Turaga Vakama took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had thought that somehow sharing this tale after so many years would relieve some of his burden. But it had not. If anything, it made the wounds of so many years ago feel freshly made. Perhaps Nuju was right, he thought. Perhaps no good can come of this.

Tahu Nuva was silent for a very long time. Vakama expected horror or revulsion, but the Toa’s mask did not betray his feelings. Finally, the red-hued hero leaned forward and clasped the Turaga’s hand.

“You survived much to come to these shores,” said Tahu. “More than any of us ever knew. And there is more to your tale, is there not?”

“Yes, Tahu.”

“Will I have to beg to hear it?”

“No. Despite what my brothers may wish, the time of secrets and lies is over with. You made a choice to hear the tale of the Toa Hordika, and so you shall. As you have seen, sometimes we can be as foolish as any sand snipe and as blind as an ice bat.”

“Meaning what, Turaga?”

Vakama rose, using his staff to support himself. “Meaning you are Toa, not children who need to be protected from the truth. We knew all that went on in those years, and Makuta knew, but you did not. That ignorance might have cost you your lives. Hiding all this from you was as great an error as any we committed as Toa Metru.”

Tahu raised his sword and shot a bolt of flame high into the sky. “The other Toa must hear this tale, Vakama. It is a one of triumph, after all.”

The Turaga shook his head, confused. Triumph? Had Tahu not been listening at all? “I do not understand you, Toa Tahu.”

“Well, you overcame, didn’t you? You saved the Matoran, you became Turaga… you were victorious.”

Turaga Vakama laughed. It was a sad and hollow sound. “Victorious, were we? Perhaps, in your eyes, that might be so. But we paid a price for that victory, Tahu, and so did every Matoran… Makuta’s bones, what a price we paid.”

No more words would be spoken until the other Toa Nuva arrived. When they were all assembled, Vakama resumed his tale…

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