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The Triumph Of The Toa

Short Stories Contest #8

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#1 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Nov 17 2011 - 08:59 PM

This is my entry for Short Stories Contest #8: Title Twisters. I took the title of Comic #3, "The Triumph of the Toa," and wrote a story based around that, as per the contest rules.So enough of my somewhat useless rambling. Here is the story itself:Sitting in front of the campfire, Turaga Mohadias rubbed the forehead of his Mask of Flight. Around the campsite were six Matoran villagers. They looked worn, tired, and discouraged, which Mohadias understood. They had just escaped their village, which had been attacked by the new ruler of the universe, Makuta Teridax. Even now, a week after their escape, Mohadias could still remember in vivid detail the armies of Rahkshi, Visorak, and other monstrosities overrunning homes, wrecking gardens and fields, killing any Matoran that opposed their master’s will.Mohadias had been a brave Toa once before, but that did not mean he was stupid. He had fled the village in order to join the rebellion – which he had overheard two of Teridax’s minions talking about – that had sprung up shortly after Teridax’s rise to power. Once he and his Matoran joined this rebellion, they would work with it to bring down Teridax. It was a good plan, in Mohadias’s opinion, one that should have worked perfectly.But now, a week later, Mohadias had still not found this rebellion. No matter where he and his Matoran went, they couldn’t find it. Everyone they had met was too afraid to fight Teridax, which made Mohadias wonder if this rebellion existed at all. Or perhaps it had already been crushed by Teridax. If so, then Mohadias and his Matoran were doomed to failure.Did I lead my Matoran into the wilderness for nothing? Mohadias thought as he watched the villagers sitting around the fire, talking among themselves. Maybe it would have been better to stay in our village. Then again, we would have been destroyed by Teridax’s armies anyway. Running is the only thing we can do now.Just then, Nurmaz – a Ta-Matoran who had been brave enough (or foolish enough, Mohadias thought cynically) to follow Mohadias – came up to the Turaga. Nurmaz’s left arm was in a sling; the result of an injury he had taken from a Rahkshi while escaping the village. Still, Nurmaz had not let it slow him down, nor had he complained about it, either. For that Mohadias was grateful, as it was hard enough already to lead uninjured Matoran who did complain.“Yes, Nurmaz?” asked Mohadias. “What is the problem?”“No problem, Turaga,” said Nurmaz, shaking his head. “I just wanted to hear a story from you.”Although Mohadias did not show it, he was amazed. Nurmaz wanted to hear a story, right now? What could have possessed the Ta-Matoran to want to listen to a story while he and his friends were constantly on the run, aware that every day could be their last? Had Nurmaz lost it or did he really not understand the seriousness of their situation?Mohadias wanted to tell Nurmaz point blank no, he would not tell him a story and to go back and tend to the fire. But Mohadias restrained himself. Turaga were supposed to be wise and patient. He would not look very wise or patient if he yelled at Nurmaz, especially for such a minor thing as wanting to hear a story.So Mohadias took a deep breath and said, “All right, Nurmaz. I will tell you a story, then.”Nurmaz smiled, which made Mohadias feel a little better. “Good. But I’m not the only one who wants to hear a story. Let me go get the others first.”Mohadias nodded, and in a few seconds all six Matoran were gathered around the Turaga. Most of them appeared interested in hearing the story, but Mohadias could see Kanderias – a Matoran of Plasma – sitting with his arms folded. Sorox clearly didn’t think this was the time for storytelling, either, but as Mohadias did not see any harm in this, he decided to comply with Nurmaz’s request.“Good to see you are all here,” said Mohadias, looking at them. “What story would you like to hear?”“Tell us the story of the triumph of the Toa,” said Nurmaz, who Mohadias noticed was sitting close to Cina, a Ga-Matoran. “That is, the triumph of the Toa Avha.”Again Mohadias did not understand Nurmaz’s motives. In Mohadias’s opinion, listening to the story of the triumph of some mythical Toa team would not help them in the slightest. It would entertain them for a few minutes, maybe, but after that they would return to cold reality. He didn’t see how it could help them defeat Teridax or even find safety.But at the same time, Mohadias, again, saw no real harm in it. He was getting weary of fear and anxiety, the two emotions he had experienced the most during the past week. Telling the Matoran a story might help him relax and think of a plan. At the very least it might ease up tensions in the camp, which had been escalating due to the lack of adequate food, water, and shelter.“The tale of the triumph of the Toa Avha is a good story,” said Mohadias, forcing a smile. “Let’s see if I can remember how it started . . .”Mohadias thought for a moment, for it had been a long time since he had last told this particular tale. Or it seemed like a long time, anyway. The last time he had told it was the night of the destruction of their village a week ago. To Mohadias, as he reflected on that night, it seemed like a cruel twist of fate that he should tell a story of triumph on the night of their defeat.Again he privately questioned Nurmaz’s reasons for wanting to hear this story. Nurmaz and the others had been there the last time Mohadias had told this story. So why did Nurmaz insist that Mohadias tell a story that would only bring back painful memories to everyone present? Was Nurmaz really that cruel? Or was he just terribly, terribly naïve?None of the other Matoran appeared bothered by it, but Mohadias still felt annoyed. If he hadn’t decided a story might make him feel better, Mohadias would have refused to tell this tale at all. Mohadias decided he would simply give them the shortened version, if only to spare them the pain of having to listen to this ironic tale.So Mohadias said, “Now I remember. It started a long time ago, before any of us were even thought of. It was in the time before time, when a great shadow conquered many lands. This shadow sought to create an empire and place itself on the same level as the Great Spirit himself. What was worse was that this shadow had once been a friend of the other inhabitants in the universe, but as a shadow cannot hide in the light, so this shadow could not hide its true colors for long.”None of the Matoran said anything. Nurmaz was eagerly listening, without a hint of the irony of their situation. Mohadias wondered if maybe Nurmaz was fatalistic, wanting to listen to a story when the whole universe was under the rule of the worst shadow of all.“But not all hope was lost. Six Toa – who called themselves ‘Avha,’ an old word meaning ‘Light Saviors’ – appeared from nowhere. They struck hard and fast against the shadow empire, but despite this, they were not strong enough to overthrow the evil that controlled the universe. There were only six of them and thousands of shadows. Not to mention that the six Great Shadows who led the minor shadows were strong enough individually to take on six Toa.”Nurmaz and the other Matoran looked very interested now. Even Kanderias seemed intrigued by the story, even though all of the villagers had heard this tale at some point or another. Mohadias assumed it was simply a very interesting story, for it didn’t seem particularly relevant to their situation.“And the Toa Avha had internal divisions, too. They could not agree on who should lead the team. The Toa of Lightning and Toa of Plasma especially clashed, once even coming to physical blows over the problem of leadership. Indeed, for a while there the Toa Avha appeared to be jesters rather than heroes, so the shadow did not care about them, believing that these new heroes would simply kill each other in their disunity or even disband entirely. It seemed that the bright light of the Avha was destined to shine for a brief time only.”Mohadias cleared his throat and continued: “But the shadow underestimated its foes. The Toa Avha eventually settled their leadership disputes, uniting under the leadership of the Toa of Lightning, who was called Klio. Now unified, the Toa Avha fought back against the shadow empire with even more ferocity than before. Storming the shadows’ fortress, the Toa Avha defeated the Great Shadows, causing the entire empire to collapse. They then expelled the shadow and its minions from the universe for all time, saving the universe from the forces of evil. And that is the triumph of the Toa Avha, a tale of bravery and heroism even in the face of division, trials, and uncertainty.”When Mohadias finished, all of the Matoran thanked him for telling the story. Mohadias accepted their thanks, but as soon as they left to return to whatever tasks they had been doing before, Mohadias took Nurmaz aside. He could not hold it in any longer. Mohadias needed to know what Nurmaz was thinking, asking to hear that story in this situation.“Nurmaz,” said Mohadias, once the other Matoran were out of earshot.“Yes, Turaga?” said Nurmaz.“First, let me say that I am not angry with you, Nurmaz,” said Mohadias, checking his temper. “But I must ask: Why did you ask for a story of triumph when we were defeated not long ago? It only reminds the Matoran of the reality of their situation, which is just going to depress them and crush their hope.”Nurmaz looked liked he had been expecting Mohadias to say this. “I understand what you’re saying, Turaga, but I think you missed my point.”Now Mohadias was confused. “Missed your point? What do you mean?”“I mean,” said Nurmaz, much more patiently than Mohadias would have said it, “that I asked you tell us that story to inspire hope and courage in us. Mata Nui is gone, we lost our village to monsters, and we’ve been on the run for a week. I just noticed how down and depressed everyone was. I even heard Kan talking about just giving up, since no one is strong enough to take on Teridax.”Mohadias looked at Nurmaz in amazement. “Let me get this straight. You think that, by telling the Matoran about the triumph of the Toa Avha, it might inspire them to remain courageous? To give them hope that someday we can triumph over Teridax, just as the Toa Avha defeated the shadows?”“Yeah,” said Nurmaz, nodding. “That’s exactly what I mean. That tale always inspired me whenever I failed, so I thought it might work for them, too. I’m sorry if I messed up, though. I didn’t think it would hurt.”“No, no,” said Mohadias, shaking his head. “No, your motives were pure. I just didn’t understand why you would want to listen to a story when there were more important things to worry about.”Nurmaz chuckled. “Yeah, I guess it does seem kind of trivial when you put it that way.” He looked toward the fire and said, “Um, Turaga, the fire is getting low. I think I should return to tending it.”“All right,” said Mohadias, gesturing to the fire. “You’ve put my concerns to rest, I think. Thanks.”“You’re welcome, Turaga,” said Nurmaz, nodding. “Now if you will excuse me . . .”He walked toward the fire, but Mohadias saw him go over to Cina and talk to her instead.I figured as much, Mohadias thought. The fire didn’t look that low to me, anyway.But as Mohadias sat back down, he wondered if maybe Nurmaz was wiser than he. Nurmaz had been right: The Matoran needed hope. Without the hope that they, like the legendary Toa Avha, could triumph over the darkness, it would be impossible to defeat Teridax. Mohadias wondered if Nurmaz would make a better Turaga than he someday.The Matoran need all the hope they can get, Mohadias thought. Hope is what drives us. Without hope, we would not even be in the situation. Maybe telling them that story did give them hope. Or maybe it did not, but I hope it did.Comments, criticism, etc are all welcome :) .-TNTOS-
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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#2 Offline King of the Madness Isles

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Posted Nov 21 2011 - 04:23 PM

Good job. I see how it ties in to some of your other work.It seems like a campfire-type story, actually. Good concept, fairly original.Great work once again!
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"The moral of the story is, I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I'll never make that mistake again. No more half measures Walter."


#3 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Nov 22 2011 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for the comment, PB :) . Really appreciate it.Also, it does tie-in to my other stories, as you correctly noticed. In fact, I think a few characters from this short story will be making appearances in some of my later fics. Just a fun fact.-TNTOS-
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog
The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness
(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)
{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)
(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)
The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)


#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Jan 13 2012 - 03:45 AM

SSCC Review here. Sorry it took so long.I'll start with the title. I think you chose a good one, and it definitely fits the plot well. Good job on that.The beginning was good, but I do have one suggestion: Try to flesh out the attack on the village. Nothing makes for a good, gripping start than some thrilling and moving action -- just a couple sentences describing the devastation unleashed by Makuta would do it (and the outcome of such). I really like to go into emotions when writing/reading, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. Make the reader cry if you can at the horribleness of what Makuta did to these people. Of course, it is BZPower, so you can only go so far, but still. =PNow, just a few nitpicks and such:

Around the campsite were six Matoran villagers. They looked worn, tired, and discouraged, which Mohadias understood. They had just escaped their village, which had been attacked by the new ruler of the universe, Makuta Teridax.

"Which" just doesn't sound good in either of these, and you used the same word one sentence after another (and again a couple sentences later). I'd just try to re-word those couple of sentences removing the word "which" to allow for a more fluid read.

Still, Nurmaz had not let it slow him down, nor had he complained about it, either.

The "either" isn't necessary.

Sorox clearly didn’t think this was the time for storytelling, either, but as Mohadias did not see any harm in this, he decided to comply with Nurmaz’s request.

First thing, you mention Sorox without giving him any sort of introduction -- something as simple as describing him as a "__-Matoran" (e.g. Ta-Matoran, etc.). It also seems like it was slightly forced into the story. I'm not quite sure how to explain it (I'm probably just tired as it's late), but basically I think more of a "point" should be made with the mentioning of Sorox, as well as an extremely brief introduction of him. Second thing is that I might consider changing "either" to "also" (changing the order of the sentence to something like "Sorox also didn't...". Just to change it up since you haven't used "also" but have used "either."

Or it seemed like a long time, anyway.

"At least it seemed like a long time to him, anyway." might be better? Again, sorry, but not quite sure how to describe it, but the paragraph surrounding this sounds off -- I guess you could say a little too informal?

Indeed, for a while there the Toa Avha appeared to be jesters rather than heroes, so the shadow did not care about them, believing that these new heroes would simply kill each other in their disunity or even disband entirely.

"There" is unneeded. This part also seems a little un-fluid-yThat aside, I enjoyed this story. I think it was cut a little short -- more descriptions, a more in-depth recall of the "legend" (as it was, it seemed like the story only took about a minute or two to tell -- "storytime" should be longer than that =P). Maybe try to add more action, more emotion into the story. Have the Turaga trying to captivate and emotionally move his audience. Another thing I noticed was that the writing at time seemed...informal. Too stiff, if you will, and not quite as fluid as it could be. I tried to point out the places that I had the most trouble with, and I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. You've got an excellent plot, some interesting characters, but I think it could have been executed a little better. Still, though, the writing was pretty good, and was by no means bad. On the topic of characters, I also would liked to have seen more of them. They seem like interesting characters, but they weren't quite fleshed-out enough. Most notably the Turaga and the Toa team. For the Toa, I understand this is all told from the Turaga's perspective, and therefore impossible to put thoughts, feelings, etc., but I still would have liked to have seen more of them. I guess this goes back to the shortness of the story; maybe just fleshing out the legend would fix this. As for the Turaga, I know it's a short story, but I've always been a stickler for characters. As such I have to mention this. I thought the Turaga was quite interesting, and he makes a great character -- so much so that I simply want to see more of him; I want to know him better, if you will. And the Matoran, too -- you add a little bit of romance in here, but you don't really expand upon it. Again, yes it's a short story, but I'd still like to see more. Maybe that's just me. =PI thought the ending was very well done. It not only gives us an interesting perspective of Mohadias, but it moves the reader to sympathize with the situation of the story and the Matoran. It's always important to end on a good note, so good job there. And excellent ending.As I said before, I enjoyed this story -- keep it up and keep writing! Posted Image

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#5 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Jan 14 2012 - 04:09 PM

Thank you for the in-depth review, Velox :) . Though I would like to address a few things:

The beginning was good, but I do have one suggestion: Try to flesh out the attack on the village. Nothing makes for a good, gripping start than some thrilling and moving action -- just a couple sentences describing the devastation unleashed by Makuta would do it (and the outcome of such). I really like to go into emotions when writing/reading, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. Make the reader cry if you can at the horribleness of what Makuta did to these people. Of course, it is BZPower, so you can only go so far, but still. =P

Were this an epic, I definitely would have fleshed out the attack on their village, but I didn't see it as being extremely important to the story except as an explanation as to why Mohadias and the Matoran were on the run.But you are the second person (the first being a beta) who told me to flesh out the opening, so maybe I should have fleshed it out. Worth thinking about, anyway.

On the topic of characters, I also would liked to have seen more of them. They seem like interesting characters, but they weren't quite fleshed-out enough. Most notably the Turaga and the Toa team. For the Toa, I understand this is all told from the Turaga's perspective, and therefore impossible to put thoughts, feelings, etc., but I still would have liked to have seen more of them. I guess this goes back to the shortness of the story; maybe just fleshing out the legend would fix this.

The legend of the Toa Avha is already fleshed out somewhat in my other BIONICLE fics (such as my most recent one, Dimension Hoppers), so I didn't think I would need to flesh it out. But of course not everyone who read this story has read my other fanfics, so I probably should have made it longer and more detailed.

As for the Turaga, I know it's a short story, but I've always been a stickler for characters. As such I have to mention this. I thought the Turaga was quite interesting, and he makes a great character -- so much so that I simply want to see more of him; I want to know him better, if you will. And the Matoran, too -- you add a little bit of romance in here, but you don't really expand upon it. Again, yes it's a short story, but I'd still like to see more. Maybe that's just me. =P

Glad you like Mohadias. I liked him, too. Maybe I could write another story about him sometime.I didn't really expand upon the Matoran because I didn't consider them as interesting or important as Mohadias (save Nurmaz, obviously). I mean, there were six Matoran and one Turaga; seven characters total. I never like to focus on more than a few characters at a time with my short stories, simply because none of them would ever get developed if I tried to focus on several characters at once. You still make a good point, though, one I will keep in mind for future short stories.

I thought the ending was very well done. It not only gives us an interesting perspective of Mohadias, but it moves the reader to sympathize with the situation of the story and the Matoran. It's always important to end on a good note, so good job there. And excellent ending.

I am so glad you liked the ending. That was the part of the story I worried about the most, but I guess it turned out well, so there you go.Again, thanks for the in-depth review. I really appreciate it and I will remember your advice the next time I sit down to write a short story (or any story at all, for that matter). Thanks :) .-TNTOS-

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

A Writerly Blog
The Tasty Library of Sugary Goodness
(My Little BIONICLE: Friendship is Explosive Completed 01/05/14)
{The Shika Trilogy Omnibus Completed 03/31/14) (Review Topic)
(In the End Completed 09/01/14) (Review Topic)
The Biological Chronicle: (2001) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010)





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