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So I got laid off because of the coronavirus, and I have a cold. I hope it’s a cold. It’s not my best week, and a lot of folks have it worse. So as a distraction, I wrote a new Kanohi story. This is actually a sequel to my last short story, The Company of Cowards, which takes place in a universe inspired by the vision Karzahni showed Jaller in Dark Destiny. Both stories are also sequels to my original Kanohi Short Story; Of Villagers, Outcasts, and Heroes, though that one can fit into a couple universes like the Kingdom and the Core Reality. Point is, here is a new story about a grappling vigilante Fe-Matoran, with him back in the lead role. Please enjoy, at the least it’s a bit of a distraction.
 

A Village Against the Rahkshi

Kanohi wiped the large wooden mask, a powerless mask carved in the shape of a noble Ruru. He hooked it atop his head, covering him a strange tribal appearance. He breathed steady, hands shaking. He … he had put on a brave face for the other Matoran, but here, the fear came out.

He was not a Po-Matoran. He was a Fe-Matoran. And Vakama would have known that. His visions of an underground world under attack by monstrous spiders and Rahkshi, those were real, but Vakama had lied and said those visions were not so literal.

There was so much Vakama had never told him. So much he still would not know if not for Axonn. So much of what he knew over the past millennia was just … lies.

He understood the need for secrecy, he might have left Mata-Nui to help the underground Matoran, many would have. And despite Vakama’s mentoring, Kanohi was an outcast, a vigilante who did not belong to any one Koro but helped all Matoran. If people far away had needed him more, he would have left Mata-Nui with regret but resolve.

But even though he understood by the Turaga had lied, it stung like a hundred Nui-Kopen. And it still wasn’t right. Necessary maybe, but not right.

Kanohi held out his orange and black arms. Like the rest of his body they were plated with wooden masks, but sticking out of his firearms right before his wrists were small launchers. Between the technology of Voya-Nui weaponry, and the inventiveness of Nuparu, the Fe-Matoran had been able to get upgraded again. He how had two Volo Lutu Launchers; one built into each arm, to let him grapple across the jungle with ease. Even the strange jungle of Voya-Nui.

Satisfied at his arms, he pulled out his lighter, gazing into the flame. As the fire danced he could see image dance in the embers. That was one honest thing Vakama had told him at least, how to focus his strange ability to prophesies with fire.

Within the flickering flames he could see three of the new Toa; Macku, Kapura, and Hafu, all sailing with Hewkii and Axon. They were traveling back towards the island of Mata-Nui through the gloom of night, only the Red Star breaking the endless void of blackness. Axonn rowed and Macku pushed the ship with her elemental power, waves splashing from each push. As water foamed in their wake, the white bubbles broke apart like clumps of wet sand, before crumbling into an avalanche. Kanohi tried to grapple away, but it soon was upon, smothering him in darkness. He shivered in the gloom, before red rusted eyes consumed his sight, and a terrible voice shouted, “where is the Mask of Time!”

“Kanohi, sir?” The autistic vigilante spun around, his hands shaking, his heartlight pounding beneath his wooden masks. Piruk flinched at his outburst, and Kanohi tried to settle his breathing.

“Yes, brother?”

“I … I was surveying the northern coast with Dalu, she enhanced my sense and … there are strange reptilian creatures flying this way. Six of them, all yellow, holding staffs.”

“Rahkshi of Heat Vision,” Kanohi sighed like a hovercraft’s engine dying, “the Makuta has found us. Has Garan and Dalu already rallied the Matoran?”

“Um yes.”

“Is Brutaka joining us?”

“No he … he says six Rahkshi are not worth his time.”

“I think he will change his tune if we capture some Kraata,” Kanohi stood up. That was another thing Vakama had trusted him with, even more than all Matoran. The only Matoran to ever go hunt Kraata with the Turaga were Matoro and Kanohi, though more as bait than as fighters.

“What are Kraata?”

“What controls a Rahkshi, the Rahkshi is just a suit of armor a Kraata controls. They are not very smart, but they are dangerous, and can corrupt masks.”

Kanohi stretched, adjusting his wooden masks one more time, before saying, “Piruk, I know this is a lot to ask, but report back to Garan, he might need you to report to the other village, and he will need to know these are Rahkshi of Heat Vision.”

“M-m-me?”

“We all must do our part. With half of the Toa Inika heading to liberate Mata-Nui from the Makuta and his false Toa, and the other half moving to find the Mask of Life, we need all of us Matoran working together. You don’t need to fight, just transmit news between the Matoran.”

“R-right, easy. Well, you know what Balta always says…”

“…You don’t need to be a Toa to be a hero,” Kanohi nodded, walking out of the hut. Looking about he aimed his right arm to a tree, and a sphere of gravity blasted out of his built-in launcher. It slammed into the treetop, and then in a rush the raw gravity pulled, ripping Kanohi off the village clearing and into the air. As he hit the tree he fired from his left arm, grappling to another tree. He ricocheted from tree to tree, patrolling the village even as other Matoran ran about in preparation for the Rahkshi.

Dalu focused her Chargers as a Rahkshi flew overhead, a tight glare in her optics. With some strange power emanated from her silver blades, striking the beast. As the beast turned towards her it lurched, suddenly as heavy as a Kikanalo. The Rahkshi plummeted like a stone, smashing into the ground with a resounding thud.

She ran at the beast, but as she drew close it glared it’s eyes at her, and twin beams of burning energy slammed into her. She wheezed in pain, before that wheeze ignited into anger. “I am not so easily cowed!” The Ga-Matoran snarled, balancing on one arm and her legs. With some strain she fired her Chargers again, this time at the ground beneath the Rahkshi. The earth beneath the beast began to crumble, eroding what should take centuries in a matter of seconds. The Rahkshi was buried, and she slumped over, panting.

“Take … that … Rahi,” she managed to shout. Using her Chargers was a big drain, she would need to rest or risk passing out—

There was a hiss as beams of red hot flame erupted from the rubble, carving a hole in the debris. She stared up as the Rahkshi dragged itself out of the earth, its armor now scratched up, its legs sparking from when it fell from the sky. The mechanical puppet stepped towards her, its movements jerky like a Rock Ussal scuttling towards its prey.

Two blasts of heat vision fired at her, but before it could hit a Ta-Matoran lunged in the way. Balta crossed his Repellers in front of Dalu, the weapons absorbing the full blast of the Rahkshi’s energies. And then with a thrust of his shoulders the Repellers hurled the energy back at the Rahkshi, frying it like the best Toa of Fire.

The Rahkshi nearly collapsed, sparking as it used its staff to hold itself upright. With a cock of irs head it fired more heat vision, but not at Balta. The blasts struck a nearby tree, dropping it like a stone. Balta sounds around to repeal the falling tree—

Two blasts of heat vision slammed into the Ta-Matoran, sending him tumbling. The good news was that thanks to the blast, the tree had missed hitting him. But the bad news with his injuries, he wasn’t able to lift up his Repellers, too aching from the blow.

Balta’s head rolled over to take in the Rahkshi, just as a blur swung through the canopy. As another blast of heat vision flew at the Ta-Matoran a hand grabbed his arm, before grappling away in an instant. The heat vision ignited the tree, but no Matoran was hurt.

Kanohi and Balta landed in a roll, as the damaged Rahkshi turned back towards them. Kanohi swallowed and fired a ball of gravity at the Rahkshi, and in a rush was hurled into the beast. He slammed into the servant of the Makuta, knocking it to the ground.

As the Rahkshi shakily stood up Kanohi grappled away, calling out, “i-is this the best the M-M-Makuta’s son can do? To lose to three powerless Matoran?”

If the Rahkshi was smart enough to understand and insult, it was hard to tell, but it immediately began to fire heat vision after Kanohi, blasting after him like a rampage Muaka.

As the forest ignited, Balta suddenly felt some of his strength returning, his injuries mending just a little. There was a thud behind him, and he turned to see Dalu collapse again. She had enhanced his ability to heal.

As the Rahkshi fired at Kanohi, the vigilante heard Balta call out, “over here.” The Fe-Matoran obliged, grappling besides Balta. The Rahkshi fired another pair of beams of heat vision, only for Balta to repel them. The blast pounded into the Rahkshi, shattering it in a fiery explosion.

“We … we … killed a Rahkshi,” Kanohi managed to squeak out, dropping to his knees.

“It’s not over yet,” Balta struggled to stand, putting his hands on Kanohi’s shoulder. The vigilante turned to see the Kraata had burst free of the Rahkshi, and was now oozing towards them. With a nod Kanohi drew a small capsule from his pack, and grappled over to the Kraata, slamming the capsule on top of it. The slug hissed and squirmed as he slid the lid underneath, sealing it away.

“Try to rest,” Kanohi urged Balta, “watch over Dalu until she has recovered. I need to hurry back to the village, the bulk of the Rahkshi are headed there.”

“Understood, Kanohi.” Balta lay down besides his fellow Matoran, as theFe-Matoran turned, hooked a tree and grappled away, launching his way through the jungle of Voya-Nui.

“Come on, Velika,” urged Kazi, uncharacteristically aggravative, “that Rahkshi is attacking the village, we need to form a Kaita.”

“No,” Velika said blunt like a hammer.

It was in fact unusually bluntly for Velika, no annoying sing-songs riddles of poems, just a blunt answer. Normally this would strike Kazi as odd. But since there was currently three large reptilian beasts the size of a Toa igniting the hunts and frying the Matoran, Kazi was not in the mood to ponder this.

In fact all he could manage to say was simply “Why the Karzahni not?”

“We don’t have time for this,” said Garan as he fired a blast from his Pulse Bolt Generators, the pulse flying through the air, growing larger and larger as it flew before pounding the Rahkshi with explosive force, “Piruk, Kazi, we will form the Kaita.”

“M-me?”

“Yes,” nodded Garan, “just concentrate on our unity, it should be much less of a strain than forming a Matoran Nui.”

“I … I will try.”

The three Matoran drew close to one another, holding hands as the village burned. Then in a flood of light they merged together, their green, brown, and black bodies fusing into one large Matoran.

“Incredible, and I thought the strength we got from Nuparu’s upgrades was intense,” the fusion declared, eyeing his arms and his new two-pronged blades, “but this is on a whole mother level.”

The fusion turned towards the rampaging Rahkshi and slammed his blades together, unleashing a powerful burst of sound that only grew sharper and louder as it flew. It slammed into a Rahkshi, sending sparks raining from it like an afternoon rain. The other Rahkshi turned, just as the fusion charged the first Rahkshi, slicing its staff in two.

“That, is the power of our unity,” the fusion declared, before slicing and hacking his blades at the Rahkshi. The other two charged at the fusion, and the fusion only laughed boisterously, before lunged at them with clean sweeps of his blades.

“A Matoran Kaita,” Kanohi shook his head in amazement. It was … awe-inspiring to see this penultimate act of the Virtue of Unity, to see Matoran become one in drive and purpose. The giant was a little taller than a Toa, and was a flurry of sound and slashing. It was…

Suddenly Kanohi spied a flash of red, and grappled to the side, avoiding a blast of heat vision. He did not have time to witness the unity of the Matoran, there were lives to save first.

The vigilante grappled around, his wooden masks thumping and flanging as it went. The sensation the sound gave was oddly comforting to the autistic Matoran, grounding. It kept him calm, as calm as he could be in this moment of raw chaos.

Plumes of smoke erupted from huts, ash plummeted to earth as if Mount Valami was erupting, buildings collapsed in explosion of splinters and Matoran collapsed, their metal flesh smoldering from being hit with heat vision.

It was … it was just like when Mata-Nui fell. His hands trembled at the memory of Ta-Koro burning in the lava, the smell of roasting Matoran, the crushed remains of Onu-Koro, the sheer destruction caused by the first six Rahkshi, the Matoran of those villages sent as refugees to Po-Koro, to serve the will of the Makuta, then the arrival of those false Toa Piraka

And then he heard the jingling of his armor, and Kanohi let out a breath. They … they had defeated one Rahkshi, that was more than the Turaga ever had. The Matoran of Voya-Nui were strong, they … they could handle six Rahkshi. And since these were all the same type of Rahkshi, they couldn’t physically form a Kaita, same as how three Matoran of Fire couldn’t combine together. And that gave the Matoran a bit of an advantage.

Kanohi swooped down towards a burning hut, scooping up a Ko-Matoran. His pistons and servos strained against the weight, but he was a Fe-Matoran, he naturally had better endurance than the average Matoran, and that was before he had been rebuilt to be stronger.

Why didn’t you tell me that, Vakama? Just tell me the reason I was such a poor Po-Matoran was because I was not a Matoran of Stone at all, but a Matoran of Iron.

The vigilante launched away from the fire, the Ko-Matoran in hand. Finally they tumbled to the ground, now away from the blaze. The vigilante stood up as the Ko-Matoran bolted, signing as the Matoran ran. It … his memories bubbled up inside him, the Toa Nuva could not stand against the Rahkshi, how could a village of Matoran?

But he did not have the luxury to be lost in fear. Matoran were in trouble, he could not let Voya-Nui fall too. And he … he was a vigilante hero, he had protected the Matoran for centuries before the Toa arrived, protecting them from wild beasts, capturing Kraata, he was a hero. Not a Toa, but still a hero none the less.

Kanohi swallowed, and then grappled back into the fray.

Nuparu slashed with his new electro-blade, frying a Rahkshi’s ankles. He was no great warrior, not the kind to become a Toa, but he had already fled the Rahkshi once, he would not do it again.

As the Onu-Matoran lunged out of the way of the Rahkshi’s stomping foot, the fusion charged forward, skewering the Rahkshi’s central compartment. Ooze drooled out from the wound, and the foul smelling fluid pooled into the village center. The Rahkshi swayed, before collapsing down at Nuparu—

Only for Kanohi to grapple past and carry the inventor to safety. The vigilante rolled on the landing before grappling away, streaking past the Kaita. “Please try not to kill the Kraata. I have had a vision about the Kraata, we need them to get Brutaka on our side.”

“Why?” The fusion startled, “how would that convince him?”

“I think he can eat them.”

“Eat, like those Piraka you talked about?” The fusion stared after the vigilante, his mouth agape under his mask. Then a blast of heat vision hit him in the back, sending him tumbling.

Kanohi swerved in midair and grappled back towards the fusion, as a Rahkshi focused his heat vision at the Kaita. The fusion shuddered, as two more Rahkshi flew into view. The three remaining ones were converging here now.

Suddenly one of the Rahkshi became a blur, blasting forward at an inhuman speed. It slammed into a tree, shattering the wood with explosive force. As it stood there dazed Dalu stumbled out, stabbing it with her Chargers.

She forced the Kraata’s compartment open, exposing the puppeteer. The slug hissing before lunging at her mask, only to be flung back by Balta’s Repellers. The Kraata smacked to the ground, right as Velika ran up to seal the stunned slug away.

And then there was a boom. With explosive force the fusion separated, broken up by the barrage of heat vision. Piruk, Garan and Kazi were flung apart and landed with a resounding thud, too exhausted to function. Kanohi turned to the three other Matoran and said, “can you form a Kaita?”

“No, not compatible,” answered Velika quickly. Balta and Dalu gave him a look, and he added, “if the Muaka falls, the Kane-Ra will not do better.”

“…Okay. Then I’m try to distract them while you get these three to safety.”

“I am not just running from these brutes,” Dalu all but snarled, and Kanohi let out a grin. It was good to see a Matoran who still had that much fire.

“Fair enough, then we’ll fight them while Nuparu and you two take the fallen to safety.”

“Right—” Heat vision swept at the ground, but Kanohi grappled a nearby tree, hooking Dalu and dragging her out of the way. He swung her as he flew past a Rahkshi, and she lunged at the beast, stabbing it in the eyes.

The beast staggered about, and she slashed her Chargers against its thighs. Her friends’ fusion had really done a number on these Rahkshi already, now was just clean up. And as the beast crumbled, she stabbed it through the head, letting a noxious ooze drip out.

Kanohi meanwhile was darting around the last Rahkshi, grappling back and forth. It’s heat vision pursued him, try to catch up.

And then suddenly it pivoted around, aiming for Piruk. Immediately Kanohi broke left and grappled the Rahkshi, slamming into it. The beast stumbled, heat vision going wild, even as Dalu stabbed it in the head. There was a hiss as the slug dissolved, leaving a black stain on the ground below.

And then the Rahkshi collapsed with a thud. Kanohi fell to his knees too, panting, while Dalu kicked the beast and shouted, “yeah, that’s how we do things in Voya-Nui!”

“Incredible,” Brutaka laughed like an avalanche, “I feel … incredible.” The titan slammed his fist against the mountain, shattering a crater in its side. He smirked beneath his strange mask, before punching the mountain again, and again, laughing to himself.

As boulders fell Kanohi hooked a tree behind Garan and grappled, catching the Onu-Matoran’s wrist and dragging him to safety. The two Matoran tumbled into a heap, as Brutaka laughed.

“And you little creatures killed these Rahkshi on your own?” He shook his head as he smashed open another capsule and slurped out the slug like a Rahi lapping water. He began to glow with more energy, the air rippling around him like the tip of Mount Valami.

“Pity you only recovered three of these Kraata,” he scowled.

“There are many more on Mata-Nui. And it’s said they are created from the essence of the Makuta himself. So the Turaga say.”

Though they will lie if they wish.

“Oh I know a lot about the Brotherhood of Makuta,” Brutaka laughed, standing up on his long gold and blue legs, “I’ve fought Rahkshi before too. But to eat one? I never even dreamed…”

Under his mask Brutaka sneered, “I think I will visit this island of yours after all,” Brutaka decided, and his mask began to glow. Before the two Matoran’s eyes space rippled and ruptured, until a tear in reality formed. And within the rift, Kanohi could see a very familiar beach.

“You could teleport that far?” Garan declared, “then why make your brother Axonn sail to Mata-Nui? Why not help evacuate my people’s northern brothers and sisters?”

“I didn’t see the point,” Brutaka answered, before stepping through the portal. And behind him the gateway sealed shut, as if it had never been.

“Do you really think we can trust him?” Garan glanced at Kanohi,

“No,” answered Kanohi with a sigh, “but he will distract the Makuta, and the Toa Inika there will need all the help they can get.”

“The Makuta is truly that strong?”

“Yes,” Kanohi shivered, and then forced a smile, “still, I thought the Rahkshi were untouchable, and today we destroyed six of them. Nuparu and Velika are already busy salvaging their remains for more tools and weapons, even as your village is mended.”

“You know, when the Makuta is defeated, and Mata-Nui is saved, our islands could learn a lot from each other. Trading goods, stories, knowledge, we are running low on food and resources, your richer island could save us. We already defeated monsters that could defeat your Toa Nuva. Imagine what we could do in a few years.”

Kanohi’s face relaxed into a faint smile, before saying, “I better return to your village, we need everyone we can to fix the damage it suffered.”

“Then hurry,” Garan laughed, “before my people defeat the Makuta without you.” Kanohi nodded, before grappling away through the jungle of Voya-Nui.

The vigilante smile faded as he grappled, despite their words it wasn’t that simple of course. Not only was the Makuta a danger, but the false Toa themselves were powerful, though only ‘Toa’ Thok, ‘Toa’ Vezok, and ‘Toa’ Hakann seemed to be able to use their elements. But all of them had strange and incredible powers, allegedly because of the masks the ‘noble’ Makuta gave them when he appointed them the ‘protectors’ of the Matoran.

Lies, all lies.

The fights the Toa Inika would face in the coming days would not be easy. But the least he could do while the new Toa saved the Matoran and Mata-Nui was to protect the Matoran on Voya-Nui, both refugees and natives alike. He had a duty to all Matoran, he became a vigilante to protect them on an island with no Toa, to give them hope, and well, here he was again.

And despite all his fears, his knowledge, there was another truth. Today was a victory. And that would keep him going.

So Kanohi continued to grapple from tree to tree, hurtling between branches as he headed back to this island village, in a forest so alike but unalike his home. And this was the way, of the Bionicle.


"Danger is the anvil on which trust is forged"-Jaller(Jala) :smilejala: 
"We're on our own here-like we've always been-and we'll stand or fall on our own"-Tanma
"He may seem slow and strange to you, but his simple words often carry a hidden wisdom"-Turaga Vakama on Kapura

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Kanohi: Stories of a Matoran Vigilante The Impact of a Rebirth: a Kanohi Fanfic The Willing Exiles: a Kanohi Fanfic SKR Profiles: Kanohi Collector Mahrika Avatar by @Onaku

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