The Toa Toduna, Survivors of a Dying World

As touched on in the account of Makuta Miserix’s Toa Hagah, Toa Kilaoi found himself stranded in an alternate reality during the chaos of the Hagah Rebellion on Destral. A damaged and dysfunctional universe where the Great Spirit had died, but the inhabitants were trapped inside their former paradise, this was the Burning Sanctuary alternate universe.

The tragedy began with an event that occurred in the prime reality of the Kardan Universe, the infamous Matoran Civil War, but in this timeline the efforts to restore the damage the war caused were not quite as successful. And the blame, unfairly, was initially placed upon one lone Toa.

Toa Jovan of the Burning Sanctuary AU was once the leader of his universe’s team destined to save the life of Mata Nui. Unfortunately, in this reality his team was slaughtered one by one on their way to the Chamber of Life, overwhelmed by the Ignika’s guardians and the trials of the 777 Stairs. By the time Jovan and the only other surviving member made it to the legendary mask, an eruption inside the volcano caused the pedestal and the other Toa approaching to fall into the lava below, forever dooming Mata Nui and those within him.

Jovan escaped the Chamber of Life, delivering the grim news to the Turaga of Metru Nui (preceding Turaga Dume), and was cast out of the city before he could even try to offer the Turaga alternative solutions. Still, Jovan did all he could to aid any Matoran that would accept his help in finding safe shelter as the world around them began to crumble, the damages to Metru Nui following the Matoran Civil War only causing worse and worse disasters across the Matoran Universe. Eventually, these system-wide failures within the Great Spirit’s mind and body over a much more prolonged period of Great Disruption led to the near-delirious Mata Nui straying far off course on his return to Bara Magna, veering towards Bota Magna and plummeting to the jungle moon’s surface.

The impact was mostly absorbed and spared most of the inhabitants inside the Matoran Universe, but the system-wide failures caused any exit hatches on the GSR to lock and jam, preventing escape to the moon outside, which was half razed by the impact anyway. Trapped, the inhabitants now struggle and war with each other for survival on what little resources and territory they can maintain, factions splintering off to the various corners of the Matoran Universe, their Burning Sanctuary.

Since arriving to this world, Kilaoi eventually came across the lone Toa of Magnetism, and Jovan was surprised to meet a Toa so disinterested in his past failures and more valuing of his overall worth and nobility, and what he was capable of accomplishing in the here and now. So, Jovan joined the stranded Toa of Fire in creating a ragtag team of survivors to navigate their nightmarish home together, and rescue whoever they could from the rubble.

Toa Naho of the Burning Sanctuary AU never joined the Toa Mangai, as the team itself never got the chance to form. Instead she and a few other transformed Matoran from Metru Nui became its local Toa Metru that quickly found themselves unable to keep the city from going defunct.

As more and more domes within the GSR began to experience major disasters due to the system-wide failures, eventually the other inhabitants now came to blame the Matoran of Metru Nui for causing this catastrophe in the first place with their petty civil war. Attacks began ransacking the city, foreigners of all kinds lashing out at the Matoran of Metru Nui, and tearing through the novice Toa team Naho belonged to. The only way to survive was to hide in the shadows, living in stark contrast to all the ideals Naho once held as a Toa-hero. Alone, she struck back from the darkness of the city at the invaders with her Kanoka Crossbow, using her Huna to maintain the advantage of stealth.

Many years later, Naho struck down a band of pirates attacking Jovan and Kilaoi as they were scavenging the burning city for supplies, and though wary she revealed herself to the two and ended up joining their side.

To keep up with Jovan’s flight and Kilaoi’s Turbo Cycle he named the Omega Maximum, she claimed a working vehicle of her own: the Light Racer- a hi-tech Cycle that ran on a form of energy enabling it to move at speeds rivaling a Kakama-wearer and perform extremely sharp turns. It was uniquely capable of creating a trail of solid light projecting from its rear wheel, which could serve as a temporary barrier to block off anyone chasing its rider or be used to encircle and trap grounded foes.

Of course, Jovan and Naho’s former team were not the only Toa working to aid those impacted by the faltering Universe, as elsewhere there was Marya, Toa of Light.

In this reality, Terios’ Matoran friend Marya was the one to survive the former, living on to become a Toa of Light. She did her best to provide shelter and care for the rest of the Matoran on the Tren Krom Peninsula, but eventually the increasing natural disasters forced Marya and the few remaining survivors to evacuate to the northwestern area of the Northern Continent. Even farther west was the secret island of Artakha, which was suffering catastrophic damage as Mata Nui’s condition worsened, until Artakha himself was forced to likewise evacuate his realm’s inhabitants to the Northern Continent along with the Avohkii in-hand. Meeting the Toa of Light, Artakha entrusted Marya with safekeeping the Avohkii until its destined wearer was found, if they were still alive.

Marya defended herself and the Matoran in her care with twin Lightstone Blades, the crystalline edges of which she could create with her Light element itself to activate or deactivate the blades at will. To get from place to place quickly, Artakha crafted an Air Board for her to ride upon and hover across the land with great speed and agility. She could also use her Kualsi to dodge obstacles and large chunks of debris while still riding the Air Board, or alternatively skate upon her Glide Boots forged with Levitation Kanoka.

After years of going around gathering as many Matoran as possible to safety, she finally found herself encountering Kilaoi’s small team of Toa trying to do the same. They had in their company a Ta-Matoran from Metru Nui named Takua, and when he was brought back to Marya’s camp the Avohkii that was kept there began to glow brighter the closer he got to its presence… And one day, destiny decided the time was right for the Avohkii to call upon its bearer.

The Takua of the Burning Sanctuary AU became a Toa of Light in a time when the Toa Nuva never came to be, at least not yet (if the Toa Mata’s pods ever successfully launched). As such, he was simply known as Toa Takua, transforming unexpectedly after finally getting too close to the Avohkii the other Toa were keeping safe in their refugee camp. To train the newly transformed Toa, he was adopted into Kilaoi’s small team of Toa as the final member, and taught to wield his new Light Spear which was transformed from a Firestaff he was carrying at the time of his transformation. Still, as a rookie Toa, Kilaoi instructed Takua to remain close to the camp on the Northern Continent and watch over the Matoran, training in the meantime while Kilaoi and the others ventured off to other parts of the damaged universe.

However, the day Takua finally joined the others on a scavenging run of Metru Nui, disaster struck…

It was at this time back in Kilaoi’s home reality that Makuta Tridax had sent his Shadow-corrupted Toa Hagah on a hunt for an alternate Takanuva, and the Olmak portal led them to the Burning Sanctuary AU. Arriving in Metru Nui just before Takua and the others did, Tridax’s Hagah lay in wait for the Toa of Light to show himself, ambushing Takua the second he was alone with a surprise attack and a Tridax Pod of Shadow Leeches. His original Avohkii was knocked off, and replaced with a copy forged by Tridax laced with a virus code, one which created a permanent mental block in the Toa that would make him immune to any form of light purification or high frequency signals shattering the mental barrier. Tridax knew of the Klakk’s effects on Shadow-turned Toa, as one had nearly robbed him of his corrupted Hagah once before. And now Takua was cursed with the same inability to return to the light like his attackers, and was only saved from full corruption by his teammates rushing to his aid when they noticed he was gone for too long.

The damage, however, had already been done, and Takua was forever cursed as a Shadow Toa just barely holding onto the last of his inner light, forced to rely on his new Avohkii for elemental Light attacks as well as a replacement half of his Spear to artificially generate Light energy.

Combined with the other half of the original Spear channeling his Shadow element, Takua now effectively wielded a Spear of Twilight which he could separate into twin weapons of Light and Shadow. He also claimed a Metru Speeder as his vehicle (a larger model of the Matoran Moto-Sled invented by Nuparu), needing to keep up with the rest of his team as they were now being hunted down by Tridax’s Hagah bent on finishing the job they were sent here to do.

A few more years passed since that first attack from Tridax’s corrupted Hagah, and Kilaoi’s team found themselves needing to lead the relentless hunters away from the camp of refugees. Marya and Jovan would return to the Northern Continent settlement while the others kept the Shadow-turned Toa contained to Metru Nui, Takua boldly using himself as bait to draw their attention and any scuffles away from his Matoran friends.

In the meantime, allied mask makers and other remaining masters of the forge were seeking a way to repair Kilaoi’s Olmak on the old Toa of Fire’s behalf, with the promise that if Kilaoi could find his way back home he would without fail return to evacuate the refugees to a better land. The efforts of all involved eventually paid off thankfully, and a last ditch effort to escape the pursuing Shadow Toa chasing them all down ended with Kilaoi leading Jovan, Naho, Marya, and Takua through a Dimensional Gate and out of their enemies’ clutches, closing the portal before they could follow.

Kilaoi and his team found themselves entering his home reality, not in the Matoran Universe like he expected, but on another world foreign to him- in the middle of a large battle between the many Toa of Spherus Magna and the Dark Hunters. How Kilaoi’s Olmak led him him here specifically, he knew not. But an old, faithful part of him suspected that the Great Spirit of his reality lived on and may have had a hand in the matter.

Ever since aiding in the victory of that battle and integrating into Spherus Magna’s society, Kilaoi’s team has dubbed themselves the Toa Toduna, the “Survivors” of a dying world. And with ample support, they began finding new homes for the remaining refugees in the Burning Sanctuary, at least those willing to make the journey and accept the aid.

(I apologize in advance for the pics automatically showing up on white backgrounds and making some glowing details hard to see, but I don’t feel like fixing that junk)