A Matter of Perspective
by TheSkeletonMan939Naho sat down onto an abandoned crate on a dock jutting into the Protodermis Falls. It never failed to amaze her – how intricate the falls were, how carefully designed – yet it all seemed so simple in perspective.She turned to look at Kodan, who had pulled over a crate of his own. Kodan reached into his bag and pulled out a tablet and writing utensil.“Isn’t this place nice?” Naho asked. Kodan had never been to the Falls as far as she knew.Kodan said truthfully, “No. It’s too calm. I prefer the perpetual hammering and babel of Po-Metru.”Naho had expected nothing less. Kodan had a tendency to be truthful to the point of being rude. He seemed to have some sort of misanthropic attitude that obstructed any social outreach from him.“Can we start now?”” Kodan asked. “I don’t like being able to hear myself think.”“All right… let me think…” Naho said, her eyes becoming distant.
About 4,500 years before the Great Cataclysm…My earliest memories take place on the Northern Continent, in a small village on the Tren Krom Peninsula. Unlike other villages on the peninsula, ours had a mix of Matoran types. Ta-Matoran would work with Ga-Matoran, Onu-Matoran with Ba-Matoran, etcetera. I think I lived in the more serene area of the Tren Krom Peninsula, seeing as I heard horror stories of death and destruction from others.Our Turaga was the friendliest Turaga in the world. Although he never did tell us his name – he was just “the Turaga” to us. He wore a Kanohi Rau, and he was associated with the element of Earth. He carried a staff that would light up if he banged it against the ground. Why a Turaga of Earth had a glowing stick we never could understand. But it certainly had its uses.At some point I realized how jealous I was of those other villages that had those death and destruction stories. I envied the conflict and adventure that had befallen other residents of the peninsula.I wanted to do something heroic in my life.I got my wish.I worked in a research lab as a Scholar. My lab partner was a Ko-Matoran named Mazeka. We were researching the energies that made Kanoka turn into Kanohi around the time of the murder.I came in one morning only to find the Turaga at the lab, along with some other Ta-Matoran whom I had never seen before.“Turaga?” I asked. “What’s going on here?”“There’s been an accident,” the Turaga said in reply. “Now, I’d like you to leave before – oh! You’re Naho! You work here!”I nodded slowly.“I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you at first,” the Turaga said quickly. “You’re allowed here.”“What’s going on? Why are they here?” I asked, pointing to one of the other Matoran.“They’re professionals,” the Turaga replied. “They’re investigating the scene.”“Scene of what?” I asked. “What’s happened?”“A Matoran working here died last night. The Matoran here are investigating,” the Turaga replied. “They’re from the other villages.”“We haven’t had a visitor in years,” I said. “What’s the accident? What happened?”“There was no accident,” the Turaga said darkly. “That’s what I’m telling the public. This was a murder.”“A murder- ,” I said with a gasp. My thoughts turned to Mazeka. Where was he? What if he was the one dead?Someone put his hand on my shoulder. I wheeled around only to see that it was Mazeka. I sighed in relief.“Everything’s going to be all right,” Mazeka said to me. He muttered a good morning to the Turaga and went over to the visiting Matoran. I tried to listen in.“That’s him. He was my mentor,” Mazeka said with a growl.“And what was he researching?” one of the strangers asked.“How the Great Sprit created Makuta,” Mazeka replied. “He - ”Mazeka stopped suddenly. “The tablets,” he muttered. He ran back into the room where the body was.He came out momentarily. “They’re gone!” he screamed. He slammed the wall as hard as he could.“We believe,” a Ta-Matoran said matter-of-factly, “that the crime was committed by Vultraz.”Vultraz was a Ta-Matoran who had spent most of his life in our village. A month or two ago he’d left to do business with Ta-Matoran from other villages.“Why? How do you know it was Vultraz?” I asked.Everyone looked at me as if I’d said something out of place.“Well,” the Ta-Matoran said, “take a look at this.” He led me into the room where the corpse lay.It was horrifying.The mask – a now broken Zatth – was horribly scratched and gray in color. I reached down to take it off, but the Ta-Matoran said, “Don’t. The face is worse.”I pulled my hand back.I also noticed a slash across the stomach. It made me sick.“That’s Vultraz’s style,” he said. “Real nasty. He slits the chest, then goes for the face.”What did he mean, style? Did he mean Vultraz had a certain way of killing? Why would anyone choose a specific way to kill?“And he doesn’t commit petty crimes, like stealing your neighbor’s bed covers,” the Ta-Matoran said gravely. “He goes for the kill. He takes on big stuff. And this is a big thing.”I muttered softly, “Can we go now?”
***Later, I found Mazeka sitting on the waterfront. I joined him.“I… I understand that he was your mentor,” I said uncertainly.“Yes,” Mazeka said angrily. “And I was working with him on something very important.”“I thought we were researching Kanoka and Kanohi,” I said, confused.“With you, I was,” Mazeka said. “But with him…”His voice was starting to crack. He said, “His work is gone. I’m going to find Vultraz and kill him.”He nodded, and I realized he was talking to himself more than me.He stood up and shouted to the sky, “I’ll kill him!”
***I didn’t sleep at all that night. I had known Vultraz for years, and he’d never been like this. Sure, he got angry easily, but he’d never done anything on this level.I jumped when I heard the sounds of yelling. I bolted out of bed and looked out my window.It was dark, but I could make out the shape of the Turaga and a much larger figure. The big one had a feminine voice.Some of my neighbors had begun walking outside, and I decided to follow.“... doing things like this for months!” the big one said. I squinted and was able to identify her as the Makuta who overlooked the peninsula. We all feared her. She had taught us to fear her.“I’m sorry,” the Turaga said. “He doesn’t live here anymore. He only came back for the information.”“Someone here must know where he is!” Makuta said angrily, turning to us Matoran.One Matoran piped up, “Who?”“Vultraz, you moron! Vultraz! Someone has to know where he is!” Makuta sputtered.I was surprised. This was the first time Makuta seemed to care, let alone notice, something that had happened on the peninsula. I would later realize that she most likely only cared because Vultraz apparently didn’t fear her wrath at all.Makuta hissed, “If anyone has anything to say, now would be a good time.”Someone stepped out the crowd. “I do!”All eyes turned to him. I couldn’t really tell who it was, but I recognized the voice.“Vultraz nabbed only half of the information,” Mazeka said. “The other half is with me.”At first I was glad that Vultraz hadn’t gotten all of the tablets. That meant Mazeka didn’t have to start from scratch – he just had to rework some of it.But my thoughts turned darker as I realized that word might get around – and if Vultraz heard it, he’d no doubt be back for the rest of the research.“I was talking about anything pertaining to Vultraz,” Makuta growled. “Not about whatever he may have stolen.”“I think you’d be very interested to hear what the information he stole pertained to,” Mazeka said.“Are you talking back to me?” Makuta asked, taking a step towards Mazeka.I couldn’t see her face in the dark, but I’m sure she looked pretty angry.“What makes you think I care what you spend your day doing?” the seething Makuta asked. Several sparks of electricity leapt out of her hand.The Turaga had seen enough. He slammed his staff onto the ground, and the gem on the top of it began to glow. The light reached all the way to the edge of the street. Finally I was able to see the situation as it was really happening. Things were arranged very differently than they had been in my head.We Matoran were a bio away from Makuta except for Mazeka, who was standing only a few steps from the Makuta. The Turaga was right behind Makuta, looking very cross.“I want you to leave now,” the Turaga said, eyes on Mazeka.“Me?” Mazeka asked. “But - ”“No, not you,” the Turaga snapped, irritated. He pointed his staff up at Makuta. “Her.”The crowd gasped. Makuta turned around slowly, looking at the Turaga. She looked infuriated.“What did you say to me, Turaga?” Makuta asked slowly.“Get out. No one here is allowed to threaten my friends,” the Turaga said. “Makuta or not, you do not have the authority to bully Matoran.”Makuta was trying hard to control herself. I couldn’t understand – why hadn’t she smitten the Turaga already?I assumed that if she were to do that, the news would travel and Makuta would be designated as “Turaga Killers”. Then there’d be a mass movement to eradicate them, and, well, that’d be bad for the Brotherhood of Makuta as a whole.Electricity sprang from her fingertips to the ground directly in front of the Turaga. He didn’t flinch at all.Makuta trudged down the street, heading for the nearest exit. She turned her head briefly and asked, “What’s your name, little one?”“Mazeka.”Makuta didn’t say another word. She turned her head back and continued her journey. Not one of us took our eyes off her until she had disappeared into the shadow of the night.The Turaga turned to us and said, “And now, I’d like everyone to go home. Except Mazeka.”I considered eavesdropping on their conversation, but decided against it. This was Mazeka’s little crisis. I hadn’t even met the Matoran who’d been killed, and yet I felt so immersed in this. I chose to ask Mazeka about the conversation in the morning.
***I couldn’t sleep at all. My thoughts were on Mazeka, and how endangered he was by this whole thing. Why did he have to tell Makuta everything? Didn’t he realize that Vultraz would find out and kill him for the rest of the information?How long had it been since Makuta had left? My guess was about forty-five minutes. Certainly the Turaga was done with Mazeka, and I assumed Mazeka wouldn’t be getting much sleep tonight either.I got up and left.Mazeka’s house was a short distance away – about a one minute walk. But still, I wanted to get there as fast as I could. I picked up the pace into a jog, and couldn’t have been happier when I reached Mazeka’s door. Carved on it was the word ‘Mazeka.'That’s descriptive, I thought as I put my hand up to knock. The second I did the door opened seemingly on its own. I was yanked inside and pinned down by my neck.My thoughts reeled. Was Vultraz attacking me? Was Mazeka dead already?“Wait a minute,” my attacker said. “Naho?”Mazeka let go of my neck and turned on a lightstone. “What are you doing here?”“I wanted to talk to you. About…”“Stuff?”“Yeah, stuff.”“All right,” Mazeka said. He shut the door, sat down in a chair, and began twirling a blade between his fingers.“Mazeka,” I said with reproach. “That’s dangerous.”“I’m not gonna cut my finger off or anything,” Mazeka said, twirling it even faster now.“Fine,” I said, looking away. “Where are the tablets?”“Over there,” Mazeka said, pointing to a drawer.I opened up the drawer and looked inside. All I saw in there was a big, weird-looking machine thing and a bunch of dust. I couldn't tell whether the machine was broken or intact - wires stuck out of all ends, and a leather strap was attached to it. I couldn't even imagine a purpose for the thing.Suddenly, Mazeka said loudly, “Gah! My hand! My hand!”I wheeled around, expecting to see a disembodied hand lying on the floor, but instead I was greeted by the sight of Mazeka laughing his head off. Needless to say, he had both his hands.“Mazeka,” I said, again with reproach in my voice. “That wasn’t funny.”“I thought it was funny,” he said, still chuckling.“Wait a minute,” I said. “What’s that blade even for?”Mazeka wasn’t laughing anymore. He looked up at me cautiously.“Oh, no,” I muttered. “You’re going to kill Vultraz, aren’t you?”“Wouldn’t you?”“No!” I cried. “I’d never kill anybody!”“Who’s your best friend?” Mazeka asked me.“You,” I replied.“Um, okay. Say Vultraz killed me. Wouldn’t you want to get back at him?”“But that’s what I’m afraid of! I’m afraid he will kill you!” I protested. “Where are the tablets, really? I can take them to my place, and you can stay with me for as long as you - ”“There are no other tablets,” Mazeka said.“What?”“He got them all. I lied when I said he had only half,” he explained.“So that means – Mazeka!” I said with reproach – the third time in two minutes. “You just want him to come back for no reason!”“I want him to come back so that he can die,” he said, stabbing the blade into the wall.I couldn’t believe this. Mazeka was smart – why would he subject himself to carrying out a hero’s task? How could he be so stupid?“Please,” I said. “He won’t be here tonight, it’s too soon. Please come home with me and stay safe.”“Quiet,” Mazeka muttered.“No, I won’t be quiet!” I said, a little louder.“Shut up,” Mazeka said silently.Why was he talking so quietly? Then it dawned on me:Someone was outside.I moaned, and Mazeka pulled the blade out of the wall.“Don’t say a word,” he breathed into my audio receptor. “Go into the other room and hide.”I wasn’t going to complain with that plan. I moved quickly into the next room and turned to ask Mazeka where the best place to hide was.Wait a minute. He wasn’t here. I thought he was going to hide with me.But was he instead going to attack Vultraz head-on?How stupid can you get? I asked myself as I peeked into the other room.Mazeka was pressed against the wall, blade in hand. A soft knock on the door echoed through the house. Mazeka, who hadn’t noticed me watching, knocked back in the exact same way.He’s trying to antagonize Vultraz, I thought.Everything seemed to stand still for a few seconds. No sounds, no movement, nothing. I didn’t even think.Without warning, the door was kicked open and a crimson-armored figure was on the other side. He was dripping wet and muddy. I saw that it had begun to rain outside.My chill went down my spine as Vultraz’s blood-red eyes stared at mine.“You’ll be fine,” I kept muttering to myself. “You’ll be fine…”Vultraz took one step towards the entrance when the door slammed shut in his face. Mazeka shouted, “I told you to hide!” as he propped a desk against the door.Vultraz’s hand went right through the door. He pushed the desk away and forced the door open. Mazeka showed no signs of fear. But I sure as heck was scared. Through the hole in the door I could see those awful eyes again. They seemed to embody evil.“Okay,” Mazeka said, waving his blade through the air. “Let’s do this.”Vultraz stepped in and pulled out a blade of his own. Except it was bigger, sharper, more dangerous – generally, it was a lot better than Mazeka’s.“You found me quickly,” Mazeka said. I was amazed how easily he kept his cool. He wasn’t shaking from fear, and his hands weren’t shaking uncontrollably like mine were.“Of course I did! I used to live here!” Vultraz exclaimed.It was only now that I actually recognized Vultraz. Everything about him seemed the same, save the eyes.They were killer’s eyes.“Word on the street is that you have some more research,” Vultraz said. “Give it to me and I’ll leave you alone.”Mazeka said, “Come closer and say that.”I gasped. I couldn’t help it. Mazeka was essentially asking to die.Vultraz eyed me. “You I know,” he said. “You’re Naho, aren’t you?”I couldn’t nod. I couldn’t do anything. I was scared to death. But in my head I was running escape scenarios over and over. It was all I could do.Vultraz threw his knife into the wall beside me, landing right beside my head. I screamed and jumped back.Mazeka turned to look at me, then back at Vultraz. Vultraz landed a solid punch into Mazeka’s jaw.Mazeka growled and thrust his blade at Vultraz’s chest. Vultraz jumped back at the last possible second and grabbed Mazeka’s wrist. He began twisting it and rubbing his fingers against the bottom of it. I guessed that Vultraz messed up Mazeka’s nervous system or something, because he dropped the blade he was holding. Vultraz let go of Mazeka and jumped for the blade. Mazeka was now weaponless.As they continued to fight, I looked around for something big. Disconnected thoughts flashed before my eyes, and I saw the machine from only a few minutes earlier.I tried to avoid their fight as I ran to the drawer and yanked it open. I pulled out the big machine thing and turned to examine the fight.Vultraz had pinned down Mazeka, and both were fighting hard. Vultraz was clearly trying to stick the blade into Mazeka’s stomach, but Mazeka was holding the hand back.It was now or never.I got right behind Vultraz and smashed him in the back of the head. He collapsed onto Mazeka, who immediately pushed him off.Mazeka got up and kicked the body. “Nice,” he said. He was breathing rapidly. “Nice.”I smiled. I had just caught a criminal.Mazeka slowly approached the body. Just as I called, “Wait!”, Vultraz shot up and socked Mazeka in the jaw again. And again. And again.I couldn’t watch. I had to stop this. Just as Vultraz delivered a final punch, I shoved him into the wall. Mazeka collapsed, his mask cracked in more than a few places. I turned to Vultraz. He’d dropped his blade. He was weaponless now. If I could get the blade…“Come on, Naho!” Vultraz said with a smile. “I’ve known you guys for a long time. I don’t want to hurt you. Just give me the tablets and I’ll be on my way.”I didn’t know what to say. I sure wanted to give him some tablets, but there were none to give.I was about to explain the situation to him when I noticed his arm moving very slowly towards where the blade lay. A line ran through my head:“That’s Vultraz’s style. Real nasty. He slits the chest, then goes for the face.”I dodged his first strike to the chest with some difficulty, and I fell to the floor after performing the maneuver. As I hit my head, everything seemed to go in slow motion. I could see Vultraz sailing through the air, ready to pounce on my stomach with the blade through it. By instinct I thrust my foot up.I must have had good luck that day. Really good luck. Because my foot went right into Vultraz’s face. I knocked him mask off and he crumpled onto the floor as he landed on his shoulder. Again, he dropped his blade. But I was quick this time and grabbed it the moment he hit the ground.Vultraz coughed. He got up slowly, and grunted in pain when he flexed his shoulder.I drew the blade on him. “Vultraz,” I said. “Please go.”“But the tablets,” Vultraz said, clutching his hurt shoulder. “I need them.”“You have them. All of them,” I said, my heartlight racing.“Mazeka said he had the other half…”“He lied! You have them all”! I shouted hysterically.Vultraz seemed to be deep in thought. “If anyone else said that, I’d put them on my hit list for lying to me.”My eyes widened. He was going to kill me.No. I had the knife. I was in control.“But you,” he said, nodding. “You’re too smart to lie.”“Please, go!”“Quit your whining, I’m going!” Vultraz said. He got up slowly, clutching his shoulder. He turned and pointed to the wall. “Hey, can I have that blade back?”“No,” I said forcefully. He was purposely trying my patience. I took the knife and stabbed it into the small space between Vultraz’s chin and his shoulder. Vultraz said, “Fine.”He opened the door. It was pouring rain down. Thunder and lightning, too. I wondered if it would be a severe storm.As he was walking out, I asked a question. “Vultraz?”He turned back. “What now?”“What happened to you?” I asked.Vultraz looked down, and I could tell that he wasn’t really sure himself. “I… I guess I figured I’d look out for number one,” he said casually.“But why did you have to kill people?” I asked in distraught.Vultraz suddenly appeared to me the way he did so long ago. So innocent looking. He blinked, and asked, “When did anyone do anything for me?”With that, he left, and for some reason was sure to close the door slowly.
***When Mazeka woke up, the first thing he asked me was whether I’d nabbed Vultraz or not. I sighed and told him the story. As I expected, Mazeka was enraged and yelled at me for not killing Vultraz off when I had the chance. I told him I wasn’t a killer and went home.The following morning, I found that Mazeka must have blabbed the whole ordeal to the others. They crowded around me, asking questions and patting me on the back.The first thing I did was go to Mazeka’s again. He was packing.“Where are you going?” I asked.“Out,” he grumbled.“Out where?”“Here, there. Wherever Vultraz crawled off to.”My jaw dropped. “What? You’re going after Vultraz?”“Someone has to finish the job.”“Not you! You’re just a Scholar! Not a – hero – ”“Doesn’t matter,” he replied. He hadn’t looked up at me once. He just was stuffing things into that stupid backpack.“He almost killed you last night!” I screamed. “Why are you trying to find him?”“Because maybe I care!” he shouted. He stood up and pointed a finger, as if he was accusing me of something. “What’s it to you? So what if I kill him? One less Matoran – one less Matoran everyone wants dead! Except you!”“You can’t just - ”“Maybe you don’t have the fighting spirit, but I do! Maybe you don’t feel like revenge, but I do! Did you know what I found out? In the few months Vultraz was away from this village, he killed four other Matoran. Four!”“Please don’t go,” I said quietly. “Stay here and live longer.”“If I don’t go, I’ll die from unhealthy hate,” Mazeka said. “I don’t care what anyone says. I’m going to find Vultraz and kill him!”I was too upset to say anything. I slammed the door behind me as I walked out.The Turaga was walking past, and he turned. “Naho! I was looking for you. I’d like a talk with you.”He took me to his hut and told me to sit down. I figured he’d yell at me too for not killing Vultraz. I told him the entire story, and braced myself.The Turaga sighed. “You know, Naho, killing someone is very serious. You’re denying that someone the right to live. That’s a right we all have, no matter the location, time, or situation,” the Turaga told me. I wasn’t sure where he was going with this.“There are too many in this world who put themselves above that law,” the Turaga continued. “Too many who kill for profit, revenge, or even without reason.”He went over to a cabinet and produced a small box from it. He walked over to me. “We need someone to stop these lawbreakers. Someone to look up to.”I still had no idea what he was talking about.He held the box up to me. “Open it up. Oh, I’ve waited a long time to show someone this.”That, I assumed, meant that something spectacular and mind blowing was in that box. I gingerly took the top off and laid it down on a nearby desk. I peered in and inside was –A rock.“A rock?” I asked.“Not any old rock,” the Turaga said. “The first rock I found coming to this peninsula.”“That’s what makes it special?”“No! Well, yes. But what really makes this rock special is what's inside. Go ahead, take it!”I reached in and pulled out this very special rock. It seemed to emanate some power that began to numb my hand.“The Toa Stone is yours,” he said. “It’s my power inside a new body.”Wait a minute.Toa Stone?“Turaga… I don’t know…” I muttered.“I’d rather you not show the others,” the Turaga said with a chuckle. “They’ll all be wanting one.”I looked up from the stone to the Turaga. He was happier than I’d ever seen him.“What is my destiny?” I asked.“Predestination is the only teaching I refuse to believe in,” the Turaga said with a humph. “I say you choose your destiny. Do what believe in. Make your own choices.”I more than realized what I was getting into. Toa. The timeless heroes of the world. Arguably more respected than Makuta. They lived on forever through the tales told about them.“Naho,” the Turaga said. “Are you ready to take on the mantle of Toa?”I thought for a moment. All my life, I’d been a somewhat timid character – always looking for adventure, but always lacking the courage to actually find it.“Yes,” I said with steel in my eyes. “I’m ready.”
The Present.Naho took a deep breath as she finished her tale. It was odd; most of it she had forgotten until now.Kodan stared at me, as if waiting for something. “Well?” he asked impatiently.“What?” Naho asked. “I’m done.”“Done?” Kodan cried out. “But I’m detecting a major plot hole!”Naho buried her head in her hands. “What? What could possibly not make sense?”“You said the period of time between Makuta leaving and Vultraz arriving was forty-five minutes,” Kodan said.“Yeah? So?”“So,” Kodan said in a monotonous voice, “how is it possible that Vultraz got the news in such a short period of time?”“Oh. Well,” Naho began, a scowl across her face, “I learned much later that Makuta quickly traveled to numerous other villages and ‘accidentally’ let slip the fact that Mazeka had those extra tablets.”“Okay… that’ll be a footnote,” Kodan muttered. “One more thing… did you, um… ever, ah… have you heard from Mazeka?”Naho swallowed and shook her head. Kodan could tell from her face that she was clearly hurt inside. He decided not to press further.“Well… thank you for your time,” he said, getting up. “And the rest of the story is that you heard the call that the Kanohi Dragon required stopping, and you came here.”“Yes,” Naho said, looking out to the horizon. The Falls looked so beautiful in twilight. “And I’m glad I did. This city is wonderful.”“Another successful quest by the Chronicler,” Kodan said with pride. “I now have the origin stories of all the Toa Mangai. Now that, Naho, is true heroism.”Naho chuckled. She waved goodbye as Kodan dragged his heavy sack of tablets away.
***Naho would be sent back to the Tren Krom Peninsula by Turaga Dume on a mission to save her home village.Too late she would find it to be a ruse. The Dark Hunter Eliminator would kill her mercilessly, and her corpse would wash up on the shores of her old village. The Turaga would establish a memorial dedicated to Naho and her accomplishments, and bury her body beneath it.Kodan would be the first to notice her Spirit Star gone from the sky.Kodan himself would be sent with two other Toa Mangai to close the Sea Gates, where he also would meet his end by Eliminator’s hand.Turaga Nokama would name a waterfall on the island christened ‘Mata Nui’ after Naho, as well as the bay it fed into.It would be many, many years before Mazeka would finally confront Vultraz. When he seemingly killed the Ta-Matoran, he journeyed back to his home village in hopes of an audience.Upon returning, he soon heard the news of Naho’s demise. He went through a predictable emotional cycle: shock, denial, grief, mourning…But the emotion he felt most, for no particular reason, was guilt.The End.Word count: 4,970So, here we have it. I see a sizable chunk of the story takes place in third person (which was something Bonesii wants people to try and avoid) so I'll understand if any judges want some of it to be cut off.
Edited by TheSkeletonMan939, Aug 12 2012 - 03:06 PM.