Author's Note: For a brief summary and description of the world that this story takes place in, as well as a linked Table of Contents, feel free to visit the Review Topic.
Thanks for reading!
It was a typical day in the city of Le-Koro. The sun was shining through the great canopy of leaves, and a slight breeze blew white fluffy clouds across the gentle sky. Matoran milled about the city streets, vendors hocked their products, farmers plowed the land, fishermen cast their lures into the jungle’s streams and rivers, and as Turaga Matau awoke, everything told him that it was going to be just another day in the city of trees.
But the Turaga knew better. Today, he was expecting an important package. One that was so special, no one else knew about its delivery except the other five Turaga and a handful of Matoran who were tasked to help with the ordeal. The Turaga lay in his bed, staring up at the oak ceiling of his home, lost in thought for a moment or two.Yes, he thought to himself, today was a very special day indeed.
It was a day of silent celebration, for it had finally been found. For years, the Turaga had searched in secret for his incoming package, and had experienced no successes until just a few days ago, when Turaga Whenua happened to come across it in the hands of a vendor. Realizing its importance, Whenua promptly bought the object and contacted the rest of the Turaga. The six had agreed that Le-Koro was the best place to hide it; for the eyes of Makuta were everywhere, but vision can be cut extremely short in the trees.
And so the Turaga of Le-Koro rose up from his bed and washed his Mahiki as he prepared for the oncoming day. He grabbed his favorite walking staff, shaped like a decorative buzz saw, and stepped out of his hut. This sunshine warmed his face as he gazed down at his city, and he smiled. The buildings rose up from the ground and from the trees, intertwining with the natural forest, yet still standing out. From the platform his hut sat upon, he looked down on the town center, a bustling square of merchants, vendors, and otherwise happy and busy Matoran. Climbing down to the ground level, he joined the people.
They called out his name and he smiled and waved back. He recognized many faces, but Le-Koro had grown much in recent years, so he didn’t know all of them. Casually, he walked to where a wagon was attached to two Mahi, which waited for him patiently at the edge of the square. Using his walking staff for balance, he climbed into the driver’s seat and took the reins.
“Turaga!” A young voice called out to him from somewhere in the crowd.
Matau looked around for the source of the voice, and smiled when he saw a little girl come running toward him and the wagon. “Well, well! How are you today, Talim?”
“Okay I guess," she said plainly, but then lit up with a polite, big smile. "How are you, Turaga?”
“I’m just fine," he bent down to talk to the girl. "Why are you only okay, little one? It is a beautiful day out. You should be great!” Talim was near to his heart, for she always found interesting things going on in the city, and always made sure that the Turaga went with her.
She held her hands behind her back and looked down at the ground. “The butcher won’t let me play in his kitchen…” she said sadly.
“Now, now, Talim,” he replied. “Don’t you think it’s a little dangerous to be playing there? The butcher uses many sharp knives. You could hurt yourself.”
“But it’s fun…” she drifted off, and her eyes lit up again with an idea. “Will you tell me the story of Takua and the Toa of light?” she asked.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have time for that right now,” Matau looked at her for a moment. “But, tell you what. Would you like to ride in this wagon with me? I’m going off into the forest!”
Talim grinned ear to ear. “Yes! I love the forest!”
The Turaga smiled. “Well come on up here!” He held out his hand to give the little girl a boost, and she happily bounced into the seat next to him.
“Let’s go! Let’s go!” she chanted excitedly. “To the forest!”
Matau smiled as he pulled on the Mahi’s reigns, and they started to move forward. They made their way through the city streets and into the outskirts, and all the while Talim went on about how she was a princess traveling through a magical land full of mystical and dangerous Rahi. Soon, the duo left the city behind them, and they were alone in the quiet woods of Le-Wahi. The trees towered over them, ancient, silent, and wise.
The Turaga soon reached his destination, a small clearing in the woods that the road ran straight through, and he motioned for the Mahi to stop. Quickly, Talim hopped out and began to play in the long grass.
“Now don’t go too far, there’s dangerous Rahi out here!” he called after her. She said nothing in reply, but instead skipped around, doing nothing but having fun. Matau smiled as he lay back in his chair and waited for his package to arrive.
He waited for the better part of an hour, watching the clouds slowly roll across the sky, and when Talim was tired of playing in the grass, she climbed back into the seat next to him. For a few minutes, they watched the clouds together, but the girl quickly fell asleep. Curled up on the seat and breathing softly, Talim didn’t hear the approach of another cart, for which Matau got up to greet.
The cart was about the same size as his, and was driven by three Ko-Matoran. It came towards Matau as he stood quietly in the tall grass on the side of the road. The Mahi pulling the cart slowed to a stop, and the three Matoran got out. The middle one wore an Akaku, and carried a plain iron box in his hands.
“Kokani,” the Turaga said calmly as he bowed to the Matoran holding the box. “I see you finally convinced the other Turaga to trust you.”
“You are correct,” Kokani said plainly. He held out the box to the Turaga. “Nuju sends his blessing, and may you stay out of the Makuta’s gaze.” He paused, his eyes flicking back and forth between the iron box and Matau, but then went on. “He also asks that I accompany you back to Le-Koro for the next few days, just in case anything should happen.”
“I send my thanks. And yes, that would be a good idea.”
He took the box that Kokani offered and stared at it quietly for a moment. Kokani took the top off for him, and Matau looked at a small black jewel, attached at one end to a decorative necklace. He gazed at the stone’s interior and thought about all that had happened in order for this moment to come. The stone sat in silence, almost as if it was staring back at him.
Matau shook his head, and the moment ended. He took the stone and fastened it around his neck. It quietly rested against his chest, and he looked back to Kokani.
“I suppose we should head back then.”
Kokani nodded. The two climbed into Matau’s wagon, and the other Ko-Matoran turned their kart around and started back the way they came, heading for Ko-Koro. Kokani looked into the passenger seat to find Talim, still curled up and fast asleep. He stared at the Turaga.
“You brought along a child?”
“She’s such a sweet girl,” Matau replied.
“Do you realize how dangerous this could turn out to be? What if Makuta knows we’re here?” he asked, almost as if he was scolding the Turaga.
Matau calmly put his hand on Kokani’s shoulder. “It’ll be fine. You shouldn’t worry so much.”
Kokani said nothing, and instead climbed into the back of the wagon. Matau pulled on the Mahi’s reigns, and the animals turned around, pulling the wagon with them. Slowly, they made their way back to the city.
By the time they made it back to the Turaga’s home, it was a bit past midday. Talim, now awake, hopped out of the cart, waved goodbye to the Turaga and her new-found friend, Kokani. Merrily, she skipped through Le-Koro’s busy square until she was out of sight. Matau and Kokani climbed up to the platform of the Turaga’s house, and the Turaga brought out cold drinks for the two of them. They sat on the edge of the platform without incident, and watched the people of Le-Koro go about their business below.
“It’s strange how things worked out,” Kokani stated. Matau said nothing, and so he went on. “We’ve gone after every possible rumor, followed dangerous Rahi all around the island, searched the camps of Kryll, and lost so many Matoran along the way. And then, all of a sudden, Turaga Whenua just finds the Atouri in the hands of an everyday vendor. Just by chance.”
Matau took a drink from his cup and gazed at the sun, slowly creeping its way toward the horizon. “Life is strange, Kokani,” he finally said.
The two sat there for the better part of what remained of the day, talking about events that had happened since their last encounter, and catching up on everything they had missed in each other's lives. The sun slowly descended toward the treetops, and soon the two beings found themselves bathed in the pink-orange light of sunset. The business below them started to slow as shops began to close for the night.
After all, to the Matoran it was just a typical day in the City of Trees. They didn’t know that an ancient and powerful artifact had entered their home, nor did they know why. Only Matau and Kokani spoke of the dangers of Makuta, for everyone else only knew of such a power in legends and stories. And as the last of the shops closed their doors and the sun sank below the trees, Matau and Kokani got up from where they sat to turn in for the night.
But the unique events of this ordinary day were not yet over, and Matau turned around as he heard the soft sound of light feet coming toward him. Looking over the edge of his platform, Talim came running towards his hut. This wasn’t her playful run, however. The little girl ran with purpose, and so he quickly climbed down to meet her on the ground.
“Turaga!” she cried out. “Come quick!”
“What’s wrong Talim?”
Talim slid to a halt and grabbed the Turaga’s hand, pulling him so he would move faster. “Just come!”
Kokani looked down at them, and Matau called up. “I’ll be back, Kokani. Don't worry, I'm sure everything’s fine.”
Matau followed Talim through the winding city streets, all the way past the outskirts, until the last of the houses disappeared, and they were surrounded only by trees and darkness. Talim led the Turaga through a bramble patch, and a glowing yellow light appeared in front of them. Urging him to move faster, Talim pulled him through more underbrush until they found themselves in a small clearing.
“Look! Look what I found!” Talim said excitedly.
Matau's eyes widened. There, in front of him, sat a Matoran. He held Talim’s lightstone, and the yellow light reflected off of his black Pakari. He looked extremely confused, and looked up at the Turaga with big, bright green eyes. From the looks of him, he was about Talim’s age.
“Oh my,” Matau said, approaching the confused Matoran. “What’s your name, little one?”
The Matoran shied away from him.
“Come now, don’t be afraid,” he said, offering out his hand. “What’s your name?”
“I…I don’t know,” the Matoran stuttered.
The Turaga eyed him up and down. From the looks of him, he was a Le-Matoran. “Well,” he said. “You must have a name if you are to come back with us to Le-Koro.”
The nervous Matoran looked up at him, then at Talim. “I don’t know my name,” he said quietly.
Matau frowned. This was strange indeed. “Hmm…” He thought about what he should do with the Matoran. He was obviously too young to be out in the forest alone this late in the day. Perhaps he had run away from home, and in the process fell and hit his head, affecting his memory. He had to do something. After a few minutes of thought, he decided he would take the Matoran back with him, and he would take care of him, at least until they could find his family. “But what shall we call you…?” he pondered out loud.
Talim tugged on his hand, begging for his attention. Matau leaned down to hear what she had to say. With both hands around her mouth, she whispered into his ear. He smiled and stood back up.
“Alright, that’s fitting enough,” he said. “It probably won’t stick, but for now we will call you Takua, in honor of the Toa of Light.”
Takua sat on the ground, holding the lightstone. Turaga Matau offered his hand once again, and nervously he took it.
“Come now, little one,” Matau said. “Let’s take you home.”
Edited by ZOMBI3S, Mar 15 2017 - 08:04 AM.