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So I got laid off because of the coronavirus, and I have a cold. I hope it’s a cold. It’s not my best week, and a lot of folks have it worse. So as a distraction, I wrote a new Kanohi story. This is actually a sequel to my last short story, The Company of Cowards, which takes place in a universe inspired by the vision Karzahni showed Jaller in Dark Destiny. Both stories are also sequels to my original Kanohi Short Story; Of Villagers, Outcasts, and Heroes, though that one can fit into a couple universes like the Kingdom and the Core Reality. Point is, here is a new story about a grappling vigilante Fe-Matoran, with him back in the lead role. Please enjoy, at the least it’s a bit of a distraction. A Village Against the Rahkshi … Kanohi wiped the large wooden mask, a powerless mask carved in the shape of a noble Ruru. He hooked it atop his head, covering him a strange tribal appearance. He breathed steady, hands shaking. He … he had put on a brave face for the other Matoran, but here, the fear came out. He was not a Po-Matoran. He was a Fe-Matoran. And Vakama would have known that. His visions of an underground world under attack by monstrous spiders and Rahkshi, those were real, but Vakama had lied and said those visions were not so literal. There was so much Vakama had never told him. So much he still would not know if not for Axonn. So much of what he knew over the past millennia was just … lies. He understood the need for secrecy, he might have left Mata-Nui to help the underground Matoran, many would have. And despite Vakama’s mentoring, Kanohi was an outcast, a vigilante who did not belong to any one Koro but helped all Matoran. If people far away had needed him more, he would have left Mata-Nui with regret but resolve. But even though he understood by the Turaga had lied, it stung like a hundred Nui-Kopen. And it still wasn’t right. Necessary maybe, but not right. Kanohi held out his orange and black arms. Like the rest of his body they were plated with wooden masks, but sticking out of his firearms right before his wrists were small launchers. Between the technology of Voya-Nui weaponry, and the inventiveness of Nuparu, the Fe-Matoran had been able to get upgraded again. He how had two Volo Lutu Launchers; one built into each arm, to let him grapple across the jungle with ease. Even the strange jungle of Voya-Nui. Satisfied at his arms, he pulled out his lighter, gazing into the flame. As the fire danced he could see image dance in the embers. That was one honest thing Vakama had told him at least, how to focus his strange ability to prophesies with fire. Within the flickering flames he could see three of the new Toa; Macku, Kapura, and Hafu, all sailing with Hewkii and Axon. They were traveling back towards the island of Mata-Nui through the gloom of night, only the Red Star breaking the endless void of blackness. Axonn rowed and Macku pushed the ship with her elemental power, waves splashing from each push. As water foamed in their wake, the white bubbles broke apart like clumps of wet sand, before crumbling into an avalanche. Kanohi tried to grapple away, but it soon was upon, smothering him in darkness. He shivered in the gloom, before red rusted eyes consumed his sight, and a terrible voice shouted, “where is the Mask of Time!” “Kanohi, sir?” The autistic vigilante spun around, his hands shaking, his heartlight pounding beneath his wooden masks. Piruk flinched at his outburst, and Kanohi tried to settle his breathing. “Yes, brother?” “I … I was surveying the northern coast with Dalu, she enhanced my sense and … there are strange reptilian creatures flying this way. Six of them, all yellow, holding staffs.” “Rahkshi of Heat Vision,” Kanohi sighed like a hovercraft’s engine dying, “the Makuta has found us. Has Garan and Dalu already rallied the Matoran?” “Um yes.” “Is Brutaka joining us?” “No he … he says six Rahkshi are not worth his time.” “I think he will change his tune if we capture some Kraata,” Kanohi stood up. That was another thing Vakama had trusted him with, even more than all Matoran. The only Matoran to ever go hunt Kraata with the Turaga were Matoro and Kanohi, though more as bait than as fighters. “What are Kraata?” “What controls a Rahkshi, the Rahkshi is just a suit of armor a Kraata controls. They are not very smart, but they are dangerous, and can corrupt masks.” Kanohi stretched, adjusting his wooden masks one more time, before saying, “Piruk, I know this is a lot to ask, but report back to Garan, he might need you to report to the other village, and he will need to know these are Rahkshi of Heat Vision.” “M-m-me?” “We all must do our part. With half of the Toa Inika heading to liberate Mata-Nui from the Makuta and his false Toa, and the other half moving to find the Mask of Life, we need all of us Matoran working together. You don’t need to fight, just transmit news between the Matoran.” “R-right, easy. Well, you know what Balta always says…” “…You don’t need to be a Toa to be a hero,” Kanohi nodded, walking out of the hut. Looking about he aimed his right arm to a tree, and a sphere of gravity blasted out of his built-in launcher. It slammed into the treetop, and then in a rush the raw gravity pulled, ripping Kanohi off the village clearing and into the air. As he hit the tree he fired from his left arm, grappling to another tree. He ricocheted from tree to tree, patrolling the village even as other Matoran ran about in preparation for the Rahkshi. … Dalu focused her Chargers as a Rahkshi flew overhead, a tight glare in her optics. With some strange power emanated from her silver blades, striking the beast. As the beast turned towards her it lurched, suddenly as heavy as a Kikanalo. The Rahkshi plummeted like a stone, smashing into the ground with a resounding thud. She ran at the beast, but as she drew close it glared it’s eyes at her, and twin beams of burning energy slammed into her. She wheezed in pain, before that wheeze ignited into anger. “I am not so easily cowed!” The Ga-Matoran snarled, balancing on one arm and her legs. With some strain she fired her Chargers again, this time at the ground beneath the Rahkshi. The earth beneath the beast began to crumble, eroding what should take centuries in a matter of seconds. The Rahkshi was buried, and she slumped over, panting. “Take … that … Rahi,” she managed to shout. Using her Chargers was a big drain, she would need to rest or risk passing out— There was a hiss as beams of red hot flame erupted from the rubble, carving a hole in the debris. She stared up as the Rahkshi dragged itself out of the earth, its armor now scratched up, its legs sparking from when it fell from the sky. The mechanical puppet stepped towards her, its movements jerky like a Rock Ussal scuttling towards its prey. Two blasts of heat vision fired at her, but before it could hit a Ta-Matoran lunged in the way. Balta crossed his Repellers in front of Dalu, the weapons absorbing the full blast of the Rahkshi’s energies. And then with a thrust of his shoulders the Repellers hurled the energy back at the Rahkshi, frying it like the best Toa of Fire. The Rahkshi nearly collapsed, sparking as it used its staff to hold itself upright. With a cock of irs head it fired more heat vision, but not at Balta. The blasts struck a nearby tree, dropping it like a stone. Balta sounds around to repeal the falling tree— Two blasts of heat vision slammed into the Ta-Matoran, sending him tumbling. The good news was that thanks to the blast, the tree had missed hitting him. But the bad news with his injuries, he wasn’t able to lift up his Repellers, too aching from the blow. Balta’s head rolled over to take in the Rahkshi, just as a blur swung through the canopy. As another blast of heat vision flew at the Ta-Matoran a hand grabbed his arm, before grappling away in an instant. The heat vision ignited the tree, but no Matoran was hurt. Kanohi and Balta landed in a roll, as the damaged Rahkshi turned back towards them. Kanohi swallowed and fired a ball of gravity at the Rahkshi, and in a rush was hurled into the beast. He slammed into the servant of the Makuta, knocking it to the ground. As the Rahkshi shakily stood up Kanohi grappled away, calling out, “i-is this the best the M-M-Makuta’s son can do? To lose to three powerless Matoran?” If the Rahkshi was smart enough to understand and insult, it was hard to tell, but it immediately began to fire heat vision after Kanohi, blasting after him like a rampage Muaka. As the forest ignited, Balta suddenly felt some of his strength returning, his injuries mending just a little. There was a thud behind him, and he turned to see Dalu collapse again. She had enhanced his ability to heal. As the Rahkshi fired at Kanohi, the vigilante heard Balta call out, “over here.” The Fe-Matoran obliged, grappling besides Balta. The Rahkshi fired another pair of beams of heat vision, only for Balta to repel them. The blast pounded into the Rahkshi, shattering it in a fiery explosion. “We … we … killed a Rahkshi,” Kanohi managed to squeak out, dropping to his knees. “It’s not over yet,” Balta struggled to stand, putting his hands on Kanohi’s shoulder. The vigilante turned to see the Kraata had burst free of the Rahkshi, and was now oozing towards them. With a nod Kanohi drew a small capsule from his pack, and grappled over to the Kraata, slamming the capsule on top of it. The slug hissed and squirmed as he slid the lid underneath, sealing it away. “Try to rest,” Kanohi urged Balta, “watch over Dalu until she has recovered. I need to hurry back to the village, the bulk of the Rahkshi are headed there.” “Understood, Kanohi.” Balta lay down besides his fellow Matoran, as theFe-Matoran turned, hooked a tree and grappled away, launching his way through the jungle of Voya-Nui. … “Come on, Velika,” urged Kazi, uncharacteristically aggravative, “that Rahkshi is attacking the village, we need to form a Kaita.” “No,” Velika said blunt like a hammer. It was in fact unusually bluntly for Velika, no annoying sing-songs riddles of poems, just a blunt answer. Normally this would strike Kazi as odd. But since there was currently three large reptilian beasts the size of a Toa igniting the hunts and frying the Matoran, Kazi was not in the mood to ponder this. In fact all he could manage to say was simply “Why the Karzahni not?” “We don’t have time for this,” said Garan as he fired a blast from his Pulse Bolt Generators, the pulse flying through the air, growing larger and larger as it flew before pounding the Rahkshi with explosive force, “Piruk, Kazi, we will form the Kaita.” “M-me?” “Yes,” nodded Garan, “just concentrate on our unity, it should be much less of a strain than forming a Matoran Nui.” “I … I will try.” The three Matoran drew close to one another, holding hands as the village burned. Then in a flood of light they merged together, their green, brown, and black bodies fusing into one large Matoran. “Incredible, and I thought the strength we got from Nuparu’s upgrades was intense,” the fusion declared, eyeing his arms and his new two-pronged blades, “but this is on a whole mother level.” The fusion turned towards the rampaging Rahkshi and slammed his blades together, unleashing a powerful burst of sound that only grew sharper and louder as it flew. It slammed into a Rahkshi, sending sparks raining from it like an afternoon rain. The other Rahkshi turned, just as the fusion charged the first Rahkshi, slicing its staff in two. “That, is the power of our unity,” the fusion declared, before slicing and hacking his blades at the Rahkshi. The other two charged at the fusion, and the fusion only laughed boisterously, before lunged at them with clean sweeps of his blades. … “A Matoran Kaita,” Kanohi shook his head in amazement. It was … awe-inspiring to see this penultimate act of the Virtue of Unity, to see Matoran become one in drive and purpose. The giant was a little taller than a Toa, and was a flurry of sound and slashing. It was… Suddenly Kanohi spied a flash of red, and grappled to the side, avoiding a blast of heat vision. He did not have time to witness the unity of the Matoran, there were lives to save first. The vigilante grappled around, his wooden masks thumping and flanging as it went. The sensation the sound gave was oddly comforting to the autistic Matoran, grounding. It kept him calm, as calm as he could be in this moment of raw chaos. Plumes of smoke erupted from huts, ash plummeted to earth as if Mount Valami was erupting, buildings collapsed in explosion of splinters and Matoran collapsed, their metal flesh smoldering from being hit with heat vision. It was … it was just like when Mata-Nui fell. His hands trembled at the memory of Ta-Koro burning in the lava, the smell of roasting Matoran, the crushed remains of Onu-Koro, the sheer destruction caused by the first six Rahkshi, the Matoran of those villages sent as refugees to Po-Koro, to serve the will of the Makuta, then the arrival of those false Toa Piraka— And then he heard the jingling of his armor, and Kanohi let out a breath. They … they had defeated one Rahkshi, that was more than the Turaga ever had. The Matoran of Voya-Nui were strong, they … they could handle six Rahkshi. And since these were all the same type of Rahkshi, they couldn’t physically form a Kaita, same as how three Matoran of Fire couldn’t combine together. And that gave the Matoran a bit of an advantage. Kanohi swooped down towards a burning hut, scooping up a Ko-Matoran. His pistons and servos strained against the weight, but he was a Fe-Matoran, he naturally had better endurance than the average Matoran, and that was before he had been rebuilt to be stronger. Why didn’t you tell me that, Vakama? Just tell me the reason I was such a poor Po-Matoran was because I was not a Matoran of Stone at all, but a Matoran of Iron. The vigilante launched away from the fire, the Ko-Matoran in hand. Finally they tumbled to the ground, now away from the blaze. The vigilante stood up as the Ko-Matoran bolted, signing as the Matoran ran. It … his memories bubbled up inside him, the Toa Nuva could not stand against the Rahkshi, how could a village of Matoran? But he did not have the luxury to be lost in fear. Matoran were in trouble, he could not let Voya-Nui fall too. And he … he was a vigilante hero, he had protected the Matoran for centuries before the Toa arrived, protecting them from wild beasts, capturing Kraata, he was a hero. Not a Toa, but still a hero none the less. Kanohi swallowed, and then grappled back into the fray. … Nuparu slashed with his new electro-blade, frying a Rahkshi’s ankles. He was no great warrior, not the kind to become a Toa, but he had already fled the Rahkshi once, he would not do it again. As the Onu-Matoran lunged out of the way of the Rahkshi’s stomping foot, the fusion charged forward, skewering the Rahkshi’s central compartment. Ooze drooled out from the wound, and the foul smelling fluid pooled into the village center. The Rahkshi swayed, before collapsing down at Nuparu— Only for Kanohi to grapple past and carry the inventor to safety. The vigilante rolled on the landing before grappling away, streaking past the Kaita. “Please try not to kill the Kraata. I have had a vision about the Kraata, we need them to get Brutaka on our side.” “Why?” The fusion startled, “how would that convince him?” “I think he can eat them.” “Eat, like those Piraka you talked about?” The fusion stared after the vigilante, his mouth agape under his mask. Then a blast of heat vision hit him in the back, sending him tumbling. Kanohi swerved in midair and grappled back towards the fusion, as a Rahkshi focused his heat vision at the Kaita. The fusion shuddered, as two more Rahkshi flew into view. The three remaining ones were converging here now. Suddenly one of the Rahkshi became a blur, blasting forward at an inhuman speed. It slammed into a tree, shattering the wood with explosive force. As it stood there dazed Dalu stumbled out, stabbing it with her Chargers. She forced the Kraata’s compartment open, exposing the puppeteer. The slug hissing before lunging at her mask, only to be flung back by Balta’s Repellers. The Kraata smacked to the ground, right as Velika ran up to seal the stunned slug away. And then there was a boom. With explosive force the fusion separated, broken up by the barrage of heat vision. Piruk, Garan and Kazi were flung apart and landed with a resounding thud, too exhausted to function. Kanohi turned to the three other Matoran and said, “can you form a Kaita?” “No, not compatible,” answered Velika quickly. Balta and Dalu gave him a look, and he added, “if the Muaka falls, the Kane-Ra will not do better.” “…Okay. Then I’m try to distract them while you get these three to safety.” “I am not just running from these brutes,” Dalu all but snarled, and Kanohi let out a grin. It was good to see a Matoran who still had that much fire. “Fair enough, then we’ll fight them while Nuparu and you two take the fallen to safety.” “Right—” Heat vision swept at the ground, but Kanohi grappled a nearby tree, hooking Dalu and dragging her out of the way. He swung her as he flew past a Rahkshi, and she lunged at the beast, stabbing it in the eyes. The beast staggered about, and she slashed her Chargers against its thighs. Her friends’ fusion had really done a number on these Rahkshi already, now was just clean up. And as the beast crumbled, she stabbed it through the head, letting a noxious ooze drip out. Kanohi meanwhile was darting around the last Rahkshi, grappling back and forth. It’s heat vision pursued him, try to catch up. And then suddenly it pivoted around, aiming for Piruk. Immediately Kanohi broke left and grappled the Rahkshi, slamming into it. The beast stumbled, heat vision going wild, even as Dalu stabbed it in the head. There was a hiss as the slug dissolved, leaving a black stain on the ground below. And then the Rahkshi collapsed with a thud. Kanohi fell to his knees too, panting, while Dalu kicked the beast and shouted, “yeah, that’s how we do things in Voya-Nui!” … “Incredible,” Brutaka laughed like an avalanche, “I feel … incredible.” The titan slammed his fist against the mountain, shattering a crater in its side. He smirked beneath his strange mask, before punching the mountain again, and again, laughing to himself. As boulders fell Kanohi hooked a tree behind Garan and grappled, catching the Onu-Matoran’s wrist and dragging him to safety. The two Matoran tumbled into a heap, as Brutaka laughed. “And you little creatures killed these Rahkshi on your own?” He shook his head as he smashed open another capsule and slurped out the slug like a Rahi lapping water. He began to glow with more energy, the air rippling around him like the tip of Mount Valami. “Pity you only recovered three of these Kraata,” he scowled. “There are many more on Mata-Nui. And it’s said they are created from the essence of the Makuta himself. So the Turaga say.” Though they will lie if they wish. “Oh I know a lot about the Brotherhood of Makuta,” Brutaka laughed, standing up on his long gold and blue legs, “I’ve fought Rahkshi before too. But to eat one? I never even dreamed…” Under his mask Brutaka sneered, “I think I will visit this island of yours after all,” Brutaka decided, and his mask began to glow. Before the two Matoran’s eyes space rippled and ruptured, until a tear in reality formed. And within the rift, Kanohi could see a very familiar beach. “You could teleport that far?” Garan declared, “then why make your brother Axonn sail to Mata-Nui? Why not help evacuate my people’s northern brothers and sisters?” “I didn’t see the point,” Brutaka answered, before stepping through the portal. And behind him the gateway sealed shut, as if it had never been. “Do you really think we can trust him?” Garan glanced at Kanohi, “No,” answered Kanohi with a sigh, “but he will distract the Makuta, and the Toa Inika there will need all the help they can get.” “The Makuta is truly that strong?” “Yes,” Kanohi shivered, and then forced a smile, “still, I thought the Rahkshi were untouchable, and today we destroyed six of them. Nuparu and Velika are already busy salvaging their remains for more tools and weapons, even as your village is mended.” “You know, when the Makuta is defeated, and Mata-Nui is saved, our islands could learn a lot from each other. Trading goods, stories, knowledge, we are running low on food and resources, your richer island could save us. We already defeated monsters that could defeat your Toa Nuva. Imagine what we could do in a few years.” Kanohi’s face relaxed into a faint smile, before saying, “I better return to your village, we need everyone we can to fix the damage it suffered.” “Then hurry,” Garan laughed, “before my people defeat the Makuta without you.” Kanohi nodded, before grappling away through the jungle of Voya-Nui. The vigilante smile faded as he grappled, despite their words it wasn’t that simple of course. Not only was the Makuta a danger, but the false Toa themselves were powerful, though only ‘Toa’ Thok, ‘Toa’ Vezok, and ‘Toa’ Hakann seemed to be able to use their elements. But all of them had strange and incredible powers, allegedly because of the masks the ‘noble’ Makuta gave them when he appointed them the ‘protectors’ of the Matoran. Lies, all lies. The fights the Toa Inika would face in the coming days would not be easy. But the least he could do while the new Toa saved the Matoran and Mata-Nui was to protect the Matoran on Voya-Nui, both refugees and natives alike. He had a duty to all Matoran, he became a vigilante to protect them on an island with no Toa, to give them hope, and well, here he was again. And despite all his fears, his knowledge, there was another truth. Today was a victory. And that would keep him going. So Kanohi continued to grapple from tree to tree, hurtling between branches as he headed back to this island village, in a forest so alike but unalike his home. And this was the way, of the Bionicle.
I wasn’t going to post this one yet, but since the world is in quarantine I felt like I might as well share a story so folks have something to read. This story was inspired by … kind of a canon alternate universe, but not really. I was hit with inspiration by the vision Jaller experiences in Bionicle Legends: Dark Destiny, the world where he did not sacrifice himself for Takua. Makuta over, the Matoran enslaved, one thousand years later the Turaga are killed in an attempted assassination, and Jaller and Hahli are broken servants of the Makuta. Dark times. Now that vision … doesn’t exactly gel with the canon. I’m not sure Makuta would wait over a thousand years ruling the isle of Mata-Nui, or kill the Toa Nuva, not when he would know that Mata-Nui would die soon after MoL. Karzahni visions aren’t always accurate, so I’m not surprised it may have some continuity issues. So I used that vision as the basis for this story, but made some adjustments and changes as I plotted it. I have other ideas for this AU, Versions of the Toa Inika, someone using the Vahki with the willpower to use its full power, what really happened to the Toa Nuva, just rough ideas I haven’t really polished yet. Maybe they will appear as either an epic or a few short stories, not sure which, but leaning towards the latter. Also this story features my OC Kanohi, because I like him, though Macku has a bigger role in the story. Anyway without further ado, here is the Company of Cowards. … There was no dawn through this storm, the black clouds reigned above as they hurled their weapons down like a swarm of hornets. The rain was a barrage of arrows, thunder was the battering ram, and lightning had all the force of a ballista. Nature itself was tearing at the makeshift raft, striving to destroy it in an unnatural fury. The boat was made of everything they could find, parts were scavenged from the huts of Ga-Koro, others from their boats, others from trees of Le-Wahi, even the six Toa Canisters were used to build the craft. It was held-together more through prayer than the vines and ropes that lashed around it. Seaweed was plastered across its sides, until it looked more like a particularly large clump of algae than a ship. Shivering in the storm were thirty seven Matoran, all hiding underneath tarps of seaweed. Their metal frames were blasted with saltwater, only the Ga-Matoran and Ko-Matoran braced the weather with any real resistance, all the others struggled each to stay conscious, their heartlights faint. Only their heartlights and eyes glowed, no other light was lit in this ship as it plunged through darkness, Most of them were rowing, others adjusted the crude rudders to steer through the endless ocean that encompassed their world. And a few Matoran peered out through gaps in the seaweed canopy with spyglasses, daring to pry into the skies about. “Rahkshi,” a faint voice managed, pointing to the port side of the boat. Macku held up her finger for silence, before squeezing under the canvas of kelp to stand besides him. The Ga-Matoran held out her spyglass in the direction that he pointed, even as she unholstered a throwing disk from her back. Up through the lens of her telescope, Macku could see three reptilian shapes streaking through the sky. Each had sharp spines jetting out of their hunched-back, and their heads were all but serpentine. Each held a double-sided staff in their claws, which they swung and gestured with periodically. Their armor was a vibrant gold, almost mocking the memory of the Avohkii. She tensed up as the thought of that Mask, she had only seen it once, seven years ago. During the last Kolhii Match, when it fell out of the Chronicler’s bag, illuminating Jaller with light. Turaga Nokama had translated it, revealing it was the Mask of Light, heralding the arrival of a seventh Toa. But a seventh Toa never appeared, and the island of Mata-Nui was enslaved by the Makuta. And now she and all the other Matoran who could were fleeing their homes, abandoning their sisters and brothers to their horrible fate. Cowards. Just like Jaller. The Ga-Matoran swallowed, holstering her disk. “Spread the word to keep quiet, Tamaru,” she urged the Le-Matoran, and he nodded. They might be cowards, but there was no way they could win a fight with three Rahkshi. They were just … Matoran. Macku pressed her way back through the bowels of the ship, crouching low to not disturb the vessel’s disguise. Finally she squeezed over to Hewkii, Hafu, and Kanohi. The first two brandished a throwing disk in one hand and a Kolhii staff in the other, standing guard. Kanohi meanwhile was huddled low to the ground, staring deeply into his lighter. He was covered in wooden masks carved in the shape of Ruru, using them for armor. Besides him were three objects, the first was Turaga Whenua’s Drill Staff, the second was a Volo Lutu Launcher; last of its kind. And then besides the Turaga’s Badge of Office was something wrapped tightly in canvas and cushioned atop a pillow. Most Matoran did not know what it was, but Macku knew all too well what lay underneath it. “Three Rahkshi are on the port side,” Macku whispered, “I don’t think they have spotted us yet, but I’ve told Tamaru to pass the word to keep quiet.” “Karzahni,” sighed Hewkii, “we are tens of miles away from Mata-Nui, how did they find us?” “The Makuta’s reach is great,” answered Kanohi, “but he has not found us yet. All he knows is where we might be headed.” “And this other land, there are Matoran there?” “Many Matoran, though their bodies are weak, like ours used to be. I think between me and Nuparu we could upgraded their bodies too.” “And are there Toa? Not false Toa like Vezok and Zaktan, real Toa. Heroes.” “There … may be Toa, I see two strange beings, titanic in size, both wearing masks and brandishing powerful weapons. One is stout with armor of red and silver, the other is lean and is plated in gold and silver. I fear they are at odds however.” “Are they strong enough to challenge the Makuta?” Macku interrupted. “My visions are rarely easy to understand,” answered Kanohi, “I understand your frustration. To be blindsided by this tragedy, it is … humbling.” “To say the least,” muttered Macku. “Well, it’s not all hopeless, Macku,” Hewkii huffed and forced a grin, “we’ve smuggled some of our brothers and sisters to safety.” “Yes, until the Makuta decides to track us down,” she shook her head, before her face reddened and she added, “still, you’re right, we’ll probably have the Makuta dead in days and soon enough we’ll be after the seventh Toa again. She contorted her face into a smile beneath her mask. “Macku, you don’t need to hide your fears with me,” Hewkii said quietly, before cracking a more genuine grin, “and it looks like the effort is hurting you.” “True enough,” she shook her head, her smile not quite as forced now. “Excuse me,” a slow voice said. Macku turned to see Kapura, his crimson body covered in a thick cloak. The Ta-Matoran spoke like the slow approach of a glacier, even as his body trembled from the frigid cold, “the Rahkshi have diverted course … to the west.” “Then have they missed us then?” Hafu blurted out with a grin as big as the ocean. “…I think so,” answered Kanohi as he stared into the fire, “keep everyone quiet for now, but I think they are heading elsewhere.” “You are sure?” “Give me a moment to focus,” he said, gazing into the flames, “it’s not easy to steer my power enough to see what I want to know. Kapura, Macku; thank you for your messages.” “It’s the least we can do,” Macku sighed, sitting down, “I should return to my watch, keep an eye on the Rahkshi.” “What color were they?” Kanohi asked suddenly. “Golden, like the Avohkii.” “Before the Toa Nuva were overwhelmed, Turaga Vakama confided in me the types of Rahkshi. I believe the three of them would be Rahkshi of Weather Control, this storm is their work.” “They can even twist nature against us.” “Yes. Oh, sorry, I was thinking out loud. I … I can see nothing, but I will stick to my fire. For the meantime, watch the storm, and be careful leaving the ship. Macku, have your Ga-Matoran forage seaweed when they can, I’ll drill a hole in the ship to dive from.” Macku nodded, “I will pass it alone.” “And I will pass along your orders,” Kapura interrupted. Macku turned to look at him, but he had already vanished into the recesses of the ship. … Kanohi could see Vakama screaming, the Turaga being blasted by the power of fear. The manifestation of raw terror smothered him, as a voice snarled. “The Mask. Where did your pupil hide the Mask?” The waves of gaseous fear blotted out the stars, snuffing them out as Kanohi stumbled in the dark. And then he felt water splash into his face. He looked down to see a Ga-Matoran flailing in the rocky ocean below him, her leg engulfed by a Takea, the shark dragging her down— “Kanohi?” The autistic Matoran lurched away from his lighter, spinning to his feet and thrusting Whenua’s Drill Staff behind him. His optics darted around as the drill whirled. No one was there. And then he spotted Kapura, standing besides him. “You had a vision.” “Yes,” Kanohi admitted, “a Ga-Matoran drowning, a Takea attacking her. I couldn’t tell who she was, it was hard to see.” The starlight outside was all but extinguished, the only light came from the blasts of lightning striking the ocean.” “It may be happening.” “Karzahni. Who?” “Macku has not returned, Hewkii is considering diving after her.” Kanohi nodded, handing over the Drill Staff. “If you have to, shatter it.” “Yes.” Kanohi crouched and made his way through the ship, his Volo Lutu Launcher already back in his hands. It was meant for the jungles of Le-Wahi, but he had made it waterproof, at least as best he could. There, peering over the hole was Hewkii, his hands squeezing his spear until it nearly snapped in half. The hole had been drill in only a few hours ago, the rim bent upward as water splashed inside the boat. Seaweed lay stacked in mounds in this chamber, sloppy and wet. “Move,” said Kanohi, as he pulled out a bundle from his pack. “Please, just … bring her back.” Kanohi nodded and dived in, sinking into the water. With a whip of the cloth he uncovered the Lightstone, illuminating the darkness of the stormy sea. Clutching it in one hand he swam through the gloom, searching for any traces. He was no Ga-Matoran, he couldn’t hold his breath for long. He would have to hurry. … Macku moved her hands towards the object, formerly lost to the waves. It … it looked like a curved blade, a similar shade of silver to the Toa Nuva’s weapons. But it was small, seemingly built for a Matoran’s use than a Toa or a Turaga. As she touched it it radiated light, and a mild shock of electricity zapped her hand. She recoiled, her hand sore, what … what kind of Matoran tool has that kind of power? This could be useful. She grabbed the seaweed from her pack, and wrapped some of it around her hand. She reached over, grasping the tool, it singed the plant fibers but they held. Strange, was it damaged by the erosion of the sea? How long had it been here? As she held the blade in front of her, through its sparks she spotted something swimming through the gloom. She immediately kicked off the rocky patch and swam away, heading back towards the ship. The water curved behind her, something huge was getting closer, shoving aside the ocean like blades of grass. Macku swallowed and turned around, just in time for her blade to illuminate a Takea’s jaws, the teeth glinting from the electricity. She stared in horror just … not responding, as the Takea chomped down on her leg. Somehow she was numb to it, the teeth pierced her leg and she felt nothing. She just stared there. Then suddenly the water rippled, and a Matoran slammed into the Takea. The shark released her, and she drifted through the water, bubbles popping out from under her mask, her eyes motionless. … Kanohi wasn’t sure if Macku was already dead, but he couldn’t dwell on that much, ramming into the shark had staggered him, he had almost released his breath. He swerved in the water and fired a sphere of gravity besides Macku, and with a flurry of bubbles he flew besides her. Her heartlight was still lit, she was still alive. He grabbed her hand and squeezed, trying to help her store, and she almost strangled his fingers. He flinched, before feeling the ocean bend behind him. With a twist of his wrist he fired his Volo Lutu Launcher again, and grappled out of the Takea’s jaws with Macku hanging behind him. He winced at the strain dragging her weight behind him, but he held on. He was … he was different, he could endure it. Kanohi fired his Volo Lutu Launcher over and over, grappling across the ocean floor. Up ahead he could see the hole in the ship, they were almost there. He could feel his head burn from lack of air, not literally but metaphorically. He … he did not have much longer to make it through the water. Then with a rip Macku slipped out of his hands, throwing him off course. He sailed past the hole, struggling to right himself. He … he needed to get her. Finally he hooked something and went flying, before flying up back into the ship. He panted as fresh air filled his lungs, his hands trembling. He swallowed, Hewkii was shouting at him, but his words were utterly unintelligible. “Going back,” Kanohi managed to say, before diving back underwater. He grappled down to the seabed, before using the Lightstone to search for Macku. Through the gloom he spied a flickering light, she was standing up shaking, some tool in her hand flashing while the Takea swam around towards her. He grappled at her, hand outstretched. … Macku stared up at the shark, it’s jaws were nothing like a Rahkshi, but in its rage and aggression, she could see a resemblance. She blankly looked at it, her hand trembling. She used to be in the Chronicler’s Company, she was a great Matoran, she broke the blockade to get help when Ga-Kori was overrun. She defended the Toa themselves when they descended into Kini-Nui. She was … she used to be strong. But now … she felt like a Turahk was blasting her with raw fear, until her servos and joints couldn’t move. No matter how much she wanted to. The Takea barreled down on her, before Kanohi slammed into it again. He knocked the shark off course, missing her and smacking into rock. Macku stared as the shark shook itself off before swimming away from her, now pursuing the Po-Matoran. Macku’s optics followed after Kanohi, his Lightstone illuminating his movements. He grappled again and again across the jagged seabed, the shark gaining on him, its jaws opening up to engulf him. The Ga-Matoran she … she couldn’t let him get eaten. He was a hero. He had protected Mata-Nui long before the Toa landed on their shores, rescued Matoran from dangerous beasts. She … she couldn’t let him die. The Matoran would need him. Look at her. Weak, cowardly. She belonged in Karzahni, with the rest of the failures. Then suddenly she felt a hand grasp hers, and a familiar Mask of Speed greeted her. Hewkii. She hung to his hand tight, and he squeezed back equally hard. His hand seemed to speak in her hand, not with words but with feeling. You are not alone. She felt her heartlight tremble as she stumbled upright, getting a mild shock from her blade, as a Hewkii grasped her hand too. Then with a shove they swam at the Takea, Macku took the lead, she was a better swimmer after all. With a thrust she slammed the electric blade into the shark, and sparks ignited the ocean like a thousand heartlights. The shark gurgled out bubbles, and then with a powerful swish of its tail it turned and swam away into the ocean. Macku released the blade, which Hewkii caught. Trembling she grabbed Kanohi’s Volo Lutu Launchet of his hand, he barely fought her, woozy. She grabbed his hand and Hewkii grabbed his other, but not before pocketing his Lightstone. With a squeeze of the trigger she hooked the hole of the ship, and the three of them grappled into the watercraft. With strain Hewkii threw first Macku, then Kanohi inside the ship, before climbing inside the crude vessel himself. The three of them laid there panting, heaving as a few Matoran looked over them. Finally Hewkii stumbled upright with his spear for balance, and began to speak. Not that Macku could hear his words, she was numb to the world around her. She lay there limp and exhausted, before a Hewkii crouched besides her. He spoke to her and she stared up at him, unable to process his language. A Ga-Matoran bent over her, looking at her leg with a shaking head. “What’s wrong?” asked Macku, though she couldn’t hear her voice. What could be wrong with her leg, she couldn’t even feel it? … Macku slammed her makeshift crutches down, swinging her body around on her good leg. She lumbered through the gloom, with a Hewkii following her, his arms outstretched. “I can handle this much,” she said shakily. “I know. But you don’t have to, alone at least.” She sighed, “I know. Thank you.” “Hey, you Ga-Matoran value Unity most of the Three Virtues, if anything I learned it from you.” “Po-Matoran treasure Unity highly too.” You just treasure Duty more than I ever could. The two of them made their way to Kanohi, who was sitting down, Drill Staff at the ready. At his feet was the electro-blade, partly dissected. “Any luck understanding this weapon yet?” “Not really, the technology behind it is incredible, beyond anything on Mata-Nui, save the Bohrok and Boxers. Nuparu has made progress though. It must be from Voya-Nui. I … in my visions of the island I have seen Matoran with strange but powerful weapons, it must be one of theirs.” “Then we are close?” “Maybe. More importantly, the storm is dwindling, and I have had another vision. The Rahkshi have stopped searching these waters, for the moment at least?” “Really? What … what did you see?” Macku briefly couldn’t see the glow of her heartlight, too stunned for it to flicker. “From what I could understand they spotted a drifting patch of seaweed with Takea feasting on fish inside. I think they believed we perished and that was the wreckage of our craft. Again, we should lay low for a time, avoid fishing or repairing the hull, but I think we might have escaped.” Hewkii practically tackled Macku in relief, and she embraced him too, the two Matoran squeezing each other in a whirl of clinking armor. Their bodies almost seemed to intertwine with each other. Then finally they pulled back with a nod, and Macku said, “I should resume searching the skies, this time keep watch over him, alright?” “Of course,” nodded Hewkii, saluting her, and slamming his throwing disk into his forehead in the process. She laughed as he winced from the blow, and he blushed too. “I will go to Tamaru,” Kapura added slowly, “inform him of your vision.” Macku startled at his voice, she hadn’t even known he was there. “Of course—” Kanohi began to say, but Kapura was already gone. Macku shook her head at her fellow’s strange speed, before ducking under a beam and squeezing back through the dank ship. Her metal feet splashed against the floorboard drenched in saltwater and slime, puddles sloshing back and forth as the craft swayed from the dissipating storm. … By the fifth week of travel the Matoran had voted and had decided to name their ship the Voya-Suva; the Voyage Shrine. It seemed fitting, as they carried the prayers of the Matoran with them on this long journey, and Kanohi had had a prophecy claiming the island they sought to be named Voya-Nui. “What do you think?” asked Hewkii as Macku surfaced. She carried a net in her hands, full of seaweed to be ripped up into fibers. Hewkii held a net too, hauling in fish for the Matoran to eat. Turaga Vakama had empowered Kanohi’s lighter with some of his elemental power, easily enough to cook the fish the Matoran caught on their journey. “About what?” She asked. Her crutches lay besides Hewkii, her leg had ultimately needed to be amputated, and they did not have access to the tools to make a prosthetic. Still, she could still swim fairly well, and her lungs were still stronger than other Matoran “The latest vision Kanohi shared with us. That the Makuta may not only have cast the Great Spirit into a deep sleep, but that the Great Spirit might be dying.” She looked away, “I’m trying not to think about it. The last few days have been so tranquil, it’s best we do not dwell on a prophecy that is so … distant.” “Yeah, I guess we need to keep our senses sharp,” Hewkii agreed, “The last thing we need is to be gloomy on a day like this.” The two Matoran stole a glance at the sky. It was a bright blue, but worse it was clear. If a Rahkshi flew overhead, it would not be hard to spy their boat, and to discover its true nature. But for now, no Rahkshi could be seen. “Besides, Kanohi said so himself that his prophecies are not easy to understand, it might have been a metaphor for the Matoran being … beaten.” “Yeah, might be just them losing faith in the Great Spirit.” They both fell silent, Macku awkwardly treading water. Neither Matoran brought up the simple truth. Even if the Great Spirit was genuinely dying, or worse, if he already had, there was nothing they could do. The Makuta’s reach was as endless as the ocean, Mata-Nui belonged to him, his Rahkshi, and the false Toa who enforced order in the six villages. “…Do you think Hahli is alright?” “You want the truth?” “No, I already know it.” Then came a thunderous sound, and both of Matoran flinched, drawing their throwing disks at the rumbling. Their heartlights flashed violently, as they stood there watching. Finally they heard a Matoran shout in the distance, “Razor Whale scraping against the ship,” and the pair of them slowly stowed away their disks. But their heartlights continued to pulse. “…Hahli.” “She continues to resist to her dying breath, leading a guerrilla battle against the Makuta, using Volo Lutu Launchers to slip past the Rahkshi and throwing disks to shatter the false Toa’s masks.” “Lie better,” muttered Macku, “the false Toa don’t wear masks.” “I know. But there is not much any Matoran can do against those strange beings. Even if the Toa Nuva had still been alive when the Makuta first unleashed those Piraka, there is not much even the Toa could have done against them.” “Heh, here we are, we want to ignore those problems, and we are obsessing over them. Guess my cowardice is all consuming.” “You are not a coward.” “What do you call a Ga-Matoran who abandoned her sister to be ruled by a monster?” “So did all of us. We are leaving to get help.” “But are any of us coming back to Mata-Nui afterwards? No, we all will hide in our new refuge like good little Matoran, hoping these two Titans can fight our battles.” “…” “Some Chronicler’s Company we are. Our Chronicler dies and the six of us flee our island, not only forsaking our brothers and sisters but his own memory.” “I know … your guilt,” Kapura interrupted, coming up from behind them. Macku nodded towards him, hauling her catch onto the deck. As it slapped onto the deck Kapura started to speak again, but by then Macku had already dived back underwater. She was tethered to the Voya-Suva by a cord woven of seaweed fibers, to prevent her from drifting away. The Ga-Matoran had been in the Chronicler’s Company alongside Tamaru, Hafu, Kapura, Kopeke, and Taipu. They had worked with the Chronicler to help the Toa, famously defending the entrance to Kini-Nui so the Toa would not be ambushed. Oh if only the Toa had actually defeated the Makuta then. Shortly after Macku resurfaced, with another net of seaweed behind her. As she climbed up Kapura began to speak, but Hewkii spoke first. “Kapura says that we’ve spotted land in the distance, looks mountainous and icy, like Ko-Wahi back home. Might be the northern tip of Voya-Nui.” Macku let out a tightly held breath, before sitting onto the deck facing the ocean, her foot dipping in the saltwater. She reached behind her and pulled out her spyglass, scanning the endless waves. “I think I see it,” she smiled, then frowned, “it looks … thin. Is it really so small?” “No … just the tip … of the island. Its size rivals Mata-Nui.” “Incredible,” she shook her head, “ a whole other island of Matoran. Matoran who have never had the wisdom of a Turaga, or the protection of a Toa. And they live together, not separated into different villages based off their element.” “So Kanohi says.” She sighed, “even for the thousand years before the Toa, we still had the Turaga. To not even have that, not to mention how none of them know of the Titans on their island…” “They have been alone in a way we never knew.” “We know it now.” “They will have experience … to share.” “Yes. And if we can … work with the Titans … we might be able to overcome … the Makuta.” “And someone as large and mighty as the Titans might even be able to use Kanohi’s secret.” “Don’t speak it,” muttered Hewkii, and Macku nodded. The fewer knew what Kanohi had smuggled with them, the better it would be. As far as Makuta knew, Turaga Vakama had told Kapura to hide it. And hopefully the Makuta still thought it was on Mata-Nui. It was the only thing that could stay the Makuta’s hand from destroy the Voya-Suva. After all, the Makuta was a god onto himself, but he was no match for the raw force of time. But it was still unwise to mention it. Not even Toa Nuva Tahu could control its full power, maybe only the Great Spirit or the Makuta could. So Kanohi guarded it, ready to shatter the artifact with the full force of Turaga Whenua’s Drill Staff. And the resulting chaos … the universe would never recover. … Macku and the other Ga-Matoran struggled underwater, pushing the Voya-Suva across the shallows. The others had insisted she just rest, but she could not. She could do this at least, stand united with her fellow refugees in one task. And with all of them working together, the weight was less. In front of the Voya-Suva, the group’s Onu-Matoran and Po-Matoran strained, using their enhanced strength to drag the boat on the mountainous terrain of the shoreline. They meant to drag the boat onto the shore of Voya-Nui, to repurpose it as a crude shelter. It would take time to fully explore the massive island, alone find the Matoran. And then finding the Titans would be another problem altogether. So in the meantime, the Matoran refugees would need a place to hide and escape the predators on this strange island. They have traveled down the coast for a number of days, trying to find where the shore was shallow enough to land on. Finally they had reached such a spot, and had resolved to make it a base of sorts. It helped that landscape was a lot less frigid here. Still the Ko-Matoran remained the Matoran best suited for this landscape, able to endure the cold of the peaks. Kopeke had led a number of them into the icy mountains, to at least do some scouting. Kapura was scouting south, hoping to find a village in the more temperate regions. Hopefully down there, where it would be comfortable for more types of Matoran, there would be the village of the people of Voya-Nui. It would take time, but the Ta-Matoran’s strange speed made him great at trekking vast distances quickly, and he needed to stretch after his time cooped up in the Voya-Suva. Macku looked over to see Kanohi, grappling across the cliffs. The Po-Matoran was using his launcher to sling from ledge to ledge, pausing only to take in the view of the shore. He was watching for danger, as well as scouting the surrounding area. On the shore Ta-Matoran were standing guard, brandishing their bamboo disks and any other weapons they had carried. They were to ward off any Rahi, they could at least handle that. The thirty seven refugees were tired, hungry, coated in grease and saltwater, but they were alive and free, and that was better than most of the Matoran back home. Hahli … Macku prayed to the Great Spirit as she strained to push the boat, please let Hahli’s spirit endure. Don’t let her break. And then as Macku lifted her head to get air, she heard shouts. Her heartlight began to pulse frantically, and her hands trembled. She wanted … wanted to run, but where to? Ga-Matoran or not, on a good day she couldn’t swim long enough to get far away without her leg, and she was too exhausted to swim at all. But those shouts … she froze there, half-submerged. Her hand reached behind her to her throwing disk, pulling free the weapon of bamboo. She … she didn’t know why she clung to it, perhaps it was some old instinct from before destiny went astray. An instinct that Hewkii resurfaced with the Takea. There were more shouts, and the other Ga-Matoran swam away, heading inland. She just … were those cries from Hewkii, Tamaru, Taipu, Kapura, Kopeke, Hafu - even Hahli? They all blended together in her mind, roaring into her face. “Hey—” Macku swung her throwing disk with all her strength, thumping against someone. “Ouch,” muttered a small blue being with a mask that Macku had never seen before, one who held two long blades in her hands, each silver like the weapons of a a Toa Nuba, or the blade that Macku had found on the journey. . “You … you are a Ga-Matoran?” Macku managed as she flopped over, laying limp against the boat. Her chest heaved up and down, as the short stranger eyed Macku’s lower torso. “Yes. I’m a warrior, name’s Dalu. Piruk spotted you sailing in, I came to investigate. Glad to see some of my sisters from across the waves have spirit left in them.” “Not much,” sighed Macku. “Eh, more than most of your crew. Most of them look like they’ll just lying on the shore, waiting for the tide to drown them. While it looks like life has chewed you up, and you aren’t dead. Come on, big sister, let’s get you out of the water. Looks like you need to rest for a century.” The smaller Matoran shoved Macku upright, though she couldn’t stand, just prop against the boat. “But, the Voya-Suva—” “We’ll help you haul it ashore, once you all have had a chance to breathe. And we really need to discuss what happened to you.” “But … the Makuta?” Macku managed as Dalu handed her the crutches. Macku blankly stared at them, then back at the warrior. “Makuta?” Dalu shook her head, “You northerners keep saying that name with such fear, like se’ll sense you by his name alone. Although, I swear I have heard that name before. Maybe it was something Velika said, he’s always muttering stuff that makes no sense.” Shakily Macku stood up on her crutches, as Dalu slotted her bamboo disk back into Macku’s pack. The two of them began to lumber forward, inching their way to shore. As Macku drew closer to the shore she could see Hewkii wave to her, starting to run to her. She shook her head and he stayed back. Mustering her strength she let out a sigh, before wading towards him and the shore. Dalu glanced back and forth between the two of them, then grunted before sprinting off through the water, running to stand guard among some Ta-Matoran. As Macku stumbled ashore Hewkii tried to catch her, before they both collapsed. “Ugh, my body aches all over,” Hewkii shook his head. “I can’t even see my heartlight,” agreed Macku with a bitter laugh, as they lay there on the rough jagged shore. “”Neither can I, it’s so faint.” Dalu grunted and walked back over to them and held out her blades. The air around them seemed to ripple, and then Macku felt … different. Like her metal skin was crawling, and her arms were denser, but somehow lighter. As they stood back up, Dalu stumbled, before walking back to shore. “How … how did you do that?” Macku called after. “My Chargers. Let me temporarily enhance an attribute of a person, Rahi, or object. Can make a Burnak too heavy to move, or make a killer aware of all reality until they go mad. Used them to make your stamina increase. It’s draining to use them, I need to rest afterwards.” “How … how did you get that artifact?” Was it like the blade she had found? “Always had it, long as I can recall at least. Come on, we all need to rest now. Once you’ve told me your stories, I’ll head back, see if we can help haul your boat to shore. Then we’ll worry about hunting down this Makuta.” Macku nodded shakily at the strangely powerful Matoran. If a mere Ga-Matoran could have the power she claimed to have, even with such a weak body, and if Nuparu and Kanohi could upgrade the bodies of these Matoran too, and then build more weapons like Dalu’s Chargers and the electric blade… Macku smiled faintly despite herself. She hoisted herself back up on her crutches, and she and Hewkii followed after Dalu. The two Matoran did not even need to look at each other, both certain that the other felt a tiny glimmer of hope in their heartlights, one that had endured despite everything.
sure many know the story of Karzahni and despite the nine years since the creation of this character has never died (although dies in history), but it has always been the courage to pass this character drawing to physical creation. aspect as this model does not focus entirely to version of the book however was fundamentetal to work more easily, so even replace certain items will not remove the original essence an example of this it was to eliminate the center belt with skull but these were replaced by skull spiders "like kneepads. previous mask designs: final version of the mask