StasisDarkness was all around. A heavy machine lifted rubble in the background. Clicks and clanks could be heard darting back and forth across the walls of buildings as well as the whirrs of buzz saws as they chimed in content. Ussal crabs scurried here and there transporting rubble or supplies. As soon as one popped into one’s line of vision, it would just as quickly fade out of sight, leaving only the sound of its steps as company. Yes, Onu-Metru was strangely calming despite how busy it was.Hahli’s mind wandered free as she traveled through this district. The clicks, clanks and whirrs seemed to speak an untold language that left her in a trance.“Welcome, Chronicler,” a solemn voice spoke.Hahli snapped out of her trance.“Greetings, Turaga Whenua,” Hahli met the turaga in a respectful tone. She dismounted a familiar ussal crab.“I see you brought Pewku with you. I thought she was in the care of Jaller these days?” Turaga Whenua inquired, adjusting his grey kanohi Ruru as he tried to recall past events.“Yes! She is. I borrowed her after a visit in Ta-Metru, just for a while.” Hahli explained, a little sheepish.The turaga beckoned Hahli to follow and he began to lead her to the entrance of a large, underground building.“I hear you have been visiting Ta-Metru quite a bit,” he mentioned with a bit of interest.Hahli lowered her head slightly in embarrassment as she followed closely behind the turaga.“I just want to be able to explore as much of this city as possible- for the new Wall of History, that is,”That wasn’t completely true, and it was actually a weak excuse on her part. The truth was she wanted nothing more than to spend time with Jaller, captain of the guard. Hahli ran the scene through her head one more time, after she had heard the news of his death back on Mata Nui. She was relieved, no, elated to see him come to life before her eyes. It was a miracle that he was still in her life, and each day since she had been grateful for the life of her friend.“Well, there certainly is a lot to see here in the archives!” Turaga Whenua went on and on about the rahi exhibits- how many of their specimens had escaped, as well as the progress of clearing the debris and restoration. Hahli was relieved he didn’t continue to question her modus operandi and relaxed a bit.The exhibits were fascinating; some with bitter memories such as bohrok and rahkshi, others that were new and strange such as a kikanalo beast, but the one that caught Hahli’s eye above the others was something simple and all too familiar. She paused in her steps when her eyes met those of a small, small Ruki fish that was frozen in a stasis tube. Hahli couldn’t help but feel pity for the creature.It’s so dark down here underground. I wonder if it dreams of its home; of the waves that enveloped its body once. It looks to be so young too. I wonder what life it might have had in the sea, free from this cage and able to grow strong.Hahli continued to think back to her home on Mata Nui, where Ruki were wild and would swim in the light of day with no care in the world.Turaga Whenua paused when he noticed the chronicler was no longer following. He looked back and saw Hahli around fifteen feet behind him.“Is something the matter, Chronicler?”Hahli jolted back to reality.“Oh, I’m sorry, Turaga. I was just thinking. Please, continue.” She quickly caught up to Turaga Whenua.He then continued to talk of all of the adventures the Toa Metru faced here in the archives; retrieving the Great Disk, the breach after the Great Cataclysm and so on. However, Hahli couldn’t help but send one last glance at the Ruki fish before she continued.***“Hahli!”Hahli wasn’t sure whose voice called out to her. All she could see was a fiery pit that was drawing closer. No, it wasn’t the pit that was moving, but rather it was Hahli who was spiraling towards a doom of cinders and flame.Before she could act, she felt her body being caught gently in the arms of a friend.J-Jaller?!Hahli’s heart-light skipped a beat. This was like a scene out of a tale of whimsy, surely a dream.It wasn’t a dream.They landed on a cliff past the lava. Jaller let Hahli down gently. They shared a bashful look for a few moments before a booming voice brought the both of them back to their senses.“Now, whatever was that fancy grab-catching there, fire-spitter?” Kongu chittered.“I-I’m not sure. I just… knew I needed to act and I felt my mask react-“ Jaller seemed dumb-founded.The rest of the toa continued to discuss the discovery of Jaller’s mask power.That’s right… We’re toa now, Hahli thought to herself. It was his mask… it wanted to protect a fellow toa… nothing more...The Toa Inika were still not used to the fact that their masks were… alive.Hahli walked towards the back of the group, deep in thought, as they continued forward to find the Toa Nuva. Alongside her was Matoro; a naturally shy observer.“Um… Are you alright, Hahli?” Matoro seemed almost hesitant to ask, his voice worried.“Oh…? Ah, I’m alright, Matoro. I was just thinking.” Hahli said, her face wore a blank expression.“Thinking… about… what, exactly?”“… This really is dangerous, isn’t it?” Both Matoro’s and Hahli’s minds flooded with memories of Karzahni as well as the scene that had just played out a few moments ago. “I mean, of course we all knew this was dangerous from the start, but,” Hahli’s gaze trailed off to the front of the group where Jaller was talking with Hewkii, “what if something happens to one of us?” The reality behind that thought was scary indeed. Her mind went back to the events of Mata Nui. She tried not to think of the possibility of losing her friend again.“… What if something happens to all of us?” Matoro spoke without thinking.Hahli was taken aback by this. She could never explain why, but hearing Matoro just blurt out something like that… it made her giggle. Her giggle turned into a chuckle, which in turn transformed into a full laugh. It wasn’t out of arrogance or even because of humor. Perhaps it was just too dark a thought to be dealt with seriously? At any rate, Matoro slowly began to laugh along with her in their dark, dark humor.“What’s gotten into them?” Nuparu whispered to his companion.“You don’t want to quick-know…” Kongu sighed in a gloomy depression.***Hahli was swimming in the ocean. She felt calm, almost content… almost. A lot had happened in such a short time. The battle on Voya Nui had been brutal. Matoran enslaved and killed, dying of thirst and hunger, forced to use what little they had to defend their home; but Hahli couldn’t think of that now. No, now was not the time for thinking. The entire universe- Mata Nui himself depended on the Toa Mahri. Suddenly, Hahli stopped. A small Ruki fish was swimming, with great difficulty, in front of her. Hahli knew she was deep down and such a young fish was not made to deal with the pressure of the dark ocean. Its chances for survival were slim.Now was not the time for thinking.Hahli continued to move forward; she couldn’t afford to skip another beat in such a crucial situation. As she passed the fish, she used her power to create a quick jet that lead closer to the surface light, and hoped the Ruki fish would be alright. She did not look back; she did not know for certain what fate had in store for such a small creature.I’m sorry… Forgive me, friend, but I am part of something far larger than a Ruki fish.***The Toa Mahri were about to die. Of this, Hahli was certain. The Barraki and their forces had them cornered and Jaller was prepared to unleash a nova blast to clear the playing field. In what appeared their final moments, Matoro’s words rang in Hahli’s head.What if something were to happen to all of us?She closed her eyes.Please, Matoro. Use the mask and save the Great Spirit. Live on… please, Matoro, escape!Hahli felt a change in... a change in what?… She couldn’t quite place what it was, but she let in a gasp.A…Air?!She opened her eyes to see Jaller in front of her, calming himself down to safe levels. Her friends were there in front of her on the shore of Metru Nui.“How did we get here?”“A better question is, how are we breathing air again?”Hahli was speechless until she realized something horrible.“…Where is Matoro?”It was not long before the team realized what they had lost.Hahli didn’t bother looking. There were no Ruki fish here on this dry, dry land. And the darkness? That was something, Hahli was sure, would never go away.
Edited by Tekulo: Toa of Wind, Dec 13 2011 - 02:00 PM.