(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m a little rusty when it comes to writing, but I feel like this turned out okay. Enjoy! Man, it feels good to finally write something in a setting I grew up with. build for Ahkmou is in this thread over here.)
Ahkmou was, for the first time since arriving on Bara Magna, more or less happy with his lot in life.
The Agori, for the most part, still distrusted him, of course; and his fellow Matoran despised him, although this was to be expected. To hear them tell it he had sold out his entire people, and was personally responsible for every last death the Makuta had caused.
But the way Ahkmou himself looked at it, he’d just backed the wrong ussal crab. Teridax had lost, and in spectacular fashion. His old universe was dead, and its corpse laid out on the sands of the seemingly endless desert. Scavenging from the Great Spirit Robot was illegal, of course; very illegal.
And the Agori black market needed someone who understood the Matoran Universe better than they did to sort through their salvage from it.
Something in this latest batch caught his attention: a mask.
A familiar mask.
Ahkmou carefully removed it from the surrounding debris: four or five Kohlii sticks and a dented ball; several carving tools; a tin of Ussal wax; and what looked like part of a Nynrah Ghost Blaster.
It couldn’t be here. His former master had told him it was torn down into its component atoms and scattered across the universe.
And yet here it was in his hands. The Kanohi Kraahkan-- the mask once worn by Teridax himself.
It called to him, pulling at the back of his mind, begging him to put it on. His mind raced as he struggled to choose whether to fight it or not: the Makuta had given him power and status, sure, but he’d started a new life now. He was doing okay for himself.
But he could be doing better.
Unable to resist the allure of the Kanohi Kraahkan, Ahkmou tore his own Noble Rau from his face and replaced it with the mask of shadows.
Pain flashed through him, needling at the edges of his mind, and he felt his body collapse beneath him in a rush of spasms. Slowly, painstakingly slowly, the shaking subsided.
Ahkmou stood up, leaning on a Kohlii stick for support, only to realise he was much, much taller than he was used to. A quick glance down told him why.
He was a Toa now.
Possibly the first new Toa on Bara Magna.
He focused his mind on the rocks around him, expecting to pick them up or move them or-- or something. Nothing happened.
Unless-- did his shadow just grow longer? He had to have imagined that, he tried and failed to convince himself.
Reaching out once more, he found that he really could move his shadow at will now. He reached out for the rocks, and realised he was still holding the Kohlii stick he had used to steady himself-- only it was now a pair of knives made from a dark steel that seemed to absorb the desert sun where it shone through the holes in the canvas roof. His feet, he realised, seemed to be made of the same light-absorbing metal-- as did the dented Kohlii ball, now covered in wicked spikes.
Not sure what to expect, he focused his mind on the ball and raised his hand.
It smashed through the wall.
Ahkmou tore his hand back in shock and the ball returned, coming to a halt just in front of him.
‘Shadows,’ he realised. ‘I-- Mata Nui, what have I become?’ Ahkmou reached for his new mask, clawing at it, but found it firmly affixed to his face. It wasn’t going anywhere.
Searching through the heap of debris he had found the mask in, he found a length of chain, bound his old Rau to him, and turned to leave his new home.
Except… where did he want to go? There was no Makuta any more-- nothing for him to serve. He could join the ranks of the Glatorian, but they had no reason to trust him. He could probably try to assume leadership of what few Skrall had not surrendered to the Toa and their allies, but would they be willing to accept him?
Or perhaps he should take another route entirely, he considered. If he could find some way to remove the mask, would he remain a Toa of Shadow? Or would he regain his old element and become a Toa of Stone?
Would the other Toa of Stone, Pohatu and Hewkii and Pouks, accept him as one of their own? He didn’t know what, if anything, the Toa Code said about forgiveness.
Ahkmou stood frozen in his doorway, unsure whether his destiny was to lie in stone or in shadow.
He steeled himself and took a step forward, gazing out at the fallen Great Spirit Robot on the horizon, its great head shattered by a chunk of moon. There was Only one way to find out.