Pohatu, Solid As Stone
Pohatu, Solid As Stone
Apr 10 2003, 01:07 PM
Group: Premier Outstanding BZP Citizens
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Pohatu, Solid as Stone
Chapter 1: Site Preparation
The gentle rocking motion of the waves was making him queasy. In the dim orange glow, he blinked and tried to see where he was. He seemed to be inside some kind of container. The container lurched to a stop, and he heard metal parts clanking against each other. There was a noise of pressurized air escaping, and then an explosion. He was propelled violently into the bright sunlight and fresh air, landing unharmed in the sand. "Ah," he smiled to himself. "Light and warmth. This is better already."
The occasional call of a sea bird punctuated the rhythm of the waves lapping at the sand. He looked at the brown, tan, black, and gray parts scattered on the beach. "Those belong to me," he inferred. "No, they are part of me." As if in response to his thoughts, the parts moved. They assembled themselves into a two-legged creature. He stood and fitted a brown mask to his face. "I feel whole," he said. "Now what?"
He turned his gaze from the sparkling sapphire sea to the radiant golden sand. There were darker brown cliffs in the distance, and these fascinated him. "My purpose has something to do with those cliffs. Or perhaps it's the stone itself." He walked slowly toward them, taking long strides with his sturdy legs.
Hearing a noise behind him, he turned around again. A blue creature was examining the canister from which his parts had emerged. It was considerably taller than he was, with fearsome jaws and long, powerful arms. He approached it, and it lunged at him with its fists. He dodged its blow by jumping to one side. It felt as if he landed in the same instant that he jumped. "That's strange," he thought. He ran in a circle around it, and the confused animal tried vainly to follow him with its gaze.
"I'm fast," he concluded. "In fact, I'm so much faster than this creature that it poses little danger to me." He stopped to study it, and it attacked again. This time he kicked it, knocking off the mask it wore. The creature spun and retreated into the water on its tracks. He watched it swim out of sight.
He looked at the mask lying in the sand. The surface was pitted, scarred, and smeared with a slimy green substance. Its foul smell made him gag, so he stepped back. "Into the ocean with you," he said, kicking the mask. It flew high into the air and landed far out at sea. "Meanwhile... the stone... it's calling to me somehow."
He turned and saw a strange sight. Two small creatures were kneeling in the sand a few bios away from him. "Who are you?" he asked, startled.
"I am Huki, right hand of Onewa, Turaga of Po-Koro," said one of the creatures, looking up to reveal a mask shaped like his own, except of a lighter orange-brown color. Huki gestured toward his companion, who was wearing a dark gray square-shaped mask. "And this is Zaku. Welcome, Pohatu, Toa of Stone."
"Who?" asked the taller creature, looking behind him. "Oh, you must mean me."
Huki laughed. "Yes, I mean you, great Toa Pohatu."
Pohatu smiled. "Nice name you've given me. 'Pohatu.'"
"It means 'solid as stone' in the ancient tongue," replied Huki. "But we didn't come up with it. It was in the prophecies."
"Yes, your coming was foretold many ages ago. It was written that when the evil spirit Makuta came to Mata Nui, infecting the wild animals and driving them to destroy the villages, six mighty Toa would come from the heavens wielding awesome elemental and Kanohi powers, and save us Matorans from the grip of his terror."
"You're going a little too fast for me, Huki," grinned Pohatu. "So I'm I one of these 'Toa'?"
Huki smiled. "Yes, you are the Toa of Stone. You were sent to defend our village, Po-Koro, the village of stone. Will you come with us, please? Turaga Onewa--he's the village elder--he can explain it better, I'm sure."
"Of course." Pohatu followed the Matorans as they led the way toward the cliffs. "You keep talking about stone. Why is your village named after it?"
"Stone is our specialty, in Po-Koro," Zaku answered. "We carve it, use it for sport, and defend ourselves with it."
Huki continued. "Our huts are built of it, and the great cliffs protect our village and give us a vantage point from which we can see the entire desert and all our fields. That's how we saw your canister falling from the sky into the sea."
As they walked and talked, Pohatu felt the fragments of a dream coming together. He recognized these little people and their need for his help. He saw images flash before his eyes of horrific battles and cataclysmic events--perhaps omens of things to come. And he felt even more strongly the bond between himself and the stone around him. He felt it telling him the wordless story of its fiery birth, and how it had stood for ages watching the endless cycles of sun, wind, water, and ice that had weathered it into cliffs and crags. And he understood how it was reborn--the loose particles compressed and forged back into solid stone all over again.
They came to a crossroads. A Matoran wearing a black mask was engraving symbols into a road sign. He set down his tools and bowed low. "Toa Pohatu," he said solemnly. "Welcome. We have been anxiously awaiting you."
Huki nodded towards the carver. "That's Hafu," he said to Pohatu. "He stands at Turaga Onewa's left hand. If you ever forget what he looks like, just go to the town square. There's a big statue he made of himself."
Hafu sneered at Huki. "And if you forget what Huki looks like, just check out one of the posters of himself he's plastered all over the Koli stadium."
"I doubt if I'll forget which one of you is Huki," laughed Pohatu. "But thanks for the tip, Hafu. Your work is beautiful."
"Thank you," said Hafu. "This is just a simple sign. You'll see more of my sculptures when we get to the village." He picked up his tools and joined the group on their journey to Po-Koro.
"I look forward to that." Pohatu turned to Huki as they walked. "Tell me, what is 'Koli'?"
Huki smiled broadly. "It's a sport. You play in an arena, with four goals. Players kick a round rock and try to score on each other's goals. I happen to be pretty good at it."
Zaku rolled his eyes. "He's been the Koli champion five years running, Toa Pohatu."
Soon they reached an enormous stone gate, carved into the natural cliffs. Two rows of identical statues lined the path up to the gate. Pohatu stopped to admire the intricately detailed giant heads. He put his hands on the rock, and he could sense its strength and integrity. Through his fingertips, he felt the vibrations of the crystal structures in the stone. The statues had been carved from flawless blocks of marble, at least five bios high. And the sculptor had taken advantage of natural color variations to enhance the design. "These are magnificent. Hafu, did you make them?"
Hafu beamed. "Yes, I did."
"You are truly gifted," smiled the Toa. He stepped past the statues through the gate and was greeted by the cheerful raucous noise of an open-air market. Livestock bleated, voices called, and music rang out from stringed instruments. But as the participants noticed Pohatu, the crowd fell silent, except for the animals.
"He's here! It's Toa Pohatu!" proclaimed one of the villagers. A great shout of joy rose from the throng. Some of the Po-Koronans threw themselves on the ground at Pohatu's feet, and others jumped and hugged each other. Pohatu was taken aback by their enthusiasm. "These people must need help badly," he thought. He leaned over and spoke to those who were bowing before him. "Hello," he said. "No need to bow. I get the impression I'm here for you, not the other way around." They stood again and looked at him, their eyes shining with excitement.
A taller figure with a tan mask and a hammer made his way to the front of the crowd and bowed. "Please accept our warmest welcome, Toa Pohatu. I am Onewa, Turaga of Po-Koro."
"Pleased to meet you, Onewa," said Pohatu, extending his hand. The Turaga clasped it in his own. "I have already heard a little about your village from Huki, Zaku, and Hafu. This is quite a beautiful place."
"I hope you will feel at home here," replied the Turaga. He turned to the villagers. "Would you like to show Toa Pohatu around? Then I will instruct him on the history of the island, and his mission here."
"I was wondering about that," said Pohatu.
A group of Matorans led Pohatu from the market to the town square, pointing out various huts and the Koli stadium, shaped like a great dish of stone. There was a round shrine called a Suva in the middle of the square, apparently for him. "Turaga Onewa will tell you about this," said Zaku. Then they led him up a flight of steps chiseled in the cliff to a lookout post. From there, he could see in every direction--a seemingly endless expanse of buff-colored sand, the glittering sea, more cliffs, and lush green fields. "That's where we take the herds to graze," said Huki, waving toward the fields. "And that's where I get much of the stone for my carvings," added Hafu, pointing to a quarry not far away.
They led Pohatu to Onewa's hut, and he thanked them before ducking through the low doorway. The air inside the hut was much cooler than outside, and the thick stone walls blocked much of the noise from the market. Onewa was sitting at a stone desk, studying some carved tablets.
"Ah, there you are, Toa Pohatu. Did the Po-Koronans give you a good tour of the village?"
"Terrific. I already feel like I belong here."
"Well, you do belong here. You are one of us now. At the same time, your powers are so far beyond anything we have known, that some will be tempted to treat you as a god."
"My powers? I noticed I'm a lot bigger than the rest of you."
Onewa laughed. "That's not the only reason. You have the power of stone at your command. You are able to start and stop a landslide, strike a rock so that it splits instantly, and kick a stone like a weapon."
"Really?" marveled Pohatu. "I'll have to go try that!"
"Definitely. But make sure you are far from the village. You might surprise yourself with what you can do."
"I did sense an affinity for the stone when I came here," Pohatu mused. "But I thought everyone felt that."
"Oh, no, you're quite special," smiled Onewa. "And you also have the Kakama, or Great Mask of Speed. It makes you even more powerful."
"Now, that would explain something I discovered on the beach," nodded Pohatu. "I was able to outrun a wild creature much larger than I am without much effort."
Onewa explained many things to Pohatu, including the legend of the great spirit Mata Nui, who brought peace and prosperity to the island bearing his name--until his evil brother Makuta appeared and put him into a deep sleep so he could destroy and plunder all his brother had built. He spoke of the other five villages, each with its characteristic element, and of the other five Toa, whom Pohatu would soon meet. "Because the prophecies say that you six will share one destiny," finished Onewa.
"Perhaps I should go practice my powers before I meet them," reasoned Pohatu. "Then I will have more to discuss with them."
"Good idea, Toa Pohatu. When you are satisfied with your learning, go find them on Mount Ihu. It's the tall snowy peak south of here."
Pohatu nodded to his Turaga, then left the hut. The Matorans waved as they watched him walk out the gate. "Those little guys are really counting on me. I'd better not let them down," thought the Toa of Stone. "Well, if I need to get over to that mountain eventually, I might as well start practicing over there, too." He ran toward the peak, and his Kakama brought him to the foothills in a flash. Then he climbed carefully up to the higher peaks, above the treeline where the rocks began to be covered with snow.
Pohatu was slightly intimidated by the stone. He was afraid of ruining something so magnificent. But he took a deep breath and convinced himself. "I need to master my element, so I can fulfill the mission to protect my people. And if I have to break a few stones, so be it." He tapped at a medium-sized rock with his toe, breaking it loose from the ground. Then he kicked it, hard, toward a cliff. The rock flew, smashing into its target and sending shards in all directions. Pohatu smiled. "This is why Onewa wanted me to try this away from the village." He fired a volley of large rocks at the cliff, and looked at the enormous pile of rubble with satisfaction as the dust cleared.
Next Pohatu decided to try a precision attack. He studied a large crag in front of him, observing the natural faults that crisscrossed the stone. Then he selected a small stone and kicked it directly into the fracture. The crag split cleanly down the middle with a deafening crack, and each side fell away from the center. "Wow!" marveled Pohatu. "All right, now for a landslide."
The Toa of Stone saw a slope covered with loose boulders. "That should be a good place to try it." He aimed a boulder at the bottom of the slope and kicked. The rock dislodged a larger stone, and soon the entire slope began to slide.
Pohatu grinned. He was going to like his work, he could tell already. The rumbling noise got louder and louder, and the hillside moved as one giant mass. But then he saw a white shape in the path of the rock. “Look out!” he yelled. Finally the stones were still, and the echoes were replaced by silence. And he saw a white hand appear out of the mound of debris.
"Oh, no! Who could that be?" he wondered. He ran over to the hand, which was pushing rocks off its owner. A strange white mask with four light-blue eyes emerged from the pile.
"Sorry about that," Pohatu apologized. "I was practicing. Are you all right?"
"I would be," replied the stranger coldly, "if you weren't standing on me."
Pohatu stepped back. "Let me help you out."
"Thank you. I don't need help." The white being pulled his arm out of the rubble. He was holding a long, flat blade, which began to glow light blue. Ice crystals suddenly formed all around him and burst outward, sending the rocks flying. But one foot was still stuck under a boulder.
"Let me do it," offered Pohatu. "It'll be faster." To himself, he added, "This must be Kopaka, Toa of Ice. His powers are amazing!"
"I said, I can do it myself," snapped Kopaka.
"Yeah, well, you missed one." Pohatu kicked away the massive rock, freeing the other Toa. "He's a little grumpy," thought Pohatu, "but I would be, too, if someone dumped a pile of rocks on me." Aloud, he said, "Listen, I have a feeling we're both here for the same reason. Why not team up? It might make things easier."
"I work alone."
The Toa of Stone grinned. "By choice, or just 'cause no one can stand you?"
"All right," Kopaka relented, "come along. After all, I might need a mountain moved... or the island lifted."
"Kopaka has a sense of humor, after all," Pohatu smiled to himself. "The other Toa are going to be very interesting, I think." He watched Kopaka's nimble form scaling the rocks ahead of him, and he noticed that the white Toa's feet were shorter and his body different that his own. "His torso is upside down," Pohatu realized. "Maybe that's because his strength lies mainly in his arms instead of his legs."
Kopaka paused and looked around. "Nuju told me the mask would be in a place of far-seeing," he muttered, mostly to himself. He vaulted over the next ridge and stopped at the top of the icy peak. "The mask of shielding." He pointed to a gray shape in the snow.
Pohatu gazed past the icy valleys at a verdant jungle, and past it to the sea. "It's a place of far-seeing, all right!"
"You can see the whole island from up here," agreed Kopaka as he lifted the Kanohi from the ice. He put it over his Akaku, which Pohatu remembered from Onewa's description. "I can feel the power of this mask protecting me... yet the powers of the mask of vision are still mine to use."
Pohatu watched the gray mask turn white, and the two masks merged together on Kopaka's face. But the Toa of Ice did not linger to marvel at this miracle. "We have to go, now," he said abruptly.
"No questions. Just follow me."
Pohatu didn't like not knowing what was going on, but he tried to be patient with his new acquaintance. "What did you see?"
"Strangers," replied Kopaka. "Beings of great power. But are they allies... or enemies?"
The two Toa looked over the ridge and saw, below them, a group of creatures much like themselves. A blue one and a green one stood together as a red one approached. And a black one burrowed out of the ground next to them.
"Those must be the other Toa," said Pohatu. "They are allies."
"I think you are right," nodded Kopaka. "Let's go introduce ourselves. And then we can continue with our quests." He walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down. Apparently the others were just meeting each other.
"Who am I?" asked the green being.
"You are Lewa, Toa of Air," answered Kopaka. "My Turaga told me about all of you. The people here have been expecting us." He alighted on a rock beside the others. Pohatu jumped down next to him, landing with a thud that shook the mountain and sent masses of snow sliding downhill. Kopaka pointed his blade at the moving snow, and it froze in place. "I am Kopaka, Toa of Ice. This is Pohatu, Toa of Stone, and you must be Onua, Toa of Earth," he continued, pointing at the black Toa, who was brushing dirt from his rugged arms with his claws.
"I am Tahu, Toa of Fire," added the red Toa quickly. "And this is Gali, Toa of Water." He gestured toward the blue being.
"Pleased to meet you," said Pohatu. The other Toa nodded their greetings.
Tahu took a deep breath. "We are as yet strangers to one another. But we know that we share an important destiny, protecting this island and its people. I have had a glimpse of what our enemy can do, and it will be a challenging task. I see that we are well equipped for it."
Pohatu was glad that someone had stepped forward and assumed a leadership role for the group. He smiled as he admired the other Toa, with their impressive weapons and masks. Like Kopaka, they all had upside-down torsos. "Or maybe I'm the one who is upside down," he laughed to himself. "But then, each of us is really unique." Onua was different because his head was forward of his chest, giving him a hunched appearance. And Gali was shorter and more slender than the others.
"Who is this enemy?" asked Lewa.
"Our enemy is the powerful evil spirit Makuta," replied Tahu. "He has intimidated the people by fitting infected masks to the wild beasts of the island, so that they will attack the villages."
"Defeating him will not be easy," remarked Kopaka. "Like us, he controls the elements, as well as the infection that turns the animals against us. We must collect the Great Masks of Power before we can confront him."
Tahu glanced at Kopaka and continued. "These Kanohi, which resemble those we all have, are scattered across Mata Nui. Each one gives the wearer a new power. The Turaga know many of their locations, but we will have to hunt for others."
"When you find a mask, place it over your original one," explained Kopaka. "The masks will merge. And then you can switch at will from one to the other. Like this." Kopaka's mask morphed into his new one and then changed back.
"And when you find one, a replica of the new mask will appear on your Suva, in your village, where you will go to receive your Golden Kanohi when you have all six," finished Tahu.
Gali spoke hesitatingly. "And then… we will be ready to fight this Makuta?"
Pohatu looked up, startled, at the sound of Gali's voice. It was higher and more melodic than any of the others'. His vague dream memories returned for a moment, and he realized that Gali was the only female in the group. "Whatever that means," he wondered to himself.
Onua nodded. "And then we will fight Makuta. What are the powers of your masks? Mine, the Pakari, is the Great Mask of Strength."
"Mine lets me levitate," added Lewa, lifting himself about a bio off the ground. Pohatu was stunned. He couldn't imagine wanting to hover in the air, away from the solid stone that he relied on for balance and support, but he could definitely see some uses for this mask.
"It's called the Miru, Lewa," said Tahu. "Mine is the Hau, the mask of Shielding. But you have to see the attack coming."
"Perhaps you can use mine to help with that," said Kopaka. "The Akaku, which gives the power to see through solid objects."
Pohatu pointed to his mask. "The Kakama is the Great Mask of Speed."
"And mine?" Gali asked, looking around.
"Yours is the Kaukau," answered Tahu. "It allows you to breathe underwater."
"Oh, that would explain--" Gali smiled shyly. "I see."
The more Pohatu looked at Gali, the more interesting she seemed. In spite of her delicate form, she appeared to possess a subtle strength. Then Pohatu realized he wasn't the only one staring at her. Tahu took his intense gaze off Gali and turned to the others. "So, we must find these masks, while defending our villagers and learning as much as we can to prepare for our battle with Makuta. There are also six Noble Masks, like the Turaga wear, which have useful powers as well. Shall we meet again after we have each found a few?"
"I'd really rather work alone," said Kopaka. "I say we meet again after we find them all."
Onua disagreed. "I have a feeling we'll need to work together sometimes, and keep an eye on each other. But I think we can start off by returning to our villages, and using the knowledge of our Turaga to find as many Kanohi as we can."
Lewa put his hand on Gali's shoulder. "If you find any masks up high, I can get them for you, until you get your Miru," he offered. "And if I find any underwater, you know I'll call on you to--" Lewa glanced at Tahu and stopped. He took his hand off Gali and backed up a step. Waves of heat had been rising from Tahu as he watched the Toa of Air. "On second thought," continued Lewa, looking warily at the Toa of Fire, "maybe I'll just learn to swim."
"It looks like anyone who wants to get close to Gali is going to feel some heat," thought Pohatu. He had never experienced fire, but instinct told him it would be painful. He spoke to relieve the tension. "If we need to meet, I can act as a messenger," he volunteered. "I can cross the island in the time it takes a stone to hit the bottom of this canyon." He kicked a small rock off the edge of the cliff.
"Then we'll get together again whenever we have something to communicate to the others," concluded Tahu. "Until then, may the Great Beings protect you all. And best of luck on your quest for the Kanohi."
The others nodded, and the meeting broke up. "Working with the others is going to be challenging sometimes," Pohatu mused as he approached his village. "But it looks like we'll have to learn to get along."
He paused when he saw an enormous stone arch standing in the sand. It was at least fifty bios in height and eighty in width. "That's amazing," he smiled. He pondered the massive dimensions of the structure, which, although formed of solid rock, was marbled with natural seams. In his mind, he could see exactly how the impact of a flying boulder might break the mighty span. He continued on his way, but his mind was still on the arch.
"No, I just have to try it!" he said to himself, turning around. He found a round rock about the size of a Koli ball and bounced it a few times on the top of his foot. Then he took off his mask and scratched his head. He replaced it on his face. Taking a deep breath, he heard the faint whine of his legs powering up. And then he drew back his right foot and fired his shot.
The rock struck the underside of the arch and ricocheted against the opposite side. It flew back to Pohatu, who jumped up and stopped it with his chest. He heard the rumbling sound begin, and he quickly backed up to get out of the way. The ear-splitting crash resounded off the cliffs of Po-Koro as the huge stone bridge collapsed in a mass of rubble. Pohatu leaped into the air. "Hooray!" He raced back home to his village, elated with his new prowess.
Pohatu skidded to a stop in front of Onewa's hut, grabbed the edge of the doorway, and swung himself inside, shaking the stone mask carvings off the walls onto the dirt floor. The startled Turaga looked up from his work. "Hello, Toa Pohatu," he smiled. "I take it you've enjoyed exploring your powers?"
"Very much so," Pohatu beamed. "I tried all kinds of things. Big massive rocks, precise shots, and landslides. And I even took down a huge stone arch with one little rock."
"You did? Not the big arch just south of the village, I hope?" Onewa looked worried.
Pohatu swallowed hard. "Yes, it was not far south of here. Why?"
"Oh, it's nothing, Toa Pohatu. I was rather fond of that one. I used to sit under it and think sometimes. But what's more important is that you have really begun to master your powers."
Pohatu's face showed his disappointment with himself. "I'm really sorry about that, Onewa."
"Don't worry about it," smiled the Turaga. "There are lots of interesting rocks left out there. Did you meet the other Toa? How do you like them?"
"They are incredible. Each one is powerful in his own different way. I think I'm really going to like working with all of them."
"What's the Toa of Water like?" asked Onewa, with the hint of a twinkle in his eye.
"Oh, she's wonderful," replied Pohatu. "Why didn't you tell me about her?"
Onewa laughed. "The entire village of Ga-Koro is female, including their Turaga. We figured their Toa would be, too. It makes life a bit more interesting, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does."
"And the amazing thing is, even though they seem fragile, they are really good fighters. Which is a good thing, because I, for one, would hate to have to swim out to their floating village to save them!"
Pohatu had never come into contact with water, but his memory of the waves that rocked his canister was not pleasant. "I think I see what you mean," he laughed.
"You should make friends with Onua," suggested the Turaga. "Our villages work together often. If he's anything like the Onu-Koronans, you'll probably like him, anyway."
"I bet I will," replied Pohatu. "So, do you know where any of these Kanohi are?" He slid his hands behind his mask and rubbed his eyes, suddenly aware of how fatigued he was.
"Yes, a few. But you should probably get a bit of rest first. You've had a lot to learn and do for one day. We Po-Koronans generally take a short rest in the heat of the day, anyway. Then I'll make you a map to all the Kanohi I know about."
"Sounds good. But if it's naptime, what's all that noise out there?"
"That's a Koli match. Most of the villagers have already slept today, while you were out. Go see!"
"All right," said the Toa. As he bent over to go through the doorway, a Matoran with a rounded black mask ran into him and fell over backwards. Pohatu helped him up.
"Oh, Toa Pohatu, I'm sorry!" he stammered.
"What is it, Kufa?" asked Onewa.
"Well, Turaga, it's, um, it's just that Huki won't let me play in the Koli match, and he promised me the other day--" Suddenly he stopped talking. Pohatu glanced at Onewa and saw his tan mask glow faintly for a moment.
Onewa rolled his eyes. "Kufa, the match is just starting. Maybe he'll let you substitute for another player when your team pulls ahead a little. That's his decision, anyway." He rapped his hammer on his desk, and the Matoran bowed.
"Thank you, Turaga. Sorry to bother you." The villager scurried back out of the hut.
"What did you just do to him with your mask?" asked Pohatu.
"The Komau, Noble Mask of Mind Control. I had to get him to stop talking long enough to listen."
"That must be a useful mask for a village elder!" smiled Pohatu.
"Yes, it is," Onewa agreed. "They want me to solve all their disputes. Sometimes I get tired of that."
"There seems to be quite a rivalry between Huki and Hafu."
"You're very observant," remarked Onewa. "Those two have always been competitive. The only advantage to any of it is that each is so eager to curry my favor--just to show up the other--that they are really hard workers. And the whole village has been drawn into this schism between the carvers and the Koli players. If it weren't for the Rahi constantly harassing us, and forcing us to work together..." He shook his head.
"I hope you won't mind if I go after the Rahi anyway," said Pohatu with a wry smile.
"Knock yourself out!"
"Well, I'm going to go watch this Koli match. But if any Rahi show up, let me know." The Toa ducked out of the hut and trotted over to the stadium. Several players were kicking a round rock inside an arena. Every now and then it would go into one of the four stone goals, and a cheer would rise from the crowd of onlookers. Huki saw Pohatu and stopped the game.
"Hello, Toa Pohatu!" he called out. "Would you like to try Koli?"
"Oh, don't mind me, go on with your game. I'll watch for now. Zaku here can tell me how it works." Pohatu sat in the stands next to Zaku, who eagerly explained the rules as they watched. Finally, the last goal was scored, and the fans stood, yelling enthusiastically and swarming around Huki and his victorious team. Pohatu noticed that Kufa had not had a chance to play.
"Now would you like to try?" panted Huki. He kicked the ball toward Pohatu, who jumped down from the bleachers and fielded it expertly. He bounced it on the top of his foot and then off his head. The villagers cheered with delight. The Toa of Stone let the ball drop in front of him, and then he slammed it toward one of the goals. It was a direct hit--and it shattered the goal to gravel.
"Uh, oh," said Pohatu sheepishly as the crowd burst out laughing. "I'd better get you a new goal." He raced off toward the hut Hafu had shown him earlier that day.
"Hafu?" called Pohatu, tapping on the outside of the hut. "I have a favor to ask you."
Hafu was taking a nap. He sat up and yawned. "Oh, of course, Toa Pohatu," he said sleepily, and stumbled out into the bright sunshine. He was startled to see a group of Koli players standing behind the Toa.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were asleep," apologized Pohatu.
"That's all right," the Po-Koronan replied. "What is it?"
"Would you please carve another Koli goal? I broke one of them."
Hafu muttered, "Crummy sandstone goals... no wonder." He looked up at the Toa. "Usually they carve their own goals, Toa Pohatu. That's why they're so crudely made, from weak stone. But I'll make you a good one."
Pohatu spoke loudly over the grumbling of the Koli players. "Thanks, Hafu. They play well, and they deserve the best." The players quieted down and looked at each other. Hafu picked up his pickaxe, hammer, and chisel and walked out toward the edge of the village. He selected a block of stone, contemplated it for a few moments, and got to work. Soon the rough shape of a goal began to emerge from the rock. He continued carving, engraving a row of neat symbols on the base and a detailed Koli ball on the back. Finally he stood back to admire his work. "Another Hafu original!"
The crowd groaned, but Pohatu ignored them. "It's beautiful, Hafu. Thank you very much." As the Matorans gathered behind the goal to move it to the field, Pohatu waved them aside. "Allow me." He braced his hands against it and pushed with his powerful legs, and soon it was sliding across the sand. He cleared the broken pieces out of the way and positioned the new goal in the arena.
Huki turned to Hafu. "Thanks, it looks really good," he said simply.
"You're welcome," replied Hafu. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my nap." He turned and walked back to his hut, shaking his head.
Pohatu grinned. "Well, that sounds like a good idea." He found a large, flat rock near the Koli stadium, stretched out on it, and closed his eyes. But before he could go to sleep, a high-pitched voice his caught his attention.
"Hello, Huki." Pohatu opened one eye and saw a blue Matoran walking up to the Koli champion, who was bouncing a ball off the wall of his hut. "That must be one of Gali's villagers," thought the Toa.
"Well, hello," replied Huki. He stopped the ball with his foot. "Say, aren't you Maku? I saw you win the canoe races last spring."
"Yes, I am," she smiled demurely. "I just stopped by because, well, um, I was patrolling in my boat, and..."
"Po-Koro is a little out of the way for you, isn't it?" asked Huki. "Well, anyway, I'm glad you came."
"Thanks. I was hoping to see a Koli match, and I did. You're an amazing player. And Toa Pohatu was funny, breaking the goal like that!"
"Yeah, that doesn't happen every day," laughed Huki. "And besides being incredibly powerful, he's really nice."
"We just met Toa Gali. She's fantastic. She gives us so much hope. Maybe soon we will be free of these horrible infected Rahi."
"That would be great. Then we could travel more. It was very brave of you, coming here to see me."
Maku drew a circle and two vertical lines in the sand with her toe, and added two dots. "Well, I've got to get back to my village. Turaga Nokama gets worried if I don't check in often."
"Wait, before you go... I have something for you. Won't you come in?" The Po-Koronan gestured toward his hut.
"I'll wait here, thanks," replied Maku. She stood by the doorway while he went inside. He returned with a large leaf. She took it and read the writing on it. Pohatu thought he saw her mask flush slightly. "Thanks, Huki."
"You're welcome," he smiled. Maku turned and walked out of the village. Huki watched her go, and then he resumed his practicing.
"I would feel really terrible if anything happened to her," said Pohatu to himself. Quietly, he slipped off the rock and followed Maku into the desert. The blue Matoran moved quickly for her small size. Pohatu kept a good distance behind her, scanning the horizon for signs of danger.
Finally Maku arrived at the boat dock. She climbed into her canoe and untied it from the mooring. Pushing off with her paddle, she began the journey across the sea to her waterborne village. Pohatu smiled. "Well, she's back in Gali's domain, now," he said to himself, and he turned to run back home. But he heard a splash behind him. Out of the water reared a Tarakava, just like the one he saw on the beach when he first came out of his canister. It loomed over the tiny Matoran and roared.
Pohatu took a deep breath, activated his Kakama, and sped into the water. He felt the cool fluid surround him, and he sank straight to the bottom like a stone. "No wonder Onewa hates this stuff," he thought. Frantically he searched for the Rahi in the frothing water. He found the creature and gave it a kick in the back. It turned and submerged, looking for its attacker. It punched him hard, and he winced at the impact to his ribs. He was rapidly running out of air, so he sprinted up the sloping sea floor toward the shore. He emerged, gasping for breath, and was horrified to see that the Tarakava had upset Maku's boat, and she was swimming on the surface, the Rahi in pursuit.
The Toa of Stone took another deep breath and ran back into the water. This time he slammed right into the giant lizard. Then he kicked it in the jaw, and its infected mask spun slowly off into the water. The stunned Tarakava swam away. Pohatu once again ran onto the beach, panting and holding his injured side. Maku was clinging to the paddle with one hand and the overturned boat with the other. She pulled it to shore, where Pohatu helped her flip it back over.
"Thank you so much, Toa Pohatu," she said gratefully. She hugged his legs tightly.
"No problem, Maku," he replied, patting her head. "I'm glad you're all right."
"Yeah," she sighed. "But where's my picture?"
"The one Huki gave me." She looked around. "Oh, that must be it." A big leaf was lying in the sand. The breeze had blown it out of the boat when the Rahi flipped it over. Pohatu ran over to the leaf and picked it up. On it was a picture of Huki kicking a Koli ball. Around the picture were the words, "To Maku, with lots of love, Huki."
Pohatu smiled as he handed it to Maku. She smiled back. "Thanks."
He watched her paddle away, pausing to pick up her disc, which was floating in the water a few dozen bios out to sea. She waved to the Toa, and then she was on her way. Pohatu said a quiet prayer for her safety as he walked slowly home. He felt the water evaporating off his back in the desert heat, and he was glad for the hot sun.
Reply topic here.
This post has been edited by GaliGee: Jun 4 2003, 10:55 AM
GaliGee's Stories Redux
I'm back after being banned because my account was hacked. My old stories topic is gone and some of my stories were damaged, but I'm restoring them with a little help from Shadow Vahki. Thanks for bearing with me while I get it back together!
Apr 24 2003, 05:13 PM
Group: Premier Outstanding BZP Citizens
Joined: 5-June 02
Member No.: 720
Chapter 2: Foundation
Pohatu looked down at the panting Po-Koronan who had just stumbled into the village. He was so breathless that the Toa couldn't understand a single word he was trying to say. Pohatu put his hands on the Matoran's shoulders. "Take a moment to breathe, Toka, and then tell me slowly."
Toka took a deep breath and tried again. "Toa Pohatu," he gasped, "there are Nui-Jaga attacking the herdsmen at the eastern fields."
Pohatu nodded. "Thanks, Toka. Please tell Onewa I've gone there." He turned on his Kakama and sped out the gate.
As the Toa of Stone passed through the bazaar, he noticed that Kufa had set up a Koli ball stand. “Well, at least he’s found something useful to do,” thought Pohatu. “Now maybe he’ll stop bothering Huki.”
Pohatu had become very adept at using his first mask. He enjoyed the sensation of running faster than the wind. The Kanohi also enhanced his senses of vision and hearing, to prevent him from outrunning his ability to react to his surroundings. Soon he was decelerating at the edge of the rangelands. Seven Nui-Jaga were circling a group of four villagers, who were desperately defending themselves with their discs. Slain goats lay scattered across the field, and deep gouges in the ground revealed the intensity of the fight.
The Toa of Stone looked around for some suitable ammunition. Quickly he relocated himself to the edge of the field, where there was a pile of rocks. He began to fire them at the Rahi, taking great care not to hit the terrified Matorans, who dove for the ground as soon as they realized what was happening. The scorpions turned toward Pohatu and charged. For a moment he panicked as their poisonous tails loomed over him, but he continued to rain stone down on them until the last one lay twitching in the grass. Then he kicked off their infected masks.
Satisfied that the danger was past, Pohatu ran to the Matorans. They were slowly standing up, except for one who was still unconscious, pinned to the ground under a boulder. Apparently he had been struck when the rock ricocheted off a Nui-Jaga. Pohatu felt his jaw clench with bitterness. It was his own fault—he should have predicted the path of the rocks after they hit their target. He rolled the stone aside and gently picked up the villager in his arms.
“I’m so sorry, Mokali,” he whispered. He turned toward the others. “I’ll take Mokali home. Is everyone else all right?”
The other herdsmen nodded. They had minor injuries from the Nui-Jaga, but they insisted they would be fine. “Thank you so much, Toa Pohatu,” they said solemnly. The Toa turned and ran back to the village.
His brow furrowed with anguish, Pohatu lay Mokali gently on his bed.. Onewa entered the hut and leaned over the Po-Koronan. “It was a boulder I kicked that hit him,” explained Pohatu.
“He looks bad now, but some rest and care may yet restore him.” The Turaga looked up at his Toa. “Toa Pohatu, you did your best. You can’t blame yourself for every consequence of a battle.”
“Thanks, Onewa, but I should have been more careful. The villagers that were hit by the Nui-Jaga fared better than this one!” His face was contorted with anger at himself.
“It’s fortunate that the Jaga attack slowly when they know they have the upper hand,” said Onewa. “But as soon as the villagers ran out of discs, they were all as good as dead. Hafu’s the only one who can throw a disc so that it returns to him every time.” He put his hand on the Toa’s arm. “Calm yourself... and be ready for the next time.”
Pohatu nodded tensely. “You’re right, Onewa. Thanks.” He ducked out of the hut and ran until he was in the rugged foothills far from the village. He let out a furious roar as he kicked a huge boulder into the opposite cliff face and watched tons of stone roll down. He listened to the low rumble and then the hail of smaller stones as they landed. And then his frown relaxed. “Rage will just blind me to the real task at hand,” he reasoned with himself. “Now I can get back to work.” Still angry at Makuta for causing his people so much pain, but finally at peace with himself, he turned toward home. But something, in the pile of rubble he had just made, caught his attention. It was small and gray, and—
Pohatu ran over to the loose rock, still veiled in a cloud of dust. There, in the midst of it, was a Hau! He stood astonished at his strange good fortune. He took the mask and put it over his Kakama, and felt the bizarre sensation of the Kanohi powers blending together. He smiled as he considered what this mask would do for him. “Now I can be fearless. As long as I am watchful.”
Another rumbling sound made Pohatu jump. The ground shook and erupted right in front of him. As the dust cleared, Pohatu saw that it was Onua, Toa of Earth. He relaxed and switched back to his Kakama.
“Hi, Onua! You make quite an entrance,” remarked the Toa of Stone.
“Hello, Pohatu,” smiled the Toa of Earth. “And you make quite a racket. I could hear you yelling and smashing rocks from twenty bios underground.”
Pohatu felt sheepish. “Well, I was pretty mad. I just injured one of my own villagers fighting a bunch of Nui-Jaga.”
Onua’s dark green eyes shone with compassion. “I’m sorry, Pohatu. I know just how you feel.”
“Yes, there was a big cave-in in my Wahi recently, and in my hurry to get there and rescue the trapped miners, I stepped on one of them.”
“Oh! Is he all right?”
“Thankfully, yes.” Onua laughed. “But he gives me a lot of room every time he sees me coming now!”
Pohatu sighed. “Well, it feels better to know that I’m not alone. I’m praying my villager will recover.”
“I’ll join you in that,” promised the black Toa. “But in the meantime, can you help me with something?”
“Sure, just name it.”
“Thanks. I want to trap the sand Tarakava that have been raiding the Great Mine. Whenua tells me that before the infection, they never dug at all, but lately they’ve been wrecking our equipment and causing cave-ins. It’s almost as if they—or the one who controls them—is afraid of what we’ll find down there.”
“How strange,” said Pohatu. “Let’s go! But I should tell Onewa where I am, in case anyone--”
“I already talked to him. He said I could borrow you,” replied Onua. “Follow me. You shouldn’t have any trouble keeping up, I don’t have my Kakama yet.” He dove back into the ground.
Pohatu gingerly stepped into the hole and blinked as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. “So this is Onua’s realm,” he marveled. “What a strange way to live.” He followed the receding shape of his friend, barely visible in the orange glow of his eyes. The damp, musty smell was completely different from the warm, fresh scent of his sunny home, but he felt at ease anyway, because the earth spoke to him of its ancient origins as stone.
After a few hundred bios, Pohatu called out to Onua over the rhythmic thumping of their footsteps. “What are we going to do?”
Onua glanced back at Pohatu as he ran. “I’ll dig a big hole in the tunnel they’ve been using to get in the mine and cause a cave-in to trap them, once they fall in.”
“So why do you need my help?” asked the Toa of Stone.
“Last time they dug themselves out before I could get to them all and remove their masks. With two of us, we can work twice as fast.”
“Sounds good,” replied Pohatu. “Besides, we can cover each other.”
“Exactly.” They emerged from the rough tunnel into a wide, smooth one, at the end of which Pohatu could see glowing lights. The Toa of Stone was amazed as they entered Onu-Koro and he saw the smooth, round earthen huts, the stream of water flowing quietly in their midst, Onua’s Suva, and several merchants’ stands. A Po-Koronan carver with an assortment of statues waved to Pohatu. The sounds of dripping water, the gentle music, the rich moist scent of the earth, and the soft light from dozens of lightstones gave the underground village a mysterious and tranquil feeling.
“Onua, your village is a hidden jewel,” remarked Pohatu.
“Thank you,” replied the Toa of Earth, nodding modestly. He crossed the bridge over the stream and headed for a passageway. Pohatu followed him down the tunnel. They came to a wide clearing with several mechanical elevators.
“Wake up!” Onua chided a miner who was drifting off to sleep. “Onu-Koro needs you!” The startled miner sat up straight, his eyes wide with alarm. Then he smiled bashfully, grabbed the handles of his wheelbarrow, and returned to work.
“I guess there haven’t been any Tarakava around here for the past few minutes, at least,” laughed Pohatu.
“No, but they’ll be back, I can guarantee that. Look down there,” said Onua, leaning over the huge open shaft in the middle of the mine. “That hole in the side about a third of the way down is where they’ve been coming in.”
Pohatu felt a wave of vertigo as he looked down into the mine. He grabbed Onua’s shoulder to steady himself. “How do you know when they’ll show up? Will we have to wait for them long?”
“They show up whenever there is a lot of activity,” answered the black Toa. “I asked the miners to hold off for a while. When we’re ready, I’ll tell them to start their equipment again.” He pulled Pohatu into one of the elevators with him. The cable groaned ominously. Onua jumped out, laughing, and stepped into another elevator. “I’ll take a different one. You’re as heavy as I am!”
Pohatu glanced at the controls and pushed down the lever. The two cars descended side by side until they reached the opening in the side of the mine. The two Toa swung out of the elevators into the rough tunnel, which led steeply upwards. Onua pointed to marks in the earth. “They anchor themselves with their arms and use their tracks to dig. I sure wish I had a set of those!” He stopped after they had walked a few hundred bios. “This should be far enough from the mine so that we won’t damage it, don’t you think?”
“You’re the earth expert,” shrugged Pohatu. “It seems all right to me. But if they’re so good at digging, maybe we should trap them with stone instead of earth. They won’t be able to get out as quickly. If you dig a tunnel to the surface, I’ll cause a landslide to fall into it.”
“That’s brilliant! At the surface there is a big rock outcrop.” Onua clawed into the ceiling of the tunnel, and soon daylight streamed through the dust around the Toa.
Pohatu welcomed the sunshine. He leaped from the hole and looked around. There were giant crags of rock all around, just as Onua had described. He smiled and gestured at some large stones. “Can you widen your tunnel so that these big ones can fall in?”
“Sure. If you can get them to move, I’ll get them underground,” grinned Onua.
“If I can get them to move?” Pohatu rolled his eyes. “Start digging! I’ll start the landslide on your signal.”
The Toa of Earth enlarged the opening of the tunnel and disappeared into its recesses. Pohatu selected a rock to use as a projectile and planned his strategy. He kicked some of the loose earth out of the hole and shaped it into a ramp for the boulders, tamping it down with his feet. Then he sat on a rock and waited for Onua’s signal.
But apparently the Tarakava had heard them working. Pohatu heard sounds behind one of the cliffs, and he crept between the rocks to see what was happening. A dozen of the tall lizards were gathering around a hole in the ground. One by one, they dropped in. Pohatu ran back to the trap and yelled into the opening. “Onua! Here they come!” His mind raced. Should he start the landslide? What if he was too late? What if he buried Onua in his haste?
“GO!” Pohatu was relieved to hear the muffled echoes of his friend’s shout. He fired his shot, and watched with satisfaction as the smaller rock dislodged a pile of boulders, which flowed like a mighty stone river into the hole. The ground shook violently, and the dust was so thick it blotted out the sun. When the noise stopped, he thought, “Now I’d better get down there and help!” He groped for the opening and slid haphazardly into the tunnel, half rolling and half running, wincing as he bounced off jagged rocks on his way down. He landed on top of the great pile of stone and listened. Soon he heard Onua calling through the earth, and he dug clumsily with his hands and kicked rocks aside until he reached the sound.
Onua had made a side tunnel to protect himself from the landslide, and he was digging into the trap from underneath. “Be ready to fight them, we’re almost there,” he warned Pohatu. He broke through the wall of the pit. The stunned Rahi were lying, immobile, under the boulders. Pohatu kicked the rocks off them, and the Toa were able to remove their masks without difficulty.
“Outstanding!” crowed Onua. “Thank you so much!” He clapped Pohatu on the back with his muddy claw.
“It was your idea,” replied Pohatu with a grin. “And mostly your work.”
The surviving Tarakava dragged themselves sluggishly out of the pit and crept up back to their native desert. Onua kicked the infected masks into a pile. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”
“Glad I could help.” Pohatu stood up straight and hit his head on the earthen ceiling of the pit. He rubbed his head. “Ouch! Now if it’s all right with you, I’m going back up for some fresh air.”
Onua laughed. “No problem. Thanks again. And good luck on your quest for the masks!”
“You, too! I’ll come visit you again when I get my Ruru.” Pohatu scrambled over the jumble of earth and stone toward the surface. He stood in the bright sunlight and breathed deeply of the warm, dry air. And then he turned and ran for home. "Onewa was right. I really like him," Pohatu mused. "It's incredible what's going on under the ground down there!"
As Pohatu decelerated inside the main gate of Po-Koro, Onewa stepped out of his hut. "Ah, Toa Pohatu," he smiled.
The Toa ambled over and returned his greeting. "Hi, Onewa. How is Mokali?"
"Why don't you ask him yourself?" Onewa nodded toward the Matoran's hut as Mokali limped out into the square. Pohatu ran to him.
"Thank you for saving my life!" cried Mokali, throwing his arms around Pohatu.
"You're welcome," replied the Toa, overcome with relief. "I just wish I hadn't hurt you in the process!"
"That's all right. Well, I'm going back to bed." Mokali hobbled back into his hut.
"Good night, brave little herdsman," said Pohatu. "So, Onewa, the Tarakava trap was a success! Onua is really great to work with. And I found my Hau."
"Excellent! It looks good on your Suva."
"So now I have three, not counting my Kakama," replied the Toa, following Onewa inside.
"Tomorrow morning you must go to Le-Koro and get your Miru. Kongu spotted it in a treetop while he was patrolling on his Kahu. He just flew by and told me." Onewa picked up his hammer and a chisel and turned toward a block of rough stone in the center of the hut.
"In a tree?" Pohatu cringed. "Well, all right. Say, when did you take up stone carving?”
“I’ve always enjoyed it as an hobby. But now I’m doing it out of necessity. I’m making Huki a new, more comfortable bed. He’s come down with some mysterious illness, and it looks like he’ll be out for a while.”
“Poor fellow,” muttered Pohatu. “He’s going to miss playing Koli.”
Onewa sighed. “I hope that’s the worst of his trouble.”
Pohatu said good night to the Turaga and walked over to Huki’s hut. The Matoran was sleeping fitfully. In the twilight Pohatu could see that his mask was covered with strange green blotches. “Get well soon,” the Toa whispered, and then he turned quietly and headed for the edge of the village. He climbed up the steps to the lookout post. “I hope I find my Ruru soon,” he thought. “Then I’ll be able to keep looking for the masks at night. But until then, I might as make myself useful by keeping watch.” He found Zaku at the top, wearily scanning the horizon. “You can go to bed, if you like,” said the Toa. “I’ll keep watch tonight.”
“Thanks, Toa Pohatu,” replied Zaku. “I don’t feel too well.” As he descended the stairs, Pohatu heard him coughing.
Pohatu spent a peaceful night watching the stars and enjoying the cool breeze off the distant sea. He thought about how remarkable it was for him to have found a Kanohi in the pile of rocks he had blasted off the cliff in his rage. “Someone put that mask there. And they knew I would find it. Someone is looking out for me.” He marveled that in the time the Toa had been on Mata Nui, not one of them had been killed or badly injured, despite the constant danger of fighting savage wild animals four times their size. “I can’t get complacent, though,” he warned himself. “A disaster could still happen. But we’ve been really fortunate so far.” Then he laughed to himself as he thought of the Miru in the tree. “And whoever it is has a sense of humor.”
In the morning, Pohatu watched the red sun rise and felt the cool sand start soaking up its warming rays. He greeted Hafu, the next watchman, and came down from the post. He got the details of the Miru’s location from Onewa and blazed off across the desert towards Le-Koro. Crossing the great glaciers of Ko-Wahi, he reached the lush jungles of Le-Wahi.
Pohatu studied the leaf on which Onewa had scribbled Kongu’s directions. “I wish he had translated them for me,” he sighed. “‘Find broadtrunk tree near groundpath from cavedark tunnelmouth to treebright Le-Koro. Uptree is highbranch Miru.’ He must mean it’s up a tree between his village and the Onu-Koro tunnel.” He headed for the tunnel opening and began to search for the tree with the mask along the trail. As he wandered, stepping carefully around swampy areas, he admired the beautiful animals and birds chattering and chirping in the green canopy above his head.
Finally he saw a gray shape in the upper branches of a large tree. “That’s it!” he smiled. But then his face fell. “There’s no way I can climb that high,” he muttered. “I know! I’ll knock down the tree with a rock!” He found a rounded boulder close by, and lined up the shot. Just then he heard a wild Kewa calling in the treetop. He realized it was sitting on a nest.
“Aww, I can’t wreck their home,” groaned Pohatu. “I guess I will have to climb.” He reached for the lower branches and pulled himself up, with great effort, into the tree. He gripped the trunk with his legs and inched upward. Whenever he could, he used his powerful legs to push against a branch. But the smaller branches snapped off, so he could only rely on the larger ones.
After a few minutes of intense exertion, he was halfway up the tree, and his head was even with the Kewa nest. Suddenly he heard a great cackling and flapping. The Kewa slapped Pohatu’s face with its wings to drive him away. Then it started pecking at his mask.
“Some thanks I get for preserving your nest, rotten beast!” sneered the Toa of Stone as he clung desperately to the trunk. He made the mistake of looking down and became very dizzy. He closed his eyes. “If I survive the climb, at least I’ll be able to levitate on the way down.”
Pohatu heard something whoosh past him. He opened his eyes to see a flash of green. “Hello, Pohatu!” he heard a voice sing out. “Fancy meeting you here.”
“Hi, Lewa!” he called after the agile green Toa, who landed in a branch above his head. “I’m looking for a Miru up there.”
“Yes, I see it,” replied Lewa, looking up. “Here, let me get it for you.”
“Oh, that would be wonderful. Would you, please?”
Lewa swung himself to the highest branches with complete ease and confidence. He snagged the Kanohi out of the leaves. “Here, catch!”
“Nooo!” moaned Pohatu, clinging more tightly to the tree as the Kewa jabbed at his face with its beak. “I can’t move!”
“Just kidding, big guy,” laughed Lewa. “I’ll bring it down to you.”
Pohatu smiled with relief. He looked up at Lewa, who was leaping to a lower branch. But then he saw a fast-moving shape behind the Toa of Air. A Nui-Rama was diving at him. “Look out, Lewa! Behind you!”
As Lewa ducked the giant infected insect buzzing menacingly around his head, Pohatu scrambled down the trunk. A dozen bios from the ground, he clenched his jaw and let himself drop. The thud echoed through the jungle. He ran to the boulder and kicked it almost straight up into the air. It struck the Nui-Rama and crashed to the ground a short distance away.
Lewa landed next to him on the ground and handed him the Miru. “Thanks, Pohatu!”
“No, no, thank you,” replied the Toa of Stone. “No offense, but tree-climbing is not my idea of a good time.”
“You did look a little awkward up there,” chuckled Lewa. “Hey, look at the rock you kicked. It has writing on it.”
Pohatu leaned over the rock. Chiseled into the stone was a warning: “Wake one, you wake them all.”
“I hope I didn’t just wake them up, whatever they are.” Pohatu put the Miru on over his Kakama. “I wonder what that means. Maybe the Turaga know. So, how does this thing work?”
“Just think light thoughts,” replied Lewa, watching his friend rise off the ground. “And keep concentrating. If you fall, I have no intention of catching you.”
Pohatu laughed as he spun in the air. “This is great! I can fly!”
“You’re a natural,” Lewa remarked with a wry smile.
“But I think I still prefer to be on the ground,” said the Toa of Stone as he landed gently on the lush green forest floor.
“Have it your way. Well, I’ve got some masks to find myself. See you later!” Lewa flipped backwards into the tree again, grabbed a vine, and was off.
“It’s a good thing he came along when he did!” Pohatu glared at the Kewa, clucking peacefully on its nest. “Stupid bird!” He tossed a small rock at it, just to annoy it. Then he changed back to his Kakama and ran through the forest and the snowy peaks, finally reaching his beloved desert again.
On his way to the village, he saw Hafu chipping at the road sign. “Aren’t you finished with that thing yet?” asked Pohatu. “You’ve been working on it ever since I got here!”
Hafu shrugged and set down his axe. “I’ll be working on this sign forever. Those accursed Rahi keep smashing it.”
“Well, that’s pretty discouraging,” replied the Toa. “I’ll give the next one an extra kick for you.”
“That would be fantastic!” Hafu grinned. He waved as Pohatu disappeared in a swirl of dust.
A few days later, Pohatu was walking through the foothills on the east side of his Wahi, looking for masks, when he saw two Matorans approaching. “Ta-Koronans,” he said to himself, recognizing them by their bright colors. “From Jala’s guard, probably. I wonder if there’s a problem.” He ran to meet them.
“Toa Pohatu,” they said in unison, bowing slightly.
“Hey, you two,” smiled Pohatu. “Aren’t you in the Ta-Koronan Guard?”
“Yes, we are,” replied a red Matoran with a Kakama. “Turaga Onewa sent us to find you. Please go see him at once.”
“Thank you,” Pohatu nodded. He ran to the village and stopped outside Onewa’s hut.
The Turaga quickly stepped outside. Without any preamble, he explained. “A traveling Matoran has found the source of the infection in our village. It’s the new Koli balls. They come from the Quarry, inside Gali’s Kaukau statue, and they’re being guarded by a Nui-Jaga. The traveler is headed back there now.”
“The Comets? How strange! Well, it sounds like he’ll need some help.” The Toa activated his mask of speed and headed for the quarry. “Now I see... only the Koli players have been getting sick!” thought Pohatu as he ran. “I wonder if Kufa knew what he was doing...”
He slowed as he approached the great cliffs of the quarry. Their unusual striped stone stood as a testimony to the powerful forces inside the earth that crushed and fused the sedimentary layers, and their curved shapes were a witness to eons of gritty wind. Pohatu walked warily through the gap in the cliff wall and entered the quarry. He had seen the breathtaking statues before, but this time he didn’t have the luxury of lingering to admire them. Seeing no dangers in the clearing, he ran to the Kaukau, which was halfway up a cliff. Someone had inserted a stone key bearing the symbol of Gali’s element in the statue, and the great portal was open.
Pohatu crept cautiously down the steps, pausing to let his eyes adjust to the dim light. He heard Matoran footsteps and saw the traveler, who was colored like a Ta-Koronan, with the exception of his blue Pakari. The traveler waved frantically at him, and Pohatu soon saw why. A Nui-Jaga appeared out of the darkness, hissing and rattling its tail. Behind it was a nest supported by dead tree trunks, and before it were dozens of Koli balls. An infected Hau, mounted on the wall above the nest, seemed to leer evilly in the foul-smelling gloom.
Pohatu turned to the Matoran to warn him to stay back. But suddenly he felt the impact of a thick liquid hitting him in the face. His eyes started burning, and his vision went black. The horrible odor of the scorpion’s poison filled his lungs. “Now how will I defeat this thing?” he thought with alarm. “And it’s going to attack the traveler! Wait, I know—he still has a pair of eyes!”
Pohatu spit out some venom and spoke. “Adventurer, the scorpion has blinded me for the moment. It will be some time before my sight returns! Tell me where to kick the ball, and together we can destroy the Nui-Jaga’s nest.”
The Toa felt hands gripping his elbows and leading him to where he remembered the Koli balls to be. He felt one with his foot and rolled it into position. “Like this?” he asked.
“A little to the left,” replied the traveler. Pohatu shot the ball, and he heard a cracking sound as it struck one of the tree trunks. “You hit it!”
Pohatu smiled through the pain of his stinging eyes as he readied another shot. He felt queasy from the poisonous fumes. “Same place,” came the quiet voice of the Matoran. The Toa fired a couple more balls. But the last one made a different sound, as if it had shattered on a hard object. “The Nui-Jaga smashed that one with its tail,” explained his companion. “Try again.”
The traveler lined up the Koli balls for him so that he could kick them rapidly at the target. Pohatu was impressed by his little friend’s intuitive helpfulness and serenity in the face of danger. Soon he heard a groaning sound. The nest was becoming unstable. “One last shot should do it,” said the Matoran brightly. Pohatu blinked, realizing with relief that he could dimly see again. He juggled a Koli ball, bouncing it off his chest, head, and foot before giving it a mighty kick. He watched with elation as the last trunk gave way, the nest swayed, the Jaga retreated, and the earth shook. Rocks and dust started raining down from the ceiling. “Let’s get out of here!” he yelled to the traveler. He scooped up the Matoran and ran for the doorway.
Pohatu stopped on a ridge across from the great stone Kaukau and set the little hero down. They watched the rubble roll out of the opening of the statue. “Excellent, my friend! We make a good team. What is your name, anyway? And where are you from?”
The Matoran shook his head. “I wish I could answer that,” he said solemnly. “I don’t remember.”
Pohatu patted him on the back. “Whoever you are, thank you. You were my eyes when I couldn’t see. That was an infected mask, set beside the Koli balls... but who left it there, and placed the balls beside it?”
“What will happen to Po-Koro? And Huki?” asked the traveler.
“I will take this news back to Po-Koro, and help them carry the infected Koli balls into the sea. My Mask of Power will let me get to the village quickly enough, I think, to save even Huki. You are a cunning ally, friend, and brave. I hope that we shall meet again, someday.”
“Thank you, Toa Pohatu,” nodded the Matoran. Pohatu nodded back, and blazed away toward his village.
He stopped in front of Onewa’s hut. “Onewa!” he yelled. “We must gather all the Comets! I will take them to the sea!” Po-Koronans emerged from their huts at the sound of his shout. Several of them rolled Comets out into the square. Pohatu ran into Huki’s hut, which was marked with a black ‘X’, and rummaged around in the villager’s belongings until he found a large net in which to carry the balls. Huki sat up, dazed, but said nothing. He watched the Toa throw his Comet into the sack and run back out.
Onewa was going from door to door collecting the balls. Pohatu rolled them into the bag. “Is that all?”
“Yes, Toa,” replied Onewa. “Even the ones from Kufa’s stand. Though I have no idea where Kufa is.”
Pohatu cinched the bag closed and ran out of the village to the beach. He dumped out the balls and kicked them as far as he could into the ocean. He watched the last one sail away and drop into the blue water. “Curse that evil spirit,” he growled. “Poisoning what my villagers care about the most. One day you will pay for all this pain.” Then he washed the bag in the surf and slung it, dripping, over his shoulder. He ran back to Po-Koro, anxious to see how the sick were faring.
Huki was sitting up on his bed. “Toa Pohatu, is that you?” he said weakly as the Toa came in. “I can’t tell anymore...”
“Yes, it’s me,” replied Pohatu, sitting down and putting his arm around him. “I think you’re going to be all right. Thanks to that colorful fellow who discovered the infection on the Comets.”
“Oh... so that’s why I got so sick... I must... I think my fever is breaking. So can you... would you tell Maku I’m all right?”
“I’d be glad to, Huki,” smiled Pohatu. Huki slumped against him and closed his eyes. Pohatu laid him gently on the bed and quietly left the hut.
Several of the villagers who had been ill were already out of their huts. They stood talking in the village square. “But where did he go?” asked one, glancing at Kufa’s stand.
“I don’t know, but when we find him, we’ll make him pay!” answered another, his face twisted with anger.
Pohatu read the sign on the Comet stand. “‘Gone fishing?’ That would be funny, if he hadn’t just infected half his village,” he grumbled to himself. He turned to Onewa, who had walked up and was standing beside him. “Where do you think he went?”
Onewa frowned. “I have no idea. But the fact that he left in such a hurry makes me think he knew something about the infection. He was gone before you came back from the quarry.”
Pohatu’s heart sank. He was hoping Kufa’s involvement was somehow innocent. He couldn’t stand the idea that one of his villagers had intentionally betrayed the others. “Why would he do such a thing?”
Onewa just shook his head. “I don’t know,” he replied simply. He watched Hafu chipping the black ‘X’ mark off Huki’s hut. “I really don’t know.”
Onewa left to go check on the other Koli players, and Pohatu lay down on the rock Hafu had carved to fit the contours of his body. “I don’t either,” he whispered to himself.
Review topic here.
This post has been edited by GaliGee: Jun 7 2003, 08:44 AM
GaliGee's Stories Redux
I'm back after being banned because my account was hacked. My old stories topic is gone and some of my stories were damaged, but I'm restoring them with a little help from Shadow Vahki. Thanks for bearing with me while I get it back together!
May 1 2003, 01:15 PM
Group: Premier Outstanding BZP Citizens
Joined: 5-June 02
Member No.: 720
Chapter 3: Walls
Pohatu sat up on his rock at the sound of pounding footsteps. Instantly he was outside the gate. "Hello, Onua! Good to see you."
"Hi, Pohatu. The traveler told me about the Nui-Jaga nest. Well done."
"Thanks. Well, the infection is gone, and the villagers should begin to recover, I think. Come on into the village, I heard you coming. And felt it through the stone. You should get a Kakama, you might find the element of surprise to be useful sometime."
Onua groaned. "Yeah, I know. I'm still looking for it. My last mask. Well, on that subject, here!" He took a Pakari from his pack and handed it to Pohatu.
Pohatu was speechless. "You--how--oh, my! Thanks! This is my last one!" As he put the gray Kanohi over his Kakama, the solid outlines of the two masks blurred together. "Oh, I gotta try this!" Pohatu trotted to the edge of the village and selected a boulder. He gave it a kick. The rock soared high in the air, shattering into tiny fragments against a cliff. "Amazing! I barely tapped it!" He tried another, this time with all his newfound strength. Again the boulder exploded, taking off a huge chunk of the bluff as it hit.
"Oh, you are such a great guy!" said Pohatu, beaming. "That's about twenty times the damage that would usually happen, with a stone that size. Where did you get it?"
"Whenua found four of them together, buried underground. I figured I didn't need any of them, so I've been doing a little traveling around the island." Onua crossed his arms. "Now, don't you have a golden Kanohi to collect?"
Onewa and the Po-Koronans had heard the noise and were crowding around the Toa. Pohatu waded through the throng toward the Suva, answering their questions as he walked. "Yes, I have them all now. No, I'm still not as strong as Onua! But he'll never be as fast as me, even when he gets his Kakama!" He winked at his fellow Toa.
A hush fell over the village as Pohatu stepped onto the Suva. He looked around for a moment, then felt himself descending into the center of the shrine. A strange vibration came up through his feet, his body, finally reaching his mask. He saw a brilliant flash, and then he rose again. Out of the corners of his eyes he could see that his Kakama was now a beautiful gold color. It was dazzling in the bright desert sunlight. Pohatu got off the Suva and put his arm around Onua. "You, my friend, are amazing."
"Aww, it was nothing," replied Onua. "I just wish I had been able to help you with the Nui-Jaga."
"Oh, I had very good help," laughed Pohatu. "Look, there he is!" He pointed to the traveler, who had just entered the gate. The Tohunga waved at both Toa. Then Onewa took him by the arm and led him into his hut.
"Whoever that is, I get the impression he's going to be pretty important to Mata Nui," ventured Onua.
Pohatu grinned. "Those little guys can really rise to the occasion. It's incredible how brave they are."
Onua sighed. "Yep, they're gonna need all the courage they can muster. I get the feeling we're going to need their help somehow when we fight Makuta."
"He uses every dirty trick there is, and when he runs out, he invents some more," agreed Pohatu. "Is everything all right in Onu-Koro?"
Onua nodded. "For the time being, Pohatu. You really saved our necks last time those sand Tarakava got into the Great Mine. That rockslide trap you rigged was ingenious."
"Well, I couldn't have set it up without you digging that big pit. You know, I think the reason we get along so well is that your element is just tiny busted-up pieces of my element."
"Excuse me?" Onua asked with mock indignation. "Earth is not just rock! What makes it interesting and useful is the water in it."
"Oh, yeah, I guess so. Say, you have Gali's element in your element, too, you lucky dog. So, have you seen anyone else lately? How are they doing on their quests?"
"Gali is only missing the Kakama, like me. Tahu has his golden Kanohi now. I don't know about Lewa and Kopaka. I'm going to see them next."
"Well, I'll go look for your Kakama, then," said Pohatu. "Yours and Gali's. I bet she'll look fabulous in hers!"
"No doubt," said Onua. "But I have to stop thinking about her so much. Tahu gave me some good advice about that."
"Yeah, he said Gali would never pick a favorite, because jealously is one of Makuta's weapons against us."
"Are you sure he didn't say that to make you back off, so he could…" Pohatu's voice trailed off.
"It's possible, but I believe him. And besides, wouldn't it be just like Makuta to sow doubt among us?"
"Ooh, you're right," agreed Pohatu. "Forget I said that. Besides, what Tahu said sounds pretty wise."
"Yeah, he said we should just enjoy her company and not worry about anything else."
"That makes perfect sense. That way she is truly a blessing, and not a curse. OK, friend, let's get moving, we have Kanohi to find. And deliver."
Onua smiled. "It was really good to see you. I'm so glad you got your gold mask. May the Great Beings protect you!"
Pohatu grinned back. "You, too." As Onua headed for the gate, Pohatu raced away into the desert. "Well, if Onua found me a Pakari, maybe I can find him a Kakama!" he laughed to himself.
Pohatu soon found a good use for his Pakari. That night he was using his Ruru to search for Onua's mask, when he heard rapid foosteps approaching. He peered into the distance and saw Gali running toward him.
"Hi, Gali!" called Pohatu.
Gali stopped, panting. "Hi, Pohatu. I need your help, fast!"
"Fast? Well, I hate to brag, but… what do you need?"
Gali smiled briefly, then continued. "Our astrologer has seen something really ominous. It looks like a meteor. It's heading right for Mata Nui!"
"What direction is it coming from?" asked the Toa of Stone, looking up into the dark, starry night. The moon was out, and it was hard to imagine danger coming from such a beautiful sky.
"Northwest," replied Gali, pointing. "You can't see it yet without the telescope."
Pohatu thought for a minute. "I guess I could try to kick rocks at it and knock it off-course."
"That's why I came to find you."
He smiled. Gali was a few steps ahead of him, as usual. "All right, I'll need to find some suitable stone, and we should get as close as we can. Let's head for the northwest beach. Oh, you don't have a Kakama. Want a ride?"
Gali hesitated. "Well, all right," she agreed. She climbed on his back, and he raced to the beach, marveling at how light she was. He set her down, studied the cliffs, and chose a rock. He kicked it at the cliff, and soon he had an assortment of large boulders at his feet. Gali stood behind him and looked up. "There it is," she said. "There's not usually a star up there, next to the Jaga constellation." Pohatu followed her hook, squinting at the sky. He could barely see a faint pink dot.
"I have no hope of hitting it until it gets a lot closer," he said quietly. "And I'll only have a brief window in which to act. I suppose I'd better practice a few shots." He changed to his Pakari and kicked a small stone as hard as he could. It flew into the air and disappeared into the darkness. Soon they heard it splash into the ocean about two kios away..
"Nice shot," commented Gali. "The Pakari really works great, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does. Did Onua bring you one?"
"He did," she smiled, "but I already had one. Hahli saw it on the bottom of the sea. But it was really kind of him to bring it, anyway. So, do you think we should get more help?"
Pohatu squinted at the growing reddish dot. It now appeared to be moving in the sky. "I don't think we have time. I'll try again," said Pohatu. He fired another boulder at the asteroid. "It's still too far away for me to hit," he shrugged. "But I can tell it's approaching fast. I'll have to try to knock it downward, toward the water, before it gets above the island."
"Would it help if I rolled the rocks to you?" she asked.
"Definitely. Send me the smaller ones first, they'll go farther."
Pohatu glanced at Gali. Her anxious gaze was fixed on the dot, which by now had turned into a fiery ball. They could hear a whistling sound as the huge mass hurtled toward them. "Well, here goes," The Toa of Stone muttered grimly. Gali, now in her Pakari as well, started rolling rocks in front of his feet. He began to shoot them in earnest, firing one after another in a circular pattern. Gali studied the sky, switching between her Akaku and her Ruru. "Higher," she advised. He adjusted his aim and fired some more stone at it. They could hear the boulders raining down into the ocean.
"Keep trying," said Gali. "You almost hit it with those last ones." Pohatu slammed the next rock extra hard. They watched it arc into the sky. Pohatu thought he saw the fiery ball move slightly off its trajectory as his rock shattered and burst into flames.
"Yes! You got it!" Gali rejoiced. Without pausing or taking his eyes off the ball of fire, he shot one projectile after another. Most of them struck the meteor, exploding into blazing trails of flaming stone like a fireworks show. The sound had grown from a whistle to a whine to a deafening roar as the asteroid zoomed closer. Fiery debris was plummeting into the turbulent ocean.
"That thing is huge! If rocks like this are barely moving it… But its course has changed a little. Now it's heading right for us!" The meteor screamed closer. Pohatu yelled to Gali. "Send me a big one! As big as you can!"
He jumped as a large rock, half his height, bounced in front of him. "How did she--well, I'll worry about that later. If there is a later!" He positioned himself behind the boulder and slammed it with his right foot with all his might. The shock rattled every joint in his body, and the vibrations set his limbs humming. The rock flew. And it was a direct hit. The stone and the asteroid burst into pieces with a deafening boom, about two hundred bios out to sea. Flaming chunks plunged into the water with a furious hiss. The earth shook violently, and a huge funnel-shaped wave rose from the ocean at the impact site. Walls of water fifty bios high expanded from the center. Gali lifted her hooks and subdued the growing surge. It subsided into gentle waves. The two Toa switched to their Haus as water and stone fragments rained down around them for a few seconds.
Gali turned to Pohatu. She took his hand and raised it like a champion's. "You won!" she cheered.
"Thanks, Gali," said the exhausted Toa of Stone, still reverberating from the impact with the last rock. "But I couldn't have done it without your help. And you stopped the tidal wave."
"The tidal wave wouldn't have destroyed the island," she remarked.
"Sure, but..." Pohatu tried to take a step forward, but his legs collapsed under him, and he stumbled to his knees. "I'm a little tired. Gali, you can go ahead and go home... I'm just going to rest for a bit." He fell on his face in the sand. Darkness closed in on him.
Pohatu awoke and rolled over. He was lying in the shelter of a group of rocks. He sat up and looked at the sky. From the moon's position, he had been asleep about an hour. He saw Gali wading in the surf up to her knees. "Oh, Pohatu, you're awake," she said, and walked up the beach to sit next to him, carrying something in her hooks.
"Thanks for staying with me," he smiled. "And thanks for moving me out of the way of the tide."
Gali shrugged. "Feel better?"
"I feel great," he replied. "What's that?"
"A piece of the meteorite. I swam out to look at it. The sea is still hot out there." She shook her head. "The biggest piece is about half the size of one of the statues in the quarry. And it's the strangest stone I've ever seen. But I'm no expert. Here." She handed him a piece of dense black rock.
Pohatu weighed the rock with his hands. "This is strange, indeed. Really heavy for its size. And the stone is... well, super-compressed or something. Call me crazy, but it's almost as if the crystal structure is in pain from being crushed into an unnaturally tight formation."
"I can believe that. After all, consider who must have sent it."
"Makuta." Pohatu sighed. "He makes even the stone suffer."
"And the sea as well. It absorbed all that energy." Gali frowned. "A giant meteor, heading straight for the island. It's just like him. Good thing we have a hero like you on our side."
"Hero? I'm just an ordinary guy. I just happen to have extraordinary powers."
"And the willingness to use them to the fullest to save your people," Gali grinned. "What do you think a hero is, anyway?"
Pohatu laughed. "I don't know. I'm just glad the meteor was burning up so fast. If it had stayed as large as it was at first, I never could have deflected it."
"Yes, that's why I didn't shoot any water at it. It might have put out the fire. And the fire was doing more good than my blast could have." Gali stood up. "Well, I'd better go tell Nixie about this, so she can add it to the island's chronicles."
Pohatu got up slowly, feeling the fatigue in his legs. "Oh, Gali, would you please do me a favor? I promised someone... and then I forgot..."
"Sure, what is it?"
"Can you give Maku a message? I mean, without getting her in trouble?"
"It must be from Huki," Gali smiled. "Of course."
"Um, yes," replied Pohatu. "Please just tell her that he is all right. The infection is gone from Po-Koro." He told her the story of the Comets and the Nui-Jaga.
"Well, that's wonderful news. I'll be happy to tell her." Gali patted Pohatu's arm with her hook. "Thanks again."
"No problem." Pohatu watched her walk into the moonlit hills. "Makuta or no Makuta," he thought, "life is good." He picked up the meteor fragment and set off for home. He stretched out on his specially carved stone, and he slept like a rock.
The next morning, Pohatu woke to the noises of a cheering crowd. He sat up, dazed, and looked around. A Koli match was in progress. Onewa walked over to Pohatu's rock. "Good morning, Pohatu. Sleep well?"
"I'll say!" smiled Pohatu. "It sounds like the villagers are happy to be playing Koli again."
"They are. With all the Rahi activity lately, I was reluctant to let them schedule a match. But they've been waiting so long, with the illness, so I relented. Say, there was quite a shooting star in the sky last night. Mokali was on watch duty, and he woke me up. Did you see it?"
"Did I see it? I was there! I was shooting back!" laughed Pohatu.
"Gali's astrologer saw it, and she came and found me. She rolled rocks to me, and I kicked them at it until I deflected it into the sea."
Onewa stared at Pohatu, his eyes full of awe. "You are amazing, my friend. It looked like a really huge meteor."
"She said one of the pieces that landed in the sea was half the size of the quarry carvings. And look at this." Pohatu held out the asteroid fragment to Onewa.
Several Matorans had gathered to listen. They touched the rock admiringly, then looked at their Toa.
"I've never seen stone like this," marveled the Turaga.
"And he's really old," added Zaku. Everone laughed, including Onewa.
As the villagers chatted, Pohatu glanced at the Koli stadium and saw Hafu making his way into the stands. "That's funny," he thought. "Since when has Hafu been interested in Koli?" Then he saw Hafu walk up to Huki, who was sitting with Maku and another Ga-Koronan with a blue Kakama. "Ohhh... now I think I understand. I sure hope Huki doesn't start anything with him. He does have a bit of a temper sometimes."
The Koli champion looked quizzically at the stone carver for a moment. Then, to Pohatu's surprise, Huki gestured for Hafu to sit down on the other side of the Ga-Koronans. The Toa laughed to himself. "Maybe being around the girls is bringing out his best behavior."
"Toa Pohatu," called Huki, "will you please give us a Koli demonstration at halftime?"
"Sure," replied the Toa of Stone. He ambled over to the stadium. The tired players were clearing the field. Huki tossed him a Koli ball as he stepped into the arena. Pohatu bounced it off his head and then his shoulders, chest, knees, and feet. Then he gave it a kick so that it shot toward the crowd--but it was spinning so fast it arced back to Pohatu instead of hitting the spectators. They cheered their approval. Then he fielded the ball and dribbled it around the goals in a cloverleaf pattern with his Kakama at half-speed, so they could see him. He kicked it up over his head and then kicked it back to himself with his heel as he flipped forward, landing with a thud that shook the stadium. Finally he kicked the Koli ball straight up into the air. The fans watched it disappear into the blinding sunlight. They looked at each other in wonder. Pohatu waited for a few seconds until he ball came back down, and he stopped it dead with his foot. Then he gently kicked it back to Huki. The crowd clapped, whistled, and yelled wildly. "There you go," Pohatu smiled. He enjoyed giving the villagers a little show once in a while.
"Thanks, Toa Pohatu!" shouted Huki as the noise died down. "Well, it's my turn to play again. Hafu, will you attend to our guests while I whip those sorry dogs on the other team?"
Hafu laughed. "All right, Huki."
Pohatu rubbed his eyes. Maybe Huki's brush with death had changed him. He watched the Matoran throw himself into his favorite sport with all his heart. He was still the same wisecracking show-off, but there seemed to be a kinder side to him now. He passed the ball more instead of shooting most of the goals himself. And when the game was over and the spectators had dispersed, he called Hafu and the Ga-Koronans down into the arena, and they kicked the ball around for a little while. Then they left to walk the girls back to the beach.
When Huki and Hafu returned, they went back to the Koli stadium to practice some more. As Pohatu passed by on his way out of the village, he overheard Huki. "You're really good at this, Hafu. You want to take Kufa's place on the team?"
"Sure, Huki! That would be great. And I promise I won't sell you any green Koli balls." The two burst out laughing.
Once again Pohatu returned to the desert to look for Onua's and Gali's Kakamas. He had already scoured the area around the village while searching for his own masks, so the only unexplored territory in Po-Wahi was the farthest reaches of the region. So he set off for the rugged cliffs to the northeast, where the island tapered to a point and ended in an archipelago of rocky islets. The blazing afternoon sun beat down on him as he stood on top of the highest bluff, scanning the horizon for Rahi or other clues to the presence of a Kanohi.
Much to his surprise, he saw a Matoran on a nearby cliff. What could he be doing here? The terrain was far too stark for any livestock or crops. He looked like a Po-Koronan, but he was too far away for Pohatu to identify him. The Toa of Stone watched the small figure intently. The Matoran looked down into the ravine below, then leaped off the cliff.
Pohatu was horrified. He activated his mask, bolted down the side of the hill, and threaded his way through the canyons. He skidded to a halt under the cliff in time to catch the Matoran in his arms. Looking down, he recognized Kufa, the Comet salesman who had brought Makuta's infection to Po-Koro. Pohatu sighed. "Maybe I should have let him fall," he grumbled to himself. "Now I'll have to figure out what to do with him."
Kufa struggled in the Toa's arms. "Let me go! I deserve to die! I'm nothing but a traitor!" he cried.
Pohatu frowned at him. "Do you really think you are going to be able to escape me?" he asked.
"No, I suppose not," moaned the Matoran. Pohatu released him, and he threw himself on the ground at the Toa's feet.
Pohatu was in a quandary. Here was the betrayer who had sold out his own people to Makuta and, in doing so, had almost killed half of his fellow villagers. The Toa of Stone felt like slamming the little criminal across the valley. But on the other hand, Kufa was still one of those Pohatu had sworn to protect. He lifted his foot and put it on Kufa's back. He rolled the Po-Koronan toward him like a Koli ball and bounced him on top of his foot. Kufa threw out his arms and grabbed Pohatu's leg, and Pohatu set him down.
"Wow," gasped Kufa, "I thought you were going to kick me into that cliff!"
Pohatu shrugged. "Do you think I rescued you just so I could kill you myself?"
Kufa finally looked up at Pohatu. "What ARE you going to do with me?"
"I'm going to take you back to Po-Koro, so you can face Onewa's justice," Pohatu replied. "He can decide whether or not you deserve to die."
Kufa cringed. "I know he will say I do."
"Are you suddenly afraid of death?"
"No, but I am ashamed to show my face in Po-Koro. I've been living as an outcast, stealing to survive. I'm worse than nothing."
"Walk with me, Kufa, and tell me what happened," said Pohatu.
"Well," began Kufa, taking several steps for each of Pohatu's long strides, "as you know, I'm not much of a Koli player. The other players always made fun of me. Especially Huki. He would never let me play in the big matches."
"Yes, I remember."
"So, one day I was practicing by myself in the desert, so no one would laugh at me, and along came this Matoran. He looked exactly like me! Same black Rau and everything. I asked him who he was and where he was from, but he brushed aside my questions. He asked me why I was practicing alone, and I explained. He told me that he had a new kind of Koli ball that would make me into a really good player."
"Ah, the Comet," remarked Pohatu. "Go on."
"He showed me one, and I tried it, and he was right! It handled really well. But then he told me something strange. He said that these Koli balls would make the other players sick, but just for a day or two. That would give me the chance to play in the upcoming tournament in their place! So, to make a long story short, he gave me the key to the statue of the Kaukau in the quarry, where he was storing a bunch of them, and a vial of antidote to the infection, just enough for myself. I brought some Comets back to the village to sell, and I gave one to Huki for free, to make sure he would get sick."
"You just took this stranger at his word? Without knowing where he got these balls?"
Kufa hung his head. "Yes, I did. He seemed nice enough. I guess I was so eager to get to play, and to cause Huki a little trouble, that I didn't really think about it."
"Well, that was your first mistake," said Pohatu with a grimace.
"I know. And it gets worse. I got to play in the tournament, and I did pretty well, since all the good players were sick. And after I sold all the Comets, I had made a lot of money. So I went back to the quarry to find the Matoran again and get some more balls. I asked him if he had some that weren't infected, and he said no, they were all infected. Even though everyone was still sick after a whole week, and they weren't even starting to get better, the money was so good that I just stopped listening to my conscience."
"That's really horrible," said Pohatu. "You realize that Matoran was really some kind of illusion projected by Makuta, don't you?"
Kufa's eyes widened. "Makuta? Oh, I really did do a terrible thing!" He hung his head again. "And then one day I heard a big crash from the direction of the quarry. I looked down and realized that the key was gone! So I figured something had happened to my supplier, and I was afraid. I took my money, put up a sign, and got out of town as fast as I could."
"Where did you go?" asked Pohatu.
"I started living in the cliffs, coming to the village every now and then to take whatever I needed to survive, and leaving a little money so no one would suspect anything." Kufa paused for a moment, then added, "I'm the richest Matoran in Po-Koro. I have a fortune stashed away in a cave in the cliffs. But I'm also the loneliest, and the most unhappy, because I can never go home again."
Pohatu shook his head. "You can go home. And you will, because that is where you belong."
"Great Toa Pohatu, I can't defy your will," said Kufa in a small voice. "But I know Turaga Onewa will just have me killed."
"Then you will get what you wanted in the first place," shrugged Pohatu.
Kufa sighed. "If only that could make up for all the suffering I caused. I'm so sorry for my crime. You have no idea how much I wish I could go back in time and change things." They walked together in silence. Finally they approached the gates of Po-Koro. Pohatu put his hand on Kufa's shoulder as they walked into the village.
"Look! It's the traitor!" called Huki, who was bouncing a Koli ball off the front of his hut.
A crowd gathered, jeering and hissing. Onewa stepped to the front and waved his hand, and everyone fell silent. "There will be no mob rule in my village," he said sternly. "Toa Pohatu, please bring him to me."
Pohatu led the Comet salesman to Onewa. The Turaga watched as the Matoran bowed so low his mask touched the dirt. "Get up," he ordered. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
Kufa stood and looked into Onewa's eyes. "Nothing, sir," he replied quietly. "I deserve to die for my crime."
Onewa looked up at Pohatu and then at Kufa again. "Your crime is indeed a serious one," he said solemnly. "You endangered the entire village. If it weren't for the bravery of the traveler, and the quick thinking of Toa Pohatu, many of us would have died."
"I know, Turaga. My life is worth nothing now. Please end it for everyone's sake."
Onewa began to pace back and forth. "No life is worthless," he argued.
"Toa Pohatu seems to agree," Kufa nodded. "He just saved my life in the desert."
"Well, if the Great Beings have seen fit to keep you alive this long, perhaps the example of your contrition will serve us well." Onewa rapped his hammer on a rock. "You will forfeit your profits from the Comet sales to the Po-Koro treasury. And I sentence you to five years of mucking the stables."
The crowd erupted into laughter. Kufa stood, dazed, looking at Onewa. "Thank you, Turaga!" he croaked. "Thank you for the second chance. I will serve my village well."
Zaku tossed a shovel to Kufa. "Thank goodness. It was my turn!" he chuckled. "Now none of us will have to do it for five years!"
Kufa turned and ran to the stables. Pohatu could see him through the window, shoveling enthusiastically. He turned to Onewa. "Good call, Ref," he smiled.
Onewa grinned back. "If you had enough faith that mercy would work better than justice in this case, I was willing to go along."
"Faith?" asked Pohatu, puzzled.
The Turaga watched the villagers disperse, talking rapidly among themselves. "Yes, faith. Why else would you have spared him?"
Pohatu thought for a moment. "Well, when I saved him from jumping off a cliff, I didn't recognize him. But I refrained from drop-kicking him across the island, because he is a Po-Koronan, no matter what he did. And I swore to protect you all. And besides, that way I could force you to make the decision, Onewa."
Onewa looked at Pohatu and laughed. "Oh, that's really funny! Well, I have a feeling that it'll turn out all right."
"Your faith is very strong," said Pohatu with a sly smile. “Well, I suppose it’s time to get back to Kanohi hunting.”
He glanced up and saw Huki tearing the posters of himself off the walls of the stadium. Pohatu walked over to him. “What are you doing, Huki?”
“Oh, it was silly of me to call so much attention to myself,” the Matoran replied with an embarrassed smile. “Especially after Hafu moved that statue of himself out of the town square. He put it over by his work area, in hopes that the Rahi would see it and leave his statues alone.”
“Say, it was nice of you to invite Hafu to join the Koli team. I’m glad you two are getting along better.”
Huki laughed. “We’ve both been working for Turaga Onewa for so long. We were fools, acting too proud to be friends all this time.”
“So, where is Hafu, anyway?”
Huki sighed. “He went with the Chronicler—you know, that traveling Matoran. They’re on some secret mission to help you Toa. And Maku went, too. I was really hoping Turaga Onewa would let me go, but he said I had to stay here.”
“I’m sure it was a tough decision for him. He relies so much on both of you.”
“Well, at least Hafu will be there to look after her.” Huki crushed the leaves into a tight ball.
“You’re really worried about her, aren’t you?”
“Yes. I missed her when she was confined to her hut. But at least I knew she wasn’t risking her life, traveling to come see me.”
“That’s really sweet. But she’s pretty tough, I think.” Pohatu started to tell Huki about the time he saved her from the Tarakava on the beach, but then he thought better of it. “You should be really proud of her.”
“I am,” Huki smiled. “I’m so lucky she cares for me.”
“Someday soon, we’ll rid this place of Makuta. And then you will be able to see each other more.”
Huki looked into his Toa’s eyes. “I am looking forward to that day so much. I’ve forgotten what peace is like.”
Pohatu patted Huki on the back. The he heard footsteps behind him. He turned to see two soldiers from Jala’s guard. “Toa Pohatu, you are summoned to the Kini-Nui for the final battle with Makuta,” one of them announced. Huki bowed silently and ran for Onewa’s hut. Pohatu thanked the Ta-Koronans and followed Huki. All the Po-Koronans were talking excitedly with their Turaga.
Pohatu cleared his throat. “I’m going to the final battle with Makuta. I’ll see you all soon.” Everyone cheered. A few had a worried look, and Pohatu patted their heads reassuringly. Then he headed for the great temple where the Toa would fulfill their mission—or die trying.
Tahu was standing alone in the clearing at the Kini-Nui. “Pohatu,” nodded the Toa of Fire.
“Tahu,” replied the Toa of Stone. “Good to see you.”
“You, too. Are you ready to fight this demon?”
“Definitely! I can’t wait!”
Tahu took a deep breath. “Pohatu, I want to ask you something. Can you give me a good reason why I should trust Kopaka?”
“Sure. Because he’s a Toa. He controls the element of ice, and we need him to fulfill our shared destiny of defeating Makuta.”
“Well, I know that,” sighed Tahu. “But I don’t know him. I’ve never really seen him fight, and I don’t know what his strengths and weaknesses are. How can I count on him in a battle?”
“From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses,” said Pohatu. “He must have one, but I don’t know what it is. He has a lot of strengths, though. He’s incredibly competent and self-reliant. That’s probably why we don’t know him very well.”
“I suppose so. I used to distrust Lewa, because he was a loner, too, but then he sought my help to work on something. He’s brave, almost to the point of being reckless, but he’s a strong fighter. And I think he has changed since the Rama hive experience.”
“I heard about that. What a nightmare. It’s a good thing Onua showed up to knock that infected mask off him.” Pohatu nodded grimly. “Lewa was helpful to me, even before that, though. I think he still prefers to be alone, but he’ll pull his weight when it comes time to fight. So, back to Kopaka... I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I get the impression he’s very driven to save his people. He’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means putting his life on the line.”
“Thanks, Pohatu. I knew I could count on you. Now I feel ready, too.”
Soon Lewa and Kopaka arrived as well. And then Onua and Gali jumped from the mouth of the tunnel from Onu-Koro. The other Toa cheered and crowded around Onua. Pohatu slapped him on the back. “Here’s to the Toa who showed us the meaning of friendship,” he said.
“And teamwork,” added Kopaka, raising his blade in a salute.
Lewa put his arm around Onua. “Thanks to you, we all have our golden Kanohi. Maybe we’ve had to learn the hard way at times, but we’ll show Makuta how well we can fight!”
“Thanks for the Kakama,” said Onua to Tahu. “And everything else.” He glanced at Gali. Pohatu smiled to himself. “That must be for sending Gali with his mask. I’m sure it made his day!”
Tahu winked at Onua. “You’re welcome, friend. Now, let’s get ready. This is where we begin our final task. If any of you question our choice, or doubt our chances if we work together, speak now.”
Kopaka spoke up, much to everyone’s surprise. “I have doubted you in the past, Tahu, but no more. I think I speak for us all when I say that our only hope is to work together. So I cast my sword with yours, if you will have it.”
“I will have it gladly, Kopaka,” replied Tahu with a solemn smile. “You are all in assent?”
The Toa looked at one another and nodded.
“Then it is decided,” Tahu continued. “Together, Makuta cannot resist us.”
Lewa stepped forward. “Wait, Tahu! Have you given no thought to our return? If the Rahi attack the temple while we are below, how can we escape?”
“I do not know the answer to that question, Lewa. So grim is this task, that I have not thought it much use to consider anything beyond our meeting with Makuta.”
As they pondered this problem, Onua tensed his body and raised his claws in a defensive stance. “Hold! There is an intruder among us!” They saw a party of Matoran cresting the hill across the field from the temple. “But… what is this?”
“Stay your claws, Onua!” said Gali. “It is the Chronicler, and his company!”
Onua dropped his arms as the villagers crossed the field. Pohatu smiled as he recognized Hafu and Maku among them.
Gali addressed the leader, the multi-colored traveler that had helped Pohatu fight the Nui-Jaga at the quarry. “Little one,” she remarked, “you are brave indeed to have come all this way. And I see you have gathered help from all the villages around! Tahu, it is as I hoped. These Tohunga can guard the Kini-Nui while we descend, and see that no Rahi attacks us from behind.”
Lewa spoke slowly. “The Rahi are fearsome. May their hearts prove greater than their size would suggest!”
Pohatu remembered the bravery of the wandering Matoran, and the way he seemed to know just how to help. And tales of his courage and inventiveness had reached the Toa of Stone from the other villages. “In truth it is said that great power can be found in small packages, and that aid can come from places least expected,” Pohatu noted. He shrugged his shoulders. “And besides, we have few options.”
“So be it,” Tahu declared. “Chronicler, it is your doom to remain here, and guard the Kini-Nui at all costs. This deed will be remembered as long as any remain to sing of it! Friends, we have much to do and little time. Let’s go!”
After Gali explained to the Chronicler how she would communicate to him as the Toa descended to fight Makuta, Onua leaned toward the Matoran. “Chronicler,” he said, “you have preceded me all over Mata Nui. You have saved many villagers before a Toa could even get there to help. Whatever happens to you, know that the spirit of your courage will live on in the hearts of all who have crossed your path.”
The Matoran seemed overwhelmed by so much attention from the mighty heroes of Mata Nui. He bowed his head. “Thank you. We will not let you down.”
And the Toa walked onto the central platform of the temple. Pohatu watched the others drop into the ground, and then he felt himself falling straight down. The platform on which he was standing come to a sudden stop. Except for the echoes of the now-motionless stones, there was silence. And there was complete darkness, except for a narrow circular crack in the wall that was shining red. Pohatu shivered as he realized that he was surrounded by the same unnaturally dense stone as the meteor. “This is the realm of Makuta, all right,” he thought, touching the walls with his fingertips. He quickly recoiled at the damp, slimy feel of the stone.
Tahu ignited his blade and looked around at his companions in the dusty glow. "This must be the entrance to Makuta's lair." He waved his sword at the crack. The Toa could see the image of a monolithic creature carved on the door.
"We must form the Toa Kaita now!" urged Gali. "Kopaka, Lewa, you are with me."
Pohatu and Onua stepped next to Tahu. As if programmed to do so, Pohatu began to take himself apart. He watched the others do the same, and then they began to reassemble themselves into a new creature, larger and more magnificent than anything Pohatu had ever imagined. As the great warrior neared completion, Tahu’s head was lifted onto the mighty shoulders and slid onto the neck. His eyes met those of Pohatu, whose head was lying on the ground. As he stared into the red glow of his friend's eyes, Pohatu felt as if he were joining Tahu inside his head. Then he--or they--turned to face Onua, and the dark Toa behind the emerald green eyes appeared inside the shared mind as well.
The three identities were separate, dwelling inside one head together. Pohatu spoke, and felt his own voice resonating inside the head. "Tahu, Onua, can you hear me?" He heard Onua say, "Here I am." As he put the gold Hau on his face, Tahu responded, "And here I am."
Pohatu felt a flood of memories pour out of his mind and mingle with those of Onua and Tahu, which flashed before his eyes as if he were living them himself. He saw Lewa, wearing an infected Kanohi, lunging at him in the foul-smelling Rama hive, and he shuddered as Lewa's axe hit his back. He looked down with exhilaration and felt the heat of the molten lava flying under his stone surfboard. He was seized with panic as dozens of Nui-Rama rammed the narrow spire on which he was standing, and he dug furiously downward to safety. He saw a Nui-Kopen screaming down from the sky and watched fire shoot out of his sword, sending the giant insect flaming into the treetops. And he heard Gali say, “No, Tahu, I--I don’t think it would be wise. We Toa form a perfect hexagon of elemental powers. If two of the vertices draw together, there is no more symmetry...” Pohatu suddenly felt the torment in Tahu’s heart, and he spoke gently to his friend. "Trust Gali… her words were wise, and they are still true." And he sensed Tahu’s anxiety about Gali dissipate like the smoke from a bonfire on a windy night. Onua's words addressed their apprehension about Makuta: "The Great Beings created us for this very task. We will unite, and we will prevail." And Pohatu felt the courage well up inside him--or perhaps it was inside the great composite creature they had become. He heard Tahu speak to the others: "Makuta will regret the day he threatened those we love." And then there was no more Tahu, Pohatu, or Onua-there was Akamai, Toa Kaita of Valor. "Spirit of Valor--hear me!" he heard his own triple voice call out, in perfect unison.
Akamai turned to look at his companion, Wairuha, Toa Kaita of Wisdom. In his shining silver Miru, he looked sleek and powerful. "So, Wairuha, you are joined. Let us now choose a path and go into the darkness to face our destiny, be it good or ill."
The two Kaita separated and strode into the blackness. There they faced a host of Manas, huge snapping beasts which Akamai remembered from the legends of the Turaga. They were be rumored to be the dire guardians of Makuta himself, and they were much more ferocious than the most vicious Rahi. After being battered and thrown to the ground, Akamai began to doubt whether the Kaita could win. “This, then, is how it ends, Wairuha,” he said grimly. But as he listened to the wisdom of his companion, vowing to take down the monsters with them, they both realized the creatures’ weakness--the mechanical towers lining the walls of the gloomy cavern were controlling them. Working together, the Kaita slashed through the towers, and the savage giant crabs fell motionless to the floor. In the sudden silence the Kaita surveyed the damage.
"We have survived," panted Akamai.
"For now. We were lucky," smiled Wairuha.
"Wisdom provides only when valor is in its service," remarked Akamai. "And vice versa." He was grateful for his friend's insight, which had meant the difference between dying a noble death and winning the battle.
The two combined Toa watched the circular door rise and stepped through the doorway. But they immediately felt the tug of bizarre forces on their bodies.
"I feel… strange," said Akamai.
"Feels like-being torn apart!" Wairuha stumbled and fell to his knees.
The Kaita watched in amazement as their parts were pulled off and fell to the ground. Akamai felt his mind disintegrate into three individuals, and then Pohatu found himself alone in his own head again. He reassembled himself as he had done so long ago on the beach, each part finding its counterpart, and regained his wholeness.
"What has happened?" asked Tahu.
"The spirit of Makuta… is the spirit of destruction," said Gali slowly. "This is his inner realm. The Toa Kaita cannot exist here."
Pohatu felt a wave of fear. All around him, the compressed stone seemed to cry out in its strained agony. He suddenly doubted his ability to control it--and his chances of defeating its architect. "The Manas nearly destroyed the Toa Kaita. And Makuta is ten times greater than they. What hope do we have?"
"The Toa Kaita merely gave physical form to the force of our unity,” reasoned Gali. “We still possess it, in our hearts."
"But the Toa Kaita's wisdom and valor were unmatched," objected Lewa, shaking his head.
Tahu spoke in an even, reassuring tone. "Where wisdom and valor fail, all that remains is faith. And it can overcome all. Gali is right. We must go on."
Pohatu smiled slowly as he thought about the Great Beings, who had created him knowing that one day he would face the one who could crush stone until it screamed. And the Toa of Stone believed with all his heart that good could prevail over evil. Tahu’s words had bolstered his courage at its lowest ebb, and he would remember them forever.
Side by side, the Toa walked into the lair. Overhead, they saw a powerful vortex of swirling parts. The strange wind that animated them made an eerie moaning noise. Tahu stepped forward. "Makuta!" he called in a loud, clear voice. "We have come!"
From the dark recesses of the den, a strange, small figure emerged. It was a Tohunga, wearing a Hau and covered with mottled patches of corrosion and infection.
Tahu recoiled. "What?!"
"I have been waiting for you," said Makuta in a gravelly voice.
The Toa struggled to understand this strange apparition. How could Makuta be a Matoran—one of those they had sworn to protect? As they argued with him, he countered with nihilistic lies. "I bore you. For I am Nothing. And out of Nothing, you came. And it is into Nothing that you will go."
Pohatu frowned. “Nothing is farther from the truth,” he thought.
"I stand by Mata Nui, side by side. I am his brother," continued the Spirit of Evil. "The people of the world are builders. But look into their hearts… and you will find that they have also the power to destroy. I am that power. I am destruction. And I WILL destroy you." At this, his eyes narrowed to sinister slits.
Tahu still looked confused. "But… you are but a Tohunga!"
"You expected something else?" snarled Makuta. "Something like THIS?" A massive cluster of dark tentacles emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, and lifted his head high into the air. Then the long, powerful tentacles began to lunge at the Toa. Kopaka quickly switched to his Kakama and ran. But the enemy was faster, slamming the Toa of Ice to the ground. Onua's Hau deflected the thick rope-like strands, but then they circled behind him and struck him. Pohatu and Gali tried to dodge the assault and were swept away. Lewa levitated above the tentacles, but they reached up for him and entwined around his legs, dragging him down. Tahu hacked at them with his sword, but like Onua, he was overcome by an attack from behind, and was thrown to the floor. The massive beast regrouped himself, his ominous laughter resonating against the dank walls of the lair.
The Toa jumped up and approached Makuta again. Tahu called to the others above the roar. "Our only hope is to work together!" And he directed his fiercest flame straight at the heart of the creature. Kopaka powered up and shot a blast of extreme cold. Gali discharged a powerful jet of water. Lewa fired a gale-force wind. Onua formed a glowing green ball between his claws and slammed it into the floor.
Pohatu assessed the integrity of the stone floor. Despite its super-compressed state, he detected a minute imperfection in front of him. “That’s all I need,” he grinned, and he smashed his foot onto the ground with all his strength. He felt the power of his blow resonate inside the tiny fissure. The tortured rock sprang apart, forming a yawning abyss as all the stored energy of the stone was released in a deafening crack. Pohatu had turned Makuta’s evil stonework against him.
The Toa watched as four streams of elemental energy caused the strange head to bob and thrash. Then the two slower powers made their impact. Huge chunks of earth and stone erupted from the ground, assaulting the vicious monster. He uttered one more threat as his head spun from its body. "You cannot destroy me… for I am Nothing." Disembodied parts rained down on the Toa. The echoes of the battle fell silent, and they stood looking at one another.
Pohatu watched Tahu’s body vibrate and turn white, and he was transported away. Pohatu felt himself being raised as well, and he found himself in the middle of the temple at Kini-Nui. The other Toa appeared around him, similarly dazed. As his eyes adjusted to the beautiful sunlight, he noticed the crowd of Matorans waiting for them--the Chronicler's party (except for its leader), along with most of the Ta-Koronan Guard, the Onu-Koronan Ussalry, and the Le-Koronan Kahu-Force. The villagers cheered and shouted and flung their discs into the air.
"We did it!" shouted Tahu, raising his sword. "We defeated Makuta! Mata Nui is safe again!"
"Hooray!" cheered Lewa as he launched into a back flip.
"Praise the Great Beings!" yelled Pohatu, clasping Onua's raised claw with his hand.
"Well done, everyone," Kopaka grinned, leaning back on his blade. Gali tipped her head back and laughed.
The Matorans ran over to the Toa and embraced their legs. The Toa sat amidst them and told them about the battle. Pohatu put his arms around Hafu and hugged him tightly. As they reveled in the peace that came with victory, Pohatu smiled at his fellow Toa and the brave Matorans they were privileged to protect. Finally the villagers left for home, and Pohatu lay down on the ancient tranquil stone of the temple floor and drifted off to sleep.
Reply topic here.
This post has been edited by GaliGee: Oct 24 2003, 09:43 AM
GaliGee's Stories Redux
I'm back after being banned because my account was hacked. My old stories topic is gone and some of my stories were damaged, but I'm restoring them with a little help from Shadow Vahki. Thanks for bearing with me while I get it back together!
May 22 2003, 10:29 AM
Group: Premier Outstanding BZP Citizens
Joined: 5-June 02
Member No.: 720
Chapter 4: Gables
Peace was short-lived on Mata Nui. The Toa rose the next morning to sounds of destruction. After their first battle with the ravaging Bohrok swarms in Ta-Wahi, Turaga Vakama explained that the secret to defeating the relentless bug-like creatures was to collect the small rubbery krana that controlled them. As he listened to the grim truth about the new enemies, Pohatu remembered the warning on the stone he and Lewa had seen in Le-Wahi. "Wake one, and you wake them all." His feet pounded angrily into the earth as he ran back to Po-Koro. The only thing that kept him from being overcome by bitterness was the thought of Onua throwing him out of the way of a landslide started by the Pahrak, his elemental counterparts in the swarms. "What a friend. At least we have each other to rely on. And after what we've been through, we know each other so well... there's a blessing built into every situation. Even ours."
He arrived in the village to face a worried Onewa. "What's happening, Pohatu?"
"Turaga, you probably know more about it than I do. The Bohrok are awake."
Onewa gasped and dropped his hammer.
Pohatu put his hand on Onewa's shoulder. "But we Toa have grown stronger and wiser from fighting the Rahi and their evil master. We'll protect you. Somehow."
The Turaga stooped and picked up his hammer. "I'm sorry, Toa Pohatu. I should be congratulating you on your victory over Makuta. Well done. You are truly the heroes we had been waiting for. And you, Toa of Stone, have given us so much more than mere deliverance from fear. You have united us in a way we never knew was possible." He glanced at Huki and Hafu as they approached.
"I don't think it was me," Pohatu smiled modestly. "I think it had more to do with the adversity we all faced together. But thank you."
Huki nodded to Pohatu. "Thank you, Toa Pohatu, for all your hard work! We are really grateful for everything you have done for us."
"My pleasure, Huki," replied the Toa. "Now I suppose we need to tell the village about this new enemy."
When Huki and Hafu had assembled the Po-Koronans, Onewa explained the menace of the Bohrok from the legends, with Pohatu filling in details from the recent battle and from Vakama's speech. The Matorans looked confused and anxious.
Mokali spoke first. "If the Bohrok control the same elements as the Toa, how will the Toa defeat them?"
"That does make them very dangerous. But Makuta controlled those elements as well," Pohatu reminded him. "And we defeated him because we worked together. We will just have to be smarter than they are. Every breed must have a weakness, and we will learn to exploit it."
"Is there any way we can help?" asked Hafu.
Onewa answered this time. "We must be as self-reliant as we can in the villages. That will give the Toa the chance to go out and collect the krana. Of course, we will restrict our travel to the most essential missions."
Huki groaned and covered his mask with his hands.
"How many of these things are there?" Zaku wondered.
"Countless hordes," said Onewa grimly.
"But in a way," remarked Pohatu, "that will make it easier for us to find all the krana we need. The challenge will be to stay safe as we do it. I suspect we Toa will be working together quite a bit."
"I will contact Whenua and ask if he can spare some members of the Ussalry to accompany you herdsmen to the fields," said Onewa. "And we will resume the watch schedule we were using during the time of the infected Rahi."
Mokali raised his hand. "Turaga Onewa, please sign me up for double duty."
Onewa smiled at his eager villager. After a few more questions, he dismissed the meeting. The Matorans returned to their daily work, and Pohatu walked with Mokali to his hut.
"I noticed you still walk with a limp," sighed the Toa. "I'm so sorry I hurt you."
"Toa Pohatu, I really don't mind this limp. I'm not in pain anymore. It's just a dent in my knee that keeps it from bending all the way." Mokali turned his black Huna toward the Toa and gave him a big smile. "And it reminds me how lucky I am to be alive. Thanks to you."
Pohatu was amazed at his attitude. "That's a wonderful way to look at it."
"Besides, while I was recovering, my friend Taipu sent over a lute. The Le-Koronans gave it to him after Onua rescued them from the Rama hive. I learned to play it, and now I take it everywhere, up to the watch post and out to the fields. I play it to keep myself awake, and I write songs, too. I even wrote one about how you Toa came to the island and defeated Makuta."
"Really? Can I hear it?"
"I'd love to play it for you. Come on in." Mokali led Pohatu into his little hut, and the Toa sat cross-legged on the floor as the villager sang and strummed his wooden instrument. The lovely, mournful music filled the tiny space and transported Pohatu to another world. The last verses described the heroic battle against the Spirit of Evil and the exquisite paradise of Mata Nui after the victory.
Pohatu's voice caught in his throat. "That was beautiful," he said. "I wish the last verse would last a little longer, though."
Mokali looked up at him. "Me, too. But we'll have paradise again, I'm sure."
"You're right. Thanks so much for playing for me!" The Toa reached over and put his hand on the Matoran's shoulder. Then he rose and ducked out of the hut. He walked slowly up the steps to the watch post and stood next to Huki. They surveyed the shimmering desert horizon in silence.
It didn't take long for the new invaders to show themselves. As Pohatu scanned the cliffs in the distance, he saw one of then shake and begin to lean to one side. Then it collapsed in a big pile of rubble, sinking part of the way into the ground. A few seconds later, the sound of the crash reached them.
"What the--" Huki stammered.
"Pahrak, maybe, or Nuhvok," said Pohatu. "Time to go back to work." He nodded to the Matoran and raced down the stairs, and out into the desert.
He reached the cliffs and stopped, scanning with his Akaku. Patterns of heat were moving around deep underground. The now-familiar bug-like shape became more clear as the creatures approached the surface from time to time. "Those must be Nuhvok," thought Pohatu. "Now, how am I going to get down there?" He looked around for a tunnel entrance, but he saw none. Presumably they had tunneled from another part of the island. "Maybe I should get Onua's help."
Just then he heard rumbling sounds, and he realized the creatures were moving below him. Suddenly the ground he was standing on collapsed into a huge sinkhole, twenty bios across. Pohatu felt himself falling backwards. He landed on his back with a huge pile of earth on top of him. He struggled to push away the dirt and get some air. "Where's Onua when you need him?" he grumbled.
He felt a claw reach across his chest, and he was pulled up out of the ground and set on his feet. He turned around to see the Toa of Earth.
"Well, speaking of Onua," he marveled, "here you are! Thanks!"
"No problem. Now, I need your help with these vermin," said Onua. "Get yourself some rocks, we're going back down there.
"All right, Boss," replied Pohatu. He ran to the shattered cliff and gathered a pile of stones as Onua dug back into the ground. He followed the black Toa, carrying a few of the rocks and switching to his Ruru. They soon came to a wider clearing that had been excavated by the Nuhvok. Two passageways diverged in the darkness.
Onua gestured for Pohatu to take the left one while he took the right. "These tunnels curve around, and meet up on the far side," he said in a low voice. "The Nuhvok are in there, getting ready to undermine another cliff. Be prepared to fight, and to avoid a landslide."
Pohatu crept into his tunnel as quietly as he could. He feared the Nuhvok could feel the vibrations of his footsteps through the earth, if their powers were indeed like Onua's.
As Onua had predicted, the tunnel took a turn to the right, and Pohatu found himself face to face with a group of Nuhvok. He changed to his Hau and quickly fired several rocks into the swarm, and they fell, their head cases knocked open and krana fallen out. Then more Bohrok appeared, but Pohatu was out of stones. He used his Kakama to race over to the rocks he had used before. As he lined up a shot, he heard a sound behind him. He was surrounded!
Praying that the Nuhvok behind him wouldn't attack, he kicked some of the stones at the ones in front, and then spun, Hau activated, to face the others. They were frozen in place, imprisoned in jagged crystals of ice.
"Kopaka!" Pohatu called gratefully.
Kopaka pushed an ice-covered Bohrok out of his way with his foot. "Let's go help Onua," he suggested. Pohatu followed him further down the tunnel, where Onua was taking krana out of several of the creatures he had buried with a cave-in. "Ah, hello, Kopaka! It's good to see you!"
Kopaka nodded at Onua. "You, too. Are there any more, do you think? I don't see any."
Onua closed his eyes and leaned his head against the earthen wall. "I don't hear any. But wait…" His eyes snapped open in alarm. "The cliff is collapsing."
"I feel it, too!" gasped Pohatu. "We've got to move, fast!"
Onua spun, changed to his Kakama, and ran back down the tunnel, Kopaka and Pohatu close behind. Pohatu felt the vibrations getting stronger. He was helpless to stop the disintegration of the stone, and the impact of its fall would probably cause the soil to liquefy and the tunnels to collapse on them.
The Toa shot out of the ground a few dozen bios away from the cliff and kept running. The mighty mass of rock fell behind them, shaking the ground as it crashed down into the earth. When they were a safe distance away, the three stopped and looked at the damage. Pohatu groaned as he thought about the strong, majestic cliff, now a pile of disorganized rubble, and remembered with regret his destruction of Onewa's favorite stone arch. Onua patted his shoulder. "I'm sorry. It looks like anything beautiful is a potential target for these monsters."
Pohatu shook his head. "Well, thanks for coming and saving me, both of you. At least we're all alive to defend their next target." He looked at Kopaka. He was pleasantly surprised the Toa of Ice had come to help.
"I heard the racket and knew something was going on," said Kopaka in response to his unspoken question. "You would have done the same for me, I'm sure." He turned and headed back to his region.
“Without him, I might have been testing Vakama’s theory of krana mind-stealing right now,” remarked Pohatu. " And you... how do you always know when someone's in trouble?"
Onua shrugged. "Just a sixth sense, I guess. Well, I'm going home. You be careful."
"I will. You, too," replied the Toa of Stone. He ran back to his village as Onua disappeared into the earth.
A couple of days later, Onua and Kopaka showed up again. "We have a plan," said the black Toa to Pohatu.
"There's a big Tahnok swarm that has been terrorizing our Wahi," explained Kopaka. "First they were ravaging Ko-Koro, and then they wrecked some of the outlying shallow mines of Onu-Koro. It looks like they're heading for your village now."
Pohatu flinched. "Thanks for the warning."
"We're not just warning you. We need your help," replied Onua. "I dug a tunnel from the Komo-Lai canyon to the sea, and Kopaka froze an ice plug at the canyon end to hold back the water. We need for you to kick a rock and shatter the ice when the Tahnok show up. The canyon is below sea level, so the water will flow through the tunnel and flood the Bohrok."
"And then Gali can swim into the water after them, and collect some krana, while you watch out for her," finished Kopaka.
Pohatu grinned. "Glad you don't have me signed up for the swimming part."
"We don't need an anchor, Pohatu!" laughed Onua.
Kopaka seemed impatient. "Onua, why don't you go show him where it is, while I go find Gali? I'll tell her to meet you in Po-Koro." Onua nodded, and Kopaka blazed away.
Onua smiled at Kopaka's disappearing blue blur. "His heart is not nearly as cold as he would like us to believe," he remarked.
"I get that impression, too," Pohatu nodded.
"All right, follow me," said Onua. He switched to his Kakama, and they streaked off toward the canyon. Soon they were picking their way along the narrow ledges under the cliffs. "Right there." The Toa of Earth pointed to a block of ice embedded in the rock.
"How will we get the Tahnok to come here?"
"Well, it's really the only way to get to Po-Koro from the Miko Plain, where they are gathered now. They seem to regroup once in a while to communicate, or restore themselves, or something. Who knows what they are really doing."
"And you think they intend to attack my village?" asked Pohatu.
"From what we've seen, they are attracted by any kind of order or intelligent activity, so they have no doubt already scouted out your village, with its paths and carvings. It's just a matter of time."
Pohatu shuddered. "Unless they go over the Paku-Taku pass. Then they'll be at the village in a matter of minutes."
"Let's hope they'll take the easy way," remarked Onua. "At any rate, it's worth a try. We can knock out a lot of them at once, with a lot less risk than if we attacked them in close combat."
"Definitely," agreed the Toa of Stone. "Your plan is brilliant. We'll never beat them one at a time, and we'll only destroy the island if we try to blast them with elemental power every time they show up."
"Exactly. Kopaka's really a genius. Well, head back to Po-Koro, so Gali can find you there. I'm going to see what's happened to Lewa. May the Great Beings protect you!" Onua jumped off the ledge and landed on the bottom of the ravine with his Miru, then tunneled away.
Pohatu climbed out of the canyon and glanced toward his village. What he saw made his heart sink. "Smoke! The Tahnok must have gone over the pass, after all! But what are they burning? There's nothing combustible over there." He sniffed the air and gasped in horror. "They're burning the SAND!" Pohatu, not sure what to expect from creatures that could vaporize his element, raced toward Po-Koro.
His amplified vision brought a terrifying scene into focus as he arrived at the village gates. Hafu was standing, pickaxe in hand, before a swarm of menacing Tahnok. The beautiful statues of the Path of Prophecy were overturned, blocking the main gate. The Bohrok in front of Hafu crouched, flipping open its head plate. Before he could even think what to do, Pohatu found himself zooming into their midst and scooping up the frightened Matoran. A dark blue krana tumbled harmlessly into the sand.
The Toa of Stone set Hafu down. "I can't leave you guys alone for a minute, can I?" he said with a wink. He surveyed the crowd of Tahnok. "Hmm. Maybe I should have thought this one through a little better."
As the Bohrok growled and moved closer, silhouetted against the yellow glow of the burning desert, Pohatu desperately looked around. "Too high for the Miru... nowhere to run with the Kakama... not enough stones to kick at the Tahnok... a landslide this close would destroy the village..." There was a pile of rocks behind them, and the one on top was long and flat. "A lever!" thought Pohatu excitedly. "Now, how to make it work?" He glanced up at the cliff above. Onewa was standing with Huki, Zaku, and Mokali at the lookout post. "If someone up there could kick a stone and knock loose that rock underneath, while we stand on the lower end of the big one..." Suddenly Pohatu knew what to do.
The Toa switched to his Komau and sent a signal. "Help us, Huki."
Huki shook his head, then grabbed a stone about the size of a Koli ball. He lined up the shot. The rock flew, striking the support under the lever. Pohatu grabbed Hafu. "Time to go!"
The flat rock tipped, launching the Toa and the stone-carver into the air. They landed gently on the top of the cliff, with the help of Pohatu's Miru.
Pohatu set down Hafu and turned to Huki. "Nice shot," he smiled. As he walked toward Onewa, Huki and Hafu hugged each other tightly. Mokali and Zaku cheered.
"Well done, Pohatu. That was very quick thinking," commented Onewa.
"Surprised you, did I?" laughed Pohatu, looking out over the horde of Tahnok. "But... now what?"
Onewa pointed. "That looks like Gali."
"It is Gali! She was supposed to help me with that Tahnok trap. Guess this is a slight change of plan."
Gali materialized out of a blue blur between the swarm of fiery bug-like creatures and the village. She changed instantly to her mask of strength and shot water at the invaders. They rolled backwards and sprang to their feet again.
"Thanks, Gali! Way to go!" shouted Pohatu. He kicked a barrage of massive boulders over her head at the Tahnok. With grim determination she hit the Bohrok with her powerful stream again and again, until they were exhausted from the cold, wet assault. A final burst of water and stone sent them tumbling into a ravine, where they lay steaming. But Pohatu could see more smoke rising on the horizon, in the direction of the Komo-Lai canyon. "There must be more of them over there. We'll still be able to trap some," he commented to Onewa.
Gali began to scramble up the cliff with her hooks. Pohatu chipped a few footholds in the cliff and met her halfway down. He put his arm around her waist and jumped with his powerful legs. Both Toa changed to their Mirus and alighted on the cliff.
Pohatu smiled at Gali. "Good work, my fine blue friend." He turned to Turaga Onewa. "You must evacuate the village," he warned. "Those Tahnok will be back. Gali and I are going to trap them and retrieve some krana, but the goat-dogs will bring them fresh krana. They will surely return to finish melting their way through the statues that Hafu knocked over in front of the gate."
Onewa nodded. "Onu-Koro has been flooded by the Gahlok. And Le-Koro is so far away… Do you think the Ga-Koronans could accommodate us, Gali?"
"Of course, Onewa. Nokama will be glad to see you, despite the unfortunate circumstances."
"Then so be it," declared the brown Toa. "I'll kick an opening in the cliff at the far side of the village. Gali, can you help them put together a few boats?"
"You won't believe this," said Onewa, "but we actually have some boats, in case of emergency. Nokama gave them to us long ago. Since the air here is so dry, they should be well preserved, and still seaworthy."
Gali looked surprised. "Then let's get them to the beach."
The Toa helped Onewa and the Po-Koronans carry the water craft to the seashore. Huki and Hafu took their places next to the Turaga in the first boat and gripped the gunwales tightly. Behind his stoic mask, Onewa's eyes looked as if he was fighting panic. Several villagers grasped the oars, and Pohatu launched each boat with a push of his foot. As they set out across the sea, the anxious villagers crouched down low. Gali turned to Pohatu. "I just hope they don't get seasick."
Pohatu grinned. "You know they will… but it's better than being roasted."
She smiled. "Well, they are safe, for the moment. Let's go." She changed to her Kakama and followed him to the Komo-Lai canyon. Gali looked doubtful as she studied the ice plug in the stone wall. "Are you sure this will work, Pohatu?"
"It has to. We can't outfight the Bohrok--not without risking harm to the island. So we have to outsmart them. This canyon is our trap, Gali. Onua dug a tunnel from the canyon wall to the sea, then Kopaka froze the tunnel entrance solid, like plugging a hole in a dam."
"I hope you planned well, then," replied Gali.
"When the Bohrok come, I'll--"
"The Tahnok are here!"
"Then let's make them feel welcome," grinned Pohatu. He slammed a boulder into the ice plug with his powerful foot. "Rock shatters ice… and fire meets water!"
Gali leaped off the ledge and dove headfirst into the turbulent water. Pohatu watched her disappear into the depths. Bubbles and steam rose to the surface. "I hope she'll be all right down there... it sure looks hot..."
After a few minutes, Pohatu shifted uneasily on his rocky perch. "She's been down there too long!" he thought. "She hates the heat--it weakens her... or maybe they've hurt her!" Despite his hatred of water, he couldn't stand by while she was in danger. He stood up, took a deep breath, and prepared to dive in. "Gali, I'm coming in after you!"
Gali surfaced, holding a rope securely knotted around several krana. She yelled, "No, Pohatu! Stay there!"
"Are you all right?"
"Barely. If I had been even a little too slow… What matters is I have four krana… and we must go now!" The menacing Tahnok had only been delayed a short time by the water. Now they were melting handholds in the rock, and climbing up toward the Toa. With their Kakama, Gali and Pohatu put a comfortable distance between themselves and the swarm. As they made their way back to Kini-Nui to see how many krana the other Toa had gathered, and which were still missing, they slowed down again so they could talk. The conversation turned to the powers of the mysterious parasitic creatures.
"There is no telling what they can do. Drive the Bohrok on their insane mission… control others…" Gali stared at the rubbery creature in her hook.
"Then you believe what Vakama said? That krana can control the mind of anyone who wears one?" asked Pohatu.
"Yes, and that just makes me more concerned for the others--especially Lewa. Days have passed since he left for Le-Koro. If he encountered a Bohrok swarm, who knows what might have happened?" Gali sighed. "I cannot rest until I know the answer…"
Pohatu stopped and turned to the Toa of Water. She looked so sad, so worried, so weary. "Listen, Gali. It's wonderful that you care so much about Lewa. But you are only tormenting yourself, when there is nothing you can do. Onua has gone to find him. And if there is anyone who can get Lewa out of trouble, it's Onua."
"I know, but…"
"We must concentrate on what we CAN do. And remember the beauty that once was Mata Nui. The forests, the canyons, the cliffs, the rivers, the snowy slopes. The harmonious cycle of birth, growth, and harvest. The joy in the people's hearts at the great feasts and the sporting competitions. The Great Beings have equipped us with whatever we need to defend our island. And with the wisdom of the Turaga, and the hard work of the Matoran, we can do this. Just keep that in mind."
Gali turned to face him. "Pohatu, if I were to ask you for a hug, would you take it the wrong way?"
Pohatu was surprised by her request, but he understood what she wanted. "She always has to be so careful not to mislead anyone," he thought. "Poor Gali."
The Toa of Stone looked at her and smiled. "If you want a friendly hug, I can do that." He gently put his arms around her. She wrapped hers around him, resting her head on his shoulder. He closed his eyes and held his lovely companion for a few brief moments.
"I'd better let go of her," thought Pohatu, "before my imagination takes me somewhere I shouldn't go." He loosened his grip and held her at arm's length. "Now, that doesn't mean I'll ever stop dreaming," he added with a wry smile. "Come on, Beautiful, we've got some ground to cover."
Gali laughed. "Thanks, Pohatu."
As they used their Kakama to speed onward to the meeting place, Pohatu grinned to himself. "Bohrok or no Bohrok," he thought, "life is good."
Not all the blue water creatures Pohatu encountered were so pleasant. The next day found him surveying a flooded canyon. The natural sandstone formations that had graced the walls had been eroded away, crumbling into the muddy, stagnant pond at the bottom. “Must be the work of the Gahlok,” he said to himself, shaking his head. “This canyon hasn’t seen water in eons. But leave it to the Bohrok to upset the balance of everything.”
He scanned the horizon with his Akaku and soon spotted the swarm in the next ravine. They were preparing more destruction, he was certain. He raced to the edge of the cliff and looked across. One Gahlok turned and faced him. “Uh, oh,” he groaned, “now I don’t have much time.” He looked around, then fixed his eyes on a crag above the creatures. “You want a flood? I’ll give you a flood of stone.”
Pohatu knocked loose a boulder and aimed it at the crag. Soon huge masses of loosened rock were cascading onto the swarm. But he hadn’t checked that the area downhill was clear. He saw two forms standing right in the path of the landslide—a white one and a red one. Like a flash of lightning, Pohatu was off. As he passed between them, he put one arm around each of the other Toa and swept them along with him, landing in a clump of dry brush on the side of the canyon. The flow of stone and Bohrok rumbled past them, stopping in a cloud of dust at the bottom of the gully.
Tahu stood up, pulling branches out of his ribs. "Pohatu, what was that all about?"
"Hello, Tahu and Kopaka. Sorry about that. It's just that there was a swarm of Gahlok about to wash you down the hill, so I took them out with a landslide. And I had to get you out of the way first."
Kopaka laughed as he staggered to his feet. "Once again we were too busy arguing to protect ourselves. When will we ever learn, Tahu?"
Tahu grinned. "With friends like Pohatu, we could stay stupid. But let's not."
The Toa of Stone rolled his eyes. "What is it that makes you two want to squabble all the time? The fact that you are so different, or the fact that you are so alike?"
Tahu and Kopaka looked at each other. "Alike?" wondered Tahu.
"I think I see what you mean," replied Kopaka. "As much as I hate to admit it, Tahu is a lot like me."
Tahu frowned at Kopaka. "Yeah, I guess so," he said grudgingly. "We both want to be king of the mountain."
Pohatu laughed. "Well, let's go pick up some Gahlok krana before they wake up and dethrone us all."
The three Toa finished untangling themselves from the branches and went to work. Soon they had strung several orange krana onto the rope. Kopaka smiled as he admired the strange, writhing creatures. “Well, that’s all the Gahlok krana we need.”
“Now how many do we have left to collect?” asked Pohatu.
“Five. Three Lehvak, one Pahrak, and one Tahnok,” replied Kopaka, who always seemed to have an updated count in his head.
“I’ll get the last Tahnok,” volunteered Tahu. “Which one is missing?”
“It’s the Xa. But didn’t you just tell me that you had trouble with those?” asked Kopaka. “You came to ask for my help with them.”
“It’s just one Xa,” frowned Tahu. “I’ll do it myself.”
“All right, there’s no need to prove anything,” laughed Pohatu. “I’ll look for some Lehvak. I don’t really pick and choose, I just get whatever krana I can. If we have a few left over, at least it’s more work for the Va.”
The Toa bid each other goodbye, and each headed to his village. “We’re on the home stretch of this race,” said Pohatu to himself as he ran. “I wonder what it will be our destiny to face when we have all the krana. But whatever it is, at least we know that we have been given what we need to deal with it.” He remembered Tahu’s words in Mangaia. “Faith... even if we lose everything else, nothing can take away our faith.”
Review topic here.
This post has been edited by GaliGee: May 31 2003, 02:28 PM
I'm back after being banned because my account was hacked. My old stories topic is gone and some of my stories were damaged, but I'm restoring them with a little help from Shadow Vahki. Thanks for bearing with me while I get it back together!
Jun 5 2003, 10:14 PM
Group: Premier Outstanding BZP Citizens
Joined: 5-June 02
Member No.: 720
Chapter 5: Roof
Pohatu watched the great boulder sail across the sky and listened to the dull thud of its impact against the opposite cliff. Then he looked on with satisfaction as cracks shot through the stone, and tons of rock and snow slid down onto the swarm of Lehvak. “There’s bound to be a few of the right kind of krana under there,” he smiled to himself.
The Toa of Stone ambled over to the giant pile of loose rock and ice chunks. He peered at it with his Akaku and bent over to dig out some Bohrok. But he stood up straight when he heard a loud rumbling sound. He spun in time to see a huge avalanche coming from the peak behind him. His Kakama enabled him to escape the bulk of the torrent of ice, but not all of it. He felt the weight of the snow hit his back and crush him into the ground. Pohatu struggled to push his hand upward out of his white prison. He felt the air on his fingers, and sighed with relief. “At least I’m close to the surface. I should have been more careful, starting a landslide in avalanche country!”
Then Pohatu felt a hand grasp his, and he was pulled up out of the snow. Kopaka helped him steady himself.
“Hello, Kopaka,” blinked Pohatu. “Now it’s my turn to ask you what’s going on!”
“A second swarm of Lehvak was waiting for you to let down your guard. Sorry I buried you.”
“No problem. I owed you one,” said Pohatu, remembering his first encounter with the Toa of Ice. “So, it looks like we’ll have plenty of Lehvak krana now!”
“We don’t need them,” replied Kopaka solemnly, “because Gali and I just collected some in Ko-Koro.”
“Oh,” replied Pohatu. “So we only have that Pahrak krana, and the Tahnok Xa left, which Tahu said he would get?”
“Just the Tahnok Xa,” said the white Toa.
“Excellent!” But Pohatu’s smile disappeared when he noticed Kopaka’s expression. He seemed unusually grim. “Is something wrong, Kopaka?”
Kopaka suddenly pulled his blade off his back and raced to a lump in the snow, which had moved slightly. He raised his sword and struck it, over and over, until it was still.
The behavior of the Toa of Ice was puzzling to Pohatu. “Why didn’t you just freeze it?”
“Monsters like this deserve to suffer,” remarked Kopaka, his jaw tight with quiet fury. Pohatu waited for an explanation, and finally Kopaka offered one. “One of these vile things just hit Gali in the neck with its acid. Tahu and I were able to save her. But she was very close to death.”
The Toa of Stone nodded soberly. “I see. So, is she all right now?”
“She’s resting back in her Wahi, somewhere underwater. She’ll be fine, I think.”
“Well, that’s a relief. Have you heard from Onua or Lewa yet?”
“Yes, they’ve just come back from Le-Wahi. Lewa was wearing a krana when Onua found him, but Onua convinced him to tear it off,” replied Kopaka. “And then they got the last Pahrak Krana. While I go find them, why don’t you go to Ta-Wahi and help Tahu? He was having trouble with the Tahnok before, but I’m sure he won’t accept any help from me.”
Pohatu smiled. “No doubt.”
Kopaka continued, “We’ll get Gali last, to give her more time to rest, and then we’ll meet you in Ta-Koro.”
“You’re going to swim after her?” asked Pohatu incredulously. Kopaka simply smiled. “Well, if you like that sort of thing. I’ll see you soon, Kopaka.” Before Pohatu’s sentence was finished, Kopaka had vanished into the direction of Le-Koro. Pohatu shrugged and did the same, heading for the land of fire. The Toa of Stone figured that Onewa would hear the news of their upcoming confrontation in the Bohrok lair from Nokama, since he and the Po-Koronans were still in Ga-Koro. Pohatu regretted not having the chance to say goodbye, but he was optimistic he would see them again soon. As he ran, he wondered about the effect of Lehvak acid on Gali. “She must have been really frightened,” he thought sadly. “I hope she’s up for this battle.”
As he approached Ta-Wahi, Pohatu slowed and switched to his Akaku. He immediately saw a group of heat sources in the distance, on the beach. “Those must be Tahnok. Maybe Tahu is over there, too.” He ran, stopping on a cliff overlooking the beach. He gasped at what he saw. Tahu, surrounded by red Bohrok, was firing flames at his own face.
“What could he be doing that for?” wondered Pohatu. Then he realized that one of the Tahnok was lying open and motionless, and as the flames died down, he saw a dark blue krana on Tahu’s face. “Oh, no!” he cried. “Tahu!”
Tahu didn’t seem to hear him. He was shooting a fiery blast at a flock of birds. They reeled and plunged, flaming, into the sea. Pohatu lined up some boulders and started kicking them at the swarm. “I’d better get them out of the way before I try to approach Tahu,” he reasoned. Tahu was shouting at a tidal pool. “I am here to protect life, not to destroy it! I--”
Suddenly a huge wave arose from the sea. Pohatu watched it crash around Tahu, hoping it would knock him down and give the Toa of Stone an opportunity to race over to him, pin him down, and remove the krana. But the water split around Tahu and swept away only the Tahnok. Tahu screamed, “Gali? NO! I won’t hurt her! I must be free!” He doubled over in apparent agony, but then he stood up straight and ripped the krana off. He fell face down on the wet sand, the krana clutched in his hand.
“Thank goodness!” thought Pohatu as ran down from the cliff toward his friend. But he ran straight into the Tahnok, who were approaching Tahu again. With no time to look for rocks, Pohatu started kicking the creatures themselves, praying they would not be fast enough to launch their krana at him. He slammed the first one into the next three. But two more were still coming. Pohatu looked around desperately. He jumped, slamming his feet onto a crack in the ground. The earth split, and rocks tumbled from the bluff above onto the Bohrok. As Pohatu raced away from the dust cloud onto the sand, he saw that Tahu was gone.
“He must have gone back to Ta-Koro,” thought the brown Toa. He turned toward the village and ran there. Kopaka and Gali were standing at the gate, each holding a rope of krana.
“Hello, Pohatu,” smiled the Toa of Water. Kopaka nodded his greeting.
“Hello, Gali and Kopaka,” replied Pohatu. “Is Tahu in there?”
“Yes, he just went in, and Onua and Lewa went after him,” said Kopaka. “And he was carrying that Tahnok Xa.”
“A few minutes ago he was wearing it,” remarked Pohatu. “Gali, were you the one who--”
Gali smiled mysteriously. “The sea is a powerful ally.”
“Indeed,” said Pohatu. “So, that’s all the krana?”
“Thank the Great Beings, yes,” sighed Kopaka.
Pohatu studied Gali’s serene smile. “What did the Lehvak do to you?” he asked.
“This,” she answered, pointing to a scar on her neck. “Kopaka kept my heart beating with a computer signal, and Tahu welded my neck. Then they poured some healing water on it. And I was restored.”
“That’s amazing,” marveled Pohatu. He glanced at Kopaka. “Good thing the smartest Toa was there with you.”
Kopaka shifted his weight uneasily. “Except that it was my fault she was injured in the first place.”
“No, it wasn’t.” Gali shook her head at Kopaka. “It was my fault. Thanks to you, I’m still alive!”
Tahu, Onua, and Lewa emerged from the gate. Gali smiled at Tahu. “Are you all right?” she asked gently. “You look tired.”
“I was,” he replied, “but now I’m ready to take on those monsters. Now I understand how evil they really are.”
Pohatu lay his hand on Tahu’s shoulder and nodded knowingly at him. Then he put his arms around Onua and Lewa. “I’m so glad to see both of you,” he smiled. “It sounds like you went through a lot. Let’s put an end to this, shall we?” They switched to their Kakamas and ran for Kini-Nui.
Kopaka led the others to the entrance to the Bohrok lair. The giant hole in the ground seemed to extend forever into the blackness. Onua switched to his Miru and led the way with his superior night vision. The Toa soon landed in a wide, flat area.
“The Le-Matoran are free and safe... for now,” remarked Lewa. “But the Bohrok cannot be allowed to endanger our people any longer.”
“Then it’s decided,” replied Pohatu. “We will challenge the Bohrok in their nest.”
“No, the Bohrok are not the true enemy. It is the krana we must defeat,” Lewa argued.
“Then they can tell us all about it... on their way off the island,” smiled Pohatu. They changed to their Rurus to explore the darkness. Pohatu touched the walls of the cavern. “Have you noticed? This tunnel wall... it’s smooth. No Matoran dug this... or any Bohrok, for that matter.”
“Are you sure?” came Gali’s voice.
“Gali, if there’s one thing I know about, it’s stone. I think something is very wrong here.”
Lewa expressed his worry that the krana might still control him somehow. As Kopaka reassured him, the Toa of Air stumbled, and Pohatu caught his arm.
“Look,” said Lewa. “This is another shaft.”
Onua stepped next to him. “Bohrok pods! As far as I can see!”
The Toa of Fire leaned over the edge and lit his fire sword. “Tell the others to wait,” he said to Onua. “I will go down and investigate.”
“Be careful,” cautioned Onua. But Tahu was already dropping into the cavern with his Miru. A hidden stone door suddenly began to move, closing off the chamber with Tahu inside it.
“We may be trapped up here!” shouted Pohatu over the rumble.
Lewa groaned. “We’re close now... close to the power... Armor, but more than armor. Power greater than we have ever known.”
Onua and Pohatu were clawing and kicking at the stone walls to no avail. The strange, smooth rock refused to yield. “If we can ever get to it, Lewa,” said Onua through clenched jaws. “With all our strength, we cannot produce even a crack in this slab!”
“It’s impossible,” Pohatu grumbled with frustration. Even the super-compressed rock of Makuta’s lair had not been so hard. “No stone is this strong!” He fought back bitterness as he realized that he had failed his friends. “Toa of Stone, indeed!” he thought. “I’m no good to anyone! But I can’t give up...”
“Wait!” cried Gali. “The air has suddenly become so hot... so suddenly! What’s causing it?”
Kopaka looked up. “A nightmare on top of our impossibility. Molten lava!”
The others followed his gaze and stepped back in horror as they saw a great mass of lava cascading down from the tunnel opening. It was heading straight for them.
“Stay back!” warned Kopaka. “My ice can hold the lava at bay for a few moments.” He fired a beam of ice at the falling magma, freezing it in place. But immediately water began to drip on the Toa’s heads as the barrier began to thaw.
“What kind of stone is this? It takes our strongest blows and does not shatter!” grimaced Pohatu, still struggling to penetrate the strange rock.
“Doesn’t shatter... doesn’t shatter... because... it isn’t there!” cried Lewa suddenly.
“What?” demanded Pohatu incredulously.
The Toa of Air explained. “There’s nothing you and Onua can’t bring down. So if this wall is still standing, it cannot be real. Stop believing in it, and it disappears!” He swung his axe at the wall, and the blade passed through.
“How is that possible...” Gali began, but Kopaka interrupted her. “Ask questions later, the lava IS real!”
Pohatu touched the wall with his hand. He gasped as it passed right through the illusion that he had pounded against with all his strength moments before. “Come on, Gali!”
As the Toa wondered what how they could free Tahu, the ground began to feel hot. “Everyone down—NOW!” yelled Kopaka. Pohatu dove for the floor. The walls of the cavern burst with a loud explosion, and Tahu shot through the partition separating him from the other Toa. Shards of stone and Bohrok pods flew everywhere. Tahu rolled and landed on his feet and looked around through the smoke and dust. The other Toa were getting up from the ground.
“Tahu! Are you all right?” asked Lewa.
“Used my sword... to heat the air... until the pressure blew the nest apart,” panted Tahu. “I went one way... the Bohrok the other. But they will be back.”
As the stone crumbled underneath their feet, the Toa used their Mirus to slowed their fall, and they landed on a round platform at the bottom of a stone well. “Where are we?” asked Tahu.
“Still in the realm of the Bohrok,” answered Kopaka. “These carvings in the floor match the krana we carry, and I think... yes, this is where the krana are meant to go.”
Pohatu looked at the krana he held, and at the indentations in the stone. The shapes matched exactly, like a key in its lock. “Place them in these niches.”
“It’s begun! The end of the Bohrok!” cried Lewa.
“What are you talking about, Lewa?” asked Onua. “What do you know? It seems we’ve been invited in.” Huge stone doors groaned as they opened.
“Six doorways. Six of us,” remarked Tahu.
Ever cautious, Kopaka wondered aloud, “A trap?”
“An opportunity,” replied Tahu. “Everyone take a tunnel... and stay alert.” As Pohatu stepped through the cloud of dust into his doorway, he saw a hatch opening ahead of him.
Pohatu was stunned at the sight of the massive suit of armor inside, with a rocket launcher and a claw arm. He touched it, and the front opened with a whirring sound. “This must be what Lewa was talking about,” he thought. “Thanks, whoever prepared these for us!” He stepped up into the suit, and the front panels closed around him. He gripped the controls and felt the suit powering up. He moved his foot slightly, and his movement was amplified by the mighty metal leg. “It’s drawing from my power, but it’s enhancing mine as well.”
Clad in his new armor, he walked down the passageway toward the light. The other Toa, in their Exos as well, were gathered around two large and horrible creatures, one red and one blue, with squat bodies, long necks, and snapping teeth. He heard strange voices inside his head, hissing with malice. “You do not belong! You will be removed,” they sneered. Pohatu realized these must be the creatures responsible for driving the Bohrok to destroy the island and people he held so dear. “No,” he answered grimly, “it is you who do not belong.”
Kopaka and Tahu drove the two enemies together. The other Toa soon had them surrounded. But most of their blows were glancing off the Bahrag without harm.
“Fools!” taunted the queens of the swarms. “By bringing us together, you increase our power! Now Mata Nui will be as it was in the Before-Time!”
Lewa levitated and raised his axe to blow a fierce wind at the creatures, but soon he fell, laden with ice. Kopaka struck at them with the claw of his Exo armor, but one creature turned and buried him with earth. He struggled to free himself, hacking at the massive pile with the claw.
Pohatu whipped his head around as an attacker lunged at him from the side. “So there are more than two!” he groaned. He spun around in the suit and punched at the shadowy creature with his claw arm. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Onua turn from the fight and strive against another foe. But the enemies were lithe and agile, ducking their blows.
Out of the noise, he heard Gali’s voice. “Onua! Pohatu! You are fighting shadows—and Tahu needs you!” Suddenly the Toa of Stone understood why the creatures were so adept at dodging them. They were mere illusions! Pohatu was filled with rage as he realized he had been tricked into abandoning his friends.
He looked at Tahu, whose Hau was barely holding up against a barrage of stones flung by the blue beast. “That thing’s trying to down him with the power of the Pahrak,” he thought. “But those aren’t rocks—THIS is a rock!” He used the claw of the Exo to rip a huge piece of stone out of the wall of the cavern. He hurled it with all his strength at Gahdok, who collapsed under the weight of the massive rock. Tahu nodded his thanks to Pohatu, who grinned back. “My pleasure.” Onua dug furiously to free Kopaka, who then released Lewa from the block of ice with a wave of his blade.
As Tahu helped Gali to her feet, he yelled to the others. “All of you! Shed your armor! It hinders our elemental powers—and they are our only hope!”
Pohatu’s Exo suit opened, and he stepped down out of the armor, which had responded amazingly well to his movements and even his thoughts, like a silent partner in the battle. Tahu was shouting again. “Toa! Surround them! We must combine our powers!”
“But, the danger--” began Lewa.
“The safety of our people is worth any risk,” replied Gali. “If power is all these creatures understand, then we will show them power!”
The Toa took positions around their enemies and fired elemental energy at them. Pohatu sent the energy of a landslide into the fray with a slam of his foot. Instead of blasting the enemy to pieces, as they had done to Makuta, the combined beams of energy began to form a web of luminous fibers, imprisoning the Bahrag. The vicious queens shrieked and gnashed their horrible teeth. “Fools!” one scoffed, as the protodermis cage tightened around them. “You think you have won… but you cannot imagine what you have unleashed!”
The earth began to shake violently. Platforms supporting the Toa moved downward into the floor. Pohatu slid into a tube, and it was filling with a strange, cool liquid. Horrified at the prospect of drowning, he tried to claw upward against the smooth surface of the cylinder. Then he tried to jump. But there was no escaping the silvery fluid. He took a deep breath as his head went under and he was unable to see. Suspended in the liquid, dizzy and disoriented, he felt a sensation of warmth, beginning on his mask, his hands, and his chest, and then flowing through his whole body. Then the descent stopped, and he felt the floor under him begin to rise again. His head emerged and he gasped for air. The platform reached the floor level and halted.
Pohatu studied the other Toa. They were wearing silver chest and shoulder armor, and their legs were longer and stronger. And their masks were changed, stretched into smooth, streamlined shapes. They had reverted from gold to the Toa’s elemental colors. But most notable was the change in their tools. Pohatu looked down at the strange silver claws in his hands.
“It is over,” said Tahu. His voice was the same, but it had a new, deeper resonance.
Onua tapped his chest armor. “Those chambers were filled with protodermis! It changed us--increased our power…”
Tahu felt the ground move again. “Let us worry about why is happened later,” he warned. “There are more important questions to answer.”
“Questions like these,” added Lewa. “What happened to Cahdok and Gahdok? And how are we going to get out of here?”
Pohatu heard a whistling sound overhead. “Look out! That stone is falling right for us!”
“It’s no use,” Lewa groaned. “It’s too big, and there’s nowhere to run to!”
Pohatu tried to switch to his Hau. But his mask no longer had the power of shielding. “What a way to die,” he thought, looking around frantically. “Crushed by my own element!” He saw Tahu’s shimmering protective field extend upward as the Toa of Fire pulled Gali close to him. The stones began to pound against the shield. And somehow they ricocheted away from all the Toa. “The Mask of Shielding protected us all!” cried Tahu. The last of the rocks tumbled harmlessly to the floor as he released Gali. “It could never do that before…!”
“And it never will again,” warned Kopaka, “if we do not escape! Lewa, Pohatu--combine the powers of your masks!”
Pohatu activated his Kakama and was amazed to see the other Toa accelerating as well. Apparently, all the masks’ powers extended to those around the wearer. Together, they levitated and ran through the collapsing tunnels, dodging confused Bohrok as they went. Finally the heroes of Mata Nui shot out of the ground as the last of the tremors shook the island.
“We did it!” rejoiced Kopaka. “The threat of Cahdok, Gahdok, and the swarms is ended! But at what price?”
The Toa tumbled to the ground and slowly stood up as the dust settled. “Nothing has been lost,” retorted Tahu. “The protodermis has given us the power to protect our people from any danger… and to heal this shattered land! Once we were Toa, but now we are far, far more… Now and forevermore, we are Toa Nuva!”
The Toa of Stone studied his new claws. “Just look at these new tools!” He kicked a rock and watched it fly far away until it fell with a distant thud. “What a difference!”
Lewa nodded. He levitated far above their heads. Then he extended his Miru power to Pohatu, lifting him as well. “Hey!” yelled Pohatu, snapping his claws at the laughing Lewa, who spun out of reach.
The other Toa tested their new weapons. But soon their joy at their victory and their new powers was overshadowed by tension. Pohatu looked down from the cliff he had just scaled with his protodermis claws to see Tahu and Kopaka standing toe to toe, with Gali glancing nervously from one to the other.
“I propose a contest,” suggested Kopaka. “After we check in with our villages, why don’t we meet again and test our new powers against each other? It would be a good way to see how we have been enhanced.”
Tahu’s eyes narrowed. “Gladly.” The Toa all nodded and turned toward their villages.
Pohatu shrugged. “Well, I suppose it’s not a bad idea,” he thought. “But what I’m really looking forward to is seeing Onewa and the Po-Koronans again!” He raced toward home.
A desolate wind whipped through the cliffs around the silent village when Pohatu arrived. “They must still be in Ga-Koro,” he reasoned. He looked around at the damage done by the Bohrok. Two of Hafu’s beautiful statues, overturned by the carver himself to save the village, lay face down in the sand. A third was broken in half. The main gates had been blasted by scorching heat, and the melted stone had hardened into unnatural twisted shapes. Pohatu stepped inside and observed the disarray left by the fleeing Matorans. He smiled wryly as he remembered the day he had launched them in their boats. “I bet they’ll be happy to get home.”
The Toa of Stone climbed up to the watch post, jumping off the stairs halfway up and swinging to the top of the cliff with his claws. He scanned the horizon. A swarm of Tahnok was wandering aimlessly in the desert to the west of the village. Pohatu ran down the stairs and out into the desert. He stood before the Bohrok. “They say these things can be tamed once their krana are removed. Maybe I should try it.”
He cautiously approached the first Borhok. The creature seemed oblivious to his presence. He kicked it open and took out its krana. Then he snapped the head case closed again. The Tahnok slowly stood again. Pohatu picked it up and set it in front of a pile of rocks. Taking each of its hand shields in his hands, he helped it pick up a rock and led it across the sand to another pile. Then he shook the Tahnok’s hands and the rock fell. He turned the creature back toward the first pile. It seemed to understand his instructions, and it began to move stones from one pile to the other.
“Marvelous!” smiled the Toa of Stone. “These destructive things have a use, after all. I suppose it’s safe to have them near the village now.” He took the krana out of the others, and then he used his Kakama to move the swarm to the main gates. “I’ll get them to carry away all the stone they damaged, and then we can build a new gate underneath.”
Pohatu and his unlikely crew were hard at work clearing rubble out of the village gate when he heard Onewa yelling across the desert at him. “Toa Pohatu!”
Pohatu turned and saw the Po-Koronans trudging across the sand, boats in tow. Pohatu ran to meet them. They looked weary from their journey, yet they still seemed elated at the news of the Toa’s victory. They gathered around him, talking excitedly.
Onewa gestured at the Bohrok clustered around the gate. “Yes, those ugly bugs are useful after all!” laughed the Toa of Stone.
As the Matorans restored order to their village, Zaku recounted Huki’s heroism to Pohatu. “He stepped right in front of a flying boulder and knocked it away to save Maku,” he beamed. “You would have been proud of him.”
Huki smiled modestly. “And with the Ga-Koronans, we invented a new form of Koli. You use their net-staffs to hit the ball.”
“And I suppose you’re already the champion at this version, too?” teased Pohatu.
Soon a team of villagers had taken over the supervision of the Bohrok. Pohatu excused himself and headed back to Kini-Nui for the Nuva challenge match.
When everyone had arrived, Tahu suggested, “Let’s divide up into two teams. Gali, Pohatu, you come with me.”
Kopaka turned to Onua and Lewa. “Fine. We will go plan our attack.”
Gali shot a potent blast of water at Lewa, who leaped to safety with his Miru Nuva. “Think what you like, Gali,” he laughed, “but you’ll have to be faster than that to stop me!”
“Did you say ‘faster’?” grinned Pohatu. “Let’s see you glide out of a tornado on those air katana ‘wings,’ Lewa!” He used his Kakama to speed around Lewa in a tight circle, entraining the air with him until it swirled into a powerful vortex. Lewa spun out of control, tumbling end over end until he landed in a clump of bushes. The Toa of Air untangled himself. “Oh, the indignity!” he moaned sarcastically.
“Now, Pohatu, my brother,” said Onua with a sly smile, “didn’t Turaga Onewa ever tell you? You always have to watch where you’re running—especially when Onua Nuva is near!” Pohatu felt the ground shift under him. With the momentum of his incredible speed and his heavy weight, he was unable to stop, and he was sent flying off the side of the hill. As he sailed through the air, grabbing at nothing, he yelled, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” He landed with a thud in the brush.
Pohatu stood sheepishly and knocked the branches off himself. Onua ran over next to him. “Are you all right?”
“Of course!” replied Pohatu. “But you won’t be when I catch you!” He lunged at Onua.
“You were like a big Koli ball, flying toward the goal,” taunted Onua as he fled back toward the others. Pohatu chased him, without using his Kakama. The ground shook under their heavy footsteps.
“Yeah, well, next time, it’s going to be YOUR turn to fly!” Pohatu snapped his protodermis claws menacingly behind Onua’s back.
“Oh, but you looked so stylish up there!” laughed Onua, jumping away.
Pohatu activated his Kakama just long enough to tackle his friend and throw him into the dirt. Then they stood, panting and laughing, and looked around.
Tahu and Kopaka were not taking this contest so lightly. Tahu was leaning into Kopaka’s face. “Beware, brother. When I turn up the heat, even the Toa of Ice will melt.”
“Enough!” said Gali sharply, stepping between them. “We have learned what we set out to learn. As Toa Nuva, we have greater power—and greater control over that power—than ever before! It is a shame we cannot control our tempers as well.”
Kopaka’s steely gaze was still locked onto Tahu’s fiery eyes. But the Toa of Ice lowered his blades and stepped back. The Toa of Fire looked at Gali, who was frowning at him. With a low growl he extinguished his magma swords.
The other Toa were uneasy. They grasped at explanations for their friends’ lack of restraint. “Perhaps we are all on edge, Gali,” ventured Pohatu. “The struggle with Cahdok and Gahdok… our transformation into the Toa Nuva…”
“Not to mention making sure the Bohrok swarms and Bohrok Va got put to work repairing the damage they did!” added Lewa.
Pohatu continued. “Maybe Tahu and Kopaka did get a little carried away, but--”
“No, Gali is right,” interrupted Tahu. “Maybe it would be best for us to go our separate ways. Our villages need us—more than we need each other.”
Kopaka nodded. “I agree. This alliance is no longer necessary.”
“The Turaga have said all along that we are six who share one destiny,” objected Gali. “Is this how we honor their wisdom? By splitting apart?”
Lewa leaped over a tree trunk. “Maybe the Turaga don’t know everything, Gali. If you want me, I’ll be helping to rebuild Le-Koro.”
The group was breaking up, and each Toa was heading for his village. Gali stood in the clearing and raised her hands in despair. “This is a mistake… I can feel it. Please—what if we are needed once more?” She dropped her arms and stared blankly at the forest floor. Pohatu felt sorry for Gali. But he welcomed a chance to take a break from his friends. “We’ll see each other again soon, no doubt,” he thought. He waved at the others and ran for home.
Pohatu slowed down outside the village gates to see how Hafu was faring in his effort to repair the Path of Prophecy statues. Several Matorans were standing with the carver as he studied his fallen masterpieces. He looked up when he saw the Toa.
"Hafu, I'm sorry about all this,” said Pohatu sympathetically. “It's a bad time in history to be a stone carver."
"Not at all, Toa Pohatu," Hafu smiled. "It's the best time ever. Not every artist gets to use his work to save his village!"
“Well, that’s true,” smiled Pohatu.
“I can fix this one,” Hafu said, gesturing toward one of the statues. It was chipped and its edges melted, but it was largely intact. “I’ll just make it a little smaller, and refinish the surface. I guess that means we’ll have to do the same thing to all of those we can salvage.”
“I’ll help you push up these fallen ones, and you can see if they can be saved,” offered Pohatu.
“That would be great, Toa Pohatu,” replied Hafu. “We have lots of strong backs, but you are as powerful as all of us put together.”
Pohatu laughed. “I don’t know about that, but I’ll do what I can.” He put his hands under the sculpture and tried to lift it. “Wow, this is really heavy,” he muttered, removing his hands. “Where’s Onua and his Pakari when you need him?”
“You must not need him, or he would be here,” remarked Hafu.
“Good point, Hafu,” grinned Pohatu, more and more impressed with his villager. He crouched and tried again, bracing his elbows against his knees, and pushing with his powerful legs. This time the statue began to move. The Matorans scurried over to help, wedging themselves into the growing gap between the stone and the sand and pushing upward. “Now I really can’t give up!” thought Pohatu. He gave one final intense effort, and the statue rocked backwards into a vertical position. He raced behind it to steady it. The Matorans cheered.
“Thanks, Toa Pohatu! Look, it’s barely damaged at all!” crowed Hafu.
“Excellent! Well, let’s get this other one up.” Pohatu and the team of villagers applied themselves to the second fallen sculpture, and soon it was upright as well.
“This one is too messed up,” sighed Hafu. “The Tahnok melted and blasted about half of it off. I’ll have to replace the whole thing. Same with this one next to it that’s been split apart.”
“That’s a shame. So, two can be fixed, two must be scrapped, and those two on the end look all right.”
“Yes, I’ll just carve them down a bit to match the other repaired ones,” agreed the sculptor. He began to issue instructions to his helpers. The Matorans got to work chiseling and chipping.
Kufa came out of the gates with a wheelbarrow and shovel. “Hafu, mind if I clear some of these rock chips for you?”
“I thought you had some stables to clean,” snorted Hafu.
“I’m all done for the day.”
“Well, then, knock yourself out,” replied the carver.
Kufa loaded his wheelbarrow with chips and disappeared. He returned with an extra set of carving tools. “I noticed that you have to stop a lot and sharpen your tools,” he remarked to Hafu. “I could sharpen them for you while you carve with these.”
Hafu stopped working and looked at the former Comet salesman. “Hmm. That’s a good idea. You’re pretty observant.” He took the tools from Kufa, and then he handed them back. “Maybe you’d like to try? Just chip the top layer off, to make it smooth.” Kufa glanced at him and stepped up to the statue. He tapped timidly at the stone. Hafu leaned next to him and gave him some advice. “Hold your chisel sideways a bit, and give it a little more force. You know, you’re pretty good at this. Much better than at Koli!”
“Thanks! I should hope so!” replied Kufa with a big smile.
Hafu stood with his hands on his hips and watched. “I think I have a new helper,” he said to Pohatu.
But Pohatu wasn’t listening. He was still staring at the broken statue. “It’s too bad that can’t be fixed,” he mused. “The top third is broken off, but the fracture is really clean.” He walked over to it, hoisted the severed chunk of stone with great difficulty, and set it on top of its base.
Hafu glanced over at him. “It looks fine like that, but the slightest earthquake is going to turn it into a safety hazard.”
Pohatu put his hands on the stone. He felt the crystal structure vibrate its story into his fingertips. He sensed its agony as the heat had increased on the statue next to it, and fragments of its exploding neighbor had struck and sheared its top off. And then he felt something new. The mineral structure began to rearrange itself under his hands. No longer was Pohatu just listening to the stone--now he was speaking to it as well. The molecular bonds were realigning and reforming, and the integrity of the stone was being restored. A thrill rushed through his body as he closed his eyes and poured his energy into the healing of the rock. He stood by the stone until the entire statue was as whole as the day it was carved.
“Toa Pohatu?” he heard a voice repeating.
Pohatu turned from the statue to see Hafu staring at him. “I can’t see the crack anymore! Do you mean to tell me...”
“That’s right, Hafu. There is no more crack.”
The Po-Koronan dropped his axe and hugged his Toa. Pohatu held him tightly. “You sacrificed your best work for your people. And you would have given your life. And now you have taught me what I can do, thanks to the Great Beings and the transformation they have given me. Words can never thank you enough, Hafu.”
Hafu was speechless with emotion. Pohatu released him and stepped back. “Now I have something else to do. I’ll be back in a little while.” The Toa of Stone raced away into the desert.
Soon Pohatu came to the rocky remains of Onewa’s favorite arch. He shook his head. “What a wreck. I’m worse than the Tahnok,” he chuckled to himself. “And this is yet another job that would be easier with a Pakari. But I think I can do it myself.”
He gathered some loose stone and began to build a long ramp up to one end of the arch. He covered the ramp with sand to make it smooth. Then he slowly pushed the first broken piece up the slope. Pohatu paused for breath, and then he maneuvered the chunk into its original place on top of the broken base.
“Now for the miraculous part,” he smiled. Pohatu placed his hands on the joint and felt the molecular structure rearrange itself until the seam between the stones had vanished, and the two were one.
“So far, so good.” He added to the ramp and placed more stones. But soon he stopped in confusion. “Now, where’s the piece that goes here?” He laid out the fragments on the ground next to the arch, moving them around until he solved the puzzle. Then he built a ramp to the other leg of the broken arch, and he began to position the pieces onto it.
“I’d better extend the ramp so that it supports these cantilevered pieces, or they will fall before I can place the keystone.” So he added to the already massive ramp, until it was a giant mound supporting the entire arch. After an afternoon of toiling under the hot sun, he was sliding the last segment up the ramp, setting it into place in the center of the span. When he had healed the last rift in the stone, he walked down the ramp and studied his work. “Now I could use an Akaku. But I’ll just have to rely on my stone sense.” He scanned every inch of the structure, looking for flaws. He went back up the ramp and touched up a few areas. Then he stepped back, satisfied.
Pohatu gave the bottom stones of the ramp a gentle tap with his foot. They rolled away from the base, and the ramp settled into a gentle hill of rubble. He kicked the larger boulders away into the distance, until the ramp was reduced to a slight hump in the sand.
“Ready for inspection,” he smiled. He ran back to the village and walked through the gate. Hafu waved as he passed. The repair work was well underway, and the new statue was already roughed out.
Pohatu trotted over to Onewa’s hut. The Turaga looked up at the sound of his heavy footfalls.
“Hello, Toa Pohatu. Watch your—oh!” winced the Turaga as Pohatu knocked a chunk of stone off the top of the doorway with his head.
“I’m still not used to being this tall!” laughed Pohatu. “Well, I’ll fix that later, Onewa. Come with me, I want to show you something.” Onewa glanced at the doorway again and shrugged. He followed Pohatu out the gate past the carvers.
“Ready?” asked the Toa.
“Ready for what?”
Pohatu activated his Kakama, accelerating himself and the Turaga into the desert. He stopped next to the repaired stone arch and glanced over at Onewa.
“That was wonderful!” smiled the village elder. “Now you can take others with you at Kakama speed? That’s a big shock for an old fellow like me!”
“Yes, that’s just one of the enhancements the protodermis gave me,” replied Pohatu. He gestured at the arch. “And this is another.”
Onewa gasped. “Now I’m really amazed.” He studied the massive stone structure with his eyes and then his hands, searching unsuccessfully for seams. He put his hand on Pohatu’s arm. “You have more than fulfilled the prophecy, Toa Pohatu. Not only have you used your powers to defend us, but now you are healing our broken stone.” The Turaga sat with his back against one leg of the arch, in the shade of the great span. “And your faith is like your name, solid as stone. You are the bedrock, on which we can build our lives.” He closed his eyes.
“Just cleaning up my mess, Onewa,” grinned Pohatu. Still, he was pleased to hear the Turaga’s words.
He left Onewa to enjoy the solitude of his favorite thinking spot, and then he ran back to the village. The Po-Koronans thronged excitedly around him. “Can you give us a ride, too?” they asked. He spent the rest of the afternoon accelerating the villagers back and forth across the desert with his new mask, dropping Huki and Hafu and a few others off near Ga-Koro, where a party was starting. And when Mokali slowly climbed the stairs for the evening watch, Pohatu heard his “All’s well!” and smiled.
“All is indeed well,” he thought. He stretched out on his favorite rock and closed his eyes.
Review topic here.
Special thanks to
real small guy
This post has been edited by GaliGee: Jun 6 2003, 08:26 AM
I'm back after being banned because my account was hacked. My old stories topic is gone and some of my stories were damaged, but I'm restoring them with a little help from Shadow Vahki. Thanks for bearing with me while I get it back together!
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