Well, the BZPRPG is back, act 3 has begun. It’s been like a decade since I was in act 1, and things have changed both in-universe and out. For one thing, Dece has adopted the identity of Kanohi, much like in Six Kingdoms. Although actually I originally created the plot point ofKanohi for BZPRPG Act 3, it just took a while for BZPRPG to get started so I adapted him fir SKE in the meantime. And it did require some adapting, the rules are a bit different here, Mata-Nui lacks the Kanoka of Metru-Nui for one. So to help setup the Kanohi of act 3, and flesh out an off screen adventure, I wrote this short story about him. I am posting it today for the one month anniversary of act 3 beginning. It’s a standalone adventure, it’s not needed to read his adventures in Le-Wahi or vice versatile read this story. It just adds some context. I will say this story takes place three days before my first Kanohi post, for anyone following the timeline. With that said, enjoy this little story.
What do you see, Dece?
Kanohi bolted upright and swiped up his Volo Lutu Launcher, his heartlight flashing and his many wooden masks rattling from the violent motion. His lungs pumped out a hacking gasp of air, as his optics darted around him. Their lens searched through the gasps in his masks, his head pivoting on its socket.
There was nothing there, save the early morning sunlight that lit Le-Wahi. A beam of light had merely drifting across his head. He could hear crackling, but his optics identified the sound as a pair of Brakas chattering to themselves
The cross-wired Fe-Matoran slumped against the tree, rustling the crude hammock he had made of vines and the trees branches. He lay there, tracing his metal fingers through the grooves in his masks, trying to stabilize his pounding heartlight. Another dream, another nightmare of that wicked Matoran with the Hau who thought himself the Makuta.
Finally he sighed and holstered his Volo Lutu Launcher, before he began readjusting his armor, making sure each mask was secure. The straps for each wooden mask were made of braided plant fiber, each mask acted as plate of armor, greaves, shoulder pads, chest plate, he even wore one over his true mask.
They can’t recognize me, I don’t look like Dece, I am Kanohi; the Mask. I help people. Dece couldn’t help people. Dece … Dece didn’t save people. I save people.
He drummed his masks, trying to recenter himself. The thudding of metal fingers tapping wood centered him, helping him calm down. He was safe. He … he was safe.
Kanohi sat fully up, he could hear the hammock creak and buckle beneath him, he wasn’t surprised. The rush job he made it in almost guaranteed it could not last to support the Fe-Matoran another night. It wasn’t the first time. So for now as it held, he would focus.
The Fe-Matoran reached underneath a mask, pulling out of a slot a Takea’s tooth. The sharp fang had been gutted into a shell, housing a mechanism of metal and stone. He flicked it, and a small flame erupted from it.
He stared into the flame, he could hear his vocal processor already beginning to sputter. S-still, he was Kanohi, he needed to help the travelers of the jungle. B-because then, maybe one day, he…
The flame danced before him, rising and falling. His mechanized throat began to hack as he remembered that all consuming flame, even as the lighter’s fire seemed to grow, embers stretching from it before snapping off, like straining rope from his Volo Lutu Launcher. His heartlight was pounding again, imagining smoke gushing from the fire into his chassis.
Finally the Matoran of Iron snapped shut the lighter. A vision wasn’t coming. But his visions were … it was the only thing valuable about him. It’s the only reason the False Makuta cared about him. It’s all he could offer.
S-still, he was Kanohi, he would help the Matoran. He stowed the lighter away and shakily stood up, nearly toppling off the branch as he did so. Fe-Matoran were not meant to enjoy the treetops, it was not his environment. But that made it safer for him. And he could do more good here.
Kanohi drew his Volo Lutu Launcher and steadied his aim at a nearby tree’s outstretched branch. He squeezed the trigger, and the iron hook hurled from its barrel. Trailing behind the hook was a tail of braided cord, linking the projectile to its launcher. Then with a thud the hook latched to a tree branch, wedged in.
Springs in the Volo Lutu Launcher straining, yearning to draw close again. With a lurch Kanohi hurtled forward, yanked through the air on the rapidly recoiling rope. With a smash he smacked into the branch, the hook slotting back into the gadget.
He climbed up onto the branch and fired again, launching to another tree. He was a Matoran of Iron, he could endure much more physical exertion or abuse than other breeds of Matoran, even without his armor. So he kept grappling from tree to tree, smashing through the twigs and leaves of the jungle’s canopy, the broken shards tumbling to the forest floor.
Kanohi barreled through the jungle, startling Taku from their nests. He tried to call out “sorry” to the fleeing Rahi, but all that came out was a hack. Talking was still a luxury he did not possess.
The jungles of Le-Wahi made up a large chunk of Mata-Nui, roughly the southern two-fifths of the island. All sorts of Rahi lived her, foraging and hunting among the trees. Le-Koro was here too, though Kanohi did not head into town much. He … there were multiple reasons why.
Then he heard a cry.
Immediately he grappled around towards the shouts, hurtling and smashing through sticks and twigs towards the sound. The tree branches smacked and scraped his armor, he flinched, but he had to keep going. Someone needed help. N-Nichou would understand. He had been unworthy of the Wanderer’s Company too.
No, that wasn’t fair, that suggested the Wanderer’s Company was wrong. But Stannis and the other Maru, Kanohi had seen their deeds, had visions of their heroics. Had visions of … the ones who fell short. The Toa Maru were great heroes, the greatest in the history of Mata-Nui. Him not measuring up to them was because of his flaws. Not a fault of theirs.
But even if he was not destined to be a great Toa, he would still help people as best he could. Because he was Kanohi, the vigilante of Le-Wahi.
He slammed into a tree branch and scrambled atop it, before looking around. There, an orange Ta-Matoran was clutching his mask, screeching out a static squeal. His heartlight was pounding violently. He was in distress.
The sound sent Kanohi’s heartlight pulsing, the noise making him unsteady. But he knew firsthand how overwhelming things could be, and Kanohi was “cross-wired” himself after all. He had experienced sensory overload before. It was not fun.
And the simple fact was that Kanohi needed to help him. He sounded really hurt, and much pained noise might attack a predatory Rahi.
Kanohi grappled down, coming to the Matoran of Fire. His first thought was to speak comfortingly, but his vocal processor was as rough as gravel, what sound he made was strained and indecipherable.
The vigilante Fe-Matoran raised his hands to embrace the Ta-Matoran, then pulled back. Getting squeezed by a stranger was never comforting, he knew that from experience. And if his pain was physical, he might hurt the other Matoran. Ta-Matoran were not as sturdy as himself.
What should he do? The screeching was jagged as gravel, it sent his pistons flexing with unease. He … the sound was overwhelming to the vigilante’s sensors. But Kanohi had to help. He clutched his head and drummed his mask, trying to help himself think.
Okay, first, check the Ta-Matoran’s symptoms. Kanohi looked over the Matoran, he seemed fine, outside of the screaming … wait.
Kanohi focused his optics, this Matoran’s chassis was not orange, his frame was actually red. The front of his torso had been plastered with some powder. A narcotic? Or pollen from a plant?
Le-Wahi was home to many carnivorous plants, but could he recall one whose pollen caused pain? He was not really a botanist, but … he could vaguely remember once hearing a Le-Matoran telling the story of spores that made Brakas scream, until the Rahi was attacked and eaten by a Muaka. The spores would take root in the Rahi’s chassis and grow, they needed to be ingested by the large beast. The plants would eventually strangle the Muaka’s gears and it would be paralyzed, and as it lay dying the plants would bloom and release their spores.
He … did not do the story justice, it was very nice, accompanied by panflutes. But the point was, if this powder was those spores, this would not only kill this Matoran but a Muaka too, along with Kanohi if he wasn’t careful. He had to move quickly to save three lives.
The moral to that folktale was not to blindly accept an easy meal, it said nothing of how to treat the afflicted. The story would not help him here. Instead Kanohi grappled to the treetops, and yanked on the branch. He was dwarfed by the strength of Po-Matoran or Onu-Matoran, but the vigilante was active these days, he had some power behind him. With a rip he pulled off a leafy branch.
He hacked out an apology to the tree, before grappling back to the forest floor. He grabbed his canteen and doused the leaves, and then slowly, carefully, he began to brush the Matoran of Fire.
Theoretically Kanohi could try to burn the pollen away with his lighter, Ta-Matoran after all had resistance to heat and flames. But resistance was not immunity, and if he burnt another person…
The Ta-Matoran stuttered out a scream, and his optics began to focus again. The wet leaves mopped and swept away some of the pollen, helping the Matoran’s heartlight steady its glow. He was breathing heavier, but he was breathing.
Soon enough the branch’s leaves were all coated in pollen. Kanohi hooked a tree’s roots and grappled away, before pulling free a chunk of moss from its roots. Coughing out an apology to the mat of plants, he returned to the Ta-Matoran and wiped him down.
“Th-thank you,” the Ta-Matoran managed, his optics clenched tight. He was still in pain. But before Kanohi could wipe down more of his chassis, there was a large thud behind them.
Kanohi’s masks rattled as he swerved behind him to see trees shaking. Something big was coming towards them. Quickly Kanohi crouched and pointed to the Matoran of Fire, before pointing to his back.
“I … if the pollen is still on me—” But then a closer tree shook, and the Ta-Matoran scrambled onto Kanohi’s back, trying to grip the notches in he mask playing his back.
Kanohi swayed under the weight, and the sensors on his back seemed to prickle. But discomfort or not, the vigilante Matoran knew he had to hurry. Shakily he raised his Volo Lutu Launcher, hooking a branch near the top of a tree. In a rush the two Matoran were wrenched from the forest four, landing in a heap in the tree.
Below them was a roar, and a yellow and black shadow broke through the clearing before smashing into the tree, cracking the trunk and shattering dark wildly. Kanohi staggered but fired his Volo Lutu Launcher again, hurling away from the Muaka.
He thumped against the next tree but launched his grappling hook again, barely slowing to recover. The Ta-Matoran grunted and groaned with each collision, but he still held on.
There was a roar in the distance, Kanohi tried not to guess if the Muaka was still pursuing them, instead focusing on moving away and keeping the other Matoran secure.
His servos and pistons strained from the weight, the leaves blinded him, his back tingled uncomfortably, and the branches slashed him. But Kanohi kept moving, he had to.
“Th-thank you, again,” the Ta-Matoran managed as Kanohi continued to grapple them along, “ m-my name is Tarama. I … I was just trying to scavenge a Muaka carcass, then everything was pain. I tried to run away, run anywhere, but eventually it got too much.”
Kanohi nodded vaguely. He knew how dangerous Le-Wahi could be. It’s why he stayed here, to rescue travelers, explorers, even wanderers. To be there for those Matoran and other breeds that otherwise could have been lost and forgotten in the Jungle.
Finally Kanohi collapsed, thumping into a tree. He lay among the branches, heartlight pounding, even as Tarama looked around with his telescopic lens.
“I … I don’t see the beast, I think we got away. Thank you, so much. Um, but who am I thanking?”
Kanohi lay there hyperventilating for a time, before shoving upright. He was tired, his body ached, and his back was on fire, the pollen irritating his chassis. Still, he had saved a Matoran, helped someone. It was worth it.
Shakily he lifted his finger, and pointed to one of his masks.
The vigilante shook his head, and pointed to his masks again, as well as Tarama’s own Arthron. “Kanohi?” the Matoran of Fire guessed, and Kanohi nodded, slumping back down.
“S-should we wait a bit, Kanohi?” Tarama offered, and the vigilante nodded. The Ta-Matoran awkwardly shifted onto the branch, trying to stay balanced.
Kanohi leaned against the tree, his heartlight unsteady. As he laid there, Tarama coughed, “um, I hate to ask, but I don’t do well in the cold. I know it’s not that cold but my damp armor and it’s still barely day and all. Do … do you have a Heatstone I could use?”
The Fe-Matoran flinched, but helping was the right thing. Shakily they pulled free their lighter, and offered it to the Matoran of Fire. He dipped his head in thanks and ignited it, huddling around the flame.
The flame seemed to shift and twist in Kanohi’s optics, the flame shooting out like the cord of his Volo Lutu Launcher. It stretched and retracted, stretched and retracted, almost mimicking the beat of a heartlight. It seemed to reach closer and closer to Kanohi, growing thicker and thicker.
Smack. Kanohi tumbled as a long wind smacked into him. He careened out of the sky as a Gukko flew above him, a Le-Matoran riding atop. A caravan trailed after the four winged Rahi, knocking about its cargo of lumber. Suddenly the Rahi bucked, and a log fell from its cargo, hurtling at Kanohi’s face.
He rolled away, the log smacking right where he had been laying. Shakily he stood up, even as the log ignited. He stumbled back as smoke erupted from the chunk of lumber, the inferno engulfed his sight, blinding him to reality.
Fire latched onto him like tendrils, strangling him in a cocoon. As he was dragged into the binds of smoke he flailed, his chest crushed between the gas. Then suddenly the gas condensed tightening into cords of vine. He slid out of them, thumping onto the roots of a tree.
Before him he could see a fallen Le-Matoran, her goods scattered like the stars in the sky, her Mount impaled on a tree. She lay limp caked on mud before suddenly jerking upright, staggering on two legs. But her movements were unnatural, and in the gloom of the swamp, he could faintly see thick strings puppeting her limbs.
There was a rush of wind and Kanohi was knocked off balance, nearly tripping again. He steadying himself, before realizing in horror he stood before the Gukko. The Rahi was still impaled by a jagged tree, oozing green lubricant dripping from its pierced chassis. The vigilante stumbled backwards, only to thump into someone his height.
He spun around, and his vision seemed to blur and slow. He fell to the ground as the world melted before him, standing before him was the Le-Matoran, her body raising from the ground, strange arms suspending her upright, each of the limbs holding her bursting from a tree, and each vaguely resembled a Toa’s arms—
Kanohi gasped out, heartlight panting. A vision. A Le-Matoran merchant was going to fall out of the sky? He … he had to get her—
He fell back down, still too exhausted. He shuddered, closing his optics. He … his visions were vague, confusing, he had no idea when this vision would occur. Nor did he know if this vision was literal. Maybe it wasn’t a Le-Matoran trader crashing to the ground. Maybe it was the Le-Koro economy crashing, or the Gukko Force failing in a future battle.
Regardless, Kanohi was too drained to do anything about it now. And Tarama was in trouble right now, he still had to get the Matoran of Fire to safety. He … he needed to get his fellow Matoran to the safety of a settlement first, then look for the Le-Matoran. And to do that, he unfortunately had to rest first.
Weak, failure, what kind of Fe-Matoran struggled after only this much trouble. He was too weak, he was never going to be worthy.
Still, his optics drifted to Tarama, huddling around the fire. This Matoran was alive because of him. He helped save him. He had even lent him his lighter to stay warm, the one relic he had kept from his life as Dece. He … he had done good.
Kanohi sighed, heartlight still unease, but steadier now. He was no Toa Maru, no Akiri, he was not a great hero. But he still was a hero, and he still could do good. And helping out in small ways, saving singular lives, that mattered too.
He just wished he could believe that.