Hey, so re-reading some of the Bionicle story, I remembered that the way the fight between the Toa Mata and the Shadow Toa went down in Chronicles #1 (Tale of the Toa) isn't officially canon. At least according to Greg Farshtey, that fight really ended with the Mata realizing that the shadow was a part of themselves, and they reabsorbed the Shadow Toa into their own bodies.
With that in mind, I've written this: an alternate version of chapter 16 of Tale of the Toa, based on Greg's short description of the canon version of the fight. I've included the very beginning and end of the chapter, even though they're unchanged, to give some context (for those of you who have access to Tale of the Toa, I recommend re-reading the end of chapter 14, and all of chapter 15, before this if you want the full fight). The text between the horizontal lines is what I wrote. Also, just a note: this references some events from MNOG which were not recounted in Tale of the Toa.
I don't think this has been done before, but let me know if it has! I'd be interested to see how others pictured this happening (though I'll be a bit embarrassed if I find out there's actually a canon, fully-written version of this fight somewhere that I wasn't aware of).
Anyway, without further ado:
Kopaka hit the ground hard as the quake rumbled beneath him. His enemy was on him in a flash. He managed to block the blow with his shield and then swing his ice blade upward. If he could just aim...
Kopaka smiled as he saw that his enemy was frozen in place. Kopaka sent the frozen enemy skittering across the ice until it smashed into the cavern wall. The creature shattered into hundreds of icy shards.
Suddenly, the shards began spinning through the air towards Kopaka. After just barely managing to block them with his sword and shield, the Toa of Ice looked up to see the icicles merge back into the form of his shadowy double. “Looks like we're even, Kopaka. You shattered me, and I've shattered your aspirations of victory.”
Nearby, Lewa wasn’t faring any better, despite having quickly recovered from the quake. His doppelganger danced around him, impossible to strike.
“Come now, Toa of Air,” said the shadowy being, continuing to evade Lewa’s every blow. “This isn’t really what you want. I know how much you enjoyed your time on the side of darkness.”
“You lie!” said Lewa, wildly swinging his axe to no avail.
The shadow Lewa looked into his eyes, a sickly smirk just barely visible on its face. “I wonder, what would your friends think if they knew what we know about your time with that mask?”
Lewa’s expression was grim. Of the other Toa, only Onua knew about his time under the control of one of Makuta’s infected Kanohi. But that’s just it, Lewa thought. While I was under its influence, it didn’t feel like I was being controlled -- rather that I had just given in to my deepest darkthoughts.
Lewa stared into the glowing, malevolent eyes of his mirror image. Could it be true...? Is this... what I truly am...?
Tahu’s rage was beginning to boil over. His foe refused to yield to even his most powerful blasts of flame, and continued to goad him. “Yes, that’s it. Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted, Tahu? To let loose, to destroy?” The shadow Tahu ducked deftly under a fireball, deflecting another with its sword. “You are fire unleashed, Tahu. You have no reason to help these pathetic ‘teammates,’ or the useless Matoran. Your power is beyond all that. Give in... give in to the flame.”
Tahu simply growled in response, unleashing a massive wall of fire.
Gali was caught off-guard by the sudden heat behind her. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Tahu had created a wave of fire that had just barely missed her. Before she could say anything, her double was on top of her again, catching her arms in its hooks. A quick burst of water freed her from its grasp, but didn’t slow it down at all. Twin pairs of hooks met in the air, each pushing hard against the other.
The shadow Gali’s face leaned in close. “Come now, Gali,” it said, in a sickly-sweet voice. “We both know you’re limiting yourself by working with these... men.” The doppelganger suddenly spun, catching both of Gali’s hooks in one of its own. It gestured with the other at the rest of the Toa. “They all think with their muscles, not their brains. You’re the only one here with any wisdom.” Gali pulled free and moved to strike, but hesitated: she didn’t want to acknowledge it, but deep down, she had thought the same things this evil duplicate was saying.
She suddenly shook her head. “You’re wrong. Tahu and Kopaka can be a bit headstrong, but--”
“But what? You’ve seen into two of their minds, Gali. Think back to your time as Wairuha: from whose mind do you think that warrior’s wisdom was pulled? Kopaka? Lewa?” The shadow’s laugh was like the bubbling of a fetid swamp. “These men are beneath you, Gali. Not only that: their rash behavior is a danger to the island, and its people. You are the only one fit to save Mata Nui.”
Gali was frozen in place, conflicting emotions tearing at each other inside her mind. How did this imitation seem to know so much about her deepest, innermost thoughts and fears?
Suddenly, she heard Pohatu’s voice, shouting over the noise of rocks hitting the ground around him: “I don’t understand! How did Makuta create beings just as powerful as we are?”
“Indeed,” Onua shouted back as he attempted to raise a wall of earth between himself and his foe. “Why would Makuta need to enslave the Rahi if he were capable of creating beings this powerful from thin air?”
“That’s it!” yelled Gali. She stepped toward her doppelganger, who she could’ve sworn looked almost... nervous. “Makuta could not have created these shadow Toa from nothing. And he didn’t: he created them from us.”
“What are you talking about?” said Tahu angrily, his whole body now aglow with flame as he continued his fruitless assault against his foe.
“These enemies know everything about our darkest thoughts, fears, and desires,” continued Gali, still moving toward her own, now slowly retreating, counterpart. “Because that is what they are.” Suddenly, Gali leapt forward. Before the shadow Gali could escape, the Toa of Water wrapped her arms around it, and then -- to the other Toa’s astonishment -- it began to fade, sliding into Gali’s body. She stood very still for a moment, then turned and looked up. “Fellow Toa! Just as much as light is a part of us, so is shadow. These beings are nothing but a part of our very selves -- and one that we already overcome every day.”
Kopaka, Pohatu, and Onua nodded with understanding, and began calmly walking toward their own copies. Tahu glared at his for a moment, then lowered his sword and did the same. All embraced their shadowy counterparts, and Gali watched, relieved, as they re-absorbed their own shadows back into themselves. Suddenly, she realized one was missing. Looking around, she saw Lewa in a far corner of the cavern, on his knees before a grinning shadow Lewa.
“Lewa!” she shouted, running toward him. “It is nothing more than a part of you! You are strong enough to overcome it!”
“No, I’m not,” muttered Lewa. “I wasn’t heartstrong enough before, and I’m not now. I can’t fight the darkness...”
“He’s right,” cackled the shadow Lewa. “The darkness was stronger than him before, and it’s stronger than him now.”
“What are you talking about, monster?” demanded Tahu.
The shadow laughed again, sounding like dead branches snapping. “Oh, just the time your ‘teammate’ here spent enslaving his own people.” It looked toward the Toa of Earth. “I’m sure Onua could tell you all about it.”
The other Toa all looked at Onua, a mixture of confusion and concern on their faces. He sighed, then explained: “Lewa was forced to wear an infected mask -- like those Makuta used to control the Rahi.” The shadow Lewa grinned as Onua continued. “Makuta used Lewa to make the Le-Matoran do his bidding. I had to save Lewa by knocking the mask off of him” The Toa of Earth suddenly glared at Lewa’s double. “But he was not acting on his own volition! He was under Makuta’s control!”
The grin on the doppelganger’s face did not falter. “Maybe it appeared that way from the outside, Onua. But inside, Lewa here was simply acting on his own dark desires. He can feel it in his heart.
“He’s right,” said Lewa, still kneeling on the ground, sounding utterly defeated. “I’m not strong enough to fight my own darkness.” He looked back up at his shadow. “This is what I am. And I can’t do anything to stop it.”
“Yes, you can,” said Onua, putting a hand on Lewa’s shoulder. “I heard you when you wore the infected mask. You said that your mind, your body, was not your own: even then, you were fighting the shadow. And you are stronger now. Stronger than you admit.” The Toa had now gathered in a semi-circle around Lewa, facing his duplicate.
The dark Lewa’s grin wavered for a moment. “They know nothing about what you’re capable of, Lewa. They barely know you. They’ve barely seen you fight.”
“We don’t need to have seen you fight to know how strong your heart is, Lewa,” said Pohatu. “You’re more than this darkness.”
The shadow Lewa now looked slightly nervous. “I don’t see your ‘friends’ trying to help you stop me, Lewa. They’re just standing there, waiting for you to fail!”
“This is something only you can do, Lewa,” said Gali. “We cannot fight this evil for you. But I believe that you can do it on your own.”
Lewa lifted his head, looking around at his companions. He then closed his eyes, thinking of all the Matoran who were depending on him. Slowly, he rose to his feet, then opened his eyes, staring directly at those of his mirror image. Their eyes locked, and for a moment that felt like an eternity, they stood, unmoving. Suddenly, the Toa of Air dropped his axe, stepped forward, and embraced his shadow. As it slowly disappeared into his body, he staggered forward, but remained standing. He looked toward the other Toa, and a small smile appeared on his face. “It’s over. We’ve succeeded.”
Once again, the cave was nearly silent. The Toa stood there for a long moment, staring at one another. Then, as a group, they collapsed wearily to the ground.
After catching his breath, Tahu sat up and glanced at Onua, who was watching the others thoughtfully. “What do you think, brother?” he asked the Earth Toa.
Onua smiled, though there was a hint of weariness in his eyes. “I think,” he said, “that we have won an important battle, and of that we can be proud. But there is more to come.”
Tahu nodded, his grin fading as he gripped his fire sword more tightly. Yes, Onua was right. He could feel it, burning in his mind like a half-remembered dream.
There was much more to come.