I'm Still Standing
Library I'm Still Standing Short Story
I'm Still Standing
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You will die.
..........As a blast of shadow hit me squarely in the chest, throwing me against the wall of an Onu-Metru building, I could hear his malicious voice boom in my head. I slumped to the ground; tears swelling up in my eyes. I forced myself to look up at my attacker. I would not let him kill me.
..........With a scream, I stood up and rushed toward him. I know this may be my last battle, and if that is the case, at least I will go down a hero. As I ran forward he didn’t move, but remained exactly where he was. As my bladed staff was about to impale him, he allowed it to pass right through his body, shapeshifting a hole in his chest. Shocked from what had happened, I stood there, stunned; I was helpless to resist as he cast my weapon away and delivered a powerful punch to my face, sending me falling to the ground.
..........His wings opened to their full width of a dozen feet as he silently and slowly marched toward me, as though relishing the moment before the kill. I blindly threw a blast of light at him; missing and exploding into the building behind him. The large wall shattered into hundreds of pieces, some lit on fire, falling onto both my opponent and the street around us. But he paid no attention, still making his way in his methodically ominous manner.
..........When he reached where I was, I threw another bolt of light at him, striking him. The light began to burn through his shadowy form. He quickly covered himself with shadow, dissolving the light still on him. Enraged, he kicked me in the face; blood dripped down my cheek as the claws dug into my skin. He viciously kicked me again – this time in the stomach – before spitting on me.
..........“You pathetic excuse for a Toa,” he spat, looking down on me with contempt. “Do you really expect to defeat a Makuta?”
..........I attempted to stand, but my body was unable. I fell back to the ground unceremoniously; my arms and legs sprawled before me. “Pathetic.” He kicked me once more; his clawed feet creating a deep gash in my body. I screamed in pain.
..........Panting heavily, I attempted to stand up once more; tears and blood dripping down my face, and my body gashed cruelly all over. His twisted form stood before me; dark-hued armor adorned with spikes and scars; his evil-looking wings extending far past his back and shoulders.
..........“You will not kill me,” I spoke in a hoarse voice, struggling to remain conscious. With a Herculean effort of reduced physical strength, I slowly, painfully stood up; my golden eyes directly aligned with the blood-red pits hiding under his black mask. With the last of my power I charged my palms with light. As I released the blast, the Makuta consumed them with shadow, sending powerful bolts of chain lightning through my body, sending me writhing to the ground once again.
..........He slowly walked over toward me. I was breathing heavily as I tried to recover from his constant barrage of assaults. When he started to kick me in the chest again, I could do nothing but sputter blood, my body bruised and broken beyond the ability to fight back.
..........The Makuta suddenly grabbed me by the chest, his claws digging into my torso, and allowing more fluid to rush out. With a spring of his legs and a flap of his gigantic wings, he leapt into the air, and held my dangling body tightly in his grasp. He leaned forward, his mouth right at my ear. “Fool,” he hissed behind his frightening countenance, “You do not know the true power I wield. I am so much more that what you see.” He carelessly loosened his grip on my torso, and I fell painfully back to earth as he landed almost majestically near me, wings folded.
..........I struggled to speak in my hurt form, and succeeded in a mere whisper. "Really?" I asked between harsh wheezing, "Then…reveal yourself…Makuta!" I emphasized the last word with as much scorn as I could manage.
..........But I had spoken superfluously – the Toa-sized creature was already changing. His thorny armor began to warp grotesquely as he expanded in size. What had once been fingered hands now became leonine claws, and his arms grew thicker, rippling with powerful tendons as his back legs simultaneously morphed into murderous talons. The Makuta's shoulders hunched and grew wider, powerful like those of a wolf. A second set of arms, equipped with knifelike fingers, sprouted out from behind the shoulder blades.
..........A triple-pronged tail sprouted from between the hugely muscled hind legs, and on each tip of the trident-like appendage grew a barbed stinger. The hideous creature, now at least thrice the size of myself, fell down to a four-legged crouch, standing like a bear. With a number of sickening sounds, dark writhing tentacles sprang from around the head – only, now it was heads. The original mask was now nonexistent, replaced by a trio of hideous heads. The new faces bore a set of impossibly huge, gaping jaws, lined with teeth the size of daggers. Angry red eyes glowed from within six sunken sockets.
..........Below the three heads, however, perhaps worst of all, was a fourth jaw; a behemoth ringed with countless teeth, easily large enough to swallow a Toa whole. The creature could probably maul me thousands of different ways, each more gruesome than the last.
..........I gulped as I stared with fear at the sight before me. With this change I realized whom I was really fighting; the legendary beast Kaishu. Legends told of mayhem he had mercilessly wrought upon island after island, devouring many a being – even fellow Makuta.
..........I felt my heartlight beat faster and faster with terror as the huge beast lumbered over to my body. I willed with all my mental strength to move my body and run away, but my limbs gave no response.
..........His massive jaw descended toward me; the razor sharp jaws ready to absorb my life-force into his own.
..........The blades ripped through my shoulder, tearing through armor, flesh, and bone. I screamed in pain as the blood gushed ceaselessly from the horrendous wound. I grabbed my shoulder in agony, only to let loose another cry from my dirty hands stinging against the wound. I started losing feeling in my body as the pain grew to be too much and unconsciousness began to take me. The last thing I saw was the menacing mouth descending toward me once more.
~ :: ~
I awoke in a dark cell with two dimly lit lights at the center of the ceiling, barely revealing the room around me. I lay on a slab of stone that matched the chamber, facing upward. I felt a throbbing pain, and remembered what had happened. I knew I shouldn’t be alive...but somehow, here I was.
..........Feeling a sharp sting in my shoulder, I let loose a slight cry. Looking to my right, I saw two shadowy Toa, one of which placed a cloth soaked with liquid on my wound. I winced as he dabbed it around, but I let it be as I knew it would help.
..........“Where am I?” I asked the Toa attending me, my head full of many questions. As if in answer another dark Toa entered the doorway at the far end of the room, walking slowly toward me. As the Toa neared the light, I discerned that she was most-likely female, and judging by her colors was a Toa of Water. Coming even closer I noticed that her armor was pitted, scared, and faded from thousands of battles. With the spiky armor adorning her upper arms and thighs my first thought was that she was a Makuta. As she stopped before me I realized that she was not a Makuta, but indescribably ancient in appearance.
..........“You are in a lower region of the archives where Rahi are placed for examination,” she answered me. As she spoke, I noticed that her mask was one that I had never seen before – with an odd mesh-like cover over her left eye – and, most interesting was the fact that there was no mouth hole, yet she spoke all the same.
..........“Who are you?” I questioned.
..........“My name is Helryx; leader of the Order of Mata Nui. They,” she continued, as if reading my thoughts and motioning to the two Toa attending me, “are two medics from the Order’s base whom I have ordered brought here to heal you.”
..........“I’ve never heard of it,” I responded. “Or you.”
..........“Good. If you had, we would have more problems than we already do.” Before I had a chance to ask my question, she continued, answering it for me, “The Order is an organization designed to do the will of Mata Nui himself. We will do whatever is necessary.”
..........“What happened to me? I should be dead.”
..........“And you would be if it were not for the sacrifice of Trinuma and the help of Brutaka,” she replied, motioning to a huge warrior wearing midnight blue and gold armor who entered behind her.
..........I realized the meaning of the words she spoke, knowing that Trinuma had given his life for me and asked, “Who was Trinuma?”
..........“A great warrior, and a loyal agent. Perhaps the most loyal one I’ve ever had, always willing to give his life for a mission.” She paused for a moment before continuing. “Trinuma and Brutaka were given the mission to recruit you. They were transported to where you were by another member of our group named Botar just as you were about to be consumed. Trinuma fired a beam of kinetic energy at Kaishu, distracting him. He told Brutaka to get you to safety and that he would hold off Kaishu. When Brutaka arrived ten minutes later, there was nothing but small fragments of Trinuma’s armor spread on the ground. Brutaka told me that the last he saw before leaving was Trinuma sending another blast at Kaish through his staff; he went down fighting.”
..........“You shouldn't blame yourself,” Helryx added, seeing that I was about to apologize. “Trinuma did what he felt was right and for the greater good. Continuing to believe that it was your fault will only prohibit you from doing what is right, and you can believe that Trinuma would not want that to happen. In his honor, you must push those thoughts away.”
..........A minute of silence lasted before I spoke again, “But why do you want me?”
..........“Because you alone are uniquely powerful against the forces of shadow; against the Brotherhood.”
..........“What am I to do?”
..........“First you will recover and be trained, after which you will be transported to Karda Nui to assist the Toa Nuva.”
..........“Silence. It is time for you to rest so that you may revive your energies for the training. Once you are recuperated and prepared, you will be told more information concerning your mission. Until then, you must rest.”
..........I made no protest, laying my head back down against the stone. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving to the Great Beings, knowing that I was fortunate to still be alive. Exhausted, I closed my eyes; quickly falling asleep in the dark chamber with one thought going through my head.
..........I'm still standing.
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Note: Inspired by the MOC Kaishu vs. Takanuva, by Shadrahk, but with Takanuva in his original, golden form.