Author's Notes: Alright, another short little story for all of you! Well, it's actually a series of oneshots about Lhikan and Vakama. Anyway, here's the first installment, so enjoy!
Disclaimer: As of yesterday I am the proud owner of a Jaller Mahri set, but Bionicle itself belongs to LEGO. Oh, Toa Sicar belongs to me, but that's it.
The Lessons of Lhikan
1 - Anger
Toa Lhikan breathed deep the morning air and smiled. Today was going to be a good day, he knew it. The feeling only grew as he made his way through Ta-Metru towards his friend's forge. He always enjoyed visiting Vakama. They would talk about what they had been up to since the last time they saw each other and also what news they heard. Lhikan told Vakama about the goings on of Metru Nui as a whole and Vakama talked about the little things going on in Ta-Metru.
But information wasn't the only thing exchanged. The Toa of Fire often brought the Matoran high-level disks to use for his masks. They were never wasted. The masks made by Vakama were amazing to say the least and made him very well respected. But the Ta-Matoran always gave something back to the Toa, though it was subconsciously. While Lhikan was with Vakama, the Toa could forget his troubles and relax, be himself. That was something he was rarely allowed to do anymore.
As the Toa drew near to Vakama's forge he took out a level 7 disk to present to his friend. He knocked on the forge door and waited. Posed to knock again, Lhikan jumped as a yell sounded from behind the door.
Without pausing, Lhikan kicked the door open and entered the blistering heat of the forge. Drawing on his elemental power, Lhikan got ready to blast whatever villain had decided to harm the Matoran. But instead of some Dark Hunter or even a Rahi, Lhikan only saw Vakama standing at his work table looking over the remains of a mask. The Toa sighed with relief and put a hand over his thumping heart. Maybe Nidhiki's right, he thought. Maybe I am getting a little too tense.
He was about to hail his friend and ask what the trouble was when the Matoran spun around, yelling "Stupid mask!" and threw one of the larger pieces of broken mask in the Toa's direction. It was only his quick reflexes that allowed Lhikan to duck the object. As it hit the wall with a resounding clang Lhikan straightened himself, looked at the small dent in the wall, then at his friend. Vakama was horrified to see what he had done and was holding one hand over his mouth.
"Good throw," Lhikan said, smiling. He picked up the piece, which looked to be half a mask of water breathing, and brought it over to the still dismayed Matoran. "Uh, may I ask why you were flinging pieces of Kanohi Kaukau at the wall?"
Vakama timidly took the mask fraction and immediately started babbling out apologies. "I am so sorry, Toa Lhikan! I never meant to throw the mask at you! If I knew you were there I would have-"
Lhikan raised his hand in a gesture of silence, still smiling. If Lhikan was too tense, then Vakama was lacking self confidence like none other. "Apology accepted," he said, knowing this would be the quickest way to stop the Matoran. "Now tell me, what's wrong? Is there something wrong with the mask?"
A little of the old anger came into the Ta-Matoran's eyes. "Yes! Something's wrong with it and I don't know what! I've tried to make the Kaukau over and over again using different techniques, different power levels, everything! But no matter what I do it always ends up exploding in my face. First, I . . . ."
As the Vakama explained in technical terms what exactly was going wrong, Lhikan nodded and tried in vain to keep up with his friend. Though Lhikan spent much time with Vakama, he himself wasn't much of a mask maker and had a hard time understanding what his friend was saying. Lhikan waited until the Matoran had talked out some of his frustration and then took a turn in the conversation.
"How long have you been working on this, Vakama?"
"All yesterday and all night," was the reply.
Lhikan felt his eyes widen. "Without any breaks?"
The Matoran shook his head 'no.'
"Well, there's your problem! You know perfectly well you can't do a good job if you don't sleep! That's probably why you're so cranky too."
Again, Vakama looked apologetic. "I really am sorry, Toa Lhikan. I was just so frustrated."
"I know, but you really shouldn't take out your anger in such a violent way. It usually comes back to hurt you," admonished the Toa. Then he laughed. "You know, I remember doing something very similar to what you just did, back when I first became a Toa."
Vakama looked up at the Toa who was staring into the distance with an amused glint in his eye. "What did you do?" Vakama asked his interest piqued. It wasn't every often that Lhikan talked about his distant past.
Lhikan smiled down at his friend and said, "Something very stupid. Let's sit down and I'll tell you . . . ."
Somewhere far from Metru Nui, a small island stood among the great sea, a great fortress dominating the land. Its red walls stood tall and thick, practically impenetrable, and it was known as the safest place to hide anything. Not only was the fortress impressive with secret areas, mazes, and puzzling locks, but the guards were some of the best-trained Toa ever known. The fortress was also a well known Toa school with great instructors and many Toa came great distances to train there. But the fortress was also home to many Toa and Matoran. One specific Toa who was born and raised in this fortress, a young Fire Toa with a golden Hau, was standing in the training area of the fortress bathed in the red light of the setting suns. He took a few deep breaths and flexed his hands on the hilts of his fire swords anxiously. He looked over to where another Toa of Fire was sitting on the ground with a stop watch, and waited for the signal. The elder Toa glanced up from his stop watch, nodded, and announced, "Go."
As soon as the word was said, the young Toa was off like a shot and onto the obstacle course laid in front of him. First, he jumped over a series of high bars, sliced through a manikin, and put away his swords as he rolled under the next set of bars, barely winded. Next, he climbed up a rope ladder and when he reached the top he flipped off onto the ground where he proceeded to take out his swords and cut through five manikins, spinning and twirling as he did. Sweat was beginning to trickle down his face and his breath was becoming forced, but he didn't stop for a break. Instead, he put away his weapons once again and jumped to the first ring of a set of monkey bars. But weary from his previous drills, his hand failed to get a firm hold and the young Fire Toa slipped and fell onto his back in the dirt.
He lay there, panting while the Toa with the stop watch stopped the timer, stood, and headed down to his exhausted companion. "3 minutes and 42 seconds," he announced and glanced down. "You're getting worse, Lhikan."
"I'm . . . tired . . . Toa Sicar," Lhikan panted. "We've been . . . doing this . . . all day."
"Well, practice makes perfect," Toa Sicar said as he offered Lhikan a hand up. "And I told you not to call me Toa Sicar anymore, just Sicar. We're equals now, yeah?"
Lhikan allowed himself to be pulled up. "I've been a Toa . . . for about a week. I hardly consider myself . . . equal."
Sicar shrugged and began to walk back to the starting point. "That's what these drills are for, to help you improve. Now, take it a little slower on the jumps and you should have enough energy for those monkey bars. If you can do it under two minutes, we can stop for the day."
"Wait, we're doing it again? We've done it at least twenty times!"
Toa Sicar turned and said, smiling, "Seventeen times. And, yeah, we're doing it again! You can stop when you reach twenty, yeah?" He frowned as the young Toa groaned. "Oh come on, it's not that bad."
"You're not the one doing it!"
His frown becoming deeper, Sicar said, "I've done it before, you know, all the Toa here have. It's required. My time was one minute thirty six seconds. Now, do it under two minutes and we can stop."
"I can't do it anymore, Sicar!" Lhikan yelled, becoming desperate.
"If you have breath to yell, you have breath to run. You're doing it again," the older Toa said, turning and continuing to the starting point. "You'll thank me for this later."
Turning his eyes to heaven and sighing exasperatingly, Lhikan did a slow jog up to the start line. Sicar was already sitting down, ready to start the watch as Lhikan took out his swords and positioned himself. "Okay, go."
This time Lhikan managed to jump over two bars before becoming entangled with the third and falling face down into the dirt. "That's it!" he cried frustratingly, taking his swords and putting them together. As hard as he could he threw his weapons and turned to Sicar. "I'm going home," he announced with as much dignity as his dirt covered mask would allow. "I'll come back tomorrow and do twenty-five drills, but no more tonight."
Sicar shrugged and said, "Fine with me, but twenty-five tomorrow." He stood and stretched, and looked to where Lhikan had thrown his swords. His eyes widened and he started to call a warning but it was too late.
The magma swords were spinning in the air, much like a boomerang, and like a boomerang, were heading back toward its thrower at considerable speed. Lhikan only became aware of this fact as the weapons hit the back of his head, sending the young Toa face down into the dirt again. As the swords fell to the ground, Sicar dropped his watch and ran to his fallen comrade.
"Lhikan? Hey, Lhikan, buddy, you okay?"
Lhikan made a 'thumbs up' sign, but otherwise didn't move.
Sicar laughed and patted the young fire Toa on the back. "So, did we learn a lesson today?"
Lhikan nodded. "Yeah," he said, propping himself on his elbows and rubbing the back of his head. "Never trust your swords."
"I was thinking more along the lines of 'don't throw away your weapons.' Also, maybe a little something about anger?"
"Don't take out anger in a violent way. It will come back to hurt you," Lhikan said, after thinking for a bit.
"That's better. Now come on, you need a rest. Tomorrow, if you do the drill right, maybe we can work on your sword throwing, yeah? Could be useful in battle someday."
Lhikan smiled up at his mentor. "Sure."
"Eventually I became very good with my swords. That throwing trick is very useful and all the training that Toa Sicar forced on me made me into the Toa I am today." Toa Lhikan looked down at his folded hands. "He was a very good mentor and friend."
"Did you ever finish that obstacle course in good time?" Vakama asked after a brief silence.
Lhikan smiled. "Oh yes, my fastest time was one minute and twelve seconds, but that was after years of practice. It took me weeks just to get under two minutes and a lot of lessons too, like the one I just told you."
"It's hard to imagine you inexperienced," Vakama said. "It was almost like the person in your story was a different Toa."
"He was in a way," said Lhikan, looking at his friend. "I've changed a lot since then, matured. The lessons I've learned along the way made me into me." Everything was silent for a moment except for the roaring of the forge fire. "Oh, I almost forgot," Lhikan mumbled, handing Vakama the disk he had brought. "This is for you. But sleep before you make anymore masks," he advised.
Vakama nodded eagerly, carefully examining the disk. "Wow! Power 7! Thank you, Toa Lhikan."
"No throwing this one, okay?"
The Matoran nodded and smiled.
A/N : Yep. So I have at least two more chapters planned, possibly three. I'm open to suggestions and reviews are much appreciated!