Why wouldn't the rain stop?
The cries of the gulls echoed from the far off cliffs and the waves slowly and methodically advanced up the beach in herald of the coming dawn. The wind sighed as the treetops tossed to and fro and the rain came down. It was the kind of night that was meant for snuggling up at home and enjoying the melody of raindrops atop rooftops. It was the kind of night that was meant for a nice hot cup of tea in front of the fire and talking quietly with those you loved. It was the kind of night that called for peace and quiet and a well earned sleep. But this night was different. This night there was no peace. This night, there was no sleep. This night, the rain came pouring down.
Why wouldn't it stop?
A lone figure sat in the sand, no care for the waves that crept slowly up his legs. A broken mask was held reverently in his hands and his shoulders were slumped in the posture of grief and regret. The sea lapped at his scarred body and the rain washed down his grimy visage. His normally bright and flashing eyes were dull. His hands shook. The rain came down.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the night wore on. And the waves retreated and the gulls quieted and the sky began to slowly become less dark. And yet the rain came pouring down.
The Toa sat in the sand still, and his hands did not loosen their grip on the cracked mask.
And as the sky began to turn a lighter grey, another figure approached. Her peculiar shade of blue provided a beacon, a point of hope in that colorless dawn. Tahu raised his head. His eyes sparked momentarily before returning to a duller shade of garnet.
"Tahu." The Toa of Water sat down next to him and pulled her legs to her chest and put her hand on the sand between them.
This did not go unnoticed by the Toa of Fire. His eyes flickered to her. His mask was grimy and stained, either with dirt or blood, it was difficult to say - all the rain of the night had done little to clean him.
Tahu turned his face away from the Toa of Water and his shoulders gave an involuntary shudder.
"Tahu," the Toa of Water said again. "You must talk to me. I know why you sit out here far away from your people. I know why you grip that Kanohi in your hand. I know why you won't look at me."
He gave no answer.
"Talk to me, Tahu!" Her eyes flashed a brighter yellow and she put her hand upon his arm.
Finally, he turned to her. His eyes glittered. "Gali. I can't talk to you. Not now."
Gali stared into the crimson eyes of the Toa of Fire and said five simple words, "I am here for you."
Tahu bowed his head and looked down.
For many minutes, there was silence as the sun rose behind the grey curtain of the clouds. The sand began to come alive with little birds hunting for their morning meal. Between Tahu and Gali was that silence that can only exist between true friends - that kind of silence that understands that sometimes words are not possible and yet there is no discomfort because true friends know that no silence and no words can mar the bonds of unity. And so there was a communion of silence between the Toa of Water and the Toa of Fire. And the rain came down.
"Can't you make it stop?"
Gali jerked upright. She had not expected Tahu to speak. "Why can't I make what stop?"
"The rain. It keeps raining. Always raining. At first I thought it would make me feel better and that I would be cleaner and that it might wash this night away. But it keeps raining." Tahu put a weary hand to his temple, leaning towards Gali in exhausted sorrow.
Gali put her arm out and drew Tahu in, embracing him as she never thought he'd need.
"Tahu, I...I'm sorry, I can't stop the rain. I can make it start raining if I wish, but making it stop is a bit more difficult."
Tahu gave a bitter chuckle. "I know the feeling. When I start a lava flow and it swells and I find I can't control it anymore. It's an alarming feeling."
As he rested against Gali, he kept talking. "Gali, I don't know anymore. This cursed island will make fools of us all. We came here and we felt so right. We were chosen. We were made to defend this island and bring justice to the land. We even made Kopaka see reason and join with us. We swore we would defeat the Makuta and bring this land to an age of peace. And what have we done?
"We've done nothing, Gali. The Rahi of the Makuta pour out in greater and yet greater numbers and we fight and we can't stop them. We haven't seen Lewa in far too long. Onua isn't reporting. Pohatu is brooding in the deserts of Po-Wahi and Kopaka has abandoned us. Yet, we fight.
"Why do we fight, Gali? We are Toa, I suppose, there is that. But before we came, the Matoran served the Makuta, and if they weren't happy, at least they were alive. They had families and they lived and they died and they sat around the fires of Ta-Koro and told stories about their ancestors. Their lives were not perfect. But what did that matter?
"And then we came. We came and made grandiose promises and told them we would defeat the Makuta. We woke the Matoran out of their slumber and they became passionate. My people...the Ta-Koronans raised their spears and shields and fought against these Rahi as they never had before. But why?
"It would have been better if we never came at all. Better for us not to come and better for us not to give them hope at all than for this...this monstrous war. I am tired of death, Gali. I am oh so tired."
Gali pulled Tahu closer to herself.
"And Gali, this night has been the worst night of all. You say you know of it?"
Gali nodded slowly. "I came to Ta-Koro as soon as I heard the messenger. I spoke to the Turaga and he told me of the battle. He told me what happened."
Tahu flinched. "You don't know what happened Gali. How can you? You weren't there. You didn't stand on the shores of the Tren Krom and watch as the horde of infected Rahi poured upon us. You didn't fight with the Guard against the onslaught. Pure evil, Gali. Pure evil. What being could send such monsters upon the Matoran to tear and bite and rip and kill? This Makuta is beyond any of us. I should have denied the Guard their request to join me in the battle. I could have made the river overflow its banks and wipe away the filth of Makuta like the dung they are. I could have done this. Yet I thought...why did I think? I acted as the Great Spirit and decided that it would be good for the Guard to fight with me, to maintain their honor as the protectors of Ta-Koro. I let them fight, Gali. Their spears, their discs. So small against the hulking Kane-Ra and the hideous Nui-Jaga. The Matoran - they are so little! Gali, why?
"They fought as I have never seen before. Jala led them brilliantly and I was in every breach and I was in every gap. I was there to turn back the horns and teeth of the Rahi and provide a brilliant victory that all these brave Matoran could tell their children about. And the sun was setting. And victory was almost at hand. Even with the uncountable infected beasts descending upon us, we had victory in our grasp. Every single Nui-Rama had been sent flying home to their foul nest. Every Nui-Jaga had their Kanohi torn from them. There were a few raging Kane-Ra to contend with and we had them backed up against the Tren Krom. My sword was in my hand and a song was in my heart. And then I heard his cry.
Gali bit her lip as she held Tahu close.
"It was a small cry, little more than a whimper. Not one Matoran had been wounded all night, so bravely and brilliantly had they fought. And I heard his groan. I leaped over and sliced the last Kanohi from the Kane-Ra and turned to see him on the ground. His.." Tahu's voice cracked.
"His body was savaged. He had engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a beast ten times his size. Why? We had won. We had won. One bite from the teeth of the beast and...I picked him up. His Kakama...you see it. It is broken. I saw him look at me. And he should have hated me for dooming him so. I had sentenced him to death the moment I allowed the Guard to fight. But the eyes of this Matoran. This brave and stalwart soul. He looked at me with pride and love. He opened his mouth...he said, 'my Toa'. He didn't say anything else. I put him down on the broken ground.
"It should have been a victory, Gali. We marched back to Ta-Koro and his friends carried his body in high honor. Why though? Why did he have to die?
"I raised my fire over his body as Jala spoke of his greatness on the field of battle. And Jala did not exaggerate - he never does. He simply spoke the truth. And I stood by. I lit the funeral pyre. They were all crying. I couldn't cry. My people, Gali. My village. I have failed them. We have failed them all. Why is this world so wrong, Gali? Why did he have to die?"
Tahu's voice cracked again. His shoulders shook in silent sobs and the broken Kakama slid to the sand. And so Gali and Tahu sat in silent sorrow, the grim earth below and the grey sky above. Still, the rain came pouring down.
And a lone tear fell from Tahu's eye.
Edited by Israeli Toa, Sep 27 2014 - 02:03 PM.