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Glatorian Chronicles #10: For Fame And For Fortune

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Welcome, SSforumgoers, to the tenth installment in my series of short stories/short epics, the Glatorian Chronicles! This story focuses on Gelu as he tracks down Stronius in the Black Spike Mountains (a real canon event, BTW, though only mentioned and never actually shown in the official story).Before we get to the story, however, here is a brief explanation of the GC for any unfamiliar with the series (as quoted from the topic for GC#9):

The Glatorian Chronicles is a series of Bionicle fanfiction short stories/short epics that star each of the twelve Glatorian characters released as sets in 2009. All are written in first person point of view from the point of view of the starring Glatorian. Each story is completely independent of the others, so a new reader can jump in at any point in the series with little-to-no confusion on the reader's part.

If you wish to read the last nine stories in the series, you can find links to them in my library right here.With that annoying though necessary bit of exposition out of the way, here is the tenth GC itself:Some people might say I was crazy, going alone after a special forces Skrall in the Black Spike Mountains. After all, this particular Skrall, who was called Stronius, was one of the strongest of his kind. I heard that he could crush boulders with his bare hands, or at least give you a really bad headache from his club. And normally, I would agree that chasing down a special forces Skrall hiding in the Black Spike Mountains was dangerous, if not downright insane.As I walked through the rugged terrain of the northern mountains, my eyes and ears wide open for any unusual sights or sounds, however, I had it all figured out. If I could defeat Stronius, I would surely become famous. And if I became famous, then people would pay me more to guard their caravans during their trips across the desert. And the more I was paid, the richer I’d become. And the richer I’d become, the better off I’d be.Now, of course, it wasn’t entirely for fame and fortune that I went after Stronius. Stronius, as a high ranked and powerful Skrall, was a danger to Agori and Glatorian everywhere. True, Mata Nui had just defeated Tuma, the leader of the Skrall, but Stronius was in a better position than any other Skrall to reunite the disorganized Skrall tribe and attempt to take over Bara Magna once more. If I stopped him, I would be doing a good thing for everyone, not just me.It was such a perfect plan that even I had a hard time seeing any flaws in it. But as no one is perfect – including me – that meant my plan also had flaws. Or at least, one flaw: Finding Stronius.I'd tried to defeat Stronius back in Roxtus, but he'd wounded me and run away to the Black Spike Mountains. I knew the Black Spike Mountains were Skrall territory, so Stronius probably knew all of the best hiding spots. He didn’t need to fight me. All he'd to do was keep quiet and wait until I gave up. As I had already spent what felt like several hours searching for him with no luck, it was a good plan on his part.Yet I knew that no Skrall could ignore a fight forever. How heroic would Stronius look to his fellow Skrall if he boasted about hiding from a wounded Glatorian? Especially because he was a special forces Skrall, which meant he probably had to set an example for the other Skrall, which in turn meant he couldn’t hide forever. It was only a matter of time before he decided to come out and play.So where was he?I’ll admit to being ignorant of Skrall battle strategies, but I knew that Skrall were brave warriors who believed in fighting honorably. I figured that Stronius would probably announce his presence before attacking me, therefore giving me the opportunity to-The sound of stomping feet behind me interrupted my thoughts. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw a giant black club flying toward my face. I managed to block it with my ice blade, but just barely. The attack staggered me, sending me stumbling backwards.As I regained my balance, I looked up and saw Stronius – wearing twigs and leaves attached to his armor, like he’d been trying to blend in with the environment – standing there. He swung his club, his red eyes gleaming with hate and anger.“So,” I said as I took a step back. “I didn’t know that you ‘honorable’ Skrall would resort to tactics as dishonorable as sneaking up on your opponent.”“Be quiet, Glatorian,” Stronius said. “We Skrall have never been particularly honorable. The destruction of Atero, the attack on Tajun . . . All done without warning. You should know by now that we Skrall use whatever advantage we can get in a fight, especially if others hesitate to use it.”“Well, so do I,” I said. “Ice Glatorian have a history of fighting dirty, you know.”Stronius looked at me carefully and said, “You are that Glatorian I fought in Roxtus. I thought, after wounding you, you’d given up, but I see that I was wrong.”“Well, you didn’t hurt me that badly,” I said. “Just bruised my arm. I barely feel the pain at all.”To prove me wrong, my right arm exploded with pain, causing me to grunt a little too loudly. I tried to keep a straight face, look as though the pain didn’t bother me, but that was very difficult because the pain burned so badly.Stronius laughed. “This will be amusing, to say the least. A wounded opponent isn’t much of a challenge, but I’ll need practice smashing Glatorian skulls into fine powder, so you shall do.”“I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Stronius,” I said as the pain in my arm subsided. “You know that Mata Nui gave all of us Glatorian elemental powers, right? I could freeze you up to your neck right now before you even realized it.”That wasn’t entirely true. Only Gresh, Ackar, Kiina, Tarix, and Vastus had elemental powers. There hadn’t been enough time for Mata Nui to give the rest of us similar abilities. But my goal was to intimidate Stronius, not tell the truth. Like I said, I take advantage of any opportunity I can get in a fight.Stronius appeared unfazed by the threat, though, because he said, “Elemental powers do not determine a fight’s outcome, Glatorian. Skill and experience are what truly determines the victor. So I shall stand victoriously over your slain corpse once we are finished here.”“Big words coming from someone who ran away from an injured opponent,” I said.That seemed to do the trick, for Stronius bellowed in rage and charged at me. I jumped out of the way to avoid his club, which smashed the rock I had been standing in front of into pieces.Landing on the ground, I aimed my Thornax launcher at Stronius and fired. Stronius just batted the Thornax away, however, which didn’t even explode. Must not have been ripe, which was odd because I usually kept a large supply of ripe Thornax on me during battle.Stronius charged again. I tried to dodge once more, but this time he seemed to anticipate my move. He slammed his club into my side, sending me staggering to the ground. My ribcage felt like it'd smashed into a million pieces and my arm still hurt, but I'd no time to worry about broken ribcages and hurting arms. Stronius had raised his club again and was going to smash me flat if I didn’t move now.I rolled out of the way as Stronius’s club smashed the spot where I had been lying previously. I jumped to my feet and slashed Stronius’s arm. Blood poured out of the wound, but Stronius didn’t even grunt in pain. Instead, he swung his club at me just as fast as before, but I managed to avoid it this time.I jumped backwards to distance myself from Stronius. Panting hard, I said, “Well, you’re tougher than I thought.”“Of course I am,” said Stronius, who was also panting. “I am Stronius, a special forces Skrall and slayer of baterra. You cannot hope to defeat me, Glatorian, especially with your wounded arm.”“I would be more impressed if I knew what a baterra was,” I said. “Whatever it is, it must have been pretty weak if it you defeated it.”“However weak baterra may be, they are still stronger than you, Glatorian,” said Stronius, charging at me again.This time, Stronius was too fast for me to dodge. So instead, I blocked his club with my sword, but too late I realized that he was only holding his weapon with one hand. He smashed his free hand into my stomach. It felt like he punched me with a sack of rocks his blow was so intense.Caught off-guard, I dropped my weapon and Stronius bashed me in the head with his club. I hit the ground hard feeling like my skull had split. I looked up just in time to see Stronius raise his club one more time, a glint of victory in his eyes.I was too disoriented to get up or dodge. So, in one swift motion, I loaded my launcher and fired another Thornax at Stronius just as he brought his club down on me. My Thornax collided with his club, creating a small explosion that blew Stronius’s club out of his hands and sent him stumbling backwards in surprise.Taking advantage of Stronius’s shock, I jumped to my feet and ran to a safer position, away from the Skrall. My head felt like shifting sand, but I tried not to show weakness as Stronius recovered from his shock, seized his fallen club, and scowled at me.“You’re a tricky opponent,” said Stronius. “And I hate tricky opponents.”“Yeah, well, being tricky is how I’ve survived all of these years,” I said. “Unless you want any more, I suggest you give up.”Stronius laughed. “I believe I should be saying that to you. You've given me a bad cut on my arm, true, but I cracked your skull and gave you a beating worthy of a leader class Skrall. I'm surprised you’re not running back to your mother, Glatorian.”“I’m not that weak,” I said. “I can still take you on.”“Then let’s keep fighting, Glatorian,” said Stronius, hefting his club. “Fight me and die. Death does not scare me, but I don’t know if the same can be said for you.”To be honest, I was having doubts about taking on Stronius now. I had survived so far, yes, but just barely. I’d thought all the rumors I’d heard about Stronius’s strength were either exaggerations or outright lies. Now I was starting to wonder if maybe Stronius really could wrestle a Skopio and win. Unlike some of the Glatorian I knew, I wasn’t a hero. There was nothing to gain from dying at Stronius’s hands. Better to run away now and live another day than get pounded into jelly by a Skrall with an oversized club.So I casually loaded another Thornax into my launcher as I said, “Well, Stronius, I think it’s time I ended this fight once and for all. I am going to use the ultimate Thornax, which I save for only my hardest, most difficult-to-win fights.”“The ultimate Thornax?” Stronius repeated with a snort. “I have never heard of such a thing before.”“That’s because it instantly kills anyone it hits,” I answered, forcing myself to sound confident and certain. I lifted up my launcher and said, “Once I launch this Thornax at you, you’d better start running. No one has ever survived a direct hit from the ultimate Thornax before.”That, of course, was a huge lie. The Thornax in my launcher was an ordinary Thornax. If it hit Stronius, it would probably hurt him but definitely wouldn’t kill him even if it exploded. There was nothing ‘ultimate’ about it.My real plan was to scare Stronius. If he thought my Thornax was as powerful as I said it was, he might just give up and leave me alone. Then I could go home with all of my limbs intact. And maybe I could fight Stronius again another day, on my own terms and in my own arena.Stronius, unfortunately, didn’t look even slightly afraid. “Your ultimate Thornax doesn’t look any different from a normal Thornax to me. You’re lying.”“Do you really want to take that chance?” I asked as I aimed my launcher at him. “The last guy who thought I was bluffing . . . well, let’s just say we still haven’t found all of his remains yet.”Now Stronius looked a little worried, but he said, “Not possible. If such an ultimate Thornax existed, I’m sure we Skrall would've gotten one at some point. I know your trickery, Glatorian. You're trying to scare me, make me run away. But I see through your lies and-“Without waiting for him to finish, I fired my Thornax, but not at Stronius. I aimed it at the ground directly in front of him, causing a mini explosion that sent dust and dirt up into Stronius’s eyes, blinding and startling him so that he couldn’t see me.This gave me the chance I needed. I turned and ran, ran as fast and hard as I could, through the wilderness of the Black Spike Mountains. I did not slow down even once as I headed back to the desert. Nor did I look back to see if Stronius was following. It seemed unlikely, but if he was, I didn’t want to see how mad he’d be at my flashy escape.As I ran, I decided I’d tell the others that I was unable to defeat Stronius. In this case, telling the truth seemed better than making up an elaborate lie, for the mere fact that I, a wounded Glatorian, tried to heroically defeat Stronius, a powerful Skrall, all on my own, should boost my reputation quite a bit even if I didn’t win. People will want to have the guy who singlehandedly fought Stronius protect their caravans, won’t they?So in a way, I did win. Assuming, of course, that everything works out as I believed it would. If it didn’t . . . I decided to worry about it when I got back. I still had a long way to go.-Comments, criticism, reviews, etc. are all welcome :) .-TNTOS-

"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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