KANOHI ECHOES

"So, this is it?"

"Yes... this is it..."

The two beings walking through the rubble of Ta-Metru paused as they looked up at one of the towers that contained many of the workshops which, decades past, once held special matoran. Mask-makers.

One of the figures observing the structure was one such matoran... or at least, he had been, once upon a time. The other figure guarded him, and was allways looking back and forth, not knowing what to make of this new land still.

"Come. I hope it hasn't caved in." the smaller figure, Turaga Vakama, said to his escort. He than began hobbling towards the tower, followed closely behind by his Fire Toa friend.

-------

A few minutes of ascending stairs and working past debris yeilded their final destination. Vakama stepped into a darkened room slowly, carefully, as if a sleeping demon resided inside the dwelling.

Tahu Nuva stepped into the room shortly afterward, looking around feverently, still wondering just why Vakama had dragged him this far away from the Colliseum, where the rest of the Toa, Turaga, and the Matoran were currently residing untill areas of Metru Nui were repaired into habitable conditions again.

The Turaga raised his Fire staff, and willed it to glow brighter. The light that came forth revealed a small living area, part of it set aside for sleeping, preparing dinner, and general relaxation. The other half was taken up by a huge desk, a forge, and an assortment of Toolboxes. Tahu flinched slightly at the sight of a small curled-up Bohrok. The entire room was coated with a fine layer of dust, and assorted cobwebs. Overall, it had obviously not been lived in for some time.

Vakama just stood there, and took in the sights in silence, while the toa remained perplexed. He finally willed forth the words he had burning in his mind.

"What is this place to us, Turaga? What importance does it have?"

The shorter one turned to face him, and Tahu gasped quietly. For never had he seen such an expression of bitterness and joy mixed together on the face that had always known as unbreakable.

"I was a Matoran once, you know that... know this also then, for this room... was my home."

There was silence. Vakama turned to the workshop table, and gently blew away the dust. He reached towards a pile of papers, and fingered through them, untill he pulled one out, and gazed at it's writings.

Tahu walked up behind him, knelt down, and studied the paper over the elder's shoulder, admiring the handwriting on the parchment.

"Impressive... who wrote that?"

"... Lhikan."

Again, Tahu said nothing. But this did not mean that his thoughts were silent, for his mind was whirling at a pace unlike before. He still had trouble coping that the City of Legends itself existed. When he had listened to the tale that Vakama had told of themselves as Toa, he had merely accepted that as it was... a story. But now, many things were coming to light. He was quickly finding out that the legends he was told had truth to them after all.

"This was the parchment that the Toa stone he gave me was wrapped in." Vakama continued, unaware of the tumult in Tahu's mind. "I stashed this here after I had witnessed those vile hunters capture Lhikan. From here, I then went to the Great Temple in Ga-Metru, and..." he chuckled to himself. "Well, I suppose you can guess what happened next."

"So it's all true?" the Toa finally asked. "It all really happened?"

The Turaga nodded. "It seems so surreal... to have returned to your home, after so much has happened, after so much time has past, after so much about you has changed... and yet to find it as almost completely the same as you had left it... it's almost as if it never happened..."

Tahu remained quiet, for he realized that this was not affecting just him, but Vakama as well, moreso even. He gazed about the room some more out of uneasiness, when a few chunks of rubble underneath the bench caught his attention. He shuffled under it, and picked them up, realising that it wasn't rubble as all, but the shattered pieces of a Kanohi mask. It wasn't untill he put them together that he recognized the shape.

"Heh... so you made the Mask of Time here?"

Dragged out of his reflectory state, Vakama shook his head to clear the memories from his vision, and looked at what Tahu was holding, before laughing. "Hoho! Well, I tried to, but could never get it to come out right, as you can see there. I finally completed it while we were sailing to Mata Nui... the same one that you have in your possesion now... I TOLD Dume that only the Great Disks were more powerfull..." he murmured this last part to himself.

The two shared a breif chuckle, before the Toa uttered another question.

"Mask making... what's it like? Is it hard?"

Again, the Turaga was silent for a second before replying "It can be... Especially of one is just beginning, or if they're doing it by themselves, with no instructor. I'm hoping that once some of the Ta-matoran move back into this sector once it's repaired, it will jog their memories and they'll remember how to make masks just as they used to-"

"Can you still do it?"

This was a very awkward question for Vakama. It was a while before he replied.

"To be quite honest... I'm not quite sure. It's been so long..."

"Why don't you try?" Tahu asked again. The idea had suddenly come upon him in an breif instant, and was now insanely curious as to what the process of mask-making looked like, and if the result really would produce a functional mask.

Vakama stood there, stroking the bottom length of his Huna, before his eyes lit up in a very excited manner. He then pointed to a drawer underneath the desk.

"Pull that out, won't you?"

Tahu blinked, then reached down, and pulled it out. It revealed itself to be a rack full of Kanoka discs.

Vakama was going about the desktop, clearing away dust and collecting old tools and gadgets, seeing if they were in working condition or not. He continued talking "See if you can find a Shrink, Enlarge, and Freeze Kanoka in there, level 7 or 8. Preferably all at the same level."

It took a second for the Toa to digest this information, but he began sorting through them. He had learned of the discs and their properties during the journey to Metru-Nui, and he remembered which ones did which. He didn't know if the Metru they came from mattered or not, so he counted none out. Eventually, he came forth with the three discs and set them on the space that had been cleared.

"I couldn't find a level 8 freeze disc, will a level 7 do?" he asked Vakama.

There was a nod. "There's always a slight chance that it'll still break, but hopefully it won't."

The elder then proceeded to pick up two of the discs, and hold them close together. Tahu's eyes widened as he saw streams of energy enemate from each disc, pulling each other in untill they were one. Vakama repeated this action with the third disc, and smiled at the finished metal object.

Then, he picked up a tool, which looked like a handle topped with a sphere and blade. He smiled to himself and muttered, "Now, let's see if I remember how this goes..."

Hours passed, but Tahu did not notice. He sat by Vakama's side the whole time, transfixed by the movements and care that he took. The flat piece of protodermis was systematically hacked, carved, melted, and shaped into a work of art and mastery. Having never seen him work before, the toa would be hard pressed to judge, but as far as he could tell, the being in front of him had not lost his edge in the years passed.

Finally, silence reigned again in the room, and Vakama turned to him, holding a fully-formed grey Kanohi mask... a Great Mask, Tahu guessed, for the color was the trait they had before a Toa put one on, changing it to their element's own. But the mask itself... he had never seen such a design before...

"Well, what do you think Tahu?" his Turaga asked, a look of pride evident on his mask. "I think I did pretty well."

The Toa of fire nodded in awe, an emotion that was quickly becoming common for him. "Indeed Turaga... but, what Mask is it? I've never seen such a mask like that in my time."

There was a chuckle. "Well, let's see... you know how each one of us Turaga wears a Noble Mask?"

"Yeah?"

He lifted the kanohi up and looked into it's face, smiling wistfully. "Well... this is simply a GREAT version of one of the Noble masks... a mask one of us wore as a Toa."

Tahu sighed in relief, as it would be a power he knew. "Okay then... but which one is it?"

Vakama lowered the mask down so he could peer through it's eyeholes, and simply smiled.

-------

All that Lewa Nuva, Toa of Air, was doing was going about his buisness, about to enter the Colliseum meeting hall...

When something hidden from his sight, up and tripped him!

Sprawling all over the floor, Lewa weakly lifted his kanohi off the ground to mumble "THIS is why I hate Foot-walking..."

Shoving himself up, he then saw a shadow looming up from behind him, and he whirled around to meet... thin air.

He stared at the empty space for a second, scratching his mask, where he suddenly heard a snicker, and a pattering of departing feet.

Even more confused than before, the Toa of air slowly got up to his feet, and pondered to himself, why that snicker had sounded just like Tahu's...

-FIN-