Chapter 9: Kohlii and an Ambush
Tahu stirred on his cot, thinking that something was missing. Dismissing the feeling, he thought about everything that was now going on. The Rahkshi-Kal, Zephyr's appearance, and the Turaga saying she was part of an old Legend and that she would help them. Tahu thought about her story, being banished and ending up saving the Toa of Ice and killing a Rahkshi-Kal.
Soon, he remembered that she had come into his room last night, looking for comefort. She was scared, that was for sure. But what would she be afraid of within the Ta-Koro walls?
Slowly he opened his eyes and saw that Zephyr was gone. Tahu looked around and saw that there was a fruit on one of the tables.
"Zephyr?" He called.
Getting up, Tahu went outside and instantly spotted Zephyr in a ring of Ta-Matoran. In her hands was a kohlii stick. Opposite of her was Jallar. They were in a make-shift Kohlii ring, with only two goals and no other players. They were playing one on one.
Zephyr was woken up by the sound of the Matoran playing Kohlii. She had managed to get up without waking Tahu, leaving a fruit for him if he was hungry. It was Jaller who asked she wanted to learn how to play.
An hour later (And through many tries and fails) Zephyr was going one-on-one with Jaller to see how much she learned. Tahu Remained at the back of the crowd to watch. He could still easily see what was going on, plus Zephyr wouldn't see him right away.
The rules set were simple; the regular Kohlii rules, but first one to get a goal won. Normally this would be a challenge, but for the Matoran, it was only a practice run.
"You can still back down you know," Jaller said. "If you think you still need practice."
"Nah," Zephyr replied. "Where would the fun be in that?"
Jaller laughed and the ball was tossed in. Zephyr when for it and scooped it into the spoon of her kohlii stick. It was knocked out by Jaller and he tapped it away from her with the hammer end.
Jaller ran from her to get the ball into her goal first, but Zephyr blocked and hit it with her hammer away from him before kicking it toward his goal. Jaller tried to stop it but it was already in the goal. The other Matoran cheered at her victory, causing Tahu to grin.
Jaller chuckled. "Not bad. Maybe you should join the Ta-Koro Kohlii Team."
Zephyr grinned. "No thanks. The ball's to hard for me," She leaned on her stick and rubbed the top of her foot.
The Matoran chuckled, some called out saying she looked like a Turaga. Zephyr laughed at the statements. "I'm not worthy to be compaired with the Turaga!" She said. "But thank you all the same."
The way she said it made the matoran laugh more. Even Tahu couldn't help but chuckle a little. Soon Zephyr spotted Tahu and waved at him. He waved back a little, now almost surprised at how much she changed in just a month. He remembered when she was so withdrawn before, terrified to cross the Toa or insult the Turaga. Now she's playing with the Matoran and openly greeting the Toa.
Zephyr soon came over to Tahu with a grin, which he couldn't help but grin back at.
"Later guys!" Zephyr called to the Matoran as she left, getting cheery fair-wells from them. She looked up at Tahu, her green eyes almost as bright as Lewa's armor. "We're meeting the other Toa today right?" She asked.
Tahu nodded. "To find the Rahkshi-Kal before they threaten the Matoran any further."
Zephyr nodded in agreement. The sooner these things where gotten rid of the better.
"We are NOT splitting up Tahu!" Gali shouted at Tahu.
"It's the fastest way to find them Gali!" Tahu shouted back.
Zephyr rolled her eyes as she and Pohatu waited for their quarrel to end. iSo much for 'The sooner the better.'/i Zephyr thought. Tahu and Gali have already been at it for an hour.
"Do they always do this?" Zephyr asked.
"You have no idea." Pohatu replied.
Zephyr sighed and leaned against the tree, absently listening to Tahu and Gali. She chuckled a little, remembering that was how Soren and Sage would sound when they were arguing. She could tell Gali usually had the control in an argument, while Tahu sadly didn't. He was in fact scorching the grass under his feet.
Onua soon stepped into the argument and tried to end it, but he was soon pulled into it. And, as if on cue, all the other Toa where in on it. Zephyr blinked on them before throwing her hands in the air. "Oh for crying out loud!" She mumbled and moved away a bit.
She hated it when the elders argued. She wondered why they just couldn't decide on an action and stick to it. It sure would have made things a lot easier.
Suddenly, Zephyr again noticed that the birds had stopped singing. iMaybe the Toa's arguing scarred them off. /i Zephyr thought.
Zephyr stiffened at the sound of the twig snapping and looked into the forest. There was something moving in there. Zephyr looked closely for a moment before the sunlight glistened off a metallic staff. Time slowed as Zephyr followed where the staff was pointing and her face paled when she saw it was aimed at Tahu.
"TAHU!" Zephyr cried out and lunged at Tahu.
Tahu turned and was tackled by Zephyr. Surprised by her action he gripped her arms, burning her skin. She didn't scream but grunted in pain. A second later, a blast of chain lightning flew past where Tahu had once been standing.
This caught every Toa's attention and they drew their weapons. Soon, out walked a Silver Rahkshi-Kal with three Rahkshi. A brown, a green and a black.
A cold laughter was heard through each of the Toa's mind, including Zephyr's. "So, this is the human I've heard about? I thought she would have been larger, or stronger. Not this scrawny little thing."
Zephyr, holding her burns, glared at it. "Don't be fooled. I'm tougher than I look."
The Rahkshi-Kal laughed again. "Is that so little fleshling? Let us test that why don't we?"
Suddenly the rahkshi attacked with their staffs forward. Tahu stood between the black Rahkshi and Zephyr, angry at himself for both not knowing the beasts were here and for hurting Zephyr. He drew his swords and blocked the rahkshi's attack. The rahkshi hissed at Tahu and pressed the staff against the swords, draining their fiery power.
Seeing Tahu's trouble, Onua brought a mound of earth under the rahkshi and threw him off of Tahu. Seconds later he was attacked by the brown. The ground under Onua rumbled before shattering with a small explosion, throwing him across the field and against a tree where he lay still.
"Onua!" Zephyr shouted, running over to the Toa of Earth and shaking him a little. "Onua?"
"How sweet." The voice said again, causing Zephyr to turn and face the silver Rahkshi-Kal. It's monstrous red eyes burning into her more than Tahu's burns. "The Bonded Toa running to the rescue of a Toa." It looked over it's shoulder at the Toa, all busy with the other Rahkshi. "I guess this means that you are mine then." It raised it's staff at Zephyr, lightning sparking at the tip.
On instinct, Zephyr picked up one of Onua's drills and blocked the blow. It was very heavy in her hands and it strained the muscles under her burned skin, causing her to grit her teeth. The Rahkshi-Kal kissed at her and the staff came alive with energy.
Suddenly there was a blinding moment, and Zephyr's entire body went numb. It felt like her very breath and the warmth of her blood were stolen from her. She thought someone was shouting her name, and there was a shadowy figure in front of her. Bright eyes looked worriedly at her. As her eyesight darkened, she thought it was her father calling her. His strong even voice shouting her name. Then she blacked out.
Tahu was enraged now. He heard the blast and saw Zephyr's small form go flying for a moment before falling to the ground. She didn't even grunt when she hit.
"Zephyr!" He shouted as he ran over and checked her over. Her skin was cold, and her muscles twitched. She looked at him, but her strange eyes didn't seem to be focusing right. Soon they closed and her breathing became shallow.
Even Kopaka had never seen Tahu this angry. Tahu growled under his breath and his swords came alive with flames. He turned to the Rahkshi and attacked. Also angered by what happened to Zephyr, Pohatu, Takanuva, and Lewa joined him in the fight.
Kopaka helped by freezing their feet to the ground before running to Zephyr's limp form. He looked her over with his mask of x-ray vision and checked her vitals. Her anatomy was simply astonishing to him. He admired the uniqueness of how she was put together before getting back to work. The organ where her heartlight should have been was pumping hard and fast. He gripped her wrist and could easily feel a slight pulsing in tune with the organ.
"Gali!" Kopaka called, getting the water toa's attention. She had saved his life once, he was determined to repay that debt.
Lewa swung his twin katana blades with amazing skill and grace. Zephyr had helped protect his village. Pohatu had also seen her Kohlii skills before he left to find the others. He was hoping to play her some time. And Takanuva was angry that he could stop her from being hurt.
Gali rushed over and looked Zephyr over. "Is she…" She couldn't finish the question, not seeing a heartlight to confirm anything.
"No she's alive," Kopaka said. "But unconscious and in shock."
Gali filled her hand with healing water and laid it over Zephyr, letting the water cover her from head to toe, but leaving her face so she could breath.
Tahu was breathing heavy with the three rahkshi at his feet. Lewa put his blades away and looked around. "The Rahkshi-Kal…" He said, out of breath. "It's no where to be sight-seen."
Pohatu looked around, sure enough, there was no sign of the leader of the attack.
A quiet moan was heard, and all heads, save for Kopaka's and Gali's as they worked on Zephyr, turned to see Onua was waking and rubbing the back of his head. "Ow…" He said.
Pohatu grinned. "Onua! You alright brother?" He asked as he walks over and helped him stand.
"Yeah, I'm alright." Onua replied. "Just a headache. Everyone alright?"
Tahu looked over by Gali and Kopaka. "All but one."
They all look at the still form of Zephyr lying between Gali and Kopaka, looking like an armorless matoran. Tahu walked over and looked at the human as the water reseeded from her.
"She'll be alright Tahu." Gali said looking at him. "She's just in shock."
Tahu looked shocked himself when he heard she was alive. "How in Mata-Nui's name is she alive after that blast?" He asked.
"Well," Onua said. "Turaga Vakama said that when a human bonds with a Toa, it makes them a little stronger."
"That may be the case this time." Kopaka said. "But she needs heat. I don't think her body should be this cold."
Tahu took her hand and was surprised at how chilled it was. Gently he picked her up and shared his warmth with her. She snuggled closer to the heat source and shivered a little.
"We'll need shelter." Tahu said. "Ga-Koro is closest, we'll stop there for Zephyr and Onua to recover."
The other Toa nodded and started out, leaving the shattered Rahkshi behind. Zephyr continued to rest in Tahu's arms, feeling safe and warm. At long last.