Staring down at the krana throbbing within the Tahnok’s bright red headplate, Kopaka fought off a shudder – not of cold, for the Toa of Ice never felt cold. Instead, he shuddered at the memory of what these creatures had done to his fiercely beautiful land.
After leaving the others, he had hurried to his village, Ko-Koro. Thanks to its hidden location beneath an enormous ice field, the Bohrok hadn’t come upon it yet.
But when Kopaka explored the region further, he quickly realized he was too late. The Bohrok were already there. The Three Brothers Bridge, an ice bridge spanning a deep chasm between three glaciers, was melted into a puddle. Nearby, a valley once covered in blossoms of snow moss had been charred, leaving only a black hole in the ground to show where it had been.
One word had burned itself into Kopaka’s mind – Tahnok.
Kopaka had trailed the Tahnok to the slopes of Mount lhu. He had battled the swarm with every bit of power he had, eventually managing to freeze one’s fire shield into a block of ice while the others scattered in search of easier targets.
But it was only a matter of time before more Bohrok broke through to Ko-Koro and finished what they had started – melting away the village as if it had never been. Kopaka had been tempted to stay with his villagers and lead them into battle. But he had decided that if the other Toa had discovered any important information about the enemy, he should be sure to find out.
He had gone to Po-Wahi first, lingering there just long enough to lend some help to Pohatu, Gali and Onua, who were fending off a swarm of Tahnok. Now he was going to see if Tahu was okay.
Who would have guessed I’d be rushing around checking on the others? he thought with a smile.
As he continued on his way, he spied a red creature in the distance – much like a Tahnok in appearance, but quite a bit smaller. It was one of the smaller, more nimble beasts known as the Bohrok Va, which acted as scouts and messengers.
Kopaka glanced around, expecting to see the rest of the swarm somewhere nearby. But there was no other sign of movement – just the solitary Tahnok Va climbing down the mountain toward the interior section of the island.
“Odd,” Kopaka said to himself, watching the creature curiously. “I wonder where it’s going all by itself?”
He skied down the slope, keeping the Tahnok Va in sight. The rendezvous with Tahu could wait – for now, it seemed more important to see where this creature was heading.
Soon the Tahnok Va had led Kopaka down through the foothills of Mount Ihu into the area of cold, rocky plains lying between Ko-Wahi and Le-Wahi. It continued on until it reached a flat, low-lying area littered with enormous boulders.
What is it doing? Kopaka wondered, staying out of sight behind a boulder.
Kopaka spun around just in time to avoid a noxious stream of yellowish-green liquid. The stream hit a cluster of boulders instead, and within seconds the solid rocks had melted away into nothing but a bit of greenish steam.
Acid, Kopaka thought grimly. So these are the Lehvak.
The green-colored Bohrok were swarming toward him, destroying everything in their path with spurts of their deadly acid. Kopaka lifted his ice blade, preparing to defend himself.
But the swarms had no interest in him. They moved on to the east, straight toward the line of treetops visible in the distance.
They are bringing their blight to the lands of Toa Lewa, Kopaka thought. I hope he is prepared to meet them.
He turned to check on the progress of the little red creature he was following. But where was it? The Tahnok Va was nowhere to be seen.
Kopaka scanned the horizon, puzzled and annoyed. There was no way the creature could have moved out of sight so quickly – not in this mostly open area. Where had it gone?
He leaped onto the tallest boulder in the area, scanning the rock-strewn ground all around. He zeroed in on a cluster of especially large boulders, which formed a sort of ring – like a campfire circle for giants. There. It was the only place the Tahnok Va could be hiding.
Leaping easily to another large rock, Kopaka kept his gaze trained on the circle of boulders.
There, he thought, his head swiveling to focus on a flash of movement to the west. What was that?
He stopped and stared. The movement came again – a flash of sunlight against polished bronze. A small creature came into sight – a Pahrak Va.
The Pahrak Va trundled over the rocky ground, heading straight toward the circle of huge boulders. A moment later, it squeezed into a crevice between the two largest rocks and disappeared. Kopaka waited, but there was no further sign of the creature.
Kopaka knew that with every second, the Bohrok were destroying still more of Mata Nui. But he needed to know what these Bohrok Va were up to. So he waited. And waited. Unlike some of the more impulsive Toa, Kopaka understood very well that it didn’t always pay to be in a hurry.
His patience paid off. Soon more Bohrok arrived and disappeared within the circle of rocks.
All right, Kopaka thought at last. There must be at least half a dozen in that circle by now. I think it’s time to see what they’re doing in there.
He stood and glanced toward the ground, judging the distance. Then he prepared to jump – but stopped in shock with one foot held in the air.
Bohrok! Dozens and dozens of them came pouring out of the rock circle, scattering in all directions.
Kopaka blinked, wondering if his eyes were playing tricks on him. But no – just below the boulder where he stood, a swarm of Tahnok passed so close that he could feel the heat rising from their shiny red bodies.
Of course. There had to be some sort of cave or tunnel in the center of those boulders. But a tunnel to where…?
The stream of Bohrok stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Moments later, the creatures had disappeared, each swarm headed for a different region of Mata Nui.
Kopaka knew what he had to do. Leaping to the ground, he strode toward the rock circle.
When he reached it, he realized the boulders were even larger than they’d looked from a distance. Even the smallest rose many lengths above his head. Walking around the circle, Kopaka soon spotted an entrance burned straight through one of the rocks, large enough for several Bohrok to pass through side by side.
He stepped through himself, ice blade at the ready. But it fell to his side in shock when he saw it.
Not just a tunnel, but an enormous, yawning chasm in the ground. It plunged straight down into the earth, neither narrowing nor sloping before its depths were lost in the darkness below.
And all around the walls, clambering up along steep channels carved in the stone, were more Bohrok. Dozens of them – no, hundreds. Ten times larger than any of the swarms he’d seen. Here and there a Bohrok Va scurried downward into the darkness, but the rest were moving in one direction only – upward, toward the surface. Toward the helpless lands of Mata Nui.
Kopaka gulped. This wasn’t what he had expected to find. And it changed everything…
He was tempted to climb down those rough, narrow trails to search for some answers – but no. There were too many of them for Kopaka alone. He needed to find the others.
He just hoped they weren’t already too late.