Nuju walking down a snowy path, with a sling carrying his ice pick and food.

It is said that in the old days, before the war, there was one called Nuju who would unerringly take heed of the day of the winter solstice and, when that day fell, take himself up to journey down to the southern coast. The rumors were unquiet that the man could only bear so much of the deep cold, and saw the midpoint of the season a portent too great to bear of the long months to come.

Nuju was humble and took these dwellings in good humor, for he knew that despite them he was loved by his fellows, and what was more, he felt no prick from words that carried no truth.

Indeed, Nuju would weather an unending winter without question, should the Great Spirit have ever saw it fit to set the world so. But at that time of the solstice he had accustomed himself to making the company of Nokama, a fisher of the water village who matched his quiet spirit.

Nokama and Nuju sitting on a log over a frozen pond.
In those years, when the long nights reached over the short days, the cold would creep down the mountain and over the lake. The water, its surface run smooth and solid with ice, became the plaything of the people there, who would skate in patterns and mark shapes by their path - here a fish, here a flower, here a mask.
Nuju came upon this way to trade game, when he first saw the shapes and met Nokama, who was fashioning a fine tribute to Gali. It brought him to mind of the ice-games of his home.

This was the same Nokama who, twenty-four and seven moons before, struck at a great, sharp-jawed fish who, ensnared within a full net, snapped at the fibers so that the entire bounty might be lost. She did so with no tool and only a great kick, and in so doing was bitten to great harm. Thereafter those who were friend to Nokama fashioned for her a proud fork from the fish's bones, so she might find ease in walking, and also craftily encumber any such fish for all time to come. In jest, they would counsel that a kick such as Nokama's could only be bestowed by Pohatu, and that she must have found great favor with him.

Bird's eye view of Nokama and Nuju standing on the ice, looking down into a spot that is crystal-clear, revealing the leaves and detritus frozen below.

While all of this brought great renown to Nokama, who is considered a champion, in truth she was little of athletic spirit, and rather would speak sooth advice to those that sought it. It is said that Nuju and Nokama found in each other the kinship of speakers known chiefly for some old feat of action, and not their words. They needed not speak to see one another.

Thus they got along, and Nuju entertained his wont to return each winter - he watching the games, she producing iceworks. It was only some handful of years before Nokama fell ill, and upon regaining her strength, lacked the force of motion in her bitten foot to do much of skating. But this was all good. She found sitting with Nuju to see the skating made for just as good a way to pass the season. And when the earth warmed and Nuju returned north, she remained fit for fishing.

Nuju and Nokama sat along the ice for many winters, and learned together the art of communicating by shared experience, and did not need words to know each others' hearts. Close friends and of no little wisdom, they were later known as great leaders of their peoples.

Nokama and Nuju walking out over the lake, surrounded by decaying tree matter.
Footer. An old Bionicle mask, eaten away by fungi and molds.