Seekers of the Vahi, The Mask of Time...
Seekers of the Vahi, The Mask of Time...
Jun 6 2002, 04:22 PM
Group: Forum Administrators
Joined: 15-December 01
Member No.: 504
Ever since aquiring my own Vahi mask from Wizards of the Coast, I've thought about how it fit in. This story is my attempt to pull the peices together - enjoy!
Discuss this story.
Note: PM me for a printable Word Document version...
This post has been edited by Kaiapu: Dec 3 2002, 10:36 PM
Jun 6 2002, 04:26 PM
Group: Forum Administrators
Joined: 15-December 01
Member No.: 504
Seekers of the Vahi by Kaiapu
A standalone story taken from the larger epic, Quest for the Kanohi.
In the warm atmosphere of Ta-Koro, the inhabitants of Mata Nui relished a rare moment of peace. Only Gali and Onua, along with their respective Turaga, were missing from the jovial gathering. Hafu, the famed stone carver of Po-Koro, conversed with Kongu, a famed Kahu bird pilot and retired disk champion, as well as Matoro, Nuju’s right hand. Kopaka, the Toa of Ice, and Pohatu, the Toa of Stone, sought Vakama and Nuju’s advice on the locations of several Kanohi masks. Lewa, the Toa of Air, and Tahu, the Toa of Fire, talked with Onewa and Matau about defensive techniques.
Suddenly, the calm was shattered by the snapping tail of a scorpion-like Nui-Jaga emerging from the recesses of the Onu-Ta-Le-Koro tunnel. Before the Tohunga had time to react, the smashing appendage had knocked the masks off of Kongu and Matoro. Tahu leapt up and charged at the Rahi, sword ablaze. As his fiery blade descended, the scorpion scuttled laterally, and the fearsome stinger swept Tahu’s Hau to the ground.
As Tahu groped for his mask, the other Toa emerged from the shock and surprise and prepared themselves for battle.
“A single Nui-Jaga is not much for four Toa, four Turaga, and a village of Tohunga,” remarked Lewa.
“Yes, but there is seldom merely one. I have a feeling Makuta has a fearsome attack planned,” answered Pohatu.
Tahu had recovered his mask, and as he rose, shouted, “He sought to take us unawares – let us now frustrate him with our power!”
Kopaka’s frozen sword deprived the Nui-Jaga of an infected mask. Kopaka switched to his Kanohi Miru, the Mask of Levitation, and leapt into the air. Tahu, switching to the Akaku, the mask of X-Ray Vision, peered into the darkness shrouding the tunnel. What he saw floored him. “No! The tunnel is packed with Nui-Jaga! This is horrible! We’re in for a major battle!”
Meanwhile, Pohatu aimed a powerful, stone-shattering kick at the Nui-Jaga’s second infected mask. His foot connected with the mask, sending it flying across the plaza. The Nui-Jaga looked as if it had awoken from a dream, and scurried away. Pohatu’s victory went unnoticed, however, as scores of Nui-Jaga poured forth from the tunnel’s opening. The Toa threw themselves into the fray, sending masks and pieces ricocheting in all directions.
Nuju, who had been, along with the other three Turaga, using the powers of his mask and staff to aid the Toa’s struggle, looked toward the cable car, which was swaying idly in the breeze. What he saw made his heart sink. A ferocious swarm of buzzing Nui-Rama was rapidly flying toward the village!
“Prepare yourselves! A second foe has even now been added onto the first!” Nuju called.
“It is rare that Nuju speaks like this,” murmured Matoro as he and the other two Tohunga, Kongu and Hafu, unsheathed their disks. His musing was cut short by the furious onslaught of wasp-like beasts. Kongu, who was experienced in Nui-Rama defense, immediately took command.
“Fire one!” he shouted. Three disks sang through the air, connecting with several of the Nui-Rama. This assault enraged the flying terrors, which swooped down upon the brave Tohunga like hornets from a nest.
Lewa turned from a defeated Nui-Jaga and saw the dive-bombing Rahi. He jumped into the air, using his mighty axe to send infected masks showering downward. More Nui-Rama circled in from the rear, and their rubbery wings removed Lewa’s mask. Without the power of the Miru, Lewa hurtled to the ground. Nuju’s mask of Telekinesis, the Matatu, slowed his fall somewhat, allowing Lewa to land with little damage.
Meanwhile, Nui-Jaga continued emerging from the tunnel. Koapa switched to his Miru and floated above a cerulean Nui-Jaga, who angrily snapped its tail. Kopaka’s sword neatly flicked off one of the infected masks, but as he dove for the second, the extremity’s rapid decent knocked his Miru to the ground. Kopaka’s normal mask, the Akaku, reappeared in its place. Pohatu, seeing his friend’s plight, shoved his way over fallen Nui-Jaga to come to Kopaka’s aid. With the foe distracted by Pohatu, Kopaka was able to recover his Miru.
Suddenly, dust began belching from the tunnel’s dark doorway. Closely followed by violet Nui-Jaga, a stone box hurtled past Tahu’s head and partially embedded itself in the earth torn up by the clash. Lewa and Kopaka looked up and fought their way towards it. Tahu tried to hold off the Nui-Jaga, but to no avail. This fresh pack seemed bent on destroying the granite container.
The Nui-Jaga’s tails smashed into the carton repeatedly until the stone began to crumble away. Inside was Kopaka’s Komau, the Mask of Mind Control! Kopaka forced several low-flying Nui-Rama aside and reached for the mask. However, the Nui-Jaga’s fearsome tails kept Kopaka from his quarry. Tahu defeated several, but still more were approaching.
Unexpectedly, a Nui-Jaga’s mask popped off, seemingly of its own accord. Several more followed suit, until the surrounding Nui-Jaga were either dazed or had slunk away. As Kopaka collected his mask, Vakama appeared. He had been using his mask of concealment to remove the Nui-Jaga’s infected masks.
“You see, Kopaka – we Turaga still have fighting blood left in us!” Vakama chortled.
Kopaka retrieved his mask and put it on. The circuitry of the gray-colored mask glowed as Kopaka used its power. An incoming Nui-Rama abruptly veered off and crashed into several Nui-Jaga.
“This mask could be the secret to our victory!” exclaimed Kopaka.
Still, the battle was far from over. The Tohunga disk-throwers were exhausted from constant throwing. Only Hafu was still going strong. Each time he threw his disk, it returned to him like a boomerang.
“How do you do that, Hafu?” Matoro inquired.
“It’s all skill, Matoro. Practice and skill,” answered Hafu proudly, as his disk, flying from his strong arm, clattered into a Nui-Rama and knocked off an infected mask. Most disks would now have fallen away, but not Hafu’s. His bounced off the first falling mask and removed the Nui-Rama’s second mask before returning to Hafu’s waiting hand.
The defeated Nui-Rama hurtled into a fallen Nui-Jaga and vibrated for a moment. Kongu spotted the configuration and shouted to his comrades,
“Look thereover! Makutabeasts make fortress for strongbrave warriors! Fight we better with wall to behind hide!”
“Quick, before the next drove of those beasts see us!” called Matoro as he and the other Tohunga ran toward the impromptu citadel. Hafu scrambled atop the Nui-Rama; from his perch he could throw his disk with ease. Matoro crouched behind the Nui-Jaga’s fallen tail. From this vantage point he could use his mask power, telescopic vision, (a skill that few Tohunga have learned) to scout for approaching foes. Kongu balanced under the Nui-Rama’s tail, where he could throw and command while staying relatively protected.
The Toa were pursuing a pack of Nui-Jaga through the charred forest.
“We might be able to take back the Tren Krom break!” exclaimed Tahu as he hewed at masks with his sword.
“I don’t know, Tahu,” muttered Pohatu, “we don’t know how many Rahi are holed up there now. We don’t want to open up a bigger bucket of bricks then we already have.”
The Toa charging down the paths left the task of repelling the Nui-Rama swarm to the Tohunga and Turaga. Each fought valiantly, but the sheer numbers of the flying creatures was overwhelming. Given that they had entrenched themselves in their newfound stronghold, the Tohunga were able to redouble their efforts.
It seemed like an eternity, but was in reality only a few minutes, before the Toa returned. They had driven scores of Nui-Jaga back to the Tren Krom break, and were now ready to defeat the Nui-Rama.
Their plans were cut short when Tahu noticed several other stray Nui-Jaga attacking the Tohunga’s entrenchment.
Hafu threw his disk at an azure Nui-Jaga approaching from the tunnel. It missed and disappeared into the blackness, only to fly out and smash into another Nui-Jaga. The Nui-Jaga Hafu had intended to hit rocketed into the air, crashing several yards away. A cheer went up from the Tohunga as the triumphant faces of Onua, Gali, Nokama, Whenua, and Huki emerged from the gloom.
“When I found my Miru, I didn’t see any Rahi. I talked it over with Gali, and we decided to check out Ta-Koro and make sure it was safe. It looks like we came just in the nick of time, too,” Onua explained. Nevertheless, the warriors had little time for talk, for just then, another wave of Nui-Jaga and Nui-Rama hit.
Lewa and Tahu braced themselves as a carroty orange Nui-Rama dive-bombed them. The Rahi nearly knocked them over with the force, as Kopaka (who was now using his Miru) jumped on top of them. Gali, switching to her Pakari Mask of Strength, held a cerulean Nui-Jaga’s swift tail in check, while Pohatu used his Komau in an attempt to control the Rahi’s mind. Onewa rushed forward to add his mask’s power to Pohatu’s.
An olive Nui-Rama crashed to the ground and smashed into Vakama’s hut, causing debris to soar all over the place. Nokama held the deadly wings at bay with her trident, while Whenua locked down its legs. Kongu and Huki hurried to pull off the creature’s infected masks.
Onua struggled with another Nui-Jaga, and Matoro prepared to fire his disk at the infected mask. Various other Tohunga were scrambling back and forth, throwing disks and helping their comrades.
The mêlée surged onward, littering the Ta-Koran plaza with Rahi pieces and infected masks alike. Finally, the last wave of the assault had been defeated.
“Great job, everyone! We’ve won!” called Lewa, wearing his Hau Mask of Shielding.
“Don’t celebrate yet – there could still be more waiting for us to let our guard down,” warned Whenua.
“I didn’t know there was this many Rahi in all of Mata Nui!” panted Huki.
“This Ramafight will keep highbranch home safe for while, hope we,” said Matau.
“Look at the damage to your village, Tahu. This attack was brutal – you are lucky none of your villagers were lost,” observed Gali.
“Once we clear away the Rahi and masks, there’s not too much damage,” answered Vakama. “The worst of it was around the tunnel…and my hut.”
“I will help you repair it, Turaga Vakama,” offered Hafu. “When I am finished, you’ll never know it had been broken.”
“I believe the attack is over, for the time being,” said Kopaka. “We should begin cleaning up Tahu’s village.”
Tahu, who had been quietly observing thus far, escorted Vakama into his hut to survey the extent of the damage.
“Once I get…this…thing…out of the way, you can go in,” Tahu strained as he single handedly picked up the crashed Nui-Rama and hurled it aside. The normally tidy hut looked as if a tornado had hit. The jewels were scattered over the floor, the fire had been extinguished, and the stray ash had blackened most of the area. IN addition, the great sculpture of Tahu’s mask, the Hau, had fallen from its place. Where the carving had been was a gaping hole.
“Vakama – what is that hole in the wall? It must have been covered by the sculpture!” wondered Tahu.
Vakama looked just as confused as Tahu. He reached into the gap, and came out with an old stone tablet.
“What is this?” he murmured as he emerged from the broken hut, Tahu close behind.
“It appears to be a sort of message,” remarked Tahu.
“It is written in the ancient language,” said Gali. “We can use our Rau Masks of Translation to interpret it.”
The Toa who had found their Raus switched to them – Gali, Onua, and Pohatu, as well as Turaga Nokama. The Tohunga and the other Turaga gathered around as Vakama handed the tablet to Nokama.
Nokama accepted the message and noticed a curious symbol at the end.
“It is the ancient symbol of the Turaga council,” she whispered to herself. “What a strange language we used to write in.”
The grooves on Nokama’s Rau glowed red, and the foreign characters engraved on the tablet became blurry for a moment, focusing again as the current language of Mata Nui. Nokama began to read aloud, as the gathered inhabitants listened with rapt attention.
As Makuta’s shadow falls over the land, we must hasten to record the locations of the Kanohi masks, so that when the Toa arrive, their quest will be made less difficult. We have hidden this, the location of an extremely special mask, in a place that will only be discovered when the time is right.
The name of this mask is the Kanohi Vahi. While it is neither a Great nor a Noble Kanohi, is powers are unique, created by Mata Nui to aid in a danger we hope will never come. The wearer of this mask has the ability to slow the passage of time, allowing the wearer to move faster than their opponents.
Makuta knows not where this mask is hidden, and it will be a great task for even the Toa to achieve. Because the danger that Makuta will discover the location of this mask is imminent. We will not record the solutions to the tasks, but only where the labyrinth begins, and a word of sage advice: You, the Toa, must work together, or surely you will fail this test and all others.
The quest will begin at the high place over the hidden village. Good luck.
As Nokama finished reading, a silence fell over the assembly. The other Turaga gathered around her and Vakama, and they began talking in hushed tones. The Toa also started talking amongst themselves; a great task had been laid before them, and they must now decide whether or not they should attempt it.
“The hidden city is Onu-Koro,” remarked Onua.
“And the ‘high place’ is a mountain over the city – or near it,” observed Pohatu.
“Finding where the maze begins is the easy part. Who knows what we will encounter within,” answered Gali.
“Still, it is the only way to get the mask, and I’m all for it! The use of the ‘Vahi’ could hasten our quest, and finally free this island from Makuta’s curse,” said Tahu.
“That is true. But how will our villages fare without our aid? We could be delayed, and Makuta will most assuredly take any chance he has to attack them,” inquired Kopaka.
“Makuta does not yet know that we have found the message, or even that the Vahi exists,” answered Gali. “We may yet be able to recover the Vahi before Makuta knows of our departure.”
“That is highly unlikely, from what the message said. ‘A great task for even the Toa to achieve.’ The ‘ancients’ sure didn’t want just anyone to find it,” said Lewa.
“That is because it is so powerful. Slowing the passage of time – what other mask can come close, save the Gold and Silver Kanohi?” replied Tahu.
“That brings up yet another issue,” noted Lewa. “On which Toa’s Suva will the mask be kept? The message infers only one mask. How will we each be able to use it?”
“This questions will be answered in time. Right now it is our job to do as the message says, and find the Vahi – before it is too late,” answered Gali.
Meanwhile, the Turaga were having their own discussion.
“So, the message has been found at last. I had forgotten where we had hidden it,” said Vakama.
“As had I. But now that it has been found, the Toa must embark upon their journey. They will be on their own,” answered Nuju.
“With the Toa gone, our villages will be endangered. Will Makuta not seek to destroy them while their defenders are away?” asked Onewa.
“Still, now that waytomask found has been, Toamust seek it. Makutabeasts find it will they, if Toa notnow findmask first!” exclaimed Matau.
“Yes, that is the case. We knew that when we hid the mask. Much has transpired since that time, yet, we will be able to defend out villages. Makuta must not be allowed to take the Vahi!” said Nokama.
“Even if we remembered the solutions to the tests, it would not be wise to give them to the Toa. This expedition will test every aspect of their being,” remarked Vakama.
“Then let us each return to our villages and hope the Toa can achieve their quest,” Whenua said calmly. “We cannot help them any more – it is their test.”
The Tohunga were also talking amongst themselves about the Vahi.
“Think of what the mighty Toa will be able to do when they can control time!” said Huki.
“Rama for Lewa no longer a problem,” stated Kongu in typical Le-Koran fashion. “Highbranch home remain safe while great Lewa has Vahimask!”
“I hope that they know what they are getting in to,” remarked Matoro. “What if they are unable to complete what is required of them?”
“Nothing is too hard for the Toa!” exclaimed Hafu, reflecting the Tohunga’s admiration for the heroes.
“While Toa are fargone, we must lookout be – defending homes dependsnow on us!” said Kongu.
By now the Toa were once again conversing with the Turaga.
“The awesome task of recovering the Kanohi Vahi has been given to you. May your efforts be fruitful,” said Vakama.
“We can offer you no more help,” said Nokama, “except for what the message also said: You must work together, or you will surely fail!”
With that, the six Toa walked beneath the iron gates of Ta-Koro and away from the village. They had become the Seekers of the Vahi.
Jun 6 2002, 04:47 PM
Group: Forum Administrators
Joined: 15-December 01
Member No.: 504
Scarcely a day’s journey from Ta-Koro, the Toa paused to plan the next segment of their sojourn across Mata Nui.
“Before we leave Ta-Wahi, I want to seek out my Matatu, the Mask of Telekinesis,” announced Lewa.
“I will accompany you, Lewa,” offered Tahu. “Together the search will go quickly.”
“I have no use for teams, Tahu. I can find the mask without help,” stated Lewa.
“Have you not given thought to the rest of us? Surely we too would like to go on our own quests. However, we have put our wants aside so that all of us may benefit. Now, you wish for us to wait while you pursue your own selfish goals!” answered Onua.
“My goal is not selfish! Having the Matatu will aid us in our quest for the Vahi!”
“You neglect the fact that two of us have the Matatu already,” answered Kopaka coldly.
“Lewa, you fail to see the foolishness of your decision. We must work together if we wish to succeed at all,” said Gali. “What if you become lost or injured? With no one to help you, it could be weeks before you return. A delay that prolonged could fail the whole quest!”
“I am working together! I simply do not wish to have others slow me down on a short deviation,” replied Lewa.
“And while we tarry here, Makuta will lay his hands on the Vahi. This is Tahu’s realm. Surly his aid will make your quest as brief as you claim,” said Kopaka.
“I will not be long – and I will find that mask. And, I will do it alone.” With that, Lewa stormed away from the group.
“The fool! He pursues youthful whims and refuses aid when he needs it most!” said Kopaka.
“He is still young; do not overly fault him. He knows not what danger he places himself in. I will follow and protect him, despite his desired independence,” declared Tahu.
“But what of the Vahi? While we wait, Makuta will certainly lay his hands upon it!”
“Makuta does not yet know where the Vahi is hidden, nor that we even know of the Vahi. There is yet time. As you wait here, plan our route. We will return quickly.”
Tahu saluted the other Toa with his sword. Turning, he began jogging after Lewa’s rapidly retreating figure.
Pohatu addressed the remaining Toa. “We must not let Lewa’s ignorant action become a rift between us. Dissention will only foil our quest. As we wait, we will be resting for whatever is to come. And, as Tahu advised, we can plan the remainder of our route to Onu-Wahi.”
“Yes, the rest will be good for us. Besides, there’s not much else we can do,” remarked Onua.
The four Toa seated themselves on several ancient logs and began talking amongst each other. They were camped in one of the many barren fields of hardened lava that marred Ta-Wahi, remnants of the tectonic upheaval demonstrated in a volcano’s fury. To the east of the camp, the Toa’s unaided eyes could make out the golden Ta-Wahi beach, and behind them they could see the faint glow of the fire city of Ta-Koro. As the sun’s radiant orb began to slowly sink below the horizon, the four Toa discussed their next step in low tones. Lewa was venturing into an unfamiliar element, which could waylay him for several weeks. However, with Tahu accompanying him, the two of them should return within a fortnight.
Lewa walked swiftly toward one of the fearsome cinder cones that dotted the Ta-Wahi landscape.
I will find that mask alone, he fumed. Tahu had rapidly come within a stone’s throw of Lewa, largely because, as the Toa of Fire, he could wade through the countless diminutive lava pools. Lewa, in contrast, was forced to painstakingly pick his way around each steaming puddle. Tahu now switched to his Kanohi Huna, the Noble Mask of Concealment, and followed Lewa’s jade form at a short distance.
Matau mentioned that the mask should be somewhere around this mountain, thought Lewa. Using his Miru, he launched upward, landing gracefully on an outcropping far above. Unsheathing his axe, Lewa held it in both hands. Bracing himself, he smashed its formidable blade into the brittle basalt rock above. Still grasping the axe, he used it to swing himself to the next ledge.
As Lewa reached the summit of the smoking peak, Tahu switched to his Miru and leaped into the air, also landing on the smooth ledge. Returning to his Huna, Tahu smashed his sword into the igneous rock. There is a faster way, he thought. Tahu scanned the mountainside, searching for a familiar landmark. Upon locating it, he ignited his flaming sword and pointed it in its direction. A tongue of fire leapt forth from the flaming mass, instantaneously consuming a pile of grimy volcanic ash. Where the cinders had once been, a rudely carved stairway now stood. Tahu proceeded to ascend the flight of steps, reaching the summit of the volcano well ahead of the exhausted Lewa.
Lewa peered through the thick smoke, looking for the elusive mask. Unbeknownst to him, Tahu was standing directly behind him. Tahu started, feeling a slight tremor in the ground. As he turned, he saw a mighty river of superheated lava flowing toward Lewa’s oblivious figure. Calmly, Tahu raised his mighty sword, and the rushing stream abruptly divided, now flowing toward either side of the two Toa.
Lewa was so intent on finding his mask that he did not notice another impending danger: the volcano was about to erupt! Still wearing his Huna, Tahu stretched his sword out laterally. The explosive power of the concealed magma erupted through the side of the rumbling mountain, rather than through the top. Once again, Lewa was saved by Tahu’s impressive command of the fire element.
By this time, Lewa had seen his mask and quickly made his way toward it.
Ah! There it is, he thought smugly. I have found the Matatu without any help. The other Toa will have to eat their words. Lewa picked up the square mask and put it on. After using the levitation powers of the mask to throw several obsidian boulders over the volcano’s edge, he returned to his own mask, the Miru, and prepared to descend. Taking a mighty leap over the rim, he gracefully towards the volcanic mountain’s rough base.
Tahu, however, sheared off a solid slab of volcanic rock with his blade and tossed it into the lava running down the side of the peak. Jumping on it, Tahu used the slab as a lava surfboard, riding the flow to the base. As Tahu neared the bottom, he gazed above him at Lewa.
He isn’t looking where he’s going, he thought. He is going to land right in the lava! Acting quickly, Tahu pointed his sword at the swirling lava Lewa was about to land in. Instantly, it solidified, moments before Lewa touched down. Tahu waded through the molten rock and stood before Lewa. He swished his sword, and lava flowed around Lewa until he was standing on a small rock island amid swirling, steaming fluid. Lewa appeared surprised and glanced around him.
“Who did that?” he asked aloud.
“I did,” answered Tahu, as he changed to his regular mask, the Kanohi Hau. “If it weren’t for me, Lewa, you would have been consumed by a river of lava, overwhelmed by the volcano’s eruption, and just now landed amid a burning lava pool.”
Lewa was dumbfounded and just stared blankly at Tahu.
“How could you do all that without me seeing you?” he questioned.
“I wore the Huna,” answered Tahu. “You see, Lewa, you do need the help of others sometimes. It is only by working together that the greatest tasks may be achieved.”
Lewa looked at the ground, embarrassed. “I’m sorry, Tahu. I shouldn’t have gone off like I did. The whole quest may have been ruined because of my impulsiveness.”
“No, the quest is not yet ruined,” Tahu chuckled. “You have learned a great lesson today. However, when we return, you must apologize to the other Toa for your actions.” Tahu put his arm around Lewa and the two of them trekked back to the Toa’s camp.
The other four Toa had decided to cut straight across the island, ending up over top of Onu-Koro, rather than using the common route around the island’s perimeter. As Tahu and Lewa entered the group, all eyes turned toward Lewa.
“Lewa has something he needs to say,” announced Tahu as he seated himself on a large rock.
Lewa nervously cleared his throat. “Fellow Toa,” he began, “I want to apologize for my rashness of deserting you. I see now that I was wrong, and I wish that we may be reconciled and continue once again as companions.”
“I forgive you, Lewa,” laughed Gali. “You have become wiser because of your experience.”
“Yes, Lewa. Even if you don’t have any use for ‘teams’, we’re still helpful every once in a while,” smiled Onua.
“Who said I was ever angry at you?” asked Pohatu. “We’ve wasted enough time already – let’s go get that Vahi!”
“Don’t worry about it, Lewa. I usually work alone as well, but there are also times when the company of friends is invaluable,” agreed Kopaka.
“Now, if we each use our Kakama, we will make it there in no time!” exclaimed Gali. All of the Toa save Tahu and Kopaka switched to their Kanohi Kakama, the Great Mask of Speed.
“Neither Tahu nor I have yet found our Kakamas,” said Kopaka.
“Then we will have to carry you!” said Onua firmly. “Tahu, you hop on my back.”
“And I’ll take you, Kopaka,” added Pohatu. With the two Toa carefully seated on the strong shoulders of Onua and Pohatu, the group took off for Onu-Wahi.
The unnatural speed of the Kakama allowed the Toa to reach their destination in the blink of an eye. Pohatu, carrying Kopaka, arrived foremost, followed by Gali. Almost immediately, Lewa halted, with Onua and Tahu bringing up the rear. Tahu and Kopaka leaped off of their respective rides.
From where Kopaka was standing, facing the northern tip of the island, he surveyed the surrounding landscape. Directly before him towered a colossal mountain peak. While not the tallest rise of Mata Nui, its rugged, weather-beaten surface prefigured a strenuous climb. The northern face of the peak abruptly dropped into the foaming ocean, reappearing as several miniature islands farther out. To his left, Kopaka observed a rocky plain. Sparse grasses struggled to survive in the harsh climate, their spindly tops waving in the dry airstreams. Using his Akaku, Kopaka could vaguely discern the camps of the Po-Koran Mukau herders. Behind him rolled endless plains of lush vegetation, disappearing over the horizon.
“Well, here we are,” announced Tahu.
“My village lies beneath those dry grasses,” mused Onua. “One would never guess…”
“If your village is right over there, Onua…the maze’s entrance lies atop that mountain!” exclaimed Pohatu.
“That would mean climbing that peak,” said Kopaka grimly. “Things are never easy. How are we even to begin ascending something that rugged?”
“Well, if we use our Mirus, we can make it over that ledge without climbing at all,” Lewa pointed out.
“Excellent suggestion, Lewa. Why didn’t I think of that?” mumbled Kopaka as he switched to his Miru. The other Toa followed suit, switching to their Mirus.
“You’re the Toa of Air, Lewa,” said Gali. “You should go up first. That way, you can help the rest of us who aren’t as…um…skilled in flight.”
“If you insist,” answered Lewa, laughing heartily. He took a mighty leap into the air, rising well above the ledge. Unsheathing his axe in midair, he dug its blade into the rock, sending broken fragments showering on the Toa below. Swinging his nimble legs around, he landed neatly on the ledge. The other five Toa, still grounded, applauded Lewa’s prowess.
“Now, if only I could fly like that,” chuckled Pohatu.
Gali decided to go next, leaping into the balmy breeze. As the air current floated her by the large outcropping, she smashed her powerful hooks into a crevasse. Hanging from the crack with one hook, she balanced on a jutting rock spike.
“Now its your turn, Tahu!” she called.
Tahu had already vaulted upward and was drifting toward the ledge. He ignited his sword and cut a chunk of the mountain loose.
“That’ll give us some room,” he muttered, sitting on the newly formed seat. Kopaka sheathed his sword and shield, preparing to take his leap. Stepping back several paces, Kopaka took a running start and jumped into the air. Noticing a smaller ledge above Tahu, he aimed for it, landing uneventfully on its surface.
Onua flexed his digging claws and vaulted towards the ledge. His powerful claw drove into the rock, allowing him to hang while he found his footing.
“Come on up, Pohatu!”
Pohatu jogged in the opposite direction, turning around quite far away. He started running towards the mountain, using the running start along with the Miru to get himself over the edge. His strong feet collided with the stone, sending a spray of pebbles flying in all directions. Suddenly, an unexpected gust of wind blew him off balance. Tahu quickly reached out and pulled the unsteady Toa to safety.
“Whew – that was tough,” breathed Pohatu. “Now where do we go from here?”
Lewa was already exploring the paths higher up. “We can come up this way…woah!” His voice trailed off as Gali and Onua, alarmed, scrambled up the rugged face. Below them, on a tiny rock spar, balanced Lewa.
“Lewa! Are you down there?” screamed Gali.
“Yes – barley! Hurry!” Lewa’s anguished tone was obvious.
“Lewa! This is Onua! Hang on! We’re coming after you! Do you hear me? HANG ON!” Onua instantly took charge. “I’m going to hang on up here. Gali, you hang on to me and swing down to grab Lewa. Once you have him, we’ll both pull him up.”
“Got it.” Gali’s voice was tense as, grabbing on to Onua’s claw, she slid over the rim. Gali’s azure body was dangling precariously over the rough stone protuberance. A single misstep by Onua, and the three of them could be trapped in the earth’s bowls. As Gali reached toward Lewa’s trembling arm, he stretched up, but couldn’t quite seize Gali’s outstretched hook.
“A little lower, Onua!” Gali shouted up.
Carefully, Onua slid a few inches. It was just enough for Lewa to grip Gali’s hook.
“I got him! Let’s pull him up!” Onua strained, the combined weight of two Toa dragging him down. Gali switched to her Kanohi Pakari, the Great Mask of Strength. A feeling of force surged through her as she pulled Lewa from the chasm. The combined strength of Onua and Gali swung Lewa head over heels, landing on the path. Lewa, visibly shaken, collapsed on the rock-strewn ground. Gali, still holding on to Onua, grabbed a crack with her free hook. Reaching firm footing once more, she turned and helped Onua up.
“You should really be more careful up here, Lewa,” she admonished.
“Mountains aren’t at all like trees!” added Pohatu.
“I learned that the hard way,” panted Lewa. “Thank you both for saving me.”
“No problem. That’s why we’re traveling together,” laughed Onua in his unique, down-to-earth personality.
By now Lewa had regained his composure, as cheerful and energetic as the summer breezes.
“Now that that’s over, look what I found up here – this path winds all the way up to the top!”
“Path? It can hardly be called a trail!” Kopaka responded in his usual cold manner.
“I think Kopaka is right – it would be very perilous if we went that way. One of us could all easily slip off,” Pohatu, slightly apprehensive. Pohatu had a dependable, rock-solid personality – he always thought of others before himself. As the Toa of Stone, he could easily have traveled the winding trail without falling
“What about that tunnel over there?” inquired Tahu. “Could we go through it, Onua?” Onua slid down from his perch and peered into the yawning passageway.
“It seems safe,” said Onua, half to himself. “I’ll just widen the opening a bit.” Onua’s huge claws cast aside rocks and loose earth, widening the stone tube. “Wait here,” he instructed. “I’ll see what’s on the other side.” Onua walked through the tight tunnel and scanned the surroundings on the other side. Returning, he gave his report. “There’s nothing there – Makuta surely is unaware of this mask’s location. The same path Lewa saw continues on the other side. I suggest we use this tunnel as a shortcut – the path seems easier to ascend on the other face.”
“I’m all for it,” agreed Pohatu.
“Let’s go!” cried Lewa excitedly. The Toa squeezed through the rough tube in single file, emerging in the bright sunlight of the other side.
“There’s the rest of the path,” Onua pointed out.
“Yes – let’s head up it, and see what awaits us at the summit of this mountain. I am anxious to enter the labyrinth and find the Vahi.” encouraged Tahu.
“I wonder what it looks like,” mused Kopaka, as the six heroes hiked along the rugged mountain trail.
Jun 6 2002, 05:13 PM
Group: Forum Administrators
Joined: 15-December 01
Member No.: 504
Several hours later, Pohatu crested the peak. Soon, the remainder of the Toa came up behind them. Before the Toa stood a cave entrance, apparently carved by expert craftsmen. However, a stone door, covered with years of dust and grime, sealed what appeared to be the opening.
Carved above the passageway was a plaque of sorts, written in an unfamiliar language. There were faint scratches around the entrance, as if a great battle had once been fought there. In the ground surrounding it, there were slight depressions in the rock. Ages of exposure to the elements and the frequent sandstorms of a desert region had all but filled them in.
From this vantage point, Pohatu could see far out into the ocean, as well as the ridges of other mountains in this small range. Far to his left, he saw an uprooted area of ground, as if a city had sunk beneath the earth in a great earthquake. The elements, over the years, had left it nearly invisible.
“Well, we made it!” said Tahu.
“To the top of the mountain, yes. But our quest has not yet begun,” answered Kopaka.
“I’ll use my Rau to decipher the writing,” Gali told the Toa. Pohatu and Onua also switched to their Raus, not to be left out. As Gali gazed at the inscription, she saw the words glow for a moment, shifting into the familiar Mata Nui language. Gali cleared her throat and began to read aloud, with Onua and Pohatu reading over her shoulder.
Congratulations. You have reached the beginning of the labyrinth. You are brave to attempt this feat. Your first task is to open this door. Makuta himself has not prevailed against it.
“So that’s what we have to do,” said Gali.
“How are supposed to open the door? It doesn’t say,” asked Lewa.
“If it said, Makuta could have done it. I think the secret lies in the message somehow. If we only study it…” Tahu’s voice trailed off as he looked at the writing. After a few minutes, Tahu exclaimed, “I’ve got it! See, Gali, right here. Notice anything?”
“No…” Gali said slowly.
“Look – compared to the other letters. See? This one is darker!”
“You’re right! And look over here – this one is darker as well!”
“The letters probably spell out the answer!” shouted Kopaka.
“Quick,” Gali told Kopaka, “as I call out the letters, you scratch them into the rock here with your sword.”
Kopaka unsheathed his blade with a flourish and prepared to mark in the weatherworn stone.
“C,” called Gali, and Kopaka scratched the letter into the granite.
Kopaka finished writing the final letter. Onua looked over his shoulder, still wearing his Rau.
“Hmm…it doesn’t say anything. At least nothing I recognize.”
“There is something to this,” said Tahu.
“I know!” cried Lewa. “Use your Rau to translate it!”
Onua stepped forward and looked at Kopaka’s writing, Rau aglow.
“Look,” he called, “it is the instructions to open the door!” Through his Rau, the hastily written letters took on a form he could understand. The writing now read,
Step on your space.
“Step on your space? What does it mean?” asked Lewa incredulously.
The Toa were once again stumped. With a sigh, Tahu sat on a boulder to think. The other Toa followed suit, pondering what the strange directions meant. Abruptly, Tahu leaped to his feet.
“I’ve got it!” he yelled. The other Toa quickly gathered around Tahu. “We didn’t see it because it was nearly filled in with dirt. Pohatu, can you give this,” Tahu gestured towards the center of a ring of strangely shaped holes, “a good kick?”
“I certainly can,” Pohatu answered. Backing up a few steps, he gave the ring a might kick. Dust, gravel, and soil sprayed all over the place. What the Toa had thought were holes in the ground were actually spaces in a large metal circle.
“Look here,” Tahu explained. “See this space? It is longer than all of the others. Now, if Pohatu were to step there, as the message told us, his feet would fit right in!”
“Clever idea,” said Pohatu. “Makuta could never open the door this way.” He meandered over to the long space and stepped on it. His feet fit precisely in the expertly molded gap.
“So, since that’s Pohatu’s space, and this is carved in the traditional order of the Toa, then you, Gali, would be to his left.”
“Yes!” exclaimed Gali as she stood in her position.
“Which means,” cried Onua, that I would be here, next to Pohatu!”
“And I would be around the circle next to you…” Lewa moved over to Onua.
“I would stand here, across from Onua,” said Tahu.
“Finally, I stand here next to you,” said Kopaka. Now the six Toa were standing in a circle, facing inward.
“What happens now?” asked Lewa. Suddenly, the metal circle jolted, sinking a foot lower. The Toa gazed at the stone door that had remained closed for so many long years. With an ancient grating sound, a stone panel to the right of the door slowly slid open. It ground to a halt, dust particles filtering through the sunlight. Above this new shelf was another inscription.
Changing to his Rau once again, Onua stepped forward to read the writing.
You have opened the way to the labyrinth. Now, your quest has begun. Your second test is to open this chamber and enter the tunnel.
“Another task,” groaned Lewa. “Why can’t the door just open?”
“If it were that easy, Makuta would have stolen the mask,” answered Gali. “It is only because of these tasks that we have this opportunity.”
Gali’s advice was interrupted by a call from Kopaka.
“I’ve figured this one out. It is very ingenious.”
“What’s the solution?” inquired Pohatu.
“These dents – they’re for our masks.”
Onua, who had by now changed back to his Pakari, was indignant. “It could be a trap! How are we supposed to know we’ll get our masks back?”
“Remember, Makuta as yet knows nothing of this mask,” reminded Gali. “It will be ok.”
Tahu had already removed his red Hau and placed it on its designated position. Slowly, the other Toa followed his example, until all six masks were resting on the stone projection. The word “Congratulations” glowed on the inscription, and with an ancient shudder, the stone seal slid upward, opening the aged warren. Cautiously, the Toa ventured in, standing in an undersized stone amphitheatre. An inner door closed behind them ominously. Without warning, the stone disk they had been unknowingly standing in began to fall, the stone edge grating against the carved rock walls. With a cry, the Toa were swept along. Pohatu switched to his Miru, thinking to ease the fall.
“Pohatu! NO!” shouted Onua. “You’ll get…” His warning was in vain, however, for Pohatu had already switched to the Mask of Levitation. The rush of wind coming from the bottom of the stone cistern started to carry him up.
“Grab him Lewa!” cried Tahu. Lewa jumped and grabbed Pohatu’s feet, dragging him back to the other Toa. Pohatu returning to his mask, panted,
“Thanks, Lewa. I had no idea it would do that!”
“No problem. I wonder where we’re going?”
Lewa’s inquiry was answered by the sudden, jarring feeling of the rock circle crashing to a halt.
“Here we are,” said Onua. “Now what?” A large dark shape above the confused Toa was rapidly enlarging. It landed with a resounding crash on a groove, encasing the heroes in a cylinder of stone. The short ceiling was barely higher than the Toa’s heads. The cramped case allowed some room to move around, yet was quite confining.
“Great,” complained Kopaka, “just great. How are we ever going to get out of this one?”
“Well, the first step would be to take a look around,” observed Gali.
“I can do that,” said Kopaka. The eyepieces on Kopaka’s Kanohi Akaku, the Great Mask of X-Ray Vision, began to hum. “There’s nothing to see. The stone goes back too far.”
Tahu thought of a plan. “Pohatu, do you think you can kick through the ceiling? It’s barely higher than our heads.”
“Well, if Onua supports me, I suppose I could make it,” Pohatu agreed. Onua sat down, and Pohatu leaned against his strong arms. With a mighty exertion of effort, Pohatu’s kick connected with the stone ceiling. Small chunks fell to the floor, and several cracks appeared. Again Pohatu’s muscular foot smashed into the ancient ceiling, this time ejecting a section of the stubborn enclosure.
“Can you fit through that, Tahu?” he asked.
“I’ll hold you up,” offered Onua.
“Thanks,” said Tahu gratefully as he climbed on Onua’s shoulders, bending low to prevent his head from scraping against the rough stone. Squeezing through the small hole, Tahu surveyed the surroundings.
The Toa were trapped in the bottom of a cylindrical stone shaft. The walls were dark with age; small rivulets of water tricking down the sides. Far about him, Tahu saw dust particles filtering through the weak ray of light that entered the ancient tube from the open entry. About midway between Tahu and the gateway was a dark opening.
That’s where we have to get, thought Tahu.
“What do you see up there?” called the impatient Lewa.
“Not much. There’s an opening about halfway between us and where we came in, though.”
“That’s where we’ll have to end up,” said Kopaka. “We could use our Mirus,” he suggested.
“They won’t work here,” said Gali. “The air currents are flowing down, rather than up. With the Miru, the air would send us right back here.”
“Oh, you are correct,” acknowledged Kopaka reluctantly. “What can we do?”
Meanwhile, Tahu had switched to his Akaku. Looking through the stone walls, something metal caught his eye.
What could that be, he wondered. The metal object looked like some kind of lever, concealed behind the wall. There was a heavy chain running throughout this strange arrangement. Attached to the lower part of the lever was a thick iron bar, which clamped onto a thin section of the chain.
Following the chain with his eyes, Tahu saw that it ran through an eyebolt firmly embedded in bedrock. Hanging from it was a giant statue of Mata Nui himself. The other end of the chain ran far above Tahu, to the very ceiling of the formidable shaft. Suddenly, Tahu saw what the contraption was for – at least he though so. Could it be possible?
“Kopaka! Come up and look at this,” Tahu shouted excitedly, his voice echoing off the steep fortifications. Tahu slid off of Onua’s back and boosted Kopaka through the hole.
“See Kopaka? Look through the wall – the metal lever!”
“Yes, yes, I see!” Kopaka’s voice rose with excitement. “Tahu – this is the solution! This is how we get out of here!”
“How? What does it do?”
“The lever is weighted very carefully – a single touch will flip it. Flipping the lever releases the chain, which allows the Mata Nui to drop. Its weight pulls the chain, which is attached to either end of this cover! The heaviness of the statue will raise it all the way to the roof, releasing us!”
“Alright!” Lewa cheered. Onua, very experienced in mechanics and engineering, saw a problem with the arrangement.
“Once the roof is off, we’ll still be trapped,” he said. “The walls are too steep and slippery to climb, and the downward air flow keeps the Miru grounded.”
“How can we get out then?” asked Pohatu glumly. “Surely there is a way!”
“But there is,” answered Onua. “We must stand atop the cover, so it will raise us as well.”
“I see,” exclaimed Pohatu, brightening. Suddenly, his face fell. “But how can we flip the lever?”
“I have the answer to that question!” grinned Lewa. “The Matatu – the Mask of Telekinesis!”
“Yet there is still a glitch in the plan,” noted Kopaka. “How will we stop the rising top in time to get off?”
“Is there anything to hand on to?” asked Gali.
“Yes, I remember,” said Tahu. “Just about the opening is a stone bar.”
“Perfect! Onua and I will use our Pakaris and hang on the bar. The rest of you will file into the tunnel, and he and I will swing in after you.”
“We’ve got it!” yelled Lewa. “We’ve solved the puzzle!”
“Now we just have to implement it,” said Onua. “The first step is to make this hole big enough to fit through.”
“That’s where I come in,” said Pohatu, smiling. Lewa and Kopaka lifted him up. Pohatu squeezed his shoulders through the hole and called for Onua.
“You’ve got to help me push this apart!” Onua braced himself and heaved with all his might. Pohatu also used his power over stone, and soon, the hole was wide enough for a Toa to fit through. Lifting himself up, Pohatu helped Onua up after him. Together they pulled up the remaining four Toa.
“Go ahead and flip the switch, Lewa,” instructed Pohatu, after the six heroes were carefully balanced on the edge of the stone disk.
Nervously, Lewa took a deep breath, switching to his Matatu. Using the telekinesis powers of the mask, he threw the unseen lever. Instantly, the ancient wall trembled, and with a metallic grating sound, the cover began rising.
As it quickly gained speed, Onua and Gali, wearing their Pakaris, waited tensely for the right moment to snatch the stone bar. Faster and faster rose the anxious Toa; every passing second brought them closer to the ceiling.
“NOW!” yelled Onua. Both he and Gali grabbed the rod and strained with all their might. With a shudder, the rising stopped. Kopaka leaped into the shaft, followed closely by Tahu. Kopaka grabbed Tahu and threw him deeper into the shaft. Pohatu dove into the hole, moved along by Kopaka’s swift arms. Lewa was close behind, falling atop Tahu’s prostrate frame.
Finally, Gali and Onua simultaneously swung into the gloomy tunnel; the stone disk speeding out of sight. For a few moments, there was no sound but the Toa’s heavy breathing the scraping sound of chain against stone. Suddenly, the Toa heard a sickening crash and a clinking chain. Fine dust, mingled with rough pebbles, fell before the small tunnel’s entrance.
“That could have been us,” trembled Onua.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t,” said Lewa, picking himself up. “We should use our Rurus to see in here.”
The six Toa switched to their Kanohi Ruru, the Noble Mask of Night-Vision. The darkness melted away, allowing the Toa to see clearly, as if the sun was shining.
“Look!” exclaimed Onua. “There – on the wall! An inscription!”
“So it is,” said Pohatu, switching to his Rau. Soon, however, his face fell. “I can’t see in the dark without my Ruru…and I can’t read the writing with it.”
“Well then, we need a little light, don’t we,” said Tahu firmly. With a dull whoosh, his sword erupted into flame. By its light, Pohatu could make out the aged writing.
You have proved yourselves powerful enough to enter the chamber. The way has no false turns. As you pass each test in turn, you will emerge bearing the Kanohi Vahi.
“So now we’re here,” mused Gali. “I wonder what lies ahead?”
“There’s only one way to find out…” began Onua.
“Go ONWARD!” cried Tahu, and the six Toa plunged into the unknown.
Jun 6 2002, 05:27 PM
Group: Forum Administrators
Joined: 15-December 01
Member No.: 504
Lewa peered ahead into the musty gloom of the passageway. Although the thick dust made foresight nearly impossible, Lewa could detect a faint glow father along, and the temperature was undoubtedly becoming warmer. He was flanked on either side by the constricting stone tunnel, roughly hewn ages past.
After traveling at a brisk pace for some time, Gali called a halt.
“Has anyone else noticed the heat? The farther we go, the hotter it has become!” Both Tahu and Onua recognized this feeling: The Toa were approaching lava!
“It isn’t very far away,” Tahu noted.
“I’ll walk ahead a ways and investigate,” offered Onua. He didn’t have to go far, however, before the path dropped away into a roiling abyss.
“Tahu! Come on over here!” Onua called over his broad shoulder. “Is there anything you can do about this?”
Tahu approached Onua, who was bend over looking into the vast expanse. Far below the Toa was a splashing, steaming sea of lava. Its fiery red-orange glow faintly reflected off of the steep walls, magnifying the ferocity of the inferno.
By now, Lewa had joined them overlooking the sheer drop.
“I know how we can get across!” he announced. Using his Miru to leap into the air, he headed for the ceiling. “We can’t fly across, but watch this!” Swinging his axe, he attempted to bury its head in the stone ceiling. Unfortunately, his axe, sharp as it was couldn’t penetrate the solid ceiling. Dejected, Lewa rejoined his friends on the path.
“It isn’t going to work,” he said forlornly. “What else can we do?” Silently, Tahu bent to look over the edge, studying the lava far below. Abruptly, he straightened.
“Stand back,” he ordered. With a grim flourish, he held his sword over the superheated chasm. Ever so slowly, he raised the flaming blade. Far below, the lava began bubbling and steaming like never before. Upon closer inspection, Pohatu saw that it was rising!
As Tahu’s blade rose, the lava level climbed, until it had nearly reached the Toa’s feet. With a flick of his wrist, Tahu swung his blade down and over. Responding to his silent command, the lava immediately hardened into obsidian, ripples and waves frozen in its shiny surface.
“Now we can cross safely,” said Lewa.
“Wait!” said Onua. “Hardened lava has air bubbles trapped beneath it!”
“So?” asked Lewa. “What does that mean for us?”
“It means, when our weight is on the rock, it could crack through in places. Obsidian shatters into extremely sharp pieces. Crossing it on foot could be worse than trying to swing across!”
“I can remedy that,” replied Pohatu. Taking a firm stance, he clasped his hands. A blurry orb grew, making a faint hissing sound. Pohatu forcefully threw out his hands, sending the orb towards Tahu’s lava sea.
The orb grew into a shock wave, which spread out over the brittle volcanic glass like a steamroller, flattening it into a black walkway.
“Now, we can cross without fear,” he said proudly. “After all, I am the Toa of Stone!”
“Good work, Pohatu,” congratulated Gali, as the Toa merrily strolled over the rock. Quickly, they reached the end and reentered the tunnel. The tunnel walls, which had been hardly noticeable in the lava field, were rapidly constricting. Finally, the Toa could only fit through it single file. As the Toa squeezed through a right-angle turn, Onua noticed something.
“It seems to be getting colder, the longer we travel.”
“The heat of the lava had warmed us, so you could just be feeling cold because we’ve been journeying away from it,” said Tahu.
“Onua is right, Tahu. We are nearing ice, or something like it,” answered Kopaka.
Without warning, the channel widened into an underground amphitheater. Covering the entire floor, to a depth of about one foot, was something that looked like ice. Suddenly alarmed, Kopaka switched to his Miru and leapt to the other side.
“Don’t touch it!” he called across.
“Why?” questioned Lewa.
“Do not question me. There will be time for questions later.” Kopaka snapped. “Now jump! I will catch you!”
Taken aback by Kopaka’s sharpness, Lewa jumped. Performing a double flip in the frigid air, he landed safely on the other plane. Tahu was next, gliding smoothly over the semi-clear block. Kopaka guided his landing away from the unknown danger.
Gali, being quite agile, nimbly cleared the “ice” and performed a triple twist, landing in a commanding position.
“You have a rival, Lewa,” she said with a wink.
Pohatu took a short running start and hurled his heavy frame into the frozen air. Kopaka saw that he was landing short. Acting quickly, he leaned over the “ice” and pulled him to safety.
“What’s all this about, Kopaka?” asked Tahu.
“Go ahead and jump, Onua,” Kopaka instructed, ignoring Tahu’s inquiry.
Last to go, Onua confidently prepared to jump. Much to Kopaka’s chagrin, he tripped, and was sent sprawling through the air.
“No! Onua!” cried Kopaka. Hastily, he hurled himself towards Onua, falling amidst the strange ice.
“Kopaka! What are you doing?” yelled Tahu.
A menacing steam spewed up as Kopaka began to sink into the melting substance. Catching Onua, he threw him to the rest of the Toa.
This is it, thought Tahu. I’m taking care of this ice once and for all! Swinging his sword, Tahu sent a blast of hot air at the block enveloping his comrade. The room filled with a hissing steam, momentarily clouding the Toa’s vision. As it cleared away, Gali saw Kopaka lying on a bare stone floor, slightly bewildered. Onua, who had already gotten up, was still confused.
“What was all of this about, Kopaka?” he wondered. Kopaka was a little unsteady as he rose, and leaned on his sword for support. Regaining his balance, he joined the other Toa.
“This “ice” was not ice, as you and I know it to be. Did you not feel a difference in its vapor, Gali? This was not frozen water, as ice normally is,” Kopaka explained. His voice took on a grave chill. “It was frozen air! This “dry” ice was colder and more deadly than any made from water. I did not know what effects it would have if you had touched it, which is why I kept you away from it.”
“But Kopaka, did you know how it would effect you? You are the Toa of Ice, and thus are immune to its effects,” said Lewa.
“No, I did not, for I have never seen something like this before. I could feel the cold of it, although it was not as painful as if you had touched it.”
“So you…you jumped in there, without knowing how it would effect you…to save me?” questioned Onua. Kopaka blinked and turned away. Resuming his usual cold manner, he began to walk resolutely down the passageway.
“I have tired of this discussion. It is of little concern to our goal. Let us be on our way, or this quest will never end,” he said briskly.
“I would never have expected that from Kopaka,” whispered Gali to Pohatu.
“He’s warmed up since he first came to the island, although he will never admit it,” Pohatu replied.
“Yes, that his is way,” added Tahu. “Now come, or we will be left behind!”
* * * * * * * *
Lewa, now walking at the front of the group, hurried down the dark tunnel. To his right, at about shoulder-height, was a long shelf, and on his left, the wall was roughly carved. In between was a narrow channel, through which the Toa were walking single file. Several yards before him everything seemed to drop away into a tangle of strange plants.
I’ve seen those once before, he thought. Deep in a cave… He remembered something about those plants was dangerous, but what? Lost in thought, the next events took him completely by surprise.
A tendril whipped out from one of the plants and snagged his leg, followed by several others. Lewa cried out, but it was too late for the other Toa to help him. He was drawn over a precipice into a snag of thick vegetation.
Instinctively, Kopaka and Pohatu, the next Toa in the procession, hurled themselves on top of the ledge to escape being “seen” by the unfamiliar flora.
“Look! Writing!” exclaimed Gali, switching to her Rau.
The sense of light becomes well developed under darkness. For your friend to rejoin you safely, one must gain an unseen power.
“Wonderful,” complained Pohatu. “Another riddle.”
“It may not be as difficult as you think,” mused Gali as she climbed onto the shelf. Crawling over to the far right wall, she slipped over the drop. Inching forward, Pohatu saw her hanging from a suspended pole. Hook like protrusions enabled Gali to use it like a ladder. Hanging from one of the lower hooks was her Kanohi Huna, which Gali was aiming for.
“I’ve got it!” she called back. As she put on the mask, her form blurred, disappearing from view. The other two Toa with Hunas, Tahu and Kopaka, quickly caught on.
“The plants must be light-sensitive!” cried Tahu.
“And with our Hunas…they won’t detect us,” said Kopaka. The three of them carefully descended into the unkempt tangle of dangerous plants. Nimbly, Gali freed Lewa from their clutches, while Tahu and Kopaka supported him. Pohatu, looking down from above, jumped back in alarm.
“The vines are giving way!” he shouted. Before anyone had time to react, the four dangling Toa plunged into a colossal stone bin. Pohatu ran over the edge and fell through the plants towards his friends. The vines snapped out to trap him, but succeeded only in breaking his fall, so he landed straddling the rim of the container.
Onua used his Miru to float down the same way Gali had, landing unscathed outside the bin.
“Can any of you climb out?” he called down.
“No,” came the faint reply. “The walls are too high and too steep!”
“Hang on,” said Onua to Pohatu. “I think I have an answer.” Onua had noticed another stone plaque, translating it with the Rau. For a moment, he looked confused. Suddenly, Pohatu saw his face brighten as he ran towards a strange structure. Onua dove into it, and emerged wearing his Akaku.
“What are you going to do with that?” Pohatu wondered.
“If I just…use it…to look…somewhere right…around…” Onua muttered. “There!”
“Jump down here, Pohatu! I need your help.” Befuddled, Pohatu gingerly slid down to meet Onua.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Kick. As hard as you can. Right here.” Onua gestured toward an indentation at the base of the container.
“Okay…” Pohatu answered slowly, and kicked with all his might. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, with a creak and a groan, the great bin slowly tipped over, falling in the direction of Pohatu and Onua.
A cheer went up from inside, and the captive Toa streamed out, happy to be free once again. After congratulations went around the group, Kopaka sauntered over beneath the hanging pillar and began climbing up the corresponding wall.
“Now what’s he doing?” asked Gali.
“Haven’t we learned anything? We’d better go and help him,” said Onua. He and Pohatu followed Kopaka up the wall, who seemed bent on retrieving something.
“Here, Onua, can you hold up this slab?” Kopaka asked.
“Of course,” answered Onua. Kopaka reached under the wedge and pulled out his Rau.
“This might help us out!” he exclaimed with delight. As the three of them rejoined the waiting group, they were met with a concerned Lewa.
“What’s wrong? Why are you staring at the ceiling?” inquired Pohatu.
“There’s something…up there,” Lewa mumbled apprehensively. Unexpectedly, he pushed the other Toa aside to the ground. “They’re falling!” he screamed. His fear was soon justified as tens of metal darts began raining on the area where the Toa had been standing.
After several minutes of the terrifying onslaught of projectiles, the Toa carefully rose from their precarious position.
“What’s that over there,” wondered Tahu. “I hope it isn’t more of that dry ice…”
“No. It is real ice,” said Kopaka, moving over to investigate. With a touch of his sword, he slipped through the thick, clear sheet that barred their path. Inside, he was taken aback – there were two layers of ice, which he was standing in between. Carved on the second piece was the ancient writing.
It’s a good thing I found my Rau, he mused as he read the words.
You have reached the end of the quest. You, the Toa, have learned to work together. Now, you must use your individual powers to open the way to the Vahi. Good luck.
Emerging from the ice, Kopaka addressed the other Toa.
“This is it. We’ve reached the end. In the process, we have learned to work together. Now, we each must use our individual powers to finally open the way to the Vahi mask.”
Finishing his speech, Kopaka turned to face the ice. He connected his blade with it in a powerful diagonal stroke, shattering it as if it was thin glass. Triumphant, he stepped back to observe his handiwork. Farther down the tunnel, a formidable stonewall blocked the path.
“Go ahead, Pohatu,” said Kopaka. Pohatu looked around for a moment, abruptly kicking the tunnel wall. A small chunk flew into his waiting hands, which he shaped into a rough round shape.
“A Koli ball,” he winked. Dropping the ball at his feet, he kicked it into the stone barricade. It bounced off and hurtled back toward him, however, Pohatu calmly deflected it back to the wall with his hand. Several more times the ball bounced, until Pohatu, satisfied, caught the makeshift ball. The wall trembled for a moment, crumbling into dust.
Onua stepped forward to face the next challenge: The tunnel beyond where the wall had stood was filled with hard-packed earth. Onua silently clasped his digging claws, slightly vibrating them.
“Brace yourselves,” he warned. The tunnel began to shake, as the earthquake Onua had caused took effect. The once-solid soil filtered through newly formed cracks in the tunnel floor.
Moving quickly through the passage, Gali faced the next task. An angry wall of water was rapidly approaching the group, which was no problem for Gali. She held her hooks out, and the water froze in place, as if impacting an invisible wall. Gali forcefully threw her hooks apart, and the water dispersed through Onua’s cracks.
Lewa’s undertaking was next, as the Toa came up against a wall of tangled undergrowth. Lewa swung his axe around his head, aiming it at the foliage. A low rushing sound was heard, and a sideways oriented tornado rushed down the tunnel towards the dense plant life, plastering it against the tunnel walls.
Finally, the plants ignited into a blazing inferno, which Tahu composedly reduced to a few smoldering embers. The tunnel now opened into a vast amphitheater. There, at the far end, hung the Kanohi Vahi, its bright orange color enhanced by a ray of light from far above. The final message was inscribed above it in majestic lettering.
You have proven yourselves worthy to receive the Kanohi Vahi. It will not be kept on any Toa’s Suva, but rather in Ta-Koro, which is easily accessible from every village. A worthy villager must be chosen to keep it ready, should any Toa have need of it. To use it, a Toa must remove their regular Kanohi, and will not be able to change masks while wearing it. Use its power well.
The six Toa gathered around the Vahi, none wanting to remove it from its place. At last, Tahu carefully took it from its stand. With a jolt, the Toa found themselves in an elevator of sorts, rapidly rising. When it halted, the Toa walked through a short passageway, which opened into the Ta-Onu-Koro tunnel.
“We made it,” Tahu breathed, still holding the long sought-for mask. “We have…the Vahi.”
Jun 6 2002, 05:29 PM
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The Vahi was entrusted to a Ta-Koran who was a good friend of Takua, the Chronicler, and well known to be reliable. His name was Kaiapu.
Soon after, the villages of Ga-Koro, Po-Koro, and Onu-Koro were beset by Rahi attacks. Each of those Toa used the powers of the Vahi to save their villages.
Lewa went on to find his last Great Mask, the Kanohi Hau. Upon returning, he found his village under an onslaught of Nui-Rama. Having no time to go for the Vahi, he plunged into the battle. He was captured by a Nui-Kopen and outfitted with an infected mask. Onua rescued him, in a story that is told in Takua’s Chronicles.
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