Posted Nov 15 2011 - 09:01 PM
At Last–Takanuva!Short Stories Contest #8No, this can’t be the Legendary Toa of Light... Jaller thought as he saw yet another hut shine like a lightstone, then dissolve into ash. He had to escape... he had to warn the other Koros...Another hut was gone in another brilliant flash of light. The screams of dying Matoran echoed through the night. To think, just that morning, Takua and Jaller had been lava surfing without a care in the world. Now this, this, was happening. No... It couldn’t be... Not Takua...No...They were racing down the rivers of lava, neck and neck. The excessive heat blurred their vision, making the surfing all the more fun and all the more dangerous. Jaller navigated his way up to the crest of a wave, flipped off of it, and landed perfectly back on his board.“Nice one!” yelled Takua as he came up beside the other Matoran“Thanks!” replied Jaller, “It took me months to get that perfect. I can’t count the times Tahu has saved me from falling into the lava.”“Guess what?” said Takua as he dodged a spire of rock, “I’ve been practicing a new move too!”With that, Takua crouched and let his board climb another wave of lava. Right before he reached the crest, he launched himself into a flip, leaving the board behind. After doing two full rotations in mid-air, he came back down to the lava.Jaller saw the horror happen right before his eyes. Takua’s board was pushed to the side by a second wave, leaving only lava below him. The scream of pain and shock ripped through the air, but was quickly stifled. Soon, only a hand was above the surface, gently sinking into the magma.Jaller rushed over as fast as he could, tugging his friend out of the flow and riding the lava up to the shore. The burning, melting substance dripping down the lifeless body burned his hand, but he didn’t care. He had to save Takua, no matter how badly he got burned during the process.Flinging his friend onto the rock, Jaller screamed, “Takua! Say something! Takua!”There was no response from the charred body. Again screamed Jaller, “Help! Somebody help me, please! Takua’s dying! Help me!”The situation seemed hopeless. Takua laid there, his body melting and his heartlight dim. His mask was in two pieces beside him, lending no aid in keeping him alive. Tahu was busy somewhere else, all the other Matoran they were with which they were surfing were already downstream, unable to hear Jaller’s cries for help.Suddenly, Jaller caught a glint coming from the shore, something golden. It was the mask Takua had found! It was better than nothing, and maybe it would save the dying Matoran.Tearing off his friend’s old mask, Jaller picked up the abnormal Kanohi and placed it upon the charred face. For a few moments, nothing happened, and the Matoran began to sob over his dead friend’s body.Blinding light burst from around the mask and through the eyeholes, which caused Jaller to almost fall into the river behind him. He fell down on his knees and squinted through the light, seeing a form far larger than Takua’s lying there. It looked almost like... a Toa?“Takua? Is that you? Are you okay?” Jaller yelled once the light had ceased. He stared into the darkened eyeholes, looking for any sign of life. Then, to his utter relief, the Toa’s limp form twitched, and his heartlight flashed a dim yet steady yellow. The Matoran sobbed for a minute from sheer joy at Takua having lived.Once he had composed himself, Jaller looked down the river. It would be difficult to carry an unconscious Matoran down the river, and far harder to carry a Toa. The beach where they were supposed to rendezvous was only a minute or two farther downstream. He could get the others, come back, and they could carry Takua over land back to the village.Having decided upon this, Jaller set off down the river of lava immediately. He crouched to go faster, letting him speed down the river. He avoided any obstacles with ease, arriving at the beach in only a matter of minutes. He flipped off the crest of a wave and onto the shore, to numerous applause from the others waiting.However, when he ran panting to the group–Keahi, Agni, Brander, and Tiribomba–without Takua, they knew something was wrong. One of the other Matoran, Agni, patted Jaller on the back as he said, “What’s wrong, Jaller? Where’s Takua? Did he go down the wrong branch back there?”Still gasping for breath, Jaller replied, “No! Takua fell into the lava! He’s upstream about half a kio. I was able to save him, but he’s unconscious, and we need to bring him back to the village for burns!”“How did he survive?” asked Agni with shock on his face, “It’s hard for a Matoran to live even with medical staff on standby at competitions!”As they started jogging back up the bank, Jaller replied, “He had a mask... I don’t know what it is. The lava had no effect on it, and it transformed him. I don’t know how, but that Kanohi changed Takua into a Toa!”Running after him, Tiribomba yelled, “You’ve got to be kidding me! What kind of mask could that be?”“I already said that I have no idea! Anyways, he should be around here somewhere... Ah! Here he is!” yelled Jaller as he leapt off the side of a short cliff and down to where Takua lay. Keahi and Agni jumped down with him, while Tiribomba and Brander stayed on the ledge.“Wow!” exclaimed Agni as they attempted to heave Takua up to the other two. “He’s a lot heavier now! Are you sure this is Takua?”Jaller grunted before replying with, “How should I know? I put the Kanohi on his face after it seemed that he was dead, and then light shot out of the mask! I could barely see, but it looked like he transformed into a Toa! Now, heave!”The five Matoran got Takua’s body onto the ledge after a minute or so of heaving. The three standing below scrambled up to the ledge and then helped picked the body up and off of the ground. They then began to carry him upriver toward the village.Before long, they were able to Ta-Koro and into the village doctor’s hut. Upon hearing about the incident, Vakama and many others came to see with their own eyes. The aged Turaga, wise beyond all others, related the legend of the Toa of Light, Takanuva, coming to them. The astonished villagers waited anxiously for the new Toa to wake up.Jaller, in the meantime, went to his hut and sat down, his face in his hands. This was too much to happen in one day... Takua fell into a river of lava. He was saved, buy quickly died. A Kanohi–the Mask of Light, the Avohkii–was placed on the dead Matoran’s face, and he came back to life. But he wasn’t a matoran anymore, he was a Toa. His name was now Takanuva. Would things ever be the same?A chorus of sudden screaming jerked Jaller out of his reverie. He ran out of his hut to see a blinding light like the light that had came from the mask when he placed it on Takua’s face... It was the same light!Takua, or Takanuva, stood in the center of a pile of ash. The Matoran of the village were running away, screaming in horror. Tahu, who had been speaking with Vakama outside of the hut, was now charging toward the new Toa.In another flash of light, Tahu and Vakama were gone. All that was left was falling ash. Jaller ran, screaming in horror.That brought him to where he was now–running for his life while Takanuva was destroying Ta-Koro. The screams of fleeing Matoran were quickly cut off as they were disintegrated. Jaller stumbled over a rock but managed to keep his balance, sprinting toward the bridge. It was still up from when Tahu had arrived back in the village. Thank Mata-Nui! It was only a bio away.Whiteness, blackness, the world coming back into focus. Jaller was on the ground, a Toa standing over him. Who? Takanuva? Had death come? Was he still alive? Was he seeing things as an ashen specter, watching his former friend laughing over the pile of ash that used to be his body?With a maniacal laugh spicing every word, the Toa above said, “I must thank you for saving me, Jaller! I love this new body, thank you for helping me get it! The Avohkii has shown me the world, a perfect world, which I can now make!”“Takua! Stop! This... this isn’t you! Please! Stop it! We shouldn’t have... we shouldn’t have gone surfing earlier... We shouldn’t have been showing off. That mask made you a monster... Please... stop it...” trailed Jaller, tears streaming down his cheeks from pain both physically and emotionally.With a twisted grin, Takanuva laughed, “Sorry, little friend. I can’t stop longing for a perfect world! You’ve committed crimes in your life! You’re evil! Thus, you must be disposed! You aren’t part of the picture of a perfect world!”With one last, blurred glimpse of Takanuva extending his hand, Jaller felt intense, searing pain, then nothing. The horrid laughter echoed through the desolate village.••••••••••As a side note, I generally don’t capitalize “Toa”, “Matoran”, etc. in my writing; however, as I had a feeling people might be predisposed against not capitalizing these, I went ahead and did so for the purposes of this contest. Honestly, I’m not sure if I should or shouldn’t as the fandom in general does so, along with Greg himself. Anyways, hope you liked it. Feel free to tear it to shreds or simple critique.
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