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Chapter 2

Tahu gave the other Toa Koto a look that told them exactly what he thought. But before he could say anything, Gali intervened. “We would like to discuss this for a moment,” she said, sending a silent prayer to Mata Nui that Tahu would hold his tongue for once in his life. “It is very strange, simply happening upon another Toa in this way.”

Ternian nodded, comprehending. She knew how this probably looked; a strange being popping up out of nowhere, claiming to be a Toa of an unfamiliar element, and and who introduced herself by sneaking up on them... which, she mentally berated herself, was probably not the wisest move in history. “I understand,” she said aloud. “I would also like to think for a while. It's been so long since I've seen the sun or the forest, and I'd like to gather my thoughts.”

Tahu nodded, started to say something, was instantly cut off by Gali's glare, and he led the Toa to the other side of the clearing. “Lewa,” he whispered, pulling the Toa of Jungle off to one side. He jerked his head in the direction of the blue-green figure, who had walked to the far side of the clearing. “Keep an eye on her. Let me know if she even glances this way—or tries to pull a vanishing act.”

**********

Altogether, not the greatest first impression, Toa Ternian thought to herself. And all the factors involved were serving to paint a picture of a being—herself—whom one did not instinctively trust. And keeping the cloak on was a bad idea too, she added dryly. I forgot the basic rule: no one conceals themselves unless they have something to hide. She wished sincerely that her friends were there. But they weren't, and could never be, so she decided not to waste the energy on wishes that could never come true. Instead she decided that making no sudden moves would be the wisest course of action.

Once, fifty years ago, she had very much enjoyed using the very same tricks on her friends. And for a moment, while she was still confused and disoriented by her long stay in the cave, she had thought that it was her own team, back from oblivion. Which was why she had approached them in the way she had. When she had realized that these were different Toa, she had been stunned, but had decided not to show it to these new beings, and had carried through as best she could.

Had they been her Toa team after all... but it was not so. Instead, there was a strange, new Toa team, with six novice Toa, some even with new elements. What was the orange Toa, Plasma or Stone? Probably Stone. He's built like he belongs in Po-Wahi, and it wouldn't make sense to have both a Toa of Flame and of Plasma. But then again, they have ''both'' Ice ''and'' Water, so... She sighed deeply and sat down on the warm earth. Her Kanohi Kovoku, the Mask of Intuition, nudged her mind slightly, telling her she was being watched. She was aware of one of the other Toa—the green one, probably a Toa of Air—watching her out of the corner of his eye from the group of six Toa, in case she made a wrong move. Ternian nodded approvingly—if in thought only—and didn't turn to look. They're competent, I'll give them that. And she was grateful that they have the tact not to make it too obvious. She sighed and traced her finger aimlessly through the dirt. This might take a while.... I wish I could see the Matoran again... You would think that ten years stuck in a cave would have given me patience...

After a few moments, she realized that she was no longer scribbling, but writing in the dust. Writing names. The names of those that she knew she had condemned to a fate that was worse than death. She closed her eyes tightly, as if she could erase the image that was vividly summoned from her memory. Why? She thought. Mata Nui, why?

Turning her face away and trying to keep the tears from welling in her eyes, she wiped away the names of the lost Toa Rema.

**********

“But what if it's a trap of Makuta's?”

That was the obvious question that Tahu now voiced. They all knew the legend of Ekimu's Brother, who bore the same name as the evil brother of Mata Nui, and they knew that the spirit of Makuta had been banished. But the Toa Koto had no doubt that Makuta was still very much alive, and had been orchestrating the Skull Spiders attacks. What if this was a new ploy, to try to gain their trust, then tear them apart?

“If she wanted to attack us, she had the perfect opportunity to attack.” Gali pointed out.

Tahu shook his head and snorted derisively. “All we know from that is that she isn't quite stupid enough to try and take on six great Toa single handed. Evidently, however, she is stupid enough to think that sneaking up around like an assassin is a good idea. And what sort of Toa skulks around in shadows, and wears a cloak?”

“Why do you think she did that?” mused Pohatu. “I mean, that isn't exactly what everyone does around here, but she had obviously used that trick before.” The other Toa looked at him in surprise, and he shrugged. “When I watch Matoran playing Kolhii, it's not hard to tell if they've used a certain move or strategy in the past. And when faced with something they don't understand—like a team they haven't played against before—the players will often automatically slip into what they normally do, even if it's really a bad idea. The familiarity makes them more at ease in the new situation.”

“So what you're saying is, she didn't know anything about us—other than the fact that we were Toa—and she got nervous. So she.... fell back on old behavior?” Onua shook his head. “And how is scaring the wits out of a bunch of Toa going to put anyone at ease?”

Tahu lifted his head at that. “She didn't 'scare us out of our wits,' as you so kindly put it.” he said archly. “But I would think her lucky that no one tried to attack her when we saw her sneaking around.”

“As I recall, brother, we didn't see her at all. Not until she spoke.” pointed out Gali, earning her a scowl from the Toa of Fire. “Although Onua raises a good question: in what situation would a Toa think it a good idea to sneak up on another?”

“A certain Toa of Jungle finds several.” said Onua in a pained tone. He related to the other Toa how Lewa had sneaked up on him earlier and shouted suddenly. Gali gave Lewa a look, and tilted her head in a way that boded no good toward the green Toa Koto.

“That's different,” Lewa pointed out. “Onua's my Toa-brother; he already knows me and what I do. He knows I wouldn't harm-hurt him on purpose. Besides, I apologized.” he added in an injured tone.

“So did she,” replied Gali, glancing over at the subject of their conversation, who seemed to be oblivious to their discussion and was writing in the dusty ground with a fingertip. She was interested in the strange new Toa, and was curious as to why this one—Ternian, she had said her name was?—would be here now. Why not show herself sooner? She was alone, and had mentioned something about being the last Toa. Gali was curious about this Toa who had come before her.

She saw the Toa of the Green close her eyes and brush her hand over what she had written, shaking her head as if trying to shake away a sudden thought... or a memory? Gali tilted her head to one side, trying to read the behavior, when Kopaka spoke unexpectedly.

“Weren't Toa of Plant-life supposedly male, according to the legends?” the Toa of Ice pointed out.

“That's what the Wall of History says,” said Pohatu. “But Turaga Onewa once mentioned that there was a typo on the Wall at one point, and it was never fixed. That might be it. And, besides, Matoran of different elements can be of both genders, it stands to reason that there would occasionally be a difference in the Toa also.”

Onua found this suggestion slightly disturbing, as it conjured very strange mental images that did not bear thinking about if he could at all help it. To distract himself from them, he made a suggestion. “So, why not just ask her about herself? You now, 'where are you from,' 'how did you get here,' the usual questions?”

Gali smiled at her brother's characteristically straightforward approach. “In this instance, the obvious course of action is likely to be the wisest one,” she said, turning to Tahu for his consent.

Tahu looked back at the sitting Toa of The Green, who had gone back to writing in the dirt. He was unsure of this new arrival, and her mode of introduction gleaned little trust. He was fiercely devoted to his Toa team, the Matoran, and his Duty, and was very protective against anything that might prove to be a threat. This made him extremely annoyed by the seeming ease of the intrusion, and he mentally affirmed that he would be prepared for another such trick in the future.

He nodded slowly. “We might as well try asking,” he said. “But Toa don't skulk around with capes. There is a certain amount of prestige that seems lacking there.”

“True-sure,” stated Lewa. “I mean, who ever heard of a Toa-hero wearing a cowl-cape? Heroes don't wear-have capes; it just isn't done.”

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