Orde pondered the significance of the Great Being. He wondered about its identity, and feared its plans. Gelu approached him.“What’s wrong?” Gelu asked.“Oh, nothing,” Orde replied. “Just wondering about the Great Being.”“You know, there is a way,” Artahka said, appearing before them. “I have forged a Kanohi Olmak, a Mask of Dimensional Gates. With it, you can retrieve any artifact imaginable from other dimensions.”“How will that help us?” asked Gelu.“I have searched the multiverse, and have found this. The Kanohi Draclax, the Mask of Channeling!”Artahka held up an ornate gold Kanohi mask, decorated with long, flowing designs.“This Kanohi,” Artahka explained, “allows the bearer to communicate with the energies of their powers via mysterious energy fields that permeate the entire multiverse. A Toa of Stone will be able to literally speak with the stones and draw enormous strength from them. You, Orde, will be able to draw psychic energy from every mind, link to them, and enter them on the astral plane, even the mind of the Great Being. By networking with every mind, you can gather enough mental strength to unlock the Great Being’s mind, break into his memories, and reveal his identity, and even stop him from doing harm by selectively destroying his memories of his plans.”“I will do it then,” Orde replied, “for the sake of the universe.”Orde donned the mask. He screamed in agony as every bit of knowledge flowed into his mind, and every desire, every thought, as he networked every mind to feed into his own. He gave up trying to understand, he gave up his mental individuality, and he just… gave. He became the network. He became every mind in existence. The key to unlock the Great Being’s mental shield was there, just shattered and the pieces spread across the planet. He retrieved them, assembled them, and unlocked Pandora’s Box.Every being saw from the network’s perspective, a mental kaita of sorts. They would have dismissed it as a hallucination, called it strange, but Orde knew better, so they did too. They entered the mind, but got more than they had bargained for. It was a maze. A maze that wound deep into a soul. A maze with stairs, paths, and doors right-side up, sideways, upside down, horizontally, vertically, here, there, everywhere imaginable, and even unimaginable. The network took a deep breath, and started walking.It had been four hours already. They would walk through one door, and then fall sideways through one to their right. And some doors contained traps, such as falling stones that would crush anyone who ran through a doorway recklessly, and monsters beyond description that lurked behind some doors, waiting to strike. Finally, the laws of gravity were repealed for a split second and they fell through thin air, and they landed in a large chamber. The Great Being, in his disguise, was standing in a corner, his appearance, however, obscured by shadows- or was it light? It was too rich and too pure to tell. The Great Being began to step out, but, before they could take a look, they were distracted by a sudden purity, then a deep darkness, as if hundreds of noble souls, pure of heart, had appeared, and were corrupted and consumed by darkness. It distracted them long enough for the floor to give way, waking each mind up, flinging them out of the mental unity. Orde woke with a start. Then he gasped as he saw hundreds of Toa forming an army, but each one resembled Toa Takanuva, but with a difference: their armor was as black as a Makuta’s heart.Ages ago, Makuta Tridax had used an Olmak and several Shadow Leeches to amass an army of Shadow Takanuva. Now, the remaining Shadow Takanuva had stolen the Olmak, recovered fifty Shadow Leeches, and continued the project, forming another army, this one hundreds strong. Their intention: To conquer Spherus Magna. They also managed to recruit Vezon as a general, as he intended to do what they just did, for about ten seconds, before he was carried off to who knows where.The inhabitants of Spherus Magna fought valiantly against the invaders, but only Takanuva himself could even match them in combat.“Where’d this huge-big battle-army quick-come from?!” asked Kongu while dodging bolts of shadow.Meanwhile, deep below the surface, an ancient mechanoid known as Marendar awoke. Hundreds of Toa were corrupt. They were evil. There were still noble Toa. They were far outnumbered by the Shadow Toa. Majority rules. Therefore, the Toa are now corrupt. They must be exterminated. That was his duty.Marendar appeared before Orde. He was not as bulky as the Exo-Toa, or as blank and expressionless as Maxilos. He wore gray armor, with an energy cannon for an arm and a face hidden by a helmet and mask, only two eyes visible. But he was not malicious. He was simply carrying out his duty, although it was a corrupt one. He took aim and fired.Orde managed to roll away in time.“You are a Toa. The Toa are corrupt. My duty is to kill the Toa, should they become corrupt.”“Wait a second. See those identical, dark Toa? The ones shooting shadow at the other Toa? They are corrupt Toa. Kill them first. Then you can deal with the rest. It fulfills your duty, since we all die anyways, right? It’s what you want, just not as random and disorderly.”Marendar considered this. It was a reasonable request.“Affirmative. I shall kill them in the space of one hour. I will then deal with you.”A Shadow Takanuva blasted Marendar, but the darkness didn’t harm the robot! Marendar then blasted the dark Toa, killing him.Exactly one hour later, all the Shadow Takanuva were dead, the Olmak was recovered, and Orde had telepathically summoned all the other Toa for a final confrontation with Marendar. The Kanohi Ignika, sensing their plight, reverted Tahu to a Toa Nuva, and adapted the Golden Armor to fit his Nuva form. Onua and Pohatu struck simultaneously, but the earth and stone did not even dent Marendar. Tahu blasted Marendar, but the flames did no harm. Not even Gali could short-circuit him! Marendar was invulnerable to elemental energy! Every Toa joined with two others to form a band of mighty Kaita, led by Akamai and Wairuha Nuva! They all attacked at once, but Marendar repelled them all, and struck, disuniting them. Then, Tahu had an idea. He used the Golden Armor to grant him Rahkshi powers, and blasted Marendar with heat vision. To his shock, the heat beams bounced right off. Marendar had scanned the Golden Armor and updated his resistance accordingly. Suddenly, there was a flash of energy, fired from a hiding place in a nearby bush, that blasted a hole right through Marendar! Disabled, the robot pitched forward and selfdestructed, momentarily stunning the Toa. Pohatu checked the bush. Other than a few snapped branches, there was no sign of the murderer.
A Cold Light Dawns
Posted Jun 16 2012 - 08:08 PM
Orde pondered the significance of the Great Being. He wondered about its identity, and feared its plans. Gelu approached him.
“You know, there is a way,” Artahka said, appearing before them. “I have forged a Kanohi Olmak, a Mask of Dimensional Gates. With it, you can retrieve any artifact imaginable from other dimensions.”
In both of these lines, it seems as if Gelu and Artahka simply appear from nowhere, especially Artahka. I'd suggest giving more description -- where Orde even is, first of all (that's the main problem with Gelu -- it seems he approaches from nowhere because the reader has no idea where he -could- be approaching from, as we have no idea where Orde is), and then just a few more words for when Artahka approaches him to explain how he got there..
By networking with every mind, you can gather enough mental strength to unlock the Great Being’s mind, break into his memories, and reveal his identity, and even stop him from doing harm by selectively destroying his memories of his plans.”
While the mask power is a cool idea, I just don't see how it would be possible or logical. It seems way too powerful and not very practical for use; I'm not sure a Toa could even use that much power, or at least without great, great loss of energy. But on to what I specifically quoted above, this seems to be a case of "Deus ex Machina." That is, an improbable device used to resolve the difficulty of a plot situation. Here, Orde is simply thinking about the Great Being when suddenly, a few lines later, Artahka gives him something that can magically resolve his problems -- that is, the problem of finding the Great Being -- completely out of the blue. It's just too sudden. Yes, you mention how Artahka got the mask, but just not in enough detail. I know you could explain in more detail what happened, but the point is that if it needs to be explained outside of the story, then there's a problem -- a story shouldn't need much explanation.
“I will do it then,” Orde replied, “for the sake of the universe.”
Orde donned the mask. He screamed in agony as every bit of knowledge flowed into his mind, and every desire, every thought, as he networked every mind to feed into his own. He gave up trying to understand, he gave up his mental individuality, and he just… gave. He became the network. He became every mind in existence. The key to unlock the Great Being’s mental shield was there, just shattered and the pieces spread across the planet. He retrieved them, assembled them, and unlocked Pandora’s Box.
Once again, things move far too quickly -- he just says yes without any sort of thought of the damage could be done. Furthermore, you didn't give enough explanation of the risks involved. With a mask like this, it must be incredibly dangerous to use, and as such that should've been explained. Orde can say yes, don't get me wrong, but just not quite so quickly. He also gave up too quickly; in fact, he gave up before he even started trying, or at least from the way you describe it. I would add a sentence or two about how he tried to understand, channel, and use that power, before he gave up trying.
What do you mean by "every being"? Every being in the whole universe? I found this really odd -- how could everyone be seeing the same thing he is? I really don't think any mask power could be so powerful that it affects everyone.
Every being saw from the network’s perspective, a mental kaita of sorts.
A Shadow Takanuva blasted Marendar, but the darkness didn’t harm the robot!
Exclamation points should generally only be used in dialogue, not description.
Those aside, I did enjoy this story. The plot definitely intrigued me, and it kept me reading through the whole thing.
There were some things that needed work, however. As I mentioned before, I think the biggest problem is pacing. Things moved far, far too quickly. One moment Orde's alone, the next Gelu and Artahka are there with him (Artahka being the one person that he needs, and he just "happens" to show up right at that moment. Too convenient.); one moment Orde's one place, then he's another, etc. I realize he's using a mask of dimensional travel, but still. More time needs to be given to the descriptions. Throughout the story I had trouble following what exactly was going on. I know that they were in alternate dimensions, but again, it needs to be more clear, especially when they move to different places/dimensions. One example, the shadow Toa. While you described why there's an army of them (though it was slightly awkward the way it was done -- remember this is from Orde's perspective, and you should stick with him while intertwining the details of the dimension he's in while focusing on his plot instead of seemingly switching back and forth), you still should've described more of the location they were in, why Orde went there, etc. Same with where they see the Great Being. They saw him, they were distracted, he awoke. There was no real depth to the scene, and I'm not quite sure what the point of it was. In short: things moved or happened too quickly without enough explanation, many times throughout the story.
The biggest problem I had with it, though, would be the last paragraph. So much happens in those few sentences and all far, far too quickly, without much explanation given. Worse is the fact that it's the ending of the story. Things just end, with, again, no explanation and on quite the confusing note. It should end with Orde, but it doesn't (what happens to Orde? He summons the other Toa and that's it? This story is about him, or at least it should be). The last paragraph, as it is, should honestly be spread out to about the length of almost the whole short story itself because of how much information you crammed in there without much explanation. I mentioned earlier and I'll mention again later that the overall writing style was good -- this is one exception. It was just incredibly hard to follow, too much happening at once, too many exclamation points, etc. This isn't a broadcast of a sporting match; it's a short story. And going back to your title, you could have ended this story fantastically by tying in the title to the end and ending with something similar to "a cold light dawns" (just something to explain why a cold light dawns, why the title fits the story, etc.), or something, but instead you just throw a million things into a few sentences. The ending, after the beginning, is the most important part of the story. The reader should go away feeling satisfied, but this ending didn't do that for me.
That said, this story wasn't bad. To your credit there were no glaring grammar mistakes, the writing style was enjoyable, and the writing itself was easy to read, even though it was at times confusing due to some plot points. What really caught my eye with this story was the interesting ideas you have. Alternate dimensions, a new mask, etc. I know it may seem that I ripped this story to shreds, but that's only because I did truly enjoy the story and some of the ideas you had. And I know that with some more effort, time, and practice, you can turn this mediocre story into something great. Don't worry about being perfect -- writing never will be perfect even if you're the best writer in the world because there will always be someone who doesn't like it -- but rather, just use the potential you have. I see a lot of potential here with your interesting ideas and solid writing, so now just complete the circle by taking the extra step; practice more by writing more, give more time and energy to your story, etc. Definitely keep writing!
Edited by Velox, Jun 16 2012 - 08:09 PM.
"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender
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