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L S O 2012 - Team Three


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Hahli Husky

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Posted Jul 08 2012 - 05:14 PM

DO NOT POST HERE UNLESS YOU ARE ON THIS TEAM AND IT IS YOUR TURN TO WRITE.Thank you. Posted Image Review topic here!This is where Team Three of the Library Summer Olympics 2012 will be posting their story. If you guys come up with a team name and/or story title, PM me and I can edit it into the topic name for you.In this event, entrants will be required to do the following:- Work with a team to write a BIONICLE-themed epic based on a given prompt. Each prompt will be the first sentence from a popular book (that happen to own XP), and can be found below.ScheduleRemember that each team member can post once every 24 hours, creating a cap of 4 chapters per 24 hour period. The chapters can be as long or short as you like. Members will be posting in this order:Legolover-361JanusGSRFullmetal EyrchamistPlease try to let me know if you won't be able to post for more than 2 days' time! If there's an emergency and you are unable to notify me first, that's all right.The topics will be closing July 25th, 2012 at roughly 11:59 PM PDT. If the server is out, the deadline will be delayed accordingly.Team Three's Prompt:(lifted from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo)This story begins within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse.Now continue the story as you please, and have fun! :)

Edited by Hahli Husky, Jul 26 2012 - 12:53 PM.

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#2 Offline Legolover-361

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Posted Jul 09 2012 - 11:28 AM

Chapter One

This story begins within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse.A tiny thing he was, his exposed skin pink in hue, his half-developed paws curled into weak fists. He curled against his mother’s side for warmth. Her andante heartbeat and his staccato one merged into a single rhythm under what light of the moon entered their concrete den, which was lined with dead grass and leaves. The father watched on for a moment in the mouth of the exit tunnel; then he slipped out into the castle to find more food.The baby’s eyelids were closed as if he was sleeping, but beneath them, his eyes darted to and fro in rapid succession. He was alive, and so he was curious. How? and where? were the questions that troubled him, but at such a young age, he could only feel a vicarious urge to know without knowing why he felt it.He shifted a little against his mother’s side, body throbbing in anxiety. She cast a protecting paw over his shoulders, and his shudders subsided.When he would finally be able to understand what troubled him six months from now, as an adult, he would be seven inches long, covered with natural metal plating and coarse “hair”, and too busy hunting for his own family to meditate on the questions. Such was the cost of growing up — a cost he knew was coming but didn’t know what it was or why it should encroach upon this hour of solitude.Again he shook. Again his mother attempted to comfort him. Her warmth flooded his body; with caprice only a newborn could manage, his mind released its hold on the worries and slipped away from reality. He was now embraced by two things: his mother and semiconsciousness.Footsteps sounded outside the hole, large enough to shake the floor, but they soon receded into the distance without pause. The baby still slept.* * *Helryx’s story begins within a colonnaded hallway of a fortress.It was actually not a fortress — a renovated castle, more like — but she could sleep better if she convinced herself it was. Usually. This night was an exception, and walks almost always soothed her, so here she was.She didn’t know what had induced her insomnia or if she had incurred it upon herself. Both she and the Great Spirit Mata Nui had been explicit in their planning, so she couldn’t be confused about the operation; she had already sent numerous operatives of the Order of Mata Nui across the Matoran Universe to form a contact web, so she couldn’t be nervous about lack of preparation.Maybe she was just afraid of the secret getting out.Helryx swung a left, now approaching the castle — no, fortress’s library. It was empty and dark; she activated the artificial lightstone in the ceiling via a switch, which illuminated the spacious, gray-walled chamber and its rows of books. She passed the bookshelves without a glance.Her steps brought her to a small alcove in the back corner of the room. Here was a small candle and a comfortable reading chair. She sat on the chair, sighing as she leaned back and half-closed her eyes.If she was afraid of getting caught, she was growing paranoid. She had handpicked her operatives based almost solely on their stealth capabilities and efficiency. They would simply not be caught, and they had taken pains to assure her of that fact when she had given them their assignments.As satiated as she could be, Helryx allowed her eyes to fully close. She still couldn’t sleep, but at least she had alleviated some of her unease.She would take care of the rest tomorrow.The Order of Mata Nui had Av-Matoran to relocate and six months in which to do it. If their leader was sleep-deprived, they would be in trouble.* * *Johmak’s story begins on the Northern Continent, in a safe house, eating dinner with a being she wished were a mile away.“You’re a good cook, Johmak,” said a voice from thin air. The sound of chewing was followed by a fork and knife floating into position to cut off another piece of steak. A gulp. “Did you bribe Helryx with food to get in?”Johmak sighed. “You don’t realize how weird it is to watch food disappear to nowhere, do you?”Another swallow, this one distinctly painful-sounding. “Hey, I — I can’t help it if my looks are hidden from the world. They’re all that got me into the Order. I’m telling you, now that I’m invisible, Helryx is just looking for an excuse to throw me out—”“Jerbraz.”“Hmm?”“Shut up.”“I’ll do it, since you asked so nicely.” A pause. “I don’t think you saw, but I winked at you.”Johmak’s face burned. Unable to properly glare at someone who was invisible, she instead affixed upon her plate such a look she was surprised it didn’t erupt in flames. He couldn’t get her angry, not now, not when their two Av-Matoran would be coming within the next couple weeks and they had to work to prepare residences for them.The safe house in which they now sat belonged not to the Order of Mata Nui but to a loyal Matoran contact; Johmak and Jerbraz would have to move out in two days to keep any potential spies guessing. At least Jerbraz was invisible. Johmak didn’t want to be mistaken for his wife by any Matoran realtor, let alone one who felt it necessary to announce now and again that they made a cute couple.Earlier today, Jerbraz had offered to paint some self-portraits for the house they would find the Matoran. Johmak had responded that empty picture frames wouldn’t help the place’s look at all. Maybe insisting on eating dinner with her had been Jerbraz’s chance at revenge. Hopefully retribution was out of his system; the last thing Johmak needed was Jerbraz tripping her as a joke.Johmak said nothing as she resumed her meal. Jerbraz, astonishingly, took the hint and remained silent.No more jokes passed between them that night.

Edited by Legolover-361, Jul 09 2012 - 09:06 PM.

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#3 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 10 2012 - 03:53 PM

Chapter Two

With visions of an uncertain future still reverberating through her mind, Toa Helryx awoke from an uneasy sleep. Slowly pushing her aching form into a sitting position she stared distantly at the wall, her mind slowly processing every piece of information she had just witnessed.As the leader of the Order of Mata Nui, she knew that dreams were useful—though they rarely told the future, someone who had the proper training was able to dissect the often conflicted events in a dream and uncover a truth about something close to them.In this case, the truth was not one that Toa Helryx hoped for. She had underestimated her opponent. How, she was not privy to, the dream simply told one truth—but the fact remained that Helryx had made an oversight and that could mean the death of one…or many.Maintaining her composure, the ancient Toa raised herself from the chair and strode to the far side of the room. It was there she spied the sigil that somehow managed to frighten even her.Found by one of the Order’s teams at the site of what had once been an Av-Matoran outpost, burned directly into the stone of the central structure was the symbol that now lay before her, seeming to emanate waves of darkness.A single blood red “M” * * *Elsewhere, on the Northern Continent, Jebraz found himself patrolling the perimeter of the safe house as a ‘precautionary’ measure.“Precautionary measure my rotator cuff” Jebraz grumbled to himself, savouring the sound of his own voice. “She’s just jealous of my good looks!” he finished, striking a pose that nobody could see.Hearing a sound in the distance, all good humor left him and he quickly drew his sword, inching closer to the source. Gingerly tip-toeing across the stone he came in view of the safe house and found…absolutely nothing. Relieved he sheathed his sword and was about to call out to Johmak when another voice spoke to him, sinuous and smoky it slid into his conscious.“I come as a warning, the first of many” it whispered. “I am a vanguard of what is to come.”Jebraz froze, confident that he could not be seen, and still intrigued by the voice. After a moment it spoke again.“Your confidence will be your undoing, we have sight greater than you can imagine.” It growled, seeming to have no source of origin, echoing all around and yet still staying barely above a hush.Under no false pretenses now, Jebraz realized the voice was speaking directly to him. Whispering in response“Are you friend or foe?”The voice simply laughed darkly.“I am both and neither, I am simply a messenger. Abandon your quest and submit to the coming storm. In the end it will be so much simpler.” Then with the sound of silence the voice faded into the darkness.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#4 Offline GSR

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Posted Jul 11 2012 - 10:35 PM

Chapter Three

Jerbraz stood for a moment, waiting for any sign of danger or further message. When nothing but silence answered his vigil, he sighed and turned back towards the safe house. That's the issue with being as all-around excellent as I am, he mused. All the ominous harbingers of doom pick you to serenade.His mind's attempt at humor did little to improve his mood. Even hearing the voice in the first place was concerning – like any other member of the Order, he'd undergone rigorous (and, it must be said, highly unpleasant) training to learn how to keep his mind under lock and key. Which left three options: someone very close by was as hard to see as he was, someone not so close by knew their psychic powers a fair sight better than the Order thought possible, or someone very, very, very close by was beginning to lose it.That last one wouldn't get him anywhere, so that left him with a pair of hypothetical messengers with some very nasty powers. Well, there wasn't much point on dwelling over the medium of the message for the moment; Johmak'd blow her lid if he delayed telling her that someone was playing with them. Keeping one eye out over the darkened valley, he rapped on the door sharply. He heard his companion snap alert inside. "What?""We just had a visitor. He didn't seem much for small talk, though he was generous with the ominous threats."The door opened, revealing Johmak standing in the doorway, smart enough not to try and exit before she had a handle on where exactly her invisible partner was. "Care to elaborate?""The good old-fashioned voice echoing from all directions, invitations to submit to the coming storm, the usual."If Jerbraz's attempts at humor had failed on himself, they were immediately permanently expelled from the school of Not Royally Ticking Johmak Off. "Perhaps you missed that day of Order training, but I seem to recall, oh, everyone we've ever worked with mentioning at some time or another that poor communication kills. Care to stop screwing about and maybe help not get ourselves blindsided?"Jerbraz winced slightly, an action that was pointless and had been for some time when it came to moving a conversation along. "Remind me not to wake you up in the middle of the night again. Joking aside, there isn't much more to it." He recounted the details of his encounter quickly; Johmak's scowl turned to a frown of concern as he talked. "If I had to wager a guess," he finished, "someone's been keeping an eye on this operation, and now they're trying to stop it. Scaring your enemies into calling the whole thing off is always a decent tactic for getting your way."Johmak was silent for a moment, drumming her fingers on her side. "This is a serious problem, Jerbraz. You know as well as I do that in the eyes of the rest of the universe, this operation doesn't even exist." She sighed. "The fact that someone found us here means that this location is already compromised. We need to start putting out feelers for a mole or a leak in the Order. And," - she turned and strode back inside - "we need to find a new safehouse and warn our contact that he may be under surveillance."Jerbraz groaned. "You want us to move now? It's the middle of the night.""Doesn't matter. There's a time and a place for taking things slow, and at a compromised safehouse five minutes after we've just learned there's a high probability this entire operation is in danger is neither. Grab a bite to eat for the road, and then help me dispose of any evidence we were here.""I thought we were already compromised?"She shot him a glare. "Just because we've got one set of enemies that knows we were here doesn't mean we ought to broadcast the fact to the rest of them." Jerbraz shook his head – remarkable how long it takes to break the habit of body language – and joined in wordlessly. In minutes, the home was emptied of any proof the two had been there.The door closed behind them with a click. Jerbraz sighed. "So, what now? I assume you actually have a plan besides abandoning our only place to sleep?""I'll meet with our Matoran contact and let him know his services, while appreciated, are being permanently terminated for both parties' sake. Once I've done that I'll meet up with you at the third stop north of here."Jerbraz silently interpreted the message in his head and mentally marked off the second safehouse to the east. Their code for directions – ninety degrees to the right and half the given number, rounded up – wasn't particularly uncrackable, but when both people using it were impossible to track on a darkened night, it didn't have to be. Across from him, Johmak suddenly vanished into a cloud of ebony shards that began floating away to the west; he shuddered. "You can't tell me that's less weird than a little invisible food!" he yelled after her.The cloud stopped for a moment and shifted; Jerbraz was extremely impressed by his companion's ability to display scorn even as a particularly shiny duststorm. Sighing to himself once more, he set out north, marking off the river ahead for a good place to switch direction to the east.If anything watched them depart, it made no indication.But maybe it chuckled to itself a bit.And as the two Order members fled into the night, far away within the walls of a castle a Toa pondered a dread she had no name for and a mouse dreamt a question it had no words for.

Edited by GSR, Jul 12 2012 - 01:08 AM.

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#5 Offline delilah

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Posted Jul 14 2012 - 11:16 AM

Chapter Four

Just as an ordinary being could not imagine life without breathing or speaking, so Botar could not imagine life without teleportation.It was something he thought about occasionally, usually before an assignment like the one he was about to embark on. Waiting in a dimly lit stone room within the Order’s fortress was a recipe for nerves if you didn’t keep your thoughts occupied, so as Botar waited, he mused.There was something so exhilarating about lifting your foot on Odina and setting it down on Daxia. Crossing thousands of kio in a second; going from mountaintop to ocean floor in an instant. Among all the beings in the world, Botar had no doubt that he and his species enjoyed the most freedom. No prison could hold him, and no laws could bind him. He was truly free.That freedom had been granted to him by Mata Nui in his infinite wisdom, and Botar found it fitting that, for countless years, he had spent his freedom in the service of the Great Spirit. Acting as his messenger and as the arm of the law. Bringing justice to the farthest corners of the universe.Botar smirked, an expression that, with his oversized jaws, looked more terrifying than benign. He used his freedom to put others behind bars. There was a sort of poetry to it.This time, however, his mission was far different. Instead of capturing criminals and incarcerating them, tonight, he would do the opposite.His orders came directly from Helryx, leader of the Order of Mata Nui: remove a number of Av-Matoran from their homeland in the Southern Continent, and scatter them across the universe. In doing this, the Order hoped to keep them safe from anyone who might wish to prevent the existence of any Toa of Light.Botar’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps in the hall. The door to the room opened, and someone stepped into the room.The someone was tall and graceful, but her most obvious physical feature was the pair of wings that sprouted from her shoulders. It was by these appendages alone that Botar recognized her; he had never learned her name.The being inclined her head in greeting. “Botar. Are you ready?”Botar nodded, and stood to his feet.The walls of the fortress dissolved around them in a kaleidoscope of whirling shapes and colours, only to instantly reform into an entirely new environment. The cold stone floor melted into grass, and the gray ceiling faded into a dark indigo sky, sprinkled with stars.The pair stood atop a small hill, and below them lay a village, sleeping peacefully beneath the constellations. An Av-Matoran village. For some of them, this would be the last night they would ever spend here. Tomorrow, the rest would awaken to find their friends and neighbours missing, with no clues to their departure.It would be a sad day for this village tomorrow, but some things were necessary for the good of the universe.* * *A gentle rain began to fall as the ebony shards of Johmak’s body swept across a landscape of thin trees and scrub brush, but she hardly noticed. Her mind was busy with strategies and plans to recover the situation, and quickly.Nobody should know about this operation, she thought. The only explanation is a leak in the Order, but-A terrifying thought came to her. If this… voice had sounded inside Jerbraz’s head, as he said, then it had bypassed his mental defences, and had done so with ease. How could she be sure that the same being wasn’t listening in on her thoughts right now?Johmak cursed silently. There might not even be a mole in the Order. This person could have simply listened in on her thoughts, or Jerbraz’s, and learned all he needed to know.But she couldn’t afford to dwell on that now. This entire operation depended on the existence of secure safe houses, and regardless of why this particular one had been compromised, things had to proceed as planned.The rain came down harder, turning the light dirt into sticky mud. Half a kio away, Jerbraz began to leave footprints.

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#6 Offline Legolover-361

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Posted Jul 16 2012 - 08:24 AM

Chapter Five

Sunlight flooded across a vacant bedroom in Karda Nui; it pooled atop the bed propped against the opposite wall from the window, spilling over the edges in hazy golden showers, just as the bed’s haphazard covers spilled off the mattress like waterfalls of fabric.The knock on the door was hollow, the expression of the Av-Matoran who found the hut unlocked more so. She entered with caution, lightsword raised in case anyone was present. No malevolent entities revealed themselves, and upon a moment’s consideration, the Matoran convinced herself of her safety and proceeded with confidence.“Come on, Gukko-bones,” she crowed, approaching the bed.There was no response.“No sleeping today — we’re going out to harvest.”Silence. Gavla gritted her teeth and pulled the covers away.The bed was unoccupied.Gavla did a double-take. Reality remained obstinate.She swore and spun, sweeping her gaze across the room. No clues presented themselves to her eye; she continued to look around anyway, her head rolling back and forth and side to side as if on a pivot. She didn’t pause till dizziness tilted the floor beneath her feet.Clawing at the window-frame for support, she stuck her head forth into the sunlight, where her eyes and forehead caught the sun’s glow and gleamed in return. Had she expected to see Takua standing out there, saying it was all just a game?Forget him. He was probably hiding somewhere, laughing at his deception. Gavla sneered at the empty window-frame and turned on her heel toward the door.In all her life, she’d never seen someone so focused, so determined, to go to such lengths to shirk off his duties. She could go without knowing such a Matoran.* * *The Av-Matoran Takua had been handpicked as the first to be kidnapped for one very important reason: He was an oddball.In the grand scheme of the Matoran Universe, questionable sanity hardly seemed like a reliable quality with which to gauge a Matoran’s suitability for relocation. But Helryx said otherwise, and surely the first-ever Toa knew better than Botar, whose contact with Toa during his lifetime had been minimal.In retrospect, an added benefit of the Av-Matoran’s alienation from his peers was that fewer people knew him well, and so fewer people would note his disappearance. This was good, considering the Av-Matoran relocation was barely begun.He had initially teleported about a kio from the safe house, to a tree previously marked as a safety checkpoint, with the unconscious Takua slung over his shoulder. A gash had decorated its west-side bark, one smooth and almost perfectly horizontal: a signal, clearly courtesy of Jerbraz’s sharpened sword.Botar hadn’t cursed, only systematically warped to the next arboreal checkpoint about a kio from the second safe house proper. This tree, in contrast, was unharmed. That was a good sign. Morning had now broken, the sun peeking above the distant horizon as Botar and his cargo again vanished without a trace.Thanks to stress, Johmak was more apathetic than usual when Botar appeared spontaneously in the center of the dull room in which she sat, engraving a tablet before her. Jerbraz was the one who took custody of Takua through a series of terse verbal commands that allowed Botar to place Takua on Jerbraz’s shoulder rather than his cranium; only when he departed, the door sliding shut behind a Matoran who looked like he was floating, did Botar turn to Johmak.“Something happened?”She looked up without nodding. “Jerbraz is a jokester, but he wouldn’t pull a disembodied voice out of his hat just to pull someone’s leg.” She paused as if reconsidering her statement. “...At any rate, I know he didn’t make it up.”Unwilling to speak against a fellow Order member but unable to disagree with the sentiment, Botar merely nodded.The chair screeched against the rough stone floor as Johmak thrust it back and stood, turning to examine with her keen gaze both Botar and the door through which Jerbraz had departed. Her night-black armor melded with the iron gray of the walls; a touch of uncertainty tinted her eyes.“I think our mission is compromised.”Her tone was so steady, so final, that Botar nearly nodded before catching himself. “Helryx,” he stated instead, “wouldn’t want you to say that.”“It’s true.” Johmak’s breathing was unnaturally loud; nature abhors silence. “I know you’re supposed to return for other Av-Matoran, but... contact Helryx. Please. She needs to know about this.”Botar considered. Three heartbeats counted the time between his hesitation and reply: “I will.”Johmak’s edge didn’t vanish with Botar’s reassurance — if anything, its hold was more complete than before — but the Order member nevertheless nodded. “Thank you.”“I will return immediately,” said Botar, and brought forth the image of a castle in his mind.* * *A corona of early morning light had filled the room when a sound from the library’s doorway brought Helryx from her pseudo-sleep. She looked up, expecting to find Axonn come to comfort her, or a guard come to warn her of someone approaching the castle.The being who stood in the doorway was tall, broad-shouldered, and clad in armor of deep blue and gold. He paused in the doorway, perhaps perturbed by Helryx’s intense gaze, though his uncertainty didn’t seem focused on her.“Botar?” queried the Toa of Water. “What’s happened?”Botar’s inhale was slow. “Helryx, we’ve been compromised.”* * *The Order member’s wings twitched in the tepid breeze.A blue Av-Matoran had exited Takua’s hut just a minute before, looking distinctly disgruntled. At least she hadn’t run to the town shouting. Maybe she thought Takua was playing with her. That was good; the less the other Av-Matoran suspected, the easier taking the next few subjects would be.Botar was late in returning. The winged being looked to the sky, only barely able to distinguish one stalactite from another, so high was Karda Nui’s ceiling. How long would it take to fly up there, to touch the stalactites with her own hands? She would do it now, but the Av-Matoran—My, but you’re a pretty one.Her reaction was immediate and efficient: She spun upon her left foot, her right spinning out to prop her body against a charge whilst a short sword was whipped from its sheath upon her hip. She said nothing, but her eyes were searching, searching.It’s a shame you have to die. The prick in her back felt like a dagger tearing through muscles and bone alike, but she couldn’t tell because she was too busy falling to the ground and feeling the life ebb from her body like blood. Like her own blood was doing.Her story ends in Karda Nui, a sonorous chuckle echoing in her head as her world spun, then blurred, then faded.

Edited by Legolover-361, Jul 16 2012 - 08:30 AM.

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#7 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 17 2012 - 01:43 AM

Chapter Six

“Helryx, we’ve been compromised” these words echoed around the Toa’s mind long after their bearer had left. Compromised? The mission had barely started, they had yet to start the mass exodus and already they were somehow compromised?Were it not for the fact that the entire operation had been meticulously planned by not only her, but Mata-Nui himself—she may have doubted her ability for a moment. Instead with a newfound fire she found herself stalking the passageways in of her fortress, making her way back to the library.The hallways were more crowded now, order members going about their tasks with quiet skill and confidence—yet a new unease had made its way through the fortress’ buttressed walls. Though she knew Botar hadn’t allowed the rumors to spread, somehow a creeping fear had yet managed to manifest in the minds of her soldiers.Growing angrier by the second the ancient Toa burst into the library, shocking two order members who were attempting to study the mysterious sigil.“Toa Helryx!” One of them gasped, visibly taken off guard. “We were just….” He trailed into silence after staring at her, or more particularly at the fire that was evident in her eyes. Where once was a quiet calm, there was now a burning inferno in the eyes of the Toa.Helryx’s eyes shifted from the two order members to the symbol, and back again. Then, in one quick fluid motion she pointed her finger at the lead researcher.“You.” She stated flatly “What have you found out?”The scientist faltered, his focus unclear in the face of such an imposing presence.“N…nothing more than we had before…” he murmured quietly.“Move” came the simple and harsh command, and the Toa found herself moving towards the charred stone. Though she had been reluctant up until now, she realized that it was finally time to do what must be done.Activating her mask power, the leader of the Order of Mata-Nui grabbed the black stone in both hands, and saw into the darkness.***Johmak sat uneasily inside the new safehouse. While normally she would have relished the silence of being alone, she now found herself longing for one of Jebraz’s quips.“How quickly things change when you’re being hunted” she murmured quietly to herself, staring vacantly at the wall.A sickness had roiled in her belly since Jebraz had told her of the voice, and even now when she had dispatched Botar to pass along the news, she found she simply could not purge herself of the creeping fear that seemed to be growing steadily by the second. She knew she should be inspecting the safe house and ensuring all of the proper preparations were in place before they left, but somehow she found she simply…couldn’t.She attempted to stand and found even that impossible—and instantly recognized something was wrong. Eyes narrowed she carefully looked around the dull room she was in, and yet found nothing…nothing but shadows from the dimly lit lightstones that decorated the walls.It was from one of these shadows—or perhaps all of them, that the voice spoke to her.“You are wise, watchful, deadly.” It spoke in a voice as smooth as polished stone.“You serve your cause with an unthinking devotion,” it continued in a quiet tone.Johmak, simply said nothing in response, instead staring grimly into the darkness that surrounded her.“You are a warrior above all, trained in many disciplines, a superb specimen of physical prowess,” the voice spoke again, seeming to grant Johmak a chance to respond. Finally she did.“Why?” she grated out, eyes still narrowed. The voice said nothing.“Why are you telling me any of this?” she tried again, growling.“Because,” the voice seemed barely above a hush now “All your power will not save you from the one whom I serve.”

Edited by Janus, Jul 17 2012 - 01:43 AM.

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NoNoNoNoNonNO

You misunderstood me

You didn't hear what I said

You're not listening LIKE MOST AMERICANS

-Arin Hanson


#8 Offline GSR

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Posted Jul 18 2012 - 10:43 PM

Chapter Seven

Flashes of nightmares. Pieces and fragments, iron and steel and flame and acid, snatches of screams, black laughter.Skakdi, the things that were all but beasts. And then not. And then so. A Makuta looking down, a crimson hand struggling to reach up at him, straining against the chains binding it to the table.Freedom. The Makuta's departure in the night. Little Visorak, child's play to remove. War. Chaos. Victory.The Makuta's return. A few talks with his creations; a realization of potential. Another departure, but not alone this time. A time to hide, but not for long. More experiments. Changes and powers; plots and missions. Monsters stalking the shadows, the minds of their quarries all but open books.A trial: an outpost. Easy as anything. A Matoran's mask, shattered on the ground. And finally, a mark.* * *Toa Helryx jerked back from the symbol. There was no logic to be found within its depths, no definitive narration, nothing to build a mission off of – but there was enough to make the doubt that had nagged at her heart morph into black disgust. The two researchers stared at her nervously, waiting for any indication as to what she'd seen. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment. When they opened, they blazed once more.She pointed at the nearer of the two. “You. Get me a list of all known methods of concealment and infiltration that could be imbued through biological engineering. And then get me a list of the unknown methods.” The Order member knew better than to ask and took off running. Helryx's head snapped towards the other member. “You. I want any reports on Zakaz and the Skakdi – especially the Brotherhood's official claims on what happened there.” The second member nodded and seemed about to move when she spoke again. “And it better have a name.”She scowled to herself as she strode out of the room. It was possible that she was drawing the wrong conclusion from the fragments that had lashed out at her from the sigil – whoever had placed it was clearly far from sane at this point. It could be nothing but nightmares and illusions.But she had learned something very simple and very important in her years running the Order: those who fail to prepare for the worst are inevitably confronted by it.* * *In the safehouse, Johmak sat unmoving, staring into the darkness around her with an icy determination. “Very intimidating. Tell me, 'the one you serve' – a Makuta? They're the only ones arrogant enough to get their subordinates to act like this.”The shadows chuckled. “Oh, perhaps. Makuta is really just a title, you know. And the one who sends us on these little missions – he's of the opinion the Brotherhood can be flexible in its organization.”She frowned. “So, he's a member of the Brotherhood?”“Perhaps he is. Perhaps he isn't. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new age, an age of Makuta. Or perhaps when the sun rises tomorrow, the Makuta will be nothing more than ashes. I've found things can change very quickly when it comes to warfare.”“And you?”For just a moment, she thought she saw a bending in the shadows before her – a curve of pitch black. A grin. “Oh, I'm just a warrior who realized there was a bigger world out there to play in. And that there was someone willing to help us get there if we took a few minutes out from time to time to take advantage of our new abilities on his behalf.”“So you decided to play pet to a Makuta.”The growl that came from around her was almost good-natured. “And you decided to play pet to a Toa? Or did you just realize like the rest of us that if someone comes along able to strengthen you and point you in the direction of an enemy, it's better than sitting on your heels?”Johmak spat into the darkness. “So you're fighting for fun and some nutjob who gave you a few tricks. You'll excuse me if I don't radiate envy over your life choices.”Another laugh. “Oh, feel free to do as you like. But if you want some advice: when I'm gone, get up and leave this house. Walk out into the night and don't look back. Forget you ever heard of Orders or Brotherhoods and go back to whatever little life you had before.”Suddenly, the voice was impossibly close to her. “Because while there might not be many of us, there doesn't need to be. We are a storm now. There were twenty Matoran in that outpost, and two of us; every crunch of shattering armor was another reminder why I left that blasted island. We have our orders. Get in the way, and any one of us will be happy to turn your pretty little body into scrap.” A jovial tone entered it. “No – not just scrap, shards. Perhaps we'll dump them where your invisible friend will find them. How long do you think it would take him to realize you weren't just playing some little game? I wonder.”Johmak felt a rush of air, and the shadows receded back into their corners. The oppressive aura that had kept her immobile lifted, and she took a shuddering breath as she stood.And that, she mused to herself, is why I hate Makuta.

Edited by GSR, Jul 18 2012 - 10:46 PM.

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#9 Offline delilah

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Posted Jul 20 2012 - 05:56 PM

Chapter Eight

Takua awoke to sunlight streaming in through his window, a clear sign that he’d overslept –again.The Av-Matoran sat up and stretched, yawning. He loved staying up late and sleeping in, but he knew it was a bad habit. Sooner or later Kirop was going to give him Karzahni for coming late to so many of his work assignments.“The village only works when all the villagers work,” Takua mumbled. “We all have our duties to each other and to the Great Spirit, even you.”He pulled off his sheets and swung his legs to hang over the side of the bed. It was then that he realized that he was not at home.The room he was in was small and sparsely decorated; aside from the bed, a desk and a half-full bookshelf were the only pieces of furniture. This stood in stark contrast to Takua’s own house, where every inch of space was occupied.“Where am I?” Takua wondered aloud.“You’re safe.”The Av-Matoran jumped, startled, and looked wildly around for the source of the voice. But the room was empty.“That’s it, Takua,” he muttered. “You’ve officially snapped. Lost it. Gone stone-ape crazy.”* * *“You’re safe.”Jerbraz regretted the words the moment they left his mouth. Comforting someone was all well and good when you were visible, but even the most charming guy in the known universe was pretty useless in the area when he couldn’t be seen.This was supposed to be Johmak’s job, you numbskull, he scolded himself. Oh well. Nothing to do but make the best of it.“You’re not crazy, Takua.”The Av-Matoran scanned the room again, his eyes wide. Jerbraz sighed, and picked a book at random from the bookshelf. The tome hovered in midair, then opened and appeared to flip through its own pages.“I’m over here, holding the book. My name’s Jerbraz.”Takua look suspicious, but, after a few moments had passed, his curiosity appeared to get the better of him. He stood up, and slowly walked over to the floating book, holding out a hand. Jerbraz took the proffered hand and squeezed, drawing a gasp of surprise from the Av-Matoran.“So I’m not crazy,” he sighed. “Are you wearing a Huna or something?”Jerbraz shook his head, forgetting for the millionth time that nobody could see the gesture. “Nope, no Huna. It’s just the way I am.”Takua’s eyes widened still further, though Jerbraz hadn’t thought it possible. “Why? Were you born this way, or did it happen to you? Were you cursed? Is it because you were really ugly? Or-”“No, no, no,” Jerbraz interrupted, a hint of indignation creeping into his voice. “No way. I’m actually one of the handsomest guys in the universe, which you’d know if you could see me. But you can’t, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.”Takua smiled. “Got it. Sorry, I’m just-”The Av-Matoran was interrupted by a soft knock on the door.Jerbraz smirked at Takua’s expression. The Matoran looked more bewildered than ever.“Don’t worry, it’s someone on our side. Come in, Johmak,” he called.The door opened, revealing a tall, dark figure that was most definitely not Johmak. It seemed to be made entirely of shadows, with no features that Jerbraz could see, no outline that separated it from the shadows in the hallway. It somehow appeared to absorb light, causing the room to dim slightly. The warm sunlight spilling through the window suddenly seemed pale and gray.“I warned you, Jerbraz.”The voice was identical to the one Jerbraz had heard only last night, echoing from everywhere and nowhere at once. Slightly sibilant, its words seemed to float through the air like smoke, long after their speaker had ceased.“The storm is coming; it is almost here.”The figure stepped into the room. Its shadowy body was still flat and featureless, but Jerbraz could now make out black spines sticking out from where its shoulders would be.“Get back,” he whispered to Takua, his mouth scarcely an inch from the Av-Matoran’s auditory canal. “When I give the signal, get out the window."“The clouds are gathering,” the black figure growled. “The rain begins to drum upon the roof.”Takua, slowly, almost imperceptibly, began to back away from the shadowy being. As he did so, Jerbraz drew his sword. The blade was as invisible as he was, but it still rang softly as he pulled it from its sheath, sounding the peal of a cold, deadly bell.The being chuckled softly. “You cannot hope to stand against the storm, you foolish children. Submit, or you will be crushed.”Here goes nothing.“Johmak!” Jerbraz yelled.He charged at the black figure, sword high, ready to strike. Behind him, Takua launched himself through the window in an explosion of shattering glass.

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#10 Offline Legolover-361

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Posted Jul 21 2012 - 02:34 PM

Chapter Nine

The glass fragments fell like rain around Takua as he struck the ground and rolled. The impact expelled all the air from his lungs, leaving him gasping as he recovered enough to crawl from the window and into the shadow of the next-door dwelling. He gripped at the wall with a hand covered in cuts, using the solid surface as leverage to regain his feet, then he stumbled round the corner. His steps were uncertain, but his adrenaline rush sent a clear enough message to his addled brain that running away from the danger was the best course of action.The Av-Matoran reached a side-alley before he found himself grabbed again. He opened his mouth and was promptly gagged by a hand larger than his.“Shut up,” said Johmak.He struggled for a few seconds anyway before acquiescing. The hand was removed from his mouth and his body released; he turned so he could see with his own eyes his captor.Johmak eyed the Av-Matoran briefly before peering back around the corner. “We have to go.”“What about Jerbr—”“Jerbraz will have to take care of himself for now.”“What? Why can’t we — I mean, shouldn’t we stay and fight?”Johmak sighed and grasped Takua’s arm. “We can’t, and that’s final,” she said, though she sounded like she was trying to convince herself of the right course of action. “Now come on. We’re going to a nearby safe house. Stay close and stay quiet.”Stymied, Takua swallowed the questions on the tip of his tongue and ran behind Johmak, trying very hard to avoid tripping over his own feet.* * *Botar’s return doubled as a silent, one-man funeral.His partner’s cold limbs were splayed across the rocky ground, her eyes still wide and glassy with surprise, a sword lying inches from her right hand’s fingers. A dagger wound in her back was ringed with dried blood. She had been killed in cold blood.How?She had been chosen for this mission because of her stealth and wariness. Av-Matoran were not known for skillful ambushes, but a distinct lack of physical disturbances — no toppled rocks, no scattered dirt, no footprints — meant the winged being’s killer had been deft indeed in his craft. No Toa lived in Karda Nui, which ruled out both the usage of a Huna or Volitak and the faint possibility that their mission here was still secure.Botar felt vulnerable. Ignoring the tingling on the back of his neck, he took up his partner’s body. He vanished to Helryx’s current headquarters without a sign.He was not, however, undetected.* * *When the baby mouse awoke in the morn, his mother was gone.He had never seen his mother, for his eyes had been shut from birth, but he knew how she felt: warm, bristly, caring. Those presences, the center of his world, had deserted him. So young was he, he could only think in terms of warmth and food; he had neither, and so less out of actual danger than fear, he began to call, his pitiful cries only audible as far as the den’s entrance.Now an urge seized him. Cold and alone, he squirmed forward. The grass and strands of plant fiber lining his den offered little purchase, and so his legs did less of the work than his abdomen muscles. His snout was thrust forward in search of what he knew was somewhere...When he reached the den entrance, sunlight brightening his vision from dark gray to deep red, he found it obstructed by warmth. His mother. The urge to move left him now, and he pushed himself into his mother’s side in adoration.She failed to respond.The baby didn’t know confusion by name, but his plaintive query nevertheless exuded the emotion. Still his mother remained stolid. Her breathing was oddly quick; her heartbeat had quickened to a pace akin to her baby’s; she twitched once and was still again, the movement only fueling the infant mouse’s unease.Without warning, her warmth flickered. It dimmed as if shut off by a switch. She was painfully cold now. The baby’s cries grew more fervent as he struggled to push farther into her mother’s hide in search of the warmth.Then — pain! He fell back, unable to comprehend being struck. The warmth — his mother — was distant again. Far away in both location and presence. It couldn’t be her, she would never...He struggled, but his feet were in the air now; being upside-down was as uncomfortable and confusing as being hit. When he shifted his weight, he flipped right side up again. His instincts filed the action away in case it would be needed later.He struggled again till his eyelids were illuminated with crimson and twitched his nose forward. His mother had gone, leaving only a distinct icy, decadent feeling permeating the space she had heretofore occupied.The center of his world had forsaken him.

Edited by Legolover-361, Jul 21 2012 - 02:38 PM.

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#11 Offline delilah

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Posted Jul 21 2012 - 05:32 PM

Hello team. I'm going to be gone from the 22nd to the 27th, so if my turn comes up during that time, you have Hahli Husky's permission to immediately skip my turn and continue the story without me. :)
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#12 Offline Janus

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Posted Jul 23 2012 - 02:25 AM

Chapter TenJebraz quickly glanced at the shattered window where the Matoran once stood, allowing himself to say a quick prayer for the young one, before turning back to face the shadows that now encroached on the air all around him. To his surprise the figure raised no weapon against him, merely standing there cloaked in shadow.“Foolish,” came the figure’s voice. “To think you could stand against us—we are not one, Jebraz. We are many,” the voice hissed—and suddenly Jebraz felt his legs slowing, his limbs stiffening. Frozen halfway through attack, even his eyes were glued to the spot they had been locked on before: The towering pillar of shadow that seemed to grow larger with every passing moment.“The storm is breaking, Jebraz,” the figure said, taking slow strides toward the now immobile warrior. “I warned you of its arrival, I gave you the chance to flee its wrath—and yet still you stood against it.”As the figure stepped closer, Jebraz felt terror rising in him; terror that he had never felt before. Like a sickness it spread from the pit of his stomach until his entire body would have been shivering like a leaf—were it able to. But again the figure spoke.“Now you stand, a lone leaf in the winds of change.” The figure stopped directly in front of the invisible warrior, pausing a moment—and to Jebraz’s shock the shadows seemed to warp and writhe around the figure. Then gradually they began to ebb, revealing that the figure was not as tall as it seemed, in fact it was…“A Matoran…?” Jebraz croaked out, having regained control of his speech.The figure just smiled, its eyes dull and glassy beneath the infected mask it wore. Then in a deft moment it grasped Jebraz’s head between its hands.“Fall.”***Deep within Karda Nui another pillar of shadow stood where Botar once had, pausing as if to sniff the air. Seeming satisfied it knelt down to where the winged warrior had been struck, long fingers gently caressing the rent in the warriors armor. Around it the shadows swirled, cloaking whatever it had once been from the world, and filtering the occupants vision.It saw only what the shadows desired it to see, it acted only as the shadows commanded, it served only to bring the storm.The shadows began to whisper, writhing in a frenzied pace all around it. The storm was to come now, the pieces must be put into play.The being placed its slender fingers on the fallen warriors face, feeling the shadows flow through it. Then in a soft voice it spoke.“Rise.”
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#13 Offline Hahli Husky

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Posted Jul 24 2012 - 11:22 AM

The deadline has been changed to July 25th, 2012, 11:59 PM PDT to adjust for a day of server downtime.
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#14 Offline GSR

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Posted Jul 25 2012 - 02:04 AM

Chapter Eleven

(The Moment)

There is a certain art to stories, it is said. Some say that there must be conflict and there must be a challenge, that there must be at some point crisis. That in many a story there must come a moment where its members find themselves lost in the darkness of a world turned away from what they knew.Here is one such moment.* * *In the walls of a castle, a mouse scurries and scuttles, its first encounter with that harsh little thing called 'reality' now burned into its mind. It has very few words, and very few pictures to put them to. It has yet to come up with a word for 'betrayal', so it does the best it can.No, it thinks. No that's not right at all.And the mouse scrambles around a corner until, in its scampering and sliding, it finds a hole.And it looks out, into another story.* * *In the corridors of the castle, there is a tense energy in the air. There is hustle and bustle and shouts and commands. On the granite floor, a foot of scratched blue metal slams down, uncaring of the hole in the wall centimeters away. Toa Helryx has places to be, and concerns more pressing than small holes.Most of those concerns have a name now: Spiriah. Her subordinates are nothing if not competent, and she reviews the report in her hands one more time as she goes. Makuta Spiriah, who experimented on the native population of Zakaz, turning its inhabitants from mildly unpleasant to extremely dangerous. Officially exiled from the Brotherhood soon after. Spotted by an Order scout several months ago heading towards the island once more.Two and two and two is six, and when it comes to worst-case scenarios, Toa Helryx is good at math.From the main hall there comes a clamor and a commotion; she picks up the pace and slams through the door leading in. Botar stands there, a sad determination in his eyes.He opens his mouth to speak, and that is when the air stutters and flares and the being that was once his loyal partner appears from a shadow that was not there moments before.* * *The story of Jerbraz, it seems, is very close to an ending. Here is how it goes now:In darkness, with no sign of help or hope, and a simple understanding that things will get much, much worse before they have any chance of getting better again.* * *The stories of Takua and Johmak have by now found themselves intertwined.The pair steal away across the roads, the Av-Matoran struggling to keep up with the Order member, the Order member never letting her eyes rest for a second, lest the Av-Matoran be snatched by one of the nightmares that she cannot see yet feels almost certain trail them.Perhaps it is futile, she cannot help but think. Perhaps these monsters will find themselves victorious in whatever their goals are.Beside her, Takua stumbles, and without thinking she grabs him by the arm and pulls him back into a run.Or, she thinks, they can keep running. And one day she can have the pleasure of showing those 'oncoming storms' that there is a reason the Order of Mata Nui has lasted tens of thousands of years.* * *In the castle walls, the mouse cringes.In the castle halls, Helryx lunges forward, even as the winged nightmare grabs Botar's throat in a movement impossibly fast yet unnaturally jerky.In the safehouse that no longer lives up to its name, shadows gather around the fallen Order member.In the streets of the city, Johmak and Takua race towards an uncertain future.* * *In my chamber I sit and write these words. They are set in stone, now, but even so it is immensely tempting to simply disregard my knowledge of what came next. Perhaps Jerbraz escaped through a simple trick, perhaps Helryx and Botar removed their assailant with not even an iota of trouble, perhaps Johmak and Takua stumbled upon another Order member in the street and found the assistance they so desperately needed. Perhaps even the mouse's mother came back, her betrayal nothing but a feverish reaction to some passing illness.But that is not the job of a Chronicler, to shape history. It is merely to tell the story of what came before.This story began in the walls of a castle with the birth of a mouse. It has much more to say before it is done.But for a moment, I let it come to a standstill, a moment in time that could have gone so many many ways.And then I sigh, and return to the telling.

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#15 Offline Hahli Husky

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Posted Jul 26 2012 - 02:51 AM

The entry period is over, so I'll be locking the topic for the judging period. After the judging is over, the topics will reopen and writers can continue if they wish. You will be allowed to collaborate, drop out if you want, mix up the order of posting, etc. If you wish to have your epics renamed, please PM me with a decided-upon title. Look for review topics tomorrow! :)EDIT: Judging over, epic reopened.

Edited by Hahli Husky, Aug 06 2012 - 02:57 AM.

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