The boulders that had blocked the entrance to the cavern for years were blasted out of the way by a powerful right fist. The masked face of Onua, Toa of Earth, peered into the darkness.

“Not exactly homey, but not bad as caves go,” he chuckled. He looked around the cave; it was far too dark for most beings to see in, but Onua's eyes were not like those of most beings. He had spent most of his life—as far as he could remember, at least—in darkness, and his green-gold eyes pierced the inky blackness, seeing as well as most could see in daylight.

“Not that there's much to see,” he commented. “it's dry, I'll give it that. And there looks like there's a tunnel there, near the back. If it goes in the right direction, I might have the basis for a perfect underground connecting trade-route for Ko and Le-Koto, like the Turaga asked for. This should save the Matoran tunnelers a lot of work; just a few dozen lightstones, and...”

Toa Lewa, Toa of Jungle, appeared at the entrance. “Earth-brother! Looking for happy-fun caves, are you?”

Onua turned and grinned at his friend. “Lewa! It's good to see you again, brother. Is your village well?” He walked back to the entrance to the cave while giving the conventional inquiry.

Lewa leaned against the mouth of the cave and returned the grin. “All fine! I would speak-ask in kind, but I just came from Onu-Koto, quick-searching for you. Our Toa-brothers are calling a meeting.”

Onua looked in mock surprise. “What, is Gali not coming?” he joked. Lewa laughed also.

“You know what I mean, earth-brother, unless you have too much of your element under your mask. They're in the close-wood, in the big clearing. So if you will stop your slow-playing in the dark-dirt, we can quick-travel!”

Onua gave a rumbling laugh as he stepped out of the cave, and was about to start towards towards the woodland clearing, when something stopped him. Something about that cave... Lewa was already 'wind-flying' away, playing tag with the breeze and turning loops as he went. “'Playing'? Me? You're one to talk!” Onua muttered good-naturedly. He turned back to the cave. There was something... off... that he was missing; something he was overlooking. He peered into the darkness, searching for anything out of place. Everything was just as it had been. It was definitely a natural cave, so he ruled that out. He stepped back into the shadowy cave, listening...


Onua winced at the sudden shout behind him. “GAH!!! Makuta's eyes, Lewa, don't do that! I was trying to—”

“...Get distracted?” asked Lewa dryly. “True-sorry for the earache, but if we don't quick-rush, we'll be late.”

“Since when did you become responsible?”

Lewa shrugged. “I didn't.” he said candidly. “I just decided that it was best not to keep 'The Mastah of Faaiyaaah' waiting. It seems like a sorry-bad idea to have an impatient Tahu.” he added sagely.

“There's something up with this cave. Or something in it. I thought maybe I heard something.”

Lewa peered into the blackness. “I don't see anything. Probably just a small Rahi-bug out for a quick-stroll.”

Lewa leaped back up into the air, and with a maniacal shout of “Wind-fly!”, he was gone. With a shrug, Onua followed him, considering if it would be worth trying to get back at his brother for that. He lept off the sheer drop and landed heavily far below. He recovered himself, decided not to do that again, and continued after the Toa of Jungle.

Several minutes passed. Then, the hand that had been hiding the tell-tale glow of a golden heartlight dropped away, and two amber-brown eyes opened, squinting at the sunlight that they had not seen in so long. The dusky brown cloak that had concealed its owner billowed slightly as a slight breeze brushed the thick coating of dust away.

The dull gray and brown figure slowly got to its feet, muttering to itself to try and familiarize itself with the concept of speech again. The being stepped closer to the edge of the mouth of the cave, and peered out, eyes narrowed against the harsh light. There was nothing but the plain, gray-brown stone of the mountain, leading to a large expanse of forest, reaching almost as far as the beach in the distance.

The figure walked unsteadily to the edge of the rocky ledge and, slipping down the edge, began to allow itself to drop down a few meters at a time, toward the ground far below. It was slow going, not to mention all but impossible to accomplish unless one possessed intense focus.

Several minutes later, the being had made its way down to the greenery and gently laid its hand on a frond of fern. Instantly, green tinted tendrils of energy were drawn out of the plant, and were absorbed by the former prisoner.

Color and shine returned to the armor that, moments before, had been dull and gray. The figure stepped back in satisfaction, feeling refreshed as the energy of the plant life coursed through it; the fern out of which the energy had come was unharmed. The being looked at its hand, as though seeing it for the first time. Then the hand quietly dropped to the side. Something tugged at the back of the strangers mind insistently. What now...?

Suddenly, it stood up straight, purpose shining through amber eyes and heartlight. It remembered what had happened. It clasped the brown cloak around itself and pulled the cowl up, concealing the face of the strange new.... or old.... being. The cape flared, the last of the dust blowing away.

It breathed a word, knowing what must be done. For the first time in over ten years, it smiled.


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