Six powerful figures stood on the shore of the once-great city of Metru Nui. They were the Toa Nuva, heroes whose power and skill had defeated the darkness and allowed the Matoran to return to the place that had once been their home.
All around them, Matoran were hard at work rebuilding the city. It had been damaged centuries ago by a massive earthquake and then overrun by Rahi beasts. Most of Metru Nui was in poor shape, some of it completely ruined.
The Toa Nuva and Takanuva, Toa of Light, had spent most of the past few weeks assisting in this effort. Now they had been called away by Turaga Vakama and Turaga Nuju for a private conference. From their expressions, the Toa could tell they were not about to hear good news.
Vakama led the Toa to an isolated spot where Turaga Dume was waiting for them. Dume had been living in Metru Nui, waiting for the Matoran to return, for over a thousand years. He looked at the Toa Nuva with undisguised desperation in his eyes.
“My friends, I do not know how to say this,” he began. “One thousand years ago, the Great Spirit Mata Nui was struck down by treachery and cast into a deep sleep. It is said that you Toa Nuva are destined to one day awaken Mata Nui and restore light and peace to the universe.”
Tahu Nuva frowned. They knew all this already. Bringing the Matoran back to Metru Nui had been the first step toward awakening the Great Spirit.
“I have studied the stars, few and dim as they now are,” Dume continued, gesturing toward the darkened sky. It was true that few points of light could be seen, and those that were visible had hardly any glow. “I have consulted with Turaga Nuju, who was once a talented interpreter of the messages to be read in the heavens. He agrees with my findings.”
“Which are?” Kopaka Nuva asked, impatience creeping into his voice.
“Mata Nui is not merely asleep,” Dume said quietly. “My friends, Mata Nui is dying.”
After the initial shock and disbelief had passed, the Toa Nuva insisted on seeing the proof of Dume’s claim. He and Nuju showed them how the passages of the stars, and their diminishment in brightness and number, spoke of an end to all things. In the time that had passed since Mata Nui first fell into slumber, the Great Spirit’s hold on life had gradually grown weaker. If action was not taken, he would die, and all hope for the universe would be lost.
“What can we do?” asked Gali Nuva, Toa of Water. “With all our power, there must be some way we can save Mata Nui.”
“And so there is,” said Dume. “There is a great Kanohi Mask of Power – the Mask of Life – hidden far from here. That mask is the key to saving the life of Mata Nui. You must travel to an island that should not exist, but does, to find this treasure.”
“And when we have found it?” said Onua Nuva, Toa of Earth. “Then what?”
“It is our belief – our hope – that once you have the mask, the Great Spirit will find a way to tell you what to do next,” said Turaga Vakama.
Tahu Nuva nodded. “This doesn’t sound very hard, not compared to some of the things we have already done. We travel to this island, find this mask –”
“And quick-save the universe,” finished Lewa Nuva brightly. “Just like past-old times!”
Turaga Dume shook his head. “Do not take this task lightly, Toa Nuva. The stars are there for all to see, including those with evil intent. There are some who would not weep at Mata Nui’s passing… and others who simply wish to possess the awesome power of that mask. If they should reach its hiding place before you…”
Tahu turned to Gali. “Tell Takanuva: We must leave at once.”
“No!” snapped Dume. The others looked at him, startled. “Takanuva must stay here.”
Kopaka wheeled on the Turaga. “I don’t understand. You tell us that this mission is vital, and then subtract one-seventh of our power. Why?”
“Metru Nui must be defended in your absence,” Dume explained. “The stars say that it is Takanuva’s destiny to remain here and guard the Matoran.”
“I have to stay?” asked the Toa of Light in disbelief. “The others may need me. I should be with them!”
“You are needed here,” said Turaga Vakama. “The time will come when your power may be all that stands between us and the darkness. On that day, you must be prepared to act. Until then, your place is in Metru Nui with us.”
“All right, I will stay,” promised Takanuva. “But the others – do you think they will be all right?”
Vakama pondered for a long moment before answering. Then he said simply: “No, Takanuva. No, I do not.”