the tent on its head, it should notice itself in the mirrors we set up down there. The idea was that it would be distracted at the thought of another of its kind in the pit with it." "Good thinking," Hahli said. "Is it going to be… stuck down there?" "It'll be able to get out eventually, but we should be gone by then." He took a look over the rest of the camp, noticing that most of the equipment and shelters had been removed. "Thanks again, Hahli." She smiled. "I'm always happy to help out." "I have a feeling we'll need all the help we can get in the coming days…" --- Jala watched as Turaga Nokama finished tying a bandage around Aft's wounded middle. "You'll make a fully recovery in no time," she said. "Just don't get picked up by any more Rahi." The wounded Ta-Matoran nodded and lay back on his makeshift bed. "Thank you, Turaga Nokama," he said quietly. "And you, Jala, for saving me back there." "Just doing my duty," Jala replied. "Duty indeed," said Turaga Vakama as he entered the small tent. "That reminds me of something I wanted to speak to you about, Jala. Step outside with me, so we don't bother you fellow Matoran." He placed a hand on Jala's shoulder as they exited the tent. "Your display of tactical wisdom and heroic action today impressed me," the Turaga continued. "When we have established society here on Mata Nui, someone will be needed to keep order and protect what we have. I had been thinking on how to solve this problem, and thought to myself, why not Jala and his fellow Ta-Matoran? We've seen what you can do. So tell me, Jala. Would you be willing to protect this land, and to take command of your brothers to that end?" Jala stopped walking. What he'd done today had stressed him like nothing he'd ever done before. Of course, he couldn't remember a whole lot of things he had done in the past, yet he knew it to be true. The thought of taking command of others and working to protect everyone in the long-term was… daunting. "I…" he began. "Thank you, but I'm not sure I'm the one for the job, Turaga." "Most difficult tasks are uncomfortable when we first begin them," Vakama said. "Believe me, I've experienced it. But it is those tasks which are often the most important. I have seen something in you today: a gift for leadership, a heart full of courage, and a desire to protect. We need you and your mind, Jala. Over time, you will gain confidence and ability. You can learn and adapt. These are your greatest strengths. I believe in you, and your ability to succeed." "I see," said Jala, falling into deep thought. Was it true? Of course, he had done the things the Turaga mentioned. But a knack for leadership? He certainly didn't feel like much of a leader. Yet… this Turaga said he saw it. Saw potential for more. If I'm to have a place in this new land, where better than to be defending my people? "All right. I'll do it." "Excellent," Vakama said with a smile. "If you ever need me, I'll be there to give you advice. I know you'll do well. I know just what to call you, too. You shall be our Captain of the Guard."
  9. Author's Note: Tagged PG 13 for action and ending. Much thanks to AceGreenLegend for beta reading this! Disassembly The shadow of the Kanohi Dragon passed over the eleven Toa as it flew overhead, deciding whether to continue being a pest or to eliminate the pests below. While it made up its mind, Toa Hagah and Toa Mahri alike were sweating it out in the fiery inferno which raged in the surrounding plains, gripping their tools tightly. Far to the north, a path of destruction loomed in the dragon’s wake, as it used its fiery breath on the land. The Toa were determined to stop the destruction right here, but the battle had been a shaky one—the Kanohi Dragon was a more formidable beast than any Rahi any of them had ever faced, and they wondered if there was any hope of taking it down. “Behemoth creatures with loads of armor,” Pouks grumbled. “Why did the Great Beings always have a fascination with behemoth creatures with loads of armor?” “Maybe that can play into our benefit,” Nuparu piped. “We could overheat its systems, perhaps?” “The dragon thrives on heat,” Norik reminded him. “And under each of those mask scales the Rahi has a ventilation system. Too many vents to try and plug.” “Whatever we do, we just have to keep it from using its fire,” Hewkii growled as he summoned a boulder to throw the dragon’s way. “And we can’t let it reach the villages south,” Gaaki reminded them. “It came from the Great Volcano,” Jaller said. “How are batteries like us supposed to have enough power to suppress something a power plant couldn’t satisfy?” “Precision,” Kualus answered, firing the tri-bladed staff he carried as the Kanohi Dragon dove towards them. What was intended as a strong stream of frost aimed at the dragon’s underbelly resulted in a thick coating of ice which adhered to its underside, the staff amplifying the Toa of Ice’s elemental abilities. Kualus continued his offense, bombarding the Rahi with ice colder than his Sub-Zero Spear could ever manage. The dragon’s maw opened wide as it roared in pain, fire beginning to conjure in its throat. The conjuring was short lived, however, as a growing Toa of Earth rose up to tackle the dragon. It lashed out with its double bladed tail, catching Bomonga in the back. He grimaced, but he did not falter. Instead he reached back to grab the behemoth by its tail, ripping the creature out of the sky. Bomonga grappled with the dragon, distracting it as the two Toa of Water created moisture for Kualus to freeze. Feeling weak at the sense of the cold, the dragon let itself drop to the ground, slamming into the earth with the force of an earthquake. It wriggled furiously against the Toa of Earth, trying to escape from his grip. The remaining Toa of Earth and Stone rushed to assist their brother, willing the ground of Spherus Magna to help their enlarged brother pin the gargantuan. In the meantime, Jaller and Norik rushed to either side of the beast, using their control of fire to suppress any flame the dragon tried to shoot, whilst Iruini and Kongu used their elemental powers to suffocate the ravening infernos spreading along the plains. Spherus Magnans who saw the fight claimed it was nothing they’d seen since the Core War, while historians from the Matoran Universe recalled the fight the dragon had given another group of eleven Toa millennia before. The beast both times had been a ravager of the land, but perhaps this time it would be put down for good. To the mountains of Iconox it would be shipped, where the cold would inhibit its power. The Toa had originally let the beast go, and it had been peaceful. But apparently it would never be content to leave the Matoran and their new Agori peers alone. *** The eleven Toa watched the sun set to the west, sweat of the battle turning cold under their armor in the arriving evening. At the bottom of the hill where they stood, the Kanohi Dragon was being loaded onto a platform by hundreds of black armored denizens, of which half the group looked skeptically upon. “Do we trust the Vortixx to take the dragon?” Kualus asked. “The last time they had it they—“ “The only place it can go is the northern reaches of Iconox,” Jaller nodded, understanding the Toa Hagah’s concerns. “We have to trust them with the dragon.” “But if they do anything like they tried to do last time…” Iruini said, uneasy. “My mask shows me nothing of the dragon’s future,” Gaaki said. “I think it will be alright with them, this time.” “They don’t have access to all of the technology they had on Xia,” Nuparu pointed out. “The disassembly of the robot made them leave a few things. And since Roodaka isn’t leading them this time, I think they’ll be on the right path.” The Toa Hagah of Ice nodded, watching the silhouettes of the Vortixx rushing to finish the work before nightfall. “Is everything alright, Kualus?” came the voice of Norik. The others had left, leaving only the two of them on the hill. The Toa of Ice shook his head. “No brother,” he said, pointing his staff to the north, “There is somewhere you and I have to go.” *** The hannah crab clacked its claws excitedly as it scuttled through the maze of furniture before it. Eagerly venturing through the closed quarters, it bumped on every possible chair leg it could come across, ricocheting onto the wall and back. Each collision made the Rahi more excited, looking for the way out of the absurd arrangement of furniture. There had to be a gap somewhere to duck out of this… after all, there was food outside of here. The crab continued to crawl through the maze, nearly passing the exit in its furious search. It crashed into the wall as it tried to reverse direction, then managed to crawl backwards to the break in the furniture. It shot through the gap to a wide chamber, nearly scuttling into a pair of blue columns in the middle of the floor. It was only the swift sweep of a big red arm which prevented it from a painful collision. “We come here every week, little one, yet you get lost back there every time,” Jaller chuckled as he nestled his pet in the crook of his arm. The crab began to coo as its legs came to a stop. It curled up in the Toa of Fire’s embrace. “It would also help if someone didn’t rearrange the furniture every time we visited,” he jabbed at the winged Toa standing in the middle of the room. “You don’t have to come over for these healing treatments,” Hahli retorted, fluttering her wings. “Surely the Kanohi Dragon didn’t burn the Toa of Fire too bad.” A knock on the door whisked his comeback away, and Jaller set his drink down as he went to answer it. His evening with Hahli was interrupted, and he wondered by whom at this time of night. The door opened to reveal a gold and white Toa, standing behind a Ta-Matoran, and Jaller was curious as to which odd character led the pair. “Takua! Kapura!” He exclaimed. Kapura gave a courteous nod, but when the Toa only exchanged a solemn hello, it seemed strained, and Jaller saw that there was something painful in his old friend’s eyes. He pulled them in, asking what was wrong, but Takanuva could not answer. “Nothing to be spoken of in doorways, Toa Jaller,” the Ta-Matoran responded for his companion. *** Toa Jaller had seen his share of dead Rahi as a Matoran on the island of Mata Nui; there were plenty of casualties in the battles with the infected beasts of the Makuta. But what he saw now was another level of grotesque for him. The corpse of a Muaka tiger rested some ways from of Vulcanus, the gelatinous mass of organic material usually underneath its armor sitting exposed in the desert sun. The Rahi had only been dead a few days, but its hollowness made it seem as though it had been deceased for ages. Numerous parts were missing, more than when Kapura and Takua had initially found it. “This has to be the fifth or sixth one we’ve found,” the Toa of Light informed his friend. “But this one is the freshest kill.” Only one half of its face remained, its clean skull showing huge gaps into its body. One eye looked darkly into the sand of its final resting place, where the other parts of its being were scattered. Jaller shuddered, unable to shake off the memories as a Matoran being stalked by this creature. A powerful forearm that had been lined with armor and implants was completely bare, now nothing more than a tendril of lean muscle shriveled in the desert day. Even the toenails were stripped of its parts. A few wild birds had been pecking at the flesh, but they had flown off at the approach of the the Matoran and the four Toa. The five of them now looked over it, trying to comprehend what the dead Rahi meant. “The first two we thought were random,” Takanuva said. “But once more were showing up…” “How do we know that it wasn’t simply attacked by some larger Spherus Magnan animal?” Hahli asked her Av-Toa friend. “It’s too cleanly done,” the Nuparu answered her. The Toa of Earth had met up with the group on Takanuva’s request, the Toa of Light hoping to use his engineering expertise to gain insight on the trail of corpses he and Kapura had found. eHe pointed to mechanical parts on the Rahi’s head which were still intact. “Look here. The skull is gone, but there are no actual ‘breaks’ in its parts. It’s as if the pistons were taken off very deliberately. Other than what the birds have taken, no predator has gone after this. The flesh looks otherwise left alone.” “So are you saying… someone took the Rahi apart?” the Toa of Water inquired. Nuparu looked at her, an unsettling truth hanging silently in the air. “It was not a natural death,” Kapura said. “I found it during a scouting mission, with a few others just outside of Vulcanus. There was a roar we heard, and I volunteered to investigate it. Staying hidden within sight, I crept over to see the Rahi already dead. There were a few parts missing, but not as many as there are now.” “There aren’t claw marks or anything of the sort signifying an assault, and that’s the odd thing,” Nuparu added. He led Jaller to a bare shoulder. “Look at this. The armor over there is removed, not torn off. And none of the tendons are ripped particularly brutally. This happened after it died. I highly doubt that anything that was trying to feast would have pecked so evenly; a large predator would have made marks within the meat.” “Why would someone want to… disassemble a Rahi?” Jaller asked, uncomfortable with the word. “And how did they kill a Muaka themselves?” “Perhaps the answer is not in the dirt, but on the horizon,” Kapura said. They turned in confusion to see what he meant. The Ta-Matoran was pointing in the distance, where a dot was rapidly growing, and the four Masks of Power grew concerned. This was not an area on any trade routes, and the being was coming from the east, whereas Vulcanus was south of here. There were no villages east. Who could be coming out here, and why? Jaller wondered. His Arthron quickly scanned, and he did not like the returning signals. The three Toa armed themselves, cautious of who it could be. A sole rock steed galloped into sight, the particularly nasty Bone Hunter known as Fero mounted atop, sword wielded. The Toa glared at him as he sneered from atop his ride. “What brings you out here Toa? Your kind are like statues, only present where you can be admired.” “We could ask the same thing of you, Hunter,” Hahli growled. “This animal was found dead, hunted down. Was this or your clan’s doing? And what did you do with the parts?” “A coincidence that I pass this spot,” he chuckled sinisterly. “But I have the native right to travel my own territory, without assault from other worlders,” he spat. “I know not how this robot died, but I can tell you that it is not the first that I have seen.” He then flashed his spurs, which held a piece of a Nui Rama stinger that Jaller knew was impossible to get without losing a hand. “Your beasts make good trophies, but I would not waste my time hunting your kind. Better to wait until you’re like this one here, rusting in the sands and prime for scavenging.” With that, the rock steed lunged forward, jaws bared. “That’s evidence!” Jaller snarled, letting a warning burst of flame at the bandit and his mount. “That’s Skirmix’s dinner,” Fero laughed. “But I will tell you where I got this, before I go on, for I have elsewhere to be. There is a market far from here, to the north, where someone of your stature wouldn’t go. That is where I got these, from a merchant. I know not of how he gets his products, but I those in the market have high demands. Expect more carcasses like this one as the demand increases.” He kicked the steed in its sides, and they went off into the distance. The five watched Fero depart for a long time before they turned back to the deceased. “Bone Hunter scum,” Takanuva snarled, gripping his Toa tool. “Should have lit him up till he told us more.” “He told us enough,” Hahli said, flexing her claw. “We move this body somewhere where we can investigate it better. Jaller, you can use your Arthron to find out more clues, and I’ll use my mask to see if any animals know where this market is. If what Fero mentioned was true, I can get us more information.” “We’ll take what we can back to my workshop,” Nuparu suggested to the Toa of Fire. “And I can look at it more in depth there.” “I’m going with Hahli,” Jaller said, shaking his head. But the Toa of Water aggressively shook her mask. “You’re not coming with me. Two Toa sized travelers will give suspicion.” *** Not far away, under the sand, a figure was watching the group investigate the Rahi, fear rising in him as he noted who they were. He had been on his way to retrieve more of the parts of the Muaka, but the arrival of the investigators forced him into hiding. This was bad. Jaller and Hahli could be fanatics about nature, that much he knew about them. If they investigated this and caught on to what he was doing, he would have to be especially careful about how he conducted his operations. They seemed to be leaving, but he would wait a while, and slip away under the cover of nightfall. *** Ahkmou stood amongst the tables in front of his shop, a tarp overhead to protect his wares from the oncoming rain. Grey clouds were rolling in from beyond the Black Spike Mountains, shady and silent as they travelled across the sky. A few drops he could feel blowing in on the deathly quiet breeze, but the Po-Matoran did not retreat into the depths of the tent behind him; it would take a little more than water to hurt the Po-Matoran. His gave a small smile as he silently observed the passing crowd. The slave caravan being marched through the market was a rich mix of roughened Spherus Magnans and Matoran Universe inhabitants, somberly marching through the market by their master for exhibition. Some merchants taunted them, offering their products to those who clearly could not afford them, but the Po-Matoran kept silent, instead letting his merchandise speak for him. Their master would beat them if they dared turned their heads, but Ahkmou could see a few eyes lingering for more than a casual second before being rushed down the line. A number of customers required his attendance, and the afternoon wore on as Ahkmou sold his keep. The faceless and nameless customers came and went, only remembered by the piles of widgets they left. They disappeared when the storm seemed to strengthen, scrambling for drier quarters, but the merchant remained outside. His pockets were full of money, but his curiosity was still to be satisfied, as he observed one customer who remained: a cloaked being stood across the way between shops, indifferent to the rain. Much taller than the Matoran, that much he could tell, but no more. Ahkmou cocked his head as he finally turned his attention to them, as they had been facing his booth all day. Knowing they had caught his attention, the being trudged towards Ahkmou’s booth, effortlessly trudging through the mud. It was impossible discern a mask or helmet under the hood, no eyes even visible, and he simply waited for the being to speak. “Impressive wares you have,” they commented. “But…I hear you have more inside.” A large bag emerged from the stranger’s robes, landing on the table next to a Nui Rama shoulder bone with a number of clinks satisfying to Ahkmou’s ears. “Right this way,” he offered, pulling the flap of his tent back to allow the stranger in. “These pieces, they’re… fascinating,” the being said, noting the horn of a Kikinalo. Ahkmou said nothing, but let the stranger wander around his assembly. They did not draw their hands from their sleeves, keeping their features hidden. Ahkmou was slightly disappointed, hoping to get some insight into this high paying client. “How does one get such a stock?” “Now, a merchant can not tell the secrets of the supplier,” Ahkmou replied, admiring a claw on a table. “I am afraid, in good business, that I cannot reveal where I get these.” “I’ll pay extra,” the figure insisted. Still entranced in the claw, the merchant shook his head. “I cannot disclose where I get my product,” Ahkmou told them. “Then maybe the price of your miserable life is enough to interest you,” the customer snarled. The Po-Matoran whirled to see the cloak on the ground, and Toa Hahli in his tent, tri-talon bared. “Treacherous slime merchant. Talk, or you’ll find your shares here will become…liquidated.” “Toa Hahli, so nice to see you,” Ahkmou grinned. “I take it the Toa are learning of the new craze of fashion on Spherus Magna? Are you come to join in?” “Who is giving you these pieces to sell?” Hahli demanded. “There was a Rahi found brutally murdered, and its parts were missing. Why are people poaching Rahi for parts?” “Oh, Toa, always trying to find someone to bring to justice.” Ahkmou chuckled. “What’s a few Rahi gone from the universe? Think about it. People hunt animals all the time. Everyone did it on Mata Nui, I’m sure you Ga-Matoran were no exception. What are you trying to prove?” “There is something not right about it, Ahkmou,” Hahli insisted. “Of course, someone like yourself wouldn’t understand, the matter being about other lives than your own.” “Well, Hahli, there’s nothing that I can tell you,” Ahkmou shook his head. “It’s nothing more than friendly poaching and profit.” “If it’s no serious loss then, you probably won’t mind if I flood this entire black market back to the endless seas,” the Toa of Water growled. Ahkmou began to notice the rain pattering on the top of his tent. It was coming down heavier. “Your supplier, Ahkmou. Who are they?” “Where did you find the corpse?” he asked. “Somewhere near where you aren’t welcome,” she snarled. “Their hunting skills are pathetic,” the Po-Matoran laughed. “Whoever is helping me turn a profit, they are definitely more on the mechanical side. It takes someone with mechanical skill to acquire these parts,” Ahkmou smirked. “Whomever may giving me these parts, that’s one thing they do have.” Hahli glared. It was not much, but she thought she sensed where he was leading her. Nodding, she draped her cloak over her, exiting the tent without another word. Ahkmou remained inside, waiting a long time for the rain to lighten up. The entire market was a sinkhole a few hours later, ruined by Hahli’s powers. The Po-Matoran exited his tent to witness the damage, grimacing. Silently, he hoped nobody in the market would know an enraged Toa of Water had come through, or that it was because of him. “The Toa of Water,” came a voice from the shadows. Ahkmou jumped, suddenly aware of another cloaked being. The figure was just as tall as Hahli, just as featureless, but this time, the Po-Matoran knew who they were. His supplier. “What did you tell her?” “I sent her a clue, but it was down the wrong path,” he promised. “Nothing to allude to who you are.” “You know what happens if you violate our deal,” the stranger said. He stepped aside to reveal a large sack that had not been there before. More merchandise, was Ahkmou’s thought as he unwrapped the bag eagerly. He turned to say more to the figure, but they were gone, disappearing as suddenly as they appeared. Shrugging, he went to cataloging the new inventory, only to stop in shock at the non-Rahi pieces he found within the loot. *** Jaller and Hahli, Have been looking into the Muaka specimen you gave me. Had to go consult Turaga Whenua in Tajun about it. Will find you when I return. —Nuparu Jaller read the note on Nuparu’s workbench in his Vulcanus home, irritated at the Toa of Earth’s disappearance. As much as the earth types were tied down to their projects— mining, history, inventing— they were extremely difficult to keep track of; once they were set on a project, they would go far and wide to find whatever they required.He would find Nuparu later then. Hopefully the Toa Mahri returned within the day. A Matoran came up to Jaller as soon as he left Nuparu’s hut, scroll in hand. “Toa Jaller!” the villager cried. “I have been looking for you everywhere!” “What for?” the Toa of Fire asked. “Toa Norik asked me to give you this, said it was urgent,” the villager said. Jaller opened the note, which held a meeting place and time. Jaller thanked the Matoran. “Have you seen Toa Hahli? I was asked to pass on the same message to her.” “Don’t worry, I’ll find her,” Jaller replied. “Thank you for this.” *** Hahli was the last to arrive at the campsite, immediately launching into the news that she had found. Jaller and the two Toa Hagah across the fire listened intently, shaking their heads at what she had found. “Of course the little vermin was selling parts,” Jaller spat after Hahli told him the tale. “Anything he could do to make a profit.” Across the campfire, Toa Norik shook his head. “Never have I heard of a Matoran so far from virtue,” the Toa Hagah of Fire said. “From Makuta’s Turaga in Metru Nui to this?” “He was working for Makuta long before we made our way back to Metru Nui,” Hahli told them. “But this is a new low for him.” “He wouldn’t tell you the supplier?” Toa Kualus asked. “No names, but what he gave was a small hint of where to look,” she said. “If it is true, then the eleven of us trusted the wrong people.” “What did you two find though?” Jaller asked the two Toa Hagah, breaking an uncomfortable silence hanging over them. Kualus looked at the two uncomfortably. “Something felt off about the Kanohi Dragon’s attack. Onua Nuva and I took a trip up there a few years ago, to check its status since leaving the old universe. There was no real reason which it would want to even come back down here. It seemed… at home.” “So what changed?” Jaller asked. Kualus shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “The Great Volcano was a mess last time I was there, but…” he shook his head in disbelief “There is nothing to describe it now.” “The ‘volcano’ itself is in shambles,” Norik told the Toa Mahri. “There is no heat coming from the area whatsoever. The land is torn apart. Where the Rahi’s nest was is a bunch of chasms now.” “An earthquake?” asked Hahli. “Or possibly a bigger beast from the Great Jungle?” “Not both though,” Norik said. “But we haven’t felt any seismic activity down here,” Jaller reminded them. “You’re not saying…” “Something forced the Kanohi Dragon out,” Kualus finished. “What could have the power to do that?” Hahli asked. “There was… a lot of machinery when I went to the Vortixx’s facility in Iconox,” the Toa of Fire cursed. “I didn’t know what a lot of it was. Nuparu would.” “Maybe he can accompany you to another trip there,” Hahli suggested. “But Norik, Kualus… are you saying the Vortixx could be responsible?” “The Vortixx have operated unchecked— here and on Xia —for millennia,” Norik said, glaring into the fire. “They could want to ‘revisit’ old projects.” “What reason would they have for wanting the Kanohi Dragon?” Hahli asked. “Weaponry, at the very least,” Norik said. “They don’t know all the players of this world, but they may want to be prepared for the day another Barraki or one of those Element Lords seeks them out.” “Nuparu did say they couldn’t bring all of their tech off of their homeland,” Jaller recalled. “But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t take a lot of it.” “Ahkmou isn’t the only one who wouldn’t do anything for a little extra income,” Hahli remarked. “What Jaller could have seen could have been anything,” the Toa of Ice said, annoyed with the conspiracy theories bouncing around. He used his ice powers to lower the height of the flame, the two Ta-Toa unintentionally feeding their power as they grew eager in their conversation. “We have no confirmations. We all have dislike for their society, but we cannot let prejudices push our suspicions.” “Yes, but it never hurts to investigate further, if the Vortixx are up to anything.” Jaller reminded him. *** Vohon closed the door to his shop, the sun beginning to dip past the western dunes on the outer reaches of Vulcanus. He watched the yellow orb of Solis Magna until it had sank behind the dune, and then turned to put his wares away. Selling was done for the day, and it was time to go home. A feeling of eyes on his back as he cleaned his shop made Vohon wary, and he almost expected the click of his shop doorknob. The Ta-Matoran stood there, laying his hands flat on top of the table he was at. “I’m closed for the day,” he said as calmly as he could, knowing the words wouldn’t discourage the intruders. “Come back tomorrow.” “We aren’t here to buy,” a voice chuckled, and Vohon turned to look at who had trespassed into his shop. A Vortixx and an Agori stood across his doorway, dropping their cloaks to the floor of the hut. The Agori took off his seemingly empty backpack, a grin coming from under the half mask that they wore. Vohon had thought they were wearing Kanohi at first, but the more he looked, the more he could see they were not Kanohi at all, or even Glatorian helmets. They were masks, but not even poorly crafted ones; they seemed much more warped than that. The thought crossed Vohon’s mind that he may not be dealing with simple thieves. “Now wait just a second—“ Vohon started, whipping out a loaded Kanoka launcher from under his table. Aiming at the Vortixx, he pulled the trigger, and threw the launcher unexpectedly at the Agori as the disk flew. The pseudo mask on the taller figure was knocked off, but the disk was too weak to have any effect on him. The Agori had dodged the launcher thrown at him, a grin growing on his face as he began to advance on the Matoran. Night was arriving in Vulcanus, darkness coming in the form of these two bandits. Vohon raised his fists halfheartedly, thinking he knew what was about to come. *** “Still think we shouldn’t be accusing them?” Hahli asked Kualus the next morning. He said nothing, simply gazing in shock at the mess that was Vohon’s ruined shop. The Matoran in question sat with Norik, sporting a new mask and nursing his socket where his arm used to be. Another Matoran medic was there, studying the spot where the limb had detached. Hahli reread the scroll she carried with the Matoran’s account of what had happened. The only word with meaning on it was ‘Vortixx’, describing one of the assailants. Kualus frowned, upset with the tortured Matoran’s physique. “We’re headed north as soon as this investigation is over,” the Toa assured her. “but not necessarily with Cordak launchers blazing.” “The interrogation should be more hostile than the last visit,” Jaller’s voice reached the two. In his hand he held the deformed half mask Vohon had presented to them when they had arrived. “I’ve never seen that kind of mask before,” Hahli said. “That’s because it’s a scale,” Norik corrected. “A decoy mask from the dragon, meant to lure in unsuspecting Matoran to feed on when they were close enough.” Kualus looked at his brother, disgusted. “The Vortixx are definitely doing more than keeping the dragon in stasis,” he said. “I’ll ask Ackar to borrow his Thornatus again,” he resolved. “Did Vohon have anything to say other than what he told us?” Jaller asked Norik. The Hagah shook his head. “No, but I told him we would personally see to it that he received a new arm,” Norik informed Jaller. The group of them nodded to Vohon and the medic, their work in the hut done. It was time to travel to Iconox again. “Before we leave, have Takanuva on double patrol tonight,” he asked the Toa Mahri. The Vortixx at the gate of the Iconox facility were concerned when Jaller and Norik brought them the news. “But the dragon has been here since you entrusted it to us,” one of the guards said. “How could an incident with the dragon happen in Vulcanus, if it never reached there?” “That’s why we’re worried as well,” Jaller said. “We want to take a look at the dragon. I just want to assure its well being. Norik here is an expert on reptiles, and he wanted to look as well. If you allow us just a few hours to observe, then we will be on our way.” “We weren’t expecting visitors today,” one Vortixx commented. Norik’s mask did a double take, sarcastically incredulous. “Toa Nuparu did tell you we would be checking in,” the Toa Hagah reminded the guards. Their brows darkened, and they nodded, letting the two Toa in. Their bluff got them into the dragon’s chamber, where the behemoth lay in stasis. An icy Spherus Magnan substance covered the dragon, keeping it dormant; whatever was on the dragon frosted over the surface of its hide, and the Toa could barely make out the details of its armor. Bringing two Kanohi Akaku from their packs, they saw past the substance, and began scouring up and down the length of the creature. It had some damage from the wrestling match with Bomonga, but the majority of its armor was undamaged. The Rahi’s midsection was where the Toa found something off. In the bulk of its body, where the Rahi’s ‘masks’ lined its hide, the stasis substance appeared patchy. Jaller and Norik crouched down to where they saw the disturbance. One section of the substance appeared patched— investigating further, the Toa could see no mask scales on the creature. The Toa looked at each other, eyebrows raised. While Norik glanced up to check on any spying Voritxx, Jaller used his powers to burn away the substance to investigate further. Underneath the patch, it was as they suspected; a broken scale stuck out from the rest, the Kanohi-like appendage missing. Jaller looked at it grimly, while Norik’s eyes were raised. They said nothing, repairing the seal quietly before moving on. More patches were visible further down the hide, various spots here spread out to try and look random, but the Toa could distinguish a pattern. They were undetectable from the platforms surrounding the dragon, where Vortixx walked to and from different facilities within the place, but down here, the more they looked, the more the Toa could see the substance had been tapped into. “Dozens of ‘masks’ missing,” Jaller said. “But why? A powerless Kanohi doesn’t hide that much. Vohon was clearly able to tell it was a Vortixx attacking him.” “Perhaps they’re not using the masks as disguises,” Norik suggested as they walked further down the dragon’s side. “The question is, then, what else they could be using them for. And how does this relate to the deaths of Rahi you found in the desert?” “They’re not just taking the masks,” Jaller realized as they came to the rear of the Rahi. Curled up behind the massive beast was its tail. Covered by the stasis substance, it was hidden, but with the aid of their Masks of Vision, they could see the raw muscle of the tail. Some of the armor from one of the Rahi’s greatest weapons had been removed. “They’re stripping the Rahi.” “For weaponry?” Norik queried. “There are thousands, if not millions of other weapons on Spherus Magna. Why would they waste their time stripping a dragon of its parts for—“ A sudden rumble cut Norik off. Tremors began to shake through the cavern, dust descending from the ceiling high above. The Toa looked at each other, surprised. The shaking did not last long, but it came in and out. Next to them, the comatose dragon began to shake as well. The two Toa nodded that it was best for them to leave. “What is going on?” Jaller demanded of their guide as they exited into a side tunnel. “Minor tremors, we have them every so often,” the guide explained, a collection of tablets and scrolls piled into a satchel he carried. “Nothing severe enough to awaken the dragon, but as a safety precaution we must ask you to leave.” “What is causing said tremors?” Norik answered. The Vortixx shook his head, saying something they could not hear in the rumbling. He turned to lead them toward the exit, and stumbled as another tremor hit them. The Vortixx tripped, his open bag spilling onto the ground. The Toa went to help him collect everything, but the Vortixx scrambled on his hands and knees, picking everything up as fast as he could. Jaller went to help him, and Norik could not help but notice the dark expression on his mask as they continued to the exit. “Are you ok?” The Toa Hagah asked when they met the fresh air of the mountains. “Keep walking,” Jaller responded, eyes forward on the path. Hahli and Kualus waited some ways away from the entrance to the facility, keeping hidden amongst the snowbanks. They immediately descended back to the path when they saw their comrades, equally as puzzled by Jaller’s silence as Norik was. The three of them watched the Toa Mahri fall to his knees. His fingers became a whirl in the dirt, tracing something that only he could see. Any attempts to get an answer from what he was doing were met with only silence for a few moments. He stood up, brushing his hands off to the side, and the other three gathered to see what he had drawn. A depiction of the north, but there were paths between here and the Great Volcano that none of them recognized. “What is it?” Kualus asked. “Our host let something slip,” Jaller began. “When we were leaving, I happened to get glimpse of this on one of the tablets he dropped. I used my Arthron to memorize it as best as I could— the mask isn’t too precise. But there is something out here—“ he indicated a section in the Black Spikes, midway between Roxtus and Iconox. “and where we are. We need to continue north to check that out.” Using her power, Hahli sent water into the ruts the Toa had carved, allowing Kualus to freeze them into a sheet of ice. They pried it from the ground, smearing the original drawing Jaller had rendered as a precaution. When they were finished, they rose to see Norik gazing up at the slopes, troubled. “Is something wrong?” Hahli asked him. “The path is clear,” Norik said to Jaller. “I would’ve thought otherwise.” “Why shouldn’t it be?” asked Kualus. “I just would’ve thought… that the tremors inside would’ve shook the snow loose and down to here,” Norik responded. The Toa of Ice and Water looked at him quizzically. “What tremors?” Hahli asked. The Toa of Fire met eyes, Norik cursing. Another of the Vortixx’s tricks, they realized. “We need to get going,” Jaller said, leading the way. The makeshift map showed them paths that were definitely not known to any travelers, they realized after a day of hiking. The four of them had crossed from Iconox’s icy slopes to deep within the Black Spikes, now walking single file along a path entrenched between two mountains. On either side of the path, black slopes reached high toward the sky. There were no sign of any animals, let alone other travelers, which kept Jaller on edge. Though he led the way, scouting with his Arthron, he was so focused on interpreting the returning signals that he continually tripped on cracks in front of his face. “How much more of this?” Norik asked, picking up Jaller for the umpteenth time. “The path ascends soon,” Kualus said, using one of their Akakus to spy a trail on the mountain not so far away. “Wherever the map leads… its close.” “It better be,” Jaller said, crushing a rock with his power sword. “Because I’m sick of—“ A loud crack cut him off. To their side, a rumble sounded, and the Toa stiffened, knowing the sound of an oncoming rockslide. Tripping and tumbling over one another, the Toa began to sprint down the alley that was their path. Out of the corner of their Kanohi, they could see tons of rock coming closer with each stride they took. “Go! Go!” Kualus urged them. As far as they could run in the short time they had, Jaller thought, they were not going to get clear of the rubble. Wielding his sword with both hands, Jaller turned and sent waves of intense heat at the rocks, trying to split the stone before it toppled onto them. A figure on the mountain stood satisfied when he saw the rocks settle, the Toa buried far beneath them. He breathed a sigh of relief. The Toa were close, but they were not going to get any closer to uncovering his operations. That he was certain of. Satisfied with his work, he unlatched the door that would lead him into the mountain. Though the sounds of muffled agony could be heard several boulders down, but Jaller’s power sword still carved toward the surface. The rock above him exploded in a molten mess, and he emerged gasping into fresh air. His chestplate had been dented, and he set his sword down to fix it, before beginning to carve to where he heard the sound. Clearing the rubble, he found Norik trapped, a larger slab of rock pinning his leg. The sounds of yelling had come down, but the expression of pain on his mask remained intense. The armor on his leg had twisted under the impact and weight of the rock, and now the Toa laid amongst the rubble, fighting blacking out from the pain. Kualus freed himself and made his way over to the pair, freezing the rock and shattering it, but it did no help. In an extremely short period, the injury had turned gruesome. They could not remove it, Hahli noted—the weight of the rock had caused the injury, but now it kept it all together. Whatever Kualus did to the rock, it would have further hurt his comrade. Hahli bent down to him when she freed herself, sending healing water powers into the Toa Hagah’s injury. “You have to go on without me,” Norik said to Jaller and Hahli. The combination of the two Toa’s healing powers had done all it could now. “I’m of no use to you like this now.” “We can’t leave you,” Jaller said firmly, but Kualus’s look said otherwise. “It’s your mission,” Kualus reminded Jaller. “We are merely here to help. Go find out what the map led to; if we can catch up to you and serve as backup, we will.” The Toa of Fire opened his mouth to argue, but Hahli’s claw on his shoulder shut him up. Exchanging goodbyes with a fist bump, the two Toa Mahri made their way toward the mountain path. Hahli was unsettled with how calmly she was breathing in the crisp air as they walked up the path. It wasn’t leaving the Toa Hagah behind that bothered her; only Mata Nui could possibly fathom what they were walking into now, and it might’ve been best to have back up or someone else to tell that they had gone missing. No, it was nothing about the injuries Norik had sustained; it was the quiet surrounding her and Jaller. Even without her Mask of Kindred, she could sense something looming in the nature ahead of them. “I don’t like this,” she said to Jaller. “We shouldn’t have left them down there.” “You’re the one who agreed with them to do it,” Jaller reminded her, a little surprised at her sudden change of heart. “But the rockslide was too convenient. We can’t let a few tricks from a species of tech geniuses scare us away. Whatever the Vortixx are hiding, they’re really desperate to keep hidden from us. We need to keep going at all costs.” The Toa of Water gave a small smile; Jaller’s sense of justice, though strict, was somewhat comforting in the face of her building anxiety. Her fears returned and intensified when they saw the door. It stood against the face of the mountain, locked by a large gear. Hahli could feel its coolness with her protosteel claw, a chill running up her spine as her fears began to take on a solid form. Jaller grabbed its handles and cranked it open to find a dark, featureless tunnel. There were no signs of anything as far as they could see, but Hahli knew there had to be something deep in the tunnel. A door this well hidden had to be there for reasons she didn’t want to think about. They stepped inside the yawning entrance, and Hahli pulled the lever to close the doors, the view of the mountains disappearing as she did so. Where the Toa of Water before could see blue skies and mountaintops, was now solid stone and metal, the crack in the two halves of the door impenetrable. She didn’t like the feeling of confinement overcoming her, but she turned to Jaller, calm and collected. Neither torch nor lightstone illuminated the tunnel, and Jaller used his Arthron to guide them. The Toa of Fire was only visible by the glow of his eyes, but somehow her hand found his, and she let him lead the way. While he concentrated on his mask power for ‘sight’, Hahli relied on her other senses to keep alert. As the Toa of Water walked blindly, her thoughts drifted to her hearing, and she listened to their footsteps. Though they walked quietly, their armored feet resounded far down the tunnel, giving her the slightest idea on how large the tunnel was. Something was not right about the way they echoed, and Hahli listened more intently, the nerves on her neck suddenly sensitive. Jaller squeezed his partner’s hand as he felt her pace pick up, but she did not reciprocate while she concentrated. Something was not right about the way their footsteps echoed, but she could not discern exactly what it was. There was the pair of footsteps coming back to them, but something was off about the way they sounded. Hahli suddenly realized what it was as she stopped, her hand jerking Jaller and bringing him to a stop as well. But the sound of footsteps kept resounding behind them, and Hahli’s worries were confirmed. There was a third person in the tunnel with them. She whirled, slashing her tri-claw at the darkness. “Who is there?” she cried, her question repeating itself down the tunnel. Jaller directed his Arthron behind them, ‘listening’ for any response, but the footsteps had stopped. After a few eternal moments of silence, they continued onward again. Hahli continued to listen, but all she heard was two pairs of footsteps. The shadows seemed to soften, but it took Hahli a while to realize she could see again. She and Jaller walked through shafts of grey light now, a soft glow coming from somewhere ahead to dispel the shadows. Hahli glanced over her shoulder to see a wall of absolute black, and looked forward again. Yes, there definitely was a difference now, not just her imagination playing tricks on her. Jaller slowed to a stop, putting a hand on her shoulder to caution the fellow Toa. “There's movement up ahead", he told her, his voice troubled, "but I can't discern any details. Be prepared for anything.” Hahli nodded, and cocking their Cordak blasters, they slowly advanced. Their path narrowed into a catwalk that wound around a chamber, where an assembly of machinery criss crossed into an elaborate factory line. Lightstones mounted high above cast a cerulean glow on a series of eerily still conveyor belts, mechanical arms paused over the shells of Rahi resting on them. A few Vortixx wantered the machinery, hauling boxes of pieces to another room. The Toa looked at each other as they glimpsed the Rahi there, as well as a ladder that would take them to the floor. As quietly as they could manage, they snuck down the ladder, keeping hidden from the Vortixx as best as they could. On the belts the Rahi lay still and dark, devoid of any sign of life. Gone was any organic tissue that had been inside of their frames, the beasts appearing as haunted skeletons of what they once were. The eye of one Muaka tiger was dark, gazing blankly into the strange facility but not seeing the doom that it brought the beholder. As the two Toa walked further along the belts, they stuck to the shadows, precariously trying to keep hidden from the Vortixx workers. The two looked further along to see more Rahi, dozens of species and samples in various stages of disassembly. One belt contained multiple Rahi with their limbs detached— A Nivhawk with its wings removed, a Phase dragon with its limbs disconnected from its torso— whereas another belt had a Nui-Jaga completely taken apart, each piece laid out in a frighteningly precise manner. Following the belts led them to a hefty workbench in the middle of the factory, the stools surrounding it strewn about as though they were thrown in frustration. Scrolls and tablets were scattered along the tabletop, which the Toa began to sift through, until Jaller pulled up one of a diagram of the robot that had housed the Matoran universe. Some of the writing was Agori, but it was the few notes on it in Matoran that the Toa of Fire did not understand. Setting that scroll down, he dug through the pile he had plucked that one from. Hahli took that tablet as Jaller sifted more, reading notes about the giant robot, which from the context had to have been written by the Great Beings. There were some notations of Mata Nui and his mission, as well as the reformation of Spherus Magna, but it did not stop there; something that trailed off into Agori about the shutdown of the Mata Nui intelligence system, as well as reorganization of the materials within the robot… Hahli took a hard swallow as she looked around the factory, and then back at the text. “What is this place?” she asked aloud. “The place of our beginning… as well as our end.” The Toa looked up, the voice coming from the other side of the workbench. Barely peeking over the surface, a Matoran grinned at them. He hobbled his way around to Hahli, smiling as he took the scroll from her. The two Toa looked at him, mouths agape with shock. They had forgotten about him, in their wild journey though Voya Nui and Mahri Nui, and the mask he now wore was one from the hide of the Kanohi Dragon. One of his arms seemed new… and they realized in horror that it was the arm of Vohon, hastily latched onto his shoulder blade. The body was familiar, but the sound of his voice instantly sent them back to their time as confused Matoran in a twisted world. The Matoran whom had helped them escape the realm of Karzahni stood before them, staring wide eyed and cheery in this dark and mysterious factory. “You?” Jaller asked. “What are you doing here?” “A lot of people… forget,” the Matoran giggled. “But I… I remembered. You’ve forgotten me in your adventures, Metruan. But I forgive you, just as the Great Spirit forgave his playthings.” “Playthings?” Hahli asked nervously. She and Jaller looked at each other, and then to this decrepit Matoran. They were the able bodied ones, but somehow she felt this Matoran was the one with more power right now. “The Vortixx, the Skakdi, those who weren’t Matoran…” He answered, nodding. “All… playthings. And the Rahi too!” He gestured to the cluttered workbench. “While we worked, the Great Spirit, he played. But he never cleaned up. That was our job. My job.” Jaller shook his head. He was not following. “What is this place?” “It is my factory,” he replied. Hahli raised her eyebrows. This Matoran, own or be in charge of a factory? As incredulous as it sounded, it made sense to her worried mind. “It’s where the first of us was built by the Great Beings, and where the last of us will be taken apart.” “Taken apart… like the Rahi?” Jaller asked. “Exactly like the Rahi!” the Matoran said, excited his guests were starting to follow. “We were never meant to be here this long, it’s a wonder we’ve lasted in Paradise for the time that we have. The Great Beings never had a clue things would stray so far from the way they were supposed to.” “So you’re the one taking apart the Rahi?” Jaller demanded. “No… I am.” The two whirled at the sound of the raspy voice behind them, weapons drawn at a Vortixx they had thought snuck up on them. With a chuckle, however, the figure stepped into the faint light, revealing himself to be anything but one of the denizens working the factory. The Toa Mahri gasped. Strange silver additions to the being’s upper body gave an awkward bulkiness to him. He bore wicked looking claws, his left hand hidden by a shield strapped to his forearm. An orange glow seeped from under all of the armor, that, to which Hahli and Jaller could only assume were his bones given some sort of translucence. The being’s body looked almost unfamiliar, almost like a Vortixx, but the mask… there was no mistaking the Kanohi Volitak, or the sad smile that he looked at the two with. “Nuparu?” Hahli asked, almost hoping the being in front of her gave a different name. But the nod that he gave made her heart plummet. “What are you doing here?” “I think I know the answer but I don’t think we’ll like it,” Jaller grumbled. “Now I know I saw you, when I first came check on the Dragon. I wasn’t sure at first. Nuparu, are you working with the Vortixx to take apart the Rahi?” “It’s more along the lines of they are working with us,” the Toa of Earth grinned. “Explain yourself,” Hahli demanded. “It’s for the next step in the Great Being’s plan,” Nuparu quietly answered. “You’ve read some of these scrolls. All of the Great Beings’…research.” “Most of what we think of them is our own delusional myth, did you know that?” the Matoran chimed. And it looks like some of us are more delusional than others, Jaller thought, hand tight on his power sword. “Mata Nui was never meant for anything more than reuniting the planet,” Nuparu continued. “Once Spherus Magna was fixed, the robot was supposed to return to the Valley of the Maze and be shut down, and then be taken apart for uses in further projects they had in mind. Building the robot took up so much of the planet’s resources— and they were going to build TWO!— that they wanted to try and fully restore the planet.” “So were we supposed to be dismantled with the robot?” Hahli asked, incredulous at what she was hearing. “None of this was ever supposed to be integrated into Spherus Magna in this form,” he confirmed, a slightly apologetic tone in his voice. “The Great Beings just thought it was too dangerous.” “See, we’re all scheduled to be ‘disassembled’,” the Matoran said. Hahli shook her head. “Nuparu, how can you be behind this? How can you stand with this Matoran?” “I once saw a Spherus Magnan animal hunting in the desert,” he recalled. “It had come upon a recently deceased carcass of another animal, killed by some other predator but left otherwise untouched. The animal ate the spoils it found. But it later was hungry. It went and found another carcass, but the result was the same. The animal eventually died of starvation. When I looked at it, the animal had eaten the food, but there was no nutrition in it. “I know, it seems trivial, but it stuck with me. The sound of that animal dying of malnutrition, it seemed wrong. It seemed cheated.” “I’d gone wandering,” the Matoran said, sitting on top of the workbench and swinging his twisted leg. “And stumbled upon all of this. Nuparu eventually found me, and together we came and made this operation.” “It all seemed logical. I would take apart Rahi, figure out how we biomechs absorbed food. Because I wanted to figure out something.” He shook his head. “But there’s no so
  10. These are all from about a week ago, when I watched LoMN again and realized how far my way of drawing matoran had drifted away from the 'original' influences, so I thought I'd try and re-capture the essence of what I think matoran to look like. Sort of. Those two little ones were drawn directly with the ballpoint pen, with minimal sketching (which you can very much see at the left matoran's left/seen as right leg.) Then I decided to draw Jaller for a warmup. While I am not entirely happy with the colouring, I guess it does look like the character, so it's okay with me. ^^
  11. Hi all! First attempt at fanfiction, inspired by a discussion about the ridiculousness of the Kanohi Faxon. It got me thinking about creative ways one could annoy people using the mask- and what might happen to Jaller if he and Hahli ever had a massive argument. Basically it takes the good old "wife makes husband sleep on couch" cliche in a new direction. A bit fluffy, a bit cracky, and definitely shippy (Jaller x Hahli or Jaller x Hahli x Takanuva, depending on your interpretation)- I thought the style was more like a short story, though it could easily qualify as a comedy, so please move if appropriate. The idea was for a silly fic that was still mostly consistent with the canon "rules". Enjoy! The Argument For the third evening in a row, Toa Jaller was regretting not being a bit more discerning when he bought the furniture for his home in New Atero. Not that there had been much to choose from at the time- Bara Magna’s furniture industry hadn’t exactly been thriving since the Shattering… But if he’d waited a few more weeks for the Matoran to get settled back into crafting, he could have got something much nicer than the battered, threadbare brown couch he was currently stretched out on. It was probably well over a thousand years old, and parts of it had clearly been scavenged for other uses at some point. Something metallic was jabbing him in the back. He rolled over and shoved the wayward spring back down where it belonged. Jaller wasn’t fussy about couches. It wasn’t as though Toa spent much time sitting down anyway, he’d reasoned. And he certainly hadn’t considered the possibility that somebody might need to sleep on it at some point. Or that the “somebody” might be him. Now, beds- beds were a different story. He’d been very particular about the bed. Toa need to sleep properly when the lives of others are in their hands. Perhaps they’d gone a bit overboard with the bed. It was large and strong enough to withstand a bellyflop from a Toa Kaita (which he knew from experience- the Agori furniture salesman had nearly fainted at the sight), and the mattress was very comfortable. It was a great bed. Too bad he wasn’t currently allowed to use it. It was still light outside. He knew he wasn’t going to be able to sleep for several hours, regardless of how much he might want to. Toa really only needed to sleep every few days- they could go for about a week without if they had to- but he’d been helping build the new Great Furnace in Ta-Atero. His muscles ached, and he knew his ability to focus had been compromised. But it wasn’t just the horrible couch or the aches and pains keeping him awake. Takanuva had disappeared off to Bota Magna as part of an expedition led by Onua Nuva over three weeks ago and hadn’t come back- Jaller and Hahli had been out on another mission when Takanuva was unexpectedly recruited, so they hadn’t even been able to say goodbye. And as often as he told himself the Toa of light would be okay, his hope was fading by the day. He was starting to plan a search party of his own, but had no idea where to start looking. And then there was the whole mess between him and Hahli, which showed no signs of being – Click. Jaller sat bolt upright . Click. Rattle. Click click. Yes, that was definitely the sound of a key in the front door. “Hello? Anyone home?” called a familiar voice. Jaller leapt to his feet and ran down the hall. He was startled to see a mottled green figure hunched under a heavy pack trudge through the door, but relaxed upon seeing the familiar shape of the Kanohi Avokhii as the figure discarded his backpack and stood up straight. “Jaller!” cried Takanuva, flinging his arms around the Toa of Fire. “How are you?” “Tired, but a bit better now.” said Jaller vaguely, “More importantly, how are you?” “Good! Yeah, really good! I was-” “Oh? Are you sure? You’re looking a bit… green.” The pun would normally be well beneath Jaller’s dignity, but he was tired, and Takanuva was back, so it didn’t really matter. “Hm? Oh, yeah, the camouflage!” He switched back to his normal white and gold colouration, revealing a thick layer of mud and grime crusting his armour. “Uh… I guess I should get Hahli to squirt me down before I get any further…” “Don’t worry about that,” said Jaller a little too quickly, then had an idea. “Hold still”. He touched one of the dirty patches on Takanuva’s shoulder armour, causing only the surface to heat up without affecting the organic tissue beneath. The muck dried up into a brittle coating that flaked away easily. “You should get Nuparu to make a machine that does that,” said Takanuva, looking impressed as Jaller worked at the rest of his armour. “Water-free bathtimes! He’d make a killing with the Le-Matoran market.” “You’ll still need a bath later,” said Jaller with a sniff. “You’ve still got that boggy smell, but at least you won’t make the whole house look like a swamp-There,” he said when he had finished, handing Takanuva a brush. “Go dust yourself off outside.” Takanuva obliged. Jaller got a cloth and started wiping up the muddy footprints. He wondered how he was going to explain about Hahli… A few minutes later, Takanuva had flopped down on the couch, and Jaller was hearing tales of laser-powered lizards, plant people, and awkward rescues. “So you found him?” “Lewa? Yeah! He was sort of being held prisoner by a tribe of Agori, but he’d sort of made friends with them, so he was sort of happy that we rescued him, but… well, it’s complicated, apparently. Anyway, he made sure Onua didn’t beat anyone up too badly, so I think it went well. He promised them he’d come back to visit now and then.” “And what if they kidnap him again?” “Then at least we’ll know where to find him. Besides, I think they’re all too scared of Onua to try that.” Takanuva chuckled. “So, is Hahli not home?” “Not sure, might have to check,” lied Jaller. “Want some tea?” “Oh, yeah, that’d be great- I can make it if you like-” He moved to rise. Jaller dismissed his offer with a wave. “Faster if I do it.” he said, and then left for the kitchen. Jalle waved his hand over the dry wood in the stove, causing flames to instantly spring up. He filled a pot and hung it over the fire to boil. He could have snapped his fingers and boiled it immediately, but it never seemed to taste quite the same when he did that. Besides, he needed to do a quick detour before getting back to Takanuva. Jaller trudged down the hall, arrived at the bedroom door and thumped loudly on it three times with his fist. “Takanuva’s back, if you felt like being sociable,” he called gruffly to the room’s occupant. There was no response. Well, he supposed that was to be expected given how the last few days had been. He returned to the living room with two mugs of tea, setting them down on the table in front of Takanuva. The Toa of Light looked uncharacteristically serious. “Did… something happen between you and Hahli?” asked Takanuva. Jaller froze. His silence was as good as a “yes” as far as Takanuva was concerned. “How do you mean?” said Jaller warily. Takanuva gestured to the blanket and pillow crumpled in a pile on the couch next to him. “You’ve been sleeping in here,” he observed. “Long story,” muttered Jaller. “Short version?” Jaller sighed. “I’m sleeping in the living room because my bed has been hijacked by a giant blue Muaka.” he said finally. “You don’t need to be sarcastic.” “I’m not.” There was a pause. Takanuva’s eyes widened as he processed this information. “You mean there really is a Muaka?” “Yes.” “On the bed.” “Yes.” “A real Muaka?” “No.” A look of confusion crossed the Toa of Light’s face, but Jaller offered no further explanation. “Can I see it?” asked Takanuva after a few seconds’ silence. “Go ahead. Maybe you can talk some sense into her. Wouldn’t advise getting too close, though.” While Takanuva somewhat doubted his ability to “talk some sense” into large, carnivorous wild animals, his curiosity once again triumphed over his self preservation instincts. Forgetting about the tea, he jumped to his feet and made his way down the hall. Cautiously, he opened the bedroom door and peered inside. Yes, there was indeed a large, feline Rahi curled up on the bed, eyes closed, its massive head resting lazily upon its forelimbs. And yes, it did look like a Muaka, more or less… but there were a few odd features that stood out. Like the presence of two powerful, clawed hind legs in place of treads. And the colouring was all wrong. Muaka were yellow and black- this one was mostly deep blue, with occasional patches of lime green. But most peculiar of all was the pair of little silver fins- tiny and delicate in comparison to the rest of the beast- protruding ridiculously from the creature’s broad, muscular back. Takanuva wondered at first how it could have possibly got in there- it was too big to fit through the Toa-sized doorway, or any of the windows for that matter. His attention was suddenly drawn back to the strange creature’s fins- bizarre and out of place, and yet oddly familiar. His eyes widened in horror as he suddenly recognised the silver appendages- and the creature they belonged to. “H-Hahli?” he choked. The feline Toa of Water opened one amber eye and gave a soft grunt of acknowledgement before getting back to her nap. “What happened-?” Takanuva started, cautiously moving towards her. “Somebody figured out she could borrow the Krahka’s shapeshifting power using the Faxon, and decided to exploit it for the purpose of throwing a tantrum, that’s what happened,” said Jaller bluntly. Takanuva’s horrified expression instantly dissolved into a massive grin. Partly out of relief that Hahli hadn’t had an overdose of Hordika venom or lost a fight with Roodaka in his absence, and partly at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. Any delusions he’d had about Toa being unfailingly wise, majestic beings untroubled by petty concerns had been dispelled long ago (well, within a few days of first meeting Tahu, actually). He’d seen a variety of Toa sulks, tantrums and hissy-fits over the years- but this… this took sulking to a new level. He had to give points for Hahli’s ingenuity. Although, he supposed, her approach was much safer that angrily throwing fireballs around, at least. “I can’t leave you two alone for a minute, can I?” said Takanuva, shaking his head. “You’re one to talk,” Jaller snapped. Takanuva whirled around, surprised at his tone. Jaller composed himself and elaborated. “We were out for less than a day, and came back to find you’d trotted off to Bota Magna to go frolicking through the forest with the laser lizards for Mata-Nui-know-how-long, and we didn’t see you again for three weeks! What do you call that?” “Is that your way of saying that you missed me?” said Takanuva innocently. Jaller still looked stern. “Besides, that wasn’t my idea… for once… and Lewa sort of needed rescuing. Y’know how you’re always going on about that duty thing I’m supposed to do?” “Mmhm… fair enough…” Jaller murmured vaguely. “Just… just don’t take off like that again anytime soon ‘kay?” It was then that Takanuva realised how Jaller must have worried about him, and how much it had drained the Toa of Fire, though he’d never admit it outright. He put a reassuring arm around Jaller’s shoulder, and the two gazed at the Muaka-shaped Toa occupying the bed. Takanuva noticed that the Kanohi Faxon was now attached to Hahli’s cheek, like he had seen on some of Makuta’s infected creatures. “So,” he said to Jaller, “If you pulled her mask off right now, do you think she’d change back? Or would she be stuck like that?” “I’d be in even more trouble either way, so I can’t say I really care to find out,” said Jaller flatly, looking at the wicked talons on Hahli’s forepaws. “You can try… if you don’t particularly value your life.” Takanuva chuckled, and released Jaller. “Oh, no, I’m not taking sides in this one- ‘specially since you haven’t even told me what you two are fighting about.” A grunt from Jaller indicated that this was not about to change. “But I do want you to get some sleep, and… I want you two to get this sorted out… I don’t like to see you and Hahli fight,” he paused briefly as Hahli yawned and stretched out her forelegs. Her fins gave a comical little flap, and her head swayed from side to side, before she once again settled down, paws crossed, watching her fellow Toa intently. The Toa of light grinned again. “Even if it is ever-so-slightly hilarious.” “Oh, yes. Hysterical.” said Jaller curtly. He glared at the blue creature. “Well, Hahli, I’m glad you’ve found someone who thinks you’re funny. A rare and precious treasure indeed.” “Cheer up,” said Takanuva, nudging him. “I mean, it could be much worse, couldn’t it?” Jaller glowered at him. “She can use all the Kanoka powers of the Rahi Nui, remember?” The Toa of light continued. “Freezing… teleportation… shrinking… I mean, having to sleep on the couch might not be fun, but at least you’re not sleeping on the other side of the planet… Or in a matchbox.” Takanuva managed to keep a straight face for about half a second before the mental image caught up with him, and he burst out giggling. The blue Muaka gave a low, rumbling sound that might almost have been a chortle. A faint smile even tugged at Jaller’s lips, though there was a slight look of worry in his eyes. “Don’t give her ideas,” he told Takanuva, as if possibly ending up one inch tall and being used to light candles was a serious concern of his. Takanuva reasoned that regardless of her current appearance, if Hahli was in a good enough mood to laugh at his jokes, he was probably safe around her, so he plucked up the courage to get closer. “Hello Hahli,” he murmured, crouching down in front of the Muaka’s massive head. The Rahi-shaped Toa extended her neck forward, brushing her snout against Takanuva’s shoulder. “Yeah, I missed you too,” Takanuva told her, and then, resisting all of his body’s natural survival instincts, put his arm around the great feline’s neck. A growl of disgust from Jaller made Takanuva turn around. “I told you, Jaller, I’m not taking sides,” said the Toa of Light calmly. “Look, I don’t know exactly what happened between you two, and I realise it can’t have been good, but I still care about both of you, and that’s not going to change just because one of you has turned into a big, growling, surly sulk-monster and the other one has turned into a Muak- Aaaaah!” For while his back was turned, the beast of the bedroom had struck. A powerful foreleg had whipped around, seized the Toa of light by the waist, and in a split second he found himself sitting upright on the bed, held tight against the Muaka’s torso, like a plush doll being cuddled by a small Agori child. Hahli’s claws had never touched him- he was pinned down by the strength of the huge limb resting across his legs- powerful, but surprisingly light. The feline gave a low yowl at the Toa of Fire. Jaller thought it sounded suspiciously like the word “Mine.” He shook his head. “Great, now she’s started taking hostages.” “Little help here?” gasped Takanuva. Jaller just shrugged. “I did warn you not to get too close” he said, still having not quite forgiven Takanuva for the “sulk-monster” remark. He gave an exaggerated yawn. “Besides, as you know, I’m very tired right now, so if you two are all set up for the night, I think I should go have my nap. Good night.” “I don’t know why I bothered coming back to you jerks!” Takanuva called out as Jaller walked out the door. “I should have just stayed in Bota Magna with the laser-saurs!” And then, as an afterthought, “I didn’t even get to have my tea!” Resigning himself to his fate, Takanuva reached out and grabbed a pillow from the bedhead, stuffed it behind his shoulders, and tried to get comfortable against the wall of armour and muscle that Toa Hahli’s torso currently resembled. Hahli’s enormous head snaked around and nuzzled against his chest. “No, don’t start that, you horrible creature,” he muttered. But in spite of himself, he soon found his knuckles brushing gently against the Muaka’s forehead as he drifted off to sleep. --- Later in the night, Jaller, in spite of his intent on napping, was still wide awake. It hadn’t been fair on Takanuva for him to come back to this mess. Takanuva generally didn’t hang around awkward situations or difficult people very long. If they carried on like this, he’d be gone again before they knew it. And the fact that he was unable to tell Takanuva- of all people- what had happened- that was very telling. It sounded bad because it was. He knew it was his fault. And he had to fix it. He hauled himself off the couch and made his way towards the bedroom. “Hahli, ” he whispered. No response. Takanuva was in the same spot he’d been left in, curled up, fast asleep, but the feline was now stretched out on her back, all four limbs in the air. Jaller wondered how she’d got like that without waking Takanuva. “Hahli!” There was a high-pitched trilling noise, like Pewku used to make when woken, and the amber eyes cracked open. They regarded Jaller with a mixture of curiosity and annoyance. “I wanted to tell you I’m sorry,” he said. No response. “I am. And it’s okay if you can’t forgive me right away… but, I just wanted you to know that.” He pointed at Takanuva. “Just… don’t take it out on him, okay? We’re both being unreasonable idiots towards each other, and we’re gonna end up hurting him as well if we keep this up. But I know I started it all, so… just… don’t become a horrible person because of me, okay?” The Muaka sighed, and gave an upside-down nod. “Okay,” said Toa Hahli. Her voice was slightly growly, but still recognisable. Jaller was caught off guard by the talking Muaka- so much so that he didn’t see its head whip round to knock him to the side. “Oof!” This was followed up by a swipe of the paw, scooping him up onto her chest and pinning him there. “Still gonna be a horrible Rahi for a bit, though,” said the horrible Rahi, sighing with satisfaction at her most recent “prey”. Jaller sighed. At least they were on speaking terms now. The underbelly of the Muaka was mostly soft organic tissue, Jaller found, running a hand around it. Certainly softer than the couch, anyway. He might almost get a decent half a night’s sleep here... provided Hahli didn’t roll on him. The surface beneath his body began to buzz with a low growly sound. It caught him off guard at first, before he realised what it was. “Pretty sure Muaka don’t purr, Hahli,” he muttered sleepily. Within a few minutes, the purr was intermingled with his snores.
  12. Humanized Jaller and Hahli They're my (and a lot of people's) favorite couple, so why not? Here's a link to my original dA page for this picture. Thanks for looking!!
  13. Here's my entry to BBC #69 - Jaller, Master of Fire. Enjoy! http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/RaginSpartan86/MJ/image.jpg
  14. So, ever since I saw the 2015 Takua MOC, I've wanted to make a 2015 Jaller MOC. Jaller is the Captain of the Ta-Koto Guard, a team of defenders who protect the gates of Ta-Koto. This team is armed with elemental fire blasters and shields. Together, they battle the Skull Spiders while Tahu searches for his Golden Mask. Pictures link to larger ones on brickshelf. Please upvote and comment! The build replaces the original yellow with gold, as you can see. This is my first MOC using any CCBS bone parts. While I do like the articulation, I feel like it really limits the build. Incidentally, you can build this model with the Protector of Fire, Tahu, and Kopaka 2015 models.
  15. As many of you may remember, back in 2007 I started this BIONICLE-style High School Musical parody series, written in prose format. It was one of my personal favorite comedies, along with its half-finished sequel, though most of it was lost as a result of the Dataclysms. Unlike most of my other reposted Archive comedies, however, I do intend to finish/remake the rest of this one once I run out of saved chapters to repost, based on as much of the original as I can remember. Also, if any of the readers of the original GMSM comedies have ANY part of the originals cached/saved on their computers, please let me know! I'll take any help I can get at attempting to restore this one in particular. So, let's begin again! This is a BIONICLEized spoof of 'High School Musical,' just in case you couldn't tell from the title. Krekka: I couldn't tell! ...Never mind. Anyway, to make things less confusing, these are the characters and their HSM counterparts: Troy=Jaller Gabriella=Hahli Chad=Takua Taylor=Nixie Sharpay=Roodaka Ryan=Krekka Coach Bolton=Tahu Gabriella's Mom (I don't know her name)=Gali Piano Girl=Macku Mrs. Darbus=Nokama Zeke=Sidorak IN A RANDOM KNOWLEDGE TOWER IN KO-METRU... Jaller took his kohlii stick, faked to the left, took a shot at the goal--and missed completely. "Drat," he cursed. Toa Tahu, Jaller's father, laughed. "What have you been doing in practice, singing? Imagine that." This time, it was Jaller's turn to laugh. " " he emoticonned. "Just kidding!" He then scored a goal on the surprised Toa. "I see you've been practicing Sneakiness--the seventh ability, found in Makuta's lair in MNOG2," Tahu pointed out. Just then, Jaller's mother came in. "Did we really travel through THREE METRUS just to play more Kohlii?" she asked. Jaller and Tahu looked at each other. "Yes," they both replied. "That was a rhetorical question," pointed out Jaller's mother. "Oh. And by the way, you don't have to capitalize the 'k' in 'kohlii,' Jaller said. "Fine," she corrected. "'kohlii.' Is that better?" Tahu nodded. "You two are getting us way too off topic. Jaller, there's a Matoran's party on the roof. Why don't you go?" This made Tahu very upset. "Are you saying that you would deprive my son of kohlii for more than FIVE WHOLE SECONDS?!" he shouted. " :burnma--" he began emoticonning. "Don't you use that emoticon indoors!" scolded Jaller's nameless mother. Jaller took advantage of their arguing over use of the 'burnmad' emoticon to slip away to the rooftop party. * * * In another part of the same Knowledge Tower, Hahli was sitting, reading the Bionicle Encyclopedia. Toa Gali, her mother, walked over and picked up the book. "You can't read encyclopedias all day," she said. "But Mom," Hahli protested, "I'm reading about myself!" "Very nice," Gali sighed. "You should get up to the rooftop. There's a Matoran's party up there. Hahli stood up. "Can I at least bring my book?" "Fine. Besides, you never know--you might end up meeting a guy named Jaller, sing together on karaoke, find out you go to the same school, both sign up for the school musical, make some people named Krekka and Roodaka mad at you, and then get the part," she said. Hahli laughed. "Like that could ever happen." With that, she walked up to the roof. Next: The party, the singing, and Naming Day Eve! ~Lewa# Studios Lewa0111 Nuva
  16. My take on good 'ol Hau-wearing pre-Toa Jala / Jaller, Captain of the Ta-Koro Guard! My headcanon for this MOC: In an alternate Great War, the Ta-Koro Guard use Disc Launchers, and Vakama gave a special one to the Captain of the Guard.
  17. So this is basically my attempt to make a Mctoran using ccbs. Here back The one on the right uses balls on a technic beam, making for good proportions, but would be rather fragile in real life. The one on the left uses an HF tiny body, and has clips to store the dagger. I tried giving him a red trident, but that looked iffy, so I gave him a MOL style dagger. The left one has 18 pieces, and the right one has 25 pieces. Edit: Image linked; please keep posted images in BBC to 100 kB, about! -Wind-
  18. Here is my interpretation of THIS SCENE in the Mask of Light movie. I love making my own interpretations of characters! I originally posted this on Deviantart and Tumblr but there's not a whole lot of Bionicle fans there, so I thought I would share it with you all! I tried to incorporate each character's original design, mask and colors. I always pictured Jaller as having dirty blonde hair. He keeps it short because it's a requirement in Ta-Koro's guard. His necklace has the fire emblem and his shoulder armor has the Unity, Duty, Destiny symbol. For Hahli, I wanted to incorporate the greenery of Ga-Koro into her outfit. Here she is wearing a traditional Ga-Matoran dress because she is proudly representing Ga-Koro in the Kohlii tournament in Ta-Koro. Her face paint and high cheekbones resemble her Kanohi mask, and the designs on her dress are similar to the ones on the gate at Ga-Koro's entrance. I always pictured her as petite and spunky with choppy hair, with dark skin like a Pacific Islander. I really like how Vakama's design turned out. He's not your typical wise old guru. I feel like he was always the Turaga who you could always immediately sense that he went on many adventures in life, hence the beard and stylish ponytail. And lastly, Takua, my favorite! I'll have to do more of him! I wanted to make him look young and adventurous, with crazy wild hair! This is also on Deviantart and Tumblr!
  19. https://www.flickr.com/photos/114873918@N08/14465526061/# This model was inspired off Furno's Mech, and since the latest Bzpower contest BBC 68 Get in the Robot was out I decided to enter it. I tried to make the mech look like the Micro Jaller and I added the two Flame Swords that he had in the books. I hope you guys "like" this model:P
  20. ~Author’s Note~ This is a repost of a short story from the old forums. It’s position in canon is somewhat more dubious than it was when I posted it, but I still think it’s legible. ~ A Strange Tapestry by Yukiko I wake, as usual, just on the edge of a scream. The first think that I see when I open my eyes is the soft light shining through the holes in the ceiling. I must trace those lines between light and dark. I must steady my breathing, let my eyes drop closed. I know I will not sleep, but I must appear so, while my ears catch every creak, every pebble falling on the floor. Now, as I force my body to relax, my mind can see my dreams in a different light. I have no idea how the fear seems so real, how it drives me panting from sleep. The dream is always the same, and it is always false. I remember the coliseum, the screams of matoran, the blood and the panic. That much is true. But I did not run. But you did, little toa. When you saw it was hopeless, you ran. How intelligent of you. No. I will not answer. I have learned this, from many nights and many struggles, that I will lose if I answer back. I must not show any reaction, for he can twist any argument I have with him. So I do not protest that I saved what matoran I could. I must concentrate on that icy awareness that keeps me still. If my muscles tense and my heartlight flashes faster, they will know that I am not asleep. And yet I cannot sleep now, for that is when the nightmares come. So I hold the line between sleeping and waking and wait for her to come. I do not know how much time passes be before I hear her footsteps. They are soft and cautious. We have all learned to walk like that, like we are treading on thin ice. It is the only way to walk without falling through. She puts her hand on my shoulder, and for a moment I am choking. The air is thick and poisonous, and it is not a hand but a claw, a claw sinking into me. I want to yell, to snarl, to fight back against the hand that grips me and the shadows and the wall and the lines between light and dark that are slow sharp that they cut me. I see spots of red, and then the spot churn and merge into a pair of crimson eyes that bore into me. I want to hurt the eyes too, stop the cold laughter that echoes in my head, stop everything. I want to lash out, flail, because the only thing that matters now is to get out. She shakes me. “Jaller.” I catch myself, force stillness and emptiness into my mind. Not yet, wait until she moves again. When she shakes me the second time, I open my eyes slowly, like someone who has been woken from a deep sleep. My joints must move without coordination, I must appear groggy and insensitive. My feet come to rest and I test the floor, swaying as I stand up. Instantly, the darkness in the room retreats as my eyes adjust, and I can see her clearly now. She looks at me. He eyes mirror mine, catching the light and reflecting it back better than any matoran’s. We are toa made for darkness. “Jaller,” she whispers. “How did you sleep?” Her eyes meet mine, the brows arched, seaming to look deeper into me. All my cleverly controlled movements, all my calculated drowsiness spoiled by that look. She knows. I know because I told her, and she comforted me. But I can’t bring myself to tell her the complete horror of it. I want to protect her as I have always wanted to, and I want to protect the others. I’ve kept that secret from them because I have to. I am a leader, and leaders must be strong. No, they must appear strong, for I have not been able to manage true strength for a long time. “The same,” I reply, returning her look. She opens her mouth and shuts it again, then nods and turns, walking towards the pallet on the floor where she sleeps. She gives me one last glance before she curls up, and her eyes are warm. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that she did not press me, did not demand a clearer answer. These days, she is the protector and I am the protected. We used to walk side by side, but now I am falling behind. Still, I am grateful for her protection. She is my sister, after all. Once, I thought I loved her in a different way, that there was a future with her that could mean so much more. Now, I realize that I need a sister far more than a lover. I do not hold secrets from her as I did before, and I trust her more than anything else. But how can she trust you? How can she, when she knows at anytime you could run, could give in to your fear? How do you know that she isn’t protecting the others from you? I do not answer. I leave the silence hanging. The hall of the great temple is smooth and unmarked, so different from the rest of the building. No cracks mark the curved walls, no pools of light interrupt the dark floor. The only sound I hear is my own footfalls, and these are soft, the sound of something touching something else and nothing more. Yet, there is something behind me. I must keep walking eyes straight ahead. There is nothing behind me, I can feel, it is not there. But it is, there was a shadow that moved, the shadow of thing about to pounce- I turn, sword raised. There is nothing. Soft laughter echoes through everything. I have to force myself not to turn or shout. The laughter is in my head and all around me. I fell for it. I proved my weakness. I am nothing but his toy. There was nothing behind me. I knew that. My eyes, adjusted to darkness of the ocean depths, easily take in the scene around me. And even if I close my eyes, my mask detects the shape of any object in any direction. And yet I turned. Perhaps he was right. Hahli does have reason to doubt me. But I am Jaller. I am a toa. I have held onto that, lately. My name and my existence are really the only things I have to stand on when I am alone. And even they are beginning to blur and change. The past feels like a dream, the island of Mata Nui seems aeons ago. Even walking down this corridor, I can’t stop myself from looking at my hands to assure myself that they are still there. They are scratched and scared, their armor rubbled smooth from constantly holding a weapon. I am close to my destination, but I allow myself to a little thought. There are many times where I look at myself and wonder how I got here. Who is this strange toa, staring back at me with eyes that glow in the dark? Where is Jaller, the Captain of the Ta-Koro Guard, a matoran set on protecting his friends? Sometimes, I wonder if he died a long time ago. I feel the widening in the hall before I see it. Suddenly, the space is wider and rounder, and I can hear the steady lap of water on stone. The pool in the middle is circular, its rim made of obsidian. Some long-dead carver had etched the enemies of our principles into the the glossy stone. Anger, Hunger, Disintegration, Shattering, Poison, Fear. A warning those for who would transverse the black tunnels under the Great Temple. I warning I will not heed. The surface of the water is hardly discernible from the stone; it is black and smooth, like glass. I stare into its depths. A turahk stares back at me. I do not scream, I cannot, the fear holds me too tightly. I can already feel the cool metal closing me in, stifling all feeling. A staff lands my hands, and it fits perfectly. What if you could be fear itself? To never feel, never to wake up at night sweating? To lose control without guilt? No. The rahkshi staring back at me is not my reflection. It is real. I have wrenched its staff away from my throat. I hold panic back, struggling with it as it hisses at me. All it takes is a little concentration, a little chink in the armor where its neck connects to its body. The turahk screams, and I know that the kraata within is burning, writhing as it shrivels and turns black. I have fought so many rahkshi that killing them almost easy. Almost. The empty shell disappears into the water, and I dive after it, breaking into the delicious cold. This only place I feel safe now, in the icy water that calms my mind and slows my heartbeat. When the light vanishes a few bio down, it does not matter. I can feel in the water so much better than in the air. Every little see creatures is a shape silhouetted against the emptiness. But the watery chamber is not broken by any new holes into the vast ocean. Wherever the rahkshi came from, it was not here. I will have to go deeper. I almost scrape the sides of the tunnel I choose as I swim through it. We had discounted it before, but now every nook and cranny is worth checking out. It suddenly stops. A dead end. On impulse, I swim up to the wall. The metal surface, though crusted with algae, is solid enough, but there is space above me, reaching up into light. I shoot up through it, my hands landing on the metal mesh of drain. It is hard to reach my sword in the narrow tunnel. I draw it out, and then slowly turn it upward. I thrust. Heat flows through me to the sword, and the metal contorts, turning red. I wrench the drain away, and it lands with a clang as I thrust myself back into the air. The room around me is almost completely destroyed. The floor is nearly covered with fallen pillars and rubble, and the ceiling is disintegrating, the stone crumbling away to reveal the metal framework beneath. It casts a spiderweb of shadows across the floor. The only recognizable thing in the middle of the destruction is a flat circular table, with the likenesses of toa carved on it. A Suva. It is not empty. Facing me, stone eyes unseeing, is a golden hau. I know that mask. It is the one I wore as a matoran, the mask Turaga Vakama took from Lhikahn and gave to me. A mask I promised to find again. I remember what Gali told me in the coliseum, that dreadful day when everything changed. The Toa Nuva had found it in the realm of Karzahni, after being defeated by Makuta Icarax. The nightmares of that place seem so far away compared, to now, so petty. I have learned there are far worse things than being shown a vision of my world destroyed. Now it has. Still, there is light. My fingers curl around the mask, and it comes away easily. I remove my arthron, and the space around me becomes only what I see. For a moment, the weakness and the blindness I feel almost spurs me to put it back on, but I overcome them and place the hau on my face. Go then. But look what happened to me. I rush to the pool and look at myself, searching to find some trace of the hero on my face. But the mask makes no difference. My eyes are hollow, they know too much. My armor is still scratched and covered with dirt and grime. You are not Lhikan. You could never be like Lhikan. He would have died in the Coliseum, died a hero. You are a toa made for darkness. A toa made for me. My hands grasp the edge of the pool. I want to run more than anything, to not answer him and go back into the water. But I cannot. The shadows of the roof run across my hands, threading them with light and darkness, like a strange tapestry. I am made of those threads of light and dark. “Yes...” I say looking at nothing. “I am a toa made for darkness...and a toa made for light.” It is simple now, to weave those threads of white and black into a shell around me that Makuta cannot touch. He could crush the light. He could pass through the darkness. But against both, he could do nothing. The best tapestries are made of many colors. “I am not Lhikan. Lhikan would have died a hero, because he could not stand a world with darkness. But I am Jaller, and I live!” I jump to my feet, my voice quiet and clear. A challenge. “I am a little star still shining at midnight. I am the darkness before dawn. And...I am afraid. But I will not run any longer.” For once, I do not know if it is me or the darkness that is laughing. For once, I do not care.
  21. http://www.flickr.com/photos/113644401@N02/11807338926/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/113644401@N02/11806841423/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/113644401@N02/11806828953/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/113644401@N02/11806562235/ The pictures are not the best, since I dont own a camera
  22. Hi all, I got excruciatingly bored in class today, and accidentally drew bionicles again. Watcha think? ^click for full image^ Edit: more because class is horribly boring
  23. So it's a Jaller revamp! Not a revamp of Mahri form, per se, but it's certainly similar.Feedback is appreciated.
  24. (Yeah, me again. Sorry ^^") ^click the thumbnail or follow this link to view the whole pic! :3 Felt like doing something BIONICLE-themed again, but somehow I couldn't think of something serious and awe-inspiring... have Jaller and Takua wearing some fancy hats instead. In colour! ^^
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