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What We Destroy

Those Who Burn Hahli

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#1 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Oct 30 2011 - 12:51 AM

~Author's Note~
This story is the second in a series of stories featuring the Matoran Inika. You can read it's companion, What We Become, here. However, these stories can really be read in any order. As always, I would welcome any comments or constructive criticism. Nuparu is next.~

What We DestroyThose Who Burn Episode Two by YukikoFor a fire to start, there are those who must burn

The first thing Hahli thought was this is wrong.She was sitting on top of a crag that emerged from the ocean under a sky full of stars. They were bright and familiar, yet at the same time they did not make sense.Hahli turned around, searching for something familiar in the strange landscape. This can’t be. I’m back on Mata Nui!She took a deep breath, trying to reassure herself that there was logical explanation for her situation. They must have broken through the barrier, and somehow she must have been separated from the others, and then...Hahli scrambled down the rock, nearly falling into the water as she looked for the remains of the toa canister she had been traveling in. Nothing. Cupping her hand , she took a sip of the water and spit it back out. The taste was bitter. She was definitely past the great barrier. With absolutely no idea of how she had gotten there.She gazed at her reflection on the sea’s surface, feeling her Kanohi to reassure herself. Yes, this was the same mask that Karzahni had given her. That had not been a dream.Or perhaps, she thought. I’m dreaming right now. That would explain a lot. Why I’m in a place that makes no sense, why I have no idea how-Beneath her reflection, something moved.Hahli started, clambering up the rock as a figure emerged from the water. Her rational mind told her that if she was dreaming, there was really no point in running away from whatever was emerging from the sea. Her irrational mind didn’t care.But how could I have dreamed up this?The first movement that she had noticed had been the being’s bright blue eyes. And the rest...for a moment Hahli though of the half-rahi Toa Hordika, but no, this-she was clearly a toa, most likely a toa of water. She wore a Kanohi and sleak,fitted armor, yet there was still something different about her. Her body movement was almost too fluid. She crawled up unto the rock as if she were swimming through the air.“Are you going to keep staring at me like that?”The toa folded her fins-great shimmering, blue and silver, winglike things-across here back as Hahli struggled to answer her. (Of course she can talk, gukko brain.)“I-I where am I? Is this close to Voya Nui?”The toa shook her head. “Voya Nui? You’re not going to get there anytime soon, unless you can fly. No, we are on Mata Nui. What’s left of it, anyway.”Hahli blinked. The toa’s voice was starting to sound familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it.“What do you mean, what’s left of it? I don’t understand.”She locked eyes with the toa. “But I want to. Tell me what happened. Please.”The toa stared straight back at Hahli, and for a moment her gaze seemed to waver and soften. Hahli was almost sure she was going to start crying. Then she looked away, and that weakness was gone.“Are you sure you want to to know?” she said in the same soft monotone.“I’m a chronicler. It’s my business to tell the world of the past, to record events so that they will not be forgotten.”“And why are you here, Chronicler?”Hahli felt the toa’s eyes on her, examining her. She squirmed, despite herself. “Because I-”“Because others didn’t want you to know, to understand. What makes you think that I give you an answer when others withheld it from you? You went to find to the truth for yourself. That’s the best way, the only way.” The toa turned her eyes to the ocean, gazing out across it. “But it is also the way that hurts the most.”“And how am I supposed to find out anything for myself now?” Hahli almost shouted at the toa. “I’m on a spirit-forsaken rock in the middle of the ocean without anyway off of it! You obviously have nothing better to do, so why aren’t you telling me anything?”The toa said nothing for a few seconds, apparently ignoring what had just been said to her.“It was mistake.”“What?” said Hahli, still struggling to keep her voice in check, “I still have no idea what-”“It was a mistake,” said the toa. “The entire island of Mata Nui was a mistake. Every plant, every rahi, every rock and cave and river...all just the result of a malfunction, which has now been fixed.”The toa pointed over Hahli’s right shoulder with her-no, where the three middle fingers of the toa’s right hand should have been were glittering, razor-sharp metal talons. Hahli’s back prickled as she twisted around, keeping one eye on her companion.Now that she saw it, Hahli wondered why she hadn’t noticed it before.It blocked off half the sky, a huge black thing that stretched up into infinity. It was too dark to see, but it seemed vaguely like the top half of a statue. Near its summit, something cast a dull red glow, illuminating a huge angular head.“One little island doesn’t stand much of a chance against that, does it?” the toa said.“Yes,” was the only word Hahli could manage at first. Then the questions started swarming their way into her skull. She turned back to the strange toa.“What is that? Who are you? Where do you come from? What happened-”Hahli paused, out of breath.“Am I dreaming? I must be dreaming. There’s no other explanation.”The toa sighed and closed her eyes. Hahli found herself feeling relieved. There was something that bothered her about the toa’s eyes, like her voice. She felt as if she had seen them before, but she had no idea where or when.“We are both dreaming, I think,” said the toa, opening her eyes. “And when we wake up, you will forget. And maybe I will remember, but it won’t be much help. Just another reminder that I’ve lost.”“Toa don’t lose,” said Hahli. There was something about this toa’s manner that scared her. “They keep going, even when all hope is lost, because they have the three virtues to guide them.”The toa turned away, staring at the ocean again. “Do you really believe that? Or are you just saying it?”“Surely you haven’t lost everything,” Hahli said, trying to keep her voice steady. Please, say there’s some hope. If the toa nuva have gone, we need it.“Oh, but I want to believe,” said the toa. “But it’s so hard, waking up in the morning and feeling that the walls are watching me. Knowing it. I’ve killed, Chronicler, even if it was just filthy Makuta spawn. Do your rules even apply to me?”She seemed to be speaking to herself now. “The worst part is knowing that I can live in the darkness, see in the darkness. I feel like I’m going mad, but I’ve come to expect it. And I can’t help but wondering if the darkness has gotten inside me, and that is the only reason I’m alive now.”Then she looked at Hahli, and Hahli felt her body grow rigid with fear. She had seen that look once before in the eyes of Turaga Nokama while the elder had been caring for a rahi mortally injured by the Bohrak.It was the look you gave to someone that you knew was about to die.“I am sorry.” The toa said.“What for?”Hahli tried to stand, but her feet slid on the wet rock and she had to grab for a handhold. Her palms stung. (If this is a dream, the voice of panic whispered inside her head, it wouldn’t hurt.) Nowhere to run. Nowhere but the vast expanse of ocean, from where this toa had first emerged. She faced the stranger, who continued to look at her with that awful, pitying stare.“I will destroy you,” she said, but without hardness, which somehow made the statement more terrible. “I will grind it all away, you innocence, your gentleness, your faith, until there is only myself left.”As Hahli’s mind fumbled for half-realized comprehension, the toa spoke again. And as she spoke, she leapt at Hahli, her fins extended.“Until there is only Hahli.”The weight of the toa’s words hit Hahli along with the water. In one flash of clarity, she realized why the toa’s voice had sounded so familiar.But there was little time for thought, because they were going down fast, further down that Hahli had ever managed to swim. The light faded, and Hahli’s lungs began to protest. Then the shock faded, and the panic set in. I am going to die down here, in the dark, with thousands of bio of water above me and no one will know what happened to me.She flailed weakly, but that only increased the burn in her chest and limbs. The water pressed down harder, insisting.She opened her mouth.Water rushed down her throat, but the feeling was strange. It wasn’t like drowning, or at least how she had imagined drowning to be. It was like the entire ocean was roaring inside her, filling not just her lungs, but her entire body, seeping into her hands and feet and crowding out her thoughts with the sound of crashing waves. She felt as if she might explode with the power that the shell of her could no longer contain.The last thing she glimpsed before the feeling overtook her were the toa’s blue eyes, floating in the darkness like two luminescent see creatures.She remembered how she had first seen them, rising from her own reflection.

***

Hahli woke, gasping for breath.She grasped the sloping metal sides of the canister, still inhaling great gulps of air until she became lightheaded. Then reason set in, and she wondered why she had been in such desperate need of air.There was something, she thought. Something I dreamed.She groped for some memory of what had caused her to panic, but there was nothing, just a big blank spot of time between when she had slipped into the canister and where she found herself now.Deciding that pursuing her former train of thought wasn’t going to get her anywhere, Hahli started to look for some indication of where she was. She felt her way against the cool rounded sides of the canister toward the front. On the way, her hands ran into something and she stopped, feeling until her fingers slid around a round object. She pulled, and something came away in her hand, something long that clanked against the floor of the canister. She set it to the side, making a mental note to take it with her once she had gotten out of the canister to see what it was.It might be a good idea to have something to defend herself with anyway.Crawling forward, she groped along for a hand hold in the pitch darkness. However, the lid of the canister moved easily once she found a grip. Holding the weapon in front of her, she walked forward into the night.Hahli stood up, feeling odd. She had to hold out her hands to steady herself. All that time inside the canister must have affected her sense of balance. Despite this, she felt good, energized. The raindrops lashing her arm felt electric on her skin, as if they might leap into the air again.She blinked once, to clear her eyes of the rain.

Edited by Yukiko, Nov 27 2011 - 01:39 PM.

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#2 Offline SuperStickman117

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Posted Nov 05 2011 - 11:16 AM

This is great, perfectly written, a great story, and a pervasive feeling of mystery, just a few spelling errors, I love it!
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#3 Offline Snoopy82

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Posted Nov 26 2011 - 09:41 PM

SSCC ReviewExcellent work! I must say, I am being completely honest when I say it is one of the best short stories I have read on BZP--everything about it is perfect. Now, that might just be my personal preferences talking (you have succeeded in including everything I love about a story :P), but I would think most would agree. A few specifics: I love the mystery that you perpetuate around the other figure's identity. You allow the reader to formulate so many different theories in such a short span that I believe "masterful" best describes it. Also, the anticlimax at the end is great. I happen to love endings that are just revealing enough to be satisfying, but also leave enough to the imagination to make the reader want more. The whole epilogue is wonderful--sure, it doesn't necessarily convey action or dialogue, but it gives me as a reader such a sense of "what just happened, but whatever it was, it was nbd" that it becomes hauntingly satisfying.As for criticisms, there's not much I can say--your style, tone, etc. are all excellent. Watch your spelling at times (darn homonyms), but generally you're pretty good about that.Once again, great job! A well deserved 9.5/10 overall. :)
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#4 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Nov 27 2011 - 02:45 AM

The atmosphere really caught my attention. It's just how I would imagine Mata Nui to look right now on Aqua Magna. There really isn't anything I found to criticize here, there are a few spelling errors, but that's going to happen. Also if I had to say one thing, the only reason this didn't hit me as completely original, is because it does follow a very similar pattern and setting as What We Become. For the next story featuring which ever Toa Inika, I say give him a different setting, or mix it around.But really, the plot works, and Toa Hahli who is very realistic, granted a more angst version but it's portrayed very well. Um, Characterization, Details, Settings and Plot. All really well done.Awesome job and will be reading more.
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#5 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Nov 27 2011 - 02:15 PM

Thanks to both of you for encouraging reviews! I know proof-reading has always been the bane of my existence. (English, why u so difficult?) It's good to know that my style doesn't have any major flaws and I can concentrate on fine-tuning and other things.Grant, thanks for the advice on change of setting, but do you have any suggestions as to how to mix it up? As I'm sure you have figured out by now, I tend to lead heavily on characters (and angst angst angst angst), and my plots are generally not that complicated. I have already started Nuparu's episode, and yeah...its pretty much the same as this, except the tone is slightly different and the details have been changed. I conceived these as a bunch of character studies to see if I could develop the differences in characterization for the Toa Inika, especially since their personalities are not as radically different as most of the other toa teams.Anyway, thanks for the reviews. I really appreciate the feedback. ^^

Edited by Yukiko, Nov 27 2011 - 02:52 PM.

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#6 Offline Grant-Sud

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Posted Nov 27 2011 - 06:33 PM

Well, both the stories had a Future Toa reflect with their younger selves about who they used to be. And don't get me wrong because both have been awesome character studies, but maybe with Nuparu, give him a vision about inventing new objects, machines etc, instead of just in a barren place wondering where he is. Then bring in him as a Toa.You could even give visions about happy places, that turn to flame at the last minute. In my opinion the Toa Mahri were pretty deep characters. Jaller had struggles holding his leadership. Matau was actually someone who progressed to a positive being, instead of his previous, serious one. So that character study will be tricky if you're shooting for angst. Hewkii was a hero among the Matoran, and him losing everything can be expressed by where he is, or maybe him just missing when things were simpler. Finally Matoro, well you can do all sorts of things with his plot, basically because he doesn't have a future. Maybe have him meet all the Toa Inika/Mahri, who say their goodbyes to him, or better yet, praise him and show him a great time, before telling them they'll never see him again. But that's just me shooting ideas out there. lol Overall, both have been damp and dark in atmosphere, which work, but changing them could bring in more situations, especially with different Toa. Hope that helps, and again, I think the writing and story is great, and I wouldn't be giving suggestions for future stories if I didn't.
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#7 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Nov 30 2011 - 12:36 AM

Thanks. I'm not sure how these will work out specifically, but they bring up some interesting ideas. While I can't promise a radically different plot structure in Nuparu's episode, it will definitely be less *barren landscape* *random emo conversation* *trippy transformation manifestation*. (Okay, actually the last part was a lie. It will be sufficiently trippy.)Interesting idea for Kongu (well, you said Matau, but I assume you meant Kongu =P). When I think about it, you're right. Kongu, when he became a toa, suddenly had to shoulder a lot less responsibility than he had as captain of the Gukko Force. It would be interesting to see how he dealt with that lack of responsibility, which in another way was lack of control of his situation. Yet, the Toa Mahri had no obvious conflicts over leadership, despite the fact that they had three characters with leadership experience.Random character examination rant aside, I am really grateful for you ideas. It now occurs to me that all of my short stories have been dark. (I'm going to have to write some fluffy romance to convince you all that I am not some horrible depressed person.)
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#8 Offline Solomon Kane

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Posted Dec 07 2011 - 12:08 PM

“Oh, but I want to believe,” said the toa.

Egad, Hahli is Mulder! The Truth really is out there!On a more serious note, this is an effective, interesting character study, primarily because it pushes Hahli into darker territory without contradicting her previous characterization. Excellent work!"That is not dead which can eternal lie, / And with strange aeons even death may die."

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    That time...is over.


#9 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Dec 08 2011 - 10:42 PM

Excellent, excellent! I hate to sound as if I'm parroting everyone else, but really, your style, your plot is simply of a caliber I don't usually see. But I definitely appreciate it!Hahli as a character on both sides, Toa and matoran, is well-developed and believable. The action is balanced, the dialogue well thought out, though there are a few grammar errors. Since this is part of a series, I'm hoping you'll at least hint whether or not Toa Hahli's grim prediction comes true.

“I will destroy you,” she said, but without hardness, which somehow made the statement more terrible. “I will grind it all away, your innocence, your gentleness, your faith, until there is only myself left.”

Or - options - do I sense a Makuta-style mind game here? "Myself creating what I saw" sort of thing? Hmm... At any rate, this is a good piece of work, and I'm eager to see how it all comes out.

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#10 Offline Tekulo in the Green

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Posted Dec 08 2011 - 11:46 PM

This was a great read!I've wondered before what I might tell myself a few years ago before I started to grow up. It's sort of funny how people turn into their own dapple-gangers over time, and your story with Hahli really had a chilly premise to that idea (I like it). The style was cryptic even though it was clear Hahli was talking to herself. That, in a way, made it mysterious, yet familiar and logical (if I'm making any sense. XD). This really had a surreal feel to the story as I was reading it (I'm a fan of surreal stories. XD).I loved this story! You really did Hahli justice with this, and I would love to read the rest of the series!

Edited by Tekulo: Toa of Wind, Dec 08 2011 - 11:49 PM.

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#11 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Dec 09 2011 - 11:58 PM


“Oh, but I want to believe,” said the toa.


Egad, Hahli is Mulder! The Truth really is out there!
On a more serious note, this is an effective, interesting character study, primarily because it pushes Hahli into darker territory without contradicting her previous characterization. Excellent work!

I actually had to look that up. I'm such a bad nerd >_<


Or - options - do I sense a Makuta-style mind game here? "Myself creating what I saw" sort of thing? Hmm... At any rate, this is a good piece of work, and I'm eager to see how it all comes out.

Wouldn't you like to know? :evilgrin:


This was a great read!

I've wondered before what I might tell myself a few years ago before I started to grow up. It's sort of funny how people turn into their own dapple-gangers over time, and your story with Hahli really had a chilly premise to that idea (I like it). 

The style was cryptic even though it was clear Hahli was talking to herself. That, in a way, made it mysterious, yet familiar and logical (if I'm making any sense. XD). This really had a surreal feel to the story as I was reading it (I'm a fan of surreal stories. XD).

I loved this story! You really did Hahli justice with this, and I would love to read the rest of the series!



Thank you all for your wonderful comments. It really makes me feel good when somebody likes my work, and it spurs me to write more. ^^ However, I am currently battling the great Rahi Beast known as Finals and I haven't gotten much writing done. You can expect Nuparu's episode sometime before new years, if I'm actually feeling productive.

Edited by Yukiko, Dec 10 2011 - 12:02 AM.

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#12 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Dec 13 2011 - 10:20 PM

This was excellent dude! I love how you captured the dreamlike feel of it. The aura of mystery you have is a good reader's hook. The past and future Hahli meeting was well done, with the two as the same characters but at different developmental stages- I was interested in that; its remarkable to think about how Hahli changed within the two years of the Ignika saga. The dialogue was free flowing, and moving. I liked it, especially what each Hahli says about loss. Your brief description of the Teridax robot along with the destroyed island of Mata Nui gave me chills. Well done!My only pet peeve about this was the unformalized "toa", because I'm a sucker for canon spelling.I might as well read the first one now :nahnah:
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#13 Offline Makuta Matata

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Posted Dec 20 2011 - 08:36 PM

Wow, this is really nice. You have a few grammar issues, though.
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#14 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Dec 21 2011 - 02:35 PM

^Everyone keeps saying that. XDWould you mind pointing them out? I've read over this several times and I think I could use a pair of fresh eyes.
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