A special thanks to Xboxtravis, who's marvelous works blending G1 and G2 Bionicle helped inspire part of this work. You might recognize some elements from my previous G2 work Head of Stone, Heart of Jungle.
EDIT: Silly me, forgot to make a review topic: http://www.bzpower.c...ngering-shadow/
Kini Nui, the ancient City of the Mask Makers, had regained much of its lost glory since the departure of the Toa and the closing of the Shadow Realm. The majority of Okoto's inhabitants had returned and taken up residence in the city, and the efforts of their many builders and artisans had done much to heal the damage caused by centuries of neglect and various battles. On this night, fireworks lit the sky as the inhabitants did what no Okotans had done in countless ages: held a great Festival of Masks. Music echoed throughout the city and across the island as instruments of every shape and size were lifted by Okotans young and old, while the drumming of feet in dance added its own beat to the night.
High above the festivities, in the building that served as both Ekimu's Forge and the Temples of both Creation and Light, the Mask Maker, the Protectors, and the archaeologist Harvali stood gathered in an ancient vault. Various artifacts and other items of importance, such as the mask of Tera* the Skull Basher, were stored in this chamber, which Ekimu usually kept locked. However, following the defeat of the Shadow Horde, he had allowed Harvali to enter the chamber and begin cataloguing various items in order to ascertain whether they might be of value to the island as a whole. Now she sat with a large, ancient volume before her, with Ekimu and the Protectors watching anxiously.
"Forgive our pulling you away from the Festival, dear Protectors, but Master Ekimu and I though that you should see this. This tome was hidden in a secret alcove within this vault, which I only discovered after as Ekimu and I were having some old containers moved out for placement in the museum that once served as Ekimu's tomb. It was sealed, with instructions that it should only be opened by the Protectors and any Mask Makers who should be alive at the time that the Prophecy of Heroes should be fulfilled. Ekimu himself has never seen it, but it seems to date from the time when the Temple of Light was constructed, thus explaining how its makers could know of the prophecy."
Nilkuu, Protector of Stone, raised an eyebrow. "Such an ancient book...who knows what secrets it might contain?"
"That is what we intend to discover-and at my invitation, Harvali shall read from the book," Ekimu replied. "She has dedicated her life to preserving Okoto's ancient history, and I think it only fitting that she should share the contents of this volume with us. Once she has done so, we shall have a decision to make, my friends: whether or not this account should also be shared with the people of Okoto."
Narmoto, Izotor, Vizuna, Kivoda, Nilkuu, and Korgot each nodded their heads, acknowledging the solemnity of the occasion. Then, at a nod from the Mask Maker, Harvali carefully opened the book to the first page. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she began. "In the time, before time..."
This island, which we now call Okoto, was very different from what it is today. Its regions were not infused with the very power of the Elements themselves, and its inhabitants-who were taller than they later became-were scattered and without purpose. One day, there came among them one known as the Herald, who-through daring unmatched before or since-accomplished great feats. When his tasks were done, the Herald vanished, but there arose a mighty hero: Takanuva, the Master of Light, whose Light reached the very stars from whence all Okotans are said to have come.
Thus it was that the Great Beings sent seven more heroes down from the heavens, which was said to have had a hand in the creation of our world. These heroes were Tahu, Master of Fire; Kopaka, Master of Ice; Lewa, Master of Jungle; Gali, Master of Water; Pohatu, Master of Stone; Onua, Master of Earth; and Teridax, Master of Shadows. With them, they brought the Vahi, Mask of Time, which was said to have played a role in the birth of our world. By joining their powers together, the heroes created a beautiful temple to safeguard the treasure, before creating a great labyrinth on a neighboring island to safeguard treasures too great for even the noblest of Okotans.
With these tasks done, the Toa set about teaching the Okotans to harness the Elemental Powers within each of them by relying upon the masks that they wore. In time, eight tribes were formed, each possessing the power of a different element wielded by their respective Elemental Master. The Fire Tribe became renowned smiths and lava farmers, founding the fortified city of Mata Nui; the Ice Tribe built the city of Voya Nui as their observatory and repository of Okoto's legends and prophecies; and the great engineers and explorers of the Jungle Region founded Kini Nui, which they shared with the noble mask makers of the Light Tribe. Mahri Nui became the heart of the Water Tribe's enterprises, which included not only sailing and fishing but scholarship and science; the Stone Tribe's artisans raised the great city of Metru Nui, future capital of the island; the Earth Tribe's underground metropolis of Karda Nui encompassed a great museum, surrounded by miles upon miles of mines and other caverns, which for a time were also home to the Shadow Tribe.
For many generations, the people of Okoto enjoyed an age of prosperity, using their Elemental Powers under the direction of their noble heroes. Unfortunately, while most of the Masters were loved by all, the fierce Teridax was feared by most Okotans outside of his own Shadow Tribe, who were themselves feared for their creation of dangerous creatures more than loved for the creation of helpful ones. In time Teridax grew jealous, and sought to claim Okoto for himself and stand as Master of All Elements; to that end, he used dark arts to craft the mighty Nui Stone, an artifact that he used to rob Tahu, Kopaka, Lewa, Gali, Pohatu, and Onua of their powers. With these energies and his own Shadow powers at his command, Teridax's victory seemed inevitable, but Takanuva was able to destroy the Nui Stone in a desperate strike.
Teridax was consumed by the released energies, which created a rift in reality itself that was filled with his darkness; thus was the Shadow Realm born. Before he perished, Teridax swore that the Shadows would avenge him, and his blade fell upon the ground and was left at the site of his demise. Takanuva, fearing for the lives of his fellow Toa, sacrificed his own powers of Light to send them back to the stars. Before disappearing himself, the Toa of Light comforted the Okotans, revealing that the Toa would return again-though he did not know how they might be affected by Teridax's actions-and that the long absent Herald would make his own return prior to their coming. He also left behind his mask, the Avohkii, the finding of which had been one of the Herald's tasks.
Without the Toa to guide them, the eight tribes of Okoto fell victim to suspicion and mistrust-in the case of the vengeance filled Shadow Tribe, it was well deserved. Teridax's actions prompted the passing of a sacred law barring the creation of masks containing more than a single elemental power; for some even this was not enough, and a policy of strict isolation between tribes became common. Every relation from trade to marriage between the tribes was regarded by most as an insult to the memory of the Toa and an act of worship of the fallen Teridax. Though Kini Nui remained the provision of both the Jungle and Light Tribes, fewer and fewer Jungle Tribesmen would make their home their as the generations passed. It would prove tragic in more than one respect, for the Light Tribe and the ostracized Shadow Tribe became locked in an ongoing war that saw both decline.
Despite the division among most of the tribes, this was still an age of great heroism. Among the exploits that took place in this time were those of a group of warriors under the mighty Ackar and the cunning Kiina, who drove off the Piraka pirates before pursuing them into unknown seas, never to be seen again. The island was also menaced by the fearsome Skrall, a dark horde who were only stopped when the powerful duo of Axonn and Brutaka faced their leaders Tuma and Stronius in a battle that caused a portion of the island to sink, taking the battling titans along with it. Hydraxon, hero of the Earth Tribe, faced the Shadow Tribe warlord Icarax, while Surel, friend to the wolves of Okoto, faced the dreaded Telluris, master of the Skopio war machine.
In time, a mere handful of members of both the Light and Shadow Tribes remained, but these were powerful and fearsome, possessing all the Elemental Power that had previously been shared among hundreds. Among the Light Tribe survivors were the brothers Artakha and Karzahni, leaders of their tribe and the last Mask Makers. Karzahni was renowned for his skill in battle wielding chains, and under his rule the city of Kini Nui was a place of great sportsmanship. Many noble warriors or competitors, such as the four-armed Jungle Tribesman Oris and the masterful archer Likus**, were interred in the city after spending lifetimes in its service. Artakha was more devoted to his work of creation, and was notable in one other respect: despite the war between them, he had fallen in love with a woman of the Shadow Tribe, Korusca***, and the two were joined in marriage.
The Shadow Tribe, determined to achieve a final victory over not only their Light Tribe enemies but over all others, enacted a dark ritual. Using magics left to them by the Sisters of the Skrall, worshipers of the foul Annona and Tren Krom, they channeled all of their Shadow energies into their leader Miserix, who also used the Avohkii to drain the powers of Light from their enemies. His six minions then used the same spell to draw the powers of the other tribes from them; the process left all the other Okotans reduced in stature and without the Elemental Powers they had so long wielded.
Now known as the Element Lords, the seven villains sought to claim the island for their own, and even the great Karzahni and Artakha could not defeat them alone. Fortunately, there were those who recognized the danger of the Element Lords as being far greater than any old suspicions. Six of these, one from each tribe-Flammik, Buzkayo, Bumonda, Rokreng, Droton, and their leader Lady Jagiri of the Jungle-came together and aligned themselves with the Mask Makers, who crafted a set of seven masks. The eight heroes soon confronted the villains at the Temple of Time itself, where they employed the masks in an effort to drain the villains of their power. In the ensuing battle, Karzahni was knocked into the pool of the Temple of Time, and was ever after possessed of the power to see or grant visions of the future.
The mask used to drain the powers of Miserix became twisted by its dark powers, which it alone attempted to contain, while Jagiri and her comrades drew the powers of their respective Element Lords into their masks and themselves. This would forever mark their bloodlines, and they and their descendants would thus be the only ones among the Okotans able to master the power of Elemental Masks. Stripped of their powers, Miserix and his minions ceased to be, while Artakha and Karzahni-the only remaining members of the Light Tribe in the wake of the Element Lords' onslaught-reclaimed a portion of their tribe's Light power from the Avohkii, granting them increased longevity. However, the heroes and the elders of the island soon decided that it was too dangerous to attempt to return the Elemental Powers to the islanders.
As such, the excess Elemental Power was channeled into the island itself, which was remade and renamed: Okoto, the land of six regions. The elemental forces produced crystals that radiated elemental energies, and gave rise to the Elemental Creatures: Ikir, Melum, Uxar, Kivoda, Ketar, and Terak. Agil, Creature of Light, was born from energies released from the Avohkii, though no Region of Light came to be as a result. An attempt was made to release the darkness within the seventh mask made by Artakha and Karzahni, resulting in the birth of Jaga, the Creature of Shadows****. However, the darkness that might have given rise to a seventh Elemental Region was instead drawn to Teridax's discarded blade, and his oath of vengeance was given form as a monstrous mockery of the departed Toa, who was soon given the name of Umarak.
Jagiri and her comrades became the first generation of Protectors, dedicated to defending Okotans from whatever danger might arise. Under their guidance, the six surviving tribes became allies once more, and many of the old taboos were cast aside. For some years they continued to work with the Mask Makers, though sadly Karzahni was eventually driven mad by his visions, and later murdered by Umarak, who stole the Shadow-infused mask from Kini Nui and named it as his own, the Hunter Mask. Artakha and Korusca were subsequently blessed with twin sons, Ekimu and Makuta, whose mother passed soon after their birth, having forsaken the power of Shadow that had been her birthright. In time, Artakha himself passed, leaving his Mask of Creation to Ekimu while crafting the Mask of Control for Makuta.
Ekimu and the Protectors were silent, processing the long lost account of Okoto's ancient history. Kivoda, who along with his comrades had said nothing during the narrative, turned to the Mask Maker. "How much of this did you know, Master Ekimu?"
"Some, of course-part of it is the history of my own family. But my uncle Karzahni, whose visions were inscribed in the Temple of Light as the Prophecy of Heroes, foresaw the need to keep much of it secret, and impressed that need upon my father Artakha. I wish I had known this before the Toa had departed-it would have been a comfort to them to know of their origins and connection to Okoto's past. But we must concern ourselves with the future-we cannot change what has passed."
Intent on their discussion, the eight Okotans were unaware that they were observed by the most unlikely of sources: the Bull Skull Mask once worn by Skull Basher. Though no eyes could be seen through its empty sockets, it was indeed receiving audio and visual input. And on the other side of a wall between worlds, that input was received by another whose history had been touched upon in the ancient tome. Makuta, the last Okotan to bear the legacy of the Shadow Tribe, stood trapped in the dimension born from the fall of the first Master of Shadows and smiled wickedly at his brother's words.
"Oh, how wrong you are, brother-you just don't know it yet."
To be continued...
*Skull Basher's name is taken from a placeholder name for an Earth Tribe Glatorian mentioned in the draft for the cancelled BIONICLE 5.
**Oris is also named for a BIONICLE 5 character, a Jungle Tribe Glatorian, while Likus is named for an Ice Tribe Glatorian intended to appear in the same film.
***The name Korusca comes from a prototype name for the Kanohi Avohkii.
****I figured that if one magazine model could be a Creature of Light, the other one could be the Creature of Shadows with a G1 inspired name.
Edited by Wiriamu, Feb 12 2017 - 01:16 AM.