The Greatest of Us All - A Spherus Magna Short Story

This is an idea I’ve been sitting on for a while and was finally motivated to write it after watching Msw41’s fan film Death of a Hero (seriously, check it out. It’s amazing).


Spherus Magna, many years after the Restoration

The setting sun cast a golden shine on the statues that marked the Great Beach of Aqua Magna. Sculpted by the finest Po-Matoran and Agori crafters, each statue represented a figure of history, many without whom the world would be as it was today. With the inclusion of such legendary warriors and heroes as Certavus and Lhikan, the beach mapped out the story of both Spherus Magna and the Matoran Universe that had inhabited its Great Spirit savior. Two worlds that had become one. In the years since, it had been a struggle to bring forth a unified peace, not aided by the efforts of malignant forces that sought to bring anarchy and conflict. But progress was being made, and many were hopeful that such struggles would remain in the past.

But today, the five Toa that now stood on the beach were not here to think about any of that. They weren’t only here to remember history, or to honor legendary heroes, even though all of those remained true.

They were here to remember a friend.

Kongu stared up at the statue of Toa Mahri Matoro, a wistful look on his emerald mask. The statue’s exterior still looked as brand new as it had been the day it had been first unveiled thanks to constant upkeep; of course, Kongu may have had a role in that himself, having threatened to hurl Hafu into a whirlwind if he so much as let a Gukko bird defile the statue. He hadn’t been serious about his threat (mostly), but Hafu had taken it serious enough to make sure all of the statues remained pristine as the years rolled on by.

Looking over to his fellow Toa Jaller and Hewkii, the Toa of Air said, “Remember that time we formed a Matoran Nui with him to fight a Nui-Jaga?”

Nuparu looked over at him with a surprised look. “You formed a Matoran Nui? Don’t you need six Matoran to do that?”

“Yeah, Macku and Onepu were there. Did Onepu never tell you?”

“Oh, he probably did. He brags so much about his accomplishments that I tend to either tune it out or not believe him….”

“I think Macku told me,” Hahli mused aloud. “She said it was a weird experience.”

“Oh, definitely,” Kongu said. “Sometimes I wonder if it even happened. Probably why Matoran don’t do it more often….”

He fell quiet and another lull of silence impeded the conversation. This was typical for their excursions; they were at a point where they had nearly run out of stories to share. Despite having shared an island with Matoro for a thousand years (more if one counted their vague recollections of life on Metru Nui), they had only known him personally for a drastically shorter period of time, from the day the Toa Mata had arrived until they themselves had become Toa, fighting the forces of the Piraka and the Barraki. None of them liked to be reminded of the fact that they had spent more time as a team of five than they had a team of six. On more than a few occasions, a novice Toa who was in over their heads had approached them offering to become their honorary sixth member, and almost each and every time Hewkii or Kongu had scared them off by threatening to either bash their heads in or use their mask powers against them.

(Kongu did feel bad about that one poor Toa of Plantlife who nearly got eaten by a Tahtorak he had summoned with his mask power…)

There were still some experiences they had shared with Matoro that hadn’t been retold yet, of course, but they were savoring them for another time; when there were no other stories to tell. When that would be, none of them knew, but they also weren’t keen on finding out any time soon.

Jaller was always the most quiet out of the five of them during these tributes. As leader of the Toa Mahri, he felt that Matoro had been his responsibility and he always asked himself if there could have been a way to prevent Matoro’s fate; if he should have been the one to use the Mask of Life instead of him. But it had always been Matoro’s destiny and he had come to accept that… but still those questions lingered in his mind. The fact that the statue of Lhikan, adorned with the same golden Kanohi Hau that he had worn as a Matoran, hovered nearby did not help such doubts either.

Hahli, being as close to Jaller as she was, always seemed to be able to tell when he was having these thoughts and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. He silently covered her hand with his own and closed his eyes as he sighed.

“It’s getting late,” he eventually said after several more minutes of mourning had passed. “We should probably head back to New Atero.”

“Feels like we just got here.” Hewkii looked over to the setting sun and frowned. It had already vanished behind the horizon and a blanket of stars had been cast over the sky. “I suppose you’re right, though. I did promise Macku I would help her coach her Kolhii team, and she always wants to do it at the break of dawn. ‘Early kraawa gets the kinloka,’ she always says. Her team hates it.”

“I can imagine a Kolhii team comprised of Matoran of every element and Agori from each tribe would have a lot to complain about,” remarked Kongu. “I don’t know how Macku handles it.”

Hahli smiled. “Trust me. She’s got it more than handled.”

As she lowered her hand from Jaller’s shoulder, she noticed movement in the corner of her eye and she looked over to see a cloaked figure slowly walking over to where they stood. A hood concealed their face, but the set of armor that they wore underneath it indicated to her that they were likely a Toa or Glatorian of some sort; she was inclined to think the former, as most Glatorian she had met didn’t wear mostly black or yellow.

“Oh, boy,” she heard Hewkii grumble. “Bet it’s another wannabe coming here for a spot on the team. Maybe this time I’ll give him some flying lessons….”

Hahli held up a hand to stop him. “Just wait,” she said exasperatedly.

Turning to the stranger, Jaller extended a closed fist to them in greeting. “Hello, brother. I don’t believe we’ve been acquainted. I am Toa Jaller.”

The stranger inclined their head to the extended fist and tentatively reached out with their own, bumping it against Jaller’s.

“Well met… Toa Jaller.” The stranger’s voice was deep and gravely, almost as if from disuse. “I am… a mere traveler.”

“A mere traveler without a name?” asked Nuparu.

The stranger seemed to consider his response. “My name… is not important,” he eventually said. “I have not spent enough time to warrant one.”

The five Toa exchanged confused looks at the cryptic response. Jaller then shrugged. “Fair enough, I suppose. What brings you out here, then?”

The stranger tilted his head up to look at the statue of Matoro. “I am here to pay my respects. I did not know Toa Matoro personally, but I take it he was a great hero.”

“The greatest of us all,” Kongu said confidently. “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him.”

“Yes,” the stranger said quietly. “We all owe him that much.”

The five Toa Mahri continued to look bemused at the stranger’s vague comments, and Hahli could tell that there was something about him that he wasn’t letting on. In fact, there was something about the traveler that felt strangely… familiar. Even so, she found it rude to pry any further and the others seemed to be in silent agreement on that fact. This beach was a personal spot for many, not just them, and it was not any of their place to judge what reasons anyone had to visit and pay tribute to any of the statues here.

“Well,” she said, “it’s been nice meeting you, traveler. I’m afraid we have to get going. We’ll leave you to your thoughts.”

The stranger inclined his concealed head towards her. “Thank you, Toa of Water. Thank you… to all of you, for your duty.”

Again, the five Toa were left at a loss for words. Unable on how else to respond, they began to depart from the beach, giving the traveler his privacy. As they walked down the stone pathway that led back to New Atero, Hahli took a moment to spare one last glance at the stranger, just in time to see him pull back his hood. It was difficult to see under the night sky, with the only lights coming from the stars above, but the details of the mask that adorned the stranger’s face were unmistakable.

Hahli sucked in her breath but was careful not to gasp. She looked away from the stranger before he could notice her looking at him and hurried to catch up with the others. She spoke not a word of what she had seen to the others; as a former Chronicler, she knew that some stories were simply not hers to tell.

The traveler watched as the Toa Mahri walked away, allowing a small smile to cross his face as he noticed the Toa of Water catch a glimpse of his visage. Perhaps the day would come when he would be able to properly introduce himself to them and speak with them as an equal… but today was not that day. It would not be for a long time.

Looking back up at the statue of Matoro, he gave a bittersweet smile to the hero who had sacrificed himself to give so much to the world. Toa Kongu was indeed correct; none of them would have been here had it not been for him. He would not be here had it not been for him.

“Thank you, Toa Matoro,” he whispered. “I owe my life to you.”

At his feet, he felt something tap against his shin and he looked down to see a Scarabax Beetle looking up at him. Many of them populated the beach, but this one seemed to have a particular interest in him. He chuckled as he bent down to pick up the beetle, which instantly crawled up to rest on his shoulders.

“I missed you too, old friend. Has Kiina been keeping good care of you?”

The beetle clicked in response.

“Somehow, I’m not surprised. Perhaps I should leave her a note telling her that Scarabax Beetles require a bit more food than that.”

The beetle clicked again, more excitedly this time.

“I’m afraid not this time, my friend. But someday soon, I promise.” He cast a wistful gaze back at the statue. “I just wanted to pay my respects to someone.”

The beetle nodded in understanding and joined its old friend in paying tribute to the Ko-Matoran who had saved the world.

When the sun rose again to cast its golden shine on the Great Beach, the Scarabax Beetle could be found resting on the shoulder of Matoro’s statue, sleeping soundly as it nestled beside its mask.


I suspect the traveler is Mata Nui.