Knight of Nights: Knoxus' Story: Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

- 40th Dimension, 61st Timeline
- Matoran Universe – Daxia
- 1,000 years after the Great Cataclysm

Solunus led Knoxus across the field to his organization’s headquarters. The closer they got to the fortress, the more it loomed over them. Surrounding it on all sides was a deep moat that was at least 50 feet wide. The water rushing through it looked fast enough to sweep you away instantly if you were dumb enough to take a dip. Spanning the moat was a wide stone bridge which was studded with small, decorative pillars, and standing at the end of the bridge was a strange, humanoid figure, who appeared to be guarding the fortress’ front gate.

He looked almost Toa-like, but his body seemed more organic than mechanical, not to mention the moss and greenery growing on his tan colored armor. His striking blue eyes opened and locked on to Knoxus as they approached.

“Halt! State your name and purpose, outsider.” The hulking gatekeeper said.

Solunus waved to the guard. “This is Knoxus, the mistress has requested to speak with him at once, he’s our very important guest.”

The gatekeeper examined Knoxus from head to toe, eyes lingering on his infected left side. Knoxus wasn’t sure whether he should feel embarrassed or concerned. After an awkward bit of silence, the gatekeeper spoke again.

“Very well, you may pass. But we’ll be keeping an eye on you.” The gatekeeper stepped aside, and the gate behind him slid open, revealing an open courtyard with a large stone tower in the center. Knoxus followed Solunus through, past a number of various beings and Toa who all gave him the same suspicious look.

“Manners seem to be hard to come by around here.” Knoxus said under his breath.

“Don’t mind them. They haven’t seen anything quite like you before. Though, you’re hardly the strangest thing to walk through that gate.” Solunus said over his shoulder.

Gee, thanks. Knoxus thought.

In no time, the two had made it to the largest central tower of the fortress. Looking at it from the ground, the tower appeared to stretch endlessly into the sky – so much so that clouds were brushing harmlessly against its peak. Knoxus took a step toward the front door, but Solunus held his hand up.

“We’re a little early, so hold on a sec. The mistress is currently in a meeting.”

“She sounds like a busy person. Does she really need to meet with every new recruit that comes in?” Knoxus asked.

“No, not at all. The other masters handle most of the recruiting. However, you’re an exception. She wants to speak to you personally.”

Knoxus gulped. It was only yesterday he became more than just another insignificant Matoran. Whoever was in charge of this organization was obviously the real deal, but he wasn’t sure he liked being made the center of attention.

Suddenly, Solunus jumped up as if he had just heard a loud noise. He scurried over to the door and pulled it open without a word. Knoxus was suddenly faced with a massive chamber lined with thick stone pillars. Every inch of the chamber walls were covered in gear mechanisms and hatches that no doubt held some nasty surprises behind them. At the end of the chamber was an elevated area, in the center of which was a modest stone throne. Confidently occupying it was a Toa of Water who, despite her somewhat frail appearance, looked like she’d seen numerous battles.

The previous visitor was still there, kneeling in the center of the chamber facing the Toa. Solunus silently but frantically motioned to Knoxus to walk inside. He crept his way toward the center of the chamber, wary of the mechanisms all around him. As he approached, the previous guest stood and faced Knoxus, then began walking toward the exit. He was a hulking being, and at least twice his height. His entire body was adorned in both gold and purple armor, and he wore a Kanohi Olmak. His bright red eyes tracked Knoxus as he made his way out of the chamber.

Knoxus heard an unusual sound as the gigantic being passed him. Startled, he whirled around, only to realize that the other being had vanished into thin air. Knoxus thought that such a large being disappearing like that was just unnatural, but he suppressed his panic. He continued walking until finally coming to a stop in front of the Toa of Water’s throne.

She abruptly began speaking. “Long have we waited for your arrival. Welcome to the Order of Mata Nui.”

Yeah, I feel so welcome. Knoxus thought. Wait, did she say Mata Nui?

Suddenly, a side door to the chamber opened, and two more beings entered their midst. One was a large, bulky Toa wearing black and silver armor and a horned mask, and the other was a thin but towering being whom Knoxus recognized as a native of the island of Visorak. They both approached the Toa of Water, gave a slight bow and salute, then turned to face Knoxus.

“Uh, thank you…” Knoxus said, quivering.

“There’s much we have to discuss, but first, an introduction is in order.” The Toa of Water continued. “I am Toa Helryx. I am the founder and leader of this organization, as well as the first Toa to have ever been created. These two are my subordinates, Toa Regron, and Tobduk.” The two beings nodded as their names were spoken.

Knoxus spoke up, “Nice to meet you, I’m-”

“Knoxus. We know.” Tobduk interrupted, sounding annoyed. Knoxus had to grit his teeth to prevent himself from snapping back.

Helryx continued, “Destiny has brought you here to us, Knoxus. We know all about your past and ever-present issues. We can offer you help, if you choose to help us in return.”

"Oh? And what issues are you referring to?” Knoxus replied.

Helryx folded her hands in front of her, “We know you’ve had several… run-ins with The Brotherhood of Makuta.”

Knoxus looked down at the shadow infection covering the left side of his body. The Brotherhood had indeed been a thorn in his side – even more literally so now – ever since that fateful day on Stelt. He looked back up at Helryx, “You’re right about that. But what exactly do you want with me?”

“The Order has a need for agents with unique abilities and skills. As one of the few remaining Matoran of Iron, you were already on our radar. However, your incident with the shadow leeches has left you in a very… opportunistic state. Perhaps you’ve figured that out already? You can manipulate both of the primary elements that make up a Makuta’s body at once. You are the perfect counter to the Brotherhood’s forces.”

Knoxus hadn’t yet thought about the implications of being half infected with shadow. Helryx was right. It’s almost like he was made to fight Makuta. Was this really his destiny the whole time?

“I… I guess so.” Knoxus said.

“The Order has been watching the Brotherhood’s every move for some time. As you’ve seen, their plans have long since been in motion. They wish to overthrow the Great Spirit Mata Nui once and for all. Soon, the Order will be coming out of hiding, thus going to war with the Brotherhood. That’s why we need you. Your destiny has led you to this moment. We’ve already made our choice bringing you here. But the final say is yours. Will you help us bring an end to the Brotherhood’s tyranny?”

“Yeah, I know the Brotherhood is bad, but that’s not much of a reason to fight for you. What if I say no?” Knoxus said. He noticed Tobduk reach for a dagger on his hip, but Helryx held her hand up to him.

“What is it you want?” Helryx said, with a slight whimsical tone.

Knoxus thought for a second. What DID he want? His entire life, he’d been knocked around, again and again. Never once having a choice in the matter. From Stelt, to the Palanquin, to Karda Nui, all he ever tried to do was his duty. Now here he was, at a crossroads. If he turned down the Order of Mata Nui’s offer, they might just kill him just to keep him quiet. But if he joined them, he’d no doubt be trained to fight and use his new powers as well as those other frightening beings he’d passed on his way in. And who was it he’d be facing on behalf of the Order?

Then it hit him – the Makuta. They’d been behind every major traumatic event in his life up to this point. His Fe-Matoran brothers were murdered whilst in hiding from the Brotherhood. As well as that, Muras and her crew died in the same cataclysmic event that caused the Fall in Karda Nui, and his Av-Matoran friends were now pinned down by the same group of Makuta who took credit for it. Yes, Knoxus knew exactly what he wanted. He kneeled to Helryx, mimicking the Order’s salute.

“Revenge.” Knoxus looked Helryx straight in the eyes. “I want to bring the Brotherhood to its knees. And after they’ve fallen, I want to be rid of the mark they left on me.”

Helryx looked at Tobduk, who nodded back. “We agree to these terms. We will train you to use your powers, and once the Brotherhood is destroyed, we will look into whatever means possible to cure you of your shadow infection. Rise, Agent of Mata Nui.”

Knoxus stood up, feeling somewhat empowered. Tobduk took a step forward. “You will be inducted into the assassin division of the Order, led by me. From here on, you will obey all orders from we, your superiors, and you are to refer to us as Master Tobduk, Master Regron, and Mistress Helryx, respectively. Your training begins tomorrow, and you will remain in training until we believe you are ready to be sent on your first mission. Until then, follow Solunus to receive your orientation.”

“Yes, Master Tobduk.” Knoxus responded. Tobduk turned on his heel back toward the other leaders of the Order, and they began whispering to each other. Knoxus felt a tug on his arm and looked down. Solunus had appeared next to him and was motioning him toward the side door that the other masters had come through.

Solunus walked Knoxus out of the throne room into a long hallway branching out from it. The hallway was lined on either side by dozens of small rooms. Solunus ushered Knoxus into one of the side rooms and closed the door behind them. The room was sparsely furnished with several tables, chairs, and metal crates. Solunus pulled a small cart from the corner and loaded a crate onto it.

“Go ahead and load up any tools and weapons you have, and I’ll send them down to be evaluated.” Solunus said in a somewhat monotone voice. Knoxus dropped the makeshift blade that was once one of Makuta Mutran’s wings into the crate. Then, he went to remove his gauntlets, but hesitated. This was the first time he’d tried taking them off in his Toa form.

Solunus apparently lost his patience and went to pull the gauntlets off himself. After a little fiddling, his right arm’s gauntlet came right off. But the gauntlet on his infected left arm seemed stuck. Solunus pulled as hard as he could on the gauntlet, and Knoxus pulled against his strength. Finally, the gauntlet came loose, and Solunus fell backwards with a thud. Knoxus felt a void where the gauntlets once were, as they had almost felt like a part of his body at this point.

“Having fun back here, boss?” A low voice resounded from the corner of the room. Knoxus and Solunus spun around to see the source of the voice. Standing in the corner of the room next to an open window was a tall, lanky, black and white armored Toa, who was wearing a wide brimmed hat atop his mask. Leaning against the wall next to him was a staff which had a large ornamental top on it. Curiously, the Toa had set the staff upside-down with the top end pointing toward the floor.

“Sneaking around HQ again I see?” Solunus said with a teasing tone to his voice. “Is Ayhax having you spy on the recruits now, Mars?”

Mars tipped his hat toward Solunus. “Nah, I’m actually resting up for a recovery op. All the toppies are going out on a big mission next week.”

Knoxus shot a confused look at Solunus. He met the look with a small smile.

“Toppies are what Mars likes to call the top agents of each division. Mars is our top spy.”

“The best of the bunch. Say, you got put in the assassin division, right? That’s rough. Welcome to the Order, boss. Hope ya don’t mind killin’.”

Mars held out a hand to Knoxus, who hesitantly shook it. Knoxus assumed that Mars was joking, but the look on his face told a different story. He was dead serious.

“If you don’t mind me asking, who exactly does the Order assassinate?” Knoxus asked, “It’s just Makuta, right?”

Mars rolled his eyes. Solunus looked down.

“Makuta, for the most part. But make sure no Matoran see ya doin’ it. Otherwise it won’t just be the Brotherhood’s blood on your hands.”

Knoxus gulped. “The Order kills Matoran!?”

“And whoever else stands in the way of the infallible will of Mata Nui! Gotta keep the Order a secret, no matter what. Ya know that code of ethics the Toa-Heroes of our time like to hold up? Yeah, it doesn’t apply to us. But it still goes against everythin’ being a Toa stands for. If I were you, I would’ve walked right out that door the second anyone mentioned becoming an assassi-”

“Alright, Mars!” Solunus interrupted. “Enough scaring the newbie, I’m sure you have better things to do, so why don’t you leave Knoxus and I alone for a bit to complete his orientation?”

Knoxus couldn’t help but feel sick to his stomach. Had he made a mistake by joining the Order? He wanted revenge on the Makuta, but was that worth the risk of becoming a ruthless killer?

“Yeah… better things to do…” Mars grabbed his staff and turned towards the window. “Sorry, boss. I got… a bit carried away. I’ll leave ya to it.” He said under his breath.

Without waiting for a response, Mars jumped out the window. Knoxus was worried for a second, until he saw Mars flying into the distance sitting atop the staff, which clearly functioned as a means of aerial transportation.

After a few seconds of silence, Solunus spoke up. “Yeah, that was Mars. He’s… quite the character.” Solunus motioned for Knoxus to follow as he pushed the cart out of the room. They proceeded further down the hallway until they came to a small lift. They rode the lift downwards, and it was taking an unusually long time to reach their destination. Just how expansive was this organization’s headquarters?

The lift finally came to a stop, and Knoxus and Solunus stepped off. The area below ground seemed much higher tech than the rooms and hallways of the fortress on the surface. Solunus loaded the metal crate onto a conveyor belt running along on the edge of the hallway, allowing it to take the crate away. Knoxus got an urge to follow it, but Solunus held out his hand.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get your things back. This level’s my workshop. Nothing goes missing around here without me noticing. This way please.” Solunus began leading Knoxus in the opposite direction the crate was moving. They proceeded down the hallway until it ended at an arched doorway. On the other side was a cylindrical shaft which extended vertically in both directions, seemingly endlessly. A platform led into the center of the shaft, at the end of which was some sort of control panel. Several rails lined the shaft vertically, and attached to them were hundreds of dome shaped structures.

“This is our Suva room.” Solunus said. “Every Toa that works for the Order has a Suva assigned to them to store their excess Kanohi Masks. In fact, pretty much every Kanohi in the Orders’ arsenal resides here, waiting to be remotely called upon by our agents. Let’s get yours set up.” Solunus walked up to the control panel and pressed a few buttons. Suddenly, every one of the dome-shaped objects started clattering along the rail, faster and faster until one came to a stop directly in front of them. Solunus spoke up, “An empty Suva, ready for imprinting. Just place your hand on it, and it’ll do the rest.”

Knoxus did as Solunus instructed, and placed his hand on the smooth, circular panel at the center of the Suva. The panel began to glow, and Knoxus felt its energy radiate up his arm, and into his mind. He felt like he could see inside the Suva, even when his eyes were closed. The panel slowly stopped glowing, and Knoxus felt his mind return to normal.

“Huh, interesting.” Solunus mumbled.

“What?” Knoxus asked, feeling somewhat concerned.

“Oh, it’s just… I didn’t fully expect it to work. That is, with your… condition and all. But that’s a good thing! It accepted you fully.” Solunus responded with an uneasy tone. Knoxus rolled his eyes. “Anyway, you should now be able to store any Kanohi you obtain here. However, don’t go and start mask collecting on the Order’s time. If you find you need a new mask power, the Order can add it to your Suva within a few moment’s notice.”

Solunus pressed another button on the control panel, and Knoxus’ Suva was whisked away along the rail, out of sight. As they made their way out of the Suva room and down the hallway, Solunus began rambling once again, “So, whadaya think? Cool huh? That room was one of my designs. You should’ve seen this fortress before I came along. It’s like the place was built by Rahi. There were absolutely no accommodations for Toa, either! Never send an ex-Hand of Artakha agent to do a Matoran’s work, I always say!”

Knoxus had no idea what Artakha’s hand had to do with anything, but he chose to keep quiet as the chatty Matoran led him further down the hallway.

After a brief walk, the pair arrived at Solunus’ workshop. The room was packed to bursting with machines of every nature, and there was barely a square foot of the room that wasn’t covered in some scraps of loose parts and other dangerous-looking materials. At the side of the room, a black and yellow armored Toa was hunched over a table, fervently tinkering with some kind of weapon.

“Ah, Raxus, you’re still here. Figure it out yet?” Solunus called out from across the room. The yellow Toa spun around and smiled at Solunus.

“Sure did. I just had to re-forge the ported barrels out of a different protosteel alloy. Now they shouldn’t melt away anymore!” Raxus gave Knoxus a once-over. “Who’s this? A new recruit?”

“Yes, this is Knoxus, our newest assassin. He’s here for equipment evaluation.”

“I see!” Raxus walked up to Knoxus and grabbed his hand, shaking it vigorously. “I’m Raxus, Toa of Plasma, and the Order’s top soldier. What kind of Toa are you?”

“I’m a Toa of Iron. Well, mostly.” Knoxus replied awkwardly.

Raxus reached over and pulled a massive weapon off the table he was working at. “And what kind of weapon are you looking for? A pistol? Rifle? Or perhaps a shotgun, like mine?” he said, loudly cocking the weapon.

“Um… I’m actually not very interested in guns.” Mumbled Knoxus.

A slight look of disappointment washed over Raxus’ face. “Oh, what a shame. Guns that shoot metal are boring anyways. You’d probably be most suited for a blade then, given your new profession.”

The talk of blades reminded Knoxus of his gear. He was about to ask Solunus what happened to it, but noticed the Matoran was already bringing it over to him.

“Here we are. Your freshly tuned Toa-tools! Your sword got our usual tune-up: a reinforcing re-forge and molecular protodite cutting agent. Your gauntlets were a bit tricky, but I threw in some personal modifications. I upgraded the jet pulsars to be more powerful and efficient. They should be strong enough to allow you to fly in your new Toa form. Their power is adjusted by how far they fold outwards. The folding mechanism also allows them to act as miniature shields if needed. Here, try them on!”

Knoxus took the sword and upgraded gauntlets from Solunus and slotted them onto his arms. They snapped into place perfectly. With a slight flex of his hand, the outer plating of the gauntlets folded outwards and back again, just as Solunus described. He was excited to try them out, but he didn’t want to risk having an open flame in Solunus’ workshop. Who knew what kind of flammable materials might be stacked in a corner somewhere?

“Alright, now for the best part.” Solunus said, brandishing a smile on his face. “Armor evaluation and upgrading. This way please.” Solunus led Knoxus to the back of his workshop. In front of them was a cylindrical machine with a hatched doorway, which was opened to reveal an interior lined with small spherical nodes. “Step into this chamber please.”

“Is this thing safe? You remember what I said earlier about not wanting to be taken apart, right?” Knoxus asked.

Solunus chuckled. “Oh, don’t worry. This machine doesn’t remove anything you’re gonna miss.”

“Right…” Knoxus said, unsure of what Solunus meant.

Knoxus stepped into the chamber. Outside, Solunus flipped out a control panel from the side of the machine. Suddenly, several of the spherical nodes inside opened, scanning Knoxus from head to toe with beams of light. After a few seconds of this, multiple small, mechanical arms mounted with various different devices protruded from the rest of the nodes.

“You might want to hold still for this part.” Solunus warned. Knoxus stiffened up, expecting the worst. The small, needle-headed arms began picking away at every square inch of his armor, spraying material into gaps, grafting in various bits of machinery, trimming off any excess material left behind, and who knows what else. The process was quite painful, as if the machine wasn’t intended to be used on living things. More often than not, a laser cutter would come extremely close to his organic tissues, leaving the nearby mechanics smoldering hot.

Knoxus also noticed that no matter what changes were made to his armor, the material added to his left side would darken to the same ebon-black shade as the surrounding area. He’d apparently be unable to cover up his shadow infection, whether he wanted to or not.

“Armor evaluation process complete.” Solunus stated as the machine whirred down. “Analysis: 26 weak points reinforced, 64 ounces of material added, and 36 ounces of material extracted. Overall armor effectiveness rating: 96%”

“This thing did all that?” Knoxus asked, surprised.

“I gave you our typical armor treatment for the Order’s Toa of Iron. It adds a carbon-protosteel lattice to the inner structure of your armor to reinforce it against crushing blows, while also filling it with microscopic holes – allowing you to use your armor as a reservoir for excess metal. You’ll be able to absorb and extract metal from it without drastically altering its shape.”

It took a second for Knoxus to understand what he had just said. “So… My armor is like a metal sponge?”

“Yes… like a metal sponge.” Solunus confirmed. Knoxus heard Raxus chuckle from the back of the workshop.

“So, what now?” Knoxus asked, taking a step out of the machine. Solunus scampered to stop him.

“Just one more thing.” Solunus said. He rushed back over to the control panel and hit a few more buttons. A single, needle tipped arm extended from the center of the machine, which proceeded to jab itself straight into the back of Knoxus’ head suddenly, before retracting away.

“Ow! What was that for…?” Knoxus groaned, suddenly feeling lightheaded. A second later, he passed out.

When Knoxus awoke hours later, he was in a small, plainly furnished room. He found himself lying on a simple, padded bunk which was attached to the wall. Other than the few spartan furnishings dotted around, the room was devoid of any signs of use. A small slit window ran along the wall above the bunk. Judging by the daylight, it was around mid-afternoon.

Hey, you. You’re finally awake. A voice said from inside Knoxus’ mind. He jumped out of the bunk with a shout, looking around frantically. The voice he heard sounded like Solunus, but the little tinkerer was nowhere to be found.

Whoa! Relax, it’s me! Solunus, from earlier. The voice echoed from nowhere once more.

“Where are you!?” Knoxus yelled.

Me? Erm, well I’m back at the workshop. You, however, are in your new dormitory! It should have all the furnishings you need, and you’re welcome to decorate it as you see fit. But I’m guessing you’re wondering why you can hear me from inside your head right now.

“Yeah, that’s something I’d like to know.” Knoxus said with an annoyed tone.

That last probe did a number on ya. Usually recruits stay conscious long enough for me to explain, but you went out like a light. I was just installing your mental shielding. Every Order member has it. It protects your mind from illusions, as well as any kind of mental attack.

“I feel like I’m being mentally attacked right now!” Knoxus said aloud once more.

I can explain that too. In addition to the protection, your mind is also linked to the Order’s neural network. While you’re within a certain range of the headquarters, you can mentally communicate with any other Order member. Go on, try it! It’s kind of like thinking, but just… think AT me instead.

Knoxus’ mind was whirling. He had always had his thoughts to retreat to, but now Solunus was talking directly into his mind like it was nothing at all. He shook his head. If this is what he had to do to become an Order member, he’d just have to get used to it. Reluctantly, he tried sending a message to Solunus.

“Get… out… of my… head!” Knoxus growled.

Okay, not bad. But it came through a bit slow. Also, I think you left in something about punching me… I hope you didn’t mean that.

Knoxus tried thinking harder, without talking. Get out… of… my head!

There we go, that was a little better, now try and get it all out at once.


There we go! Clear as day. Well, I think you’ve probably had a long day. Feel free to take a look around. But be warned, Tobduk’s gonna want you up bright and early for training tomorrow, so you should probably get some rest. Have a good night! Solunus’ voice finally released its stranglehold on Knoxus’ mind. He sent a few extra ‘stay out of my heads’ for good measure. Thankfully, there was no response.

After realizing he had been absent-mindedly staring at the wall during that whole conversation, he decided to take a look around. He opened the door of his dormitory and peeked outside. The room opened into a wide hallway, which had several doorways to an outdoor balcony on the opposite wall. His room was number 65 – one of many similarly marked rooms along the wide corridor. Just as he was noticing there was no one else in the hallway, a familiar black and white armored Toa swooped in from the balcony, riding atop his staff.

Knoxus debated rushing back into his room and shutting the door without a word, but it was already too late. Mars had noticed he was being watched.

“Knoxus?” Mars said, “Is that you?”

With nothing else better to say, Knoxus let out a pitiful ‘Hey.

“Just… ‘hey’?” Mars responded. “No ‘wow, Mars! Turns out we’re neighbors!’ or anything?”

“Uh, no. Just hey is fine.” Knoxus said with a nervous smile.

“Huh.” Mars stared at Knoxus for a second, then smiled. “You know? I think we’ll get along just fine.” He then swung the door of room 62 open and disappeared inside.

Knoxus sighed with relief. Mars’ first impression initially made him nervous, but he turned out to be a lot less serious than he originally thought. Following Mars’ lead, he turned in for the night.

The next morning, Knoxus woke up as soon as the first morning light shone through his window. He wasn’t sure when Master Tobduk wanted to meet him, so he stood at attention outside his dorm and waited there, motionless, until he received some form of instruction.

Tobduk’s voice suddenly echoed into Knoxus’ mind. Knoxus. Meet me in the courtyard for training. You have five minutes.

Yes… Master Tobduk! Knoxus replied as best he could.

Looks like we’ll need to work on your mental aptitude. Can’t have you spewing profanities like that on our neural network. Just get down here.

Embarrassed, Knoxus rushed over to the balcony across from his room. As he was waiting, he saw several Order members arrive and depart the barracks, the majority of which simply flew in and out of the hallway by various means. Peering out over the railing, he noticed his floor was at least a hundred feet off the ground. Quickly, he verified the functionality of his gauntlets, then leaped off the edge of the balcony, activating them for the first time.

Just like before, the gauntlets shot out an initial fireball, which stabilized into a steady stream of flame. This slowed Knoxus’ fall, but only barely. Panicking, Knoxus tried to remember Solunus’ instructions for the new gauntlets, but it wasn’t coming to him.

He saw the courtyard in the distance and pointed himself toward it. He was used to flying this way as a Matoran, but his weight had at least doubled since the last time he flew. This was going to be an ugly landing.

He managed to touch down in the courtyard, partially breaking his fall with his feet, but not without rolling to a stop in a crumpled heap afterwards. To top it all off, the flames from his gauntlets traced a lovely, scorching path straight to Knoxus’ crash site, attracting more than a few rotten looks. One of them came from Tobduk, who was in the center of the courtyard waiting for him. He walked up to where Knoxus had landed, pulling a staff from behind his back along the way. With a mechanical click, he twisted the head of the staff, and pointed it at the flames. A stream of water shot from the end of the staff, quickly extinguishing the flames.

“Well, I can at least commend you on your speed.” Tobduk sighed. “You’re a minute early.”


One grueling hour of basic swordsmanship training later, Knoxus was ready to throw in the towel. Tobduk was not a forgiving teacher, having lost his patience with Knoxus multiple times over his failure to grasp what he described as ‘simple techniques.’ This was only his first lesson, so Knoxus dreaded to see what the next few days would bring.

They soon relocated to another, more remote area of the courtyard. Knoxus wondered if Tobduk was ashamed to train such a poor student out in the open.

“Since swordsmanship training isn’t coming easily to you, we’ll try something else. The next lesson is mastering your mask power. Typically regarded as the first step in most Toa’s journeys.” Tobduk droned.

Knoxus knew he wore a Kanohi Tryna. But he couldn’t remember the mask’s power off the top of his head. Tobduk pointed his staff out into the courtyard, indicating to Knoxus to look in that direction. Prowling through the courtyard was a small, catlike Rahi, which had wandered in without Knoxus realizing.

“That is a shallows cat.” Tobduk said – then proceeded to blast the poor creature with a bolt of lightning from his staff. “Or was, in this case.”

A look of shock shot across Knoxus’ face. He knew Tobduk was an assassin, but still felt that that was needlessly cruel.

“Your mask is the Kanohi Tryna – the Great Mask of Reanimation. Which is widely regarded as an immoral mask by the Matoran species. Though, your mask was previously worn by the late Toa Matoro, who, just the other day, sacrificed his life to revive the Great Spirit himself.” He continued.

“Oh… that’s gonna be hard to follow up.” Knoxus said. The feelings he experienced during his last hours in Karda Nui suddenly made sense. Mata Nui had in fact died, but was resurrected mere minutes later.

“True. Matoro will no doubt soon be hailed as a hero by all Matoran. But that doesn’t change the fact that the mask he wore can raise the dead.”

“Yeah… wait what!?” Knoxus blustered.

“Pay attention. Why else do you think I blasted the cat?” Tobduk hissed. “Go on. Try it.”

Knoxus looked at the charred body of the shallows cat. He couldn’t imagine there was no way that thing could move again. Nevertheless, he tried focusing all of his attention on the corpse. He had no idea what he was doing, but he imagined using mask powers had something to do with thinking in a special way. After a few seconds of this not working, he gave up.

“You’re doing it wrong. You’re not trying to make a mental link to the dead cat, are you?” Tobduk said mockingly.

“Give me a break, I’m new at this.” Knoxus said, exasperated.

“Try again, but this time, communicate with your mask. Then concentrate, and picture the cat in your mind.”

Knoxus tried doing just as Tobduk said, and his mask suddenly started glowing! He then pictured the shallows cat in his mind, living just as it had before Tobduk had fried it. Within moments, the charred body of the cat stood, and made its way toward Knoxus. It stood at attention, as if it were waiting for orders. Tobduk swiftly blasted the cat again, this time, reducing it to ash.

“Okay, I’ll admit, that was pretty gross.” Knoxus said with a lump in his throat.

“I agree.” Tobduk responded. “But at least we found one thing you can do.”

Knoxus was beginning to wonder if Tobduk would ever have a nice thing to say, but that thought was cut short when Knoxus saw Tobduk pull an object out from behind his back.

“Your next lesson will be accessing your Suva.” Tobduk said, tossing the object to Knoxus. “This is a Mask of Concealment, it’s standard issue for assassins. Go ahead, put it on.”

Knoxus promptly placed the new Kanohi over his Tryna. But nothing happened.

Tobduk shook his head. “Use the neural network to connect to your Suva. Then try to store your Tryna away.”

Knoxus tried again, this time focusing on the Suva he connected with yesterday. As soon as he touched the new mask to his Tryna, he felt it disappear. The new mask then magnetically snapped into place like normal.

“It worked!” Knoxus exclaimed. With another brief thought, he switched his mask back to his Tryna, then back and forth repeatedly for good measure.

“Yes, yes, we’re all very proud.” Tobduk said, rolling his eyes. “Now that your mood has improved, let’s begin swordsmanship training again.”

Knoxus gulped.

The next few days of training were strenuous and exhausting. Knoxus’ quick mastery of his mask power was not echoed in his other innate abilities. Out of his elemental powers, shadow came to him the easiest, much to his disappointment. It took 3 days of non-stop practice for him to finally get some sense of control over his iron elemental powers.

Weapons training wasn’t going well either. He’d got the gist of basic swordplay from Tobduk, but he failed to win a single sparring match. In fact, he didn’t even get close. However, after some marksmanship training at the range, he discovered how effective metal throwing knives were in combination with his elemental powers. In fact, they were quite enjoyable to use.

In what felt like no time at all, the first week was over, but Knoxus felt like his training was still far from complete. Today, the usual morning orders from Tobduk never came. Knoxus made his way to the courtyard as usual, but Tobduk was nowhere to be found. He waited in the courtyard anyway, until he saw Mars approaching from the main hall.

“Hey boss, the uh… actual bosses want to see you.” Mars said, scratching his head.

“Did I do something wrong?” Knoxus asked.

“I don’t think so. Actually, I’m not sure why they want you in this meeting at all.”

“Meeting?” Knoxus asked. Mars just motioned for Knoxus to follow, and he did.

When the two Toa arrived in Helryx’s throne room, they were met with the familiar sight of Raxus, the Toa of Plasma from Solunus’ Workshop, and a white and green armored Toa whom Knoxus had never seen before. Helryx was sitting on her throne just as she had when Knoxus had first met her. In fact, this was only the second time Knoxus had been in the same room with her. Tobduk was standing at her side, but there was no sight of Regron, the Master General.

“Gang’s all here, boss.” Mars shouted into the room.

“Very well, let’s get started.” The Order’s leader responded. All the entrances to the throne room shut dramatically, and Knoxus and Mars joined the group standing before Helryx in the center of the room. The mysterious green Toa was staring at Knoxus, but quickly looked away when their eyes met. Knoxus noticed a half transparent glowing orb floating alongside the mysterious Toa, but felt that this was hardly a time to ask questions.

Helryx stood from her throne, thumping her mace on the ground. “You three must be wondering what you’ve been preparing for for the last week. We have a mission of dire importance to the upcoming war effort against the Brotherhood of Makuta.”

“With all due respect, mistress, we know what we’re here for. But what is he doing here?” The unknown Toa spoke up, casting a vicious look at Knoxus.

Tobduk stepped forward. “Konpaku, this is Knoxus. He is the Order’s newest assassin recruit. We are sending him on this mission as well for training. He is to act as your shadow. The three of you will do your best to keep him alive, as well as show him the ropes.”

Knoxus gulped. He had only been in training for a week, and now Tobduk was throwing him straight into the deep end, headfirst.

“Looks to me like he’s got enough shadow for all of us. Are you sure recruiting him was a good idea?” Konpaku hissed.

“Know your place, Konpaku.” Helryx barked. “You mustn’t question the will of Mata Nui.”

“Apologies, mistress.” Konpaku said. He bowed to Helryx, but continued to glare in Knoxus’ direction. Knoxus felt this reaction to his recruitment was hardly justified. Sure, with an ‘immoral’ mask and a shadow infection, he didn’t quite look the part of some champion of Mata Nui, but neither did the majority of the Order’s agents.

“Now then.” Helryx began once more, “Your mission is this: You are to recover an artifact of great strategic importance to the Brotherhood’s forces from the fortress on Destral.”

The other three Toa looked up at Helryx simultaneously with concern. Mars shot a nervous look at Knoxus as well.

“Mistress, you can’t seriously expect a newbie like Knoxus to make it in and out of there alive, right?” Mars said, nervously.

“This will be his first major test. We are expecting him to become our trump card against the Brotherhood. I imagine the watchful protection of all three of the Order’s top agents will be enough to keep him perfectly safe.” Helryx said with a grim smile. Knoxus almost felt sick. He wanted revenge on the Brotherhood as much as any of them, but he thought he’d get a bit more time to train before jumping straight into their no doubt well-sharpened claws.

“Well, I guess having a Toa of Iron with us can’t possibly be a bad thing, even if he is inexperienced.” Mars said, cocking his head to the side.

“The artifact you will recover is one of the many hidden by the early Order of Mata Nui. Somehow, the Brotherhood got ahold of it without us realizing. The artifact’s power has likely given Makuta Teridax great assistance in enacting his plans for the past several thousand years. Should you succeed in this mission, we will reveal ourselves to the universe and declare open war on the Brotherhood, as their foresight will be greatly impaired.”

Tobduk slammed the end of his staff on the ground, signifying the end of Helryx’s briefing. “Understood!?” He shouted.

The three top agents all saluted. Knoxus anxiously mimicked their movements. Tobduk looked over to Helryx and nodded.

Helryx sat back down on her throne. “You will depart for your mission at nightfall. Good luck.”

End of Chapter 4

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