The Folly of the Toa II - Chapter 45

I really couldn’t put this one off for too long; one of those chapters where, once I started writing it, I just couldn’t stop. It’s 3:00 AM at the moment… but I’m feeling pretty satisfied all the same.

Chapter 45

“You… You’ll do it?” Pohatu asked. “You’ll actually do it?” He clearly still didn’t believe it, and in that he wasn’t alone.

“Yes…” Kopaka answered. His voice had lost its usual authority, its power… he was wavering. “Yes, if I must… I will.”

“No, you won’t,” I stepped in. “You can’t!”

“Lis…” he began, but I wasn’t having it.

“No, you’re not just going to do this,” I continued, “not like this. You’re hesitating for a reason; you know it’s wrong. Don’t tell me that you’re doing this just because you’ve lost faith in the worth of the Toa Code. That’s not you. That’s not the Kopaka I know!”

“It is not about me, Lis,” he argued, avoiding eye contact.

“Since when!?” I exclaimed in disbelief. “Since when is it not about you? You said you were giving up the title! What else could it be about? Duty again? Your duty to the Matoran? Yeah right. This isn’t for the good of them, and it won’t do anything for you either, except you won’t be a Toa anymore! It doesn’t make sense!”

“That is because you do not know everything,” he replied, a hint of agitation creeping back into his voice.

“Then explain,” I demanded. “Explain to me why you’re really doing this, why you’re disgracing yourself and him! ‘cause right now, you can’t even look me in the eyes. You know this isn’t right!” He didn’t reply; his eyes remained fixed on the floor, but I could tell he was thinking, trying to come up with something to shut me up. “See!? You can’t just rationalize your way out of this one!” I drove the point home.

“Hey, he said he would do it,” Pohatu interrupted, “and he asked you to stay out of it. How about you go do that instead?”

“I won’t,” I turned to him, “because I know there’s a better option. You’ve given up, maybe, but I won’t let you take him, or yourself. With three Toa here, that can’t happen. There’s a lot more we can do for you that you just haven’t stopped to consider because you think death is your only way out.”

“Don’t tell me what I do or do not know!” Pohatu suddenly shouted back. “You don’t know how it feels to have the lights go out on you one by one!”

“No, but I know what it looks like,” I countered, “and ■■■■ it, I know he won’t stay, but I will do whatever I can to help. You’re wrong, Pohatu; there is something here I can fix, and even if there wasn’t we have to at least try!”

“You’d be wasting your time,” he shot back, “and you can’t fix this! You haven’t even seen the half of what is hurt, broken, or gone!”

“Maybe I haven’t,” I admitted, “but just because you don’t believe you can be helped doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let people try.” Pohatu seemed about to shout something back, but then paused for a moment instead. He had to be considering something; was I finally getting through to him?

“Look, I realize you’re trying to help,” he finally sighed, “but don’t waste your energy on me. I don’t want to be your waste of time, nor anyone else’s, and I can’t bear the feeling of my body giving out any longer.”

“Well, I can help with that, too,” I pointed out. “And you won’t be a waste of time; if anything, you’ll give me something to do… something I’d be happy to do.” Again, he paused for thought. I watched, waited, hoping that I’d changed his mind. I mean, I was willing to follow up on the promise, too; whether Kopaka was willing to stay or not (I suspected not), I was willing to be caretaker for Pohatu, to try and bring him back from this death spiral he was in. In particular, I remembered Nuparu talking about his regret in the wake of Onua’s death; he had all but given up on his friend for a while, too, and had potentially lost him for it. I was determined not to make the same mistake.

“No,” Pohatu spoke up.

“No?..” I was momentarily taken aback. What else could I offer him at this point?

“I am sorry,” he continued, changing his tone, “but I have made my decision. I do not want to stick around until there’s nothing left of me, and regardless of what you do that will be soon.”

“No, it won’t be,” I tried again. “It can’t be; you’re still fully aware and lucid now; the same was true when we were last here.”

“You have seen worse,” Kopaka pointed out.

“You have?” Pohatu looked up at his brother. “W-what did I do this time?”

“You were well below lucid not too long ago…” Kopaka began.

“That’s not the point,” I interrupted. “The point is that you’re not like that all the time, and I really do think I can help. Just… let me try.”

“Lis, he said he has made his decision,” Kopaka reminded me. “Leave it be.”

“No, I can’t!” I turned back to him. “This isn’t right, and you know it! You don’t have to give up everything you cared for, and he could live! That would be right, wouldn’t it!?”

“Yes, it would be,” he admitted.

“Then why?” I looked back to Pohatu. “You don’t have to die yet, and you don’t have to suffer either!”

“Because that would not be possible,” Kopaka said dourly.

“Of course it would be!” I argued. “I just explained how!”

“You are assuming his condition is curable,” Kopaka continued, “or at least manageable. I can tell you right now that it is not.”

“And how do you know?” I wondered. Kopaka merely nodded in Pohatu’s direction, so I looked to him, expecting some kind of follow-up. But Pohatu offered none; his eyes were oddly fixed on Kopaka. Again, silence fell over the room… I waited for an answer, an explanation, anything from either Toa, but neither offered any, so I spoke up again. “Look, I’ve seen one Toa die because he couldn’t, he wouldn’t accept help,” I pleaded with both of them, “and I will not let it happen again. I just can’t. It’s not right.” Silence ruled the room again. Kopaka looked to Pohatu, then cast his eyes to the floor when the Toa of Stone switched to looking back and forth between me and him. I was hoping, praying… was I getting through to them at last?

“Sorry,” Pohatu eventually spoke up, “but… who are you?” I was shocked. We’d just been talking; how had he already forgotten who I was? Kopaka, too, looked back up to his brother, whose expression was now one of bewilderment. “The ghosts… the ghosts are back…” The Toa of Stone’s face turned pale as the realization came over him.

“No, we are not ghosts,” Kopaka immediately responded. “Stay with me, brother; we are not ghosts. You were talking to us just a minute ago.”

“Talking… talking with you?” Pohatu’s voice was taking on more than a hint of panic. “About what… what do you want from me!?”

“Nothing, brother, nothing,” Kopaka assured him. “We mean you no harm. I am Kopaka. Do you remember me?”

“Kopaka…” Pohatu mused, but then seemed to remember something. “Kopaka… wait! You, you were gone…”

“Yes, and I am back now,” Kopaka led him on, though his voice betrayed exasperation. He leant in and placed a hand on Pohatu’s shoulder again. “We were talking earlier; do you remember what about?” Pohatu just… looked at him, blankly.

“Come on,” I encouraged, worried that somehow we’d lost him almost completely, “you have to remember something. Please.”

“Lis…” Kopaka said my name in that same, almost threatening tone again. It alone was tantamount to “shut up.”

“Lis… Kopaka…” Pohatu looked back and forth between us again. “D-do I know you?”

“No,” I said, barely above a whisper, more to myself than to anyone else. “No, it’s not like that. He can’t be gone just like that…” Kopaka sighed, then turned away from the bewildered Pohatu and towards me again.

“He is gone just like that,” he said, emphasizing the word “is.” I merely nodded ‘no’ in disbelief. The whole argument, the Pohatu I knew, the Pohatu I’d just had a conversation with, seemingly vanished in an instant. The very thing that I feared could happen after the first time he’d woken up had just taken place right in front of me; something must’ve misfired, or run into a broken pathway, or something… The thread had snapped, his mind gone blank, or at least his short-term memory was in pieces.

“You’re really here,” Pohatu murmured, looking towards Kopaka. “But… nothing real comes here… nothing.”

“No, brother, I am here,” Kopaka corrected. “I am here, I came back for you, remember? I have told you this before, not long ago. I came back for you.”

“There was… there was a thing,” Pohatu kept trying to piece things together.

“Yes, you had a request for me,” Kopaka encouraged before I could stop him.

“Right, and you… you… you wouldn’t do it!” Pohatu suddenly turned aggressive. “I want it to end, I want to be done, and you wouldn’t do it!”

“No, brother,” the Toa of Ice said. “I will do it.” And there my heart sank again. Here, presented with a chance to take back a wrong decision, Kopaka’d instead re-affirmed it. In fact, he sounded more sure and certain that he’d done the last time… had the whole argument merely convinced him to go on with this, or was it Pohatu’s sudden blank-out that had pushed him over the edge?

“What are you doing?” I leant in and asked. Kopaka saying “I will do it” had once again stunned and silenced Pohatu for a moment in spite of his anger, and so the Toa of Ice immediately turned to me.

“Lis, stay out of it,” he demanded.

“I already told you, I can’t,” I replied. “This isn’t right!”

“No, it is not,” he agreed, “but you cannot fix everything…” he glanced back at the bewildered Pohatu, “and you cannot fix this.”

“He won’t even let me try,” I countered, “and now you’re not going to either?”

“You made your case,” Kopaka replied, still keeping his voice down but not free from frustration, “and he answered when he was as lucid as he could be in his current condition. Now the choice lies with you: will you drag this on needlessly, or will you respect his last wish and let me do what needs to be done?” That wasn’t a choice I wanted to make; for a second or two, I couldn’t think of any answer to it, or at least nothing satisfactory.

“I-I can’t let you do that,” I finally said. “Even if he is that far gone… even if it really is nothing but mercy… why do you have to do it? Why abandon everything you told me? Why you?”

“Lis, I promise you that I will explain,” he answered, now if anything with more of a calm sincerity to his voice, “after this is done, but only afterwards.”

“You’ll… do it?” the still staggered Pohatu asked Kopaka. “You’ll… actually do it?” The Toa of Ice nodded for a moment in his direction, then stood up and looked back at me. His expression had shifted slightly, indicating that I had to make a choice now. My eyes were welling up with tears; I was torn. None of this was right, it couldn’t be. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end; it couldn’t have been what Kopaka’d been planning all along, not the Kopaka I knew. And yet here I was, facing the choice between letting him abandon the Toa code in what he saw as a mercy killing, and potentially taking responsibility for Pohatu and trying to nurse him back to something resembling health… if that was even possible, and against his will. Somehow, both choices now seemed like mistakes, though I still felt one was significantly worse than the other. There had to be a better way, something else we could do… and yet I couldn’t think of it.

Then again, looking back at Pohatu, who was once again going through the same revelations that he’d gone through not ten minutes before as though they were entirely new to him… was he right? When he’d asked Kopaka to kill him the first time around, he described his as a “shell of a life,” and never had that description seemed more appropriate than it did now. Never mind that he’d been all but an animal when he’d woken up the first time; this… these mind blanks, he had to be acutely aware of them somehow. He knew there were a lot of memories missing. I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for information to suddenly be gone like that… and what if Kopaka was right? What if, even with me doing everything that I could, there was nothing that could be done to stave off the rapid decay of Pohatu’s mental faculties? How long before there really was nothing left to save?.. No! I couldn’t think of it on those terms! While there was something to save, I had to fight for it… but it was against his express wishes, even if we’d have to bring him up to speed before he could articulate them again. And if Kopaka had good reasons of his own to actually go through with this… was this terrible option really the best one open to us? I hated it, but the more I thought of it, the more I came to the conclusion that yes, sadly, it was…

“Y-You’re taking a life,” I relented after a long pause. “You understand that, right? You’re… you’d better have one hell of an explanation.”

“I do, Lis” Kopaka assured me. “I have had this whole trip to work on it.”

“You’ll actually do it… you’re actually going to do it…” the reality was sinking in on Pohatu just as it was on me; outside of resorting to violence, I felt I was out of options… and violence wasn’t one to begin with.

“Go, Lis,” Kopaka advised. “Get out of the room, step outside, wherever you need to be. You do not have to watch this.”

“No, I never had to,” I replied, trying to keep my composure as best I could. My eyes drifted over and landed back on Pohatu. “I’m sorry. So… so sorry,” I apologized. He looked back me with an expression that had a sense of knowing innocence about it… like an old pet about to be put down. He understood, aperhaps only vaguely at that point, what I was trying to do, but he also clearly felt that what was about to happen was necessary. Terrible as it was, it was what he wanted… In an unusual gesture, Kopaka placed his hand on my shoulder.

“Go on, Lis,” he advised. We exchanged one last look before he gently turned me and then gave me a slight push in the direction of the door. I kept going… left the bedroom, took another step or two forward, then stopped in the middle of the living room. Tears were rolling down my mask, my throat had closed up, and I felt weak at the knees. In my head, I was still struggling, wanting to jump back in there and intervene, to stop this madness… but what could I say that I hadn’t already said? When, even in the best of states, Pohatu was still so far gone that he could forget who he was talking to at any moment, what could I really do? Still, how could I justify not going back? My vision was going blurry with the tears, but my ears still worked fine, and in the otherwise complete silence of the night, I could still hear what was happening in the bedroom.

“I am sorry too, brother.” Kopaka’s voice had taken on a slight tremble as well. “Sorry that everything has come to this.”

“No, don’t be.” Pohatu sounded, if anything, apologetic. “I should be thanking you. This… this is all I’ve been waiting for. Thank you!” Some creaking of the mattress, movement of the bedsheets… I turned and took a momentary glance into the room: Pohatu’d raised himself up, reached out, and embraced Kopaka… exactly as he had done the last time they’d said goodbye on good terms, at the end of the last meeting of all the Toa Nuva. Immediately, that memory came back to me, accompanied by that same feeling of loss… I steadied myself against the doorframe, but couldn’t keep myself from watching from the shadows of the living room.

“I swear,” Pohatu said, “I swear that if I’d known… if I’d known that it’d come to this, I’d never have done whatever I did… n-never let it get to this.”

“I know,” Kopaka replied, clearly still trying to maintain some semblance of composure. “That is enough,” he said as he released his grip. “Is there anything else you need to do?”

“No…” Pohatu replied as he let go as well. “I… I have nothing left in this world. Nothing but pain…” He looked down for a moment, probably trying to think of something else. “Actually,” he realized, “there’s this one guy… a yellow guy… he comes by sometimes…”

“Hewkii,” Kopaka identified.

“Yes, him,” Pohatu continued. “W-was he real, too?”

“He was.”

“Please, tell him… no, thank him for me,” Pohatu requested. “Whoever he is, he’d bring food and all… I don’t know why, but he did.”

“I will,” Kopaka promised.

“Good…” Pohatu sighed, a slight smile appearing on his face even as, just like Kopaka’s and mine, his eyes were tearing up. Kopaka, meanwhile, reached behind his back and pulled out one of his blades. It shimmered slightly in the dim light of the lamp on the side table; I’d delivered the same weapon to him the night before. Now, I nearly choked at the sight of it. “Thank you…” Pohatu leant back against the wall on the head side of the bed, remaining in a half-seated position with his back supported by the pillow. “I am ready,” he said, sounding almost relieved.

“I will be quick, brother…” Kopaka promised as he bent over and placed a hand on Pohatu’s shoulder, “and I will make sure… I will make sure that you will be well remembered. Just like Onua, just like Lewa, like all of us… the Matoran will know who you were, who you really were; the Toa who helped create this world.” It was clear, even back from where I was standing, that by now he was making great effort to retain his composure; apart from teared-up eyes and a clear break in his voice, there were few clues of how difficult the task really was, but even his movements, in spite of being as calculated and precise as always, seemed just a little rigid and forced. As for me, I was standing frozen, conflicted, as though I was watching disaster in slow-motion. One side of me so desperately wanted still to run in there and stop this, but the other was keeping me back, trying and somehow succeeding at making me come to terms with this… it was so wrong, and yet, in light of everything I’d seen, perhaps it was mercy after all.

“That… that’s all I can ask,” Pohatu smiled and closed his eyes as Kopaka placed the tip of the blade against his chest, right below the heartlight. The Toa of Ice straightened out slightly, still with one hand firmly on his brother’s shoulder and the other on the hilt of the blade. I wanted to scream, to run in and stop this, or maybe even to drive the blade in myself, to make it end… Everything at once, and instead I stood, paralyzed, unwilling to watch yet unable to look away. Kopaka looked down and averted his eyes for a moment; I swear that, as he did, he saw me standing in the doorway, and even cast a tearful glance in my direction. But then, his expression suddenly hardened, his grip tightened, he looked back to Pohatu… and in one smooth, linear motion, he thrust the blade forwards and upwards, into the Toa of Stone’s chest. It went in with hardly a sound, penetrating through muscle strands, the underlying mesh, and right past the heart pump. Pohatu grimaced briefly at the jolt of pain that must have resulted, but then his face relaxed again and that slight smile reappeared. “Thank you, brother…” he whispered. “Thank you…”

Blood appeared around the entry point of the blade, and Toa’s heartlight started beeping like crazy, but then, just for a split second, Kopaka pulled tight all the muscles in his right arm, the one whose hand was holding the blade. Almost instantaneously, a thick layer of condensed snow appeared on the weapon; Kopaka’d dropped its temperature to well below zero, channeling the power of ice as cold cauterization. Surely, it must have frozen everything inside Pohatu’s chest solid; the heartlight stopped beating immediately, as instantaneous a way to go as I could imagine. The body of the Toa of Stone went limp, his face a picture of serene bliss, the face of one finally released from years of physical and mental pain and torment. The hero, the Toa Nuva of Stone, looking like he had at last found peace… at the blade of his best friend. Kopaka held the position for seconds that seemed like ages, then slowly, carefully, drew back the blade. It left an extremely thin cut, and no blood followed it out, not anymore. He straightened out, and for a while just… stood there, motionless with tears running down his mask, looking down upon his only friend, now forever silenced. It was over; I staggered back into the living room from the shadow of the doorway, leant against and slid down the wall, ending up huddled over with my head in folded arms on my knees, crying all the same.


#####author’s notes: at last we make it to the point that I’ve spent the last… what, five chapters building up to? Pretty much all of what happens in this chapter was in the first draft of Chapter 43, but when I finished that one I realized that 1) things were moving way to quickly and easily for such a difficult event and 2) Lis didn’t really raise any questions, which given the nature of the act of killing for a Toa she really should have. In fact, I realized that I couldn’t have her allow this to happen without some vehement protest and a lot of thought first… which is why what was originally going to be in chapter 43 ended up in chapter 45. There’s still questions to be answered (soon), but I think the story ended up a lot better for the decision to (once again) take a little longer to make sure the characters at least attempted to do right by themselves.

I’ll post more chapters as I finish them. As always, post any questions, comments, and/or observations below. Enjoy!


i should really read this XD


It’s great.

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Welp. I guess Kopaka killed me.

Thought I’d lighten the mood with dry humor after this chapter made me cry.

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Same This seems really good m=but im so lazyyyyyyy…

Ow… my childhood memories.

I honestly don’t have anything to say other then you could be making a lot of money right now. You are extremely talented at writing.

This deserves way more Likes then it is actually getting.


I genuinely felt sad at the scene of Pohatu’s death

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