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"True wisdom, my friend, is the ability to understand the world from multiple perspectives. To perceive the world from behind the mask of another gives one a better understanding of the other's situation. In the end, it does not matter if one is Toa, Glatorian, or any other being or beast; one's ability to empathize makes one superior. Thus, one who is truly superior accepts that they are in no way of higher stature than anyone else. That, my friend, is true wisdom."
―Chronom

 

From Behind the Mask is Being Rewritten
This page is currently in the process of being rewritten. Much of what you see may no longer be considered canon.

Toaofair
From Behind the Mask
Noimage
Story
Setting
Empire Alternate Universe
Date Set
1,101 AGC
Timeline
Previous
N/A
Next
N/A


From Behind the Mask is a story set in the Empire Alternate Universe, about life on the newly reformed Spherus Magna. Set roughly 100 years after the defeat of Teridax, the inhabitance of the Matoran universe have settled into life in their new world. However, there are tensions between the Matoran and the Agori. The Matoran and the Toa view the Glatorian and Agori as unintelligent, inferior lifeforms, and thus discriminate and alienate them.

Story[]

Prologue[]

Sometimes, when the sky grows dark, and dusk is nigh, I like to sit on a particular hilltop, and gaze out over the valley. The Gordonius valley is a beautiful place, with deep green meadows of grass and clover, creeping steadily over small hummocks and riffs. These meadows end in a vast forest of tall green trees, their rich resinous smell wafting towards me in the cool breeze. To the east is the Gordonius lake, a vast body of water, cool and placid, shimmering in the sunset. From atop my boulder on this particular hill I can see it all; the valley is under my utter surveillance. But my favorite thing to, as the sun goes do is watch the stars, tiny silver pinpricks on a black velvet backdrop. Then I close my eyes, and dream of days before the Toa came.

It's times like these I often ask myself, "Felrihk, what in the name of Heaven and Earth made you accompany Chronom on that motorcycle ride?" Ah, Chronom, its seems like just yesterday we were sitting in that cafe, pouring over that map, as I waited for my hot Thornax tea to stew. Had I simply not asked you what was that curious mark on the map, or had my tea taken a little longer to stew, all this may not have taken place.

But all this did take place, and there is no point in pretending otherwise. One way or another, we set out on that trip that changed everything. But perhaps I should start at the beginning. This valley I gaze over, Gordonius Valley, is one of many beautiful and mysterious places on Spherus Magna. In the time before time, this planet bloomed and flourished with an assortment of different species. We the glatorian lived in harmony with many other species for many years. However, greed and lust corrupted us all, and the War Core War broke out. And in those hundred years of darkness, Spherus Magna shattered, separating and alienating us all from one another. For centuries upon centuries, we were forced to fight for survival, and 300 years ago, when Spherus Magna was reformed, we though peace, at last would find us.

But now, when I sit on this hillside as is habitual, I begin to wonder if we all would have been better of, living on that barren hell hole of a planet Magna Bara Magna. It may have been a harsh environment, it may have been bleak and miserable living their, but at least there were no Toa.

Chapter 1[]

Roden was not one to be crossed. Of course, he could be very courteous and polite character when he wanted to be. None the less, if you were to stare into those deep orange eye of his, you would see the shadow of a ghost that betrays a haunting past. Roden had seen and done much in his time, and although in his speech, he made no such mention of these events. I was once foolhardy enough to asked him why he kept his history shrouded in a veil, to which I received a cold indifference for the rest of the day. No, Roden was a nice enough person, just you stayed on his good side. It was not until later in life, long after these events had taken place, did I learn the full story behind my stolid friend.

But on this particular day where our story begins, Roden and I could be found emerging from the local General store, sipping drinks in the pleasantly warm afternoon. It was late spring in Gordonius valley, flowers were in full bloom, and the songs of rahi birds filled the air with light melodic tunes. The sun beat down upon the valley, warming the surrounding neighborhood. Many people were lounging on their porch furniture, whilst young Glatorian and Agori cantered around sprinklers. Not one person wished to remain inside his or her hut on this glorious afternoon.

Time and by, we were hailed by Grahuli a lean lanky Glatorian of the Jungle tribe with a wicked sense of humor, but an overall good natured disposition. "He-hey!" he called, pulling up to the curb in his sleek red vehicle. "What's happening? Got some Krana Kola have you? Did you not thing to bring me some? What-ho! You're both as graceless as a Toa!" He thumped us both on the back, roaring with laughter at his own joke.

"Ah, you don't need the calories," I replied in a mock-scornful tone.

"Yeah, he's right," added Roden, "One more Krana Kola, and I'm going to have to address you as Matoran Grahuli."

The three of us climbed into the vehicle, snorting with laughter. The Toa and the Matoran were our rivals. Everybody knew that. All the Glatorian and Matoran lived on the east side of town, and all the Toa and Matoran lived on the west side. As was imaginable, the wet side was the richer part of the Gordonius valley. Their huts were larger and more sophisticated, their schools better funded, their overall lives better. But these Matoran and Toa were not satisfied with all their wealth and good fortune.. No, they thought themselves a cut above everyone else in society. On the public transportation, we Glatorian and Agori or Aggors as they called us had to give up our seats if there were not enough to accommodate everyone. There were shops, schools, and even water fountains designated solely for Toa and Matoran use. We were frowned upon for even coming near a matoran. Their responses were always the same. "Get lost, Aggor!" they would bellow at us. Aggor. That dreaded word, born from meaningless Kikanalo dung. But it had a meaning now. It meant were were lesser beings than Matoran. It meant our place in society was at the bottom.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the matoran went out of their way to bully us, even in our own side of town! They would come in gangs, sometimes in droves, riding in their expensive luxury automobiles. Anytime they saw an Agori, they would jump him, beat him to a bloody pulp, call him names, and leave him as a warning to all other Aggors who dared show their faces.

It was essential for our survival that we banded together in our own gangs. Roden, Grahuli and I were all in a gang known as the Red Thronaxx, along with Merculius, Dallan, andSkydak. We were more like one large family than anything else; were cared for and looked out for one another. If a Toa had a problem with a member of the Red Thornaxx, than he had a problem with all of us. He would have to answer to every one of us in turn, assuming he survived Merculius. Merculius was a great hulking brute, and the leader of or gang. Pugnacious and lustful, he was a natural leader, and enjoyed fighting just as much as any Toa.

"I sure hope Dallan was able to rustle us up some grub," I wondered aloud as we neared home.

"Knowing Dallan's skill in the kitchen, we'll be luck if its even edible," laughed Grahuli, as he deftly flipped the steering wheel around. We all lived in one house, for it wall all we could afford. Merculius worked at a filling station, Roden and I at the factory, and Dallan, Grahuli and Skydak were all unemployed.

Dallan was an even tempered, laid-back happy-go-lucky. He got along well with everybody; even the hot-headed Merculius could not help but like him. Dallan was neither the brightest, nor the most talented Glatorian of Ice ever, but his good nature got him through life. We often took advantage of is trusting nature, and his easy forgiveness, pulling an assortment of tricks and jokes on him. Grahuli was usually the master mind of these hijinks, but I regret to say I played part in many a prank. One time, we were standing on the wall surrounding the local reservoir, and one of us, I do not recall, who it was, had the brilliant idea of making Dallan jump into the water. Dallan could not swim, as we found out too late, for Grahuli had already swept out his hand and given the fatal call. It had taken the combine efforts of Grahuli and Merculius to pull Dallan out, and once we had rescued him he was so grateful to be alive, he forgot to be furious with us. That little incident put an end to our Dallan-related hijinks.

"What's cooking," inquired Grahuli, sniffing the air hopefully .

"Thornaxx stew with a little Mukau beef added for flavor. A good friend of mine, Gelu, was kind enough to give to me."

"I'm famished," I said, seating myself on a high-legged stool and picking up a bowl, "How much longer before we can eat.

"I was going to wait until Skydak and Merculius returned, but never mind, I can always reheat some later."

And so we all seated ourselves on stools around the table, and drank our soup. Roden twiddled the dials on an ancient television set, which sputtered to life. Between buzz of the static, we caught snatches of a news bulletin.

"...And that wraps up our story about the Hordika hoax. And now coming over the air, we have a special guest this evening. Here is Toa Pohatu with a campaign speech for us. So without further ado, here is Pohatu, Pohatu, thank you for taking the time to speak to our views."

"And thank you, for having me on your show. Now, let's see...My fellow citizens..., for too long have we lived in this state of poverty and hardship. It is time we get what we deserve. It is time for a reform, a change that won't be easy, but will be greatly beneficial. It is time we make the work ethic a positive and profitable one. And to do this, I prepose we put into effect a set of laws known as the 'Toa Krow' laws. Once passed, the average working matoran will have an environment in which he not only gets work done, but feels secure

Now, there are many who will disagree with our plan of action, but I now invite those individuals to listen to what I have to say: If we look upon our past in the Matoran universe, we had a number of island settlements which through their hard-working and thus well-earned worth, had fashioned for themselves a standard of life which stands alone in the thickest of populations. We belong to the matoran race which, since the beginning of ancient civilization, in the course of some thousand years has created for itself a privileged position in the world. But this supremacy has no meaning unless we can make best of our privileges and resources. Thus, we work harder than any non-matoran race, and thus we will have earned our supremacy. Take any single area you like in this world today; anywhere where you look you will find matoran settlements have succeeded only by their inborn feeling of superiority. This whole planet, Spherus Magna, was reformed by our can-do attitude, and by utilizing this attitude, we can reform our society into a safe, profitable, and powerful environment..."

The rest of Pohatu's words were lost in a sea of static, as the television whirred and died.

"Old Son of a Makuta," spat Roden glaring at the now silent television set. Those 'Toa Krow' laws are just unfair rules saying that Agori will receive half the pay a Matoran receives for the same job, and such like that."

"Well, I surely no one will elect him governor," shuddered Grahuli, "I mean, in this town there are tensions between Toa and Glatorians, but surely no one would stoop that low."

"Let's not worry about it now," said Dallan in his reassuring voice," I think I head Merculius stump in."

We all turned, and sure enough, the buff Glatorian of Fire sidled in, along with Skydak. Instantly, we could see something was wrong. Merculius was supporting Skydak, who was a bruised and bloodied mess.

Chapter 2[]

"What happened?" called Roden in a worried voice, hurrying over to the bed where Merculius laid him.

"Not sure," grunted Merculius, "Got beat up by the looks of things but he hasn't said a word since I found him lying in a gutter."

"It's alright, Skydak," coaxed Dallan in a soothing voice, "No one can harm you here. You are safe with us."

Skydak opened his eyes slowly and I got my first good look at his features since Merculius dragged him in. His face was bruised and covered in a crust of dry blood. A gash below his eye looked in danger of bleeding once more as he sat up and grimaced in pain. "Toa!" he gasped, "Toa attacked me! I had just gone down to the corner store to get a copy of the Kanoka Digest. I had placed an ad looking for work and I wanted to see if anybody had answered it. Someone had answered it, and I was naturally excited. The job would have involved directing traffic, but my would-be-employer lived on the west side of town. As soon as she saw I was an Agori, she yelled 'get off my property, Aggor,' and slammed the door in my face. Dismayed, I began my long walk home. But as I was nearing the East side of town, Four Toa pulled up alongside me in a big expensive vehicle. I suppose they had just been to a party for they were laughing drunkenly. One of them yelled 'What do you think you're doin' in our town, Aggor?' I yelled back that it was none of their business what I was doing, but that did not go down too well. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back with four sets of fists pounding me. One Toa poured his beverage on me, and then smashed the bottle over my head. The next thing I remember was Merculius dragging me to my feet."

Skydak finished the retelling of his tale and laid back upon his bed. Grahuli, still watching him pulled out a beautifully deadly switchblade and began twiddling it, flipping it deftly this way and that with masterful fingers. This knife was the reward of nearly an hour-and-a-half's masterstroke of guile at the local General store. Grahuli had prowled the shop, under the pretense of looking for a snack, and each time he passed the utilities isle, he would work the plastic casing loose with his own dull pocket knife. In order to avoid suspicion, Grahuli gad then purchased a Krana Kola and left the shop, only to return every ten minutes or so in a guise that consisted of Dallan's armor, or my helmet. Towards the end of the second hour of this charade, Grahuli had nabbed the prize that he know absent-mindedly twisted his fingers around. "Don't worry, Skaydak, if those goons come back, they will have my switchblade to answer to."

"And my wrath to face," added Merculius barring his teeth and snorting like a bull.

"Come on, Skydak, I'll make you some of that Thornaxx cake you are so partial to. Would that make you feel better?" "Aye, it would." Skaydak hopped off his bed and made his way to Dallan, "That'd be great - only we're out of Thornaxx. I'll nip down to the General store and get some."

"I'll come too," I said, getting to my feet. I could tell how much it meant to Skydak to have such caring friends. No matter how tough we acted, deep down, were were still only Glatorian and Agori. We had feelings and emotions. I knew Skydak, perhaps in retrospect, the toughest of us, would not admit it, but there was no getting around it -- we were one big family.

Arriving at the local General Store, we greeted the clerk Lycadonius and proceeded to find our groceries. Lycadonius was a former Skrall warrior who had deserted the Rock tribe's forces many years ago. He was a slightly short, heavy-built fellow with a prominent gash across his face. Rather than where a helmet, Lycadonius donned a Skrall shield as headgear. Whenever Roden was in the shop, the to would eye each other warily, until Roden left. Anytime they had to speak, they would address one another politely and carry out business as usual. But once we had left the shop, Roden would become agitated and annoyed for a long time afterward. I knew better than to ask the clerk or my troubled friend why they were so weary of one anther, but I had a feeling significant past events could be the tie between the Skrall and the former one hunter.

But today Lycadonian seemed relaxed, reading the Kanoka Digest behind his counter. Skydak ambled up to the counter, his arms ladened with Thornaxx. "Here, let me help you," I offered, pulling several Thornaxx from his overflowing pile. As I lifted the fruit away, a glint of something silvery caught my eye. "What have you got there,?" I asked.

Skydak set his fruit down and raised a package for me to see. There, in his hands, safely packaged in tight plastic was a small pocket knife "I'm not taking any chances with those goons on the loose. If I cross paths with them again, they're going to get it." I said nothing as Lycadonian bagged the Thornaxx fruit and a Krana Kola I had bought. Skydak pocketed his new weapon and we set out on the journey home.

"So, I asked him as we rounded a street corner,"What do you think of Pohatu's campaign? Do you think anyone would agree with such an outrage?"

Skydak stared blankly at me. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh, right!" I exclaimed, slapping myself, "shortly before Merculius brought you back, Dallan, Roden and I were watching television. Toa Pohatu gave a campaign speech in which he more or less said that the Matoran are the supreme race, and that everyone else should be treated as inferiors. He plans to reform our society to serve the Matoran and Toa.

"What?" spluttered Skydak, dropping his bag of Thornaxx rich rolled about the street. "No way! How can he get away with something like that!"

As I stooped to help pick up the scattered fruit still rolling about the sidewalk, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. An expensive red vehicle was nearing us, heading straight towards the curb where Skydak and I were attempting to re-bag the Thornaxx. "Skydak?" I asked uneasily, "Isn't that-"

But before I could finish my sentence, the vehicle had pulled to the curb, and my fearful question was lost amidst cruel laughter.

Chapter 3[]

Three Toa were seated inside the vehicle. The driver was long and lean with gleaming yellow eyes - a Toa of Air. In the passenger seat was a bestial and wild looking Toa of Earth with bulging muscles. He had a shabby scrawny look about him, although he had been in dog fight. He drummed his massive paws against the side of the vehicle as he peered down at his next meal: A skinny Glatorian and a squat Agori. The third Toa was seated in the back like a business man in a limousine. He held himself in a proud, haughty manner as if he saw himself superior of all others. He was a silvery-blue-armored Toa of Sonics with seemingly flawless features. He stood tall his shoulders relaxed and his hands clasped firmly behind his back. An aura of power and authority radiated off of him. Although neither as tall as the lean-green driver, nor as large as beast seated beside him, something this Toa of Sonics made him have all the seeming of a giant. It was his eyes, I suppose. I still can remember the exact shade of grey those eyes were. Though as dark as an approaching thundercloud, these eyes shone with an almost alarming hunger. They seemed to pierce you when you made eye-contact, boring though you like a drill.

The three Toa continued to laugh as they exited the vehicle, The Toa of Earth with drool actually hanging out of his gaping maw. "Well, well, well, what do we have here?" sneered the Toa of Air, "two aggors all alone!"

"You know," grunted the Toa of Earth, "when Pohatu's 'lected, first thing he gonna do is stamp out all of 'em aggors like you. He dosen' like 'em aggors you see. We's helping him stamp 'em out."

"Silence!" commanded the Toa of Sonics. That one world he spoke cracked like a whip, instantly fore filling its purpose. "Let me see, let me see..." His eyes lingered on my half-empty bottle of Krana Kola before he spoke again, "Perhaps you can buy your way out of a tricky situation, Aggor. Let's make it, say, twenty credits."

Behind him, the Toa of Air cracked his knuckles menacingly, and the Toa of Earth pawed the ground. I weighed my chances. Perhaps if I bolted, I could get away clean. But what about Skydak. His shorter legs could not carry him nearly as fast. Perhaps it would be safest just to pay the three Toa and hope for no more trouble. But I was unwilling to give up 20 credits when the wages of two factory workers and a filling station man barely paid the rent.

As my mind was racing the Toa of Sonics was growing increasingly impatient. "Come on, aggor," he barked, "are we going to do this the easy way, or the hard way."

His hands balled into fists as he spoke, as did the fists of his two companions. I suddenly realized that they were not carrying any weapons. Within a second of this revelation, I swung my half-empty bottle of Krana Kola into the street curb, and spun it around to face my assailants. "Back off!" I commanded, in a voice that betrayed none of my fear. Skydak appeared at my side, wielding his bag of Thornaxx like a flail. None of the Toa, not even the massive-pawed Toa of earth dared approach me.

"Come on", sneered the Toa of Sonics, "there are three of us, and two of you." But knew his threat was empty - all of them continued to eye my glass bottle warily none of them dared approach. Just then, a tall read-and-gold armored figure pulled up along side us astride a police motorcycle. He was a Toa of small stature with warm yellow eyes and a kind heart. Unlike the other officers in the Gordonius valley, Likhan always listened to all sides of the story. He was also the only officer in the area to have Glatorian blood. Half-Toa and Half-Glatorian, Likhan had long been outcast by both races. However, his compassion and reassuring presence had won him a large number of friends. Lihkan II was his official name. It was said he was named for a heroic Toa of a distant past.

Lihkan clambered off his motorcycle, a baton at his side. "Not fighting, I hope." He spoke in a stern voice, eyeing all of us at once.

For a minute, the Toa of Sonics glared at Lihkan. Finally he spoke, "No, nothing at all, sir."

"Good," Lihkan seemed satisfied. Now, I want you to all go back home, and put this all behind us." Lihkan spoke with such a finality in his voice that I knew we were safe. But as Skydak was gathering up his bag of Thornaxx, the Toa of Sonics learned forward and whispered something to Skydak. Skydak froze, and the three Toa walked back to their car, wicked grins streaching across their faces. As they drove away into the distance, I asked Skydak what they had told him.

"They say for us to meet them in the back lot of the park this evening. they say it is to be the biggest rumble this town has ever seen. We had better tell Merculius."

As we set off back down the street towards home, my mind began racing again. "Rumbles" were simply street fights between rival gangs. Each side would beat and bludgeon their enemies until one side retreated. These fights were supposed to settle disputes, but ultimately caused more damage than they repaired. Usually weapons were not brought to the fights, in case the police stepped in. However, you could almost always count on someone bending these rules to breaking point. I enjoyed the rumbles, as they were exiting and more or less even matches. When you are backed by several of your closest friends, there is a certain level of confidence that comes with your fighting. You feel as if you are fighting for the freedom of your friends and family, or alt least those who mean most to you. True, there was nothing deep about the street fights, but to us, victory meant everything.


Characters[]

  • Chronom
  • Dallan
  • Felrihk
  • Gelu (Mentioned only)
  • Grahuli
  • Lycadonius
  • Merculius
  • Pohatu
  • Roden
  • Skydak

Trivia and Story notes[]

  • This story draws influence from such novels as Harper Lee's To Kill A Mocking Bird, and The Outsiders as well as the real-life events of the Cuban Revolution.
  • Pohatu's speech was heavily modeled of Adolf Hitler's 1932 propeganda speech.
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