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Bionicle: Journey to Zero

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Bionicle: Journey to Zero


It was midnight in the City of the Mask Makers, and sleep had taken the world.  The Sentinels, warriors of silver and blue crystal, held their eternal vigil from the rooftops and gateways as ever, but the streets were empty and silent.  All the villagers had long since retired to bed, and apart from the gentle blue glow of the lightstone lamps and the stars, there was not a single speck of light to be found… save one.


Flame still flickered through the windows of the Temple of Creation.


In the heart of the Great Forge, Makuta was crafting a masterpiece.


No, not a masterpiece.  A wonder.  A miracle.  A work of art beyond anything even the First Tribe had ever dreamed of.


The universe in microcosm: six elements in one mask of Ultimate Power.




Makuta’s hammer rose and fell, striking the mass of metal burning in his crucible.  The unborn mask flashed, its light shifting from white-hot to the rich red of a dying star.




Makuta’s hammer struck again, and the mask shifted in response, now the vibrant green of a lightvine in full bloom.




The hammer came down yet again… and this time, something cracked.


Makuta’s eyes widened behind his Mask of Control.  He spat a curse in a language as old as Okoto itself and dove backwards.


Behind him, the mask flared amethyst, light so bright it could pierce one’s eyelids-


-and exploded.


The blast hit Makuta with the force of a charging Habbarak and smashed him against the forge wall.  Blazing fragments of the mask peppered the stones around him, filling the air with the smell of burnt coal.  The crucible itself was undamaged- it would have taken unimaginable power to even scratch it- but nothing of its previous contents remained.


Makuta just laid where he fell for a while.  He didn’t much feel like getting back up.  Hours of work and preparation, gone to waste.  The most beautiful design he had ever produced, a mask of waves and curls like the great ocean, proverbs etched in long-dead tongues across its brow- gone forever.


The great door creaked, then burst open.  Ekimu raced into the room, his pet fox bounding beside him.  He frantically scanned the room; he gasped when his eyes fell on his brother.  “Makuta!  Spirits alive, Makuta, are you all right?”


Makuta groaned and picked himself off the floor.  “Perfectly fine, brother.”


“Are you sure?” Ekimu asked, moving to help him up.  “There’s a Mask of Mending in the other room, it’ll only take a minute to-“


“I’m fine, Ekimu,” Makuta growled, pushing Ekimu away.  “The only thing I injured today was my pride.”


Ekimu sighed and looked at the crucible, then back to Makuta.  “What in the world were you trying to make there?”


“A better mask than anything you could ever make,” Makuta said simply.


Ekimu stared.  “Makuta, we’ve been over this.  You don’t need to prove anything.  As long as your masks fulfill their purposes, they’re as good as they need to be.”


Makuta scowled.  “Then why do the people only ever ask for your masks?” he said.  “Why do they never accept mine, no matter how well they perform?”  He walked back to the crucible and stared into its depths.  “They only settle for masks like yours, brother.  Nothing less.”


“You need sleep, brother,” Ekimu said, stepping forward and putting his hand on Makuta’s shoulder.  “Without it, your work suffers- you suffer.”


Makuta slapped Ekimu’s hand away.  “I ‘suffer’ regardless, brother.  Leave me.”


Ekimu frowned, but backed away.  “We’ll talk again in the morning, then,” he murmured.


Makuta grunted.  “No.  We won’t.”


Ekimu shook his head and walked out.  His fox followed him, purring mournfully.


The door shut… and with a mental command from Makuta, channeled through his Mask of Control, it locked itself.


“You should have just killed him,” a voice rasped from the dark corner in the far reaches of the room, grinding out each word like stone scraping stone.  “You should have done it long ago.”


From the shadows emerged a twisted, skeletal figure of tarnished steel and dull orange flame, his face hidden by a horned mask of death.  In one hand he carried a vicious, pointed mace as tall as he was; in the other, a hatchet not unlike the blades of the Sentinels’ halberds.  His build was practically nonexistent beneath his armor, all bone and no muscle, and yet he carried himself as if he could pick up a mountain with ease.


Most of the city, Ekimu especially, would have been horrified to know that Kulta, lord of the Skull Raiders, walked its streets once more.  But Makuta had not wanted the people to notice his new ally, and through his mask, they did not.


Makuta looked up from the crucible, his eyes dull.  “I don’t want him dead, Kulta,” he said.  “I hate him, hate how the people love him… but I am not a killer like you.”


Kulta snorted.  “That was why you made that bargain, was it not?  You restore our kingdom, and we kill anyone that tries to stop you.”  He stepped over to Makuta and dropped to one knee before him.  “He’s stopping you, isn’t he?” he whispered.  “I can end him in an instant.  All you have to do is ask.”


“No,” Makuta said, and there was an edge to his voice.  “I don’t want him dead.  I’ll make that mask.  I’ll show him and everyone else my power.  That’s all I need- that’s all we need to win.”


Kulta scowled and walked away, grumbling under his breath.  “It’s all about that mask, isn’t it?”


Makuta’s eyes narrowed.  “You doubt me, then.”  It was not a question.


Kulta stopped.  “Makuta…” he said, turning slowly.  “Please understand.  I want to believe you, truly.  But you’ve promised so much to my people, and yet after all this time you’ve nothing to show for it.  My tribe is still trapped in the mountains, dreaming of the day they can return to their old hunting grounds, and meanwhile you wait here, going on and on about a mask you can’t seem to make-“


“I can make it,” Makuta spat.


Kulta closed his eyes.  “I mean no offense,” he said.  “But it’s been so very long…”


“Just a little bit longer,” Makuta said, his voice softening.  “Trust me.  I’m almost there.”


“How long?” Kulta asked.


Makuta’s head sank.  He didn’t answer.




A new design.  Three spikes, one atop the head, two at either side.  A strong, angular jaw.  Ridges everywhere.  Two small eyeholes beneath a heavy brow, crowned with a sculpt of the third eye through which Tren Krom, the fallen master builder of the old legends, saw the power of destruction in the hearts of his peers.


This would be the one.  It had to be.  Makuta would brook no more failure, not now.


He carved the tooling.  He stoked the flame with the shadow embers Umarak had given him in the Artidax Vault.  He aligned the six elemental crystals through which he would endow his mask with power immeasurable.  He prepared the vat of boiling protodermis from which all masks were poured.


The liquid filled the tooling and resolved into a solid.  The crystals flared.  Makuta brought out his hammer.




The hammer fell.  The mask shone with the rich red of a dying star.




The hammer fell.  The mask shone with the vibrant green of a lightvine in bloom.




The hammer fell.  The mask shone with the dull amethyst of the twilight horizon.




The hammer fell.  The mask shone with the deep sapphire of the deepest oceans.




The hammer fell.  The mask shone with the blinding white of the Ihu slopes.




The hammer fell.  The mask shone with the soft gold of Makuta’s own mask- and Ekimu’s as well.




The hammer fell one last time, and dark flames surrounded the mask, billowing and curling.


Makuta thought he saw words in the flame- words that no one was ever meant to read.


He pulled a lever, and a deluge of water fell from a tank in the ceiling, drenching the mask.  The black fire vanished in an explosion of steam, and in the hissing, Makuta heard words- his own promises, reflected back at him.  He knew they would soon be fulfilled.


This would be the one.


It had to be.

  • Upvote 6

It is not for us to decide the fate of angels.

Dominus Temporis, if you're out there, hit me up through one of my contacts.  I've been hoping to get back in touch for a long time now.  (Don't worry, I'm not gonna beg you to bring back MLWTB or something.  :P )

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Nice work-a neat study into Makuta's character and the creation of the Mask of Ultimate Power. I like the fact that you still depicted him as not wholly evil before donning the mask: he doesn't want to kill his brother, just prove that he can outdo him.

Voicing your opinions with tact is the best way to keep a discussion from becoming an argument.
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I've always had it in my head that Makuta never started out as the scheming, brutal megalomaniac Teridax was or the rather flat villain he ended up as in Journey to One (and I was so disappointed when I found that out, by the by).  Back when The Legend was posted, I remember people analyzing Makuta's grunts as he forged the Mask of Ultimate Power and theorizing that he would be a more tragic character than Teridax was.  I was fond of that idea, and this is my way of working that into the canon.


Speaking of the official material having a different take on a character than I expected, I was rather surprised to find how obsessively loyal Kulta was to Makuta in Escape from the Underworld, having figured he'd be a bit dissatisfied with how quickly his leader got himself defeated by Ekimu.  I worked with it anyways, and in the end, I think I'm happier with what I've got than my original take on the character- Kulta still has his misgivings, but ultimately he truly wants to serve Makuta despite being a leader himself, and that conflict is tearing him up inside.  It's a lot more nuanced than I originally intended for him, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing his interactions with Makuta.

  • Upvote 2

It is not for us to decide the fate of angels.

Dominus Temporis, if you're out there, hit me up through one of my contacts.  I've been hoping to get back in touch for a long time now.  (Don't worry, I'm not gonna beg you to bring back MLWTB or something.  :P )

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