The Whisper of the Rock
A myth recorded by the Chronicler Demak for the Akutana e-Metru Nui.
Legend tells of a noble Toa of Stone, who bore twin sickles and a Mask of Adaptation. The name of this Toa has been lost to time, with those who tell the tale knowing him only as The Stranded. He embarked on a perilous quest across the ocean, only to be lost at sea in a terrible storm. His story wouldn’t end there, of course, waking to find himself washed ashore on a mysterious Island with no way home. He stumbled on an abandoned Matoran village upon walking further inland, belongings still in their homes as if the inhabitants had just disappeared. The Stranded saw a figure in the distance - a villager, perhaps?
The Stranded attempted to approach the figure, but as if it had read his mind, it scuttled from view. He turned around, beholden to something that had been standing behind him. For how long was uncertain, but seemed to have been waiting for him to do so. It did not look like a normal being; yes, it stood on two legs, had two arms, and a head, about the height of a Matoran. But it was distorted, the legs curved wrong, bending in ways that should be painful. One arm was larger than the other, lined with small, serrated blades - almost like teeth - shifting and moving around the handless appendage. The head itself was hidden by wrappings of cloth with two crudely cut eye holes, as if the figure was attempting to conceal its hideous visage.
It didn’t move until The Stranded had seen the monstrous Shape, letting out a strangled, metallic shriek upon swinging an arm that was more a jagged lump of metal and flesh. He dodged the blow and brandished his weapons. The Toa jumped into the air, cutting down the Shape with his sickles. As it fell, the tattered cloth hiding its face fell aside, showing the twisted remains of a Kanohi mask - albeit mixed with the gaping maw of Nui-Jaga scorpion drooling from the side of the head. The Stranded was horrified at the sight, knowing that such a thing could not have been made naturally, but only by means of corruption. He vowed that he would find whatever made an abomination like this and stop it, relieving any other corrupted things of their hollow existence.
The Stranded ventured deeper into the village, eventually coming upon a large temple. It was entirely metallic in nature, with architecture made to move into curves without any welding or rivets; the metal structure stood out amongst the village hovels made from cloth and leaves. Unlike the rest of the village, this place did not appear abandoned at all, with lights glowing through its fogged windows. The Toa leaned to peer into one of them, seeing a congregation of creatures like the one he’d fought before near an altar. They were motionless. He warily ventured through the metal doors, expecting a fight. Instead, the monsters stayed where they were. Even as he stepped closer toward them, they didn’t react. Only when he was so close he could touch one he realized their true fate: they had perished kneeling at the altar, forever frozen in some twisted ritual. An open hatch sat behind the altar, a staircase leading downwards into an iron tomb. Reaching for one of the torches that lit the interior of the temple, the Toa ventured into the halls that lay beneath.
The tomb was dark and cold, its winding halls navigated only by the light of the single torch. Making his way through the metal maze, faint voices were heard by The Stranded; not spoken, but rather felt in the back of his mind. The whispers only grew louder as he reached a large chamber that was wrought thick with the stench of death. Six towering stone altars, stained by the sacrifices of those which once had life, surrounded a silver pool in the center - the first, The Stranded noted, of anything besides metal in this place. The altars themselves felt like a source of oblivion permeating the otherwise clean expanse. The whispers were distinct now, commanding some unknown entity to kill The Intruder that had entered their space. A Mass emerged from the metallic fluid, larger than the ones the Toa had faced before. Its form consisted of a sickening amalgamation of arms, legs, heads, and masks. All of these disparate parts had come together into a large, sentient force acting like an arm made of those sacrificed to the Altars.
A cascade of hands reached for The Stranded; any attempt he made to cut them down was met only with more taking their place. The Toa looked to the large Altars - despite being tainted, they still obeyed his power of Stone. Each one was willed into the air and sped toward the Mass, pushing it back into the pool. The last of the large slabs slammed down onto it, submerging the Mass in the silver waters. The corruption staining the altars was too much, even for something manifested from it. With a shriek of many as one voice, it dissolved into nothing. The whispers commanding the abominations were not discouraged, however; they only laughed as an exit to the chamber slid open, daring The Stranded to move further down into the center of the impurity.
Beyond the chamber stood a figure amidst a sea of darkness. As The Stranded stepped forward the silhouette became distinct. It bore the height and armor of a Toa, but it too was twisted and corrupted like the monsters before it. Despite the warped armor and charred Suletu, it was recognizably another Toa of Stone. The laughter of the Corrupted Toa rang throughout the mind of The Stranded: it was his voice that led the whispers heard in his mind, commanding the Mass. The Corrupted brandished his weapon - a giant war hammer - goading The Stranded to face his final opponent. The heroic Toa obliged, drawing his sickles.
The two fought with the passion bestowed to all Toa, but for every attack The Intruder made, The Corrupted countered and met with a blow of his own. The tainted Toa of Stone taunted his enemy - his mask allowed him to know every move The Stranded would make before he could even act on it. As he was battered and slammed against the mighty hammer, the voices creeping into his soul only grew louder. They told him to give into his rage, to smite his opponent with no mercy. No longer was he thinking about his blows, only striking with righteous anger towards his foe. He sliced through the arm holding the hammer, The Corrupted crying out in a scream heard from everywhere at once. Then The Stranded raised his sickles, and brought them down upon the form of The Corrupted. His screams were silenced.
But then a new voice was heard, sinister and gleeful, as an obsidian obelisk rose before him. “You have done well, Toa. You have proven yourself worthy. You are faster, stronger than my previously Chosen. You are now my new guardian, to embrace the shadows and obey your new master, the Whispering Rock.”
The last thing The Chosen heard was its sickening laughter as darkness swallowed him, his very self lost like a boat in a storm...