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Betrayed

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#1 Offline Voltex Oblige

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Posted Nov 04 2012 - 04:49 PM

BetrayedThe battered Le-Matoran glanced nervously at the imposing fortress of cold, dark stone that stood before him. His armour was chipped, scratched and dented from a long journey, and the remnants of a travelling cloak he wore little more than rags. His once bright green armour had stained to a muddy shade of brown during his travels, and his eyes were dim. His hands trembled as he began to limp toward the fortress, his right leg twisted at an odd angle.He had been told that the cracked stone tablet held in his shaking fingers would save him at the end of his journey, and that he should protect it with his life. That he had done, and had paid dearly for. A rockslide caused several islands back had ruined his leg, and an unintentional dip in a dense mud pool had made him unrecognizable.It was the garbled, alien hissing that slowed him to an unsteady halt so close to an ancient wooden gate that he could almost taste it. His breath started to come out in ragged gasps and he found it hard to breathe.Until now the Le-Matoran had never witnessed a Rahkshi outside of the stories his old Turaga used to tell. Now with the creature staring at him from the other side of the gate, he noticed that the stories did the Rahkshi no justice. They were far, far worse in person. He could hear the Kraata squelching as it squirmed within the shell; the way the Rahkshi’s spine curled slowly first one way, then the other. The staff of the Rahkshi was glowing softly as if already in use, as if it were already busy injecting pure fear into him.With trembling hands and weak arms, the Le-Matoran slowly lifted the stone tablet up, offering it to the old oaken gate. The Rahkshi let out a faint hiss and it reached a smoothly armoured hand through the crisscrossing wooden beams, latching onto the tablet and prying it out of the Matoran’s hands. He watched as the Rahkshi seemed to inspect the cracked tablet, before it let out a high-pitched shriek. The Le-Matoran clapped his hands over his audio receptors, wincing as the harshly high-pitched noise sliced through his head. He shut his eyes tightly and doubled over in an attempt to drown the sound out. After a minute it ended abruptly, a hoarse voice that sounded as if it had not been used in many years speaking to the Rahkshi in front of him. The Matoran stood up slowly, involuntarily flinching when he saw the Makuta. The Makuta spared him no more than a passing glance, seemingly more interested in the tablet now in his hand.The Matoran fought back the urge to scream when the Makuta dropped the tablet to the ground and then crushed it under his foot, grinding it into dust for good measure. The Le-Matoran stumbled back as the Makuta passed through the gate, but did not fight back as the Makuta grabbed him by the neck and lifted him into the air. Fear clouded the Matoran’s mind, paralyzing him so that he could not speak to ask what was going on.A second later it was too late for the Matoran to do anything. The Makuta flung his arm and let go; the Le-Matoran flopped to the ground, scattering a few stray pebbles as he landed with a final crunch. A small breeze picked up, scattering the dust of the tablet across of the ground as the Makuta passed back through the gate, nodding to the Rahkshi before vanishing from sight without glancing back at the Matoran so easily betrayed.The End.Eh, it's not that great, but I'm not gonna have any more time to write up a new entry or edit this one more, and I must post it to enter.-ibrow
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#2 Offline ChroXumo

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Posted Nov 04 2012 - 05:38 PM

Very nice, actually. A bit short, but eh, it's flash fiction. :lol:I like how you wrote the Makuta and Rahkshi's actions- just going about their business, no qualms about anything.The beginning makes me wonder why the Matoran was going there in the first place; that's a nice air of mystery, and it is great when combined with the desperation of the Matoran, and the eventual futility of his actions.
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#3 Offline unknown456

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Posted Nov 04 2012 - 06:51 PM

Until the end, I thought that the matoran was Vican.
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#4 Offline Cederak

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Posted Nov 04 2012 - 08:03 PM

A true air of mystery shrouds this story, iBrow. I had my likes and dislikes, but you raised an excellent point. I have to imagine there were some Makuta that, for personal reasons (a bad mood, general hatred of the ally/ally's species, etc.) chose not to honor the possession of a Tablet of Transit and simply killed the holder. We have become accustomed to a Brotherhood devoid of honor, to the extent that actions like this are hardly surprising. Even when it might benefit the Brotherhood at large, I am confident Makuta would disobey orders from their brethren at times, purely out of spite. Well done, capturing that idea in a sound, believable way.As well, I have to commend the backstory you provided the Le-Matoran with. Spurred on by the promise of his survival upon completing his journey, he endured a great deal…all for naught. This character felt very real as well, not because he's given any real dialogue or anything, but because of his determination in the face of hardship (a trait most Matoran seem to possess) and his reaction to the terrifying Rahkshi. Perhaps more horrifying than the nightmarish Irnakk of Zakazian (I believe "Zakazian" would be the correct term) lore, Rahkshi are alive and sometimes in droves. In the Le-Matoran's situation, I would've been full of fear myself. There's not only the risk that a Makuta would choose not to uphold the importance of possessing a Tablet, but it's likely that Rahkshi are completely oblivious to their significance. If you're visiting someone's home, you can't risk flashing a sign of peace to the guard dog, y'know? :PAs Chro mentioned, there's no real answer or resolution that explains what brought the Matoran through such a challenging trek. You made him suffer through so much, and even in accordance with the FFFC word limits, I think you could've spared a little extra to explain what all that journeying was supposed to lead up to. That was a bit of a letdown for me, but the rest of the piece was just excellent. Good work, iBrow.-Ced
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#5 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Nov 14 2012 - 09:57 PM

Nuile here, reporting to answer an SSCC request.To speak, for a moment, on an unofficial level, I just got through reading all the FFFC "Tablet of Transit" entries, and I'm sorry to say that yours really didn't stand out for me. I was disappointed by the lack of originality in this contest; but I will admit that one of the reasons I did not enter personally is because it was such a hard theme.Speaking now as a critic and evaluating this story on its own merit, I still see nothing more than a scene. It's difficult, in so short a space, to tell a story, but not impossible. Personally I prefer my stories to have a story in them; but I've read plenty of vignettes and even written a few, and in that category this was not a bad story.But the problem is that when you write a scene only, it leaves so much unexplained. Who is this Matoran, how did he come by the tablet, and why did the Makuta kill him? Beyond that, why should I care? Why should I feel compassion for the "Matoran so easily betrayed" when I know nothing about him? I never got a chance to know who he was before he died. And in what way, exactly, was he betrayed? What was he running from and why did he expect the tablet to save him? I confess I know little about the Tablet of Transit and that knowledge may be the key to answer some of these questions. But only some of them; but even for those you should have given, or even hinted at, an explanation for the ignorant reader like myself.Grammatically you made no misstepps and I commend you.Thus left with precious little to say as far as plot or grammar goes, I will turn my analysis instead to your style. That was what carried me through a short story that otherwise did not compel me. It was your flavorful, vivid descriptions and your powerful prudence of language that gave life to a lifeless tale.

A rockslide caused several islands back had ruined his leg, and an unintentional dip in a dense mud pool had made him unrecognizable.

I'll get a complaint out of the way first. This was a bit awkward and unclear. It appeared, at first, as if rockslide was the subject of caused; and so while I was waiting to see what the rockslide had caused several islands to do, I ran up against back and had, which disrupted the flow of the sentence and pulled me out of the story for a moment to disentangle the words. This happens with awkward sentence structure. As many sentences as a writer writes of the course of his or her life, of course, no one has ever avoided this; it happens to the best, and often. But it's something you want to look out for.

Until now the Le-Matoran had never witnessed a Rahkshi outside of the stories his old Turaga used to tell. Now with the creature staring at him from the other side of the gate, he noticed that the stories did the Rahkshi no justice. They were far, far worse in person. He could hear the Kraata squelching as it squirmed within the shell; the way the Rahkshi’s spine curled slowly first one way, then the other. The staff of the Rahkshi was glowing softly as if already in use, as if it were already busy injecting pure fear into him.

Here's a fine example of powerful description. But you don't dive right into the details; you gracefully slip into them by starting out with a little narration to give life and character, and then bringing us to the description through words adeptly chosen to strike the same fear into our hearts as you strike into the Matoran's.
Overall I thought you were lacking structural integrity; but in a piece of art, it's not the canvas or the paint that matters, but the painting itself. For what this was, it was excellent.Thank you for choosing the SSCC,

Keep writing,

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by My Name is Nuile, Nov 14 2012 - 10:01 PM.

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