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New story time. This one does not really feature Kanohi, but it follows up on some of his stories. I wrote this because of the RPG I participate in, Six Kingdoms: Escapement/Rebirth. Within the story there are a number of PC Turaga who still adventure like Toa. Likewise a plot point in the rpg is that the Matoran can be fairly prejudiced against other races. RIP Poison’s species. Also I wanted to setup the epic I have not written and might not write, that details the Toa Inika of this reality as they struggle against the Makuta. Gosh I hope I write that story one day. As for setting, this story takes place millennia after the events of my stories The Company of Cowards and A Village Against the Rahkshi, in a world where those stories are ancient history. It takes place on a poor village on the shore of Aqua-Magna, which has recently suffered some damages that might be the result of a large Rahi. Anyway without further ado, here is the tale, hope it keeps you folks entertained while we are all self isolating. Those We Choose to Forget … The water around Turaga Macku rippled like the fumes of the old Great Furnace. She slipped through the water in a rush, bending around her to propel her fast and far. She squeezed through the current, laughing underneath her squishy organic mask as she traversed the waves. Sparks danced from her harpoon as she cleaved through the waves, like stars in an ocean. “Turaga,” a voice called out as she briefly surfaced, “the Chronicler wants to speak to you.” Her head turned as she treaded water, spying two shapes. She focused, the blue blur looked like Dalu, her bodyguard. Then she focused on the second figure, and recognized the gold and white blur of an Av-Matoran waving on the shore. Turaga Macku swayed her hands and the water pushed her to the shore, letting her shakily wade onto land. Her legs trembled with age and her hands were unfocused, her vision gone. As she walked she slammed her harpoon down, using it to steady her unstable legs. “Chronicler, it is good to see you,” the Turaga said in greeting as she walked closer, “you do not often find your way to Mahri-Koro.” Her chassis was a bright blue, and she wore a strange almost fleshy Noble Huna over her face. As she walked her fingers drummed her harpoon in a flash of sparks, and the water dripping off her frame suddenly splashed to the ground in a sheet, flung off of her body so she could dry. She was a Turaga of Water, not as powerful as when she was a Toa in her youth, but she still had some lingering remnant of her old elemental powers. “Sorry it’s just, well, most of the Toa and the Matoran live in Metru-Nuva,” he answered, rubbing the back of his mask. “Oh, I think you’ll find we Mahrika still have our fair share of excitement, Solek,” Turaga Macku answered, stopping right besides the Chronicler, “tell me though, why have you come all this way to the shores of Aqua-Magna?” “I … was wondering is you could help me finish a tale I’ve been wondering about. What happened to the Fe-Matoran named Kanohi. The vigilante?” Solek rubbed the back of his head, and Dalu rolled her eyes. “His is an old tale,” she answered with a faint smile, “dating back to the days of the island of Mata-Nui, before the Toa Nuva had landed on our shores. I was just a Matoran back when he first became our protector, still Turaga Nokama’s right hand…” She trailed off, still smiling. “What was it like? When your team killed Teridax?” “It was … lucky,” she sighed, “we got lucky. Three Toa and two titans against six Skakdi and a horde of Rahkshi, and the Ma… the leader of the Makuta? It was just luck.” “And Destiny,” Solek offered with a grin beneath his noble Akaku. “Yes,” the Turaga nodded, “Destiny had its part to play. As did Unity and Duty. Despite what Velika might say.” Her optics tightened, and she clutched her staff hard enough for it to tremble. “Who?” “He’s a part of the story, I suppose you could say. His part is forgotten, for better or for worse.” “Was he a Matoran?” “No.” Turaga Macku answered simply. “Though he might as well have been,” spat Dalu, the Ga-Matoran’s face clenched under her mask. “As for Kanohi,” the Turaga continued, “I do not know what his last adventure was. Because as far as I know, his adventures have yet to end.” The Turaga walked off towards the coastal huts of Mahri-Koro, with the two Matoran following after her as she used her harpoon as a cane. “Really, where is he?” “He is helping many, those that are less fortunate than our people on Spherus-Magna,” Turaga Macku turned her head towards him, her metal lips turning to a soft smile, “some Matoran, some Skakdi, some Vortixx, some Zyglak. Some who have no name in our tongue. He helps them.” “But … where else would Matoran be? Or the others? The Red Star?” “Where he is, that is quite the story. He is not alone however. I believe he is with one of your fellow Av-Matoran, Gavla I believe her name was?” “Gavla? Why?” “I believe she felt out of place on Spherus-Magna and among the Av-Matoran. Since he was patient with her, she chose to leave with him.” “That’s it?” “That is it.” “But she wanted to be a Shadow Matoran, she attacked our people, she … she was the worst Av-Matoran I have ever met.” “Yes,” nodded the Turaga. “Why does she get to travel with a great hero?” “Because she was as uncomfortable in this paradise as he was.” “Wh — why would he be uncomfortable?” “Why indeed,” mused Turaga Macku, her smile wide beneath her mask. The three of them walked along the shore among huts woven of flax, some huts hanging on the ocean atop large lily pads. Matoran walked among the braided rope bridges and sandstone paths, most of them Matoran of Water, Lightning, and Psionics, but there were others too. They swam and fished on the lily pads, while others wove cloth from fibers of flax and seaweed, and others built spears and throwing disks out of bamboo. Vortixx were there too, the towering traders leaned over Matoran stalls, examining harpoon guns and fishing rods. They were shorter and leaner than the ones in Xia-Nuva, but even the smallest one still dwarfed even Toa. Some worked to hang up bug nets, others threw bolas to ensnare flying Rahi, bringing them down in time for Matoran to run up to catch the meal. Solek startled as he nearly thumped into a Skakdi, but as the Av-Matoran backed up the hulking character only grunted and gestured for Solek to leave. The Chronicler hurried away, but looked back enough to see the Skakdi going back to whittling a wooden Hau. Then he spied a large blue, white, and red reptilian creature, lumbering on wooden tools and surrounded by a trio of Ga-Matoran. “That … this is a Zyglak?” Solek managed, clenching his staff. “Yes, Far-Dive is lucky, all of the Zyglak here were recently injured in a deep sea dive. Luckily he was able to swim long enough to get to shore and was able to get help, we were able to recover the rest. Most of the others are recovering in our infirmary.” “They … live here?” “Some do, they help us dive for sunken huts or hovercrafts, maybe hunt deep sea beasts. And the few times we have been attacked by the Bone Raiders, they have been of great aid repealing them.” “But they … they were the Great Beings’ mistakes,” he stared at the Turaga. “All of us were their mistakes,” huffed Dalu with a tremble like a bioquake, “doesn’t mean we don’t deserve homes. And that at least give us aid when they can spare it.” It was … strange to an outsider like the Chronicler. Not just the many shady inhabitants, like the greedy Vortixx and the violent Skakdi and Zyglak, but the buildings, While the huts were humble, there were many of varying sizes, some wide, some lean, but all fairly tall and often with both a large curtain and a small curtain for doorways. Were those entrances for folks of different sizes. It was … the effort to engineer this town this way… “Is this how it was on Mata-Nui?” “Not really,” answered Turaga Macku, “electricity wasn’t so widespread then, medicine was worse too, and there were only Matoran there, and we all suffered under constant attacks by Rahi. This Koro is poor, but it is not cruel.” “But why live here instead of Metru-Nuva? Or any other Koro?” “Because … many Matoran have not evolved beyond their programming. Not really.” “What does that mean? That the Matoran here are simp—” Solek suddenly was cut off as Dalu swung her Charger at his neck, stopping just short of his throat. “Watch what you say.” The Ga-Matoran’s voice hissed like a boiler venting steam. “Um, right, sorry.” Dalu walked off alongside her Turaga, and Solek could only stare. That was … Ga-Matoran were not like that. That was more the anger of a Ta-Matoran. Why was she so angry? And why was she just … no one really was reacting either? And why were Skakdi here, they mostly spent their days beating up each other. Not … relaxing on a beach. Then Solek realized Turaga Macku was walking farther away. The Chronicler straightened his mask before running up after them, stumbling as he struggled to catch up. Finally he stood besides them out of breath, as Macku laughed, “Now,” the Turaga gestured towards a hovercraft tied to a hut floating on a lily pad, “I am wondering if you would help us with something, before I tell you a bit of Kanohi’s tales.” “Sure, Turaga. What do you need?” “A few days ago some of our hovercrafts were sunken. The Zyglak went to investigate and were brutalized by the encounter. From what Far-Dive says, I suspect both were attacked by a large Rahi. Dalu, Idris, and me were planning to descend into the depths to investigate it, but having an Av-Matoran to guide us in the dark would be a great help.” “Oh, um, I … Pit Mutagen isn’t there, is it?” “There shouldn’t be.” “Do you have a submarine?” “Why? Don’t you have Adaptive Armor?” scowled Dalu. “Well, yes, but what about you?” “Idris was exposed to Pit Mutagen long ago, she can breathe underwater. As for Dalu and myself, we can manage between the two of us.” “Can Ga-Matoran hold their breath that long? Are you going to use her Chargers?” “If something goes wrong.” “Do not worry, Chronicler,” the Turaga laughed, “the survivors of Mahri-Nui have many techniques and technologies for surviving underwater, many that put any Ga-Matoran to shame. Many of them moved here, and they have helped us in times like this. And our Vortixx residents are always happy to help us improve our tech and keep it in working order.” “Why are they here?” “The same reason any Mahrika are here. Oh, that is what we call us people of Mahri-Koro. Now would it be alright to count you among our voyage? “Um, yes, Turaga Macku.” … Idris took the lead, bubbles spurting from her back as she descended into the water. The Chronicler swam besides her, a glowing hand outstretched. His body had changed in shape and function, his feet and hands now had webbing, and built into his back was now propellers that shoved him through the water in bursts of speed. “So, Idris,” The Matoran of Light held out his hand as he radioed her, “why do you live in Mahri-Koro?” From his hand a bright light radiated through the gloom, a beacon to the swimmers. “Because I cannot breathe air?” She glanced at the Chronicler, her head tilted. “Yes but you could get a Breathing Helmet and live in Metru-Nuva? Or get your body upgraded to be able to breathe air again.” “Well … it wouldn’t be comfortable. My body is built for water since I was exposed to the Pit, and I spend centuries living beneath the waves. Metru-Nuva wasn’t built with me in mind.” “Built with you in mind?” “I don’t have the widgets to buy a Breathing Helmet, or buy replacement parts if it broke. I definitely cannot afford a body upgrade. And I don’t know if many Matoran would hire a worker who could suffocate in air.” “Yeah but that’s…” “It’s okay. Mahri-Koro might not have the best medicine or the biggest selection of comforts, but it’s still good. Close to the ocean, the other Mahrika will swim with me, they value my help and freakishness. It’s a nice place to live. More accessible to everyone.” “You aren’t a freak.” “I kind of am,” she looked off to the side, before abruptly saying, “but it would be better if I was enough of a freak to use my Ruru. Imagine if I could actually use my mask to see through this gloom. It would let us save your elemental power.” “Oh it’s no trouble—” There was a rumble below them, and Solek vanished. Though as Idris swerved in the water to look for him, she realized his light remained. “Chronicler? Are you there?” “Yeah, sorry. My armor changes color on reflex.” Idris turned towards the glowing light, she could just about see an indigo hand with a black forearm, both illuminated by the light. “Incredible.” “One of the many perks of being a Matoran of Light. If you want I can change back?” “Don’t,” Macku’s voice interrupted, as a hand grasped Solek’s shoulder. He spun around, only to find true emptiness behind him. “T-Turaga?” Solek’s optics swept about, searching for her. Then Turaga Macku laughed across the radio, “Come now, Turaga. I have a Huna, don’t I? Noble Mask of Invisibility.” “Oh, right,” Solek blushed. “But I suggest you keep those colors you have shifted to, at least fir now. Us girls naturally blend in with the water, even without my mask. If the Rahi is hostile, it could only help you to stay a little camouflaged.” “Quiet, I hear something,” interrupted Dalu, “more rumbling to the southwest, lot of water being displaced, other Rahi are fleeing from the rumbling too, some are screaming.” Solek turned to see her swimming up, her body was built in the Mata-Nui style, giving her long arms and short legs with big feet, an somewhat ape-like appearance. “Understood, rest for a time, Dalu. Chronicler, Idris, please investigating the sound, I will help Dalu rest, make the water support her. When you explore, don’t attack the source of the sound unless you must. We don’t know how dangerous it is, if it is enraged it could damage Mahri-Koro.” “Right,” Solek nodded, and extinguished his light. His hand reached out and grabbed Idris’s wrist, before swimming towards the direction Dalu suggested. His Adaptive Armor shifted slightly, and a visor formed in his mask. giving him a sort of basic night vision. Not as powerful as even a Noble Ruru could do, let alone a Great Ruru, but enough for the darkness not to blind him. As the two swam Solek remarked, “Dalu seems a bit … odd for a Ga-Matoran.” “She came from Voya-Nui.” “So did you, didn’t you?” “…Not originally, but then neither did she.” “Then why—” “She grew up on a hostile island with no Turaga for guidance, just unusually weak Matoran struggling to survive as they ran more and more out of resources, hunted by powerful starving beasts.” “You had to live underwater.” “Yes. But that doesn’t take away what she endured.” “But times are easier now, aren’t they?” “They are. But not everyone heals, and not everyone heals the same way.” “Her core processor is damaged?” “Don’t say that,” Idris spoke with a sharpness that Solek cut himself on. “Oh, sorry.” “Point is, she doesn’t fit together with most Ga-Matoran now, always ready for the next attack, her instincts ready to retaliate at the first sign of a threat. Most Matoran find a warrior Ga-Matoran disturbing, she was isolated in Metru-Nuva, and that only made her anger and paranoia harder to control.” “So she came to Mahri-Koro?” “Yes. She is fairly calm and happier here, but certain things can trigger her.” “And the Vortixx? How are they odd?” “Well um, many of them come here because Vortixx society is very rigid on gender. Many of our siblings here are more flexible, some have no gender, some have many, some are assigned as male by their people but prefer to be women, some the reverse, some have a third gender.” “I … never heard of such a thing.” “It appeals to some of the Mahrika Matoran too. Other Vortixx come because they are injured or disabled, and cannot afford treatment or prosthetics. And even with treatments, Vortixx don’t often get hired in Xia-Nuva if they might be a liability. And in Metru-Nuva, well, medicine is not intended for beings that size.” “What about the Skakdi, most of them are just bandits, raiding Koro or getting in street fights. Their uncontrollable rage is legendary, I never saw an artisan one before. And the false Toa were Skakdi too, but the Turaga lets them live here?” “The Skakdi feel great rage, yes, doesn’t mean all of them want to let it rule them. They are sick, but so am I, so is Dalu, so are all of us. And the false Toa were only six in number, they do not speak for their whole people. And do not forget, the Skakdi people were experimented on by a Makuta, they did not exactly chose to be wrathful.” “And the Zyglak? They are strange for their people?” “Not really. Well, they might be more … hopeful? When Kanohi and Turaga Macku reached out to them, they did not immediately refuse.” “Kanohi? He was here?” “Yes, he lived here for a while. Before he left. Gavla tried living here too.” “But why approach the Zyglak?” “Because as much as all of us Mahrika are considered freaks and outcasts in Matoran society, none of us are openly called “the Great Beings’ mistakes.” Solek’s face reddened, and he looked away “…How is the Turaga strange?” “She loves.” “Well, we all do.” “No, not like a sister, she loves like an Agori would.” “…I had never heard that about her.” “That’s surprising, she’s pretty open about it. I know you don’t come to Mahri-Koro much but I would have thought one of the other Turaga would have told you. Turaga Kapura at least.” “Well he doesn’t really talk anymore.” “From what our Turaga says Turaga Kapura never talked the way the Matoran approved of, but he always got his point across. Turaga Macku wonders out loud sometimes why he did not leave Metru-Nuva to live here with us, before she usually sighs and mutter, ‘but we were safe, weren’t we? We were the Hands of our Turaga.”” “…What was it like on Mata-Nui? The island I mean.” “I … never really went there.” “But what does Turaga Macku say?” “…Not my place to speak for my Turaga.” “What about Kanohi then? I know that right before he vanished he had spent much of his time here. Was that hero … he unusual too?” “…” Idris was silent, but as Solek started to speak again the water came to life. Not literally, but it began to squirm and twist, and then the water churned as the very ocean rumbled like a yawning Tahtarok. The darkness around them seemed to squeeze around them, something shifting in the gloom. The two Matoran startled, and Idris drew her electro-blade as the Av-Matoran drew his staff, a curved two-pronged two representing his status as the Chronicler. The two of them treaded water back to back, even as the very shadows around them seemed to move as an avalanche. As the water rumbled around them, suddenly a familiar voice declared “swim to your left.” The two Matoran broke to the side, and Solek startled when he realized he was all but a blur through the water, zipping away in a burst of speed. He flapped his hands to stop, before feeling a hand grab him and turn him around. As Idris redirected his gaze, Solek ignited his staff with elemental light. The glow illuminated a massive wall, one that was squirming about. “What … is that?” The Chronicler managed. “The Dweller in the Deep,” Turaga Macku radioed quietly, “I heard stories of this beast. A unique massive Rahi that had made its home in the Silver Sea of Metru-Nui. Turaga Nokama faced it once when she was still a Toa, it was the only predator of Tarakava and Great Temple Squids.” “I … am unfamiliar with those Rahi.” “A single Tarakava almost wiped out all of Ga-Koro, trapping the Ga-Matoran underwater in a hut rapidly running out of air. They would have died if I had not snuck past to get help from Toa Gali. And a Great Temple Squid all but destroyed Ga-Koro five hundred years before the Toa came to Mata-Nui.” “…And this eats them?” The Chronicler managed, the wall of fish scales still passing in front of him and Idris. It was … endless. As he stared the light from his staff grew larger, but still he could not see the edge of this colossal Rahi’s body. But he did see something. “Turaga Macku, the Rahi has some discoloration, a green burn is running down its side. Looks diseased, or maybe poisoned?” “Troubling.” “Turaga, could it be the world of a Lerahk? Could Makuta Krika be the cause?” “Shame, Idris. You know the last Makuta keeps to himself, and after saving Spherus Magna he deserves some good faith, despite … everything.” “Of course, Turaga.” Besides, without Energized Protodermis, no new Rahkshi can be made. Even if he wished to create some, he could not. Still, it does resemble the poison Tahu suffered. Perhaps it is the work of a feral Kraata, or even a wild Rahkshi that escaped our hunters…” “Can you heal it then?” “Possibly, though I have far less power than Toa Gali Nuva. Dalu, wait for me, then try to accelerate its healing.” “Right.” “Idris and Chronicler, you will need to distract the beast. Give us time to get to work.” “We are on it,” Idris declared, and the Chronicler nodded, before firing a flare of light through the darkness of the ocean. The light streaked through the water, and with a terrible rumble the Dweller winced as the light passed its eyes. The beast slowly began to swerve in the water, it’s snake of a body turning about slowly as Solek fired another flare. It winced at the radiance, before diving at Solek. As it opened its maw Idris thrust her electro-blade against the beast’s hide. It moaned and Solek jetted out of its jaws’ path, before sending another flare streaking past. … Turaga Macku’s fingers sparked with electrocity as they pushed and pulled against the depths, creating a current to shove her and Dalu through the water. Their feet kicked too of course, but the water did not fight them, letting them move swiftly through the darkness. “Okay, Dalu, enhance my finger strength.” “On it, Macku,” muttered Dalu, “not stopping there, gotta increase this dweller’s natural resistance to toxicity and ability to heal.” “Three enhancements? Are you sure—” “I can take it, Macku,” Dalu grunted, “I’m not some frail fisherwoman.” She drew her Chargers and they began to glow, illuminating the Turaga’s hands and the whole of beast itself. Dalu lurched as the water around the two rippled and churned, before going limp. “Dalu—” “Get … on with it, Turaga,” spat Dalu, and Macku just nodded with a small grin. With a flex of her sparking fingers she hurled through the water, flying at the beast just as it turned chasing the Chronicler. She stowed her harpoon on he back, she wouldn’t need it yet. Macku’s hand shot out and grasped the beast, clinging onto his scales. As she hung she began to climb along him, searching for the burns. Her body was all but invisible, her organic mask cloaking her from sight. Not that she needed it much in the gloom. The strange fleshy mask was … smart. She did not need to focus to use it, it empowered her on its own. Such a freakish mask, a Mahrika through and through. There, she heard the beast roar in pain as her finger grasped at a patch of flesh that was unusually soft. The beast bucked and thrashed, she clung to a scale desperately, her fingers straining for a handhold. As the thrashing slowed she closed her eyes, still clinging tightly. As she dangled off it she held out one hand, which sizzled with energy. Her Toa Team had been … unique. Infused with the power of the Red Star, their elements were bonded to electricity, their masks were sentient and organic, their bodies full of energy. Three of them had become somewhat more … conventional later on, but she, Kapura, and Hafu had kept their strangeness, even after Kapura and her had finally became Turaga. She breathed slow into her air bubble, digging her feet and hands into the gaps in the beast’s scales. Then the Turaga pressed a hand to the wound, and electricity burnt into the green fleshy patch. The beast lurched and thrashed, but she held. And as her hand sparked water rippled around the wound, soaking into it. The fluid seemed to glow a shade lighter than the ocean, as the waves from her hand pushed into the wound. The element of water could naturally heal, not as well as a Mask of Healing, but it could mend flesh. And now not only was she healing, she was flushing out the poison. Like Toa Gali had done long ago to Toa Tahu, before … things got bad. Macku was not a Toa anymore, and not a Toa Nuva like Gali, but she still had some healing left in her. As she focused the sparks coming off her hand burned away the infected tissue as the water healed it, as well as cauterizing and cleaning the wound. “Chronicler, be prepared for danger,” she said suddenly over the radio, “this burn, it is similar to the ones a Lerahk could cause.” “Then it is a Rahkshi?” “No,” she grunted as the Dweller suddenly lurched. She could feel herself getting low of elemental power, “the poison burns are in streaks, like something slithered there. It was likely a Kraata-Ye, I … think it would have to be at least stage five.” “Stage five?” “Yes, that would poison any Rahi. But since this is not just any Rahi, it might be a stage six of even a Shadow Kraata.” “How could a Shadow Kraata remain alive? How is it possible?” “It is a big universe, and there are plenty of things outside it,” she answered, “Do not worry, the Turaga hunted the Kraata for centuries on Mata-Nui, and none of them had the element of light to help them. At best they had Matoro and Kanohi to act as bait.” “…Yes but I’m not Kanohi.” “No kidding,” Dalu managed to radio, “Macku, I’ve got an idea. Still a bit winded, so if I pass out, you better bring me to the surface.” “Of course, warrior.” “Okay, I did this with Toa Tamaru once, before he … used the mask. Let’s try this.” And then Turaga Macku’s hands began to glow and a current of lightning and water unleashed from her fingers. “What are you—” “Enhancing … your connection to your … elem…” And then Dalu fell silent. “…Idris,” Macku ordered as her power washed over the beast’s wounds, “find Dalu and bring her to the surface.” “Of course, Turaga.” The beast’s wounds seemed almost to regenerate as the poison was flushed from its skin into a noxious cloud. As her power dwindled Macku called out, “Chronicler, get ready. If the Kraata is still here, it will try to stop—” And then a blast of light streaked past her, illuminating the Dweller’s back. As Macku’s optics adjusted she could just about see a green slug-like creature, hissing as it flinched from Solek’s light. The Kraata reared back lunged towards Turaga Macku, but whether it aimed to infected her mask or poison her, she would never know. For Solek fired a pure bolt of light energy, which streaked over her shoulder and plowed into the Kraata. The Kraata-Ye burst into a cloud of vapor, and a small cloud of greenish blackness hung in the water. “Are you alright, Turaga?” “Yes,” she nodded, before shoving off the beast, “the Dweller is still wounded, but the poison is expelled, and there should be no more.” “But where did it come from? And the Dweller—” “Is leaving for deeper water,” she pointed simply, and it was. The long creature slithered through the water towards the farther depths of Aqua-Magna, the ocean rippling in its wake. … “So, you will speak to Krika then?” “Well, not him, I don’t know where to look. But he keeps a Rahkshi with a Shadow Kraata in Metru-Nuva, it knows his will. If … if there are wild Kraata on Spherus-Magna, it should know. And if not, then he should know another Makuta still remains loose.” “You will trust him?” Turaga Macku said. “You … you all have given me a lot to think about. I never … thought about … never questioned … you are a strange Turaga, you know that? You still have wisdom but you fight, you go on adventures.” “Yes, well, I always knew when tradition should be ignored. Apparently even before Mata-Nui.” “…What was Kanohi like? I mean I know the stories but … I did not question them.” “He was an outcast,” she said almost casually, “we thought there were only six elements, the Turaga told us he was a Po-Matoran. But of course, he lacks their strength and his body is built differently, he failed in much that they did with ease. Then there were his visions.” She looked away to the horizon, “we thought he was insane, his other oddities didn’t help. Vakama taught him about his visions, he knew what it was like to have a glitch, especially such a strange one. But there was only so much time they could meet with each other. For centuries the six types of Matoran were kept apart, and while Kanohi was a traveler, he ‘belonged’ with the Po-Matoran.” “Why not tell him he was a Matoran of Iron?” “Because, Matoran like people to fit into nice neat boxes, and some of us can’t,” she sighed, “revealing other elements would only confuse the Matoran, cause disharmony. Or so they said when he found out. It drove a wedge between him and Vakama, and I wonder if it is why Vakama finally died seemingly of his body shutting down.” “Vakama died of guilt?” “I think that sometimes. You know, the most remarkable thing about Kanohi was not that his vision gave him visions or that he was a Matoran of Iron on Mata-Nui. It was that he took all the ostracizing and judgement other Matoran pushed and him, and turned it into compassion. He became a vigilante while the rest of Mata-Nui waited for the Toa. He rescued Matoran, helped other outcasts build homes, he tried to make the world a little kinder, a little more hopeful. Especially for the most vulnerable of the Matoran.” “When he learned about the Matoran below, his heartlight broke,” she sighed, “on Mata-Nui, the bulk of us were bullies at worse, we could be cruel but not monstrous. Well, most of us were merely bullies, one Matoran served the Makuta willingly. But below our people were much worse. Some of our fellow Matoran committed genocides, viewed other races as savages. They experimented on other ‘lesser’ Matoran, they committed atrocities. And as far as he knew, he might have been monstrous too before the Makuta had destroyed all of our memories.” “So he and you made Mahri-Koro as a sanctuary? “Something like that,” she nodded, “a village that would take in the freaks, the outcasts, the monsters and the creatures.” “…The stories I hear of Kanohi are … different. That he was always beloved hero, honored by all of Mata-Nui and Voya-Nui.” “He was and is a hero, and most Matoran honored him by the end. The stories are not exactly wrong. But even now, acknowledging that he was first an outcast, that the villages did not see his potential for nearly a millennia, that for a time only the freaks admired him, well, it does not fit the simple view of the world that Matoran like.” “…I will have to rewrite some of the chronicles in the Wall of History.” She shakily stood up, using her harpoon to stand, “on a brighter note, the last day he was here, he told me that he had been wondering something. That when the Turaga took us to Mata-Nui, and rebuilt our society, if they had tried to make it kinder. It was not perfectly so, but if they had at least tried to make society nicer, more compassionate. And though their efforts had fallen short, now Mahri-Koro had learned from their mistakes and successes, and made a better village. And he wondered if one day, millennia in the future, if another village will come and put this one to shame.” “That’s beautiful.” “Forgive me, I still have not told you where Kanohi went.” “Isn’t he still here?” Solek smiled. “In ways,” she smiled back, “and in many ways though he is far away, often he is quite close to Aqua-Magna, if not Spherus-Magna. Rarely the Red Star, and even rarer farther than that.” “I don’t understand?” “It’s not known to many of us. I wonder if he knew about it all along, his visions might have given him glimpses. Makuta Krika might be able to tell you more, he was the one to use the Olmak in the end. Ask him when you visit him.” “Krika knows?” “A Makuta seeking redemption? Filled with regret? He is a freak, much like us Mahrika. He was kept in much of the loop in the early days.” “…You know, he still went along with the Plan, up until you killed Teridax.” “Yes,” she nodded, “and personally corrupted many of your fellow Av-Matoran. Nothing will make that right, undo the harm he did in the Brotherhood. But he might one day be able to fix some of the evils his brothers and sisters had committed.” “…You know as evil as Matoran can be—” “…They were not the Makuta?” She sighed, “I fear it is dangerous to view evil as a mere sliding scale. But so is assuming that every evil is the same and throwing aside trying to better things, even gradually. Ultimately though, you are right, the Matoran did not cause the scale of harm the Makuta did. But it does not mean we are innocents, and it does not mean we have no need to examine ourselves and try to improve ourselves. And do not forget, most Matoran are all but powerless. The damage we could cause the world was limited by our physical limitations. And we still caused great harm. Poison, Phantom, Gaardus, all victims of Matoran violence. And they were not alone.” Solek looked away to stars out over the horizon. “How are the Zyglak?” “Mending,” she answered, “some of their other tribes were able to send them aid, help us better take care of their injuries. A few Zyglak plan to hunt the Dweller for vengeance, there is not much we can do about that.” “They are going to antagonize it? After it wrecked the ones here?” “The Zyglak are used to being beaten and attacked,” she turned from the rising sun, “they have been outcasts since before the Great Spirit awoke. All they have is that they can stand together and show support.” “What about Mahri-Koro?” “They are wary, some tribes consider the Mahrika Zyglak traitors. Others they say they hope to erase the memories of all Matoran so they could become more like us. I think they are joking.” “I hope so.” “I hope that the Zyglak don’t find it,” she muttered. “Because it would kill them?” “Yes, or they would kill it. The Dweller is one of a kind, only one was ever discovered. It even held the Great Disk of Ga-Metru for a time, the disk wedged in its teeth. Turaga Nokama encountered it when she was a Toa, before the Great Cataclysm.” “…Once you knew what it was, there was no way you would kill it, was there?” “I doubt I would have killed it regardless,” she laughed like gravel tumbling, “the Toa Code still has some sway over this old Turaga. But knowing it was a freak, poisoned and abused, lashing out in its pain, well … I was never the most bloodthirsty Toa. Better to leave it be, instead of hunting it down. Aqua-Magna is big, I doubt it would come too close to here again.” “You are something of the Toa of the Mahrika, aren’t you? “Something like that. I am a indeed bit more … active in facing threats to the village than some Turaga, though I am far weaker than any Toa. Not to mention my tiny stature.” She laughed to herself, shaking her head with amusement. “Well, before you leave for Metru-Nuva,” the Turaga interrupted her own laughter, “would you like me to tell you the story of Kanohi’s last adventure here? And where he has gone?” “Yes. But … it also might be good to hear a new perspective on more well-known chronicle. I will have to leave soon, but someday, will you tell me what you remember of the War?” “The War,” she sighed, “you mean the tale of my team of Toa Inika, and our fight to save Mata-Nui from the Makuta? How we fought against the Makuta, his Rahkshi, and his Piraka; all while our brothers faced a horde of undersea monsters eight of the Makuta and the six corrupted Toa Nuva?” “If it would not bring up too many bad memories.” “I was spared the worst of it,” she said simply, “Toa Tamaru faced the worst, and Kopeke and Onepu did not fare much better. If not for Toa Krakua…” She trailed off, remembering that great sonic shriek that seemed to echo through the universe, and how it had changed the far off battle of Karda-Nui completely. She shuddered, “But yes, I can tell my part of that epic tale. I can even start it now. It began long ago, a week or so into our exile on Voya-Nui. Kanohi had conversed with Garan and Axonn for much of that time, guided by a vision he shared with few. And then one day, he had Axonn carry the Toa Canisters of our beloved Toa back towards the beach…”