Jaller faced Hahli, gathering his courage to say what he wanted before leaving on his quest.
Hahli cleared her throat. “Look, don’t get mushy, Jaller,” she said. “I have no time for long good-byes.”
“I was just going to say…” Jaller took a deep breath. “You owe me a rematch on the kolhii field.”
Hahli’s eyes softened.
“Well then, you’d better hurry back,” she said. “Cause I’ll be practicing.” She touched him on the arm, then turned and walked away.
Jaller watched her go. How long would it be until he saw her again? Would he see her again? Trying not to think about that, he joined Takua on Pewku’s back.
“The shadows of the Makuta are powerful,” Turaga Vakama warned before they could leave. “Do not take your journey lightly. It will tolerate none of your foolery.”
“How will we know where to start?” Takua asked Vakama.
“Trust in the mask,” he replied. “Let it be your guide.”
Jaller pulled the Mask of Light out of his bag, holding it up. As he turned it in one particular direction, it suddenly began to glow brightly.
“Hard to argue with that,” Jaller said.
Takua tapped Pewku’s shell and the Ussal galloped off.
Turaga Vakama’s voice floated after them. “Remember your duty!” he called. “And walk in the light!”
Elsewhere in Ta-Koro, two Ta-Matoran were conversing about what had just happened.
“Did you hear?” asked the gray-armored Matoran. “Takua and Jaller have left to search for the Seventh Toa!”
“Yes… but Turaga Vakama is very worried,” replied the other Matoran, clad in tan armor. “He says that Makuta has returned… and you know what that means!”
“Makuta, Rahi, Bohrok, Bohrok-Kal… I wish there was someplace we could get away from all this danger. Some place all Matoran could be safe.”
“Wait… there is such a place! Remember the stories? The Great Artakha Refuge! The land no shadow can enter!”
“Oh, come on… that’s just a story. Only a real kolhii-head would believe that!”
“But what if it’s true? And what if we could find it? We could save our people, and be heroes, just like Jaller!”
“I still think it’s crazy… but I suppose we could ask Turaga Vakama about it.”
“No, the Turaga would just tell us we were being foolish,” the tan Matoran protested. “I think we should start looking straight away!”
After some debate, though, the tan Matoran begrudgingly agreed to ask the Turaga for advice before setting out.
“Yes, I have heard the legends of the Artakha,” said Vakama. “But they may be just that… legends. Still, if you are determined to search, you should begin at the lava falls. Perhaps the resting place of the Mask of Light contains a clue. But beware – beyond the walls of the village, Mata Nui is a dangerous place.”
Heeding the Turaga’s words, the Matoran headed for the passage near the lava falls where Takua found the Mask of Light.
“Hey, look! That looks like the place Takua told me about!” the tan Matoran exclaimed, pointing to a spot matching Takua’s description of where the mask had been. There was a strange carving in a piece of stone there.
“You know, the legends say that there’s a map to the refuge carved in stone… maybe this is part of it!” suggested the gray Matoran. “We should check out the lava falls.”
* * *
Later, Hahli and Macku gather around the Sacred Fire for words of praise from Turaga Vakama:
“You trained long and hard for this day, Hahli, and you have won the Championship. All of Mata Nui is singing your praises, and that of Macku and all the people of Ga-Koro. This has been an important day, for it also brings the discovery of the Mask of Light. Takua and Jaller have been dispatched to find the Seventh Toa, and all of Mata Nui is hopeful for the success of their mission. Go now, and return to your village as Champions.
“Do not forget your training…” he addresses Hahli specifically. “The Sacred Fire reveals that kolhii is not all that destiny has in store for you, and there is yet a role that you have to play…”
As Macku returns to Ga-Koro, Vakama has one more thing to say to Hahli:
“As the Sacred Fire burns, so do all things expected come to pass, and some things we did not see. You have earned your place on the Wall of History, Champion.”
“Goodbye,” Hahli says.
“You will always be honored in Ta-Koro!” he concludes as he turns back to the fire.
Despite seeing him leave, it still feels strange to see that Takua is no longer working on the Wall of History. Instead there is a small object lying on the ground where he used to work. Discovering it to be the Charm of Duty, Hahli places it in her satchel.
Hahli visits Jaller’s hut as well. Of course, there is no sign of the Captain of the Guard. Instead, there is a small object on the floor of the hut which Hahli discovers to be the Charm of Courage. She places it in her satchel. Hahli leaves Ta-Koro through the gate in the northern end of the town square.
Following Vakama’s advice, Hahli returns to Ga-Koro. Intrigued by Vakama’s mention of a Seventh Toa, she attempts to recalculate Nixie’s Formula:
The stars are very precise. The first part is easy: the first letter of the patron Toa of Unity. The second part is harder. Start by multiplying the villages by the Principles that they follow. Add the Great Spirit and his banished brother, and also the Toa Kaita… finally, add the Virtues. Subtract one for the Chronicler, divide by the number of Toa…
This time, she substitutes seven instead of six for the number of Toa. This gives her the coordinates G6. Hahli pays Pelagia to take her to these coordinates in Naho Bay.
Diving under the water, Hahli can see some sort of structure whose entrance is lit by a glowing Lightstone. Entering it, there is a doorway and a small circular keyhole with a riddle above it. The riddle reads: ‘All Are One… Or None.” Using the knowledge that she has gained from her travels in Mata Nui, Hahli recognizes that this riddle refers to the Virtue of Unity. Removing the Charm of Unity from her satchel, she fits it into the keyhole. The doorway opens and Hahli retrieves the Charm before she passes through it. The next riddles, ‘From Unity Derived’ and ‘From Clear Waters Granted’ refer to the Principle of Purity and the Kolhii Skill of Speed. After unlocking both of these doors through the use of the respective charms, Hahli enters into a large, dimly-lit temple. There are four Matoran head carvings spouting water, but some of the waterfalls are murky. There is a control room to the side of the chamber where four spigots are attached to a series of pipes. Hahli discovers that by turning them in the correct combination, all four of the waterfalls can be made to spout clean water. Hahli travels along a narrow walkway heading toward the center of the pool, where a glowing object is lying in the center of a dais. She picks it up and discovers it to be the Crystal of Purity. She returns to Ga-Koro to show Nixie her discovery.
“I found this Crystal at G6,” Hahli explains.
“G6?” Nixie repeats. “But… the only way to get that number is if you added a seventh Toa… what can this mean? Perhaps…Vakama was right, all this time?”
“Goodbye,” Hahli says.
“Hm…” muses the astrologer as Hahli departs.
Intent on discovering other Crystals, Hahli travels to Onu-Koro next. There, Whenua gives her accolades for her victory in Ta-Koro.
“Congratulations!” the Turaga exclaims. “You are strong and quick, Hahli of Ga-Koro – I wish I could have been there to see the match. You will always be welcome in our great city! Peace and prosperity be with you, Hahli!”
Hahli travels to the flooded Great Mine. Using her improved Stamina and Air Bladders, she dives right to the very bottom. She enters a cave which is decorated with a large mechanical contraption barring further passage. Hahli recognizes the symbol on the contraption to belong to the Principle of Prosperity and she fits the corresponding charm into the contraption’s keyhole. A doorway to a long tunnel appears, which Hahli passes through. Hahli unlocks doorways marked with the symbols of the Virtues Duty and Destiny and the Kolhii Skill Stamina using the correct Charms, returning them to her satchel after she uses them. Finally, she enters a massive chamber with a single pathway which leads to a dais. Once she arrives at the dais, she retrieves the Crystal of Prosperity.
Next, Hahli travels to Ko-Koro. She enters the Chamber of Prophecy in the Sanctum, where Matoro speaks to her on behalf of Turaga Nuju.
“Much of what was seen, has come to pass,” the Ko-Matoran says cryptically. “These are times of great cheer, but now we fear the dark. The wind blows cold on the empty mountain, and what sleeps below it begins to stir. Your trials are not over, Hahli of Ga-Koro. Kopaka protect you.”
Hahli re-enters the Drifts. Traveling through the snow, Hahli can make out the silhouettes of four large statues in the distance. Moving closer, Hahli notices that there are riddles and keyholes on three of the statues and a doorway on the fourth. Hahli fits the appropriate Charm in each of the statues, whose riddles read: ‘The Third Virtue’ (Destiny), ‘Inner Strength’ (Willpower) and ‘Fate’s Child’ (Peace). The doorway of the fourth statue slides open and Hahli enters it. Inside, the Crystal of Peace is positioned on a small dais in the center of the statue. She places it in her satchel and leaves the Drifts.
Hahli travels to Le-Koro, where Turaga Matau greets the Ga-Matoran warmly.
“Quickdodge and spiritblessed are you, Hahli!” he praises. All Le-Koro sings songs of water-maiden from the shining sea! Listen close to the call of hoi-turtle and ruki-fish, for they echo the song of far-off Le-Koro! Keep well, Champion!”
While inside Turaga Matau’s chamber, Hahli notices two vines hanging from the ceiling. One reaches the floor of the chamber, while the other is too high off the ground to be reached. Hahli climbs the accessible vine, which takes her to the uppermost reaches of the Le-Wahi canopy. Three branches converge into a central area. At the end of each of the branches, a contraption that appears to be part of the tree itself features a riddle and a keyhole. Hahli fits the appropriate Charm in each of the contraptions, whose riddles read: ‘In Darkness, Light’ (Faith), ‘Strength Of Numbers’ (Unity), ‘Word Of Honor’ (Duty), and ‘Faith Grants This’ (Accuracy). Hahli travels back down the vine to Matau’s hut. Amazingly, the other vine now extends to the floor. Climbing it, Hahli discovers a dais on which rests the Crystal of Faith, which she places in her satchel.
Traveling to Po-Koro, Turaga Onewa has nothing but kind words for Hahli.
“Your performance in the Championship was remarkable, Hahli,” he compliments her. “No one expected Ga-Koro to be victorious. It was a stupendous effort, and you and your people should be very proud. You will always be honored in Po-Koro!”
Hahli decides to investigate the large statue which she passed by on her travels to and from Po-Koro. Approaching it, she notices that the first doorway features a riddle and a keyhole, much like the other temples she has visited. Hahli fits the appropriate Charm in each of the keyholes, whose riddles read: ‘The Map to Victory’ (Strategy), ‘Pride Of Sculptors’ (Creation), ‘One For All’ (Unity), and ‘Strategy’s Designs’ (Destiny). Having unlocked all of the doors, Hahli enters a warmly-lit chamber with a pathway leading to a central dais. On it, Hahli discovers the Crystal of Creation, which she places in her satchel.
* * *
Arriving at the lava falls proper, the two gray and tan Ta-Matoran searched for a while, but to no avail.
“There’s nothing here!” complained the gray-armored Matoran. “I told you this was a waste of time…”
“There has to be a clue here somewhere! Keep looking!”
Suddenly, there was a loud rumble.
“What’s that noise?” asked the gray Matoran, looking around.
Without warning, a wave of lava erupted from farther up the passage, headed straight for them.
“A lava flood!” shouted the tan Matoran. “Run!”
“But which way?”
After brief deliberation, the two decided to hide in a nearby cave. They were relieved to see the lava flow past, leaving their cave untouched.
Suddenly, they heard a deep voice emanating from the darkness around them. “Matoran…”
“Who’s that?” the tan Matoran asked nervously.
“I am Makuta,” the voice responds. “I am shadow.”
“Oh, I knew this was a bad idea!” the gray-armored Matoran exclaimed.
“You will never find the refuge you seek,” Makuta’s voice continued. “Return to your koro.”
“No!” shouted the tan Matoran. “We’re not afraid of you!”
His friend turned to look at him. “We’re not?”
Makuta ignored the Matoran. “Turn back, and do not set foot on Kini-Nui. You cannot hide from the eyes of Makuta.”
“We’re sure going to try!” the tan Matoran said defiantly. “Let’s go!”
With that, the two Matoran ran out of the cave.
“Whew! That was too close!” the tan Matoran said.
“Hey! Look at this,” said the gray Matoran, pointing ahead. “I know that place – it’s Kini-Nui.”
Looking closer, they spotted Gali Nuva at the temple. As they approached her, they heard a strange noise.
“Hey, do you hear that?” the gray Matoran asked. Sounds like… scratching coming from underground…”
“Could be Onu-Matoran digging new tunnels… or… do you think we should check it out?”
The two decided to speak with Gali rather than seek out the source of the noise.
Gali was still meditating in the Amaja Circle, gazing outward toward the surface of the temple pond.
They asked her if she knew anything of the place they were searching for.
“Yes, of course I have heard of the Refuge,” she said. “It is a tale first told long before the Toa ever arrived on Mata Nui, in a time when the Matoran had little hope. Some believe the Seventh Toa waits there.”
“Do you know where it is, Toa Gali?” the tan Matoran asked.
“No… but I believe that Kopaka has learned of the legend from Turaga Nuju. Perhaps you could journey there and ask the Toa of Ice.”
Suddenly the bright sunlight was cut by a dark shadow. Thick gray clouds were rolling across the sky, turning ordinary day to eerie twilight.
Gali stood and made her way to a plateau overlooking the entire temple. What was happening? As she gazed down at the suva dome, there was a sizzle of energy. An instant later, the suva exploded into a million shards.
A claw reached out of the smoky hole where the suva dome had stood. A moment later three horrifying figures climbed out of the hole and stood surveying the destruction.
“What’s that?” asked the tan Matoran, staring at the creatures.
“I don’t want to know!” yelled the gray Matoran.
Gali gasped. One of the figures swiveled his head in her direction. It banged its staff on the ground, sending sparks of dark energy arcing up. A zigzag lightning bolt shot into the air.
The two Matoran ran, while Gali somersaulted backward off the plateau. A split second later, the energy bolt struck the spot where she had stood.
The three Rahkshi climbed higher, seeking their target. But Gali and the Matoran were nowhere to be seen. Hissing with frustration, the trio gave up. The Rahkshi floated upward on the force of their dark energy, hovering over the ground. They flew away, disappearing from the temple area.
The two Matoran cautiously crawled out of their nearby hiding place. A moment later the still surface of the temple pond rippled, and Gali emerged.
Gali had no idea what sort of creatures they were, but one thing was obvious – they did not come in peace.
She glanced down the mountain. Her eyes widened as she spotted the Rahkshi in the distance, hovering purposefully along.
“Ta-Koro!” Gali murmured in alarm.
“We need to warn the villages!” the tan Matoran exclaimed.
“I will warn Ta-Koro!” Gali shouted to the two Matoran. “You two go to Ko-Koro and find Kopaka!”
Diving back beneath the water, she swam in the direction of Tahu’s village, determined to warn him in time.
As the river she was following flowed around the base of the Mangai volcano, she took to the land, her wet feet leaving steaming footprints in her wake.
“Why have I been summoned?” Tahu said impatiently as he leaped onto the village wall. He glanced down and spotted Gali.
Before she could answer his question, thunder rumbled in the distance. A huge dark cloud rolled over the village, obscuring the sun.
On the far side of the lake, the three Rahkshi appeared, seeming to shimmer through the heat rising off the lava. They hovered over the ground, moving smoothly toward the Lake of Fire.
Turaga Vakama had been summoned by the guards as well. He had brought along Turaga Nokama, who had lingered in the village after the kolhii tournament. The two of them squinted into the hazy heat.
“Rahkshi,” Nokama pronounced grimly. “The sons of Makuta!”
Vakama nodded. “Shadows that cower in the depths. Exactly as foretold.”
Tahu leaped off of the wall. “None have breached Ta-Koro’s gates before,” he proclaimed. “And none shall this day!”
The Rahkshi didn’t even pause at the edge the of the lava lake – but merely floated on, moving as easily over the fiery surface as they had over the solid ground.
Tahu blinked in surprise. Then he pulled out his magma swords, holding them at the ready.
As the Rahkshi reached the shore, the Fragmenter raised its staff. A lightning bolt of dark energy arced from its end, zigzagging toward Tahu.
The Fire Toa reacted quickly. A red shield appeared around him an instant before the bolt reached him. The bolt of dark energy hit the shield with awesome power, sending the Toa flying backward through the gates and into the village courtyard.
“Mata Nui protect us!” Vakama cried in horror.
Tahu slid to a stop, dazed. My shield, he thought blearily. What happened? Why didn’t it deflect that bolt? What sort of enemy is this?
His thoughts faded as he slipped into unconsciousness.