Ta-Wahi- Beach- In the Time Before Time
"Ame's back!" "Ame's back!" "Ame's come to visit again!" Several Matoran shouts echoed around the tents. The campsite was a temporary settlement filled with Matoran of nearly every element. Many had come here to wait to be accepted in the newly-finished Ta-Koro. Others, feeling they didn't fit in with the other Koros, had resorted to a semi-nomadic life and were just stopping at another temporary settlement along their endless path. A few were here to provide aid or lend their survival skills to ensure the vagabonds didn't starve or fall ill. All of them were cheery, all of them helped their brothers and sisters, and all of them thanked Mata-Nui for their wondrous lives.
As Ame walked through the main entrance, a mob of smiling Matoran swarmed around his waist. "It's good to see you all again, my friends!" Ame was a Toa of Plasma. Friendly to his core, Ame loved spending time with the Matoran and getting to know each of them on a personal level. He was able to know many of them across the entire island due to his Mask of Speed. Ame felt it necessary to visit with the Matoran due to the scarce number of Toa even present on Mata-Nui. In his opinion, the Matoran needed to see their protectors so they could work with a peace of mind. The Turaga shared with these Toa a legend stating that these Toa weren't destined to stay with the Matoran. These Toa were created by Mata-Nui to oversee and protect the construction of the six Koros. With the final settlement, Ta-Koro, finally completed, Ame hadn't seen or heard from his brothers and sisters. He worried for them, and for himself. "I'm glad to see you're all doing well! I'll meet with everyone later tonight by the center bonfire. I have some news to share with everyone." Ame finally waded past the Matoran and began walking towards a particular tent. There was one Matoran among these vagabonds whom Ame felt he could truly call his friend.
"HELLOOOOOO DID YA MISS ME?!" Ame hollered as he swung open the entrance flap to a large canvas tent. Inside, a plethora of shiny knick-knacks and collectible Kanohi lined the shelves and tables. A Matoran jumped out of his seat, spilling a glass of water. "Ame! Good to see you again, my friend! I was just about to head out to explore a cave I found the other day!" The silver-and-blue figure was Baden, a Matoran of Lightning, and known adventurer. Baden loved exploring the island of Mata-Nui and oftentimes shared the many treasures he'd discover with whatever community he was currently living with. "I just stopped by to say hello. Don't take all day spelunking; I've got important news to share with everyone tonight. Join us at the central bonfire, okay?" Before Baden could reply, Ame had exited the tent and could be heard joking with other Matoran outside.
Baden cleaned up the spilled water, grabbed his favorite walking stick, strapped on his backpack, and jogged out of the camp and into the forest. After an hour or so, he reached the mouth of the cave he mentioned to Ame. Thick vines crawled across the entrance, but Baden worked a few of them apart and squeezed his way inside. Drawing out a lightstone from his pack, Baden ventured into the caves depths. He was careful and quiet, in case any sleeping danger await ahead. But Baden found nothing, only a central tunnel slowly descending into Mata-Nui's deeper layers. "This cave must lead to something," Baden decided. "The walls are too smooth and there's no other passageways. There's an end to this cave, and I bet there's a Kanohi waiting for me there!" He quickened his pace. Soon, he entered a large, hollow chamber, bare except for the far wall. "I knew it!" Baden hurried to the opposite end of the room where he found a carved hole. "A key? I need a key? Maybe I can cheat." Baden removed a few carving tools from his pack, and before long had whittled a stone roughly into the shape of whatever would fit into the hole in the wall. Baden shoved the stone inside. BOOM! Baden felt tremendous pain before everything went black...
Ame was helping a Ko-Matoran assemble a telescope when everyone froze in place to stare at a tremendous bolt of lightning descending from the heavens. It struck somewhere in the forest. "It's barely cloudy... that wasn't natural.." Ame's Toa instincts raced. He knew this meant danger. The answer rushed through his thoughts. "Baden!" Ame dropped what parts he held and raced out of the encampment with his Kakama. He scoured miles of the forest in seconds before he found a cave with vines covering the entrance and fresh Matoran footprints in the mud in front of a forced-open entrance through the vines. A quick run around the cave revealed a powerful blast had indeed struck the roof of the cave, incinerating everything within a few feet of the blast, and generating a deep crevice in the rock and soil. The ground shook beneath him. Without a moment to lose, Ame raced inside the cave, descending down the same path towards the hollow chamber while he dodged several falling rocks. The smoke was still rising off Baden's unconscious body when he arrived. "He's still alive," Ame let a hundred different scenarios cross his mind. Baden was dying, the cave was collapsing, and Ame wouldn't make it back to the village with him in time. He had to act now if his friend was to live. "I must do my duty..." Ame placed his hand over Baden's heartlight and forced his energy inside the Matoran. As he felt his body changing, Ame noticed Baden's face was different. "What happened to his mask?" Baden wore a Tryna-shaped Kanohi, but it no longer resembled any mask Ame had seen before. His observations were interrupted by Baden's chest expanding, along with a brightly-glowing heartlight. A sense of relief overwhelmed Ame, but soon that feeling gave way to a feeling of sadness as Ame watched his Toa hand shrink. He was a Toa no more, but Baden had become one in his place.
"Ame? What are you doing here? Wait, you've changed!" Baden sat up, then looked at his legs. "I've changed!" Before any more words could escape either mouth, the entrance to the chamber spewed dust and rocks and the ceiling of the cave dropped down to the floor. Though the ceiling had some large cracks, the hollow chamber itself seemed unaffected by the cave in. "We're trapped.." Baden began to panic. "Calm yourself, Baden. You're a Toa now. You must learn to control your fear. Consider this your first Toa lesson." Ame stood up and paced around the former entrance. "Here's lesson #2: patience. I'm sure the villagers will come looking for us, and sooner or later we shall be freed."
But they never were. The pair waited,and waited, and slept, and waited. After what felt like a week, Ame began to train Baden in using his new powers. Together, they tried to bore a tunnel through the cave wall, but electricity proved ineffective, and Ame's plasma was too diminished as a Turaga. Eventually, they hibernated. Then awoke and trained and hibernated again. Over and over they repeated this cycle, until they would hibernate for years at a time. Time itself lost all meaning, and the pair forgot nearly all of their past lives.
After one long sleep, Baden decided to force his mask power to reveal itself. He concentrated for hours, until his mask spoke to him. "My powers won't help you." Baden jumped back in shock. "I can only teleport you to places we can see." "You can talk?" Baden and Ame both couldn't believe it. After some time, they learned Baden's mask had gained sentience from the lightning strike. It called itself Kualsk, and never had much to say. It slept while Baden slept, and over countless year Baden and Kualsk learned to work together. Eventually, Baden could rapidly teleport all across the room. But the room was small, so that's as far as they could go. Together, Ame, Baden, and Baden's strange Kanohi lay down to sleep again. They would not awaken for quite some time...
Ta-Wahi- Charred Forest- Present Day
Baden awoke first this time. He let his teacher sleep. He went through a routine of kicks again, focusing on exerting tiny electrical blasts at the tip of his feet with each strike. After working up a mild sweat, he turned to nudge Ame awake. Instead, he saw a Hoto Bug crawling across Ame's lap. "Look above," Ame's kind voice instructed. On the chamber's ceiling, several more Hotos were crawling around, with even more appearing through the rock. "They're tunnelers, Baden. They're our way out of this cave." It took all day, but Ame softened the rocky tunnels of the Rahi before Baden blasted them apart. Eventually, they climbed through the tunnels to the surface.
For the first time in ages, the pair felt the fresh breeze blowing across their faces. They embraced each other for several minutes before Ame spoke. "This is a forest of ash and destruction. We should leave this place." Baden hoisted Ame onto his shoulders. "Where should we go?" Even without direction, Baden took the first steps towards leaving the cave behind. "A name is coming to me." While Baden walked, Ame concentrated, allowing words to enter his thoughts that hadn't appeared in years. "Va... Vako... Vakama.." he finally worked out. "Vakama is the Turaga of Ta-Koro. He is wise, we should go to him. He will know what we should do." Before long, the pair came upon a path, which they followed until they reached a sign pointing them in the direction of Ta-Koro. "Won't be long now."
Let me know if I should change any of these origin details. The Anxilia mask of Baden was approved by Ghosthands. Both Turaga Ame and Toa Baden are new characters by me. They'll be in Ta-Koro by next post and I'm open for interaction after that. If anyone wants to position themselves near the Ta-Koro gates, that'd be swell. Neither of them remember life before the cave. Their personalities haven't really changed, but Ame can sort of remember a few proper nouns if he really tries, thus his guidance towards Ta-Koro and Vakama, who I realize is dead but Ame doesn't know that yet