Return to Metru Nui
After telling the stories of their adventures as Toa, the Turaga led the Matoran of Mata Nui and the Toa Nuva back to their island home of Metru Nui after 1,000 years of darkness. Here, Turaga Dume, the Rahaga, and Keetongu had worked to rebuild the city, but it was still ruined and destroyed by the Visorak invasion. The Matoran immediately began working to rebuild the city. Turaga Dume and Nuju observed the stars and learned a grim truth.
Some nights later, Dume summoned the Turaga, Takanuva, and the Toa Nuva to a secret location, and there he announced his findings: Mata Nui was dying. He told the Toa and the other Turaga that the only cure was the Kanohi Ignika, the Mask of Life, and that it was hidden on an island called Voya Nui, also referred to as the "Island of Doom" or the "Daggers of Death". The only safe way to reach this island was by Toa Canisters. However, he forbade Takanuva from going on this journey, for the stars had indicated it was his destiny to remain in Metru Nui. Though they had some doubts about the mission, the Toa Nuva entered six canisters and departed for Voya Nui.[BL1]
Dark Hunters Ancient and Voporak, teamed in a search for the Kanohi Vahi, observed that the Mask of Time was in Metru Nui. However, they decided not to steal the mask yet, and Ancient returned to Odina.
Six Skakdi Dark Hunters -- Zaktan, Vezok, Hakann, Reidak, Avak, and Thok—heard rumors that Makuta Teridax had been killed. Zaktan had led the others, sans Avak, in a failed coup against the Shadowed One some millennia prior, but now the six Skakdi struck off from the Dark Hunters for good. Vezok labeled their group "Piraka", an appropriated obscenity that Ancient had once called him.
The Piraka traveled in a small boat to Mangaia, Teridax's lair in the Maze of Shadows, where they found his body, crushed and mangled by a fallen gate. Reidak claimed Teridax's Kanohi Kraahkan for himself, but the mask blasted him with Shadow bolts until he threw it into the Silver Sea. Hakann discovered the Spear of Fusion, which he used on Vezok, diffusing the Skakdi into two beings: himself, and Vezon, imbued with Vezok's tactical thinking but none of his powers or sanity. Vezok attacked Vezon, and Zaktan moved to intervene.
At this time, Teridax, present in his gaseous state, telepathically transmitted the idea to retrieve the Mask of Life. The Piraka, unaware that Teridax had given them the idea, decided to seek out the mask for fame, glory, and power. They were then attacked by Mana Ko, the Order of Mata Nui's guardians installed in Teridax's lair. The six original Piraka fled the Rahi, while Vezon stole away with the Spear of Fusion and headed to Voya Nui on his own.
Fleeing the Mana Ko, the Piraka emerged onto the island of Mata Nui, where they found the Toa Mata's six Toa Canisters enshrined in Kini-Nui. The sight of the canisters gave Zaktan an idea, and he suggested that, when the Piraka arrive on Voya Nui, they fool any native Matoran by claiming to be Toa. The Piraka then entered the canisters and departed for Voya Nui, though not before Hakann sabotaged Vezok's with his Heat Vision.[BL4] Hakann also sent a message to the Shadowed One, informing him of the Piraka's plans, in the hopes of selling out his teammates and earning some reward.
From Odina, the Shadowed One sent Dark Hunters Sentrakh, Amphibax, and Kraata-Kal to Voya Nui to apprehend the Piraka. He also stationed several Dark Hunters to blockade the Piraka's home isle of Zakaz, in case they were to return there.[DH]
Piraka's Arrival on Voya Nui
One by one, the Piraka arrived on Voya Nui, claiming to be Toa. Its Matoran, who had not encountered Toa since Jovan led his team there in the Great Disruption, believed the Piraka, though some, such as Garan and Balta, had their misgivings due to the threats and violence displayed by the "Toa". The "Toa" put most of the Matoran to work draining the Lake of Lava, and assigned a team led by Velika to build a massive stronghold. Within the stronghold, Zaktan collected Teridax's energies in a large vat, though he did not realize its true nature.
As ordered by Zaktan, Avak crafted six strange launchers, but Garan and Kazi stole one. Meeting with four other Matoran (Balta, Velika, Dalu, and Piruk), they realized these launchers were weapons to fight the Matoran themselves.
Hakann and Avak realized that the Matoran were beginning to be suspicious of the "Toa". To allay their suspicions, the two Piraka created a creature composed of Fire and Stone and had it attack the Matoran near Mount Valmai. While Hakann controlled it, Avak drove it away from the villagers, pretending to defend the Matoran. The two "Toa" boldly defeated the monster, winning the admiration of the Matoran at large. However, Garan and Balta followed the "Toa" as they departed and heard them discuss their past as Dark Hunters. Appalled, Garan officially formed the Voya Nui Resistance Team in their Mountain Hideaway.
Zaktan had developed the energies of Teridax, which he labeled "antidermis", and placed them in Zamor Spheres. He ordered Avak to bring him a Matoran test subject, and Avak picked a Ta-Matoran called Dezalk. The Piraka discovered that the antidermis could make Matoran into feebleminded slaves; therefore, Zaktan ordered Dezalk to bring all of the Matoran to one gathering place for a meeting.
Dezalk spread the word through the Matoran Cliff Village, and Dalu heard of the plan. That night, all but six Matoran gathered excitedly for the meeting with their "Toa". However, when the "Toa" arrived, they used their new Zamor Spheres to enslave the entire Matoran population. The resistance team arrived too late, though they did find Dezalk, who had been left behind in the attack. Dezalk made his way to Mount Valmai, and the team followed to find the entire population now laboring mindlessly day and night to empty the volcano. One or two Matoran fell into the lava and perished, which disgusted and outraged Garan. Piruk spied on the Piraka, reporting to his friends his findings.
Back on Metru Nui, Jaller became suspicious about the disappearance of the Toa Nuva, and attempted to question the Turaga, who refused to answer him. Furious, he ordered a strike in the city, for all reconstruction work to stop until the truth was revealed.
Arrival of the Toa Nuva
The Toa Nuva arrived on the west coast of Voya Nui, expecting a quick fight (if any) and the easy recovery of the Mask of Life. Moving inland, they were spotted by Hakann and Reidak, the latter of whom attacked with a hail of boulders, beginning a large battle. Avak and Zaktan noticed the signs of battle, and began to make their way to the west. En route, Zaktan wondered if the Toa Nuva had been hired by one of the other Piraka to overthrow him, and elected to crush them decisively.
Elsewhere, while Vezok was distracted, Balta stole several of his Zamor Spheres. Pursued by Vezok and Thok, he passed the spheres on to the rest of the team, and then fled into the wilderness.
Reidak proved to be almost unstoppable, causing the Toa to concentrate on him while the other Piraka arrived. Unaware of the Piraka's capabilities, the battle quickly went south for the Toa Nuva. Hakann defeated Gali with a mental blast, Avak imprisoned Kopaka, and Tahu was overwhelmed by Zaktan's protodite swarm. Lewa, Pohatu and Onua finally downed Reidak, but they were subsequently defeated by the other Piraka. Zaktan ordered the Toa Nuva to be stripped of their masks and weapons, then dropped into the volcano.[BL1]
Back on Metru Nui, Nokama secretly revealed to Jaller that the Toa Nuva were on their way to Voya Nui, and had not returned. Jaller decided to take the initiative and set off for Voya Nui to help the Toa Nuva, with a team of five other Matoran: Hahli, Kongu, Nuparu, Hewkii, and Matoro. He also recruited Takanuva, who was eager for an adventure.
The Matoran and Takanuva traveled through an Underwater Chute to find themselves on a narrow strip of land in the south of Metru Nui's dome. After scouting ahead for some time, Jaller found a tunnel leading to the south. He could not tell what was beyond it, and Takanuva decided that, as a Toa, he should go through first. When Takanuva went in the tunnel, however, he vanished from sight, despite the bright light he was exuding. Despite repeated efforts, the tunnel seemed to absorb all the light and sound.
After some time, Jaller became frustrated, and told his friends to travel through the tunnel in groups of three. Jaller, Hewkii, and Kongu went first and immediately disappeared from view. Nuparu told the remaining two, Hewkii and Matoro, to tie themselves together so they would not get lost. In the tunnel, their Lightstones' light was seemingly extinguished. Matoro stumbled around in darkness, but soon grabbed someone's hand. Feeling the rope being tugged, Matoro swiftly followed, leading the hand onwards. He emerged to find Takanuva and the other five Matoran in front of him; as he turned to see whom he had led through the tunnel, the hand let go and disappeared. Matoro decided not to mention this, and the Matoran continued onward. (Secretly, the Kanohi Ignika, being sentient, had been watching the Matoran's progress telepathically and wished to test Matoro's worthiness as its prospective destined bearer. Thus, the mysterious figure in the tunnel was the Ignika itself. Matoro had passed the test by showing his willingness to help it.)
On Voya Nui, Garan and Dalu spoke anxiously of Balta's disappearance. They were interrupted by Piruk, who brought bad news: five of the Piraka were coming their way. The Piraka, save Zaktan, were carrying the Toa Nuva to be thrown into Mount Valmai. However, just before they could reach it, the volcano erupted, and the Piraka fled. Tahu, who had regained consciousness some time before, called out to Pohatu, who raised walls of stone to keep the lava at bay. With little time to spare, Lewa carried Gali to safety as Pohatu helped Onua to his feet. During the scramble, Kopaka burned his right leg, but Tahu helped him to safety, and the Toa ran northwest to escape the hot lava.
Turaga Dume discovered that Jaller and his companions had left for Voya Nui. Enraged, Dume called the other Turaga to his chamber and accused one of them of revealing their secret. Nokama confessed to having informed Jaller, though she did not expect him and his friends to leave Metru Nui.
At this point, Balta was trapped in the cave that Vezok had sealed. Just before Balta slipped into unconsciousness, Axonn carved out the cliff side, making an exit and saving the Matoran. Axonn bid Balta go to his friends and tell them to stop fighting the Toa Nuva, and then departed.
Jaller asked if any of his comrades wanted to turn back, but none did. They proceeded along a narrow land bridge, surrounded by violent ocean, and neared a stone archway, leading to a dizzying path that ran between two mountains. Hewkii found a Great Mask and alerted his friends. Takanuva tried it on and, hearing Hahli's thoughts, realized it was a Suletu, Mask of Telepathy. The group stopped to rest, Jaller keeping the first watch while Takanuva scouted ahead.
After the Toa Nuva were out of Valmai's blast range, Tahu signaled for them to rest. However, they were confronted by the five Matoran of the resistance team, ready and armed. The Toa realized that they were Matoran, and hoped to use them as guides, but the Matoran thought that the Toa were impostors too, allies of the Piraka, and attacked. The battle turned against the Toa Nuva, because they were reluctant to harm those which they had sworn to protect. Tahu created a wall of fire to buy the Toa some time to discuss strategy. However, Gali was soon hit with Dalu's Chargers, which enhanced Gali's sight to a frightening degree and drove her into unconsciousness. Frustrated and outraged, Kopaka proceeded through the wall of fire and quickly froze three of the Matoran, while Tahu downed his wall and ordered the other Toa to cover for him, while he carried Gali. However, Gali, maddened by the things she saw, attacked Tahu and ran into the wilderness. Onua and Lewa kept Kopaka from using lethal force, and the battle came to an uneasy pause, in which the Toa tried to explain who they really were. Garan disbelieved them, and all readied themselves for battle, but Balta arrived and cautioned his friends. Onua took off his armor and made himself vulnerable, telling the Matoran he would not stop them if they attacked him. Garan was convinced by this show of faith, and the two factions allied against the Piraka.
Within the stronghold, Zaktan was angered that the Piraka had not killed the Toa as instructed. Thok informed Zaktan that the Matoran progress on draining the volcano had slowed down by fifty percent due to the eruption. After mentioning Vezon, Zaktan ordered the others to work the Matoran harder, and to find and kill the Toa Nuva. He then departed the stronghold. Hakann followed discreetly, though Zaktan knew he was there.
Matoro could not sleep, and started to talk to Jaller about his fears, only to be interrupted by Takanuva's return. He had seen a Matoran on the other side of the archway, and so the group moved to the arch. Almost immediately, the six Matoran passed through the gate, but Takanuva was repelled. Jaller tried to go back, but that same barrier barred the Matoran from going back. The group realized that some property of the gate was keeping out beings of light and keeping in Matoran. Takanuva and Jaller bid each other farewell, and Takanuva then began his return to Metru Nui. Meanwhile, the Matoran proceeded along the path, wondering what awaited them in this land and why the gate had kept them in.
Hakann trailed Zaktan and found him talking to Brutaka. Zaktan fired a Zamor Sphere at Brutaka, but exposure to the antidermis did not make him susceptible or weak-willed, but rather meaner and stronger. After exchanging words with Zaktan, Brutaka departed, and Hakann followed him. Zaktan waited until Hakann had left, then returned to the stronghold, hoping that Brutaka would dispose of Hakann for him.
Gali, still in the grip of insanity, had run for miles, and staggered through the wilderness. She was met by Axonn, whom she attacked. However, he ignored her water blast and used his powers to cure her of her madness, erasing her memories of all that had occurred since she was struck by the Chargers. Gali questioned him, but Axonn merely told her to return to her teammates and departed. Bewildered, but sane, Gali made her way back to the site of the struggle.
The Land of Karzahni
Jaller's group passed through the gate and began to climb a vast cliff. Hours later, they began to hear scuttling noises, but could not find the source of the sound. Above them, they saw a frightened Matoran, and approached, only to be surrounded by a group of Manas. The Matoran began to move, beckoning to Jaller and his friends, and they followed under escort of the Manas.
Their Matoran guide led them into a huge canyon, populated by more twisted and dejected Matoran, where common laws of nature did not seem to apply. A volcano erupted in burning ice, rocks screamed, and dust trickled by in a waterfall. Hahli noticed a great metal castle, comparable in size to the Coliseum and covered with twisted towers. Soon enough, they encountered Karzahni, whom they recognized from the legends the Turaga told. Karzahni confirmed that the legends were true, but did not recognize the names of Makuta or Mata Nui. At his order, the other Matoran took their belongings, and Karzahni ordered them to take off their masks. All did except Jaller, who had recently learned that his mask had belonged to Turaga Lhikan. In response, Karzahni used his Kanohi Olisi to force a vision on Jaller and the rest, depicting what would have happened if he had not sacrificed his life for Takua in battle. Startled and overwhelmed by the horrific vision, Jaller took off his mask.
On Voya Nui, where the storm still raged, Hakann had been following Brutaka for hours, and had become frustrated. Suddenly, Brutaka disappeared from plain sight, only to reappear behind Hakann with his sword to the Piraka's throat. After a brief talk, Hakann and Brutaka struck up a deal: Brutaka would help Hakann dispose of Zaktan, and Hakann would procure more Zamor Spheres filled with Antidermis for Brutaka. However, neither had any intention of keeping their word. Thus agreed, they headed back to the Piraka Stronghold.
Meanwhile, the Toa Nuva and Matoran resistance team formed a plan to retrieve the Toa's tools and masks, and set off for the Piraka Stronghold.
Within the Green Belt, Avak and Thok were searching for the Toa, and Avak wondered why this region was so plentiful when water was so scarce. With Thok's help, he came to the conclusion that the Mask of Life was underneath the Green Belt, and that Zaktan was just using Mount Valmai as a diversion. Intending to retaliate against Zaktan, Avak headed back to the stronghold, followed by Thok.
In the realm of Karzahni, Jaller's group adjusted to their new masks; Kongu was quick to slip on the Suletu he had found earlier. Karzahni then ordered all of them to tend to the fires, with the exception of Hahli, who was to tell Karzahni of goings-on in the outside world. Hahli resisted, but Hewkii and Jaller convinced her to let Karzahni separate them. The other five Matoran then departed for a vast furnace.
After hours of almost nonstop talking about the island of Mata Nui, Hahli took a short rest and asked Karzahni to tell his story. He explained how he and Artakha were created and each given a realm to rule, and how his brother had made a refuge. Karzahni warned Hahli not to sit on the rocks, lest she be turned to stone like other "lazy" Matoran.
After hours of aimless work, Nuparu left the furnace to look around, and soon called to his fellow Matoran to come follow him. He discovered tablets explaining how injured Matoran came to Karzahni in need of repair. Karzahni, being a poor worker, could not fix the Matoran that came to him. Therefore, he rebuilt them and gave them weapons to compensate for their new, weaker state. He then shipped off many Matoran to an unknown place. Once the Turaga noticed that the Matoran never came back, they stopped sending Matoran to Karzahni.
One of those Matoran, Garan, at that time, was listening to Onua tell him of the Toa Nuva's adventures and the outer world. He marveled at the fact that other Matoran were taller and stronger, yet carried no weapons.
In the Piraka Stronghold, Avak trapped Zaktan in a perfect prison that would produce ear-splitting sounds every time Zaktan tried to break out, driving the protodites out of their minds. Thok eagerly appointed himself the new leader of the Piraka, but Hakann arrived and fired lava spheres at the two. Avak attempted to imprison Hakann as well, but was struck with a lava sphere and nearly lost control of his existing prison. Thok berated Hakann for nearly loosing Zaktan, but Hakann then introduced Brutaka, who advanced inward, intending to dispose of all six Piraka and claim the Antidermis for himself.
At the rear of the stronghold, Tahu tried to melt the lock of the rear door, with no success. After a while, Tahu had given up and Kopaka moved to try, but before he could, Piruk signaled to the others that Reidak was coming. Lewa stepped out in plain view and taunted Reidak, goading him into attacking. Each time Reidak attacked, Lewa sidestepped and redirected his attack towards the door of the stronghold. Eventually, Lewa grabbed Reidak's arm and smashed him through the door. Surprised, Reidak scrambled up and ran inside. Kopaka surmised that he would lead them into an ambush, so Pohatu and Onua began to dig a tunnel through the stronghold. With Piruk's directions, the Toa retrieved their tools and moved to the eastern section to find their masks.
By this time, Reidak had stumbled upon the chaos involving the other Piraka. Avak and Thok were fighting Brutaka, as Hakann watched gleefully. Reidak, realizing Hakann was behind all of it, approached Hakann from behind and threw him into Avak, knocking Avak unconscious and freeing Zaktan from his prison. At that moment, the Toa Nuva blasted open the eastern door, armed with their reclaimed masks and tools and accompanied by the resistance team. Zaktan tried to rally up his fellow Piraka to fight, but they stood back, realizing that the Toa could defeat Zaktan for them. Resorting to desperate measures, Zaktan offered to give Brutaka the secret of the Antidermis spheres if he could help him. In one swing of his sword, Brutaka downed all six Toa Nuva and six Matoran. The Matoran were taken with the Piraka to be interrogated by Reidak in the Chamber of Truth, while the Toa were left in Brutaka's hands.
Intending to leave Karzahni, the five Matoran working in the forge were greeted by an ancient Matoran who had helped to build the Toa Canisters in Karda Nui. They learned from him that six were stored in Karzahni, and the Matoran led them down to a secret chamber.
Meanwhile, Karzahni was done with Hahli's tales and returned her to the furnace, only to realize that five Matoran were missing. Furious that Matoran would oppose him, he perused his island, both with his eyes and mind, and located them in the vault. Dragging Hahli behind him, Karzahni advanced towards the vault to punish them.
The builder, by this time, had led Jaller and his friends to where the six Toa Canisters lay, all in a row. Jaller announced his plan to retrieve Hahli and escape in the canisters, but the builder objected and told them that the canisters were only for Toa. Ignoring him, Jaller instructed Nuparu to decipher the canisters' workings while the other four left to get Hahli. However, they were stopped by Karzahni, Hahli in his grasp, who denounced them as liars, believing that there were no Toa or Mata Nui, and prepared to destroy the canisters. Matoro then goaded Karzahni into showing them the worst vision possible: a future in which Mata Nui were to die, and the Matoran Universe with him. At the end of the vision, the Matoran were shaken by the tragedy, but Karzahni even more so, astounded that Mata Nui had greater power than him. The Matoran seized their chance, collecting Hahli and entering the canisters; the builder elected to stay, having been heartened by the knowledge that Mata Nui was not dead yet. Jaller's group activated the canisters and departed Karzahni, setting a course for Voya Nui.
Behind them, Karzahni realized that Hahli's tales were true, and that Mata Nui, for all his great power, was currently asleep. Intending to fill this power vacuum and expand his empire, he began to follow the Matoran to Voya Nui.[BL2]
Reign of the Piraka
Dalu regained consciousness just as her fellow friends were being taken to the Chamber of Truth. While her handler, Zaktan, was boasting about his second victory over the Toa Nuva, she escaped him and ran away.
At the summit of a hill, she encountered Zaktan and Hakann. Dalu surrendered, and the Piraka began to escort her back to the stronghold. Hakann's remarks led into a argument over who let her loose, which soon turned violent. Zaktan defeated Hakann with a boulder, and then tended to the antidermis vat while musing about the Ignika's power, while Dalu escaped once again.
Thok and Reidak roamed Mount Valmai, discussing the power of the Ignika. Thok pushed Reidak off a cliff and ran, but Reidak climbed back up and attacked Thok with his Buzz Saw, before threatening to throw Thok off the cliff as well.
Avak proposed an alliance with Vezok. Vezok replied that already had a deal with Reidak, but offered to spare Avak's life once they found the Ignika. Vezok then spotted Axonn in the trees and blasted down a tree with his impact vision, but found no one. Axonn felled a tree in the Piraka's direction and hurled two wooden spikes at them, although the Piraka dodged. Avak used his telescopic and X-ray vision to see Axonn going northwest, and both Piraka followed in that direction. They lost sight of Axonn near a small cave, in which they found the Matoran's records of Voya Nui. While Vezok destroyed the records, Axonn triggered a cave-in, temporarily trapping Avak and Vezok in the cave. Axonn then spoke with Balta and warned him of Mata Nui's impending death.[IC1]
Avak, Thok, Vezok, and Reidak brawled in the wilds, but were stopped by Zaktan, who bid Thok and Reidak to seek out Vezon. After some time, Thok and Reidak found Vezon's Toa Canister, and prepared to follow his trail. Suddenly, chasms opened in the ground, and both Thok and Reidak fell in. When they climbed out, they were confronted by Axonn, who battled them and told them that Vezon had become a servant of the Ignika. Axonn prepared to strike the Piraka down, but Brutaka attacked him from behind, knocking him to the ground.[IC2]
Eventually, Hakann developed a plan to oust Zaktan by stealing Brutaka's power. Reidak, Thok and Avak joined him in crafting a Zamor Sphere which would siphon the power of the target into the user.
Arrival of the Toa Inika
The Toa Canisters carrying Jaller, Hahli, Kongu, Nuparu, Hewkii, and Matoro drew near Voya Nui during a storm. Acting on a contingency plan, the Red Star produced Toa energy in the form of lightning that struck each canister. On Voya Nui, the six new Toa emerged, named themselves the Toa Inika, and created their own Spirit Stars. The Piraka saw these Spirit Stars appear in the night sky and were worried.
Near the Chamber of Truth, Balta awoke, and noticed that Dalu was gone. He woke up the others, and they rescued Garan from the Chamber of Truth. Velika introduced the resistance team to a pool of Energized Protodermis, and told them that it could free the Matoran from the effects of antidermis. He then began to make Zamor Launchers for this purpose.
The Toa Inika examined their new bodies, and noticed the unusual aspects of their transformation. Several of them accidentally activated their mask powers, such as Matoro's Kanohi Iden. As a spirit, Matoro floated through the air and spotted the Voya Nui resistance team nearby. He reported this to the other Toa, who agreed to meet these Matoran and ask them about the island. Vezok ambushed the Toa Inika en route, but their immunity to antidermis caught him by surprise, and they were able to capture him. The Toa Inika attempted to interrogate Vezok, but he copied their powers of Ice and Fire and escaped. Garan then appeared, briefly explained the situation, and led them to the resistance team's hideout.
At the Mountain Hideaway, the Toa Inika met the Matoran rebels and discussed their situation. Armed with Velika's Zamor Launchers, they split up into three groups. Jaller, Hahli, Dalu, and Piruk successfully freed many enslaved Matoran. Hewkii, Matoro, Kazi, and Balta visited Axonn, who had been badly injured by Brutaka and told them to stop Brutaka at all costs. Kongu, Nuparu, Garan, and Velika traveled to the stronghold to search for the Toa Nuva, and disabled a Nektann sentry outside the stronghold. Inside the stronghold, they were confronted by all six Piraka and Brutaka. The other two groups arrived just as the battle began. While the Matoran searched the stronghold for the Toa Nuva, the Toa Inika engaged the Piraka in one-on-one duels. Nuparu engaged Zaktan and used his Kanohi Kadin to bring both of them far from the stronghold. Hakann put his plan into motion and fired the Zamor Sphere at Brutaka, but Thok saw the proceedings and configured himself to receive half of the power. Thok and Hakann used their new strength to defeat and imprison the other Piraka and the Toa Inika. They then forced Brutaka to reveal the Ignika's location, and departed for the 777 Stairs.
Inside the stronghold, the Matoran discovered a record that revealed the existence of Mahri Nui.
Race for the Mask of Life
Nuparu brought Zaktan back to the stronghold and freed the Toa, who realized that Brutaka had betrayed the Ignika's location. Axonn arrived, still wounded, and announced his intent to stop Hakann and Thok, but Jaller convinced him to let the others help. The Toa realized that the best way to stop the two was to return Brutaka's power to him, and that only the Piraka knew how to do that, and freed the Piraka on the condition that they form a temporary alliance. While the Piraka created the Zamor Sphere that would reverse the effect, Axonn warned Jaller of the Ignika's guardians and handed him a glowing Zamor Sphere for "protection". When the alliance left for the Green Belt, Axonn stayed behind to look after Brutaka.
In the Green Belt, Hakann and Thok turned on each other and began to fight, devastating their surroundings and exposing the entrance to the 777 Stairs. The Toa Inika and the other Piraka followed the trail of destruction and confronted them. Hakann and Thok defeated the other Piraka, but were unable to overpower the Toa Inika while working alone. Hakann and Thok allied and launched a combined attack, but at the same moment, Hewkii hit them with the specially-prepared Zamor Sphere, restoring Brutaka's powers to him. As a result, both sides fell unconscious from their enemies' assault, leaving only Zaktan standing.
Zaktan woke up the Piraka, who banded together under his lead once more, and led them to the 777 Stairs. While descending the stairs, he briefly reminisced on the events that had led the Piraka to this point.[BL4]
When the Toa Inika awoke, they realized that the Piraka had descended the 777 Stairs. Agreeing that they could not wait for reinforcements, they quickly followed. Matoro used his mask power to follow the Piraka as a spirit.
The Piraka came to a fork in the tunnel with the left path blocked, and descended the Zone of Nightmares. There, they encountered the legendary Irnakk, who subjected them to their worst fears. Zaktan was drawn into Irnakk's mind, and realized that Irnakk would disappear if he ceased to be afraid of him. Zaktan declared that he used fear as a weapon, just like Irnakk, and frightened Irnakk into vanishing.
Matoro reported the proceedings to the Toa Inika. They came upon the same fork, but the right passage was blocked rather than the right. Traveling down the left tunnel, they encountered an illusion of Toa Lhikan, who warned them to turn back before they met his fate. They were then attacked by Makuta Teridax, a Turahk, a Bohrok, a Bohrok-Kal, a Nui-Rama, and a Muaka. The Toa Inika easily triumphed, but their defeated enemies turned into the bodies of the Toa Nuva. The Toa Inika were convinced that they had accidentally slain the Toa Nuva, and worried that they had lost control of their new powers. Jaller convinced the group to press on, despite their fears. The corpses vanished, and Kongu realized that they had only been illusions.
Axonn and Brutaka were evenly matched. Brutaka used his Kanohi Olmak to open a dimensional portal to the Field of Shadows behind Axonn, and tried to force him into it. Meanwhile, the Matoran came upon the Toa Nuva, who had been enslaved by antidermis and weakened by a device that drained their elemental powers. Utilizing their own Zamor Launchers, the Matoran freed the Toa Nuva and informed them of the existence of the Toa Inika. The Toa Nuva recovered their masks and set out to meet with the Toa Inika.
The Piraka continued their journey and were trapped in cylinders, each with a lever inside, in a chamber filling with water. The recorded voice of a Great Being told them that they would be released if they all pulled their levers at the same time, but if one of them pulled his lever early, then only he would be released. Reidak pulled his early, but instead, all six Piraka were dropped into the water, which contained Pit Mutagen. They swam through a passage and avoided jets of fire, eventually surfacing by the Lava Chamber Gate, where they prepared to fight the Toa Inika.
The Toa Inika arrived in the Chamber of Death, where the recorded voice of a Great Being stated that in order for them to pass, one of them must sacrifice his or her own life. Matoro volunteered, claiming that, as an interpreter and not a warrior, he was of the least use to the team. Matoro was seemingly destroyed by a beam of energy, but his body was reconstituted and the voice proclaimed that they had passed the trial.
The Toa Inika were attacked by Protodax, but the Protodax were driven off by Umbra, another guardian of the Ignika. Due to his ability to transform into a beam of light, Umbra proved too powerful for them to defeat directly. Nuparu devised a plan, and led Umbra into ice mirrors created by Matoro that reflected Umbra back and forth until he was overwhelmed.
When the Toa Inika approached the Lava Chamber Gate, the Piraka attacked. After a brief battle, Kongu created a massive cyclone, but caused the structure to collapse, burying the Toa Inika. The Piraka left them for dead and proceeded to the Chamber of Life, where they encountered Vezon and discovered that the Ignika was fused to his head. Vezon offered to give it to them if they killed Vezok, but Zaktan discerned that Vezon could not give them the Ignika even if he wanted to. Vezon then used the Spear of Fusion to merge Vezok and Reidak into a monstrous giant, which defeated the other Piraka.
Axonn warned Brutaka that his actions would summon Botar. Driven to rage by Brutaka's corruption, Axonn attacked with unbelievable force, shrugging off Brutaka's attacks entirely. In desperation, Brutaka looked to the vat of antidermis, but Axonn destroyed it before he could reach it. Axonn managed to strike down Brutaka with a blast of power, and Brutaka regained his senses before he fell unconscious. Botar appeared and took custody of Brutaka, and warned Axonn that any attempts to interfere with his punishment would be met with the same. Nevertheless, Axonn privately vowed to free his friend. Krahka and the Tahtorak then emerged from Brutaka's portal.
Vezon separated the fusion into Vezok and Reidak, both unconscious, shortly before the Toa Inika arrived in the Chamber of Life. After fighting a losing battle, the Toa Inika forced Vezon and Fenrakk into the lava. The Ignika transformed Fenrakk into the Kardas Dragon, and Vezon emerged to attack the Toa Inika again. During their struggle, the Piraka secretly recovered and watched the proceedings. Jaller realized that the Ignika had sentience, and ordered Kongu to read its thoughts. Kongu discovered that the Ignika desired Matoro as its bearer, rather than Vezon. Kongu transferred these thoughts into Vezon's mind, sending him into a rage. Jaller then fired Axonn's special Zamor Sphere, which froze Vezon and Kardas in stasis and allowed Matoro to remove the Ignika.
The Piraka attacked the Toa Inika to claim the Ignika, but the Ignika instead flew up the 777 Stairs, and the Toa Inika pursued it. Vezok demanded that Vezon be fused with him once again, but Reidak destroyed the Spear of Fusion, and the Piraka followed the Toa Inika. The Ignika led them onto the surface, and then plunged into the depths of Voya Nui Bay. Hahli dove to retrieve it, but was overwhelmed by immense pressure and began to drown. A Ta-Matoran appeared underwater and brought Hahli back to shore. Sickened by the change in pressure, he gasped out a cryptic plea for help beneath the waves and expired.
Botar spoke briefly with Tahu Nuva and told him that the Toa Nuva's destiny was to retrieve and follow the Scroll of Preparations. He then brought Brutaka to the Pit. The Toa Inika then joined Axonn and the Toa Nuva. The Toa Inika were told to continue the quest for the Ignika alone, for it was not the Toa Nuva's destiny to save Mata Nui's life. Tahu Nuva promised that the Toa Nuva would be waiting for them when they returned from their quest, although this was a lie. Axonn volunteered to watch over the Matoran of Voya Nui so that the Toa Nuva would not have to take them to Metru Nui and the Toa Inika would be free to pursue the Ignika. Axonn then opened a tunnel in the Matoran village leading down to the Black Waters, and watched the Toa Inika descend into the depths.[BL5]
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