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In The Jungle


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#1 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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  • Lunatic Wordsmith

  • 13-December 08
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Posted May 24 2012 - 02:37 PM

In theJungle

The dew is dried that drenched our hide,

Or washed about our way;

And where we drank, the puddled bank

Is crisping into clay.

The traitor Dark gives up each mark

Of stretched or hooded claw:

Then hear the Call: "Good rest to all

That keep the Jungle Law!"

--Rudyard Kipling

Brakas and Kewa chittered in the jungle ceiling while Nui-Rama buzzed overhead. Amongst the roots of the mighty trees where Daikau grew, Kavinika and even more fearsome creatures lurked. The air hung thick and hazy, rain cascading through the canopy to fall with soft plops on the forest floor.A Muaka stalked out of a thick bush, its massive but lithe form weaving through the dense undergrowth to where an Ash Bear was scoring its wicked claws down the trunk of a tree. The predator was about to become the prey.And it did. There was a quiet zing followed by a grunt and a thud. I crept up to the inert form of the Muaka and retrieved the fatal arrow. I had aimed to kill; and I never missed.The Ash Bear swung its large head around, sniffing at the air. Then it growled. It had caught my scent--the Muaka's scent--and the scent of death. But by the time it had reached the Muaka's side, I was watching from a branch above. It swiveled its head to and fro, but finding itself alone, it tucked ravenously into a rare meal of Muaka meat."I only saved your life," I murmured. "You're welcome."I sprang away, navigating my way among the branches to a nearby pool. It was a common watering hole for all varieties of Rahi. I sunk a long dagger into the bark of a tree and listened against the hilt. It was a common artifice I used to amplify vibrations, warning me of approaching creatures; but there was silence. All to be heard was the gurgle of the slow, steady rill that trickled down a fall of rocks into the pool. The steady flow of wrinkles it caused cooperated with the sprinkle of rain to form a rhythmic dance across the pond's surface.I landed soundlessly beside the water and kneeled down to cool my hands, then my face. It was refreshing, especially in the humidity. The glade was calm and cozy. From here the sounds of the jungle life were drowsed and distant. The day had been long and strenuous. I slipped my feet into the pool and lay beside it.Of course, the days in the jungle were always long and strenuous. But I never minded that. I lived for the beauty of nature that surrounded me there. I enjoyed breathing every scent of life, hearing every susurration of the fauna, witnessing the growth and seasonal changed of the flora. For me the jungle held a magic I had never found anywhere else. Even its dangers afforded me a thrill that I felt nowhere else.And the moments like these when I enjoyed, alert but relaxed, the tranquility of the jungle evening as the dull, virid light grew dimmer and the shadows deeper--they were the moments I cherished the most.I closed my eyes, and allowed myself to doze--but always with an ear pricked, so to speak.I don't know how long I lay there. I never know, and I never care. But I was still there when I heard it.It was a scream, unlike any I had ever heard. It resounded through the trees, surprising Gukko from their roosting and frightening both hunter and prey. An alarmed ungulate Rahi sprinted toward me and sprang over my head before galloping away into the trees. The scream rang out, high, and loud, and grating. It was like a Kohu's cry, but more emotional, more intelligently terrified.Intrigued, I climbed to my feet, seized my bow, and ascended the nearest tree. My strong legs and practiced grip carried me effortlessly up the trunk to the lowest branches, from which I sprang higher and began leaping from bough to bough, following the wails.It was a blue creature, cornered in a hollow beneath the gnarled roots of an aged tree. A pack of snarling Kavinika clawed and snapped in vain, unable to reach their terrorized prey where it cowered. There were six of them in all; now five. I took aim again and then there were four.The remaining Kavinika heeded the pained yelps of their comrades, sniffing at their dead bodies in confusion. Nonplussed and surprised, the four Kavinika gave up their persecution to seek easier prey, prey that couldn't inexplicably kill while hiding beneath tree roots.It was some minutes before the blue creature crept tentatively out of its refuge. I scowled in revulsion when I identified it. It had been so long since I had seen a Matoran, I had forgotten what they looked like. But I was not happy to see one. Le-Matoran eschewed my part of the jungle, for any foolish enough to venture to these depths rarely returned. But this was no Le-Matoran. This was a Ga-Matoran, far, far from home.I turned away to leave the Matoran behind and hope I would never see it again. But then a high, trembling voice called out, "Wait!"I grimaced. Revolving to face the Matoran again, I responded, "What?""Who--who are you?"I dropped down to the ground to tower over the Matoran. "Me?" I growled. "I am everything you see around you. I am the trees, the predators, the prey. I am the brooks and rivulets, the ponds and mires, the rocks and stones. I am every green leaf. I am the breath of the forest. I am the life of the jungle. I am the jungle."The Matoran regarded me as if I were insane. Maybe I was. The jungle was not rational. "But you're--you're like me, almost. But you're taller. And bigger.""And the grass is green. This has been a fascinating conversation, but I----""I've heard tales about beings like--beings like you. I never believed them, but I don't know what else you could be. Are you--a Toa?"Toa. The word fell on my ears like the first snowflake of winter after a long cycle of seasons. I could not remember the last time I had heard the word. I could not remember the last time I had heard any words in the Matoran language, except those that reverberated from my own mouth."No." I turned away. "I am the jungle.""No, you are a Toa. Are you one of the six heroes of legend who will save Mata Nui?""Do I look like six heroes?""I asked if you were one of them.""I'm not.""Then who are you?"I rounded on her. She squeaked. I snapped, "I--am--the--jungle. I am one with everything from the highest leaf to the very ground beneath your feet. I know every Rahi in this jungle and they know me. And I don't like it when inquisitive little Matoran come snooping about where they don't belong. The jungle's hungry, for its rapacity is never satisfied. I saved you once. Don't make me do it again."With these final words I sprang into the waiting limbs of a tree above."I'm sorry! I didn't know! I've never been to Le-Wahi before! I'm--I'm lost!"I scowled over my shoulder. "So what do want from me? An escort?""That--that would be nice."The Ga-Matoran gave a start as a Kavinika howled in the distance. I exhaled a resigned sigh. "Fine. But we do it my way."She screamed as I hurled a wheel of energy at her. It landed at her feet and a tree instantly sprouted from the ground and grew to be level with my branch. I reached out and grabbed the panting Ga-Matoran to sling her over my shoulder and began to navigate our way among the tree branches. My powerful legs carried me from bough to bough, my strong arms grasped vine after vine, and my deft agility kept the Ga-Matoran perched upon my back in spite of her screams.But louder than her wailings, the whispers of the trees echoed through my mind. Each leaf spoke to me, each Rahi as we passed it called out to me. I was the king of the jungle. This was my jungle. I was the jungle.At last we reached the outskirts of my realm. The undergrowth was thinner, the trees shorter, the canopy sparser. It was scrawny; too bright and open for my tastes. Or for those of the more fearsome predators.I landed on the ground and without ceremony planted the Ga-Matoran on her feet. I told her, "This is as far as I'll take you. You'll be safe from here.""You really are the jungle, aren't you?" the Ga-Matoran asked in awe, massaging her body, sore as it probably was from the ungentle ride."Now you see.""But you're a Toa, too." This was no question."Maybe.""You are," she insisted. "But you don't act like a Toa.""I saved you from those Kavinika, didn't I? I'm the hero of my jungle. I guard it and protect it.""But you killed those Kavinika.""The Toa Code isn't my lifestyle. I live by the law of the jungle.""Mata Nui needs you, you know. We need a hero. We've been waiting for a hero.""I'm no hero.""But----"I nodded at a watercourse winding its way among the trees. "If you follow that river you'll arrive at Le-Koro. Don't come back."With this brusque valediction I turned and vanished among the leaves. I heard the Ga-Matoran call after me, "It was nice meeting you! And thanks! My name's Hahli, by the way! What's yours?"

~ ~ ~

Suncycles passed. Mooncycles passed. Seasons passed, maybe. One day was like another in the jungle. Never anything to look back on, never anything to look forward to. No regrets to haunt me, no hopes to be shattered. I had forgotten all about the Ga-Matoran.Until she came back.It was as I was lying beside the pool again. I had begun to doze when I sensed footsteps approaching. I rolled into a crouch and pressed my ear to the ground. The footsteps were far lighter than an Ash Bear's, heavier than a Pokawi's, and clumsier than a Giant Swamp Lizard's.I readied my bow in preparation to meet this strange creature. There was a flash of blue among the green and I pulled the string taut. Then the Ga-Matoran burst out of the bushes with a vociferous greeting. "There you are! I thought I'd never find you!"I didn't lower my bow. "What are you doing here?""Looking for you, of course."I stared. She came back--to look for me. Was this Matoran mad? "Why in Mata Nui would you do that?""I was curious. I wanted to know more about you." She scrutinized her feet. "And I thought . . . that you were probably lonely, out here in the jungle all by yourself.""Lonely? Why should I be lonely? I have every tree, every Rahi, every stone and pebble to keep me company. What makes you presume to consider yourself, an outsider, a prying Ga-Matoran, welcome here?"She flinched. "I--I just----"I turned my back on her. "It doesn't matter. You're here. You saw me. Now you can go home."But she didn't take the hint, if a suggestion as direct as this could be referred to as such. I heard her footsteps pattering through the moss behind me."How are you doing?" she asked."I was better five Muaka heartcycles ago.""Five whats?""Muaka heartcycles. Fifty average flashes of a Muaka's heartlight.""How fast does a Muaka's heartlight flash?""One flash for every three of yours. Unless it's hunting a savory Matoran. Then it flashes much faster.""So it's a measurement of time?"I said nothing, only nodded."Why? What happened since then?""I discovered a new breed of parasitic fungus.""That doesn't sound pleasant.""It wasn't. I think I hear a hungry Muaka. Why don't you leave now? Right now?"Hahli ignored me. "When I was in Le-Koro that time after I saw you I heard ballads about a legend called The Spirit of the Trees. They say he's half Rahi and half Toa, that he guards the jungle and protects its secrets. Is--is that you?""If there was another who fit that description I would have met him. But it doesn't matter to me what the Le-Matoran call me.""What do you call yourself?""I'm tired of this question. I call myself what I am: the jungle.""But what's your name?""I don't have a name.""Everyone has to have a name.""Why?""I don't know. They--they just need one!""Why? Names are just labels. It doesn't matter what you're called, just what you are.""Sometimes they're the same thing.""Not usually.""Can I call you by a name?""I don't need a name.""I know. But I'd like to have something to call you. Is Kaomata okay? That's what you are."The Spirit of the Trees. It was as good as anything. "Call me what you will, just leave me in peace.""You're a strong fighter, aren't you?""I get by.""You must be, to live here. The legend of the six heroes say they are valiant warriors--that they have the power to defeat the Makuta.""I told you before, I'm no hero. I'm not a Toa.""But you are, and if you are, you must be one of the six heroes. You have to find the others!""Why?""Because it's your duty! You must unite with the other Toa to fulfill your destiny and save Mata Nui! You have to follow the Three Virtues!""The 'Three Virtues,'" I mocked. "What do I care about virtue? There is no virtue in the jungle. My duty is to it, my unity is with it, my destiny is to guard it. That's all the virtue I need." I halted and turned at her. "If the only reason you came here is to tell me to do something I'm not going to do, you can leave now. Actually, you shouldn't have returned at all. Please, do leave now, and don't come back.""I didn't come to tell you to do anything!" Hahli snapped. "I came to understand!""Understand what?""You!""Me? You really want to understand me?""Yes. That's why I came. Who are you? What are you?"I sighed. "I'll show you. But you have to promise to leave when I do.""Okay. I promise.""Come with me."I took Hahli by the hand and carried her through the treetops. I greeted each tree I passed like an old friend, chittered and brachiated alongside the Brakas, identified each leaf and pebble, growled at each Muaka and Ash Bear, until we arrived at length.Pokawi and Archives Moles scavenged among the roots upon which we stood, roots thicker than most tree trunks; and that was only what protruded aboveground. Hahli stared with wide eyes in breathless amazement at the massive trunk that towered into the sky above before exploding in a massive dome of branches and leaves. It was a canopy in itself. It was the largest tree in the jungle. It was Nui-Kao; the Great Tree."Come on.""Where are we going?""To the top."The climb was long but effortless. Hahli clung to my back and I ascended, gripping the tree in viselike hands hardened by hundreds of years of experience. Once Hahli slipped and plummeted for a strident moment; my heartlight skipped a flash. I released the tree and jumped after her, catching her securely in my arms before reaching out with my leg to snag a passing branch. From then on she hung from my neck like a Brakas's young.When I reached the canopy, Hahli gasped with delight at the myriad of wildlife. Kahu and Kewa alike roosted among the branches, ignoring the boisterous and mischievous Brakas. Fikou spun intricate web after intricate web only for one of the pranksters to tear it up each time. They gave it up when one was nearly bitten, but before long the sport was resumed.I remained silent until we attained the uppermost heights of the Nui-Kao. There a large branch protruded even higher, in itself the size of an average tree. It was to its branches I carried Hahli, to roost side by side in transcendence to the limits of the Nui-Kao's canopy and admire the panorama.From our vantage point tree after tree spread away in every direction, as far as the eye could see. The twin peaks of Ihu and Volmai rose in the distance to the north, and to the south and west a thin strip of blue outlined the trees. But everywhere else was verdure, tree after tree after tree after tree. Gukko, Kahu, Kewa, Shore Turtles, Fishing Birds, and Rahi neither of us could name leant their colors to the scene. Hahli, like myself, was enraptured."You wanted to understand me, Hahli. This is me. I am every leaf on every tree you see. I am every bird you see. I am everything beneath the canopy that you cannot see. Every prowling Muaka, each creeping Swamp Lizard, every crawling Fikou and lurking Daikau--they are one with me, and I am one with them. They are one with the jungle, as am I. I am the jungle.""This is amazing," Hahli breathed. "It's beautiful. You're amazing--you're beautiful, Kaomata.""You're the first Matoran who has ever seen what I have, Hahli. And you are the only one who ever will. You will never tell anyone of this. This is the secret of the jungle I protect.""I'll never breathe a word of it to anyone. I swear it.""Good. Now it's time for you to go home.""Oh--no, please, not yet! I want to stay a little longer."Something inside me wanted to push Hahli off the branch that very instant and never have to worry about being bothered again. But something deeper compelled me not to. "Fine," I acquiesced.We stayed until night had fallen, watching the sun until it set beyond the horizon. Then I took Hahli back to the safety of the border of my territory."Don't come back, Hahli.""Don't worry. I'll be back." She smiled at me, and waved. "Good-bye!""'Bye."I scowled as she walked away. But as I brachiated into the depths of my jungle, I couldn't get her smile out of my mind. I murmured aloud, "Can you beat her? She came all the way from Ga-Koro . . . into the darkest depths of the jungle . . . to see me."

~ ~ ~

She did come back. Just like she promised. Only it was longer than I expected. Waiting for her, the days began to become less blurred, less an indistinguishable mass and more a series of distinct periods of time."Kaomata!"I was beside the pool. "Hahli? Is that you?"She appeared through the bushes. "Hello, Kaomata! How are you?""Better now." I gestured to the pool. "Come, cool your feet. It's very relaxing."Hahli sat by my side, sighing contentedly as she put her feet in the water. "Ooooh, that feels good."I watched the bugs that flitted lazily over the pools surface, joining in with the ripples to form a choreography that was mesmerizing to my tired eyes."It's lovely here," Hahli murmured. "Very peaceful.""I always come here to relax. When I don't climb the Kao-Nui.""I can see why.""There are many memories here for me.""Like what?""A piece of me died here."I peered into the depths of the pool, past the gently lapping water, past the circling fish, to the arachnoid remains that lay, hardly discernible, among the detritus at the pool's floor. A vision passed through my mind, of a high screech, of my incredulity, of glistening fangs that dripped with venom . . . and then Hahli's voice shook me from my daydream."Part of you--died?""Nevermind. That was a long time ago." I lay back and gazed up at the canopy. "I'm glad you came back, Hahli.""I told you I would.""I told you not to.""I knew you didn't mean that.""So did I."We were silent for some minutes, relaxing in the thick, humid jungle air. Then Hahli broke the silence."The Rahi are getting worse. They're attacking the villages with more frequency and more ferocity."I shrugged my shoulders. "Rahi are Rahi. They've always done what they've done and always will, and no one will ever understand why.""This is different. These are--these aren't normal Rahi. These are monsters.""What do you mean?""They're infected, somehow. The Turaga say it's the Makuta's doing."I hesitated. "I've seen these infected Rahi. Some of them I've helped, some of them I had to kill before they killed me." I snarled, "I don't like it. It's disturbing my jungle. It's unnatural, and it's messing with my Rahi.""It's upsetting the ecosystem. It's upsetting all ecosystems. They're disrupting the whole island. It has to be stopped.""I'm sorry, Hahli. There's nothing I can do about that. I'm no hero."Hahli rose with a sigh. "I should be going.""No--Hahli!" I sat up. "Please, don't. Don't be angry with me. There's nothing I can do. Please understand."She turned to me with what was half-smile, half-frown. "Don't worry. I'll come back."And she did. She came back. And she came back again, and again, time after time. The time between each visit seemed to grow longer and longer. I began waiting with growing impatience to see her again. I thought of nothing but her effervescent Kaukau and her high-pitched voice. I hung on every word she said and savored it. When she left I would relive the meeting until she returned.Over time she stopped bringing news of the Rahi and we only sat in silence, or talked of other things. Sometimes she told me about Ga-Koro or other villages and what they were like. Sometimes I told her of my adventures in the jungle or strange creatures I had beheld. But one thing I never mentioned was the Visorak.". . . And then the Muaka pounced on me. He would have torn me to scrap if his weight hadn't made the tree fracture. It collapsed and we both fell over the precipice. I shot a spinner that grew a tree right out of the cliff face to catch me. The Muaka was not so lucky--but it did survive the fall.""That sounds awful!" Hahli gasped. "You must have been terrified!"I gazed out over the treetops from the branches of Nui-Kao. "Does it terrify you when you see your reflection in the water?"Hahli stared. "Of course not. Why would it?""It's the same thing. The Muaka is just another part of the jungle. It's just another one of my reflections. And I'm not afraid of my reflection.""You're so brave, Kaomata.""The jungle hardens you to the point that it's not even bravery any more.""You're foolhardy, then." And we laughed.She leaned against me and I wrapped an arm around her. We sat there until the sun began to set. Then Hahli said, "I should go home now. Can you take me down?""Please, not yet. I want you to stay a little longer."Hahli agreed to stay until the sun had set. We watched it dye the sky, casting the landscape in varying hues and shades. Then it was gone. Too soon. At the border, Hahli promised, "Don't worry, Kaomata, I'll come back soon.""How soon?""Ten days.""Days--you mean suncycles?"She laughed. "Yes.""Too long. Let it be five suncycles.""Will you tell me another story?""If you tell me about the giant squid.""Deal. Five suncycles." And she smiled.

~ ~ ~

"Kaomata!"I was waiting at the base of a tree for her to come. My heart gave a leap in my chest when I saw the flash of blue approaching amidst the shades of green."Hello, Hahli. I'm glad to see you.""I'm glad to see you, too."I held out my hand. In it I held a cluster of various flowers I had collected. "The jungle at its deepest is at its dangerous, but also its most beautiful. These are for you.""Oh--oh! Thank you!" Hahli smiled. "They're wonderful." But this wasn't her usual smile. Something was wrong."Hahli? Are you okay?""Yes, I'm fine. It's just--it's just"--she threw out her hands--"these Rahi attacks! They're becoming unendurable! The infected Tarakava attack our village almost every day now. They've destroyed huts, even sunk some. Traders tell of entire platforms collapsed by Nui-Rama in Le-Koro, and of Muaka at the gates of Ko-Koro. Something has to be done about it."I looked away. "I've told you before, I'm no hero. I can't help.""But Matoran are dying, Kaomata. And you're the only one who can help!""What about these six Toa of legend?""If we wait around for them to come, there will be no island left to save!""Look around you, Hahli. How can you say that? These trees are endless, the creatures among their leaves and trunks and roots innumerable. The jungle is boundless. The island will always be here. Nothing can ever destroy it.""The island may remain, but it will be empty!"I looked down. "Then stay here with me, in the jungle, where you'll be safe. Where I can keep you safe."Hahli was aghast. "Stay here? But--but I can't! Ga-Koro is my home! I can't leave all the other Matoran to die!""But Hahli . . . with you and I together here, what else matters?""How can you say that? Just because to you nothing exists beyond the limits of your stupid trees!"I said quietly, "You exist."Hahli's voice was firm; but I detected a note of ruefulness in it. "But there are more important things than just us! The whole island matters! We can't ignore that! They need you! We need you!" She searched my gaze beseechingly. "I need you.""Hahli . . . you're all I care about. I won't leave my jungle for any of them. I am The Spirit of the Trees. I can't leave. You must understand. Please . . . stay here with me."Small tears rolled down her Kanohi. "Don't say that. You know I can't. Please, Kaomata, don't make me choose.""You belong with me, Hahli!""I do--I know it! I want to! But I also belong with my people!"I turned away from her. "And I belong with my jungle. I am the jungle, and like it cannot be uprooted, nor can I. Hahli . . . we're from two worlds that can't connect."Hahli's voice broke. She sobbed, "Kaomata--please! You must help Mata Nui!"I rounded on her. "I can't! You and the jungle are all I care about! If you want to go die out there, fine! But don't ask me to watch!""Don't say that. Please don't say that. You know you don't mean that!""I belong here, Hahli. If you belong out there . . . then I can't change that.""But you're a Toa! You belong to the whole universe! You can still save Mata Nui, and we can still be----""I'm not a Toa!" I nigh screamed the words in her face."B-but you are!" Tears were streaming down her face now. I couldn't bear to see it. I turned my back on her and she wept harder. I stared at my feet. "You are a T-Toa!""How many times must I tell you? I'm not a Toa any longer! I used to be . . . but that was a long time ago. That's in my past. I am not a Toa. I . . . I am the jungle.""Don't d-do this, Kaoma-ta. Don't do th-this to Mata N-Nui. D-don't--don't do this t-to me.""I've done nothing to you. You were the one who's been pestering me to do something it is not my duty to do. Something I cannot do. If you really cared for me you would understand! That's it, isn't it? You never really cared, did you? Not about me.""S-stop it! Y-you can't b-believe that!""But it's true. All along all you were trying to do was to convince me I'm some sort of hero I'm not. You only wanted to save your precious island. Well I don't give a Muaka's droppings for your island.""D-don't say th-that, Kaom-mata, you d-don't m-mean it!""Don't tell me what I mean! You're just a Matoran, and I was wrong to ever let you into my jungle! I should have let those Kavinika eat you! You've been using me all along! All you ever wanted was a hero to save your island! You never cared about me! You meant everything to me, Hahli, but I was as nothing to you!""N-no, no, it's n-not t-true! I----""Liar!" I turned round again, this time with my bow drawn and an arrow nocked. I hissed, "It's time for you to leave.""K-Kaomata, please----"An arrow whizzed past her head to sink into the dirt behind her. "I won't miss again!"Instantly she whirled and fled desperately, crashing through bushes and tripping over roots. I aimed another arrow. It would have been so easy to just let the arrow fly and sink into her back there and then, and never worry again about her, to let the predators consume her fallen body, to let the jungle absorb her and her memory as if she never existed at all.But I could not. I did not even consider it. I aimed, and the arrow sailed harmlessly but emphatically over her head. I bellowed, "Don't come back, Hahli! Never come back!"Even her sobs, as she ran away from me forever, were more beautiful than any sound I had ever heard in the jungle. I knew her voice would echo forever within me, that her image would never fade from my mind. I knew I would never forget her. And I knew I would never see her again after what I had done.I sprang into the waiting arms of the trees, who welcomed me back with hollow consolations and inane pity. The Rahi's calls were dull and without melody. Each leaf and stone were paltry trifles. The jungle was empty.Suncycles passed. Mooncycles passed. Seasons passed. Each day became again like another. Time blurred once more into non-existence. Day after day the jungle was there, steadfast in its perpetuation, ruthless in its ignorance of my grief. But as time passed, it faded. The trees breathed it into their leaves, the Rahi consumed it; the jungle absorbed it.But I never forgot. I would often sit by the pool and remember, gazing fixedly at its surface and recollecting times when it reflected Hahli's Kanohi beside my own, disfigured face. And my tears would mingle with the waters.Almost every night I climbed Nui-Kao, to feel the branch where we had sat together. The stars above would twinkle like Hahli's eyes, albeit devoid of her spirit and beauty. I would gaze from my lofty eminence with constant fixation, not upon the trees where roosted sleeping avian Rahi, but upon the mountains to the northeast, beyond which I knew lay Ga-Koro--and Hahli."I'm sorry, Hahli," I would whisper to the breeze. "I'm no hero. I am the jungle."

~ THE END ~

This started out as a songfic but ended up adopting, or so I presume to think, a rhythm of its own that I thought the lyrics merely disrupted. So I prefixed it with a poem instead. However; "Wim-o-Weh" was not the song upon which this was based. To satisfy your curiosity should you have such a thing, the song was "I Stand Alone," from Quest for Camelot.I had a great time writing this and I hope you had a great time reading it. Even if you didn't, I would appreciate your constructive criticism. And please, if you observe any grammar mistakes, do not hesitate to indicate them!

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 06 2012 - 02:21 PM.

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When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .

 

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I know I am ready to start my voyage.

 

A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?


#2 Offline Athmos

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Posted May 25 2012 - 09:42 PM

Wow, that was a beautifully written story. Long, but beautiful. I'm still digesting what I just read, but it was amazing.
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WIP


#3 Offline Toa Sonis

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Posted May 26 2012 - 11:27 PM

I've read this story twice now, and every time I get to the end, I cry.I can't find any grammar issues, and any word choice nitpicks meld with the story as soon as I read over them again. So all in all, beautiful!
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I shall be saying this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by
and that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled

#4 Offline Zaxvo

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Posted May 31 2012 - 08:01 AM

Zaxvo from the SSCC here.Wow. Simply wow. You can't comprehend the amount of awe I am feeling right now. This is fantastic. And I'm not usually one for romance stories.One of favorite elements of the story is how you treat your readers as intelligent people: you allow them to work things out. You never explicitly say that he's a Hordika, but that understanding is crucial to the story, and you allow the readers to figure it out. I particularly like how you hinted towards it with the "wheel of energy" early on, and with the description of a "half Rahi and half Toa", before we know exactly what he is (And let me just say, your introduction of Kaomata is awesome).At the same time, while it is very touching, there are things that were either, at best, never explained fully, or, at worse, simple plot holes. For example, why does he kill the Muaka in the beginning? Simply to save the life of an Ash Bear? To me that's more meddling in an ecosystem than a Spirit of the Jungle would do.In addition, I don't think that his explanation as to why he will not leave the jungle is fully reasonable. Just because he isn't a Toa, doesn't mean he can't do some good. (For example, Axonn. Keetongu. Artahka. Hydraxon. Kiina. etc. None of whom are Toa, but they did "good" things.) And just because he's a Hordika, doesn't mean he can't do any good...take Matau as an example there.Oh, and last thing: his vocabulary is surprisingly vast for one who lives his entire life in the Jungle doing basically nothing. Was he a scholar of some sort before he was a Toa? That, to me, is the only explanation there. A wide vocabulary is great, but if a simpleton, like Krekka, suddenly used words like "ungulate," the suspension of belief is gone. Not saying Kaomata is a simpleton, but to be honest, I had to look that word up (which is awesome for you as a writer!), and I've got a pretty decent vocabulary, if I do say so myself. And since it's written in the first-person, you're bestowing that range of vocabulary on a character who likely shouldn't have that range. Overall though, this is brilliant. Quibbles about the vocabulary aside, a few minor plot details that should, in my mind, be explained a bit or altered sightly, and other than those things you've got a great story.And the poem at the beginning is simply beautiful. And it works well. Well done!
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{Z}


#5 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted May 31 2012 - 01:34 PM

Thank you all for your reviews! :biggrin: I'm glad it pleased my readers as much as it pleased the wrtier.

Zaxvo from the SSCC here.Wow. Simply wow. You can't comprehend the amount of awe I am feeling right now. This is fantastic. And I'm not usually one for romance stories.One of favorite elements of the story is how you treat your readers as intelligent people: you allow them to work things out. You never explicitly say that he's a Hordika, but that understanding is crucial to the story, and you allow the readers to figure it out. I particularly like how you hinted towards it with the "wheel of energy" early on, and with the description of a "half Rahi and half Toa", before we know exactly what he is (And let me just say, your introduction of Kaomata is awesome).At the same time, while it is very touching, there are things that were either, at best, never explained fully, or, at worse, simple plot holes. For example, why does he kill the Muaka in the beginning? Simply to save the life of an Ash Bear? To me that's more meddling in an ecosystem than a Spirit of the Jungle would do.In addition, I don't think that his explanation as to why he will not leave the jungle is fully reasonable. Just because he isn't a Toa, doesn't mean he can't do some good. (For example, Axonn. Keetongu. Artahka. Hydraxon. Kiina. etc. None of whom are Toa, but they did "good" things.) And just because he's a Hordika, doesn't mean he can't do any good...take Matau as an example there.Oh, and last thing: his vocabulary is surprisingly vast for one who lives his entire life in the Jungle doing basically nothing. Was he a scholar of some sort before he was a Toa? That, to me, is the only explanation there. A wide vocabulary is great, but if a simpleton, like Krekka, suddenly used words like "ungulate," the suspension of belief is gone. Not saying Kaomata is a simpleton, but to be honest, I had to look that word up (which is awesome for you as a writer!), and I've got a pretty decent vocabulary, if I do say so myself. And since it's written in the first-person, you're bestowing that range of vocabulary on a character who likely shouldn't have that range. Overall though, this is brilliant. Quibbles about the vocabulary aside, a few minor plot details that should, in my mind, be explained a bit or altered sightly, and other than those things you've got a great story.And the poem at the beginning is simply beautiful. And it works well. Well done!

Thank you! :D Thank you so much! I'm honored you enjoyed it so highly.I didn't even realize he was a Hordika at first, but about halfway through I figured out that he was, and made a few necessary tweaks. I knew from the beginning that I never wanted to define too explicitly what or who Kaomata was; he was the jungle, and that was all I wanted to be convey clearly. And so I allowed the reader to figure out the rest; and when you have to think, I believe, it enhances the experience--it pulls you in deeper into the story when the story gives you something to consider. I'm a personal fan of detective fiction, but mystery is an important element in any story, for it stimulates the reader's cogitation. That was to show the readers right away who he was. I wanted to show that he was powerful, dangerous; that he was the king of the jungle. Why did he, as a character, kill the Muaka? That would have been a process of thought that took place shortly before we entered his mind. Perhaps the Muaka was old or sick; perhaps the Ash Bear had a family. If I wanted to I could produce a long list of reasons and choose one that would justify his action . . . but I didn't want to complicate things there.I'm going to address Kaomata's reasons for refusing Hahli in a moment. But it would be better preceded if I addressed vocabulary first. In this regard, you're overlooking the fact that there's a past undefined but implied. One hint is that Le-Wahi has only existed for 1,000 years. Moreover, as far as we know no Visorak ever reached Mata Nui; so how did one end up at the bottom of Kaomata's pool? I thought it was clear enough that there had been more to Kaomata's life before he came to Mata Nui. What I was trying to infer was a past more deep and complicated than the simplicity of his jungle life, perhaps a life that pushed him to this simpler world. Kaomata's not Tarzan, and I wanted that to be clear.Which brings us to the question: What motive lay beneath Kaomata's refusal to help Hahli? As he said--he's the jungle. But why is he the jungle? What made him the jungle? He did not live in this jungle all his life. What brought him here? What motivated him to hide here? And as you ask--what motivated him to refuse to help Mata Nui? These are the questions! From them one can surmise there was probably some sort of experience in his past that shook his faith in himself and his abilities. Something that made him lose faith in his role as a Toa and perhaps in heroism itself. Perhaps this event is somehow tied with his transformation into a Hordika. Perhaps it involves Roodaka. A lot of things seem to. But we don't know because Kaomata didn't tell us; he doesn't want to share his past with us.So I concede the point that there were some things I didn't explain, or even hint well enough at an explanation. I confess though I should trust to the intelligence of my reader, I shouldn't expect them to be Sherlock Holmes. :P But I simply did not want to define too distinctly Kaomata's character and past; I didn't even want to suggest overtly the nature of his past. I want him to be mysterious and incomprehensible . . . like the jungle.Thanks Zaxvo, I truly appreciate the in-depth criticism alongside the in-depth compliments. :biggrin: I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm glad you delved into it enough to observe these gaps.And as for the poem, I agree entirely. I was very fortunate to find it. At first I considered The Tyger, but I found this Kipling poem and realized it suited my story far better. It was perfect.

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, May 31 2012 - 01:40 PM.

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#6 Offline Nick Silverpen

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Posted Jun 01 2012 - 09:35 PM

Hey Nuile!First off, I felt as though every word in this piece was very sincere. There was passion in each paragraph, and yet it was very level and calm at the same time. The implication of Kaomata being a Hordika was well tied in, as well as his affection for the island. The relationship between Hahli and him, it was very touching, as though some part of him was reaching out to another part of nature. Kaomata really condems the traditional image of a Toa, and it's comforting to see a new perspective on Toa and heroism. The concepts of timelessness and peace you incorporated were interesting to look at. Also, I was too young to understand anything about Mata Nui, but I would've never thought about Makuta's Rahi takeover as interrupting the ecosystem.The dialouge was well done, flowing very nicely done. Your vocab spiced up the story, and your syntax and style were what attracted me most of all. It flowed appealingly, and made the story as much of a pageturner as youll find on a one page forum :PI'll definitely be looking at your other works :)
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#7 Offline Tehurye

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Posted Jun 05 2012 - 06:11 AM

This story made me get all upset and sad-like. :none: I almost think we have too many sad stories on BZPower........ :dontgetit: Still, it was amazingly written. You have a great talent, you should write and publish novels someday. My compliments!Also, a question. Any chance that Kaomata was a..... Toa of Plant Life? :rolleyes:
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#8 Offline Aderia

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Posted Jun 06 2012 - 05:25 PM

Its so... beautiful!!! :crying:And seriously, I'm not sure I've ever said that about a story here yet. And if I have, it was probably a lie, because now they've fallen under the shadow of the master.Anyways, I'm not sure if you've ever heard the song If I Can't Love Her from the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, but I was singing that in my head while I read (And in my twisted face/there's not the slightest trace/of anything that even hints at kindness/And from my tortured shape/no comfort, no escape/I see, but deep within this utter blindness) as well as that "In the Jungle" Song that I saw you used in your one Flash Ficton entry (So what if I'm a bit of a creeper ;) )So. You've not only gotten away with a 5,000-ish word 'short' story and impressed me, but you've also managed to ward off any spelling and/or grammar mistakes. I am giving you a figurative standing ovation. I wonder, does an author ever get tired of hearing how great his stories are?Like I kinda mentioned above, this story reminded me vaguely of Beauty and the Beast, and if someone would have told me that "Hey, have you read Nuile's story, 'In the Jungle? Its like a bionicle-ized version of Beauty and the Beast," I would never have believed them, but of course, reading is believing, so to speak.Another thing that I want to commend you on is your insinuation of a canon character, Hahli, into your story so flawlessly. She was entirely realistic on every level, speaking from a Bionicle-ized perspective of course. Personally, I have yet to master bringing practical and in-character canon characters into my work, so kudos to you.On a different note, and for lack of better way to say this, you’ve given me a pretty sneaky story. Like, as the story progressed, Kaomata turned out to be a Hordika (+10 awesome points), and his and Hahli’s friendship evolved into a romance, very crafty my writerly friend. Very crafty.And I’m sorry my review was a bit lacking in constructive criticism, but that’s mainly because there’s barely anything to criticize. So I guess you could have worse problems, right? So keep up the A+ work, and I’m going to stalk your sequel now.Also, do you happen to have a Library topic here on the new Forums parchance?(Edit: Wait! I forgot to mention how much I loved your descriptions!! So guess what. Your story had beautiful descriptions. Of like, everything!)

Edited by Zosia Darr, Jun 06 2012 - 05:27 PM.

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#9 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Jun 07 2012 - 04:22 PM

Hey Nuile!First off, I felt as though every word in this piece was very sincere. There was passion in each paragraph, and yet it was very level and calm at the same time. The implication of Kaomata being a Hordika was well tied in, as well as his affection for the island. The relationship between Hahli and him, it was very touching, as though some part of him was reaching out to another part of nature. Kaomata really condems the traditional image of a Toa, and it's comforting to see a new perspective on Toa and heroism. The concepts of timelessness and peace you incorporated were interesting to look at. Also, I was too young to understand anything about Mata Nui, but I would've never thought about Makuta's Rahi takeover as interrupting the ecosystem.The dialouge was well done, flowing very nicely done. Your vocab spiced up the story, and your syntax and style were what attracted me most of all. It flowed appealingly, and made the story as much of a pageturner as youll find on a one page forum :PI'll definitely be looking at your other works :)

Criticism or no, I really appreciate the depth you went to in your review. As much as a mere "this was bad" is unhelpful, a mere "this is good" is unhelpful and truthfully not very encouraging. But like "this is what you did wrong" is instructive, so is "this is what you did right." Thank you very much.

This story made me get all upset and sad-like. :none: I almost think we have too many sad stories on BZPower........ :dontgetit:Still, it was amazingly written. You have a great talent, you should write and publish novels someday. My compliments!Also, a question. Any chance that Kaomata was a..... Toa of Plant Life? :rolleyes: ipb.global.registerReputation( 'rep_post_293134', { domLikeStripId: 'like_post_293134', app: 'forums', type: 'pid', typeid: '293134' }, parseInt('') );

You know what? You have a point there. The sequel has a much happier ending, but I think something has to be done about this. . . . I think I'll work on something extremely cheerful next. :P That is one of the nicest compliments I've ever been paid. ^^ Thank you very much.He . . . might have been. ;)

Its so... beautiful!!! :crying:And seriously, I'm not sure I've ever said that about a story here yet. And if I have, it was probably a lie, because now they've fallen under the shadow of the master.Anyways, I'm not sure if you've ever heard the song If I Can't Love Her from the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast, but I was singing that in my head while I read (And in my twisted face/there's not the slightest trace/of anything that even hints at kindness/And from my tortured shape/no comfort, no escape/I see, but deep within this utter blindness) as well as that "In the Jungle" Song that I saw you used in your one Flash Ficton entry (So what if I'm a bit of a creeper ;) )So. You've not only gotten away with a 5,000-ish word 'short' story and impressed me, but you've also managed to ward off any spelling and/or grammar mistakes. I am giving you a figurative standing ovation. I wonder, does an author ever get tired of hearing how great his stories are?Like I kinda mentioned above, this story reminded me vaguely of Beauty and the Beast, and if someone would have told me that "Hey, have you read Nuile's story, 'In the Jungle? Its like a bionicle-ized version of Beauty and the Beast," I would never have believed them, but of course, reading is believing, so to speak.Another thing that I want to commend you on is your insinuation of a canon character, Hahli, into your story so flawlessly. She was entirely realistic on every level, speaking from a Bionicle-ized perspective of course. Personally, I have yet to master bringing practical and in-character canon characters into my work, so kudos to you.On a different note, and for lack of better way to say this, you’ve given me a pretty sneaky story. Like, as the story progressed, Kaomata turned out to be a Hordika (+10 awesome points), and his and Hahli’s friendship evolved into a romance, very crafty my writerly friend. Very crafty.And I’m sorry my review was a bit lacking in constructive criticism, but that’s mainly because there’s barely anything to criticize. So I guess you could have worse problems, right? So keep up the A+ work, and I’m going to stalk your sequel now.Also, do you happen to have a Library topic here on the new Forums parchance?(Edit: Wait! I forgot to mention how much I loved your descriptions!! So guess what. Your story had beautiful descriptions. Of like, everything!)

And that is the nicest compliment I've ever been paid, bar none. I thank you so much for your I hadn't noticed the similarity to Beauty and the Beast. You're right, though. It's sort of conglomeration of Beauty and the Beast and Tarzan. :PAnd to be honest, I don't think an artist can tire of seeing their work appreciated. Every reader has a different way of enjoying the story, and different reasons to like and dislike it. Every reader brings some new dish of instruction to the table.No, I haven't a Library, but I've been working on one the past few days. I've just been waiting for the Flash Fiction Marathon to end. Speaking of Libraries, though; I'm honored to be featured in your recommendations.Thank you--thank you very much. I am very grateful for the detail and sincerity of your review. I was very touched. ^^

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


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When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .

 

tumblr_meb7408mTy1r4ejnio1_1280.gif

 

I know I am ready to start my voyage.

 

A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?


#10 Offline Tehurye

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Posted Jun 08 2012 - 07:10 AM

It would be great to see you write a cheerful tale. Or a comedy. It would be terrific! Don't let the idea die! And, as I said in that topic, I enjoyed the sequel. It did give a happier ending than one might expect.

He . . . might have been. ;)

I'm taking that to mean that he was a Toa of Plant Life. I guessed it once he started generating plant life. :sigh:

Edited by Tehurye, Jun 08 2012 - 07:12 AM.

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