1

Now…

Tahu, Toa Nuva of Fire, was troubled. He stood, as he had for many hours, on the steep slope of the Mangai volcano. His eyes scanned the terrain below him, observing dozens of Matoran hard at work. But nowhere in the crowd did he spot the being he wished to see.

The sun had risen and set twice since Turaga Vakama had completed his last tale. It had been an amazing story of how six Toa Metru had risked great danger to save the Matoran from a terrible plot. Despite shocking betrayal and the tragic death of a great hero, they had succeeded in helping the residents of Metru Nui escape from the doomed city.

Although his tale had revealed many secrets, it had left many more mysteries unsolved. When the Toa Metru left the city, they carried only six Matoran with them. These six, like the rest of the city’s population, had been rendered unconscious by the evil Makuta and placed inside silver spheres. Yet there were more than six Matoran on Mata Nui – how had they made their way to the island? And what had happened to all the rest who had lived in Metru Nui?

The answers remained elusive, because Turaga Vakama had vanished. No Toa or Matoran had seen the village elder in days. After much debate, Tahu, Gali, and Pohatu had agreed to stay on guard against any threat, while Takanuva, Kopaka, Onua and Lewa quietly searched the island.

Tahu turned to see the Toa Nuva of Water approaching. “Any word?” asked Gali.

“None, and I do not like this,” said Tahu. “Turaga Vakama is the leader of my village. I should be out looking for him.”

“I understand. But of all Toa, the Matoran look to you for strength and inspiration. Seeing you nearby makes them feel secure. You know the others will do their very best. They will call if they need our aid.”

Kopaka’s voice came from above and behind them. “I believe I have found our answer.”

Both Toa turned to see their friend traveling to greet them via ice bridge. Along with him came Turaga Nokama of Ga-Koro, Turaga Nuju of Ko-Koro, and Matoro, the villager who translated Nuju’s peculiar language of grunts, whistles, and gestures.

“There is no need for a search,” Nokama said. “Vakama left to spend time alone with his thoughts. He is safe and will return when his spirit is at peace once more.”

“Why would he leave without telling anyone?” demanded Tahu.

“With your heart so full of questions, Tahu, would you have let him go?” Nokama asked. “He told myself and the others who fought beside him on Metru Nui. Now we are telling you, and asking that you respect how hard it has been for Vakama to relive the past through his tales. Give him his time.”

Nuju whistled and ran through a rapid series of hand gestures. Matoro nodded and said, “The Turaga says you have learned all you need to about Metru Nui. You should leave Vakama alone now.”

Gali shook her head. She looked directly at Nokama as she said, “No. We will not travel to the city of legends with mysteries hanging like a cloud over our heads. I respect the grief Turaga Vakama must feel, but it is more than time that we knew all.”

Nokama had always been known for her wisdom. She knew it was pointless to argue with Gali, but she had seen how tired and weak telling his tales had left Vakama. There was only one answer.

“Very well, Toa of Water,” she said finally. “Gather your brothers and I will tell you the next chapter of our story.”

That night, they assembled around a fire on the beach near Ga-Koro – seven Toa, five Turaga, Matoro, and Hahli, who now served as Chronicler for the Matoran. They waited in silence for Nokama to speak.

“You must remember what had gone before,” the Turaga of Water began, her voice little more than a whisper. “Metru Nui had fallen, shattered by storm and earthquake. All of the Matoran had been cast into a deathlike sleep from which we could not awaken them. But we had managed to take six of them, still in their spheres, with the intent to go back for the rest in the future.

“Matau had been able to strap the spheres to the underside of a Vahki transport vehicle, making it seaworthy. Now we sailed through a crack in the Great Barrier, leaving Metru Nui behind in a desperate search for a place of safety for all the Matoran. But where we were going, and what dangers we would face along the way, no one could say…”

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