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BIONICLE Legends 8: Downfall

From BIONICLEsector01

"He never thought he was a true Toa hero. He always said he wasn't an athlete or a leader, 'just a translator.' He turned out to be the greatest of us all."
Toa Mahri Kongu

Series BIONICLE Legends
Author Greg Farshtey
Publisher Scholastic
ISBN 978-0-439-89037-3

Downfall is the eighth BIONICLE book in the BIONICLE Legends series.


Three days after the Toa Mahri returned to Metru Nui, Toa Hahli recounts their journey to the new Chronicler, Kopeke.

While Nuju worried about the fate of the Toa Nuva and the Matoran that embarked on the quest to save Mata Nui's life, Hahli's tale begins with her preventing Hydraxon from destroying the Ignika with his Cordak Blaster. In the resulting skirmish, Mantax escapes with the mask and tells Hahli to summon the Barraki to a meeting. After arguing briefly with Hahli, Hydraxon leaves and the other Toa Mahri arrive. Learning Matoro has Maxilos and Spinax hunt down Hydraxon, to manipulate the Makuta possessing the robot into leaving. The Toa Mahri explain to Defilak that the Matoran of Mahri Nui must use the Cord to go into Voya Nui's Nui Caves and survive as Voya Nui will crush Mahri Nui when the Toa Mahri sever the Cord and engage with the Barraki for the mask. As the Matoran are brought up the Cord, the Piraka attack, having been mutated into sea snakes by the Pit Mutagen. As Avak imprisons the Mahri out of water, unable to breathe, Axonn saves them. He tells them that Voya Nui will return to its original home and sends the Mahri back into the Black Water in the Toa Terrain Crawler after Mantax and the Ignika.

As Gadunka stirs nearby, Teridax reaches Hydraxon and tries to turn him back from his pursuit of Mantax. Failing in his Maxilos guise, he tries to take down Hydraxon as Teridax, but gets attacked by Spinax. In the ensuing fight Teridax uses his power scream on Hydraxon, but is buried in an avalanche the jailer causes. At Razor Whale's Teeth, the Barraki meeting begins; Mantax explains he has found a Brotherhood of Makuta Tablet of Transit, belonging to one of the Barraki who betrayed their entire army to Teridax 80,000 years ago. As he demands the traitor be revealed, the avalanche hits and Takadox attacks, revealing his treachery. The Mahri arrive in the chaos and see Gadunka attacking the Barraki. Hewkii is sent after Gadunka, and tries to fight the beast in a contest of strength. The Toa of Stone is defeated but saved by Hahli and Nuparu who drive Gadunka off. Jaller intervenes in Mantax's fight, allowing Mantax to begin to paralyze Takadox. Takadox unsuccessfully tries to get Maxilos to face Mantax, but Matoro freezes the disguised Makuta.

Jaller makes a move for the Ignika, but is stopped by Hydraxon. Using his Fire powers, he attacks, inadvertently thawing Teridax. Using his Rahi controlling powers, Teridax has Spinax attack Hydraxon, for Jaller and Matoro to escape with the Ignika. En route, Matoro reveals Maxilos's true nature to Jaller and the Toa of Fire informs him of his destiny as the Ignika's bearer, telling Matoro that he believes that the Toa of Ice is truly a great hero. Meanwhile, the Barraki confront Maxilos, who reveals himself as Makuta. Consequently, they attack him in revenge for their defeat. The Mahri are preparing to destroy the Cord when Gadunka, the 300-foot Venom Eel and the Ancient Sea Behemoth attack them. Meanwhile, having defeated the other Barraki, Teridax puts Takadox in a nightmarish illusion after the Barraki showed his Tablet of Transit, vainly hoping for protection. Suddenly the Barraki regroup, having feigned defeat, and send all their armies to destroy Teridax.

In the fight, Kongu unsuccessfully uses his Zatth to summon a monster to defeat the behemoth, summoning glowing fish, which the sea beast consumes. Hahli uses her Faxon to imitate this to trick the Ancient Sea Behemoth into getting crushed. Hewkii uses his Gravity power to send the Eel away, and Nuparu sends Gadunka into a chasm. However, it emerges and defeats Nuparu, grabbing the Ignika from Matoro, but is devolved back into a tiny Gadunka as a result. Hydraxon then arrives to seize the mask but Matoro convinces him to leave, informing him of their mission. With the Barraki approaching fast, the Mahri destroy the Cord and race after Voya Nui. Matoro takes the lead, but senses Mata Nui's death. Teridax in the near destroyed Maxilos senses this and prays to himself the Mahri succeed. Resigned, the Mahri give up, except Matoro who is determined to give it one last shot. His teammates fight the Barraki to buy Matoro time as he chases after Voya Nui. Realizing they cannot win, Jaller prepares a Nova Blast as Matoro swims past Voya Nui into the Giant Waterfall and into Karda Nui. He puts on the Ignika and, seeing the history of the mask, understands his destiny. Remembering his imperiled friends, Matoro's last act is to send the Mahri to Metru Nui before being converted to Life energy which radiates across the Matoran Universe and revives Mata Nui.

In Metru Nui, Jaller stops the Nova Blast and the Toa Mahri meet Vakama who tells of Matoro's sacrifice. As the Matoran celebrate the revival of Mata Nui, Nuju retreats to his Knowledge Tower by himself to mourn one of his few friends. Hahli finishes her tale, saying to Kopeke that while Matoro is dead, he is also one with the universe. In the ocean, Hydraxon finds and gathers Maxilos armor, with Teridax's soul absent. Mata Nui sleeps on, vaguely aware of events, but having dark dreams of impending doom. Meanwhile, the Toa Nuva briefly speak with Artakha and are given Adaptive Armor and sent to Karda Nui to awaken Mata Nui, arriving in the midst of a battle.

Matoro's Final Moments

Taken directly from Downfall

In the heart of a waterfall, Matoro fell.

The outside world was a blur of motion. He thought he caught glimpses of high mountains around him. It seemed there was a body of murky water down below, though he could not be sure. At one point, a dark, winged shape flew through the falls just below him, but he could not identify it.

Time was measured in micro-seconds now, flashes of sight and sensation as he plunged deep into the core of the universe. He realized that he had made this leap of faith with absolutely no idea what he was supposed to do with the Mask of Life once he got here. It almost made him laugh. His five best friends were giving their lives for him, and here he was, moments from disaster and still clueless about what it would take to be a hero this day.

Put on the mask.

"What—?" he said, startled. "Who said that?"

There was no answer. Had he really heard that, or was he losing his mind?

Put on the mask.

The Mask of Life — no one really knew the limits of its power. Maybe he was just hallucinating that he heard a voice, but the idea... what if the mask had to be, not just carried to the core, but donned for its power to be used? He remembered Takua, the adventurous Matoran who was hailed as the "herald" of a seventh Toa, meant to bring the Mask of Light to him wherever he might be. Little did anyone know Takua was destined to become that Toa, and the hero he had to find was the one who lived inside his own heart.

The universe is a riddle, thought Matoro. Turaga Nuju often said that. It hints at the path you are meant to walk, but never makes its message clear. You have to figure that out for yourself... and maybe I just did.

With a trembling hand, Matoro placed the Kanohi Ignika on top of his own mask. He expected to feel a surge of strength, or perhaps the opposite, a sudden, terrible weakness. But instead he felt... different. His body felt light and tingled as if a current of energy ran through it. He was falling still, but no longer tumbling out of control. His form was straight as an arrow and headed for a target still unknown.

Images flashed through Matoro's mind. He saw the creation of the Ignika; its millenia of waiting for the proper time to be used and the destined wearer; he saw it taken from its resting place once before, to be used to heal the Great Spirit... and he saw what happened to the one who wore it then.

He didn't cry out, or protest, or rush to tear the mask from his face. Nor did he waste a single moment in regret. He had never asked to become a Toa, or desired it, and the mantle of hero had never fit comfortably on his shoulders. But now, now he knew, and the knowledge brought peace.

Nuju was right. The universe is a riddle. And today, I am the answer.

His arms were thrust out in front of him. They were glowing now, little sparkles of light like the starfield above the island of Mata Nui. His whole body was changing now, patterns of light swirling, energies being unleashed, as the Mask of Life drew forth the essence of the being called Matoro.

Is this the end then? he wondered. Is this what it feels like?

Yes, he decided. This was death. This was the price the Ignika demanded for its use. He would no longer exist as Matoro, as a Toa, as a living being of organic muscle and mechanical parts... he would be far less than what he was, and far more.

The world was changing all around him, and it did not frighten the Toa of Ice. He knew the real change was in how he was viewing his surroundings — no longer with eyes, a mind, a spirit bound to the physical world. He was becoming pure energy, pure life... the force that would bring the Great Spirit back from death. Already, he could barely remember how it felt to be in battle, or to be lonely, or to feel the warmth of a fire on a cold night. Pleasure, pain, satisfaction, disappointment, these were all just words to him now. He was beyond all that, or almost.

But there was one emotion, one part of his former life, that he had not forgotten — one memory he refused to surrender. Jaller, Hahli, Hewkii, Kongu, Nuparu — his friends — his partners — who had fought beside him and laughed with him and made all the burdens bearable. They were out there now in the black water, about to die at the claws of the Barraki. No one on Metru Nui would ever know of their heroism or the sacrifices they were willing to make. They would never see their homes or those they cared about ever again.

His own death, he could accept — but theirs? No, that was too high a price to pay, even to buy the salvation of a universe.

He was Toa Matoro, at least for a few moments more, and he wore the Mask of Life. Or perhaps the Mask of Life now wore him. He didn't know, or care. He knew his friends were willing to die for him and his destiny, and for that reason alone, they had to live.

Matoro pushed back against the power of the mask, fighting to hold on to his consciousness and his own existence for just another heartbeat. He wrestled with the power, pleaded with it, tried to bend it to his will. The Ignika, for reasons of its own, allowed this.

Once before, long ago, a Toa had donned the Ignika and lost his life to complete his mission. That Toa had tried to be brave, but there was fear in his heart and he met his end with grief and regret. The Ignika sensed none of this in Matoro — only a will and determination that rivaled even that of Mata Nui himself.

The Mask of Life, bound now to the energy of Matoro, granted him its power. Matoro seized upon it to perform his final act. It was not one of grand heroism, not a gesture that would shake the universe, but something more powerful and lasting than either one: a simple act of friendship.

With all that done, Matoro surrendered himself gratefully and completely to his destiny. The merged energies of Toa and Kanohi mask exploded in the core of the universe, flooding it with light. Streams of golden power flowed into every part of this realm and then beyond it, until it had touched every place where the Great Spirit had once reigned. Just as countless beings had sensed the death of Mata Nui, so did they now feel life return to him. And in the sky above the city of Metru Nui, the stars shone brightly once before...



See also