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Rebel Destiny
Rebel Destiny
Kadilon, Zeveron Universe
Date Set
1,005 AGC

Rebel Destiny is a short story detailing the struggles of the rebel Hahnah Clan against the Jacidax Lordship.


Chapter 1[]

Vintao looked at his reflection in the Pool of Secrecy. His submerged hand slowly moved through the water, leaving a trail of ripples.

The Toa of Air sighed. He had once been respected by the Matoran of Kadilon as a hero. Now, the imperial ruler, Jacidax, had created a law banishing Toa from doing their job. Out of luck, and work, Vintao had applied to Airon's Ninja Guild for membership. By this point in time, Vintao had become an elite ninja, and highly respected at the Guild.

Vintao looked at the water, and a Koi-Nui swam around the rocks underwater, looking for food. As the fish Rahi swam through some Viqa Seaweed, Vintao noticed a tall, orange figure appear behind his own. The reflection showed a bright orange Kanohi Vau, the Mask of Secrecy, with fins added onto it for extra speed.

Airon, the being who had walked up, asked, "Why do you seek the peace and comfort of an average Matoran? You know you can never go back to that life."

Vintao squinted in the bright sunlight as he turned to face Airon. In his heart, he knew the Guildmaster was right. Yet there was a thought he had in his mind, one that said, maybe not all was lost. He tried to speak, but the words refused to come out.

Airon noticed the condensation on the normally stoic Toa's Kanohi. It wasn't from the Pool of Secrecy, and it wasn't from rain. He saw water welling up in Vintao's eyes. In a soothing voice, the Guildmaster explained, "You hate Jacidax. We all do, and there is nothing wrong with that. Jacidax is a cruel being, who may very well die because of his failure to protect the liberty of his subjects."

Vintao sobbed, "But it isn't that! I'm a Toa, forbidden to kill, or even hate. I cannot allow myself to do it!"

Airon realized there was a hidden meaning behind these tears. "You miss your brother," he said softly.

The Toa of Air nodded. "Tranotera was a good being. He never deserved to die. Why did Jacidax have to kill him in such cold blood?"

Ninjas rarely sobbed the way Vintao was now. Airon knew it was because of the murder of Toa Tranotera. He explained gently, "Tranotera was a great hero. He rallied a rebellion against the Jacidax Lordship, and was about to succeed. I respected him very much, but those loyal to the Lordship hated him. A minion of the Lordship named Taivus captured him and brought him before the Emperor. Jacidax wanted him dead, so he murdered him on the spot. The rest of the rebels surrendered immediately, and Jacidax executed every single one of them to demonstrate his power. I- I'm sorry."

These words failed to console Vintao, yet he somehow felt better that Airon was trying his best to make him feel better. He cracked a faint smile and whispered, "Thank you. I feel better now that someone cares this much about me."

But Airon would not care much longer, for Lordship troops had already surrounded the Guild fortress and had gathered at the gate. Ninjas from the Guild had been waging a guerrilla war on the Lordship, and they were here to put a stop to it. It was early evening, and torches had been lit by a Toa of Fire to illuminate the gate. The leader of the troops, a Toa of Stone named Xariston, stepped forward from the hordes at the gate to address the guard, a Skakdi of Fire.

"Surrender, fool, or have your head decorate Jacidax's trophy room."

The Skakdi growled and shook his head. He raised his spear and pointed it at the general's yellow Kanohi Kiril. Instantly Xariston stepped aside and a Rahkshi lunged forward and beheaded the guard. Xarsiton yelled a war cry and pointed at the gate.

At that same time, Vintao stood to his full height. He asked, "Did you hear that?"

Airon laughed. "Yes, but that is merely trainees at the dojo, practicing their combat skills. Nothing to be scared of."

Vintao nodded, but inside, he had his doubts. Earlier that day, he had received an invitation to join the Hahnah Clan, a group of beings who hated Jacidax and the Lordship and wanted to bring him down. He told the Guildmaster, "If something happens, I shall join the Clan. I just wanted you know so you won't come looking all over for me."

Airon shrugged, but a thunderbolt suddenly cracked down on him, incinerating his arms and legs and leaving him badly burned. Xariston stood with his troops. By his side was the Toa of Lightning responsible for the assault.

"Airon!" cried Vintao, his face showing intense fright. "No. I won't lose you."

But already Airon's heartlight was flashing. Grinning weakly, he gasped, "Vintao... run... as fast as you can. Leave... this place, and join the Clan.... When I get to Haevanata Nui, I will watch over you... and know that you did... what is... right... V- Vin- Vin...tao..."

Airon's heartlight then stopped completely. Xariston and the Toa of Lightning smiled darkly.

Vintao couldn't restrain himself. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" he screamed.

Chapter 2[]

"So let me get this straight. You want to join because it was your mentor's dying wish?"

Vintao nodded vigorously at Kaho, a Water Glatorian who was close friends with Toa Arabak, the founder of the Hahnah Clan. His best bet now was to join the Clan because he felt they were very brave and noble to dare challenge Jacidax. And of course he wanted to fulfill Airon's last wish.

But Kaho was skeptical. He shook his head at the Toa/Ninja of Air, and explained, "I am sorry, Vintao. But the invitation was sent to the wrong being. It was intended for Singash, a Toa of Water living currently on Skodian. Do you know her?"

Vintao nodded. "Yes. She's dead."

Kaho's face twisted into a scowl. He hadn't heard the news of Singash's mutiny aboard the Scavenger Flagship, several weeks ago. The Toa of Water and a few others had banded together and fought a guerrilla war against the Lordship, but three days ago, a lieutenant in the armies of Jacidax had captured her. The captive Toa had been taken before Jacidax, and he declared her guilty on a charge of treason. Her head now decorated Lord Jacidax's trophy room, right next to Tranotera's lifeless head.

"Scram, punk! We can't have you fighting by our side! Go join the crew of the Scavenger Flagship!" snapped the Glatorian, pointing his Thornax launcher at Vintao.

Startled, Vintao backed up. He hadn't expected such a reaction from Kaho.


Whirling around, the Toa of Air walked away. He was shaken by the news, but wouldn't give up. Someday, he thought, he would return... and all of the Clan would respect him as a leader.

But that was far in the future. He walked on, trudging through the shadows that hung over Kadilon since the Lordship had taken over. Kaho was still ranting at him, but by now Vintao was so far away he couldn't hear the words clearly. They sounded like far off rustling, and in the mind of Vintao, they were even less. He would never let Kaho overpower him.

It was late at night when Vintao finally rested. He had come far from the Carapace Fortress, headquarters of the Clan. Yet, he was near to it in his heart. A fire had been lit, with piles of wood Vintao had found in the forest nearby blazing to life. Vintao wasn't a Toa of Fire, but he knew how to make a fire, and now he was basking in the heat it provided. He was drowsy and ready to sleep, but he refused to nod off. The Toa of the Lordship were oppressive, and they patrolled Kadilon like Rahi vultures. Any rogue Toa would be arrested and either imprisoned or sent to the re-education center and be forced to serve Jacidax loyally. Hence, a person like Vintao needed to be alert at night, because they wouldn't know if a patrol unit was coming until it was too late.

A sudden rustling and cracking brought Vintao to his feet. "Who's there?" he demanded. When no answer came, he repeated the question. Still no answer, and Vintao assumed it was a Rahi. He was correct, and seconds later a Klaxta appeared out of the brush. A strange, deer-like creature, it raised its head as Vintao moved toward the fire. Suddenly, it bolted off into the woodlands, afraid of the fire.

Vintao was kicking himself, and he realized he would have to be more alert now. The Rahi could have been a Lordship patrol, and Vintao would have been helpless. Looking for shelter, he decided to conceal himself so no Toa could find him. It took him about two seconds to find a good spot: between two trees there was a clump of bushes that had hidden the Klaxta from Vintao.

Smothering the flames with some rocks, Vintao matted down the leaves inside his shelter for a makeshift bed. Laying down, Vintao thought about all the trauma he'd experienced that day, and began to sob. Not only had Airon, his friend and mentor, been murdered, but also he'd been denied membership with the Hahnah Clan. And all in less than three hours. Vintao was so upset, he cried himself to sleep.

The next morning, he awoke to find a spear pointed at his throat and a tall warrior standing over him. In the warrior's other hand was a Krantu Blaster, cocked and ready.

"Surrender or die, foolish rebel scum."

Vintao recognized the voice of Alkros, a soldier in the Lordship's army. Around him were other soldiers, apparently led by Xariston. The General's yellow Kanohi Kiril shone brightly in the intense sunlight.

Vintao lost his voice for a second, then whispered harshly, "Never."

Alkros immediately aimed his Krantu Blaster at the helpless Toa, but a hand wrapped around his arm. It was a powerful, clawed hand, and the fierce talons on it clutched the soldier's hand so tightly he couldn't move a muscle in it.

"Don't shoot."

In a flash, Vintao froze. He was more than familiar with the voice that came out of the new being's mouth, as everyone in Kadilon had heard it more than a thousand times. Vintao was paralyzed -- all except his mouth, which dared to speak the name of the new speaker in a tense whisper:


Chapter 3[]

The evil emperor Jacidax was the master of destiny, and no puny Matoran, Skakdi, Toa, or even Makuta stood in his way. At least if they wanted to survive.

So why, then, was he ordering his soldier Alkros not to shoot at Toa Vintao? Simple. Jacidax's Lordship depended on slave labor. Any subject of Lordship authority could be drafted into a workforce of slaves. Any rebel that refused to surrender, yet had done no real harm, was forced by Jacidax himself to join. They would be escorted by soldiers to a mysterious place known as the Masoskuth Stockade, where their bodies were placed in strange machines connected to stasis tubes. The soldiers would then say a password that changed weekly to activate the stasis tubes.

Once activated, the stasis tubes would vacuum the spirit of the worker, and would contain them for ten years before they were released into the body once more. Close tabs were kept on which spirit went to which body, so that, say, Jaller would never inhabit Hakann's body.

In the meantime, the mindless body was converted into a laborer with one directive: Carry out the will of the Lordship. These drones would then perform tasks that no intelligent being would ever do while their spirit dreamed. Slaves created this way had a name -- Masoskuth.

Jacidax ordered his troops to perform this horrifying procedure on Vintao. The Toa of Air protested wildly, making erratic promises to perform the Lordship's will on his own willpower, but he was helpless. Jacidax's soldiers dragged him off, with the goal to transform him into a Masoskuth.

Meanwhile, the once-wise Airon, deceased mentor of the future Masoskuth, was unable to believe his eyes. He was in Haevanata Nui, but there was no rejoicing like there should have been. Mata Nui's body was there, but lifeless. The people living in Haevanata Nui were as gloomy as Makuta's subjects, and the light was gone from the "Great Peace".

Approaching one Matoran nearby, the former Guildmaster of the Ninja Guild asked, "Why all the darkness and gloom? This is the above-world! Rejoice!"

The Matoran sighed and shook his head slowly. "Mata Nui... the Great Spirit... has died. He was killed by Jacidax and his loyalists. Darkness now prevails over the universe."

At the word "died", Airon's expression became a horrified one. "Died? How can Mata Nui just... die?"

The Ko-Matoran lifted off his Kanohi Akaku, Mask of Vision, to show Airon the horrors of the living world. Despair descended upon Matoran, Toa, and all who were alive. Even plants were withering, and Rahi calling forlornly at nothing, singing a death song in honor of the Great Spirit. Matoran everywhere were constantly glancing over their shoulders suspiciosly, and words were hesitant. No one seemed secure or happy.

The Ko-Matoran placed his Kanohi on his head and explained, "If peace and happiness are what you wish to restore, then it is the Guilos Globe you must seek. Become your friend Vintao's Guardian, and guide him to recover the Globe, and Mata Nui's spirit..."

And so Airon did. He walked quickly up to the Shrine of Kiroda, and, placing his left hand on its altar, he whispered a chant under his breath that all in Haevanata Nui knew. His thoughts focused solely on Vintao, and as they did, Airon saw the altar turn dark blue, and his body turn light red. He was becoming energy, so he could leave Haevanata Nui and become Vintao's guardian angel. His body dissipated, and then all he knew was he was on his way to Vintao. His sight was limited, because he now had no tangible eyes, but his spirit's eyes saw the clouds whipping by him, and then a green forest below.

Here, Airon touched down, and his body returned -- although it was intangible, and invisible to all but Vintao. The Toa of Air was panicking and being dragged off by Lordship loyalists, and immediately Airon knew of the meaning of the whole scene -- Masoskuths. Acting quickly, he rammed into a tree, shaking it into a rapid tremble. The rustling diverted the soldiers' attention.

"What was that?"

"I don't know! Maybe the wind, or some Rahi!"

One soldier, suspecting Vintao to be responsible, glanced at him, only to find him bound tightly. It was impossible for the Toa to use his elemental powers.

Meanwhile, another soldier returned from an inspection. His face was clouded with panic. "The wind isn't shaking any other trees, and there aren't any Rahi here. What caused the tree to rustle?"

Even Lord Jacidax seemed nervous. "Mata Nui is dead, and Makuta helplessly imprisoned. Why is this happening with no explanation?"

While the soldiers of the Lordship were busy inspecting the sound, Airon had cut across the clearing to Vintao, and sliced through his ropes. In a whisper, Airon told him, "Create a vacuum to make the soldiers unable to breathe. While they struggle for their breath, we get away!"

Though frightened at Airon's sudden appearance, Vintao did as he was told. The soldiers gasped for breath on the forest floor as Vintao dashed away. Now, Vintao thought, they're sure to let me in.

Chapter 4[]

"First you say he was killed at the hands of Jacidax, and now you say he helped you escape his clutches?" Kaho sighed and shook his head. "Honestly, make up your mind."

Vintao was about to open his mouth in protest when a Toa of Water walked through the gate, and placed herself next to Kaho. The Glatorian of the same element aked, "What is it this time, Lakau?"

The Rau-wearing Toa, eyes flashing, said, "How can you order this Toa away like that? I say we let him in."

Kaho rolled his eyes. "Oh, sure," he said sarcastically, "I'm going to let an insane Toa in just because you told me to. Not gonna happen."

Lakau punched Kaho in the gut and explained, "Yeah. Such a sympathetic performance in front of the affected. What matters is what he says. If Airon died and then saved him from Jacidax, then great. We let him in. If not, well, at least Vintao escaped Jacidax at all. I say that in itself is a reason to let him in."

Kaho rubbed his chin, then nodded. "You're right. If he survived an encounter with the Emperor himself, well, that ought to go on the Wall of History. Very well then, Vintao, I now pronounce you as our newest member. Cheers!"

Vintao raised his fist into the air, and Kaho and Lakau did the same. Even Airon raised his invisible hand into the air, and at that moment Lakau swore she saw a fourth fist at the scene.

Arabak, master of flame, raised his own hand into the mix and chuckled. "New recruit, eh? Would have appreciated it if you had let me know, but you look strong enough to me. You're Vintao, right? I'm sorry we couldn't have you in sooner, but what will be will be. Ready for the grand tour?"

Vintao hesitated for a second. "Did you just hear that?"

Lakau craned her neck above the other Toa and asked, "Hear what?"

Vintao gestured vaguely at the woods surrounding the fortress. "That... noise. It sounds like marching."

Realizing the magnitude of what he had just said, Vintao gasped. "Oh, great..."

Kaho felt the adrenaline rush in his body as he yelled, "Quick! Sound the alarm!"

Lakau and Kaho dashed inside, leaving the Toa of Fire with the Toa of Air. The charismatic leader of the Hahnah Clan whipped out his sword and asked casually, "Ever had something like this happen to you before?"

Vintao wiped the sweat from his forehead, considered the question, and then an answer dawned on him as he now wiped the tears from his eyes. "Yes. I used to be a ninja in Airon's Guild," he explained, "and not long ago Jacidax's army attacked it. He... killed... Airon..."

A look of deep concern spread across Arabak's face. He said gently, "Dude, listen. I'm sorry about all that. I know how close the two of you were, but it happened. No turning back now."

He rose to his full height, and explained, "And sorry for all the soldiers upon us right now, but we're the most outright rebels around now! Scavengers attack anyone, and the Guild has fallen... that's why they're out to get us!"

Kaho came charging out with Lakau and a new Toa of Earth, Danko. The second-in-command of the Clan asked irritably, "All right guys, what's the problem?"

Lakau simply held up a finger to Danko's lips and whispered, "Listen."

As he heard the rumbling of the soldiers marching, he began to panic. "What now?" he wondered.

Soldiers marched into the clearing, with Jacidax in the middle of the crowd, riding on a Kikanalo. Kaho's eyes widened. "I have an idea," he suggested, and the other rebels looked at him. "Freakin' run!"

Chapter 5[]

Eyes dark as midnight, the Matoran inventor Sotth looked gleefully at his newest creation -- a robot capable of incinerating the universe, should it choose to.

"All right, ZZN-2, fire at that crate!" ordered Sotth, and the robot did. Unfortunately, it barely even could singe the wood on the crate.

The bounty hunter Zaha folded his arms over his chest and sighed. "Is this the best you can do?"

If Sotth answered, it was lost in a mess of chaotic complaining and yelling. "NO! Weeks of effort, as many resources as I could handle, AND IT'S A DUD! NOT FAIR! It never happened to anyone else this much, SO WHY ME?"

Zaha sighed. He was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the universe, and he now deeply regretted the fact that he couldn't choose his clients. Sotth was just your average, hopeless Matoran inventor. Why he wanted Zaha to do something for him was confusing. Sotth could just invent a robot to do it.

Sotth had calmed down by now, and explained, "You see, most of my robots are better than this. I've just had a rash of bad luck lately."

Zaha shrugged and demanded, "Why do you want me to work for you, and what job do you want me to accomplish?"

Sotth stepped back. He stammered, "W-well, I w-wanted to g-get out of w-work f-f-for once, s-so I decided to, um, h-hire... you... f-for m-my job..."

Zaha laughed. "And what job is that?"

Sotth laughed nervously and explained, "Well, you see, Jacidax, uh... wanted me to track down these... rebels, they're called the Hahnah Clan, and, um... you see... they're somewhere in the central mountains, and, uh... I'm not the best guy for the job. So I thought you could..."

Zaha glared at the little Matoran. "I hate Jacidax. Why should I do his bidding instead of my own?"

Sotth could feel the stench of Zaha's breath. He recoiled at the rotten smell, and snapped, "You're a bounty hunter. Your allegiance goes to the highest bidder. So doing Jacidax's bidding is the same as doing your own. Or would you prefer the armies of the Lordship tracking you down from dawn until dusk, until they find you?"

Zaha swallowed. Hard. The thought of Jacidax's shadow powers ran up and down his body, tingling his spine and causing him to sweat. His shaky hand, dripping with sweat, extended to the hand of the Matoran. "We have a deal."

Sotth smiled and casually suggested, "So how much would you work for? Jacidax offered me 17,000 Lordship coins to complete the job. How does 20,000 sound for you?"

Zaha nodded vigorously. The memory of Jacidax's power left his mind, replaced with thoughts of an amount of money few generals in the Lordship army had. Jacidax confiscated almost 99% of all Lordship coins, then distributed most of the ones he didn't keep for himself to loyal people and soldiers in his army. Bounty hunters, especially Zaha, weren't exactly popular candidates for how Jacidax spent his money.

Sotth smiled even wider. "So we have a deal. I'll hold you to your promises."

Zaha laughed. He knew that with 20,000 Lordship coins at stake, he wouldn't quit, and he knew Sotth knew that as well. He turned and walked away. When he came to the doorway, he turned around and said, "With all luck I should be back very soon." With that he left.

Sotth watched him leave, then suddenly remembered something, and ran into another room muttering something about leaving the Rahi tubes unattended, leaving the room empty.

Or so he thought. Watching from the shadows the entire time was Decoy, Sotth's pride and joy. Decoy wasn't as big as the walking weapon Osmium, and he wasn't outright strong, either. But he was agile, fast, and incredibly smart. In fact, if robots had IQs, Decoy's would probably be at least thrice his creator's.

Decoy cocked his energy rifle and thought, Sotth thinks I'm too weak to handle this job. So he hires a bounty hunter instead. I'll show him! I'm more than just a chunk of metal. I can handle a big mission, and I am a bounty hunter! You just wait, everyone... there's a new legend in town. And his name's Decoy.

Chapter 6[]

"No, please! Spare me!"

Those were the last words of a Matoran living in a small village in the central mountains of Kadilon. Xariston picked up the dead body and said, "If I did, I would have to choose another, and then they would most likely weasel their way out of death, and so on. Get it?"

Howls of protest went up from the Matoran that had been assembled. This demonstration of power was really better off kept private from the townspeople.

Xariston removed the dagger from the body, threw the Matoran's remains away from him, and demanded, "Now tell me where these rebels are hiding, or one of you will soon join him in Haevanata Nui!"

Murmers went up through the crowd, when suddenly a Ga-Matoran female ran onto the stage where Xariston stood and cried, looking at the dead body of the Po-Matoran she had once loved. She sobbed, "What have you done to Harayan?"

Xariston forced a smile. "If you wish, then you can join him again in the afterlife. What do you say?"

Panic went up through the crowd, and finally an Onu-Matoran stood up and said, "No! Spare her life, and we will tell you where they are: They went off into the mountains when they heard you were coming. You can't find your enemies today, because fog has settled in and--"

"SILENCE!" roared Xariston. "Only once they have been found will you be declared innocent. If you are lying... then no one here will survive my wrath. Understood?"

The Onu-Matoran swallowed hard and nodded.

"Good. Either you are telling the truth or you have no regrets of your imminent death. Either way, that's what I like to see. You know, you would make a good recruit for the Lordship army."

The Onu-Matoran glared at Xariston as he turned and left. "Never," he whispered.

Meanwhile, Decoy was in the thick of traffic in a metropolis not far away. He was anticipating a hover speeder carrying the rebels would come by soon.

But while he waited, Decoy thought slowly about the events leading up to this. He had fought off several Rahi, stopped to interrogate a Masoskuth about the rebels, and when the search turned up futile, he had struck out for the city. That was when a reprogrammed Vahki Keerahk had told him that the rebels were coming down the air-alley that Decoy stood by right now.

Suddenly, he saw the hover speeder with the rebels. His incredible robot "brain" went to work, calculating trajectories and angles, velocity and resistance, until he had decided the perfect time to act. Racing deep down one of the interior lanes, the hover speeder was too far away for Decoy to jump to, so he pulled out his grappling hooks and launched them straight ahead at the perfect time. They struck the vehicle with a loud clang, and scraped down until they held on an exhaust pipe.

Now that his target was secure, Decoy began to reel himself in to the other end of his cable. Any other being wouldn't have been able to pull the whole maneuver off. Their timing would be off by a mile - unless they got lucky. And luck wasn't what had made Decoy's trick work. It was a measure of his sheer skill.

As he landed on the speeder, Decoy smiled. Zaha never would have been able to pull that one off. Putting away his cables, Decoy inched along the top of the speeder until he was just above the cockpit. He readied his energy rifle, and backflipped onto the dashboard, pointing the rifle at the pilot. "Stop what you're doing," he declared in a metallic voice, "and come with me."

The pilot, Kaho, was unfazed and threw a sharp punch at the robot who was threatening him. Decoy flew over the edge of the hover speeder, and Kaho clanked fists with Arabak in celebration.

But Decoy had grabbed on to the edge of the speeder with one hand, and with the other, he readied his grappling hooks once again. He launched himself over the cockpit and landed on the roof, firing his energy rifle all the way. One of the blasts struck Vintao in the shoulder, and he glanced up above him in time to see Decoy leaping up to the roof. "Uh, guys?" he said, "I think we have company!"

No sooner had he said that than Decoy hurled himself down into the cockpit, energy rifle pointed at the leader of the Hahnah Clan. Two words came out of his mouth:

"Don't move."

Chapter 7[]

Arabak, Toa of Fire and the leader of the Hahnah Clan, was fighting for his life. Two minutes ago, he and the rest of his small band had been fleeing from the Lordship in Pahunako City. The last thing on his mind had been robot bounty hunters.

Yet now he had been attacked by one, and a quick skirmish had unfolded. After the bounty hunter had threatened Arabak, Kaho had attacked it with his sword. Another slash of its blade would have killed Decoy, but the cyborg menace had flipped up and over the Glatorian and fired his energy rifle at Vintao.

Vintao ducked, then pushed Decoy aside. Lakau, the Toa of Water, struggled with Sotth's top robot for a moment, then forced Decoy onto the front of the hover speeder. She whispered a quick plan to Danko, Toa of Earth, who nodded.

Danko charged forward and fired a wall of earth to completely seal the rebels inside. Then, he grabbed the controls from Kaho and steered into another speeder. The wall of earth protected Danko and the others, but outside, Decoy was unprotected from the impact. He screamed as he fell through miles of traffic.

Meanwhile, Danko dissolved the wall and smiled. "Good plan, Lakau," he congratulated.

The Toa of Water didn't listen. Her eyes were fixed on another hover speeder that had just swerved into their lane. "Watch out!" she screamed, and took the controls from Danko. She quickly steered away from the other pilot. As the two passed inches away from each other, Vintao scrutinized the markings on the side of the other speeder. "Uh, guys?" he said, "the Lordship's markings are on that. And... they're coming after us!"

Arabak and Lakau turned around and panicked. It was clear that the other speeder was a Lordship one pursuing them. Lakau handed the controls to Kaho. "Here. You do a better job than me."

In the Lordship speeder, weapons expert Camkoh pushed forward on the controls. He needed more speed to catch the stupid rebels. He flipped a switch on the dashboard of his hover speeder that activated the turbo rockets in the back of his speeder, the Stealth.

"True, this may not be stealthy," Camkoh admitted, "but that's not what I need. They've already spotted me, so now I can give it my all!"

Camkoh's hover speeder whipped by several slower speeders, and rammed into the back of the Clan's speeder. He grinned and opened fire with a turret mounted on top of the Stealth, and smiled even wider when he saw Arabak, hit by the blast, fell over the edge. Kaho grabbed him, and strained with all his strength to pull him back in.

Seeing this somehow made Camkoh have his doubts. "Is this really the right thing to do?" he wondered. "It definetely wouldn't be somthing I'd want to happen to me, so should I do it to them?" Camkoh's hand wrapped around the trigger. Slowly, he started to let go.

But then he flicked back. The blast shot out of the turret and struck the other hover speeder. "Too late! I did."

Camkoh sped up and pulled to the side of the other speeder. The rebels were weak, injured, and exhausted, not to mention frightened. Seeing the opportunity, he announced, "Surrender yet, rebels?"

Arabak raised his arms over his head. The others did the same.

"I'll take that as a yes."

Chapter 8[]

The Maskoskuth Stockade was a place nobody wanted to visit. Not even for a guided tour.

Here, Masoskuth were made from anyone the Lordship chose. Their bodies would be reconstituted into a standard Masoskuth shape so they had no true advantages or disadvantages, just their bodies to contribute. Their spirit was kept seperate but untouched. That way, after their shift was over, they would return to their identity and life.

Unfortunately, that happened to be where Vintao, Arabak, Lakau, Danko, Kaho, and Airon were after their capture by Camkoh, an elite operative of the Lordship. Jacidax had reminded them: "I could just have you killed right now. But you showed strength during your normal lives, so I'm being good to you. Your shift as Masoskuth will last for eternity if I'm in a good mood. Otherwise, I'll destroy your body and spirit and these will be the last moments of your sentient existence."

The Matoran at the controls of the Masoskuth machine nodded. "That's right. Savor them."

Lakau thought hard, then whispered a quick plan to Vintao. "Those tubes - look! When someone's spirit is drained, a small amount of fluid flows through those tubes connected to the vats. That's how they know when a spirit's been drained."

Vintao nodded and realized the plan she had in mind. "You're crazy!" he whispered.

Lakau smiled. "If my plan works, we live. What I want you to do is work with me and send a combination of air and water through the tubes before the draining takes place. Once that happens, we'll drop to the floor as if we had no mind to direct our movements. Then --"

Kaho broke in, "I'll go first. If I become a Masoskuth -- then everybody run. Okay?"

Nods of silent agreement came from the heads of the captives. Arabak put a hand on Kaho's shoulder. "If you become a Masoskuth, you did all you can. We might not all escape with our spirits, but at least we can buy one of us time to get help and free the rest of us. Kaho, you've been a great friend all these years... goodbye."

Kaho grinned. "Don't act so fast, man. If Lakau's plan works, we'll all live."

If anyone had anything else to say, it was cut off by a worker come and force Kaho into a vat. Lakau looked at Vintao, who nodded. Both were ready to take action.

The Matoran behind the control panel flipped a switch, turned a dial, and glanced at Jacidax, who nodded his approval. Immediately, Kaho dropped to the ground with a yelp and laid still there. At the same time, Vintao and Lakau focused their energies to send water and air through the tube. The two elements mixed to form a strange liquid that flowed into another vat, and filled it.

Jacidax smiled cruelly. His voice echoed through the chamber. "New Masoskuth, are you ready for some laboring in my name?"

Assuming that a question directed at him meant Masoskuth could speak, he replied in a dull, monotone voice, "Yes master."

Jacidax's smile grew wider until it looked like his Ignika would burst. "Good. Sergeant, repeat the procedure for the others."

And so the sergeant did. The Lordship workers were unaware of the plan against them that was in action. Each time one of the rebels was forced into a vat, they did the same as Kaho. Vintao and Lakau were last. They were extremely careful to disguise their movements each time, and they soon stood beside the others, lined up against the wall. Jacidax strolled over to where they stood and said, "New Masoskuth of the Lordship, today you will be on a task of repairing the ceramic road between here and Rayatro in the mountains. Many tiles are missing, cracked, or even shattered, and the road itself is uneven. A brigade of Masoskuth is already out working on it, and now a worker transport will take you there too. Work hard with honor, and direct that honor to your masters - the Jacidax Lordship!"

The "Masoskuth" droned out cheers, and Jacidax couldn't have felt better. Imagine -- praise from robots! He smiled and said, "The transport is right at the end of that hall, in the hangar. Board it quickly and get to work!"

With that he walked away, and all six marched down the hall Jacidax had indicated to the hangar. On the way, Vintao muttered, "It's showtime."

Chapter 9[]

The lifeless bodies of Masoskuth were busy digging a narrow road bed to lay ceramic tiles in. Their arms strained to dig deeper as Xariston watched lazily, shouting orders periodically. It looked like their arms would snap if they kept on much longer, but Masoskuth bodies were engineered so that injuries like those were impossible.

All this was frightening to the six rebels from the Hahnah Clan as they thought what they had been forced to do. Kaho pulled Lakau aside and hissed, "This was your idea, stupid. Now what chance do we have?"

Lakau's eyes scanned the area around her. She saw several Masoskuth approaching them. Xariston was shouting, probably at the five rebels he could see. The sixth, Airon, had shifted into his incorporeal form even before the others had been captured.

She saw an opening to her left, and knowing that was the way to the village of Rayatro, she pointed in that direction and whispered to Kaho, "When I say to, run. OK?"

Kaho nodded, and explained he plan to the other four. The time to act had come.

Arabak sharpened his sword and took a step towards the Masoskuth approaching. In a metallic voice, he said, "Greetings, fellow Masoskuth. In case you wonder why we lack your bodies, we are new, and Master Jacidax insisted that this mission was too important to wait for us."

The other Masoskuth nodded. It was a logical explanation. At least, until Arabak's sword took off all their heads. "RUN!" he yelled as a hundred Masoskuth charged after him. Vintao swept a dozen up in a cyclone and they dropped miles away, and Danko created a hole in the ground for some of the others to fall into.

"We're in for it now if we're caught," Vintao groaned. "Masoskuth would be a lucky fate for us. More likely we'd say goodbye to both our mind and spirit."

Kaho glanced back. Ever since Arabak had attacked the small squadron of Masoskuth, Airon had shifted into his tangible form. With regret, Kaho thought about how he'd ignored Vintao's requests and even lied about them being sent to the wrong Toa. Now he wished he could have accepted the former Ninja into the Clan sooner. It might have changed a lot. Maybe it would have even made Airon happier.

Spurred on by these feelings of regret, Kaho led the charge of the rebels as they neared Rayatro, where the Masoskuth wouldn't dare follow.

The reason? There was a certain something in that village. A very large, very powerful something. Its name was Osmium, a giant robot tripod, and with Osmium's force, no doubt there would be recoiling in the Masoskuth ranks.

Vintao was running fast and strong as he barreled into the village square. Here several Matoran were chilling out as they took a break from their daily business. A local maskmaker carried a pile of his creations to a market, and a group of Le-Matoran musicians played a tribal tune passed down for generations in Rayatro.

As Kaho expected, the Masoskuth had retreated when they saw Osmium, but if they'd seen Osmium's energy blast fire towards the six Hahnah Clan fugitives, they might have done differently.

Chapter 10[]

"Oh, this is just wonderful," muttered Danko. The Hahnah Clan was known to be quite sarcastic, but Danko generally topped them all. This was the case as he saw the enormous robot walker, Osmium, firing its energy cannons directly at them.

Matoran in Rayatro panicked. Osmium had been their protector for months, and now was turning on some of their friends. A female Ta-Matoran grabbed a mask she was making and ran, while an Onu-Matoran almost hyperventilated because he couldn't find his pickaxe.

Meanwhile, the Clan operatives dodged the blast, aimed at Arabak in particular, when their leader rolled sideways and flung a flare skywards at the twenty-foot-tall tripod. The flare exploded into flames, but they barely singed Osmium's heavy armor. Vintao asked, "What now? We're in a really bad position here, and I'd rather go to Karzahni than get hit by one of those blasts!"

Airon replied, "I guess we just do what a true hero would do, and... run?"

Lakau shook her head. "I have a better idea. See how fast it's turning to fire? We'd never stand a chance against it. Well, if you see that red spot on top, it recoils a little when Arabak's flames reach it. That must be its weak spot! Hitting it with all our powers should clear an opening for us to escape. Ready?... Now!"

The Toa charged forward, unleashing their elemental energies. Kaho added his Thornax, and Airon added in his own blasts from his blaster. As expected, Osmium glanced at the shots as they flew towards him, then seemed to be in danger of collapsing as they struck the red reactor on top of him. Inside, gears were grinding to a halt with a lack of energy to support them, and slowly Osmium's legs began to give out.

Nearby, Sotth screamed into a transmitter, "Where the Karzahni are you, Decoy? I could use your help right about now!"

Immediately, Decoy jumped out from behind one of the buildings, energy rifle smoking from the heat it was generating. Not expecting an ambush, the six were hit hard. Kaho even blacked out. The robot snarled, "First you think you can get away from my wrath. Then you ram me off your speeder. And now you try and blast Osmium to pieces!"

Vintao was startled. "Decoy? I thought we had defeated you for good back there."

Decoy sneered, "All thanks to my grappling hooks, I survived. By attaching myself to a nearby building, it was easy to pull myself onto a balcony."

All this time, the rebels had been casually inching towards the town gates that led into the mountains. Now, they made a mad dash with Airon bringing up the rear in case Decoy pursued.

Lakau's face clouded into a look of concern. "What about Kaho?" she asked.

Arabak answered, "We'll return for him later. Airon, you can sneak back there and get hom out, right?"

The former Guildmaster nodded. "Just as good as I could during my life."

Arabak smiled. "Then it shouldn't be hard. C'mon, let's hurry and get to this cave I've seen before. We can just make it before nightfall."

It was a tough journey up to that cave, but they made it. After busting his armor at the knees for at least the fifth time, Danko laid down on his back, bent his knees, and scooted around on his rear. "Gotta stay sharp for tomorrow," he joked.

At the mouth of the cave, Arabak announced, "Here we are! Miles from civilization, but with half the Lordship forces looking for us that might be all for good!"

The Toa of Fire marched into the mossy mouth of the cave, not noticing a mutant Bohrok watching him from a ledge inside the cave. The Bohrok answered to the name of Syandar, and rarely spoke connected sentences, if at all. Syandar didn't know much about these new arrivals, but he did know that they had entered the Bohrok Nexus, and that was definitely news.

He grunted and scampered back through a tunnel he had dug for scouting. This could be it, thought the Bohrok. The day the Bohrok Nexus is freed.

Chapter 11[]

Walking deeper into the cave, Vintao felt a nagging doubt. What if there was no chance that he and the others could survive? The Lordship had the clear advantage. With over a million individuals split between Masoskuth, soldiers, and bounty hunters in their service, the Lordship was almost a cinch to round up the brave six, and then execute them. No sugarcoating there.

Looking over at Danko, Vintao suddenly felt a pang of longing in his mind. He knew why -- Tranotera had been a Toa of Earth just like Danko. But there was something else with Danko. He looked similar to Tranotera, and he even acted similarly.

Wondering why these things were, Vintao walked up to Danko and asked, "Do you know Tranotera?"

Danko smiled. "Of course. He was --"

A small, insectlike creature was blocking the Clan's path. Arabak tried walking around it, but it just moved to block him. "You stop no."

Arabak was confused. The masculine voice was something unexpected from a Rahi, but the fact that it was trying to block him was perplexing. "You're a Rahi. And you talk."

The creature shook its head. "Bohrok."

Arabak scratched his head. "So this is a Bohrok we're looking at? Doesn't look like one to me."

A Tahnok came up and explained, "This is Syandar. He was mutated long ago, so he doesn't look right. But he's one of us."

Arabak nodded, and the Tahnok continued. "He also has speech problems. He never says connected sentences longer than four words."

Airon cocked his head to the left, looking puzzled. The Tahnok noticed the expression on his face and said, "Welcome to the Bohrok Nexus. Ever since we were cursed, nothing has gone right. Syandar can't talk, my friend Goyu is blind, and I... oh no..."

"Huh?" asked Vintao. But it was nighttime outside, as everyone could tell. Vintao sat down and looked at the ground, muttering something to try and figure out where he'd heard of the Bohrok Nexus before when a huge Rahkshi slammed into him. Lakau screamed and Airon turned transparent.

Syandar explained in one word: "Were-Rahkshi."

Vintao looked up at the glaring Rahkshi that had once been a Tahnok, and decided to run deeper into the cave and follow the others. The cave walls were lined with slashes from the were-Rahkshi, and there was no question that it was pursuing them.

At the hive full of Bohrok, Syandar explained choppily, "This no cave. Hive. Bohrok live in. Cursed. You help?"

It pained Lakau and the others to see the Bohrok in such distress, so she glanced around at her friends. Nods of agreement assured her that what she was about to do was democratic.

"We accept."

Chapter 12[]

Sotth growled at the other person in the same chamber. His name was Apsho, and he was a Ko-Matoran inventor just like he was. What made Apsho special was his position as Guildmaster of the Science Guild. All scientists and inventors looked up to and respected him.

"I'm sorry, Sotth, but your invention sucks," critiqued Apsho. He had a penchant for being heartless.

Sotth looked at the FLS-771 robot he had created. It squeaked and chirped delightedly as it cleaned the floor in a circle around Sotth's feet. An instant later it was a pile of smoking rubble, courtesy of Apsho's Neutron Pistol.

Sotth burst into tears. "What's wrong with it? You've never approved even one of my creations into your Science Catalog!"

"That's because they all suck," explained Apsho.

Sotth snarled, "If you could see my magnum opus right now, you'd--"

Decoy had come into the room, and he snapped, "Hold that thought."

Apsho's mouth opened wide, and he found he had nothing to say. There, standing in front of him, was a ten foot talking robot that had feelings. When his voice returned, he croaked, "W-what is that... thing?"

Decoy held up his energy rifle at Apsho. "Don't call me 'thing'," he corrected, "call me Decoy. Or 'Supreme Assassinator Android', but I prefer Decoy. Easier to say a hundred times a day. Because trust me, Guildmaster, there will be a day when everyone knows my name."

Apsho would have remarked something about functions, but as it was he had passed out.

Meanwhile, a red Skakdi walked aimlessly through his former home. It had been Airon's Ninja Guild for years, but now it lay dark and abandoned. It was nighttime, and the creaky structures snapped and groaned in the howling winds.

But what really would have sent any sane Matoran to the Center for the Mentally Unstable was the fact that the Skakdi had no head on his shoulders. He was carrying it in his right hand, looking for his old welder's tools to fuse it back on.

You see, Rekdan had formerly been a guard for the Guild, but Xariston had beheaded him. Now, he acted on instinct. He had been revived, but without a head on his shoulders he was essentialy a zombie.

He knew nothing of how he'd come to be that way, but he figured it had something to do with a bright flash of light he'd detected the instant he came to, which was not long ago. He sat down with the tools in one hand and his head in the other, and he instinctively began the process. Within minutes his head was back on, and his eyes blinked open. Then they narrowed with revenge.

"I just got lucky that time," he muttered as he walked out into the Guild's courtyard, overgrown from neglect. "If it hadn't have been for that light, I'd be dead now. That makes it simple then. My first order of business will be to hunt down the Lordship and destroy it. Anyone who gets in my way --"

Rekdan picked up his battle axe and sharpened it on his spear as he arrived at the main gate. His eyes gleamed as he saw the shiny protosteel reflect the light of the torches on the wall perfectly. "--can just go to Karzahni."

Chapter 13[]

Raikanah was the king of the Bohrok Nexus, and all the Bohrok respected him. Unfortunately, for a thousand year he and the others had been cursed. Raikanah was now rooted in place on his throne, and he couldn't move from it. So the Hahnah Clan had been brought before him, and he liked what he was hearing.

"So you agree to free our hive?" he asked. Vintao nodded.

"Very well. Then here's what you gotta do. You see, there's this... shield that none of my Bohrok can break thorugh. It's made completely out of shadow, and no Bohrok that's gone into the darkness has ever returned. We believe that a Toa could solve this problem... and you definitely look like Toa."

Danko smiled. "Heh. What else could we be? Makuta? Rahi?"

Raikanah shook his head. If there was one thing he couldn't stand, it was sarcasm. "Beyond that darkness is a bunch of Visorak webbing. Snap it apart and you'll free the hive from the generator. Do that and we from the Nexus will be free of our curses... and indebted to you."

Arabak countered, "We'll do all this on one condition. We're the Hahnah Clan-" he saw Raikanah give him a strange look. "Long story. What matters is that we're rebelling against Jacidax and the Lordship, and we could use your help in fighting him."

Raikanah agreed, and he bid the heroes farewell. "Take Syandar with you. He can help you if you need it. Good luck, Hahnah Clan... you'll need it."

Even as Vintao, Danko, Arabak, Lakau, Syandar, and Airon trekked into the hive's tunnels, Sotth was busy conting a stack of Lordship coins.

"28,007, 28,008... Hey, Apsho, how many did you say were in here?"

Apsho turned away from a desk, where he was writing the entry for Sotth's robot Decoy in his catalog, and repeated for at least the seventeenth time, "Twenty-eight thousand, five hundred Lordship coins."

Sotth resumed his counting and Apsho continued his writing. Neither of them knew that Julius, a Lordship private, was watching them. Hands shaking, he thought, Whatever that... thing is, it doesn't look good. Just look at the size of that energy rifle! If Sotth turns on us, the Lordship could be doomed.

For a moment, Julius considered running away and returning to his souvenier shop back in Rayatro. At least there, a Ga-Matoran could find peace. But no, any deserters in the Lordship army were severely punished. Besides, a female Le-Matoran named Zeff was part of his unit under Captain Labinnah, and not returning would leave him away from both of them. Quickly, he dashed back to the camp, where Zeff was sitting all alone by the fire. Julius deeply regretted having to report back to Labinnah first, but orders were orders.

"WHAT?" yelled Labinnah. Julius flinched. For the first time he wished he'd faked the report. Labinnah was known for his temper. "Sotth's about as loyal as your average rebel," he snarled. "You sure this robot of his was real?"

Julius nodded. "Why would Apsho put a fake robot in his catalog?"

Arrgan, a private standing by the fire, laughed dryly. "Hah! Sotth's the crappiest inventor you'd ever see! Why would he suddenly have a turnaound?"

Julius's blood pressure rose and his temper flared. "All right, wanna see for yourself?"

Labinnah forcefully grabbed the little Ga-Matoran shopkeeper and hissed, "Listen you two. I'm going over there to see for myself, so no more fighting, OK? Julius, you go over there with Zeff. Arrgan, you go over to Pahu in that corner."

Julius was excited at the opportunity, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Labinnah wink at him. He grinned and sat down. "So... where are you from?"

Zeff looked at the strange, slightly clumsy Ga-Matoran that was talking to her. "Pahunako City. My family was in the hotel business, and I was going to open my own hotel, when this happened."

Julius nodded. "I just wanted to say that I... uh..."

Zeff shook her head. "I already knew you were from Rayatro. You stayed at my dad's hotel once."

Julius scratched his head. "Really? Your dad owns the Golden Kanohi?"

In respone, Zeff nodded. Her eyes twinkled and she replied, "Yeah. Except now the hotel's been converted into a barracks for Lordship soldiers, and..."

Pahu, a Po-Matoran, walked over. "Hey. I don't think even one of us likes the Lordship, even though we're part of it. Arrgan just doesn't want to admit it."

Just then Labinnah came back. His normally-red Kanohi had turned strangely pale. "You're right, Julius. Sotth's got a new big weapon. So we'll have to step up our bribes. Who knows what he's planning next."

And then, for the first time, even Arrgan looked scared.

Chapter 14[]

Jacidax growled at the Makuta standing in front of him. He was a trusted leader in the Lordship army. He had never failed before.

And yet Dredzek had failed. Failed to protect a group of villagers in the woods from dreaded Scavengers. Failed to bring back a company of soliders. Failed to make Jacidax happy.

"Listen, do you want me to behead you with my power? I thought not," Jacidax snapped.

Dredzek bowed. "With all due respect, sir, I believe this action is very unleaderlike."

Coming from a Makuta, these words would surprise anyone. But they especially surprised Jacidax. No one ever dared to say things like that to him.

"Listen, idiot! You can't protect the village from Scavengers, then you have the nerve to ask me for more troops so you can extort money from the Matoran in Rayatro? Let Xariston do that, he's ready for the task. Have you no respect for me and the honor of the Lordship?"

Dredzek glared at the powerful ruler of Kadilon. "Of course I do. The question is, why must you expect better than the best for all these tasks? The Scavengers attacked, but t wasn't our fault! We'd thought they'd moved on! Spare my position and my life, and I'll make you happier than you could dream of being."

Jacidax thought hard for a moment, then said, "Life is meaningless. You're all eventually going to die, so why not just make it quicker? The only thing left, then, is squeezing out happiness from the fruit of life... and I must expand that fruit by protecting the citizens of Kadilon."

Dredzek didn't understand it. "Master, are... are you really saying that? Those are words that would come out of a Turaga's mouth... not yours."

Jacidax swung his fist at Dredzek, connecting in a fierce uppercut on the general's forehead. "You fool! Don't you undestand that the Scavengers are the true enemy and not the Hahnah Clan? They're complete barbarians, trying to attack everyone for their own gain! True, some subjects of our power complain that our ruleis oppressive, but better to be oppressive and have protection and order than have complete freedom and chaos!"

Dredzek had staggered up, and now he nodded. "I understand now, master. Now shall we extort some money, or shall we be victims of the bloody wrath of the Scavengers?"

Jacidax shook his head. "You don't understand. That's not the way the Lordship works. We protect our lands and eliminate the Clan, who may be a problem if they unleash their power on us when we fight the Scavengers. Then, with them in our Masoskuth Stockade, or alternatively dead, we attack the Scavengers and secure our claim to Kadilon! Then, Dredzek, you may extort money from the villagers."

Dredzek shrugged. "Why not just use the Clan for our own purposes? It would make things a whole lot easier, and we could use the added strength for out fight with the Scavengers."

Jacidax's face twisted into a sinister grin. "Dredzek, I believe you just gave me a great idea."

Chapter 15[]


Vintao charged ahead, carelessly flinging cyclones into the dark tunnel as he searched for the shield of darkness Raikanah spoke of.

Arabak shook his head. "That's never going to win us this mission. Tactics on that level never won a war."

"But this isn't a war," Vintao pointed out. "This is a mission to help the Bohrok Nexus."

Arabak shrugged. "You win."

Lakau had been using her Mask of Translation to decipher some strange carvings on the wall. She now hurried over, exclaiming, "Those carvings say we may be up against a greater danger than we could imagine. Ready, Vintao?"

The Toa of Air nodded. "Normally," he announced, "this darkness would be impenetrable. But with the Mask of Light, no darkness can stand before our might!"

As his Kanohi mask glowed, a bright light shone down the tunnel. He and the others walked down the corridor, hoping Raikanah had overestimated the power of the webbing that cursed the hive.

Vintao struggled to see in the darkness, even with the light emanating from his Mask of Light. All he could see was a faint glow just barely outlining the walls of the tunnel, and a few feet in front of him. Behind him, he knew his allies were following, but he couldn't see them.

Taking a deep breath, Vintao pressed on. He could barely see two feet in front of him, but it was enough to keep moving. Up ahead was a strange web of netting. Using his elemental control, Vintao sent a cyclone forward to slice through the webbing in case it was the Visorak web that held the hive in place.

FWOOSH! The rush of air cut the webbing, but it didn't do anything special. The light hadn't returned, and when Syandar spoke two seconds later, he still had a speech impediment.

"Nobody panic," Vintao assured, "I'm just going on ahead to see what's up there."

Vintao walked on in the darkness, seeing no dangers. However, he saw no webbing, either. "We must be getting close," he reasoned, "or we wouldn't have seen the netting back there. It can't be that much further."

He was right, it turned out, for he tripped over some webbing a second later and fell to the damp floor. He swore the chamber had gotten brighter when he went down, but it wasn't until he turned of his mask power and could still see that he was sure. "I've found it, guys!" shouted the ecstatic Toa of Air, "And the light's brighter here too!"

The others came running hard through the corridor. Lakau was the first to penetrate the darkness and emerge into the dim light. "You're right," she commented, "it's clearly brighter in here."

One by one, the others appeared and remarked on the brightness of the chamber they were in. Even Danko wasn't acting sarcastic.

Unfortunately, he returned to his sarcasm when he looked up and saw the huge figure looming over him. "Oh, this is just the most pleasurable mission I've ever been on."

Arabak turned. "Danko, what's the matte -" He paused in mid-sentence. Towering over the Clan was a giant, spiderlike creature with enormous mandibles and four beady eyes. Arabak's voice was reduced to a mere whisper. "Oh, crap."

"If you said you read it back in the tunnel, why didn't you freakin' TELL us?"

"Because I didn't want you to panic and give up!"

"Well, it's better to give up than be some Rahi's dinner!"

"Will you two just shut up?" Vintao yelled. "Seriously, less talk, more fight!"

Danko broke in, "They are fighting -- just with each other." Nobody laughed at his sarcastic humor.

Huge balls of Visorak webbing were flying from the giant spider's mouth, and they threatened to take out anyone too slow to avoid them. As Lakau ran, she noticed this and realized that the spider looked afraid. Abruptly, she threw down her weapons and stopped running.

Vintao noticed her and yelled, "Lakau, what the Karzahni are you doing?"

Lakau held a finger up to her lips and waited for the spider to respond. It did, with its mandibles snapping together in a rythm. Lakau's eyes opened wide and glowed brightly as she spoke in similar sounds. Chirps, screeches and guttural growls filled the air for the next ten seconds, at which point Lakau turned around and told the others excitedly, "This is Sa'resh, and he's not going to hurt you."

Danko scowled. "And why this sudden change of heart?"

Lakau answered, "Well, I told him we're only trying to cut the webbing and save the Bohrok Nexus, and he decided that we aren't trying to harm him. In fact, he wants to help us because he's affected by the curse too."

Vintao smiled. "Well, what about that? One of Jacidax's guardians decides to turn against him and joins us to save the hive! That's a change from stumbling around in the dark!"

And with that, the six Clan members and Sa'Resh got to work ripping up the webbing. Vintao sent a cyclone cutting through the thick Visorak webs, and the others did what they could. When they were finished, light slowly returned to the chamber and the tunnel connected to it. Now the Bohrok were free of their troubles.

The yellow Rahkshi stomped through the cave at the mouth of the hive. It was hungry for some Bohrok. It took a step toward the interior of the hive, when suddenly a light swirled around it and it was a Tahnok once again.

Raikanah sat on his throne, trying desperately to stand up. For too long, he'd been trying. Just now, when he was about to give up hope, he suddenly snapped free! He looked up and shouted, "They've done it! The Hahnah Clan has done it!"

A Kohrak cursed with insanity had wandered outside of the hive. Stumbling around, he suddenly was engulfed in a swirl of light and regained his senses just in time to see the Bohrok Nexus rumble, and then shatter free of its rocky prison. The Kohrak gasped, then sprinted to the entrance and jumped up and in.

Syandar, meanwhile, heard the rumble and said, "The Nexus is taking off, just like it was meant to! We're free once again!"

Danko looked at the Bohrok like he was a Rahkshi bowing before a Matoran and spontaneously serving a feast. "You can talk?"

"Of course I can talk," Syandar snapped, "I was cursed for a thousand years with a speech impediment. I... I can't thank you enough."

Vintao grinned and threw up his arms. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go tell Raikanah of this deed! We succeeded! It's our destiny!"

Chapter 16[]

The six descended from the floating hive, their bodies reflecting the pure sunlight that came down brightly. Any Matoran that would have looked at them right now would have had to shield their eyes. Of course, those six bodies knew what they were doing when they jumped from the high altitude. Twisting in midair, Vintao strained his wrist to channel his elemental control over Air, and increased the density of the oxygen below him and the others so they could land slowly and safely.

With surprisingly little noise, Vintao's feet touched the ground. His left foot tapped softly on the ground, followed by the right one. The shadow of the hive covered the light here to some extent, but the lone bright spot was Vintao's Kanohi. The Mask of Light radiated shiny yellow shafts of light across the space, and they were so bright that Vintao held his forearm across his head to protect his esnsitive eyes, which were so used to the dim light of the Bohrok Nexus. He could here the pad-pad of feet touching ground all around him. Then he heard the unmistakable thump of Syandar's approaching footsteps.

"Helloooo? Vintao? You might want to look in front of you..." Syandar whispered softly. The noise barely reached Vintao, but it was enough. Vintao's view changed as he lowered his arm, and instead of green and black protosteel plating, he could see Decoy, the robot bounty hunter, standing in front of literally hundreds of gray, lifeless Masoskuth bodies. Decoy was flanked by Xariston, the infamous general, Dredzek, Jacidax's aide, and Labinnah, the captain of a company of Matoran soldiers. In the crowd, mixed with the Masoskuth, were Matoran, Toa, Makuta, Skakdi, and Rahkshi. One Matoran seemed to recognize Vintao, and the Clan operative gasped. He remembered the face of the Matoran of Toxin, and his name was fresh in Vintao's mind, too: Taheena. But Taheena had been part of the Ninja Guild, and why he would have affiliated with the Lordship was beyond Vintao.

His thoughts were cut off by Decoy announcing and renouncing at the same time --"You honestly thought you could do that without alerting the whole army? As soon as the Bohrok hive lifted into the air, it cast an unusual shadow over Rayatro, and naturally I came to investigate. When I saw what had happened, I alerted Lordship forces to your 'noble deed', and now I can collect my reward."

Lakau pushed her way to the front of the six Hahnah Clan members, and protested, "You can't arrest us! All we ever did was lift the curses of the Bohrok."

Labinnah glared at the Toa who seemed unhappy with her imminent fate, and Lakau quickly shut her mouth. Xariston stepped forward, chuckling. "Ah, Lakau, you misinterpret my intentions. The great Mafi Jacidax has decided that you are opponents worthy of his respect, and that we are united against a common enemy. You will join the ranks of Captain Labinnah's soldiers, and you will fight the Scavengers with zeal. As a reward, you will live, not imprisoned, not forced into the life of a Masoskuth. Should you decide foolishly that you refuse affiliation with us, your punishment will be much more dire than military service, so I advise you to choose wisely." Xariston's eyes shifted over to Dredzek, and he added calmly, "Dredzek, you do the honors."

Greed filled Decoy's artificial eyes as Dredzek took two steps toward him, and extended his arm, while opening his fist, allowing the Lordship coins concealed inside to fall out and into Decoy's outstretched hand. Dredzek receded, and Decoy quickly analyzed the coins in his palm. He counted around fifty thousand, and smiled. His static-filled, monotone voice pierced the air, taking form of the words, "For it has been written: The only thing that matters in the end is service to a higher meaning than oneself. I follow that philosophy to the letter -- my service is to the almighty golden coin."

Dredzek frowned. "You mean to us."

Decoy smiled apologetically and corrected, "You are right, Dredzek. My service goes to you and your government." But in his mind, Decoy was restraining himself from strangling Dredzek in front of everyone else. That lousy son-of-a-Rahi is no better than Jacidax himself, and Mata Nui knows how much I hate him. There are great heroes, feared bounty hunters, and then there are despicable villains. Jacidax easily is that last one -- he's ruined so many lives, and ended so many others, that if he were to die, he'd be a slave eternally cursed to massage the soles of the ruler's feet.

Meanwhile, Labinnah growled at the Clan, "Get over here. Service begins now."

Chapter 17[]

Aboard the Lordship hoverbus, Vintao cocked his head slightly to maintain posture staying erect. He was leaning down and to the left to drop off his bags at the marked repository. Looking for a place to sit down, he saw an opening across from Taheena, a soldier he particularly wanted to speak with. Better still, it was next to Lakau, and Vintao had to resist to prevent the grin pulling on his lips from growing into a full smile.

As Vintao dropped into the bench seat lazily, Lakau cast a knowing smile at Vintao, who looked slightly embarassed. He glanced at Taheena, who arched his eyebrows. Vintao leaned over and whispered, "It has only occured to me after I saw what she has done, and her inner character shines through." Taheena leaned back into the seat and stretched out his arms.

Suddenly, Vintao glared at the relaxing Matoran. "Now, let's get down to business," he snapped. "What are you doing in the Lordship army? I always thought I could trust you. I guess not."

Taheena's eyes snapped open and he apologetically raised his arms weakly. "Hey, let's not jump to conclusions," he protested. "I was drafted."

Vintao shrugged, but his eyes were still narrowed grudgingly at Taheena. He didn't notice Zeff slide down to the chrome floor and pad over quietly to the repository. She returned in the middle of a stare-off, and the eyes were getting narrower. To break the silence, she extended her hand at Vintao, revealing a small, stone tablet. Confused, Vintao wondered, "What's this?"

Zeff laughed for an instant, then caught herself and explained, "The custom is for new soldiers to share identity tablets with the senior members of their company. Don't ask me why, it's just tradition. These tablets, as you will see, have a pattern on them. That maps the DNA structure of the bearer, as an added security measure." She reached into a satchel and pulled out three others. "Here are Julius's, Pahu's, and Taheena's tablets. Friends?"

It was not Vintao, but Arabak who returned Zeff's offer. "Friends. But can I see these? I have a feeling that..."


Arabak shook his head. "Never mind," he remarked. Yet he felt stone slowly slipping into his hand. He opened his eyes, and saw all four tablets stacked in his hand. Speechless, he breathed, "But -- why? I gave no reason."

Zeff's eyes sparkled. "Friends help each other out. Even if I don't know what you want these for, I trust you. You're a Toa, after all. And do what you will with these. I couldn't care less. To be honest it's a relief to get these heavy things off my hands."

A smile, and an idea, swept across Arabak's charismatic face. "Thanks," he said. "It really helps to know we have someone we can count on, even in these dark, paranoid times."

Chapter 18[]

"Were here. Everybody out," growled Labinnah as the hoverbus slowly siphoned off air. First Pahu, then Danko, Syandar, and Arabak jumped off the floating transport. As the others stretched to full height and debarked the transport, Vintao noticed even Taheena had left, leaving him alone with Lakau. Vintao grinned, but Lakau acted offended, grunted indignantly, and walked away. Vintao dropped his eyes, then looked up as if searching for an answer, and was surprised to see Airon, arms folded over his chest, floating several inches above the ground. Airon cast a disapproving glance at Vintao, who, embarassed, simply looked at the floor.

Vintao felt a tap on his shoulder and looked up, seeing Airon in his physical form sitting in the spot where seconds ago, Lakau had sat. Airon arched his eyebrows and asked, "Something's on your mind, and I know it. Why don't you tell me and get it out of your throat?"

Vintao, disgusted, shook his head and replied bitterly, "I don't need to tell you. You saw it with your own eyes, you felt the friction in the air. No one appreciates me, and worse, I'm expected to fight for the same guys I'm trying to stop! Oh, Mata Nui, how? How could this happen to me? I never did anything unforgivable!"

Airon raised his hand under Vintao's slowly sinking chin and commanded, "Meditate towards reaching Chya. Destiny will reveal itself in time."

Vintao took the silence to stand up and walk out of the hoverbus, joining the crowd of others as they milled around on the grassy lawn in front of an imposing structure. A flag, with the image of a broken Ignika pouring out blood serving as its emblem, flapped wildly in the breeze as it fought to stay attached to its flagpole.

Airon, in spirit form, floated over to Vintao and heard Labinnah begin to bark orders at the assembled company. "Yes, this is the root of all problems in Kadilon," he began, trying to sound confident, but his voice quickly started to weaken. "The Scavengers have been hiding out here for several months now, while sending out minions to fight in a guerrilla war against us. But that will all end today! Come on, move out!"

"If they're fighting us guerrilla-style, they at least should be less conspicuous about announcing their headquarters to the world," Arrgan quipped gruffly as he shouldered a knapsack.

"No use knocking," muttered Labinnah in front of the massive, protosteel gate. Scanning the area professionally for guards, he spied one atop a neighboring tower and aimed his blaster at him. The guard was too lazy to notice, and the next instant he was dead.

Vintao bent over and began to sweat as he dug his flight spear into the gate. Then, he began to churn it as if he operated a drill. Soon a small hole surrounded the rotation ring of the spear, barely enough for Julius to squeeze through.

On the other side of the gate, Julius, the smallest Matoran of the company, threw the lever that raised the gate and turned to watch it rise. As soon as it was high enough for her to fit through, Lakau slipped underneath the gate stealthily, followed by Vintao. "Hey, I thought I was the ninja here," Vintao joked. Lakau, however, gazed up into Vintao's eyes unsettlingly, and the Toa of Air turned away. As Danko, then Arabak and Labinnah, marched past his lonely eyes, Vintao watched sadly, then joined them.

The courtyard the company currently was in was surrounded by a large complex of buildngs, with many entrances that easily could confuse intruders. Arrgan noticed three of these and volunteered, "I'll take this one," indicating the left one. With a nod form the captain, he dashed into the corridor while Labinnah split the remaining troops into two groups. In one were Vintao, Taheena, Arabak, Zeff, and Syandar, while in the other were Lakau, Danko, Julius, and Pahu. "I'll scout around to see if there are any other entries we could explore," Labinnah offered. And so it was.

The watchful eye of Nakondala never missed an intruder. And yet here came a single Matoran, passing through this hallway, unaware of his fate. As Arrgan passed Nakondala's hiding place, the Scavenger lunged out. Arrgan was too frightened to scream.

Nakondala swiped his dagger's blade across Arrgan's wrist, severing his comm unit. Then he shoved the horrified Matoran to the floor. The high-ranked Scavenger, expert of espionage and assassination, forced his dagger into Arrgan's back, which slowly began to bleed. Then, with the dagger still in, Nakondala rotated it clockwise, and blood spurted out into his face. Blood and guts spilled out violently, and Nakondala, sure his quarry was dead, stood up to his full height and extracted his dagger from Arrgan's body. He kicked it to the side, and smeared the blood that had found his hand on the wall, creating a large red mural in the plain, steely gray hallway. "That was easy," he remarked.

Chapter 19[]

Lakau's group had taken the middle hallway, and Julius, being the nervous Matoran he had always been, asked shakily, "You... you're sure we don't need someone to go check on Arrgan?"

Danko was easy to annoy, and this was really pushing things to the limit. Julius had asked at least seven times, and Danko's face was showing signs of exhaustion. Unable to take it any longer, he shouted, "You know what? Just go, Julius. I'm sick and tired of you begging to get out of this. Get out of here! Out of my sight!"

Julius threw his hands deferentially in front of him weakly and took a few steps back. Then, looking over his shoulder at an intersecting hallway, he broke into a full run. As Julius left the group's sight, Lakau stared at Danko with an intense fire in her eyes. Danko was chilled through his whole body when Lakau grabbed him by the shoulders and cried, "What have you done?! Look at you! You tell a meek Matoran to scram and expect us to respect you for it? I don't care if he was annoying! I can't take abuse and rage even more than I can't take annoying Matoran! I'm ashamed of you, Danko... you're a Toa. You should have known better." With her final, scolding comment, she let go of him and marched down the hallway, hurt and angry. Danko simply hung his head as Pahu walked past him.

The awkward silence was broken by a scream, one that was rather deep and full, yet shrill at the same time. Danko's head jerked up as he looked down the side corridor to see Julius charging towards him. "Julius! What happened?" asked Danko. Julius caught his breath. As he inhaled, his chest heaved and he held his breath briefly before letting it out. Tears were in his eyes as he looked up at Danko, and he sobbed, "Blood -- on the wall, smeared like paint... Arrgan... dagger... I can't take it! I know he was annoying and kinda mean to me, but I can't hold that against him! Why? Why does it happen to him? Danko, I...." Julius's voice trailed off and he descended into a sobbing blue mass. Danko held Julius in his arms and looked up from where he was squatting. The noise of the scream had brought Lakau and Pahu running. "What happened?" she demanded, a hint of arrogance in her voice, yet her face showed complete fear.

Danko stood up, setting Julius on the ground. He stared at Lakau and explained, "It seems Arrgan is dead, a dagger stabbed into him. Lakau, I believe we are up against a much stronger enemy than we had bargained for. More aggressive than we had planned, for sure."

A cold, rotten voice sneered through the hallway, "Yes, very true, very true..." the voice belonged to a figure that came through the hallway as he spoke. In his hand he held a strange, green, glowing orb that seemed to float just above his palm. He was red and white, but it was clear right away that his colors were corrupted with dark shades seeping in. "You know how I came to acquire such great power? The answer is to banish all morals from your life, including the one that shouts in your ear not to kill. I have raided more settlements that you know exist, I have slaughtered the masses, and I have destroyed Jacidax's sense of security. How can you tell me I am not important?... Ah, it is good to be Patrostoras."

Patrostoras's parasitic voice reverberated through the hallway, causing Danko and Lakau to recoil at the sound of it. Danko muttered into the comm unit on his wrist, "Vintao? I'm gonna need backup. Now."

Patrostoras swung his sword at Pahu, who ducked under it. The tip of the sword was stained blood red, and the green orb flashed brightly in Pahu's face as Patrostoras marched closer. Pahu felt a pulse of metaphysical energy in his brain and reeled back. Danko, meanwhile, jumped in front of the Scavenger warlord and punched his sword hand. Patrostoras's grip weakened, but he still clutched the sword firmly. Danko stepped back and thrust his harpoon into Patrostoras's torso. However, the tall and bulky raider held up his protosteel shield to deflect the blow. Then, with all his strength, he kicked Danko to the ground and raised his blade over his head for the final blow. Lakau squinted at Patrostoras and reached down, grabbing a shuriken. Aiming carefully, she closed one eye and flicked the deadly metal weapon at Patrostoras. The huge raider grunted in pain as the shuriken drew blood from his side. His sword lowered as he dropped his shield and clutched his wound.

At that moment, Vintao and his team raced into the scene of battle. Patrostoras saw them out of the corner of his eye, and hurled his sword wildly at Syandar. As it spun like a rotor through the air, Vintao checked its speed and stuck his spear into the air just as the blade passed overhead. The sword split in two as it was skewered down the middle by Vintao's flight spear. Vintao noticed a small pool of blood on the floor next to Patrostoras, then saw Lakau's shuriken. Vintao nodded at Zeff, who raised her Krantu blaster and pulled the trigger. A pulse of energy shot through the air on a crash course for Patrostoras, who had tackled Lakau and now drove his fist into her face. The bolt of raw power caught him off guard and he rolled back off Lakau. A large gash was in her face, bleeding hard. A raw rage filled Vintao's features, but then he saw Airon's spirit pass in front of him and remembered his friend teaching how to meditate towards Chya properly.

Vintao closed his eyes, exhaled heavily and shakily, and focused his mind on his own lifeforce. Slowly he felt the air rush in and fill his lungs and all he could see was fog clearing in his mind. Patrostoras levered himself off the ground, and rushed at Julius. However, his eyes were glued at Vintao, who had raised his arms to his shoulders, and the distraction led to him running straight into the wall. Syandar leaned over to Arabak and asked, "What's he doing?" Arabak only shrugged. Slowly and peacefully, Vintao's mask began to glow lavender, and his whole body soon had a faint glow surrounding it. His elemental power heightened and he could sense even the slightest change in his environment. He opened his eyes, and Danko was startled to see how calm they were. Vintao rushed at Patrostoras gracefully, his feet seeming to glide over the ground. Patrostoras had peeled himself off the wall and his eyes reflected rage. He charged at Vintao, only to see the Toa's hand extend and instantly, Patrostoras smashed against the wall. Vintao strode across the floor and stabbed Patrostoras with his spear, then extended his hand and ripped the air from the raider's lungs. Patrostoras gaped wide, dropped the globe, and his eyes glazed over. He heard Vintao shouting, but the words were unclear.

Then his mind went black, and his body slumped to the ground in death.

Chapter 20[]

Vintao's spear clattered to the concrete floor, as he gaped at the sight of Patrostoras lying dead on the floor. His glow seemed to be fading rapidly as Syandar walked up to him and asked in awe, "What... was that?"

Shaking his head, Vintao replied, "I don't know. I only know I've ended another life, all because my aggressive side broke through my morals. I... have failed myself... and all of you."

In physical form, Airon crossed the room with a slight swagger and reminded Vintao, "It isn't your fault. Never let unrealistic values get in the way of duty. Killing in the name of good is acceptable in my eyes, and you feeling guilt proves to me and the world that you have morals. That is good."

Vintao shrugged and bent down to pick up his spear. "That still doesn't explain my sudden burst of power," he muttered.

Airon explained, "What you saw was the power of meditation. There was no supernatural secret behind that, rather, your alertness was heightened as you removed all distractions from your mind. Still, I feel like somehow, you had help." His eyes cautiously scanned the room, and when they settled on the strange orb Patrostoras had been carrying, he broke into a grin. "That's it," he whispered. "The Guilos Globe, a manifestation of Mata Nui's power!"

Lakau overheard, and picked up the glowing green sphere. "This, Mata Nui's strength? I apologize, Airon, but I find that very hard to believe."

Airon explained, "The first lesson any Toa learns is to go beyond appearances. This is the Guilos Globe, and according to a Ko-Matoran from Haevanata Nui I met, if we were to break its seal, Mata Nui would be reborn! Everyone, come here and put all your energy into unlocking the seal." He saw the Matoran in Labinnah's company and beckoned to them. "You too, we need all the power we can get." Reluctantly, Pahu walked slowly over, and Julius, Zeff and Taheena followed.

Nine fists extended to the globe, and nine shafts of light shone from them as the concentrated their powers on it. It was harder for the Matoran, and Julius's strained face looked like he could bear no more. But just as he seemed about to faint from the force he exerted, the Guilos Globe flashed with white light, and an explosion of energy knocked all nine bodies back, away from it. The light swirled, pulsed, and transfigured itself into a vague form, seeming to resemble a Toa-like body. Slowly it refined itself, and fingers formed on the hands, a visible shape that was clearly the head became crisp and sharp-edged, and the whole body in general slowly transitioned to become less blurry. And when all the transformation was done...

Mata Domus stood, an incarnation of Mata Nui, on the floor.

He was easily an intimidating presence, but everyone in the room could somehow feel his benevolence. He was stoic, standing erect, and his eyes scanned over the room. Locking onto Vintao, he said, "Vintao. I am Mata Domus, the new body of the Great Spirit. I have seen you fight Patrostoras."

Vintao flinched at the mention of Patrostoras. He was visibly afraid of Mata Domus scolding him for the killing, but instead Mata Domus continued, "I congratulate you on a good fight, and more, feeling regret for the actions you took. Such is the mark of the purehearted."

Airon gazed at Vintao, his eyes not quite focusing on the Toa, as if he was saying, "I told you so." But with his eyes looking beyond, he jumped back in surprise when he saw another body lunge from the shadows. "Vintao, look out!" he cried, but it was too late. Nakondala had tackled Vintao to the ground and was now stabbing him in the face with a bloody dagger.

Mata Domus took a quick, long stride and sliced at Nakondala, who reeled back, though unharmed. Vintao rolled over weakly, and Mata Domus held out his sword, in classic Toa fashion, and unleashed a pulse of energy at Nakondala. The Scavenger couldn't handle the extreme power and his body vanished, leaving only a powder of his remains left on the ground to mark his death. His weapons dropped to the ground, with no hand to hold them.

Mata Domus looked down at Vintao and nodded slightly. "And that is killing for good, Vintao. I permit that."

Chapter 21[]

Julius tapped his comm unit, secure on his wrist, and said, "That was tough, but we've done it! Think of the rewards we'll reap when we return home! The Scavengers are gone, never to terrorize the public again! I'll report back to Labinnah that we've completed our mission. We're so close to prestige, fortune, and glory I could reach out my hand and softly touch them!"

The gleeful Matoran began to dial the unit code of Labinnah's comm unit, but Syandar's hand swatted at him. Julius glanced up at Syandar with wide eyes, confused, as the sound of the unit clanging on the floor reverberated across the chamber. Syandar folded his arms and gazed at Julius, eyes darting up and down as he scrutinized Julius. The Matoran, looking more perplexed than angry, asked, "What was that for?"

Syandar's left arm dropped to his side as his right arm floated up to his mouth, indicating quiet. Julius bent down to pick up the comm unit, straining to hear what Syandar heard. Vintao, who was sitting on the floor, looked around like a wild prey animal that was listening for predators. Julius stood up, and craned his neck to hear whatever sound Syandar was able to hear as he strapped the unit to his wrist. Then he heard. It was faint, barely audible to his ears, but he heard a slight screech.


Julius shrugged. "So? Some Rahi bird probably is flying around somewhere. Can we go now?"

Zeff, Pahu, and Taheena all looked as confused as Julius, and Taheena even paced back and forth for a moment. He glanced at the Hahnah Clan operatives gathered around him, and noticed that they all looked the same as Vintao. Fear was in their eyes, as evidenced by them being unusually reflective. Pahu saw Taheena pacing without looking at him.


Now fear crossed Pahu's eyes as well. "That ain't a Rahi bird, Julius. Much too loud, much too fierce." He looked around, and as a faint rumble reached his ears, he saw the various loose objects in the chamber, such as weapons and jewels, begin to shake. Pahu stepped back once, holding his arms loosely up, and he cried out, "What is happening? I hear marching and chanting!"

For a few seconds, chaos reigned supreme among the Matoran. Mata Domus and the Clan operatives stood stoically, avoiding the Matoran who were running around in a frenzy. They were relieved when the mighty spider Rahi Sa'resh broke through the walls of the fortress. Stone and steel crumbled on the ground, and Sa'resh peered into the chamber cautiously. On his back, Kaho shouted at Raikanah, who sat at his side, "There they are! We've found them!"

Raikanah stroked his chin, gazing off at the gray wall across the chamber. Abruptly, he stopped and pointed at Vintao, Syandar, and the others. "You think we'd forget you?" he said, a hint of laughter in his voice. Vintao grinned and ran up to the foot of Sa'resh, embracing the leg. Bohrok swarmed around him to hail their hero, and Rekdan, the Skakdi from the Guild, marched up to Vintao. His fingers swirled around in an elaborate salute, and he remarked, "Vintao, my old friend! I have come miles through the forsaken lands of Kadilon just to find you!" He brushed off a few strands of a spiderweb from his shoulder. The cheers of the Bohrok rose sharply to a crescendo as Danko, Airon, Lakau, and Arabak mingled with the crowd. Sa'resh, meanwhile, had bound the Matoran in webbing of his own. Rekdan surveyed the army of Bohrok, and when he looked back at Vintao, he continued, "I have felt the hardships of life, Vintao. That and death. Yet somehow, here I am again, and I am burning to get back at that maggot Jacidax for everything! Are you with me?"

Vintao scratched his head as Kaho slid down off Sa'resh and shouted, "Vintao! We're planning an assault on Jacidax's fortress, and we swung out here to get you!" He strapped on a metal leg guard. "Now let's go. It was hard enough to find you, and we aren't about to let a chance like this get away. And with this... we march!"