Merciless ShadowsMahri Nui/Pit: Outcast TreasureIt all began with the stone.Pridak had been looking through the wreckage of the Pit, wondering if anything useful might still be hidden beneath the debris, when he came across the stone. It was easy to spot, its soft, golden-yellow glow giving its position away. Intrigued, Pridak came closer -- but a Zyglak was there first, hissing and swinging its spear.Pridak had no desire to risk being killed by the poison that coated the Zyglak's body and weapon. Even though he yearned to fight, he did nothing as the Great Beings' mistake grabbed the stone and swam into the darkness of the murky waters beyond.Takadox swam in from the right, looking after the retreating figure of the Zyglak. "What was that about?" he asked; then he noticed Pridak's expression."I know that look," he said. "But if you even think that I will come along willingly--""Do not worry," Pridak interrupted, his tone becoming suddenly threatening as he spun in the water to point a blade at Takadox's throat. "I was not expecting you to."It was with a hint of satisfaction that he noted the glint of fear in Takadox's eyes. Fear of his leader. He let the sight soak in; then, with obvious reluctance, he pulled the blade away."Anything else to add?" Pridak snapped.Takadox remained silent, though on the inside he was simmering with anger. Either Pridak missed the sudden fire that burned in Takadox's eyes or he ignored it. "Then we must leave. Now."* * * So focused was the Zyglak on escaping with its treasure that it did not notice its pursuers... and so focused were the pursuers on their quarry that they did not notice two pairs of eyes watch as they swam past.The owners of those eyes had only meant to take a short expedition out beyond the immediate area around the underwater city of Mahri Nui; but the sight that now met their eyes compelled them to go just a little further, just to satisfy their curiosity.The azure-armored one, a Ga-Matoran named Kyrehx, turned to her companion, a yellow-armored Po-Matoran known as Dekar."The Zyglak was holding a stone," she said, "a stone that glowed."Dekar nodded in reply. "Then we follow," he said.In agreement, both swam into the pitch-black waters beyond, wondering what secrets that glowing stone might hold.* * *"Down there?"There was a hint of disbelief in Takadox's tone -- and even Pridak was beginning to wonder if the chase had to stop here. He stood at the edge of a hole, looking down into the heavy darkness below. It was so dark, there was no telling how many Zyglak were waiting below -- and even a Barraki was as good as dead against a whole army of them.But the stone was down there, and Pridak knew it was important in some way. His instinct told him there was something special about that stone, about the way it glowed, even though he had only a vague idea to go on.He turned to Takadox. "Yes," he said, "down there. Just..." He paused. "Be careful," he finished.Takadox stayed silent. Pridak turned back to the darkness below, trying to force his quiet, nagging fears away... and he jumped down, ready for anything.Anything but what he was about to see.What he could make out through the gloom was horrifying: Bones, weapons, broken pieces of armor... and eyes, numerous pairs of blood-red eyes that every now and again would seem to focus on him, only to turn away again. It made even him shudder. The Zyglak were terrible, fierce creatures that existed only to kill... and here he was, risking his life on what might only be a foolish whim.He pushed away those thoughts. No, he assured himself, it was not a foolish whim. In fact... it could be the Barraki's salvation.He took a cautious step forward, and another. Behind him, a gentle, almost inaudible whoosh signaled Takadox's arrival. Another step forward--The spear came out of nowhere, coming within a hair's breadth of impaling Pridak. It struck the rock wall behind and floated to the side. Pridak looked round the area, noting uneasily as he did so that those pairs of red eyes were turned to him now -- him and Takadox.And just when he thought that it could not get any worse, it did. He experienced firsthand the incredible power of the Iden Stone.* * * Kyrehx had decided that, just to be safe, she and Dekar would stay behind a rock and wait for someone to come out of the hole in the ground. As it turned out, it was a good thing they had done that, for what came out of the darkness obliterated all expectations.First came the two mutated beings they had pursued earlier, swimming for their lives. Kyrehx was beginning to wonder just what was going on when the thing the beings were fleeing from emerged from the hole.It was a Zyglak, but a Zyglak so mutated as to be almost beyond recognition. It was larger now, its muscles bigger, its jaws stronger; its teeth and claws looked sharper than ever before. But the worst part was its weapon, a protosteel trident with the center prong jutting out further than the other two.Kyrehx glanced at the other hand -- and gasped. That hand clasped the glowing stone she and Dekar were after. In that moment all was clear as to what the stone could do. If it fell into the wrong hands... and granted the bearer of those hands incredible power...She glanced at Dekar. He met her gaze and nodded. They were in agreement: The stone was too dangerous to be kept intact.* * * Pridak dodged, just barely, a slash at his head from the trident. He leapt back, avoiding another blow, and swam behind a rock. Takadox joined him a moment later, panting and gasping."That stone," he panted. "It must have -- no, I know it caused the transformation. Do you know what it is?"Pridak nodded, his chest still heaving. "It is the Iden Stone. When in contact with a being, it increases that being's power tenfold. If we fail to make that Zyglak drop the stone..."He let the sentence hang in the air, unfinished. They both knew what they had to do."Can you hypnotize that... that thing?" asked Pridak.Takadox shrugged. "I don't know. But I'll--"He was cut off by a loud sound somewhere between a whir and a hum. It steadily increased in pitch, until suddenly the rock behind Pridak's back had exploded and he was flying and wheeling through the water with the rest of the debris.He spun uncontrollably, hitting the rocky ground head-first and tumbling over to land on his side. He struggled to his feet to see the Zyglak charging up another energy blast. This one happened to be aimed at him."Now, Takadox!" he cried, and leapt forward, darting through the water toward the Zyglak. With a hiss it fired, the energy blast suddenly leaping from its outstretched palms and zipping so close by Pridak he could feel the incredible heat.The Zyglak let out a hiss and swung its trident. Pridak ducked under the blow and swam up and around its head, and down toward its left wrist.He drew his sword and raised it up in the air... but before he could swing, a blast struck the stone, sending it flying off through the water. As the Zyglak cried out and began to shrink back to normal size, Pridak stopped and spun, eyes scanning the water for the incredible source of power he so desperately sought...Only several meters away rested the stone.The Matoran were already running toward the object of power. Realizing little time was left, Pridak took off, swimming as fast as he could. He was almost there... he reached out his hand...Out of nowhere came the blast, striking the stone and sending it flying away, scarred and cracked. Pridak let out a cry of rage and frustration and pushed off from the ground, arms outstretched, hands groping for the prize.The Matoran would not give up easily. The blue one flung a sword that sliced through the water between Barraki and stone, slowing Pridak down for one crucial second. In that second, the yellow one struck, firing his blaster.Time seemed to slow as the blast struck the stone dead-center. For a fleeting moment the Iden Stone, now cracked and mangled beyond repair, seemed frozen in time... then a brilliant flash of light, a burst of energy that spread out in all directions, and the stone was gone, leaving only miniscule fragments of semi-translucent debris to mark its passing. Soon even those had vanished from view... and with them went the hope Pridak had held for another chance at conquest.Pridak yelled in rage and leaped toward the Matoran -- but Takadox reached them first, sliding in between Barraki and prey. As his eyes began to glow a brilliant, somehow hypnotizing red, Pridak backed away in understanding.The glow intensified for a moment, then subsided, leaving the Matoran in an eerie trance-like state. Satisfied, Takadox turned to Pridak."Their memories are so easy to push away," he said, his tone as content as his facial expression. "But if we want to stay hidden from them" -- he jerked his head toward the Matoran -- "we must leave, before the sight of us re-surfaces their recollections of us."Pridak hesitated for a moment, gazing out to infinity as he pondered what might have been. What might have been, however, was but a wistful dream. He could not ignore reality's call forever, and he knew reality could be persuasive.With a mental shrug he pushed aside his fantasy. "Yes," he agreed, "let us leave."Yet even as he swam away, out of sight of the Matoran that now tried in vain to remember what had just happened, he made plans in his head, truly sinister plans of conquest, of power, of a return to glory.Someday, immense power will be mine. The shadows are merciless... and so am I.* * * * *While Merciless Shadows is small and rather stale -- I wrote it more than a year ago -- it's still my first contribution to Bionicle canon, and so I'm proud of it. (And of course, Merciless Shadows has a nice ring to it.)I think my writing has improved since I wrote this, but reviews would still be appreciated. A big thank you to all who voted for this story in the polls for A Thousand Years Untold 2!
Merciless Shadows -- Winner Of Atyu2, Mahri Nui Category
Posted Jan 13 2012 - 12:23 AM
(Once, a long time ago, I might have linked something here.)
Posted Feb 13 2012 - 09:16 PM
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Posted Feb 13 2012 - 09:25 PM
One take on that, which I interpreted when I read it, was that nobody knew what it did, so people projected their imagination into that vacuum, and it was named after this mysteriousness, poetically, not after what it actually does. :)Iden can also mean spirit, though, and perhaps it works by increasing the power of the being's spirit. It seems to mutate you only if you're holding it, so it's a power, something like an energy field projecting into your body, that changes you.
Why call it the Iden Stone? Iden means "Astral Projection", and afaik has nothing to do with increasing power like that.
Posted Feb 13 2012 - 10:10 PM
(Once, a long time ago, I might have linked something here.)
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