The Toa gaped in amazement at the sight before them. In the distance, Ta-Koro rose against the rocky slope of the mountain, its stone gates and magma buildings unharmed. But the plain before it was in ruins.
Thick black smoke poured from piles of rubble and gouges in the earth. Trees and plants had been ripped out by the roots and tossed about like toys. Near the gates, frightened villagers milled around, shouting and crying with panic.
“What could have caused this?” Lewa whispered to Gali worriedly.
Gali pointed. “Them. Look!”
Dozens of strange creatures were moving across the plain – large two-legged armored beasts with powerful-looking claws. Some were silvery-white and some bronze, and a few were much smaller than the others, but all scuttled about like enormous insects. As Lewa watched, several of the bronze beasts gathered together, then stormed straight into a small hill, leveling it to the ground.
Tahu set the still-stunned Matoran on the ground. “Stay here,” he said firmly, hoping the villager understood. “We’ll deal with this!”
The others were already rushing forward to stop the strange creatures. Lewa reached one of the bronze-colored ones just as it headed toward a small clump of trees. “Let’s see how these things stand up to a cyclone!”
He leaped into the air in front of the creature and breathed in, preparing to summon the winds to his aid. But before so much as a breeze had stirred, the creature moved forward, letting out an unearthly screech.
Lewa reeled as an icy blast of cold air struck him. “What? Ice?” he cried, struggling to remain in the air. But it was no use. He was frozen in a block of ice, unable to move or even levitate. He crashed to the ground with a thud.
“Away from him, creatures!” Tahu cried, leaping forward and dragging Lewa out of harm’s way.
Lewa shook off the ice, which melted quickly near Tahu’s sword. He jumped to his feet, ready to face the creature again.
But the creature showed no interest in him. Instead it uprooted a tree and then moved on toward a large lava hill.
“This is crazy,” Onua called from somewhere nearby. “They aren’t harming the villagers; they ignore us unless we get right in their way! So why all this chaos?”
“I don’t know,” Pohatu said. “But we have to stop them!”
Everywhere Lewa looked he saw more of the strange creatures. “But how?” he exclaimed. “There are so many of them!”
Tahu knew they had to do something fast if there was any hope of saving his village. Suddenly he had an idea.
“Lewa!” he cried. “Gali! Combine your powers!”
Raising their arms, Lewa and Gali summoned the winds and the rain. Soon a mighty storm raged above the peak.
An enormous blast of lightning rocked the valley in front of the village. The destructive beasts were tossed high into the air, sparking and shrieking. As they landed, they scuttled for shelter. Soon all had disappeared.
All but one. It lay damaged and stunned, legs waving weakly in the air.
“They’re gone for now,” Pohatu commented, bending over the injured creature. “They left us a prisoner, too. But what’s in its head?”
The others gathered around for a better look at their new enemy. The sloping shield that covered its head had been thrown back by the impact. A glowing, green object lay inside.
Before they could figure out what it might be, a voice spoke from behind them. “I know the answers you seek, though I wish I did not.”
It was the leader of the villagers of Ta-Koro. “Turaga Vakama!” Pohatu said. “What is it? What are these creatures?”
The Turaga sighed. “We have known the legends of the Bohrok for centuries, and we prayed they were only legends. But the Bohrok are real – all too real. And they are swarming over all of Mata Nui.”
“Tell us more,” Tahu ordered, stepping forward to face his village’s Turaga. “We need to know what we face.”
Vakama nodded. “It is said the Bohrok sleep an eternal sleep, waiting to hatch. Once awakened, the swarms are unstoppable – a force so powerful, they can reduce mountains to rubble and turn rivers dry as the desert sands. These creatures do not work alone.”
“Right,” Pohatu said. “They have those smaller creatures with them – like little scouts or something.”
“Those are the Bohrok Va,” Vakama said. “And you are right – they are smaller, quicker creatures that act as scouts and couriers. But that’s not what I meant. You see, each Bohrok carries within it a krana.”
“That?” Kopaka asked, pointing to the glowing object inside the disabled Bohrok. “Is that the krana?”
“It looks like a mask,” Pohatu observed.
“Yes,” Vakama said. “It gives them purpose and power. Their krana are their greatest strength – but also their greatest weakness. Even the mightiest of Bohrok can be humbled if parted from its krana.”
“These krana,” Tahu said. “Do they come from Makuta?”
Vakama shook his head. “That we do not know,” he said. “The legends do not offer an answer.”
The Toa listened carefully as the Turaga outlined the different swarms of Bohrok. Those like the one that had blasted him with its icy breath were known as the Kohrak. The bronze-colored ones were the Pahrak, which could turn mountains to crumbling stone. The stealthy Gahlok hid beneath the waves and struck when least expected. The fiery Tahnok were capable of melting through any substance, while the powerful Nuhvok lurked below the surface and dug mazes of tunnels to weaken the structures that stood above. Most feared of all were the Lehvak, whose acid venom could dissolve even solid rock.
“All right,” Lewa said when the Turaga paused for breath. “Enough of the feartalking. What do we do to defeat these Bohrok?”
“Now that the swarms have awakened, only one hope remains,” Vakama said. “You must collect the eight breeds of krana from each Bohrok swarm. They will unlock the secret to the Bohrok’s defeat.”
“Eight breeds of krana?” Gali asked. “What do you mean?”
“Like the Bohrok themselves, the krana serve different purposes,” Vakama explained. “Each type looks slightly different. The one you see there is one of the Krana Xa, the swarm commander.” He pointed to the disabled Bohrok again. “You must gather one of each type of krana from each of the six swarms.”
“But why?” Pohatu asked. “What will that tell us?”
“The knowing will come,” Vakama replied. “That is all that has been foretold.”
Tahu grimaced. The knowing will come. The Toa had been hearing that phrase since arriving on the island.
He grabbed the krana inside the fallen Bohrok. It was warm and squishy, slightly heavier than it looked. He stared at it, wondering how something so small could cause so much damage and devastation. “Return to your villages,” he told the others. “If gathering these krana will save Mata Nui, then that’s what we’ll do.”
“What do you mean?” Gali said. “We can’t split up now – not when a new danger threatens Mata Nui. Didn’t we learn anything from the fight against the Rahi? We are much more powerful when we’re all together. Unity –”
“– Duty, destiny,” Tahu said impatiently, finishing the common Matoran saying. “Yes, I know. But if these things are all over Mata Nui, we need to meet them wherever they are.”
“Tahu is right,” Kopaka said. “My village needs me. I must go there.”
Gali was so surprised to hear Kopaka agreeing with Tahu that she couldn’t speak for a moment. “All right,” she said at last. “Perhaps we should see to our own villages. But be careful. And let’s plan to meet again soon.”
As the others nodded, Vakama held up his hand. “A warning before you go, brave Toa,” he said urgently. “Beware the krana! When worn, they can steal the mind – and even the Toa might not be able to resist such terrible power.”