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A Mask Maker's Grief


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#1 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Nov 20 2016 - 02:21 AM

Artakha.

 

Mata Nui.

 

Kjetha Magna.

 

Terankos.

 

Despite their importance to the universe, their names seemingly vanished into legend as time went on and the people of Okoto enjoyed their peaceful and abundant lives.

 

As a mask maker’s assistant, Elitha saw these names every so often due to the legend written in stone within the forge of the mask makers. Before serving as a mask maker’s assistant, she was only familiar with one of these names, but not the others. Her master and mentor emphasized how important they were to their history and how important it was to forever know their names and their contributions to their universe.

 

“Without the will of the gods, we would not even be standing!”

 

Those were his words to her the first time she asked about the significance of their names. Whenever she was not cleaning up or fetching materials to create masks, the young villager spent part of her free time reading the legend over and over again while doing some personal reading about them. Her research proved fruitful in some regards, but not so much over all, as much history about them was seemingly lost to time.

 

The name of Mata Nui was one that showed up more often than the others, most likely because he was their great protector and thus held in such great regard by their ancestors. Kjetha Magna was a name that showed up only once in a while, mostly in some tales passed down or through songs recited by travelers.

 

Elitha’s mother personally told her that she was in fact partially named after the goddess herself, as she saw her daughter as destined for greatness. Elitha recalled some tales of the goddess recounted by her mother, which was how she got to know about Kjetha Magna and how she became interested in conducting personal research.

 

Artakha was one name as old as time itself, and thus was lost to it. He created the universe, his three children, but that’s all that was ever written about him. At least, in any records that survived long enough to tell his tale. Finally, there was Terankos, the mad god of shadows. There were some records written about him, yet with his descent into darkness, holding such records about him was considered taboo. Aside from finding tales about how he fell from grace, the only other thing she could find was a short recount of a group who thrived in the shadows and renounced the light.

 

The Knights of Terankos.

 

The name alone was enough to send a chill down her spine. Not much was written about them, but the very concept of a group who reveled in the shadows was enough to make her tremble in fear.

 

Elitha’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a door bursting open, followed by some footsteps and the sound of a door slamming.

 

“Failure! A failure!”

 

The golden-armored figure proceeded to throw a pair of masks across the room, sending them flying into the wall just opposite of Elitha.

 

“M-m-m-master? A-a-are you o-o-okay?” she asked.

 

The mask maker let out a deep sigh before looking her way.

 

“Elitha, my dear assistant… It is fine. I am fine now. I did not mean to frighten you.”

 

“M-M-Master M-M-Makuta…? Is there s-s-something wrong?”

 

It was then that Makuta explained to his assistant what had gone on prior to his return. How he was looking to make the villagers look up to him as they did his brother. How he infused more than one element into his latest masks. How these masks caused nothing but trouble for those who used them. Elitha knew all too well about what he was referring to. As his assistant, she worked with Makuta on a day-to-day basis and overheard things from fellow villagers, so she could see the problem from both perspectives.

 

Some villagers felt intimidated by Makuta, mostly due to his serious demeanor and somewhat aggressive nature. Elitha saw a little more to Makuta than what others did, perhaps even more than Ekimu himself did. Makuta would sometimes share his thoughts to her, whether it was to vent his emotions to her or to get some sort of idea or reassurance. Although, Elitha felt there was more to what Makuta let on and that there were things he kept secret from everyone.

 

Never the less, Elitha did not pursue the matter as per her shy, demure nature and how deep down, she was somewhat intimidated by Makuta herself.

 

I only hope I never make Master Makuta so angry… he doesn’t do to me what he did to those masks just now.

 

“I-I-it will be all right. You’ll see.”

 

Makuta simply shook his head and began to walk away.

 

“I can only hope you’re right, my dear assistant.”

 

As Makuta walked away, Elitha went over to the masks he discarded to pick them up and leave them with the rest of his things.

 

“Whoa, what was that all about?”

 

Startled, Elitha shrieked and dropped the masks as she heard a voice. She turned around to see the villager who worked as Ekimu’s assistant.

 

“Oh. Quor. I-i-it’s only you.”

 

Quor was someone she wouldn’t normally get to talk to due to their contrasting personalities. Where she was quiet and to herself, Quor was talkative and enjoyed being around others. With his friendly, out-going nature, it was only natural that everyone got along with him. Elitha on the other hand, had trouble speaking to others regularly and became nervous very easily, so she remained quiet. Whenever she spoke, she spoke in a soft, quiet voice while stuttering her words. She could sometimes overhear what some of the other villagers would say about her and how they painted her as being strange and in some cases, creepy.

 

That was how most saw her, but Quor was different and spoke to her like a friend. She enjoyed speaking to him whenever she could, despite how nervous she felt talking to others. His kindness made her feel less afraid and less alone. Although lately, she began to have some feelings she couldn’t describe the more she found herself around him.

 

“Makuta seems like he’s been under a lot of pressure lately, hasn’t he?”

 

“Y-y-yes,” she started, “I think it’s been about these masks he’s been working on.”

 

“Really? What happened this time?”

 

Elitha grimaced at those last words. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time some kind of “mask-related disaster” happened. She didn’t like being reminded of that, however.

 

“Well, one of the masks helped a groundskeeper with growing some berries…”

 

“Uh-huh?”

 

“Then the other one made the trees those berries grew on burst into flames.”

 

“Oh… that’s… not good.”

 

“You’re telling me.”

 

There was a moment of silence as Elitha picked the masks up from the floor. It wasn’t long before Quor broke the silence.

 

“You know, Ekimu says that Makuta’s contributions matter just as much as any of his.”

 

“Master Ekimu said that?”

 

“Well… yeah. He’s picked up on what’s been going on. He’s seen it for a while now. He’s worried about Makuta.”

 

“Worried? How so?”

 

“Well, I don’t remember what he said exactly, but he said that if he lets these feelings get the best of him…”

 

Quor paused for a moment.

 

“What will happen?” Elitha asked.

 

Quor’s tone changed from his usual energetic one to one that was somber when he spoke again.

 

“Then these feelings could overwhelm him and eventually drive him mad…”

 

“Terankos…” Elitha whispered softly.

 

“Come again?”

 

“Terankos,” she replied, speaking louder. “The god of shadows.”

 

“The one in the ancient writing? What does he have to do with this?”

 

“Well… he doesn’t have anything to do with this.” Elitha shook her head. “I know it sounds crazy, but when you mentioned getting overwhelmed by negative feelings, I couldn’t help but think about how apparently the same thing sort of happened with…”

 

Quor looked at her intently.

 

Elitha laughed nervously. “It’s nothing. I’m just…” Elitha paused before thinking she sounded crazy. “I’m just… being… creepy. That’s all.”

 

At that moment, Quor made his way over to her and suddenly putting a hand on her shoulder. Elitha gasped as she felt his touch.

 

“Don’t let what anyone else says about you ever make you feel this way. You’re not something to be avoided like a plague. You’re my friend. Never stop being true to yourself, Elitha.”

 

Elitha was unsure how to respond initially. Not only because Quor boldly put a hand to her shoulder, but because no one aside from her mother ever told her anything like that before. Before she could say anything, he took his hand back and continued.

 

“It might sound a bit far-fetched, but I can see what you’re getting at. I hadn’t thought of it like that before… Well, I guess we can only hope Makuta doesn’t let his frustration and ambition get the best of him.”

 

Elitha happily nodded. “You’re right. I-i-i-I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

 

***

 

Makuta walked down the corridor to his private chamber. Going through the door, he proceeded towards his open balcony that overlooked the island.

 

What…? What is my purpose here? The villagers of Okoto uphold and revere my brother while I am nothing but a second contender. I am nothing in his shadow. This… this can’t be right! My masks are just as good, if not better, than anything my brother can create! So why…?

 

Makuta’s thoughts were interrupted when he heard some very faint laughter.

 

Where is that laughter coming from?

 

Makuta when back into his private chamber, where the laughter seemed to be louder than before, but to no avail did he find the source of it. As he took a few more steps, that’s when he heard someone speaking to him.

 

You fool…

 

“Who’s there?” Makuta demanded. He frantically turned around. The voice he heard sounded like it was coming from inside his head. Desperate, he wanted to find the owner of the voice.

 

Somebody…

 

Makuta looked around the room again, but still he saw no one else with him.

 

Somebody who wishes to help you…

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

At that moment, Makuta noticed a pair of angular, crimson eyes glowing in a dark corner in the room. When the voice spoke once more, it no longer sounded like it was coming from inside his head.

 

“You want recognition. You crave the admiration of others. You wish to outshine your brother in order to make others show you that same amount of admiration and respect!”

 

“How… how do you know this?”

 

“Believe me… I know everything there is to know about you, Makuta. Like the fact that Ekimu cares not for you or how the villagers of this place view you.”

 

“That… that can’t be true! Can it…?”

 

“You sound so unsure of yourself, Makuta. Where is your usual abundance of confidence? Or was that all a façade to make others respect you?”

 

“What are you getting at? Who are you?”

 

“I am the forgotten one. I am the bringer of judgement. I am the one they call the ‘mad god of shadows.’ I am the second son of Artakha.”

 

“Terankos…”

 

“I know all too well the feelings in your heart, Makuta, as I once had such feelings before suffering betrayal at the hands of my own brother and sister. History is written by the victors, and as such I am painted as a being gone insane for my downfall at their hands. You and I are kindred spirits, Makuta.”

 

Makuta fell to his knees as the voice of Terankos continued to speak to him. He was not sure what to make of what was going on. Either he had gone insane, or somehow the banished god of shadows was speaking directly to him, offering him counsel. Normally, he wouldn’t be so easily swayed by such words, and yet being in the presence of Terankos had a very humbling effect on Makuta.

 

The mask maker felt as though he had experienced an awakening that shook him to his very core and slowly everything he had known began to crumble. He hung onto his every word and soon, he found himself having new feelings and ideas he could not describe, taking the place of the ideals he clung to.

 

“Your desire and ambition are to be admired, Makuta, as well as the means you go to achieve what you wish for. Even breaking the most sacred agreement between you and your brother…”

 

“I had no choice,” the mask maker grumbled. “I was getting nowhere. I needed to do it.”

 

“That is fine, Makuta. However, one needs more than just the courage to challenge fate in order to achieve greatness. You must have power. Only then will you garner the authority and respect you deserve.”

 

“I’m listening…” The words the mask maker spoke were as soulless as his gaze into the eyes of Terankos.

 

“You know what you must do. You know the way to achieve ultimate power. Gather your allies. Bargain with those who may prove worthwhile to serve you and do away with those who hinder you. I shall house a small fraction of my power within you. Anything you truly desire… I shall desire it, as well…”

 

 

 

 

 

From the mind of the author:

Picking up from my previous short story. Initially, these two were the same, with the tale of the gods being written as a small prologue, then transitioning to Elitha's thoughts at the very start. But then I didn't know if I'd ever write the whole thing, and even then I wanted something simple to refer to when/if I were to continue writing. Because if I do, that will be where everything stems off from, and I didn't want to totally include it in one writing, especially if you choose not to read this story but read another story I may/may not write. 

 

Anyways, this is more or less me playing around with some of the characters and how they behave. One important thing to note about how I will be writing if I choose to do more: I am unfamiliar with certain aspects of G2 lore. I never was able to get ahold of the books. There are some plot points that went on that I may be unfamiliar with or have some knowledge of but only limited. Likewise, there are some aspects of G2 lore that I liked and disliked. So with that in mind, as sacrilegious as it might sound, I may end up disregarding some aspects of the original story if I am either unfamiliar with it or flat out did not like how it was handled. And that'll be if I were to touch on it at all.

 

Regardless, think of it as an almost-identical universe to G2 with similar characters and whatever, but with some deviations and changes. For example, my attempt at trying to make Makuta a little more of someone you can sympathize with before he totally goes crazy with power. Because to my understanding, he was always ambitious out of jealousy, but I figured that could have been touched on more to show he wasn't completely evil. 

 

The hardest part for me at least was trying to characterize Terankos, as he only existed on an index card for a few months before I put him into writing. If I do make more set in this "universe," I will work on how to portray him, especially if he appears more prominently in other works. For now, let's just say he's a delusional, manipulative opportunist who tries to set up all the pieces to put things in motion.

 

Quor and Elitha are characters of my creation, and serve as assistants to Ekimu and Makuta as a way to give an aspect to them as characters and to commentate on them. Sort of to show that Ekimu does have the best interest for Makuta in mind and likewise that Makuta's not totally evil but rather just frustrated and desperate to make everyone adore him. As of right now, I have in mind what villages they go to (sort of, I'm still working on how that will play out), but I may just with hold that information for a while, since it would play into future stuff. Quor is sort of going to act like a mix of Jaller and Takua for the most part while Elitha is going to act like her "G1 namesake" that I made years ago for stuff that didn't exactly see life beyond just some Word documents and notes.

 

Long story short: the original Elitha was an Av-Matoran who was very studious, kind, and loving, but also very shy and easily frightened. As she hated fighting, all she really had were a pair of scalpels for defense. She was eventually displaced, captured by the Brotherhood of Makuta, and eventually used as a lab rat to become a mentally-broken, power-crazed wild woman of a Toa of Shadow, stuck wearing an alternate weakened Black Ignika dubbed sarcastically by her as the mask of death. Her Toa form did have a topic on here once, but that was long ago before the forums lost some of the older stuff.

 

Anyways, thank you all for reading. Or whatever. I hope you liked it. Or at least find some enjoyment and interest. As I've said before, I'm really unsure if I will write more stuff set in this universe. And if I do, I'm also not totally sure how much of it will see the light of day, especially in BZP's case as I've been very reluctant about sharing my writing here lately. If I do, some of the things you can look forward to would be a story about the gods and their creation by Artakha, a story about the Knights of Terankos hinted at in this story, and a story that will encompass a rewrite of the ending of JTO and a transition into what I think a third year of Bionicle could have worked that would eventually tie in all of these short stories and potential submission for the Epics forum.


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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries] [The Knights of Terankos]

No, I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!


#2 Offline Wiriamu

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Posted Nov 20 2016 - 07:52 PM

Some interesting work, I must say. The Battle of the Mask Makers captures a little of the frustration and desire to do good in Makuta that you incorporated, but not to as great a degree. Terankos is intriguing so far-the original concept recalls Morgoth from Tolkien's works.

Elitha's G1 story sounds sad but also kind of compelling; I'm looking forward to read more about this version. I'm also curious about G2 Artakha and his obscurity...

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#3 Offline ShadowBionics

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Posted Nov 26 2016 - 03:50 AM

Some interesting work, I must say. The Battle of the Mask Makers captures a little of the frustration and desire to do good in Makuta that you incorporated, but not to as great a degree. Terankos is intriguing so far-the original concept recalls Morgoth from Tolkien's works.

Elitha's G1 story sounds sad but also kind of compelling; I'm looking forward to read more about this version. I'm also curious about G2 Artakha and his obscurity...

 

I'm glad you think so. If I'm able to do more, I'll try my best to "re-write" Makuta to make it so that we do see that initial desire to do good that's eventually twisted and warped into his current insanity and lust for power. Pretty much, you can think of this as a writing exercise, except I'm actually sharing it instead of keeping it locked away and never critiqued. Makuta and Terankos will have to go through some serious development, especially in Makuta's case, to show where they're coming from.

 

Elitha has served as the "poster girl" for a lot of my writings (mostly in comedies) and deviant art profile. No matter which dimension, it seems Elitha is doomed to suffer at the hands of "Makuta" as her master. Her G1 story unfortunately doesn't exist beyond some various notes on the before-mentioned DA, some for viewing and others kept in private, and ideas rattling in my head since 2010 that never made it to writing. I would at least like to think her G2 counterpart will have a somewhat "happier" ending.

 

Artakha did sort of "drop out" from view, in the sense he made 3 lesser beings (compared to him anyway) to run everything while he concentrates solely on maintaining time and space. One thing I'd also like to do is maybe something that focuses on the four of them and show more on what they're like. I sort of ran with the idea of his official G1 counterpart, whose name sort of faded into legend and you don't really see him and very few even know he's there. Likewise here, he did some pretty good stuff for the universe by giving them protectors and hope for a peaceful afterlife. But once those three were doing their jobs, he sort of dusted off his hands and said, "okay, your problem now," to go back and make sure time and space didn't go crazy, which would take a lot of energy out of him. Almost so much he would need help doing even that. 

 

One thing not mentioned in the Prelude is that before Artakha "took time" from his busy schedule to make those three, he practiced first by creating twelve time sorceresses to also serve as the ones who would temporarily do his job while he made the three. Once that was done, him and his additional twelve "daughters" departed to fully commit to maintaining time and space. Unlike the three divine beings, the sorceresses all had the same general appearance, personality, even names, as Artakha sort of rushed through because he just needed somebody to do the job while he wasn't watching and to practice how to create someone with so much power. The twelve Calza's (sorceresses of time) were so obscure, no one other than Artakha knew they existed.


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[Bionicle: Unsolved Mysteries] [The Knights of Terankos]

No, I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!


#4 Offline Rassilon (TTL)

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Posted Nov 27 2016 - 10:30 PM

What a fantastic read.
I see this becoming a epic. This could be a great BZP classic.

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