Kini-Nui is situated at roughly the center of the island of Mata Nui. On the surface, this area is a jungle of tall trees and chattering wildlife. The main landmark is the Kini-Nui temple, an ancient structure that houses the Suva Kaita, one of the main routes into Makuta’s former lair, Mangaia. Most of the importance of the area is deep below the earth in the sinister halls where Makuta once dwelled. Despite the evil being’s absence, this region is still tense; not only has it been labeled a “no-man’s land” between the Koros, but it also bears a residual aura that still makes the back of necks tingle. Local landmarks include:
-The Kini-Nui Temple: a dome-like stone protrusion from the earth with four large spires extending into the heavens at each corner, the Kini-Nui temple is difficult to reach. It resides in a clearing in the jungle, and in the middle of its upper platform is the Suva Kaita. The Toa Maru closed the Suva Kaita after their defeat of Makuta.
-The Amaja-Nui: A circular sandpit that was once used by the wise Turaga of Mata Nui to retell legends. It resides between a large, ivy-covered bust of a Matoran head and the Kini-Nui temple.
Makuta’s former lair is a maze of dark passageways and huge chambers. It has several entrances: one below the Suva Kaita, one through the Suva Nui in Le-Koro, and six long Dark Walk tunnels branching straight from a central chamber in Mangaia to the doorsteps of each Koro are some to name. Even though the dark artifacts that used to inhabit the chambers of the caverns – many of which were unspeakable horrors – have all been long since destroyed or cast into the sea by the Toa Maru, a distinct air of danger still lingers down here. Lights carried by those either brave or stupid enough to descend into Mangaia seem to have less effect in its passageways than in other dark places, though there are some chambers illuminated by blood-red lightstones.
Makuta’s Rahkshi, no longer under his control, still tend to gravitate towards the dark places of the island, and there is nowhere darker than Mangaia. Several wild Rahkshi stake out their own caves and attack any who get too close, or who are unfortunate enough to pass them in the stony corridors. Some rooms are blocked behind thick doorways; whether such doors are viewed as invitations or as warnings varies on the explorer in question, but ominous sounds from behind them tend to drive most would-be enterers away. Sinister echoes seem to come quietly from everywhere.
The main attraction that compels surface dwellers to enter Mangaia is what is assumed to be Makuta’s Vault. It is a huge, impregnable doorway – with no hinges, seams, or keyhole – that is situated in the middle of the deepest level of Mangaia. Rough maps sketched of the tunnels around it leave a huge cavity empty; the Vault, common sense dictates, must fill this void. A riddle is carved into the Vault’s smooth door implies that it can be opened, though none have yet succeeded:
Across an endless ocean
Beyond where minds can see
My key likes in the open
Where you will never be
Beneath the brightest thunder
Stand towers of the day
The light may break asunder
If night skies choose obey
The red sign on black eyes
Will lead you to your prize
What exactly lies within the Vault is a total mystery, as so far nobody has managed to open it. However, it is assumed that objects of great power reside there, and how the Vault should be dealt with is a matter of great contention across the island.