This one's an archive repost. Some of the typos are fixed now, most of the lame non-canon logical errors are not. But after all these years, I finally got to fix that title.
Rain. Lightening flashed all around, which made both heroes jumpy. The huge army of Rahkshi wasn’t exactly improving the heroes’ mood either, despite the fact that said army wasn’t paying any attention.
Boarding boats, the Rahkshi horde was getting ready to leave, and the Toa Nuva were getting ready to separate, Tahu to follow the Rahkshi.
“Tahu!” Onua shouted. “Tahu!” He was standing on the beach, waves crashing over his armored feet. Tahu walked to his side, fully expecting a trap…until he saw the Matoran walking through the waves near shore. Then, as both Toa watched, the waves reversed direction from the shore, sending the Matoran into the drink.
Both raced forward toward the boat through the air, diving into the ocean.
A few seconds later, two Toa Nuva were riding increasingly turbulent waves trying to keep the Matoran’s head above water. “Vakama says…The Mask of Time…going to Xia…get it…take it to Metru Nui.”
“What?” Tahu snarled. With every wave, they were getting further away from the island, and the leader of the Toa Nuva was becoming more and more anxious.
“Onua! Get us out of this water” Tahu ordered. “Now!”
A few seconds later, they were standing on solid ground. “This won’t last long” Onua warned.
“Last hope…to…take …Teridax” The Matoran coughed bitterly. It was clear that the journey had taken nearly all of the Matoran’s strength. “Down. Not…a…trick.” Then he went limp in Tahu’s arms, and the two Toa fought their way back to the island through the air to set him down in relative shelter.
“That was a pretty good illusion” Onua said. “No Matoran could travel two feet in this universe without getting blasted.”
Tahu considered this for a moment. Then he smiled. “You don’t know that Matoran. It’s Kapura. He gets around.”
* * *
The Dark Hunter Gladiator was in a bad mood. He had been assigned to transport the Rahi Voporak from Metru Nui to the Dark Hunter headquarters on Xia. He hated this job for several reasons, not the least of which was missing out on the opportunity to loot Xia more thoroughly. But as Ancient was dead, and the Shadowed One wanted his personal bodyguard around while he was dealing with the Barraki, so the task had fallen to the one who could paddle fast and strong.
Behind him, Voporak wished he would paddle even faster. The Rahi couldn’t use his temporal time field while traveling by boat, since boats aged by hundreds of years don’t hold together well. Without it, he felt extremely vulnerable and kept looking over his shoulder.
The forward skyline finally became dotted with gray. “That’s Xia” Gladiator called, trying to soothe the nervous Rahi.
Voporak scowled. His back was feeling very warm. Probably sunlight glinting off the sea. Then he noticed the flames.
“Surprise” said Tahu Nuva, Toa Nuva of Fire.
Gladiator looked up. Two Toa Nuva hovered above – and the boat was on fire. Frantic, Voporak activated his time field to stop the flames, but his section of the boat crumpled to dust, sending both Dark Hunters into the drink.
Underwater, Gladiator fought his way toward Voporak. The time-field around Voporak was dissolving the ocean, the disturbance interfering with Voporak’s vision.
Meanwhile, Tahu Nuva wasn’t about to miss his opportunity. He snatched onto the Mask of Time, but couldn’t pull it free from the Rahi’s death grip, having nothing to brace himself against. Onua slipped into the water beside Tahu, his mask shifting to allow the Toa Nuva to breathe water. But before the Toa or Gladiator could attack, the entire group was shoved away by a powerful current from the island of Xia.
* * *
The Shadowed One had disappeared from the island of Xia. Now, he was standing in a room, several kio wide and long, but the walls were completely smooth, with no apparent exit.
“Welcome, Shadowed One” said a voice from all about. “Oh, yes, I know your name, and while we’re on the subject, I can read your thoughts, so you might as well answer my inquiries. You amuse me greatly, so I might consent to spare your life, if you admit your plan.”
The Shadowed One said nothing.
“Surely the great leader of the Dark Hunters has something to say for himself.”
The Shadowed One simply laughed.
“Oh, yes, I have a great deal to say for my schemes, Shadowed One. We both know about those, don’t we?”
* * *
A column of earth rose up, smashing into Gladiator. The Dark Hunter resurfaced for air, waves crashing over him. It took all of his strength to stay alive, Gladiator not being a very good swimmer.
Some hours later, an exhausted Dark Hunter washed up on the Xian shore, and lay there for hours, unable to move. He will go down in history as one of few Dark Hunters still alive who was not punished for not completing his task on schedule.
* * *
The Toa and Voporak had reached a stale mate. Unable to see clearly, the Rahi could not strike at his enemies, but the time field was the only thing that was keeping the Toa from striking him. Neither could get enough leverage to pull the mask away from the other being.
The current the Toa were in was picking up speed as they left the island, and soon the group was swirling about in a deadly whirlpool. Onua tried the column-of-earth experiment again. It will fail, thought Tahu, and then all of us will become prisoners of Makuta. But the Toa of Earth had not lost his mind – enough of the earth escaped the edge of the time field and the current to spin the Rahi toward the outside of the whirlpool, breaking his grip – and sending the Mask of Time swirling away.
Tahu desperately tried to track the Vahi in the swirling current. The Mask remained out of his reach, and the forces of the whirlpool were rapidly exhausting the Toa. Nearby, if Tahu had dared to take his eyes away from the mask, he would have seen Onua throw up his hand. What he did see was the Mask of Time barrel through an earthen wall…and his hand close around the Vahi. And then the Toa of Fire saw nothing.
* * *
“If … you wish to consider living, you will hand over what is rightfully mine. Those vials of yours. ”
The Shadowed One stood motionlessly silent in the middle of the chamber.
“Those are very dangerous, too volatile for a tyrant like you, barely below prime. There are many ways I could relieve you of them, many of them painful, I suppose…would you really like to tempt me?”
* * *
The two Toa Nuva drifted listlessly in the center of the whirlpool. Suddenly, the red-hued hero bolted upright in the water, snatching onto Onua’s wrist. The water had them effectively trapped, and was slowly taxing the Toa’s energies with each turn. I have to figure a way out. Tahu mentally catalogued his powers. Heat might disrupt the swirling pattern, but it would take a great deal of power and time…
The ground shook, sending the water into strange directions. It took the Toa some time to realize that the whole world was shaking, that someone had struck the world he was in, and, judging from the iron crashing down from ceiling, the world wouldn’t last long. It is no use…no use…
And then it was over. The Toa Nuva of Fire was seized by fury that he had not felt since the island of Mata Nui. He slapped the Mask of Time over his face, charged through the now stopped whirlpool and away from the falling iron. Startled awake, Onua could only try to think as he was dragged through the water.
* * *
Mata Nui looked about frantically. The Matoran Universe robot had simply stopped. The beginnings of a gravity burst had been forming on its gauntlet, but it had simply dissolved, having little effect.
“Makuta?” Mata Nui said. He stepped forward, smashing thousands of Rakshi. “Makuta!”
* * *
Tahu and Onua emerged from the sea in Ga-Metru, moving as quickly as they could past the occasional slow-moving Matoran. So acute was their sense of focus on what they had to do that they never guessed – until they saw the scorched metal beams and blasted earth. A hole led down into the eerie blackness.
“Once a symbol of leaders and powers, now a place where power went worng and battles were fought to contain it” Onua said. “And now it’s gone.”
Tahu merely grunted in response. The strain of holding back time in the mind of Mata Nui was grating on him, and his fury was slowly ebbing away, leaving him exhausted. The two heroes slowly walked the timeless corridor, the temporal field closing behind them, neither speaking.
To the six Turaga and the Toa Hagah, however, the heroes appeared in a matter of seconds. Onua was supporting the weakened Toa as the temporal field receded to only include the mind of Mata Nui.
“Tahu!” Takanuva exclaimed. Vakama placed a hand on the Toa of Light’s shoulder. “The universe already owes him a great debt, but it will be little if…”
* * *
Norik, Toa Hagah of Fire, was in a decidedly bad mood. That might have been a surprise, considering that a few days ago he would have happily told anyone he met that all was well. Of course, once that was revealed to be an illusion, and that his entire team had been taken in, he wasn’t exactly pleased. Fighting to free the six Turaga from their underground prison hadn’t exactly been fun either. That, and the realization that the Makuta they had once willingly served had turned out to be more than a monster. How could we ever have served this wretchedly evil being, or ever think he had the Matoran’s best interests at heart?
Unfortunately, Norik did not have time to think about the answer to that question. Whenua and Bomonga were desperately trying to figure out the control panel on the right side of the room before Tahu completely collapsed.
“It’s hopeless” said Bomonga, turning to face Norik. “This is like the text we saw on the walls earilier, only worse.
Whenua said nothing. He was just as baffled.
Vakama looked at Tahu, straining under the pressure of holding Makuta back. He looked at the mess of buttons and switches, a lever…then he saw the lever, light blasting through machinery, fine mist near a robot’s face.
“The lever!” yelled Vakama. He squeezed past the startled Toa and Turaga, and yanked the lever down.
Nothing happened. Tahu pulled the Kanohi Vahi off his face “We are all doomed” he muttered. “Another trick…” Then he collapsed, unconscious.
And then came a roar of machinery, creaking and banging from 100,000 years of unuse. Machines moved aside, dust clouds bellowed, and the entire group slid forward and rocketed upward. Two circuit boards moved aside, and light flooded the mind of Mata Nui. When their vision had recovered, the Toa and Turaga looked out over the land of Bara Magna – before them was a robot like the one the group now stood in.
“Welcome to the mind of Mata Nui” It surrounded the Toa so intimately that everyone in the group covered their ears.
“Well” said Takanuva, “Now it’s my turn. Cover your eyes, everyone.”
And so the devastating power of light ripped through the machines around them, eliminating any trace of darkness. As the Nova Blast receded, the Toa saw a white, thin mist edging its way through the open window. Perhaps it was just their imaginations, or a distant echo of past words, but the inhabitants of the chamber thought they heard the word “No”, laced with its own share of pain. And then he – Makuta Teridax – was gone.
But not from the sight of Mata Nui. A minute amount of his power fused the weakened antidermis particles together, sending them raining down on a number of Rakshi who, extremely annoyed, incinerated what little remained of the Master of Shadows.
* * *
Takanuva slumped over, only to be caught by Pouks. Unfortunately, all he could do was set the exhausted Toa down on the hard floor, which couldn’t have been comfortable.
So was turned to face the robot in front of them was the six Turaga of Metru Nui, in front of the control panels which they, surprisingly enough, could read. Behind them stood the six Toa Hagah, spears and shields in hand. (Onua knelt behind them, keeping an eye on the weakened Toa, his eyesight still recovering from Takanuva’s Nova Blast)
“Friend or Foe?” Iruni said.
“Friend. I am Mata Nui.”
“We stand at the service of the Great Spirit Mata Nui” said Turaga Vakama.
“This planet on which we stand was broken over 100,000 years ago…”
* * *
The chamber in which the Shadowed One stood had gone silent. The Dark Hunter leader paced the chamber, unsure of what to do. As he paced, his rage grew, first at Makuta for leaving him alone, then at himself for not being able to figure all this out. Furious, he blasted though a wall with his eyebeams.
It wasn’t solid stone that greeted him. Instead, the Shadowed One felt the fetid air of the swamp wash over him. He saw machines, pulsing with energy, all along a shadowed corridor.
He was in Kini Nui.
* * *
Gravitational forces brought the moons to Bara Magna; surges of energy restored the planet’s original shape. Energies of life and creation spread over the new land, unstopping rivers, replacing sand with soil and piercing soil with roots.
Slowly, Mata Nui’s prototype robot collapsed from the power drain. Only the Matoran Universe robot still stood.
And then Onewa’s panel started blinking. “System damage – the core” Red lights appeared everywhere.
“Set her down gently” said a newly recovered Tahu. “It’s all we can do.” But they couldn’t even do that – it was more like a controlled crash. An earthquake shook the universe, smashing many of the failing systems.
* * *
The victors of the Matoran Universe clambered out of the “eyes” of the Great Spirit robot. Many others followed behind, as the natives of the land of Bara Magna approached with the Mask of Life.
Many of us know, as was written beyond what I have written, about what was said and done here between the Toa, the natives, and Mata Nui in the Mask of Life. this ending, as I write it, does not change these things. But perhaps I lend new meaning to the words spoken by Mata Nui: “In doing so, you grew as a people past the point where you need a Great Spirit to guide you. The true power does not reside with me. It resides with all of you.”