This article was written by Robby The Redshirt. Please do not add to it without the writer's permission.
The Labyrinth is a short story about several students of Ekimu exploring the Labyrinth of Control.
"And that, my friends, is the Legend of the Bionicle." finished Narmoto. Flimi smirked.
"Legend? It just happened!" The Protector's son remarked. A small wiry Okotan of the ice tribe shushed him.
"Time is irrelevant, Flimi. Have you learned nothing from studying Okotan Astrology?" asked the ice Okotan. Flimi sighed and got up from the campfire. He grabbed his fire staff, looking up at the sky. The great anvil shaped building protruded against the stormy sky, emitting a fiery light from it.
"The forge is being lit. That's the signal. Come on, Mazeka. Let's go!" Flimi said.
Mazeka, the wiry ice Okotan, got up and got onto his makeshift vehicle, the Swamp Strider. It stood two Okotans high and boasted a massive cannon capable of vaporizing any skull spider or warrior that came its way. Its massive legs shuddered to life as Mazeka pulled on the gearshift. "Need a ride, fire-spitter?"
Flimi groaned as he got in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Suddenly, the legs folded up into treads and they rocketed off towards the mask maker's forge.
Ekimu looked out over the landscape of Okoto. So fragile, yet so powerful. Just like the elements. What had Makuta done? His mask had done irreparable damage. Yet it couldn't be destroyed, wouldn't be destroyed, shouldn't be destroyed. He has been made an example of, at least. The mask must be hidden. Here came the answer.
"Kapura, get the door!" Ekimu yelled. His new assistant had proved quite capable and had recounted the many changes to Okoto since the mask makers' duel to Ekimu. The old and slow villager got to the door and opened it to see a large vehicle approaching in the distance. He recognized it as Mazeka's swamp strider. Mazeka and his father, Izotor, had visited several times before and talked with Ekimu. Kapura was never allowed to listen to the conversations.
The vehicle pulled up. Narmoto's son, Flimi, and Mazeka jumped out. Flimi had also visited Ekimu many times on the subject of mask making. Flimi had learned much from those lessons, he had crafted Kapura's mask of teleportation. "Welcome, Protector-to-be Mazeka and Flimi. Have you enjoyed the city?" asked Kapura.
"Indeed. Have you fully learnt the mask's power yet?" asked Flimi, the crafter of Kapura's mask.
"It is as Ekimu said. I practiced and became skilled. I now know the secret art of traveling great distances by moving very slowly. It is only a small matter for me to be wherever I am not. It is a useful skill. I no longer need your mask." He took it off in favor of his old ceremonial mask. He then vanished and reappeared at Ekimu's side. Mazeka gasped. Ekimu dragged a large crate from beneath his forge.
"Do you know why I have called you here with such secrecy?" asked Ekimu. He didn't wait for a reply. "The Mask of Time, the legendary Vahi crafted by our ancient ancestors, it has told me to hide this."
"A crate? You seem to be getting more eccentric in your old age." smirked Flimi. Mazeka shushed him.
"You have no respect for the father of Okoto!"
"No, no. Flimi is right to wonder. He is also right about age catching up to me.That is why I have selected you two and a couple others to reform a guild that will carry on making masks after my death or descent into senility. In my time we called it the Mask Maker Guild. Unfortunately, after capital city was swallowed up, most of the mask makers went with it. They are most likely under Makuta's control now." Ekimu trailed off. "Oh, yes. The crate. It's a matter of utmost secrecy I'm afraid. Even though Makuta may be defeated, our enemies still lurk around Okoto."
"What enemies? The skull army is annihilated and imprisoned and Umarak and his shadow horde have been destroyed." said Flimi.
"Now, if you were a mythology buff like Mazeka here, you would know that Umarak is a being older than time itself and his spirit will linger on. I suspect it lies trapped in his mask of shadows that lies discarded in the Labyrinth of Control. The Skull Raiders are a whole different matter. And-" Ekimu stopped short and gave a look to Mazeka. "Anyway, you two, Izotor, and some other experts and warriors, will be going on a mission to the Labyrinth of Control, the great shifting maze, to deposit this crate at the center. There the Elemental Creatures will take care to hide it. Also, if it's not too much trouble, try to snag some elemental crystals from them." Ekimu finished.
"I have made your beds upstairs. You will sleep here tonight and be packed with provisions tomorrow. Good luck. Remember, Courage is the soul of movement. You must have courage or you will be frozen. Fear stops all. Courage defeats Fear. Have no fear, have courage, brave warriors." The old Okotan handed them a bell and then teleported them to the upstairs. "I'm afraid the ladder is broken at the moment so you'll just have to ring the bell to call me. Good night, protectors-to-be." Kapura vanished. Flimi groaned. He hated to be called protector-to-be. His destiny was to be a mask maker, not a mere protector.
"Man, that Kapura is deep." remarked Flimi absentmindedly.
He or she, Harvali didn't know, had been outfitted with armor crafted by Ekimu and had been given a rudimentary mask which enabled it to speak and reason(its brain and vocal cords had rotten away). The armor was crafted with a special metal which prevented dark spells and curses. She looked beyond the armor at the skull warrior's weapon. It wasn't the usual ice bow and spear that Kulta's mindless drones carried. It was a long clear blue scythe.
"Hello, Okotan. What mask is that?" it asked, pointing at Harvali's ceremonial villager mask. She laughed.
"You must have been dead a long time, skeleton. Ekimu forged these for everyone."
"My name, villager, is Zakamura, not skeleton. My race was a proud one that roamed this island long before even the maze was built. In my culture, each made their own mask, and they were placed beside their tomb. A special ceremonial mask, the one Kulta took up because he thought it 'terrifying', was placed on us when we finally rested." Zakamura sighed.
"You two are getting to know each other I see!" said Vizuna as he came from the deep jungle. His colleague Izotor came along. The two were laughing about some inside joke incomprehensible to anyone else.
"Then I said, 'Kivoda, that's not a banana, that's a skull spider!' and that's the end of that chapter!" Izotor fell over. He got up and wiped himself off.
"Excuse me, villager. We were talking about matters of importance known only to protectors." Izotor said. "Tarmat! Come here! I would like you to meet someone!" He called into the jungle. A yellow Okotan with a satchel around him carrying several boxes stumbled out of the trees. He tripped on a rock and dropped all the supplies. Harvali jumped up and began picking up his stuff.
"Thank you..." Tarmat said as the two Okotans locked eyes.
"Oh, yeah... That's what everybody says, 'Are you from the bee tribe or something?'" he laughed. She joined in. The laugh went on for a bit too long so they both stopped. There was a silence. They picked everything up and then waited silently next to each other for a while on the dock. Izotor and Vizuna were catching up in a bar in the town. A faint "drinks are on me!" could be heard from the town.
A strange vehicle rode into the dock. It looked like a massive turret with treads. Harvali gasped. Zakamura gave it a look of awe and familiarity. "Master Flimi and Mazeka are here." he said. Tarmat nodded.
"Zak, prepare the boat. Once Izotor is done 'reminiscing', we'll head off." Tarmat ordered. Zakamura got up without question and walked to the dock where a large steamer unlike anything Harvali had seen waited. The Journey had begun.
Flimi and Harvali waited in far off chairs while Zakamura stood stoically at the door that the rest of the crew was in. Spirited shouting could be heard from beyond the door. Another Okotan also sat on the deck. Her name was Galina, a hardened member of the water tribe, who was the best boat navigator this side of the Bumonda River. She had already plotted the course and her subordinates were doing the steering.
"So..." Flimi attempted to break the silence.
"So what?" snapped Galina. "For a protector-to-be, you're pretty shy for a protector to be. I remember Kivoda would give long and fiery speeches when he was your age. Of course, he was protector at a very young age from that accident with his father." She trailed off. Flimi sighed.
"I'm not a protector-to-be! I'm a mask maker!" shouted Flimi. At that point, Zakamura jumped. Mazeka poked his head out of the door.
"Mask Maker, eh? How come I haven't seen your work?" asked Mazeka. Flimi rummaged in his bag. He grabbed a mask from his bag. "Whoa there, not in front of..." Mazeka looked at the Galina and Harvali.
"What do you-" Flimi was interrupted as Mazeka snatched the mask.
"I'll take a look at this. Mask making is a powerful craft, we can't just have anybody doing it. I'll make sure your technique is up to scratch." Mazeka disappeared behind the door. Zakamura stepped in front of it, holding his staff menacingly.
"Yeesh!" Harvali remarked.
"Why are you even on this mission?" asked Flimi.
"I guess you get a good reputation when your trapped with a giant legion of spiders in a cave for months." She remarked. Galina laughed. Tarmat burst out of the cabin, knocking the skull warrior over. He slammed the door.
"Sorry about Mazeka! Some nerve. He's just ashamed he can't lift a hammer." Tarmat handed Flimi back his mask. "That's good craftsmanship. Keep it up." Tarmat walked over to the edge of the boat and looked out at the water. Galina followed him.
"A beauty, ain't she? So many secrets. Where did we come from? What of our history? Most is lost to us. But the ocean remembers. Like history, the water holds many secrets in its forbidden depths. It surrounds Okoto, and it covers it; it watches the island as it sleeps, and remembers." Galina looked at the sea. Since her earliest days, it had cradled her. Its waves washed away her dread and problems. Her father had died at the hands of a band of murderers and she had nowhere to go but the great deep blue.
"That's an inscription on the Tablet of the Sea Queen, isn't it?" asked Harvali.
"A keen one, she is. Look after her, Flimi, while the others go about playing mask maker." Galina told Flimi. Tarmat laughed.
"You mean you aren't going?" asked Flimi. Galina shook her head.
"I'm just the navigator. You'll need someone to pick you up when a moving cube sends you sky high!" she laughed. Just then, Mazeka, Izotor, and a couple other Okotans walked out the door of the cabin.
"Sir, we need some...navigation help..." cried a water tribe Okotan who had just come out of the ship's control room. Galina got up and ran into the control room.
"Maze Ho!" cried Izotor, pointing to the elevated island in the distance. Around the maze was a dark thunderstorm. "Odd..." remarked Izotor. The boat rocked violently. Flimi was thrown to the side, grabbing onto the railing for dear life. A bolt of lightning struck the control room.
Inside of the room, an Okotan looked worriedly at the readings on a gauge. "We're out of power! That lightning bolt zapped all our energy!"
"Even the back up power?" asked Galina.
"Most of it, we only have enough to launch the lifeboats." Another bolt of lightning. "And it's all gone!" The Okotan grabbed a life jacket and jumped out of the boat. Another bolt of lightning and a scream.
"Everyone, follow me! The water's electrified, we need to get to the lifeboats!" cried Galina. They ran out.
"I knew it. That stupid fire-spitter!" cried Mazeka. Flimi looked over at him.
"What did I do?" Flimi was really getting tired of Mazeka insulting the fire tribe with that slur. The term fire-spitter was very old, back from before Ekimu when the tribes used have wars.
"You're not the only fire-spitter! I'm talking about...that surely fire tribe crafter who supposedly 'lightning proofed' our boat!" Mazeka said. The two ran to a lifeboat. The lifeboat drifted away as the steamer caught on fire and sunk into the abyss. So far, things weren't going well.
"Aaah!" an Okotan crewmate screamed as an electrocuted shark jumped frantically around on the lifeboat. Galina drew a sabre and killed the shark.
"Better put it out of its misery, eh?" she chuckled to the disgusted crewmate. The boats finally pulled up to a shore on the strange raised island. So far ten were dead from the lightning strikes. Many had thrown off metal items as they feared they would attract the deadly and strangely accurate bolts of energy. A statue watched intently as the crew of 20 got out of the boats. Harvali looked up at the statue.
"Look at that! Ekimu era carving, so life-like!"
"Indeed." Tarmat muttered. The yellow Okotan whispered something to Izotor. The protector cleared his throat and stood in front of all the Okotans.
"Alright! The most important thing is, crew, we cannot be separated. Stick together! Let's do a buddy system!" Harvali laughed and interrupted the Protector. 10 of the twenty members glared at her. "It may sound childish but it can save lives. Everyone pair up! Choose someone who you don't spend much time with normally." Everyone paired up. Mazeka and Galina paired up and Flimi and Harvali paired up. "Let's continue on! Follow me!" Izotor said.
Izotor led the crowd of Okotans like a mahi herder to the slaughter. They arrived at a tall ornate door. Upon a symbol was engraved on the head of a great stone phoenix. "Time for a history lesson! This, my friends, is the Nuva symbol of fire! It was originally designed by the great crafter Nuva, known for banishing Umarak and taming the elements. Nuva, of course, died and passed down his knowledge to a select group of crafters and builders. And from them sprung Ekimu, our beloved mask maker, as well as most of you."
"So, how are we supposed to open an elementally locked door?" asked Tarmat. Izotor pulled out a mask. It was Tahu's non-unity golden mask of fire.
"What? Do you think Ekimu just throws these away?" Izotor put on the mask and placed his hand on the door and it glowed a bright orange. Slowly, all of the lines on the door glowed orange until it opened up with the whirling of gears and pulleys. "Proceed!" He led the way into a long winding corridor. The walls stood three toa high and blocked out the sun. Izotor marched on, disregarding the moving shadows.
"Excuse me, my buddy is gone!" cried a frightened young jungle Okotan. A scream. Izotor turned around to see Harvali, petrified as she gazed upwards at a giant clawed monstrosity. It had the face of Umarak with a massive pair of claws and a tail as long as a Jagiri snake. Mazeka pulled out a strange weapon and shot the monster with a glowing stone. It shrieked and evaporated in the light.
"Shadow-spawn! Tarmat, distribute the light-stone rifles. They'll kill any shadow beings!" cried Mazeka. Izotor lit a torch.
"Proceed!" he yelled over the scared mutterings of the crewmembers. More of the shadow spawn writhed around just beyond the torch-light, muttering insanities to lure the voyagers to the cold embrace of darkness. The light began to flicker as they turned a corner. The group seemed to have thinned out to 10 people. Galina shot a lightstone at a claw that flickered in an out of existence.
Suddenly, the path split into three different corridors. Two were littered with those wretched shadows while in the other stood another one of those statues, standing vigilantly. They had seen a few of those statues in similar poses with similar weapons, all in Ekimu-era garb. Izotor led the group down that path. "Let's make camp here for the night. The Shadow Spawn will be gone by dawn. I shall take the first watch." And thus, under the watchful gaze of the stone guardians, the crew slept their first night in the strange maze. Hopefully, day would bring better fortune. A day thirty good men and women would never see...
Flimi drew his fire staff. One minute he was asleep with the group, now he was in a closed room surrounded by Shadow Spawn. He searched his satchel and took out a mask. It glowed and bright gold and the Shadow spawn shrunk away from it. Using the mask, which he called the mask of courage, he took down the Shadow Spawn one by one. He saw the last one running in terror out of the room. He followed it. Suddenly, the room opened up into a large courtyard.
The center of the maze. A large crystal citadel with six crystal doors. Flimi rummaged around in his bag some more to find a mask Ekimu had gave him. The mask of intangibility. He put it on and walked through the citadel to see a large green crystal containing a mask. The mask glowed a sickly volcanic orange the stained the crystal the same color. Flimi had heard legends of it, the mask of shadows. It allowed Umarak to control them and use them for his own wicked devices. There were several statues around Umarak's mask, in the same style and garb as the one that watched over the campsite and the one at the dock. He walked up to the mask of shadows then turned around swiftly. Nothing. He swore some of them had moved.
"Ok then..." Clunk! Flimi fell to the ground.
Izotor looked around, readying his ice blaster. The statue was gone. "Alright, everyone! Let's hop to it! No time to waste!" The sun shone brightly over the massive labyrinth. The troop continued on, disregarding the thinning out to a mere six members. Harvali's eyes darted from side to side constantly. She brandished the spear she had crafted from stone and skull spiders bones during her time trapped beneath the city of the mask makers.
"Hey!" she cried, "We've passed by this fountain before!"
"By Akida, she's right! But we were going in a straight line!" Galina was stunned. Izotor suddenly put on the mask of fire and shot a beam of flame at the fountain. It melted away, leaving gushing water that slowly turned a dark crimson. Blood. Galina and Harvali gasped in horror.
"Just as I had suspected...alive." Izotor remarked. A statue looked on at the strange scene. Harvali looked up to it.
"Does that mean..." A shiver ran down her spine at the deep black pitted eyes of the statue, one of many clad in Ekimu-era garb in a vigilant, watchful pose.
"Don't look! Now you've alerted them. We've got to get moving!" Izotor broke out into a run. The others followed him into a doorway. The doorway led down a staircase to a massive chamber. Suddenly, the ground ruptured into a mass of uneven spikes. Going to fast to stop, Izotor hit the uneven ground and was sent flying into a wall. He lay on the floor, his armor cracked and the contents of his satchel spilled. Mazeka ran to him and started picking up the contents of the satchel. The mask of fire had broken in half, revealing a strange pulsating orange crystal beneath a golden crust. Mazeka lightly touched the crystal and his hand began to burn. He quickly pulled it away shook out the fire.
"We need to set up camp, maybe if we stay here we can get our bearings and-" Suddenly the floor began to shake. A massive cube popped out of the floor and carried Izotor, Mazeka, and the satchel upwards into the tall arched ceiling of the chamber. Suddenly, more cubes began popping out as the room re-formed. Soon it was a complex maze of different levels and moving cubes. Harvali saw at the top a faint glimmer light from the stairway.
"Come on, we need to get up there!" Harvali took out a grappling hook, a common tool she used on her archaelogical missions. Tarmat took out a strange device that looked a bit like a harpoon gun used in high class fishing operations.
"No need for a primitive grappling hook when you've got this. Everybody grab on." Tarmat ordered. To frightened and bewildered to ask anymore, Harvali and Galina, the only two other remaining members, grabbed on and they rocketed towards the cube. When they climbed up to the cube, they saw, in horror, twelve shadow spawn. They advanced on the three Okotans with a fiendish rage and hunger in their eyes. Tarmat rummaged in his bag for a weapon. He finally took out a lightstone rifle and brandished it menacingly at the shadow spawn. They still advanced, for in their worn and beaten hearts they knew no fear. Tarmat pulled the trigger. Nothing.
"I guess this is my final card to play..." he rummaged in his sack and took out a tightly wrapped metal crate. The shadow spawn finally shrunk back. They knew the power and evil in that box. An evil that had once dominated them and their master. "I'll do it! I really will!" Tarmat said. The shadow spawn unveiled his crude bluff in an instant and advanced. "I-I-" They continued until they formed a dome of shadow around the three Okotans through which no light could penetrate. "This is the end..."
Zakamura awoke. Last he remembered, a bolt of lightning had struck him off a lifeboat. He had floated down beneath the water and found embrace in the rocky abyss. He wasn't meant to be alive. He should have been left to rest five thousand years ago. With a jolt of energy he awoke. Iron cuffs bonded him to a large metal slab. A tall green canister stood straight before his body, within it was another being. Its hands were pinned to the edges of the canister and its ribs jutted out against loose skin. It looked vaguely female and a strange square mask. Zakamura recognized her as she was described to him by Ekimu.
"Three objectives: One hide the package at the temple, two eliminate umarak's spirit, three dispose of Hydraxon. Remember, Helryx must remain in stasis." A voice said from the shadows. Those were the exact words Ekimu had told him prior to his departure towards the labyrinth.
The bubble of shadows burst around Harvali, Galina, and Tarmat. As the black mist that must have been the shadow spawn's blood cleared, they saw a statue in a strange pose. It was smacking down its sword right where the bubble had been. It appeared not to move. Tarmat put the metal crate away. He bowed to the statue in gratitude. Harvali watched in amazement(even though she well knew before) as the statue got up and bowed back to Tarmat. A few broken words issued from its mouth.
"New...vvvvvv...ah....smns smiths...no one come." If the statue could feel emotion, it was a look of sadness. It then drew its sword and raised it as if to impale itself.
"No! No! No!" Tarmat tried to convince the statue to stop. It swiftly swung the sword around then vanished. Tarmat fell to the ground screaming. His right arm lay a few feet away as he clutched what was left of it. "How dare you! This is because I called your leader a fire-spitter, isn't it?!"
A laugh echoed through the chamber. A wind began to blow. Faster and faster. The massive cubes began to shift. Slowly, but surely, they fell. The wind picked up to a shrieking howl that rocked the cubes around like beads in a rainstick. Tarmat fell to floor unconcious.
"We need to leave him! If we just head for the exit we might be able to make it out alive." Harvali rationalized. Tarmat suddenly opened his eyes. Something in his satchel was shaking.
"You must continue with the mission! If this mask is not hidden, it will destroy the world." Tarmat pulled a mask out of the box. It glowed a very dark purple and was covered in runes. It seemed to crackle with energy.
"The mask of ultimate power!" Harvali, Galina, and a third unknown voice said in unison. "What was that?" Harvali looked around.
"We need to destroy it. That mask has wrought thousands of years of hardship upon our world!" cried Galina. She had seen the rise of the skull spiders and her parents had seen the siege of the mask maker city and the wars between the tribes that had devastated Okoto for 1,000 years. She attempted to step on the vile mask. Tarmat grabbed it from her and shot her with a strange weapon. She fell to floor.
"She's only stunned. We have to get going!" Tarmat was up and about now. The intense situation was giving him a strange bout of hysterical strength. He took out the harpoon gun and held it gingerly, pressing his stump against it to hold it. He shot it up at the distant doorway. The recoil knocked him back and the gun flailed around in the air, causing dust and silt to fly everywhere. Harvali looked around at the chaotic landscape. She was the only one left. She blinked. Several statues surrounded her. She grabbed her spear and began to smash them indiscriminately. Her mad fit did nothing. She raised her spear to smash another when, in a flash, the spear was broken. Even though she hadn't seen it, she knew the statue had broken it. Suddenly, she felt an intense pain hit the back of her head as she fell to floor, her body sprawled out. The cubes stopped their cacophony and the statues stood silently.
"Who are you?" Zakamura cried out.
"I am the guardian," said the voice.
"I come in peace." Zakamura asked, using the negotiating skills he'd learned from the various wars of Ancient Okoto.
"I am the guardian, I am the jailer. What do I care whether you come in peace? From Ekimu or Makuta? Those names are meaningless here. Both failures. You are trespassing, and I cannot allow it." The voice seemed to drone on like it was reading a script. Whoever they were, they must have said that phrase many times before.
"Your little...expedition was not the first, you know," the figure emerged from the shadows. He looked like he was once an Okotan, but his body had rotted away. In its place stood a cacophony of pistons and pumps with blades sticking out of random angles. A strange mask with crackling thunderbolts issuing from its sides sat atop the monstrous being.
"The Jailer, Hydraxon," said another voice. It was Mazeka, he was cuffed down to a wall.
"Alright, what the hell is going on?!" shouted Harvali, who was tied to the celing.
"The crafters of Nuva. The Mask Maker Guild. We used Ekimu to get us here," another voice said. Izotor stepped out of the shadows, weapons in hand. "He sought to hide the mask of ultimate power. We sought something different..." Izotor dug his ice sword straight into the green canister. Hydraxon yelled and a boomerang flew from his back into the protector, knocking him unconscious. Zakamura had cut through his chains and attempted to kick Hydraxon to the ground. Hydraxon shot a bolt of lightning at the revived warrior and Zakamura fell to the ground.
"Helryx will be awakened. It is too late for you, jailer. You have failed. Convert or die," said a voice from behind the canister. Hydraxon could barely make out the figure of a yellow Okotan, Tarmat. Hydraxon threw a blade at Tarmat. He missed.
Meanwhile, Flimi crept up and undid Harvali's chains.
"We've got to get out of here. Follow me, I found a way out," Flimi grabbed Harvali and the two rushed out. The Labyrinth shuddered as the massive mechanical brute Hydraxon attempted to destroy the last surviving members of the ancient guild. The Labyrinth seemed to groan and splutter, like an old man with a fatal cough. They found a boat tied to the dock. Inside sat a familiar red Okotan.
"I knew you'd need back up. Is the mask hidden?" Kapura grinned. His teleportation abilities had served him very well.
"Yes!" Flimi said and quickly got into the boat. Harvali was about to point out that the mask's whereabouts were unknown, but,at the sight of the decaying organic building, stopped and got in the boat. As the boat pulled away from the harbor a strange being emerged from the shadows. Then it dissappeared. It was over for Flimi, Harvali, and Kapura, but for the others it had just begun.
- Umarak and Minions(in extremely weakened state)
- Several Unnamed Okotans on the Expedition(Deceased)
- Much of the story is drawn from the concept of Bob the Doctor and his Mask Maker Guild Headcanon and his character, Helryx.
- Many of the characters share names and are based off of G1 characters, most of which are members of the Order of Mata Nui.
- Italicized lines are paraphrased quotes from some of the G1 equivalents of characters to pay homage.