So taking a little detour from the Toa’s origins, here’s a little story of how the Brotherhood of Makuta transform into Rahkshi. Now, this is also a sequel to Dichotomy, so I suggest reading that first for some better context.
Iruini sits in front of a small fire, his cloak wrapped tightly around him like a black cocoon. His hands poke out of the black clothing holding a bowl of… well, something to eat, according to Kualus.
Regardless of whether or not it was edible, he stirs his broth sheepishly. He lazily gazes at the flickering flames, letting the little warmth it provides seep through him.
It was cold inside the Ihuian cave, with the snowstorm faintly howling at the entrance. The hole in the mountain provided shelter, but was not much better than outside. It was still icy and wet, with the bottom of his cloak now damp and making him shiver.
And the pain made it worse.
The wound in his thigh did not let up since he fled Kanae; it stung every time he walked and oozed some strange green pus. It had a faint smell of ammonia and sulfur, and it was driving him insane.
It’s HER fault.
Iruini instinctively tightens the grip on his spoon.
He should have known better. He should have realized that she was like the rest of the trash inhabiting his old homeland. She was so stuck on wanting a “good life” yet she’d complain about doing some hard work for some food, money and shelter.
He doesn’t need to look to the side to see the fracture on his mask’s right eyehole.
She only cared about herself, she only cared about how SHE felt.
Iruini places the bowl on the floor and gets up. A sharp sensation shoots up his leg, but he grits his teeth and limps over to the cave entrance.
Norik stands at the maw of the cave, watching the swirling flurries amidst the darkness of the night sky. His hands are behind his back; he watches the blizzard with a sense of authority, as if he had some sort of control over it.
“Where’s our next destination?” Iruini asks. He slightly coughs.
Norik doesn’t turn around.
“We are gathering our last member, Bomonga, near the gates of Mangaia. From there, we will head to our final destination.”
“The temple ruins?”
Norik nods, “Indeed; the resting place of Our Master.”
Iruini idly massages his throbbing leg, “And this… Bomonga, has the key to awakening him?”
Norik turns around, his violet eyes studying the Kanae matoran.
“You ask questions you already know answers to, Iruini. Either you’re suffering from short-term memory loss-”
Norik takes a step closer.
“-or something else is on your mind.”
Iruini looks down, clenching his fists.
“I feel … ashamed. I feel betrayed. I feel… pain.”
Norik raises his eyebrows with realization.
“Ahh. The girl.”
The Mangaian places his hand on Iruini’s shoulder.
“I know you cared about her, in a way more than just friendship. And these scars- both mental and physical- will be with you for a while.”
His grip tightens.
“But you must not let this disturb your task, my brother. We have a duty to serve to Makuta, and we mustn’t let our own turmoil take precedence over the resurrection of The Overseer. Do you understand?”
Iruini looks up at the violet eyes, then nods. Norik releases his grip, and walks past him.
“Remember, Iruini; the road to the greater good is often littered with sacrifice, but we must endure them to reach our destiny.”
His footsteps fade away.
Iruini is silent, gazing out into the churning abyss.
It doesn’t hurt as much anymore.
It’s a couple of weeks later. The six matoran slowly climb the decrepit steps of the forgotten temple. The smoke of the nearby active volcanoes creates an overcast above them, with a soft drizzle of ash descending from the sky. Iruini holds a cloth over his mouth as he trudges up the steps. While he forced himself to be stronger than the pain, his leg had begun to fail him throughout the past week. The wound had actually grown bigger, the putrid smell continuing to plague him. Plus, Kualus often had to stay by the Kanaen in case his leg gave out. But he was not the only one experiencing difficulties. Gaaki had started to develop breathing problems, along with it becoming hard to grasp onto things with her hands. He watches as she drags her feet up the steps. Iruini hears a _clink_ behind him. It’s Pouks again, he’s sure. The merchant from Matora had been scratching at his arms any chance he could. He complained it always itched, and no amount of ointments and creams could still his urges. Iruini takes a look back. This time, it appears Pouks had torn a piece of his plating off on his left hand. Yet the matoran seems unfazed; if anything, he looks finally content. The wound is not as messy as Iruini thought it would be, but the removed plating reveals strange, rugged skin. The Kanae matoran resumes looking forward, slightly disturbed at the unusual occurrence. He looks ahead at Norik. Was his plating always a dull pink color? Iruini could have sworn it was more red a few days before. And his eyes… As Norik reaches the top of the stairs and turns back to his companions, the bright purple eyes shine through the overcast of gray ash. Iruini couldn’t stare at them too long; looking at the Mangaian’s eyes always caused something inside him to freeze up. “The prison lies ahead of us. Bomonga, bring forth the Mask.” The Tiroan shuffles forward, as if the knapsack he carried was too much for his fragile frame. He holds it out to Norik. Norik seizes it and walks towards the entrance to the ruined temple. The rest of the members follow behind him. The interior of the temple is overgrown by dried moss, some ash covering the floor; however, the beautiful and intricate carvings littered on the walls could still be made out. Going through an archway, they are presented with large cathedral-like hall. Only a few pillars remain to hold up the broken sections of the ceiling. Along the sides of the walls are statues depicting multiple figures. One was like a monk; his robes swaying around him with his hand gently caressing a rusted metal sphere. Another was like a large knight; his stone eyes glared with authority, and his massive sword was held out to protect the metal sphere before him. The last one… Well, Iruini wasn’t too sure about the last one. It was a figure standing in a swirling whirlpool- or, wait, maybe those were vines? Whatever they were, the tendrils surrounded the being like branches of a tree, each one holding a silver orb. In the being’s clawed hands was the same metal sphere; yet his claws dug into the metal. “This place is... strange,” Iruini says. **“Shut it.”** Yep. It appears the anger issues had not been settled within Kualus. Though, with the almost bear-like growl emitting from the large Ihuian’s throat, Iruini wasn’t going to question it. As they approach the end of the large hall, they are greeted with the presence of a large ornate carving of many rahi beasts, with two of the three beings from before within them. The third is broken, it’s stone remains scattered upon the floor. Behind the statues on the wall are massive bronze pipes that reach to the ceiling, with some plant-growth emerging from the slits near the bottom. Beneath the statues and the organ, there is a small corridor that descends into darkness. The members eye it carefully, as they see light bend in various ways around it. “It is here,” says Norik. He looks down at the strange mask in his hands, which also begins to warp reality around itself. “We must hurry.” Norik quickly walks into the dark corridor, with the rest of the Brotherhood following shortly after. They weave through the ever-tightening stairway, ducking their heads under broken rocks and old wooden frames. Iruini hears Gaaki panting in front of him. “You ok, sister?” he asks. Gaaki doesn’t pause, “I’m fine. Our task will be done soon.” The Brotherhood emerges into circular room, large holes in the ceiling and the floor. The hole above them reaches to the outside, where they can see the ash cloud lingering. The one on the floor in front of them is completely dark, as if it were a bottomless pit. The earth around it is contorted, stretching and bending into the blackness. Pouks idly scratches his arms, “That’s freaky.” Norik peers into the darkness, “The Overseer, subjected to such cruel imprisonment. But, we will release him from his chains so he can bring the island back to glory!” The members surround the hole. Norik holds out the mask, with each member grabbing a side. Iruini, merely grabbing the artifact, feels the raw energy within. He can’t help but smirk; he wished he could see the sorry look on the idiots back in Kanae when they see what the Brotherhood had accomplished. _Especially her._ _If she were still alive._ The mask begins to glow to a bright white color. “MAKUTA!” shouts Norik, “We, your loyal servants and carriers of your will, have come to release you from your prison!” The members roar, “Hail Makuta!” “We, the Brotherhood, urge you to become the Overseer of the world once more! Guide us and shape our world!” The mask shakes, bolts of energy buzzing around it. “Hail Makuta!” Norik laughs, “Let this island be your throne forever, a mantle upon you will orchestrate your-” The mask explodes. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Iruini slowly begins to open his eyes. Everything's a blur, gray blobs here and there with some colored shapes mixed in. He blinks slowly as his eyesight creeps back to normalcy. Lying on the floor, he struggles to think. _What… happened?_ He pushes himself up and looks around. As his vision begins to clear, he begins to make out things in the room; rocky debris floating in the air, dust clouds suspended in movement. And the hole, the dark prison; unaffected, it seems. The earth still bends into the pitch black maw, and no Makuta in sight. He looks down, defeated. Then, he sees it. His hands... _were not his hands._ Iruini stares at the sharp pointed fingers, the lime green tips dripping with an acidic liquid. His eyes slowly trail up his arm, which was more… scaled, than he remembered.. Iruini’s breathing get faster and faster, his mind racing. The sounds of moving rocks ceases his thoughts. He turns to see a huge black being emerge from the ruins, its horns breaking apart the floating rocks around it. Its sharp yellow eyes bear down upon Iruini, and it gives a roar. Iruini tries to move back- But suddenly the bull-like monster stops, going quiet. It looks down at itself with a few whines, each one getting more strained as it looked over his body. It seems… confused. Concerned. As if... “...Bomonga? Is… is that you?” Iruini asks. Or rather, it’s what he _wanted_ to ask. But what comes out of his mouth is some sort of hissing noise, with clicks at different intervals. Iruini freezes. _Why can’t I speak?!_ He feels his face; to his horror, it has no resemblance to his mask. It is slightly longer, curving to the back of his skull. His mouth is no longer a normal mouth; it is skeletal, with his bottom jaw much larger with serrated teeth. Iruini tries to stand up, but he topples to the floor. He’s afraid to look down but… _Just do it. Just do it. Just do it. Just do it._ He slowly peers down at his legs. But there are no longer legs. Only a long, winding tail. Iruini screeches in fear; a piercing sound that is equivalent to glass shattering. More debris is pushed aside as the other Brotherhood members dig themselves out of the ruins. There is a large white beast, his fur bristling with agitation, blue eyes like knives. _Kualus._ There is a blue blob, thin tendrils writhing about as the being at its center tries to stand upright. _Gaaki._ A brown armored creatures skitters out, something akin to a Nui Jaga but with sharper claws and a strange stinger tail. _Pouks._ Kualus roars, and runs at a white spider in the corner of the room. His fur is spiked, his back spines raised in anger. He reaches at the spider-being- A sharp, cold thought reaches Iruini’s mind, almost as if someone drove an icicle into his head. **_C E A S E_** Kualus reels backwards, terrified. The other matoran- or rather, monsters- also edge themselves away from the pale spider. **_I am. Norik._** Iruini’s eyes widen. **_We have. Failed. We have. Changed._** Norik’s purple eyes scan the room. He taps his mask; a skull resting between his shoulders. **_We speak. Not through. Tongue. But through. Mask._** Iruini tries to get into an upright position, curling his snake-like body beneath him. _Through mask? What does that mean?_ Slowly, another voice enters Iruini’s mind. It is soft, more feminine. “What… has happened to us?” asks Gaaki. **_The Mask. Of Time. It has. Shattered._** Norik is unusually calm. Iruini tries to speak, “We… didn’t…. Free…?” A shout echoes through his mind. Kualus is growling with fury. **“NO! FAILED!”** Norik casts a cold glance at the ice monster. Exhaling roughly, Kualus averts his gaze. The pale spider crawls to the center of the Brotherhood members. **_The mask. Is still. Out there. The pieces. Can still. Be recovered._** He gestures to the room, where the rocks and dirt are suspended in space. **_Time has. Stopped. Easier for. Us to. Find the. Mask fragments._** Iruini tries to slither to Norik, “But how… are we going to… fix ourselves?” Norik turns to the Kanae snake and places his claw on his shoulder. **_Sacrifice. For. Destiny._** Norik releases his grip and points to the exit. **_Make haste._** The Brotherhood members crawl, skitter and writhe to the exit. Iruini sits there for a moment, looking down to the floor. There is a small puddle of water in front of him. _“Remember, Iruini; the road to the greater good is often littered with sacrifice…”_ A green, reptilian skull stares back at him with red eyes. There is a scar over his left eye. _“...but we must endure them to reach our destiny.”_ Iruini attempts a laugh, but it comes out as a horrible wheezing noise. He then turns and follows his brothers and sister up the dark staircase. _It doesn’t hurt as much anymore._ And with the beasts of Makuta separating into different directions, the island is absolutely quiet; a silent prelude of the terrors to come. The Rahkshi are on the hunt. ^^^^^^^^^ While the [Mask of Monsters](http://board.ttvchannel.com/t/rahkshi-concept-art-mask-of-monsters/37890) pitch has been in discussion, I imagined that the transformation into Rahkshi was gradual until the Mask of Time triggers the final transformation. I was thinking how beast transformations happen in _Bloodborne;_ it's gradually becoming more and more animalistic until something initiates the change into beasts. Anyway, hope you enjoyed. I'm going to be taking break from stories so I can focus on the Brickonicle Soundtrack (yeah that's still a thing); but once I get back to it, I'll resume with Tahu. _"Don't touch that dial now, we're just getting started."_ **-DarkMaestro**