The Folly of the Toa

After I posted my 'Let Go' drawing, the idea came into my head of it being part of a kind of 'dystopian' or cynical alternate future for the Toa Nuva. One of the commentators on my DeviantArt page helped to flesh it out a bit, and the idea kept rattling around in my head until, well, I wrote it down.

I figured it was appropriate to write it from Gali's perspective since she's arguably the one who did the most to keep the team together during the canon storyline, and who would have been most affected by the team splitting up over disagreements and all going their separate ways. Yeah, 'disillusioned' doesn't begin to describe her, poor Gali.

Warning: if the Toa Nuva are your favorite Toa, don't expect this to paint a particularly rosy picture of them, or their living situation on Spherus Magna. Seriously, I felt sorry for these characters while writing about them.

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I'm all but alone now. The last Toa Nuva? Not really, but most days it seems like I am. Everything I worked for, our team, our bond... broken. In spite of how I fought to keep us together, my brothers have gone their separate ways. Without a common foe to fight, they quickly found their disagreements too great to overcome. Now, one by one, we fall to our own demons.

We've already buried Onua and Lewa; victims of their obsessions; work and play, respectively. They found meaning in those things, and we like to think they died happy, doing what they love, but I can't help but think that both should have been able to escape the circumstances that caused their demise. Onua? A cave-in. Like he hasn't survived plenty of those before. Lewa? Flying among falling debris from a volcanic eruption. Looking for the ultimate thrill, apparently. Again, though, I've got this nagging feeling that the only way in which they could have died how they did was... if they let it happen, if they gave in. I can't think of my brothers like that; gone not because they were beaten, but because they let themselves be taken. I used to imagine what their last moments might have been like, trying to prove to myself that no, they couldn't have escaped. But near as I can tell, they could have, and that thought still keeps me up at night.

Tahu cannot but follow soon; his body is failing him, yet he still insists on fighting in that blasted arena. He is living a fantasy, a death wish to go out in a blaze of glory, to be the 'true warrior.' He acts like he doesn't have a reason to live without having something to fight or fight for, a villain to square off against or helpless villagers to save. So day after day, he goes back out in that arena and fights some Glatorian so the Agori can watch. Apparently it's the only job out there for someone whose entire resume consists of vanquishing the forces of evil by means of the sword, but it's barbaric, it's below him, and it's destroying him. I can't watch him do it anymore. I begged him to stop, but no; he's set on his path, seemingly resigned to his fate. He still stops by every once in a while; I heal whatever injuries he has accumulated as best I can while we chat about the 'good old days,' which seems an odd way to describe a period of time in which the Matoran lived under constant threat of elimination by one evil force or another. Then he talks about his glorious victories in the arena, I tell him what I think about that place, and then he tells me I shouldn't have 'let myself go' the way I have. We get angry, choice words are thrown around, and he leaves me to the show I was watching before he showed up. Yeah, we don't get along well these days; we both disapprove of the way the other is destroying themselves.

Pohatu kept contact... for a while. He became a Kolhii Star, but an injury put an end to his career there. I nursed him back to health, encouraged him to try coaching, to at least stay with the game, but while that injury merely damaged his body, it destroyed his spirit. He's still around, but the Pohatu I knew died on that field... and the shell that remains spends his nights with a bottle, or several, looking wistfully at the trophies on his shelf and cursing the fates. I used to go and visit him, but now it's honestly not worth the effort anymore. And Kopaka? He hasn't been seen since the split... wandered into the mountains, they say. No one knows if he's still alive... the Ko-Matoran erected a statue in commemoration of him. I like to think he's still up there somewhere, doing whatever he does on his own, the only Toa Nuva who's found peace on this brave new world, but I can't imagine he could have survived up there alone for all this time. He always preferred solitude, so even if he is still up there, I probably couldn't find him. And, if I'm honest, I'm in no condition to try.

Spherus Magna is now a land of plenty, and that plenty has left its mark on me; let's just say I'm glad my armor is of the 'adaptive' kind. Getting around is difficult now; not that I have much of a reason to go anywhere. Hahli takes care of me, for the most part; like me, she doesn't have much of a purpose in this world, but she's younger, more energetic, more optimistic, and she's got Hewkii to keep her company. Those two run around like they're taking part in an Agori courting ritual. I don't get out much: like I said, it's difficult these days, and some of the more insolent young Agori in the neighborhood have taken to calling me "Kraawa", after a rahi species that could apparently grow to enormous sizes. Okay, I won't deny there's a grain of truth in that, but pardon me for enjoying the spoils of a world that wouldn't exist without the efforts of me and the team I was a part of. That was harsh... but Hahli insists on bringing by the latest and greatest 'advancements in the culinary arts,' as she calls them, and it would be rude for me not to try them. Besides, it's not like I need to keep in shape for anything these days.

Yeah.. that's what I am now: an old, fat, bitter relic of a bygone age, little but a bad reminder to the Matoran of the horrors we all went through and a burden to a few other Toa. Frankly, I'm surprised Hahli puts up with me; even Hewkii has long since given up on trying to get what remains of Pohatu out of the bottle; why would he? We Toa Nuva have long since lost our purpose, and all my brothers who desperately sought a new one have met their end in one way or another because of it. It is our great folly: we helped create this paradise, but have no reason to exist in it.

So, in this world that neither needs nor wants us, we slowly fade away.

  • Gali Nuva

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Edit: After posting this on DA, I kept discussing and figuring out answers to some of the questions that arose related to this, and ended up elaborating the story from a few angles other than Gali's. Mind you, it didn't get any brighter.

I actually had a real hard time trying to figure out just how Gali would describe herself. Her just saying something along the lines of "I'm fat now and it sucks" didn't have a whole lot of depth or character to it; instead I think she ended up at this point where she's painfully aware of her condition, but doesn't care to do anything about it 'cause, well, there's no reason for her to care anymore.

Something I realized earlier today: Gali was the first of the Toa Nuva to really lose her purpose. True, none of them had an evil to fight anymore, but they all found something to redefine themselves as, be it a gladiator, a miner, a thrill seeker, you name it. Gali didn't have that anymore, since the only other thing she really worked for, to keep the team together, had disappeared when they split up. So, she became the example to all the others of what happens when a Toa loses their purpose and doesn't find another one; they stop caring, they let go. In particular, I think that resonated with Onua and Lewa: they certainly would have visited with Gali occasionally when they were still alive, and inevitably they would have seen her decline, her spirit fade. I think they both felt pity for her, and decided that they'd never let themselves get to that point. So they threw themselves into what they now found meaning in; Onua working tirelessly in the mines, and Lewa venturing ever further off into the deep jungles to find something, anything new: a new thrill, a new adventure. And as they aged, I think both of them realized that they couldn't do it forever; that sooner or later their bodies would give out on them, and they'd be left like Gali; depleted, exhausted, and all but waiting to die. So, when that time came, I think they both made the decision to end it on their own terms; Onua dug a new tunnel into ground that was known to be prone to shift and collapse, and when the cave-in happened he went with it. Lewa would have seen the volcanic eruption as an opportunity; either he would fly through the falling debris successfully and have the thrill of his life, or he wouldn't make it out and therefore wouldn't have to retire and fade like Gali had. I think Lewa would have taken that chance, and well, he didn't make it out. But you bet he had a blast while it lasted.

It is getting into really dark territory now, but when I think about it, it basically comes down to Onua and Lewa both committing suicide in their own way. The same could more or less be said for Kopaka, given that he might as well be dead for all the good him wandering through the mountains did for anyone else. And before crying 'oh no they wouldn't do that,' remember that Pohatu did keep pushing himself until his body gave out, and look where he ended up for it; just as bitter and depressive as Gali, and an alcoholic to boot (to be fair, it wouldn't be unreasonable to describe Gali as a 'chocoholic' now). And then there's Tahu; how he'll end up is yet to be seen, but I do think that he hopes to die gloriously in that arena one day, essentially his version of what Onua and Lewa did.

In that sense, there's a kind of irony to the last line: "...in this world that neither needs nor wants us, we slowly fade away." The only Toa fading away are Gali and Pohatu, and one could argue that Pohatu is effectively gone already. Tahu might fade one day, if he gets injured to the point where he can't go into the arena any more but is still alive, but I think he'd kill himself if it got to that. So, in effect, what Gali is saying is "...in this world that neither needs nor wants me, I slowly fade away."

Poor Gali...

Credit to 3rdEye88 on DeviantArt for coming up with the original ideas of how, in particular, Tahu, Onua, Pohatu, and Kopaka ended up.

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Good read. A little depressing, but that's to be expected.

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Interesting read, I like to see stories regarding alternate timelines in the BIONICLE universe.

This was amazing to read. It felt very "final" in a sad way.. I loved the feels

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Glad ya'll liked it!

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That was really good. I can see that happening... although not so much with Pohatu, as that seems a bit silly. [edit: never mind] Also, I just can't see Gali becoming a binge-eater. It's just... not like her. Again, I can really imagine her becoming a village elder who only truly begins to lose hope as she sees the team she spent so long trying to keep together begin to break apart and lose itself. I was confused when I read the part about her becoming fat and never having hope, because she seems like the only one who would adjust mildly to this, as she would now have many people to help out. Tahu is perfect, Lewa makes sense, Kopaka... I don't know. I wanted to find out what happened to him. Really, I could see his becoming shut off from reality as a hermit of sorts, perhaps a scholar. Onua killing himself seems weird... He always seemed like someone who would be dependable... Lewa and Tahu, however... What happens to them is not only plausible, it seems natural and eventual, like it couldn't really happen any other way.

Really moving and sad anyway.

That was incredibly powerful.

The only part I don't get is Pohatu becoming an alcoholic. Is there any sign of alcoholic drinks in BIONICLE? I dunno. Gali should have become more of a frail elder who gave up on the team.

Kopaka is somewhere in the forest, so that doesn't mean he's dead. Instead, perhaps he's looking for something invisible. Not with his Akaku, but with his heart. Something he needs to finally see within himself.

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Thanks! Honestly, it means a lot to hear that people actually draw some meaning from what I write.

This is more or less how I envisioned Pohatu's fall: it's not the breakup of the team or even the end of his Kolhii career that really drove it; it's the loss of freedom. What Gali refers to as 'the injury' was severe enough to rob Pohatu of the use of his legs. I've always seen Pohatu as someone very much defined by an athletic energy, someone who relishes intense physical activity; it's not for nothing that he wears the mask of speed. Pohatu didn't play Kolhii for the satisfaction of winning trophies or the adoration of his fans; he did it because the game made him feel alive. And when his body finally gives out on him, it also robs him of that vitality. That's what Gali was referring to when she said that the Pohatu she knew died on that field; there, Pohatu lost that which made him feel free and alive, that which gave him a reason to keep on going.

He coached a couple of Matoran in Kolhii for a while afterwards, but he simply doesn't get the that sensation from the sidelines, watching others play, and he becomes increasingly despondent, eventually concluding that his body somehow betrayed him. Worst part is that he has to deal with the disability 24/7, and I think he would have started drinking as a way to numb himself, to momentarily forget what he's lost. Of course, the consequent hangovers would leave him in an even worse position, mentally speaking, than he started at, leading him to drink more, basically making it into a downward vicious cycle. Yeah... it's not pretty.

I'm not sure if it's anywhere near reasonable, but that's how I envisioned it. That said, I definitely took a lot of liberties in this story (the presence of alcohol being one of them), many of which aren't clarified all that well from Gali's point of view. That's why I type up long-winded answers like this; to explore the characters further.

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That's basically what I said, and I can agree.

Yeah, I could see that. Kopaka isn't exactly fond of company, but that alone probably wouldn't drive him to just disappear, so yeah, he went into those mountains to find something. As to what... I'm not sure. I'll have to think on it. Heck, I might at some point try to write about how the splitting of the team went, from Kopaka's perspective. That would be interesting...

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I've never seen Kopaka as one to give up anyways. He's always had the best willpower of any of the Toa. Even if the team split, he would keep on persuing his destiny and the truth.

The same with Tahu.

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Kopaka has definitely always had a degree of mental fortitude that the other Toa seemed to lack. At the same time, one's got to question on whether that willpower, that stubborn conviction to keep going, is self-destructive in a way, especially if it's mixed with a certain degree of pride. We all know Kopaka's powerful, yes (I mean, he took down three freakin' rahkshi single-handedly in MoL), but how much does he know about what he's heading into? And if he does find more trouble than he alone is capable of handling, or the situation deteriorates in other ways, would he wisely back off, of would that pride and stubbornness compel him to keep pushing until his body is past breaking point?

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In this world, I don't think he would go back because as far as he's concerned, there's nothing for him back there.
Tahu is the same: to him, the real world holds nothing for him, nothing except regret and pain. All he wants is to go back to the way things used to be, and he knows he can't. SO he has to channel his rage somehow, and at the same time feel like he is back to the Toa he once was. Perhaps he still feels like he might be responsible for the death of Mata Nui during the Bionicle stars event, like he could have used his power to prevent it. Now he just wants to go out on his terms, not as a pathetic shadow of his former self. The same goes for Lewa (and to a lesser extent, Onua- I just can't see Onua doing that), who refused to face that they were going to become something that they would never want to be and die alone and weak. Lewa chose to go out like he did because he refused to accept a world where he must be this way, and where he will eventually become like Gali or Pohatu. I could also see Kopaka being like how mad Max is in Fury Road: A wanderer, scarred and incapable of friendship, never staying around and constantly being reminded of the failiures of his old life.
Overall, I feel like Tahu, Lewa, and sort of Kopaka make sense the most. Tahu especially. I can just imagine how he would feel, and how it makes sense.

Edit: Would it be alright if I tried out writing one of these stories from one of the other perspectives (Hopefully Tahu, Kopaka, or Lewa)?
I would love to, but I want to ask your permission first.

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Have at it! I'd love to see what you come up with.

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Thanks! I will do my best!
I might not have Gali be fat, though. It just... Bugs me.

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Totally understandable. Funny thing, though: this whole thing got started because of an off-hand comment about @thefallenfell's sketch of Gali Nuva, which inadvertendly made her look... chunky. I ran with it, drew a picture that made a few people chuckle, someone brought up 'what happened to the other Toa?' and I was up all night writing the story in the OP. So yeah... my starting point was "Gali somehow got fat," which in retrospect wasn't a great constraint to start with. So feel free to develop her however you want.

I didn't think of it as binge-eating, more of a bored, absent-minded 'grazing,' which combined with a lack of activity led to a growing weight problem, which by this point Gali really has no reason to do anything about. And yes, while the team was together and for a while afterward she definitely would have taken on a village elder role, but again, it's not like she's the only one around to fill that space (especially while the Turaga were still around), so Gali still ended up feeling somehow... redundant, and without much of purpose in staying around. Combine that with the successive blows of her former teammates falling one by one, especially Pohatu, who she'd definitely have cheered on and kept in touch with before he basically cut himself off from the world, and that's what leads to her decline to the state she's in when the story's written. It'd probably be like her last diary entry or something similar.

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It can't be that bad. I'm no little kid. :unamused:

:crying_cat_face:
Groovy read man.

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I made a note from Lewa, if you wanna see it.
It's at "my folly of the Toa: Lewa's note".

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