“Only a Toa so mighty can ride, anyone else, woe betide.”
The Matoran paused, hammer in mid-swing. “Ooh, I like that! I should write that down! Only a Toa so mighty can ride…”
Pulling his hammer back again, he resumed pounding the piece into place. The canister was beginning to take shape now—or at least he thought it was. It was difficult to see with such little light.
“How many will this be—four? How foolish, to lose track of that!”
The Matoran got up, putting as little weight as possible on his badly-twisted leg. He hobbled down the edge of the water, passing three large silver canisters as he went.
“Yes, this will be four. Get it together! Lose track again and I might make a seventh.”
A shudder rocked the small villager. As he limped back to the half-complete canister, he heard scuttling movement in the darkness.
He froze. For all he knew, that sound could be anything—the Manas come to devour him, Karzahni come to drag him back to the forge, or something beyond his imagination. When a small lizard-like Rahi scampered up to him, he sighed with relief.
“You scared me. You’re not here to hurt me…are you?”
The Rahi cocked its head.
“Hahaha! No, I suppose not. Forgive me, I’ve grown jumpy after all these years.”
He sat down carefully, his damaged leg jutting out at an odd angle. Picking up his tools, he resumed work on the fourth canister for a few seconds before turning back to the Rahi.
“I can’t say I recognize you…then again, I can’t say I recognize much of anything. Why, I probably wouldn’t even recognize my own reflection! Not that I’d have any use for a mirror down here, mind you.”
Wondering why this giant was babbling at him, the Rahi inched closer, though it was sure to stay well out of reach.
“What was I saying? Oh, yes, I’m afraid I don’t know what species you are. Or maybe your species doesn’t have a name? Don’t feel bad—I don’t have a name either. Well, perhaps I used to have one, but not anymore.”
Turning around, the lizard headed for one of the completed canisters. Upon seeing this, the Matoran dropped his tools and shouted out, “No!”
The Rahi stopped dead in its tracks.
“I don’t mean to raise my voice, but it’s dangerous! Don’t you know what that is?”
Tentatively, the Rahi faced the Matoran once more. It almost seemed attentive.
Proudly, the Matoran proclaimed, “It’s a Toa Canister, of course! And after all, only a Toa so mighty can ride, anyone else, woe betide!”
He chuckled and resumed his work. Curious, the lizard edged a bit closer.
“Yes, we built plenty of them, my brothers and sisters and I. That, I can remember clear as day. Everything else—nope! It’s all gone.”
As he reached for a plate of metal, he noticed that the Rahi now sat about a bio away. He thought he might scare the creature again if he made any sudden movements, so he pretended not to notice.
“But they didn’t even tell the Toa about the canisters—not except for Tahu and Kopaka, of course. That hurt a bit, knowing they wouldn’t know all the work we put into them. Not that I need acknowledgement, of course, I just think it’s a shame to see something so wonderful be used without respect. Oh, there I go speaking ill of the Toa again. If Kopaka ever wakes up he’ll freeze me for sure.”
The Rahi was now close enough to run over several of the tools laid out. The Matoran slowly reached for a firestaff he could use to weld the pieces together.
“Then again, even if they do wake up, they’ll never find me here. Nobody will find me here. That’s why I’m building these canisters—it helps pass the time, and there is so much time to pass. There’s more to it than that, though. Doing this helps me remember a bit about my old life. Not much, but every little bit is like a hidden treasure I never knew was there, and it’s such a wonderful surprise!”
As he was welding, the Matoran felt the Rahi poking at his leg. He looked down and regarded the creature with a friendly smile.
“…Can you keep a secret?”
There was a pause in the conversation. After a time, however, the Rahi leapt up onto the Matoran and climbed all the way to his shoulder.
“Okay…once, I thought about using a canister to leave this place.”
He waited for a response. The lizard’s tongue flicked out of its mouth briefly.
“I know, it was a ridiculous idea. Look at me! It’s obvious I’m no Toa, and only a Toa so mighty can ride, anyone else, woe betide. The last thing I need is woe.”
Its work done, the Matoran moved to set down the firestaff. Before he could react, the Rahi rushed down his arm, onto the cave floor, and off into the darkness. He stared after it for a moment, and then returned to his work once again.
“Who was I talking to? Can’t they see I’m busy? This is an important service for the Toa! Only a Toa so mighty can ride…”