This article was written by BobTheDoctor27. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.
|Setting||Po-Wahi, Motara Desert|
|Date set||One Year and Four Months Ago|
|Next||Tales of the Masks|
Relevance is a canon-compliant, supplemental story to the Bohrok Kal Saga, in the Generation One continuity.
Pohatu, Toa Nuva of Stone, narrowly dodged a charged energy beam launched by the Gahlok-Kal. Even with his Kakama Nuva engaged, however, not even he was quick enough to evade the follow-up, which struck him square in the chest and repelled him back several feet.
“Maybe we should’ve loud-called the others,” quipped Lewa, Toa Nuva of Air, from his perch atop a nearby rock plateau. “At the very least Gali or Onua would be able to quick-think a way out of this.”
“Not now, Lewa,” bristled Tahu, Toa Nuva of Fire, attempting to block the Bohrok-Kal’s next burst of Magnetic Energy with the flats of his weapons. Failing to think his defense through, the crimson Toa soon found the Magma Swords repelled from his hands.
Several hours ago, word of the Gahlok-Kal skulking the Keva Bay in search of something had reached the guards of Po-Koro, warding off trading caravans and preventing some of the village’s Mahi herders from going about their daily business across the Motara Desert. With Po-Matoran trade disrupted by the Bohrok Kal’s presence, Pohatu had called upon his fellow Toa for reinforcements to find only two of his brothers had answered the call, relaying heartfelt apologies from Gali and Onua.
The battle had been hard-thought for several hours now, with Pohatu and his allies enjoying no real success. The Gahlok-Kal was not a Rahi that could be so easily spooked, nor was it as predictable as a regular Bohrok. The recent loss of their Elemental Powers left the Toa hard-pressed to achieve any substantive results. Worse still, they were no closer to determining the mysterious Bohrok’s objective.
“We don’t need to win,” grimaced Pohatu from the ground, calling forth the strength to rise again. “We just need to keep it away from Po-Koro.”
“I suppose,” said the Toa of Air in response. “But this would be a lot easier with our Toa-powers.”
Activating his Miru Nuva as Tahu was repelled backward into a nearby sand dune, Lewa swooped down from his position to attack the Gahlok-Kal from above. But their adversary once again proved too swift, dodging the attack with the well-polished ease of a Ruki fish. Burying an Air Katana into loose sand, the Toa Nuva of Air received a sharp headbutt to his abdomen that sent him stumbling into the shingle after his fellow Toa.
Tahu rose to his feet and exchanged a weary look with Pohatu. It had been like this all morning; together they charged the Bohrok Kal only to be repelled away or magnetized to each other or disarmed entirely. Their target seemed entirely unfazed by their fruitless efforts and exhaustion was starting to claim even the mighty Toa Nuva of Fire.
“It is a pity you align yourselves against the Bohrok cause,” grated the Gahlok-Kal, turning its attention back to examining the sheer cliff-edge. “Your persistence is admirable.”
Sensing his moment of opportunity, Pohatu activated his Kakama Nuva again and rose once more. Cricking his neck and flexing the muscles in his legs, he felt the silent support of Tahu and Lewa as they lay sprawled in the sand behind him. As quietly as he dared, the Toa of Stone broke into a run, building up momentum ready to deliver a powerful kick that would send the Bohrok Kal hurtling into the ocean.
“Or perhaps you are just stubborn.”
The Elite Bohrok’s dome rotated with the reflexes of a virile Gukko, the ginger tips of its cold eyes locking onto Pohatu. For a brief instant, he thought he saw his own Kanohi Nuva reflected in its polished casing. But the Gahlok-Kal was too quick, side-stepping once more and leaving the Toa’s Feet Addition to sail through thin air.
Caught off-balance, the Toa Nuva of Stone teetered out on the edge of the cliff. For one terrifying moment, he felt his ankle begin to tremble beneath his full weight. Desperately, he flailed his arms, hurriedly steadying himself and shuffling back from the edge.
The Gahlok-Kal had the perfect opportunity to strike. Repelling the unfortunate Toa off the edge would surely have put a fatal end to his interference. It was, after all, what he had tried to do. But the Bohrok Kal made no such move, much to Pohatu’s surprise.
“You Toa have marred my labor long enough,” declared the Gahlok-Kal, a hint of tedium in its otherwise entirely monotone voice. Taking a decisive step forward, the Bohrok Kal returned to the middleground, away from the cliff. Tahu and Lewa stood ready to receive it, back on their feet and weapons reclaimed.
“Even without our Elemental Powers, we still deliver a pointy reckoning,” snarled the Toa Nuva of Fire, his armor glimmering majestically in the desert sun.
“Our victory will be scribe-written on the Wall of History,” taunted Lewa, readying himself to make one final jab from his Air Katanas and penetrate the armored shell of their rival.
But the thrust never landed. Extending its Magnetic Shields, the Gahlok-Kal released a pulse of crackling purple energy that struck all three Toa. The pain of contact was searing and instantaneous. Together, the heroes cried out and writhed against the intense magnetic pull like fish caught in a net.
After hours of distraction they had finally caught the attention of the Bohrok Kal, and now they were experiencing the full focus of its power. In that single, horrifying moment, each Toa could feel his own armor heaving against him, struggling to break free and tear itself from his body. The Gahlok-Kal could tear them apart or crush them entirely with a flick of its Magnetic Shields. They were totally and completely at its mercy with no means of escaping the Bohrok’s grip.
“Even without your Nuva Symbols you Toa continue to obstruct my mission,” rasped the Gahlok-Kal, its dome twitching from side to side, eying up each of the captive Toa Nuva. “Perhaps I shall give you further incentive...”
Squirming at the whim of the Bohrok, the trio rose into the air, dragged by their armor until they hovered a bio off the ground. Together the Toa Nuva wrestled and thrashed only to tense when they felt the familiar sensation of terror as the magnetic clamps of their Kanohi Nuva detached. Eyes widening, they gritted their metallic teeth and reached up to secure their Kanohi Nuva while they still could.
But the might of the Gahlok-Kal proved too strong. One by one, the masks tore from the faces of each Toa; first Lewa, then Tahu, and finally Pohatu. Deactivating its powers, the Gahlok-Kal claimed its prizes as the Toa hit the ground. Juggling all three of the masks in its arms before magnetizing them to its back, the Bohrok fixed its victims with an icy glare.
“Consider this a warning, Toa. Cross my path again and I will not be so merciful.”
With the threat still hanging in the air, the Gahlok-Kal reconfigured itself into a spherical shell and ventured off into the desert at high velocity.
Panic. Blind panic. Toa were reliant upon their masks. If left without them for too long they would slip into unconsciousness, and the desert of Po-Wahi stretched too far for them to crawl back to Po-Koro. Already they could feel their muscles weakening and energy fading.
No words were needed. The Gahlok-Kal was forgotten entirely as the Toa tousled about in the sand, reaching desperately into their packs for their secondary Kanohi Nuva. A familiar dizziness was beginning to claim them.
“That could have gone better,” mused Lewa, attaching his Pakari Nuva into place. “Our present situation notwithstanding, we crash-wrecked especially hard back there.”
“The Kanohi were torn from our very faces,” murmured Tahu from the shingle, his features now covered by a crimson Akaku Nuva. “And we were powerless to stop it. What manner of Toa are we?”
“The unfortunate kind,” sighed the Toa of Air.
“Some more unfortunate than others.”
Turning to address their brother-Toa from beyond the sandbank, Tahu and Lewa laid eyes on a truly sorry sight: Pohatu adorning his Kaukau Nuva.
Chuckling to himself, Lewa opened his mouth to make a cutting jab at his brother’s bold choice of mask only to receive a glare from Tahu that silenced him. Now was hardly the time for levity at the expense of the Toa of Stone.
Instead, a leaden silence hung in the desert air as the Toa soaked in their defeat. The sheer hopelessness of their situation now finally sunk in. For days they had been battling the Bohrok Kal. They had gained no ground and lost whatever semblance of a foothold they had earned. For the first time since they had landed on the golden shores of Mata Nui, all seemed truly lost.
“Our masks...” murmured Pohatu sensitively. “We... we need to get them back.”
“We need a smart-plan,” mused Lewa Nuva shakily, as though he could barely outline the shape of the phrase. Together, he and Pohatu turned to their leader.
But Tahu said nothing. The Toa of Fire just stared into the empty desert, his features unreadable. Neither of his teammates could remember ever having seen him like this.
“Come on,” yielded Tahu reluctantly. “Let’s head back to Po-Koro.”
The journey back to the village of Stone was unpleasant to say the least. Ordinarily, Pohatu would have activated his Kakama Nuva and traversed the desolate tundra with the grace of a Proto-Drake in flight. Now he had no choice but to fight the constant impulse. Today he was humbled by the monotonous walk of shame.
Heads turned as the Toa entered the central courtyard of the Po-Koro Bazaar. Tradesmen looked up from their stalls and paused mid-transaction, unsure what to make of the miserable procession.
"Could we not have close-skirted around the outside instead of walking straight through?" asked Lewa, shying away from the prying eyes of the villagers.
"We have no reason to avoid them," snapped Tahu in response, eyeing the guard posted outside of Turaga Onewa's quarters. "Toa don't hide from Matoran."
"Yes, it seems that Toa don't do much of anything these days," retorted the Toa of Air with uncharacteristic ice in his tone. "But, then again, not all of us have the luxury of hiding behind a strong-fort in the middle of a volcano."
Pohatu hung back furtively, sensing the rising tension between his two brothers. Lewa had struck a nerve and Tahu wasn't one to shy away from confrontation. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to lock eyes with the emerald-armored Toa, the brow of his Akaku Nuva twisted into a snarl, his hands balled into fists. Now more of the Po-Matoran came to stare at them.
"Care to say that again, vine-swinger?"
A hostile silence.
Rolling his eyes, Pohatu stepped forward to intervene in the standoff.
"I think we could all stand to get under some shade," suggested the Toa of Stone, putting a hand on Tahu's shoulder and breaking his gaze. "The desert sun can make us say crazy things, isn't that right Lewa?"
After a long moment, the Toa of Air nodded reluctantly.
"That... That got a little too personal," he said apologetically. "I should've thought-spoken. I'm sorry, brother."
"Let's just find the Turaga," bristled the Toa of Fire, doing his best to shrug off the exchange.
It took the three Toa a while longer to locate the village elder. He didn't appear to be in his quarters, the Kolhii Stadium, or the Bazaar. It wasn't until Lewa consulted a Po-Matoran named Hewkii that they were pointed in the direction of the Po-Wahi Quarry, where they found the Turaga hard at work crafting a new statue. Approaching the ancient stonemason furtively, all three of the heroes found themselves drawn to the curious sculpture he was chiseling away at. It looked like a Toa of some sort, sporting a large shield and a spear. Onewa was standing atop a ladder, chipping away at a strange and shapeless Kanohi. Almost as though he were trying to decide between two masks.
"Good day, Turaga!" announced Pohatu, startling the village chief out of his work.
The elder’s eyes widened in alarm. Hastily, he threw a ragged sailcloth over the unfinished head and began hurriedly climbing down the ladder.
“Greetings, Toa,” he wheezed.
"What're you working on there?"
“I’m keeping a promise... to an old friend.”
Lewa Nuva bent down low to read the inscription at the statue’s base.
“Pouks,” he read aloud.
“That was his name,” muttered the Turaga, reaching the bottom of the ladder.
Sagging heavily back into an upright hunch, Onewa snatched up his Stone Hammer once more and turned to address the Toa. Only then did he register something was amiss.
“The Gahlok-Kal got the better of us, wise-one,” said Pohatu, pulling an uncomfortable expression from behind his Kaukau Nuva. “It made off with our masks and still wanders the Motara desert. We couldn’t stop it.”
“But we’re not done trying,” continued Tahu. “We intend to win back our Kanohi Nuva and drive the Bohrok Kal from this land. If it takes a week, a month, even a year, we shall eventually be victorious.”
The Turaga of Stone regarded the three Toa coolly before pulling a face and choosing to speak.
“If Vakama were here he would no doubt note the sad irony of your predicament,” he chuckled. “But, alas, he is not. I suppose responsibility therefore falls upon my weary shoulders.”
Hobbling closer, the elder surveyed each of the Toa closely, choosing his words carefully before speaking.
“While Nuju and Whenua spend their days either rooted in ancient soil or aspiring for a place among the stars, you will find that the citizens of Po-Koro celebrate the much more immediate principle of Strategy,” he said softly. “It serves our athletes well in the Kolhii arena and has molded keen traders out of the huddled Po-Matoran masses. Above all else it is Strategy that you three must embrace if you hope to defeat the Bohrok Kal.”
Raising his Stone Hammer, Onewa prodded Lewa’s heartlight with the flat of his staff.
“The Pakari Nuva is the mask of strength. Your brother, Onua, uses that mask to cleave great megaliths of rock and dirt from the ground. But he is also constant and steadfast. He knows the true value of such fortitude and does not take it lightly. He knows well enough to appear weak when he is strong and strong when he is weak. If you wish to best your opponent then you, Lewa Nuva, must be resolute.”
The Toa of Air’s features knitted into an inquisitive frown as Onewa’s Stone Hammer moved on to poke Tahu.
“The Akaku Nuva is the mask of vision. Kopaka uses it to assess his environment from a afar before choosing whether or not to engage. It makes him distant and aloof but, in this regard, he is a wise Toa and a cunning tactician. While it is perhaps not as pliant as your Hau Nuva during battle, the Akaku is a powerful addition to the arsenal of any Toa seeking to make the most of his circumstance. Any carpenter can carry a chisel but only the finest masons can use it to leave their mark upon the world. Your mask, Toa Tahu, can expose your opponent’s greatest weakness and uncover the secrets hidden beneath your battlefield. With the Akaku Nuva in your grasp, you will never again be caught off-guard.”
The Toa of Fire narrowed his eyes, startling himself as the telescopic lenses of his mask whirred sensitively. Composing himself, he nodded a silent thanks to the Turaga before he moved on.
Turning at last to Pohatu, Onewa hesitated then pulled a sour expression.
“The Kaukau Nuva is a tenacious Kanohi to master, and not a mask that lends itself particularly well to this dry region. However, any Toa who apply it wisely will find their skills rewarded. To wield its power is to endure the depths of this island darker than Onu-Koro and as cold as Mount Ihu. You must be prepared to delve alone into some of the most inhospitable regions of this fair island. Toa Gali embraces the ocean. Even without her Elemental Powers she is still one with the rising tide and crashing waves. To use such a Kanohi is to attune oneself to the very substance of this island. To master this mask, Toa Pohatu, you must detach yourself from the world of land you think you know and embrace the nebulous void. You must learn to accept the winding waterways and coastal tips of Mata Nui as your battleground.”
“Thank you, Turaga, for these wise words of encouragement,” murmured Tahu, still playing with the lens on his Akaku Nuva. “Perhaps we have an opportunity here after all.”
Onewa nodded humbly, gazing into the sky and smiling at a distant cloud.
“I have every faith that Toa will prevail against the most insurmountable of odds. Your destiny is greater than any of you could possibly imagine, and you were not meant to fall at the hands of these Bohrok Kal. Today you shall know victory, of this I am sure.”
With those parting words, the Turaga of Stone took one final look at his incomplete statue then hobbled off back in the direction of the village square, retiring for the day.
“Turaga Onewa is not one to give false hope,” murmured Pohatu. “He’s pragmatic and cynical at heart. He must truly believe in us.”
“Or he just wants us to boot-kick the Bohrok Kal out of his desert,” retorted the Toa of Air, resting one of his Air Katanas on his shoulder. “Either way, I feel more hopeful now. We may have a hard-fight ahead of us, but it’s a hard-fight we stand a chance of winning. So long as we take the Turaga’s words to heart, nothing can stand in our way.”
“I think I feel a plan coming together,” said Tahu, a smile on the mouthpiece of his Kanohi. “Lewa, how’s your throwing arm?”
The Toa of Air stared blankly at his fellow Toa. Then a mischievous grin crept onto the features of his Pakari Nuva.
“Excellent news, brother,” boomed Pohatu, thumping the Toa of Fire on his back. “Time to take the Bohrok Kal down a peg or two... preferably next to a body of water.”
Ignoring the glaring red warnings lighting up its visor, the Gahlok-Kal continued to survey the coastline of Po-Wahi
Ordinarily its objective would have been a simple one. Some manner of virus had plagued the core processor of the Great Spirit Robot and sent it hurtling out of the sky. Never before had this happened in the Matoran Universe’s long history, but fortunately the Great Creators had been cautious, fitting their creation with camouflage technology and repurposing the Bohrok to clear away any debris that covered their glorified probe. Despite only having been activated a handful of times, it seemed evident to the Gahlok-Kal that this was the unfortunate purpose for which its kind had been intended – the closest thing to a destiny that the Bohrok knew. Now that it was finally being realized, the Gahlok-Kal did not feel the same mirthful sensation it had once felt when engaging in the quiet dignity of labor.
The Bohrok had never been faced with opposition like this before. For thousands of years, the Bahrag had run simulations of the Bohrok fulfilling their task, projecting their findings into the cryogenic sleep of the swarm. They had accounted for all manner of Matoran, Vortixx, and Skakdi coming to inhabit the region, but the denizens of the Matoran Universe were behaving in a most unorthodox manner. Almost as if they had forgotten or evolved beyond the need of an intended directive.
Such dissident behavior had cost the Bahrag dearly. Just a few months ago, the errant Toa Nuva had infiltrated the highest levels of Bohrok command and delivered a crushing blow that debilitated the swarms. The Gahlok-Kal truly struggled to understand why the Toa would defend this region so fiercely, even after their Nuva Symbols had been removed. So far, its efforts to locate the Canister of the local Order of Mata Nui operative and demand an explanation had yielded no results. Worse still, the damage had been spreading for the past 1000 years, with the local Matoran and Turaga expending little to no effort to fix the leakage. Too stubborn for their own good.
Catching a glimmer of something half-buried in the distance, the Gahlok-Kal twitched its head in the direction of the find. Could this be some trace of the Canister it had been scouring the island for? Surely the cliff edge of this region was too steep to land any kind of sea-faring craft in, but perhaps it was worth inspection regardless. Shifting into morph-ball mode, the elite Bohrok propelled itself towards the curious glimmer, remarking a rising rock plateau of more durable foundation jutting out of the desert sand. Solid ground at last. It would be far easier to deviate in that direction. Better traction.
Rolling to a halt around the base of the formation, the Gahlok-Kal returned to its feet and rose once more, feeling the disagreeable sensation of sand in its circuitry. Adjusting its optics to compensate for the intensity of the desert sun, it lowered its gaze.
A cracked Bohrok faceplate.
Red in color, the chipped, glass armor plating had presumably been torn from an unfortunate Tahnok unit during the Siege of Po-Koro. Examining it closely, the Gahlok-Kal remarked the torn wiring of damaged Bohrok circuitry. The rest of the unit was nowhere to be found.
Which could mean only one thing.
Wheeling about to examine the terrain, the Bohrok Kal began charging its Magnetism Shields and readied itself to strike whatever manner of adversary had placed this faceplate in its path.
But the Gahlok-Kal had only come to grapple the exact nature of its circumstance a moment too late. Seconds later it felt a crushing impact lock around the exposed gears of its neck. Staggering back a few paces, the Elite Bohrok tried to twist its head to examine the damage, but the jerky movements of its neck were now restricted somewhat.
One of Toa Pohatu’s Climbing Claws had caught itself in the gearing mechanism. No doubt thrown by the Toa of Stone himself. A red warning light began flashing on the Bohrok Kal’s head-up display, indicating that the blockage had disabled morph ball capability.
“You play a dangerous game, Toa of Stone,” rasped the debilitated Bohrok. “No manner of foe escapes the Gahlok-Kal!”
Its attention drawn, the lone Bohrok Kal turned to the right, where it assumed the Climbing Claw had been thrown from. Nothing but the jagged edge of the coast in that direction, and beneath that a sheer drop several hundred bio down.
Realizing a moment too late that it had completely turned its attention, the Gahlok-Kal tried to sweep the rest of the desert region. But the Toa had taken advantage of its restricted movements. Proximity sensors were blaring as the Bohrok Kal came to regard Toa Tahu standing several paces away, sporting a different Kanohi molded in the shape of Toa Kopaka’s mask.
“I guess now it’s a fair fight,” mused the crimson combatant, raising his weapons.
Acting on instinct, the Gahlok-Kal released a wave of purple energy that dragged the Toa of Fire a step closer, his weapons caught in the magnetic pull. He struggled momentarily before relinquishing his grip on the Magma Swords altogether. Before the Bohrok Kal could grab them, however, it soon came to realize the Toa was just a single turning cog in a larger scheme.
At range as close as this, it would ordinarily be impossible to penetrate the opaque faceplate of a Bohrok Kal. The Gahlok-Kal had taught this lesson to Onua Nuva the hard way just two days prior. But then the Toa’s mask began to glow and it dawned upon the Bohrok that the Toa’s feigned assault had all been a ploy to get within a near enough proximity. The telescopic lens of his mask whirled as the Gahlok-Kal grew wise to his scheme.
“Krana Vu-Kal!” bellowed the Toa of Fire as he was propelled back violently.
Refusing to take its attention off of Tahu as he lay sprawled in the sand, the Gahlok-Kal conducted a proximity sweep. Sonar revealed only the Toa of Fire within actionable range, but it was also detecting some sizeable tectonic irregularities from atop the plateau.
Painfully aware that it was playing right into the Toa’s hand, the Bohrok Kal chanced a sweep of the rock formation behind it. At first glance there was nothing out of the ordinary, but then it remarked an unusual shadow cast over the ground by the afternoon sun. Looking to the skies, the Gahlok-Kal came to fix its gaze on Lewa Nuva, holding a boulder the size of a small Matoran village above his shoulders.
“Let’s see how ever-quick that Krana Kal makes you,” jibed the Toa of Air, hurling the stone.
Even armed with a Vu-Kal as it was, there was little the Gahlok-Kal could do to outpace a falling rock. Activating his Magnetism powers, the Bohrok Kal projected a rudimentary force-field of energy around itself, bracing for impact as the boulder smashed into it. More red censors and warning displays began lighting up as the Gahlok-Kal began taking damage.
But, alas, the Bohrok Kal were made of stronger resolve than ordinary Bohrok. Their armored shells were fashioned to deflect celestial debris and stray asteroids that peppered the exterior of the Great Spirit Robot. While the blow might have crushed most other combatants, the Gahlok-Kal emerged from beneath its rubble, battered and a little too impaired for its liking.
“You shall live to regret that, Toa of Air,” challenged the Elite Bohrok.
Leaping into the air, Lewa rocketed off the ground with the propulsion of a Toa three times his size and half his weight. The Gahlok-Kal was not expecting so powerful a jump and lost sight of the emerald Toa. No – that wasn’t right. It had robbed the Toa of their original Kanohi. How was the green-one still able to jump like that?
Before the Gahlok-Kal had an opportunity to wrestle with its predictions, it found itself the unfortunate victim of yet another assault. This time its optics were acting awry, intensely zooming in beyond the normal range of Bohrok visual perception. A useful skill at the hands of the right combatant. But the Toa of Fire was using his Akaku Nuva to share the powers. The Bohrok Kal’s vision had been exponentially enhanced at the most inopportune moment. Disorientated, it struggled to find either one of the Toa again, finally locating part of the Toa of Fire’s leg.
“Time to send him over to Pohatu,” said Tahu decisively. Adjusting its ever-increasing gaze, the Bohrok Kal came to see the victorious smile on his face, hands cupped at his temples in concentration. At this rate it could see the individual components of the mask whirring in focus.
“Now that is a happy-plan I can get behind, brother,” chuckled the Toa of Air from beyond the Gahlok-Kal’s line of sight.
No preparation could ready the sapphire Bohrok Kal for what came next, for it could not have seen the direction from which Lewa Nuva struck. Helpless to mount a defense, it could only suffer the full force of the impact. It hurtled backwards, the air racing past it as the ground disappeared beneath its armored feet.
Plummeting beyond the reach of Tahu’s Akaku Nuva, the Gahlok-Kal finally caught sight of the coastline rushing away before its optics. It had only an instant to brace itself before it broke the surface of the water, warning notifications of structural damage continuing to flare against its display.
Unfortunate. The Gahlok-Kal had hoped to avoid any further confrontation. Worse still it would need repairs from a Bohrok Va unit before it could reconvene with the rest of its squadron. Steadying itself as it sunk heavily to the shallow ocean floor, the defeated Bohrok Kal struggled to orientate itself. Proximity sensors mapped the layout of the coastline, but this region of Po-Wahi was adorned by especially steep cliffs. There was no direction that lent itself especially well to an escape route back onto dry land without first circling almost the full length of Po-Wahi to a more accessible landing site. This was a major inconvenience.
Trying to twist its head, the Gahlok-Kal found that the Toa Tool was still lodged within the gearing of its neck, continuing to restrict its scanning capabilities. Toa Pohatu was likely still on the prowl, perhaps lurking further down the cliff edge ready to pounce. Preparing for the worst, the Bohrok Kal readied its Magnetism Shields for an attack from above.
But the Toa of Stone instead came from behind, much to the Gahlok-Kal’s surprise. For the entire battle, the Toa seemed to have had the upper hand, until this decisive moment. Turning to sweep the ocean around it, the Bohrok Kal caught sight of the depowered Toa of Stone, furiously swimming closer, frustration clear in his eyes as he battled the water, entirely at odds with his element.
Stifling a laugh, the battered Bohrok Kal adapted to the circumstance, blasting the Toa with its energies and magnetizing his feet to the metallic particles resting beneath the ocean floor. Pohatu’s eyes widened in horror from behind his Kaukau Nuva. No doubt his plan had hinged upon an ambush. The final stage of his scheme had been thwarted.
“Already today I have battled Toa Gali several times, each time in her native element and each time emerging victorious. What chance do you have of battling me beneath the waves, Toa of Stone?” rasped the Gahlok-Kal.
The brown-armored Toa shook his head quickly, overcompensating for the resistance of the water around him.
“It’s not a question of chance,” he retorted, his Kaukau Nuva making the words audible. “It’s more a question of making the second-to-last mistake.”
With that decisive statement, the Toa of Stone took a step forward, battling the magnetic forces pinning him down. The Gahlok-Kal moved to increase the attraction between the Toa’s armored heel and the continental shelf upon which they stood. But the sediment of this coastal region was starved of the nutrients and metallic compounds that came in abundance in Ga-Wahi, leaving exceedingly little for the Bohrok Kal’s powers to resonate off of. Taking powerful strides with his muscular legs, the Toa of Stone took another step closer, flexing the muscles in his throwing arm.
“In Po-Koro... we respect the principle of Strategy,” grimaced the Toa Nuva of Stone, edging closer still despite the intensity of the magnetic force acting against him. “We play the long game... We endure... and then we strike!”
The Toa of Stone lurched forward, grappling at the Climbing Claw still lodged in the Bohrok Kal’s gearing. He twisted it sharply and mounted himself around the Gahlok-Kal’s back, clamping his hand down hard against the protective faceplate and pressing with his full strength. Even in his present condition, the strength of Toa Pohatu was a weight to be reckoned with. It felt as though a physical force of nature was bearing down upon the unfortunate Bohrok Kal.
For the first time in its waking life, the Gahlok Kal experienced the sensation of true fear. Should the Toa Nuva press harder the casing could split, leaving its Krana Kal to risk either being punctured, drowned, or depressurized beneath the waters of an alien world. Three possible gruesome outcomes, neither of them honorable.
But was the Toa of Stone going to follow through? The resolve in his eyes was beginning to wane. Perhaps he was wavering, or struggling to use both the Kaukau Nuva and his immense strength at the same time. Toa typically did not kill according to the Gahlok-Kal’s databanks, but these Toa Nuva behaved unlike any manner of adversary it had prepared for.
A hairline crack began to manifest in the protective casing. Only in that moment did it occur to the Gahlok-Kal how few inches of glass separated its Krana from the waters of this foul world.
And then, as quickly as it had begun, it was all over. The Toa of Stone relinquished his grip and yanked his Climbing Claw free from the gearing mechanism in which it was lodged. He sank slowly to the ocean floor, then flashed a winning smile. Still disorientated from the encounter, the Gahlok-Kal struggled to register his curious expression. Only then did it realize what had happened.
The stolen Kanohi Nuva. They were no longer magnetized to its back. The Toa had dislodged them. A feint to draw its attention away from the real target. It had all been a ploy, right from the very beginning. The Toa did not truly seek retaliation. They had hazarded life and limb... simply to win back their Kanohi Nuva.
Pohatu Nuva winked at the damaged Gahlok-Kal as it floated limply in the water.
“Consider this a warning,” he chuckled, echoing the words the Gahlok-Kal had itself used earlier. “Stay out of my desert.”
With those final words, the Toa of Stone placed his original Kakama Nuva on over his Kaukau Nuva, then tucking the remaining two masks tight under his arm. His Kanohi began to glimmer almost instantly and then, faster than an electric crackle, he shot to the surface.
Gazing up after the Toa from the bottom of the seabed, the Bohrok Kal watched passively, its right arm twitching from the damage and its neck mechanism rocking back and forth involuntarily.
New directive: Seek repairs.----
It took several minutes for Pohatu to climb his way back up the cliff edge, but from the moment he broke the surface his two brother-Toa had cheered his name aloud. When he finally reached the ledge where the Gahlok-Kal had been pushed from he collapsed, taking in deep lungfuls of air, a ridiculous grin on his Kakama Nuva.
“We did it,” he panted. “We actually did it!”
“Spirit-blessed are we!” said Lewa with a joyous grin, reunited with his Miru Nuva at long last, cradling the mask in his arms. “The Bohrok Kal will surely twice-think before pulling a stunt like that again.”
The two Toa chuckled to themselves before turning to Tahu, who stood peering over the ledge, cautiously roving the ocean for any signs of the Gahlok-Kal.
"We haven't seen the last of that one," he murmured ruefully, grounding his two brothers once more. "And the Bohrok Kal still have possession of our Nuva Symbols. But something about today... gives me hope for tomorrow. Maybe not this day, or the next, but we will win back our powers, and never again will we take them for granted. But, in spite of our victory, I feel..."
Tahu trailed off, his gaze lost on the horizon. Sensing that a sadness still pervaded their leader's features, Lewa and Pohatu exchanged concerned glances.
"It's not going to be easy," nodded Lewa. "But the Matoran look up to us for more than just our powers. Even now, more vulnerable than we've ever been, we can happy-stride onward. In their eyes and in our hearts, we're more than just Toa-heroes: we are legends."
Pohatu nodded in agreement, then plucked up the crimson Hau Nuva he had retrieved from the vanquished Bohrok Kal.
"Today we learnt a valuable lesson in humility. I guess, sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were. Maybe we trip and fall every once in a while, but at least we fall forward."
Pulling the ghost of a smile, Tahu considered the words carefully, then donned his mask once more and looked at his brothers with new eyes.
"Let's make sure the others never find out about this."==Characters==
- Gahlok Kal
- Turaga Onewa
- Hewkii - Mentioned
- Toa Gali - Mentioned
- Toa Onua - Mentioned
- Toa Kopaka - Mentioned
- The Bahrag - Mentioned
- Relevance is dedicated to Chicken Bond and dramatizes his favorite Toa Nuva, Pohatu, as the central protagonist. BobTheDoctor27 hopes he has done Pohatu in particular a special justice.
- A rough draft of the story was originally devised in the winter of 2015. This draft initially cast Pohatu wandering Po-Wahi in search of Kanohi Nuva, accompanied by Hafu and Hewkii, his self-confidence waning after the loss of his Elemental Powers. This draft would have depicted the two Po-Matoran teaching Pohatu the significance of Strategy and Creation, the two Po-Koran principles. However, Creation proved inapplicable to Pohatu's circumstance and the Toa of Stone's melancholy was felt to be too out of character.
- The scene in which Turaga Onewa is disturbed while crafting a statue of Toa Hagah Pouks was prompted by cross-wired-freak's readthrough of the BIONICLE Adventures 9: Web of Shadows novelization, in which she notes an instance in the Toa Hordika saga in which Onewa pledges to build towering monuments to the Rahaga if they manage to undo the effects of their transformation.
- Relevence is the latest in a long succession of canon-compliant stories currently being written by BobTheDoctor27. This particular story serial served as his entry to the 2017 Spring Writing Contest, where it was awarded second place.
- The official banner was provided by Vorred who, very kindly, edited the image himself. He also produced a variant cover, but BobTheDoctor27 vetoed against implementation of this version on grounds shakier than that time he deactivated the Wiki chat. He has regretted this decision ever since.