Spot of Lore to accompany Tulkki, a Ko-Matoran OC I posted over in this thread: Basically All The McToran
If there was one thing Tulkki was fairly certain about, it was that the future was underground.
And he was in a position to know, after all: as an Adept, it was his job to translate the prophecies that covered Ko-Koro’s sanctum. The series of three he’d just finished translating for Jaa and the other Scribes all suggested it.
They were practically burned into his mind at this point:
The Six Shall Meet Their Destiny Below The Centre.
Tread Carefully: The Dutiful Sleep Beneath.
Where Darkness Lives, Unity Opens The Door To The Past.
The moment he finished translating them, he realised he’d hit on something important. A direct mention of any of the Three Virtues in a prophecy was a sign of importance, and all three back to back…
He didn’t even ask for Turaga Nuju’s permission. He just upped and left, wanting a front row seat for history.
Given that he was crawling through a blizzard and dragging the remains of his leg, it wasn’t going so well.
The Muaka behind him let out another roar, its treads crunching ever closer, its jaws snapping and snarling in anticipation of a meal.
Something sharp cut through the blizzard, and Tulkki braced himself for the end–
And a rotting black mask thudded into the snow in front of him.
‘You’re a long way from home,’ an icy voice said.
Tulkki rolled over to see a huge figure looming over him, a sword in one hand and a shield in the other: Toa Kopaka.
‘What’s wrong with this mask?’ Tulkki asked, reaching for it: a hau, same as his.
Kopaka’s shield sliced into the snow between Tulkki’s hand and the mask. ‘Don’t touch that,’ he snapped. ‘What are you doing out here all alone?’
‘I was… I was trying to get to Ta-Koro,’ he admitted. ‘And from there to Onu-Koro.’
‘Felt like a change of scenery?’ Kopaka asked, stoic as ever. ‘I’m surprised you made it as far as you did.’
‘Are you-- gonna take me back to the village?’
Kopaka considered it. 'No. You’re closer to one of the Ta-Koro Guard’s outposts, and I’m heading that way anyway; rumours of a mask. You’re lucky I found you-- I’ve been tracking this muaka for three hours. He reached up and scratched the beast’s muzzle with his free hand: it seemed docile now. ‘I can take you as far as the outpost. From there, you’re on your own.’
Kopaka hoisted up Tulkki with ease, noticing his leg for the first time. ‘That’s not gonna be an easy fix.’
‘Maybe it’s for the best that you’re headed to Onu-Koro,’ he decided. 'Someone there should be able to patch you up. Onua tells me there’s a tunnel engineer by the name of Nuparu that Toa Onua tells me is destined for great things–
He fell silent and carefully set Tulkki down. ‘Don’t move,’ he said.
The Toa said nothing and stalked off into the blizzard. Tulkki heard the crunch of treads on snow and the roaring of what sounded like several Muaka. Were they meant to hunt in packs, or was it the effects of that strange mask?
The blizzard left Tulkki unable to make out much beyond vague shapes: one faster, at least five slower. A flash of claws emerged from the curtain of snow, followed by a length of torn tread, then two, three, four pieces of a shattered mask, all of them blacker than black, mottled with green and brown–
And without warning the fight seemed to turn. First a sword then a shield flew past Tulkki, and another roar joined the chorus. Where were all these muaka coming from?
And then the fight turned once more. Kopaka slid past Tulkki, taking up his tools once more, and swung around just in time to block the snarling jaws of another, driving it back with his sword.
In a flash, Kopaka’s mask shifted into a Pakari, the great Kanohi mask of strength. Tulkki realised that without his Akaku, he’d have a much harder time seeing his assailants in the blizzard–
And then a snapping, snarling Muaka flew clean over Tulkki’s head. Maybe there was something to be said for raw strength after all.
Kopaka came back into view, wearing a mask of shielding this time, struggling to drive back a pair of enraged beasts, each one with a cracked mask on each shoulder. A third joined them, circling around, and Kopaka hunched down behind his shield, sheathing his sword and pulling Tulkki in close to protect him.
The blizzard lifted, and the snow around them began to melt. Tulkki realised what this meant as another huge figure loomed into view.
Kopaka was no longer fighting alone.
‘Brother!’ A jovial voice boomed. ‘The local fauna getting a little too playful for you?’
‘I don’t need your help,’ Kopaka grunted. ‘See to your own–’
The neck of one Muaka shot forward a few dozen feet and its jaw struck the edge of Kopaka’s shield and knocking him off-balance. He pulled Tulkki closer to him, the matoran’s entire broken body now behind the Toa’s shield–
And a lash of flame drove the rahi back. Toa Tahu stepped into view, his flaming sword in a sturdy two-handed grip. ‘You sure about that, brother?’
‘I prefer to work alone,’ Kopaka said. After a moment, he added: ‘But maybe I’ll make an exception.’
Both toa switched masks: Kopaka to a Kakama, Great Kanohi of speed, and Tahu to a Pakari of his own.
‘Ready, brother?’ The Toa of Fire asked.
Kopaka responded by setting down Tulkki and vanishing from sight, leaving nothing but footprints.
‘You’re gonna be okay,’ Tahu said, turning momentarily to the matoran. ‘Nice mask.’
The sounds of fighting drew further and further away, and before long it sounded as though there were only one or two Muaka left. Just as Tulkki grew hopeful, a pair of jaws shot out of the snow–
And in an instant, Kopaka was there to intercept them. He switched his mask back to a Pakari as he slid to a halt between Tulkki and the enraged rahi, grabbing one of its jaws with each hand and forcing them further and further apart.
‘Brother?’ He called.
Toa Tahu emerged once more from the blizzard, moving at a dead sprint, the snow beneath his feet hissing instantly into steam. One blow from his blazing sword shattered the rotting Hau on the creature’s left shoulder, and it redoubled its efforts to crunch down on Kopaka-- who was now visually struggling, even with the power of his mask. It reached out for him with its terrible claws–
and Kopaka changed tactics, wrenching his arms around and flipping the rahi onto its side. Stepping back as its jaws finally snapped shut, he grabbed the remaining mask and wrenched it free from the beast’s shoulder.
Stepping back, he shifted his mask back to an Akaku and scanned their surroundings.
‘That’s the last of them?’ Tahu asked, sword still at the ready.
Kopaka nodded, and then handed Toa Tahu the mask. ‘Take this to Turaga Vakama,’ he decided. 'If anyone will understand it, he will.
‘And-- take the matoran with you. He’s headed for Onu-Koro.’
Without a word, he vanished into the snow.
Toa Tahu eyed Tulkki. ‘Muaka got your leg? There’ll be someone in Onu-Koro who can build you a new one. In the meantime…’
He hoisted the matoran up onto his broad shoulders and set off into the blizzard.