Near the Fountains of Wisdom in Ga-Metru, scores of Matoran looked up at a massive screen. The wise, benevolent mask of Turaga Dume, elder of the city, gazed down upon them. None paid any attention to the transport that crawled by on insectoid legs. Driven by Vahki Bordakh, the order enforcement squads of Ga-Metru, it carried several large, silver spheres.
“Matoran of Metru Nui,” Dume began, his voice and image carried all over the city. “It is with deep sorrow that I must inform you of the disappearance of our beloved Toa Lhikan.”
In Ko-Metru, Ta-Metru, and all around the city, Matoran gasped. Those who attempted to approach the screen, or turn away from it, were stopped by Vahki squads.
“But with the help of the Vahki,” Dume continued, “order shall be maintained. Trust in me and soon all your concerns will be laid to rest.”
The Turaga’s words felt like hot irons to Vakama. Back in his forge, he was looking at the package Lhikan had given to him.
“Toa Lhikan… I failed you,” he said sadly. He undid the foil wrapping to find he was holding a Toa stone. It was then he noticed the writing on the metal wrapping, but before he could examine it more closely –
“You should not blame yourself, Vakama.”
The Matoran turned to see Turaga Dume entering, flanked by a squad of Vahki. A good mask-height taller than Vakama, Dume radiated wisdom and a paternal feeling for all Matoran. But the Vahki close by were a constant reminder that Dume was the authority in Metru Nui and his words were to be obeyed.
Dume looked around at the chaos left in the wake of Lhikan’s struggle with the Dark Hunters. “You are a mask-maker, not a Toa,” he said gently.
Vakama nodded. While Dume was looking away, he slipped the Toa stone and its wrapping onto the already cluttered table behind him. Certain it was well hidden, he went to get a chair for Dume, only to get his feet tangled and stumble to the ground.
“I have come for the Mask of Time,” said Dume.
Vakama scrambled to his feet. “Yes, ah, well… I am sorry, Turaga. It’s not yet ready. Great Masks take time to craft.”
“Perhaps you are using inferior disks.”
“I use the finest quality available, Turaga. Only Great Disks are more pure, but they can only be retrieved by a Toa.”
Dume turned away. “Of course. Pity Toa Lhikan is not here to help.”
Vakama turned and bumped the table, knocking the Toa stone off. Only swift movement let him catch it and conceal it again before Dume turned back to him.
“Bring the completed mask to the Coliseum before the great contest,” the Turaga ordered. “The destiny of Metru Nui rests in your hands.”
Vakama allowed himself a sigh of relief as the Turaga and his Vahki departed. As soon as they were out of sight, he went back to the metal wrapping. On closer examination he could see the writing on it was a detailed map – a map of a place every Matoran knew well.
“The Great Temple…” Vakama whispered.
As soon as he was able, Vakama slipped away and journeyed to Ga-Metru. But when he arrived at the Great Temple, he found to his surprise that there were other Matoran there as well. Five of them, in fact, and all strangers to him.
Matau looked Vakama up and down and said, “Fire-spitter? Did you wrong-turn?”
“You tell me,” Vakama replied, opening his hand to reveal the Toa stone he carried.
Nokama stepped forward and showed that she, too, had a Toa stone. Each of the other Matoran did the same. “It seems we are all recipients of Toa Lhikan’s gifts. All similar, yet each unique.”
“Like us!” said Matau, smiling. “All Matoran – some just more handsome than the rest.”
Whenua shook his head. “Who’s ever heard of Matoran getting summoned to the Great Temple like this?”
“What will be asked of us?” added Nuju. “We are all just… strangers.”
“Some stranger than others,” said Onewa.
Nokama gave the Po-Matoran a sharp look. “Your negativity pollutes this sanctuary, builder.”
“Save the lessons for your class, teacher,” Onewa spat back.
Their argument was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a stone shrine, which rose out of the floor in front of them. “The Toa Suva!” exclaimed Vakama.
“When Toa realize their full potential, this suva shrine grants them their elemental powers,” Whenua recited from memory.
Each of the Matoran stepped forward and placed their Toa stone in a niche in the suva. A beam of elemental energy shot from the assembled stones. The temple chamber shook as if a great earthquake had struck the city. Then, as suddenly as they began, the tremors came to a stop.
The Matoran looked at one another, bewildered, as the image of Toa Lhikan’s mask appeared in the energy beam. The yellow Kanohi Hau hovered in the air.
“Faithful Matoran, Metru Nui needs you,” the Hau said, speaking in Lhikan’s voice. “A shadow threatens its heart. Prove yourselves worthy Toa and fear not. The Great Spirit shall guide you in ways you could not imagine.”
The mask glowed blindingly bright. The Matoran staggered backward as beams of energy shot from the mask, bathing them in unimaginable power. The Matoran began to glow, then change. Their bodies grew taller and stronger, armor forming where none had been before. Their masks transformed from the simple Kanohi of Matoran into Great Masks of Power.
The hovering mask, now a bright ball of light, suddenly winked out. No sign of its presence remained, not even the Toa stones. The six Matoran – now six armored Toa Metru – looked at themselves and each other in awe.
“Are we… Toa?” asked Onewa, excitement in his voice.
“If we appear to be Toa-heroes, then we are Toa-heroes!” answered Matau.
Whenua, once an archivist in Onu-Metru and now the Toa of Earth, voiced the thoughts of them all. “Since when are Matoran just zapped into Toa?”
Nuju, former seer and now Toa of Ice, answered, “When uncertain times lie ahead.”
Vakama, Ta-Metru’s most skilled mask maker and the new Toa of Fire, looked down at his new form. It was hard to believe that this new power had been granted to him. But are we ready for this? Am I? Vakama asked himself. He didn’t have an answer.
Onewa looked around. “Now all we need are –”
As if in answer, the sides of the raised suva fell away to reveal a cache of Toa tools. “These!” shouted Matau.
The new Toa rushed over to choose their equipment. Onewa grabbed a pair of proto pitons, Nuju twin crystal spikes, and Whenua earthshock drills. Nokama chose a pair of hydro blades, even as Matau began practicing with his aero slicers. He executed a series of rapid maneuvers with the sharp tools, shouting “Oh yeah!” Halfway through a particularly complicated exercise, one of the blades flew from his hand and narrowly missed the new Toa Metru of Water.
“Need I remind you,” snapped Nokama, “this is about honoring our responsibilities to the Great Spirit?”
Vakama looked over what remained and chose a powerful Kanoka disk launcher. It was a larger version of what he had used in the past to play the sport of akilini. The familiarity of it made him feel a little more comfortable in his new body.
Matau, Toa of Air, chuckled. “Nice choice – for playing Matoran games, mask maker.”
“Hey, look at this,” Onewa, the new Toa Metru of Stone, said. He reached into the tool compartment and emerged with six Kanoka disks. Each was a different color, and each bore the likeness of a Mask of Power. But what drew the attention of the new heroes was that the masks matched the ones they now wore.
“What does it mean?” asked Nokama, Toa Metru of Water.
“Perhaps that we were not chosen at random for this?” Vakama suggested. “Perhaps this is our destiny.”
“What did Toa Lhikan say we could expect, Vakama? What are we meant to do now that we are Toa?” asked Whenua. Nokama and Onewa drew in closer, anxious to hear the answer as well.
“He said –” Vakama began.
“Speak up, fire-spitter!” said Onewa.
“He told me to stop the darkness… that I had to save the heart of Metru Nui,” Vakama replied. “Then the Dark Hunters took him away… it was because of me.”
Then, suddenly, his mind was somewhere else. He could see day being consumed by night, Metru Nui collapsing into ruin, then miraculously restored. Six Kanoka disks flew at him from out of the darkness, forcing him to duck and dodge. They shot past him, then hovered in the air and unleashed their power on the Morbuzakh plant. Before their energies, the plant withered and died. Their task done, the Great Disks merged together to form a single one of immense power, and…
Then the vision was gone. But the chill inside Vakama told him it had not just been an idle daydream. “Metru Nui was destroyed. I saw it! The six Great Kanoka Disks were headed right for me, and…”
“Thanks for dream-sharing,” Matau said, shaking his head.
“No, we must find them. They can defeat the Morbuzakh and free the city from danger. That would prove we are worthy to be Toa Metru!” Vakama continued.
The others looked at him, some doubtful, some evidently willing to believe. They had all heard the tales of the Great Disks before. It was said they contained enormous power, but the only clue to their location was that one was hidden in each metru. If the disks were used by someone with good intent, they could change the world for the better. If their user was evil, Metru Nui and all its inhabitants might be erased forever.
“Then find them we shall,” said Nokama. “I saw a carving in the temple that might help us. Something about finding the Great Disks by seeking the unfamiliar within the familiar. But the rest seemed to be… riddles. What do you think, Vakama?”
But the Toa of Fire was not listening. In his mind’s eye, he saw six Matoran, each with a Great Disk. He knew their names but could not see their faces. Worse, the shadows behind them were alive with danger. Vakama could see a pair of fierce red eyes hovering in the darkness and a four-legged creature stalking the Matoran. He had seen that figure before, in real life, struggling with Toa Lhikan. Vakama knew how powerful and evil this being was, and the memory made him shudder.
“Nuhrii… Orkahm… Vhisola… Ahkmou… Ehrye… Tehutti,” Vakama muttered. “They can decipher the riddles. They can help us find the Great Disks. But beware of a dark hunter who walks on four legs.”
“You have spent too much time at the forge, fire-spitter,” answered Onewa. “Your head needs cooling down.”
“I trust Vakama,” Nokama said. “If he believes those six Matoran can help us find the disks, then we must seek them out. When we have found them, we will meet back here. Good luck to us all.”
If my vision is true, thought Vakama, we will need far, far more than luck.
The Toa Metru said their farewells and went their separate ways. Only Nokama and Vakama remained behind, staring up at the Great Temple.
“Vakama, do you really think Metru Nui is in danger? Perhaps from something more frightening than the Morbuzakh?”
“I know there is darkness coming,” Vakama replied. “Toa Lhikan said we had to stop it. He said we had to save the ‘heart of the city.’ I don’t know how or why, but we have been chosen.”
“Then may the Great Beings protect us all,” said the Toa of Water.
In another section of the city, a Matoran was also thinking about the dreaded Morbuzakh plant. The vines had been appearing on the outskirts of the city for some time, wrecking structures and forcing residents to flee. No one knew where they came from or how to stop them. All that was known was that everyone who challenged the Morbuzakh vanished, never to be seen again.
But this particular Matoran wasn’t worried about the damage the plant was causing. Instead, all his attention was focused on a tablet decorated with a most interesting carving. The picture showed the combined power of six disks defeating a gigantic Morbuzakh root. Disks – called Kanoka in the Matoran language – were a common sight in Metru Nui. They were created in every metru and used primarily for sport, as well as for defense against the wild beasts called Rahi. Disks found to be right purity and power level were forged into Masks of Power. But the disks in the carving could not simply be any old Kanoka, the Matoran knew. These had to be the six Great Disks of legend.
Under the picture of each Great Disk was inscribed the section of the city where it could be found and the name of a Matoran: Nuhrii, Ahkmou, Vhisola, Tehutti, Ehrye and Orkahm.
When he was done examining the carving, the Matoran turned to Nidhiki, the strange, four-legged being who had brought it. “What is it I’m supposed to do?”
“I would think it would be obvious,” hissed Nidhiki from the shadows. “Get the six Great Disks. I don’t care how. Then give them to me and I will take them somewhere… safe.”
The Matoran frowned. “If they truly exist, these are the six most powerful Kanoka disks in Metru Nui. They would be beyond price. What do I get out of this?”
“You will be well paid, Matoran,” Nidhiki replied, smiling in a particularly nasty way. “Plus you get one more benefit, if you’re successful: I won’t come looking for you.”
“All right, all right. I get the idea. But why is this so important? Even if these Matoran could get their hands on the Great Disks, they wouldn’t dare to try to stop the Morbuzakh themselves.”
“It’s not Matoran we’re worried about,” came the answer. “It’s so-called heroes – Toa Metru. Six Toa Metru.”
With that, Nidhiki was gone. The Matoran watched him go, thinking, Six Toa Metru? How is that possible?