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Dawning Valor (S&T Contest #7 Entry)

Lhikan Memoirs of the Dead Nynrah

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#1 Offline DoomIgnika

DoomIgnika
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Posted Nov 26 2012 - 11:56 PM

Sorry for the last-minute entry. Anyway, this is my entry. It may get disqualified if you find any errors since entry period is about to end in a matter of minutes, but oh well. Anyway, I hope it's good. I'd have liked to have added in a part at the end where Lhikan confronts a straggler on Nynrah to emphasize his "not running away" resolution, but it would have surpassed the 6,000 words limit.
 

Dawning Valor


By: DoomIgnika

Word Count: 5,912

Protagonist: Lhikan


Some might call me a hero. Others would call me a coward. Whatever their verdict is, it's not because I am a Toa. It is because I have found the courage within myself to do what I know is right. After recent discussions with Turaga Dume of Metru Nui, I've resolved to move to the island to contain a Rahi attack. This is not to earn a better name for myself. This is because I know it is right. I feel for these Matoran, whose lives are in danger now because of a threat, that perhaps has a driving force behind it more complicated than they believe. Today, I write these texts for those Matoran, or any others, who too wish to be heroes, but fear they have not the courage and strength to do it, those Matoran who seek the truth, but are intimidated by outside forces to abandon these beliefs. I am here to show you that anyone can be a hero, but you are the only one who can make yourself a hero.

- Lhikan

 

----

My name is Lhikan, and this marks the beginning of my story. I'm not exactly sure what has compelled me to record this memoir. Perhaps it is to log recent events that I have finally accounted for, or perhaps it is because I have managed to gather and align my feelings on those events, rather than to tell it to those who haven't the patience or courtesy to listen.
 
I made a simple life on the Southern Continent. I am a crafter, but my work is regarded as mediocre. I don't particularly blame anyone for saying so, but I try my best. Considering my discreditable work, when I heard of the island called "Nynrah", and the "Nynrah Ghosts", I was in awe. The Nynrah Ghosts had always been shrouded in whispered tales and myths. Their craftsmanship was said to be the finest in existence, surpassed only by the skill of the legendary Artakha. They were said to have no equals, no match, no competitors.
 
So when I heard that some of the Matoran from the local area would be going on an expedition to Nynrah soon, I figured it would be for the best if I could find these Nynrah Ghosts as well. Perhaps they would have words of advice for me that others did not.

I'd never really thought of how ridiculous this expedition would be until I finally stepped foot on the boat. The entire crew was comprised of Matoran, none of which were particularly schooled map experts - those that were had declined to go on the mission. So I shouldn't have been surprised that it took us days longer than expected to actually reach the coast of Nynrah. When we did, we arrived at night. We didn't expect a welcome from divine, wise beings now, but simply no welcome at all. But our expectations were not met.
 
Oh, yes, we arrived, and what welcomed us was a plethora of confusion. A large group of Matoran were gathered in a fire-lit, rocky clearing, around a large establishment from which a taller being stood. He was around 2 bio tall and clad in purple and red armor. That wasn't what struck me, though. What struck me was the emotion that his eyes reflected. The crimson slits reflected rage, perhaps madness, and the emotion induced fear in me. He looked down at the Matoran as if they had done something wrong as he spoke. I wasn't listening to him right now, only observing the being. Given from the looks of him, he appeared to be the leader here. In my native village we had Turaga, and of course, certain things that we did angered them. But our Turaga had never reacted like this, with such rage and hatred. I could only deduce that something these residents of Nynrah had done had enraged him.
 
I looked at the Matoran standing around the sight. Recalling the tales I had heard, I remembered that the Nynrah Ghosts were the only Matoran on the island. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting the Nynrah Ghosts to be Matoran, but I also wasn't surprised that they were now that I reflect upon it. But I was still hoping for more. These were simple Matoran, nothing more, clad in armor of various shades of silver, gold, and burnt orange, obviously Fe-Matoran, not the benevolent figures I had thought I may see. They, too, gave off an aura of passionate rage, but this vehement anger was that of rebellion.
 
Almost none of the Nynrah Ghosts looked at us as we stepped, dumbfounded, into the crowd, and those that did gave scathing glares. I ignored them and pushed into the assembly. I accidentally stumbled into one of the Nynrah Ghosts along the way, knocking him off of his feet. I quickly apologized and offered my hand to help him up. He gave me an odd look, as if I were giving some kind of respect to him that he didn't deserve.
 
"Who are you? I've never seen a Matoran of your kind here," he said, obviously confused by our arrival. "What's your name, and why are you here?"
 
I stood there, speechless for a second, looking him over. For a member of such a revered society, he was not what I expected. Was a member of a group of such revered crafters a simple Matoran such as this? "My name is Lhikan. I'm a Matoran crafter from the Southern Continent, and I've come to seek guidance and assistance from the Nynrah Ghosts. May I ask your name, and what is going on here?"
 
The Matoran was obviously still quizzical about my appearance, but he asked no further questions. "Sometimes, the Nynrah Ghosts receive... questionable customers. If we need to use our names, some of us prefer to go by code instead. I prefer the codename 'Phantom'. About your second question, a number of Makuta's experiments got loose from his laboratory, killed a number of workers and destroyed some homes. As you can see, we aren't happy about it," he explained, and gesturing towards the tall figure in the center of the gathering, he added, "And neither is he."
 
I shrugged. I'd heard the name "Makuta" before a number of times. I rarely ever saw the being the other Matoran on my homeland referred to as "Makuta", considering that he rarely attended to our continent at all, and I'd seen him in slightly different forms when I did, but the Makuta I'd seen was nothing like this one, both in regards of attitude and appearance. I recalled the "Brotherhood of Makuta" now, an organization dedicated to creating Rahi for our universe and protecting it, though I'd never quite seen this in action due to our Makuta's lack of attendance. Now I was seeing it in action, and I didn't like it.
 
As I began to tune in to what the Makuta was saying, he paused, and looked straight at me. He looked into my eyes with that same glare of hatred now, and I felt the fear building up within me. I stood there, speechless, not knowing what to do. "What are you doing there?" he asked me in a low, pulverant growl.
 
I gulped as I replied. "We - we're from the Southern Continent, some other Matoran and I. We came here on an expedition to meet the Nynrah Ghosts."
 
The Makuta turned, ignoring me. "Well, as I was saying. Further rebellion will be punished. I have done my best to maintain this as a steady workplace, and your chaotic outbreaks do nothing to improve its conditions. Mind what I have said to you here." The Makuta walked away, grumbling, as the shouts of the Nynrah Ghosts rang out in protest. But it was too late, he was gone, ignoring them. Finally giving up, most of the Nynrah Ghosts shrugged and walked away, brushing right by me, giving only the occasional look. Some still stayed, rambling profusely. In the confusion, I decided to stay next to Phantom, who was grumbling under his breath.
 
He turned and glanced at me, a bewildered look behind his mask. "What are you doing?" he asked.
 
"What am I supposed to do?" I inquired in response. "I don't know what to do here. This...well, it's not exactly what I was expecting."
 
"We Nynrah Ghosts get customers, not visitors," Phantom curtly replied. His tone more sincere, he added, "You can stay in my establishment for the night, considering you don't have anywhere to go. But when you return, you'd best tell your friends that the Nynrah Ghosts have no advice to offer you."
 
I nodded, tired and somewhat ashamed. Just then I'd lost all of my hopes and dreams of becoming the legend I wished to be. An expedition wasted, and the Nynrah Ghosts were not the phenomenal beings I had thought - my own idols torn from me. I just wanted to let go now. As I followed, glancing around me to see a combination of huts and more industrial buildings, all of which the Nynrah Ghosts made their homes, I just wished for this night to end, so I could sleep and never awaken into this harsh truth I'd been introduced to tonight.
 

----

 
My slumber was interrupted by an abrupt scream. Taken by surprise, I quickly rose to my feet and rushed out into the night, towards wherever the sound had come from, not exactly sure what I was doing. I heard Phantom calling behind me, but for the moment I took no notice of him. Something was wrong. I felt, right now, that whatever was going on, I had to lend my hand in assistance.
 
I arrived at the scene to lay eyes upon a sight I wish I hadn't. Several Matoran were being terrorized and harassed by hideous creatures who I found hard to pass off as Rahi. They walked on two legs, were slightly less than 2 bio tall, with sharp, spike-like appendages coming from their spine, and staffs in their hands. Obviously, due to the fact that they walked on two legs, these were no normal Rahi. At their side were smaller creatures, a small assembly of winged, clawed insectoid Rahi and more scorpion-like creatures. Both may have had other features, but they were obscured by darkened, pitted masks. Just then I should have realized that something was wrong, but I wasn't thinking clearly enough to reach that epiphany.
 
I glanced at one of the anthropomorphic, hunched creatures, this one adorned in armor of a blue hue, carrying a two-pronged staff. I watched it aim its staff at a Matoran, and energy crackled at the staff's tip. A beam of energy let loose from the prongs, just barely missing the Matoran. The rock by the Matoran's side instantly turned to dust, as if it had never been there. The creature aimed again. I made a decision, then. It probably wasn't a wise decision. I really don't know what that decision was, perhaps a stupid one. Or perhaps it was the decision that would shape my future. I grabbed a stone lying by my feet, and hurled it at the creature. It bounced off its armor, leaving the monster unharmed, but it did attract its attention.
 
It looked at me now, and pointed its staff at me. Fear overtook me. I realized then, as the energies coursed around the staff's two-pronged tip, that this thing could kill me now. I wanted to flee. I braced myself to flee, but the turn of events that would occur next stopped me from doing so.
 
Just then, there was a flash of light. Flames danced around me and the creatures, leaving me scatheless, but deeply singing the armor of the beast that had assaulted me. The flames burned a hole in the hunched back of the creature, and some kind of snake-like slug emerged from the opening, slithering away, leaving the body of the thing an empty shell. The other creatures and Rahi at its side fled at the sight, but they were unsuccessful in doing so. A tall figure, not much smaller than the creature, clad in red armor appeared, beating the lifeless creature that had attacked me backwards and away from me. Several others of the same size, each adorned in armor of different colors, followed, and there was a rainbow of colors as chaos ensued.
 
I felt sick and my vision blurred, and when it all cleared, I was face-to-face with my rescuer. He was clad in bright red armor, and he wore what I recognized as a Great Kanohi Kiril, Mask of Regeneration. He glared at me with a look in his eyes, reflecting an emotion I couldn't quite put my finger on. For the first time, someone looked... impressed by something I had done. I didn't know by what, but as he looked me over, I could see that he had taken an interest in my actions.I had now experienced something I never had before, and then, a spark ignited in my mind. A small spark, but a spark that could grow into a passionate flame. I felt a desire to do something I never had thought of, a new purpose. I could still become a legend... I could become a hero, just like the one standing before me now.
 
I'd never seen a Toa before, but the air of gallantry that surrounded him and his allies told me that this was among the storied Toa heroes I'd heard of. "My name is Toa Dume, here to help." He offered an armored hand to me, lifting me to my feet.
 
Most of the Nynrah Ghosts looked in awe at the figures before me. One cried out in confusion, pointing out the madness of the events that were ensuing. I, too, would be quite amazed by recent Rahi attacks, newcomers arriving, and staying, in my village, and now this - tall, powerful newcomers arriving from virtually nowhere.
 
The bickering of the bystanders was silenced by the arrival of the Makuta of Nynrah. He was obviously not amused as he glanced side to side at the confused Matoran. Then, he turned to face the red-armored Toa, Dume. "What are you doing here?" he queried, an ever-hostile edge to his voice.
 
Dume looked him straight in the eyes then. I saw no fear in Dume's eyes. Not the same fear my eyes reflected, but courage. Unending courage that was the flame that saved my life. Courage that made him a hero. He was defiant, not submissive to the Makuta, and I could see that the Makuta knew it. As the mad defiance blazed on in his eyes, he answered. "My team and I were passing by to attend to troubles on another island. We heard there was a predicament, and we came to investigate."
 
"Well, there is nothing to see here. I would have properly dealt with it without your interference, so I now respectfully ask you to leave here, Toa," the Makuta replied, projecting hate from his crimson eyes.
 
"So you'd have dealt with it, and saved this Matoran's life?" Dume asked in a tone of suspicion as he gestured towards me. "Because considering how much of a 'hurry' you arrived in, it didn't look like it."
 
"It's not your place to question my judgment, Toa. Now, I again ask you and your allies to depart this island, and I expect our Matoran newcomers to do so as well," the Makuta growled. I looked at him, angered. Certainly, a Toa hero like the one that stood before us deserved more respect.
 
Dume narrowed his eyes, and looked back at me. He turned his back to the Makuta, and kneeled down, grabbing a rock from the ground. Then, looking around him to ensure nobody else saw what he was doing, he placed his hand near the stone and projected a ray of pure energy from his clenched fist. I watched in awe and confusion, as the Toa transformed a normal rock into a glowing red stone that emanated energy from its surface. Then, he placed it in my hands. "Take this with you. Let nobody see it or lay their hands upon it. And when the time is right, use this."
 
Before I could ask further questions, like how to even use it or what it was for, Dume turned back to the Makuta, giving one last glare of defiance. Then, he turned away and walked off into the night, followed by his Toa comrades. The Makuta watched them, with rage on his features, before he, too, turned away and walked off to his laboratories. Soon, the Matoran crowd disbanded. But it was not like before. There was a general upbeat air of the crowd as it walked off, as if a new hope had dawned in their hearts. I knew that a hope had dawned within me. I should have been shaken by the events that just ensued, with death having been right at my doorstep. But no, I felt no fear, because hope had overridden that fear. I no longer wished to be a crafter, I thought, as I walked off to return to Phantom's residence. I wanted to be a hero.
 

----

 
Various things had changed that night, since the appearance of Dume and his team of Toa. The Nynrah Ghosts had completely forgotten of the recent Rahi attacks, or our own arrival, and now an upbeat air of hope surrounded the village. Discussion circled around about a hero to protect the village. The Makuta had attempted to answer this call by calling for the shipment of automated Exo-Toa guardians to the village, but the Nynrah Ghosts were having different plans in mind, I would find.
 
I prepared for my leave from the island, alongside my other Matoran comrades. They were evidently disappointed by the realization that the Nynrah Ghosts had not been the almighty beings they expected, and they were none too excited. But I felt different. I had realized a new purpose on this island – to be a hero.
 
Before I could leave, I was stopped by Phantom. I could tell that he, too, was still awestruck at what he had seen last night. “What do you think?” he asked me.
 
“What?” I asked, not knowing any other way to reply.
 
“Of Dume. Of the Toa. What do you think of them? You were the first to meet them, after all, and the only one they spoke to,” Phantom explained. He was right. I’d had the closest encounter with the Toa of any of the Matoran, and they had given me a gift – whatever it was, along the way, though I decided not to tell anyone.
 
“I’m amazed,” I replied, keeping some of my deeper feelings to myself. Surely, a Matoran aspiring to be a Toa hero such as that would sound crazy.
 
“We all are. Some of the other Nynrah Ghosts are talking about…well, making a hero. To protect the island. We’ve never done experiments with living things before, but we thought that it was necessary, with all of the recent Rahi attacks. Sure, Makuta has ordered the Exo-Toa to protect us…but I feel like that’s not enough,” Phantom said.
 
I nodded. What had brought him to speak to me about this, of all things? Phantom had been the only Nynrah Ghost to offer me shelter on my stay, but he was not much different than the other Nynrah Ghosts – obsessed with work, detached, secretive. I awaited his next words, knowing there was something more for him to say.
 
“I volunteered to become one of these new, engineered heroes for the island. I don’t know why. I just feel like I, too, want to be a hero, to have an impact on this world, to protect the Matoran. I thought you’d agree, having met the Toa and all,” Phantom continued. I understood. I’d wished to become a Toa, to protect innocents, to save Matoran from danger and to bring hope to Matoran ever since I’d met Dume, and perhaps even before that.
 
“Well, good luck,” I said to him. I pondered for a second, contemplating my next words. “I, too, wish to be a hero. Perhaps one day we’ll both be hailed as the guardians of our islands,” I confided in him.
 
Phantom nodded. We said our parting words, odd for two individuals who had just met a day before, and I prepared to leave. The other Matoran from my homeland waited, impatiently, on the boat, shouting towards me, but I ignored them. Something beckoned me to the sight of where I had been attacked, and where Dume had rescued me.
 
I almost lightheadedly walked through the village, ignoring the fading protests of the other Matoran. In a few moments I was there, at the sight I’d been attacked. It was much more peaceful now, without the horrific sight of Rahi at my neck, but I was still not sure of it. I looked at the pile of ash that had been left from the creature’s attack. I’d never seen a normal Rahi transform a rock into ash instantly before. Nor had I seen a Rahi that walked on two legs. I glanced to my left to see the corpse of the creature still lying lifeless on the ground. I crouched down to inspect it, the next sight leaving me speechless. The corpse was empty. It was a simple suit of armor, a shell. Scattered near the motionless figure were multiple Kanohi masks, something I had disregarded until this point. There were numerous shapes scattered about the rocky ground of the village. I could name a number of them. A Ruru, a Pakari, even my own mask, a Hau. But while I’d seen masks in various different colors, these were all the same shade. A darkened brown, with various scratches and cracks in addition. There was something wrong about this. I picked up the nearest mask, which I identified as a Pakari, and wandered off.
 
I could leave the island now, but I didn’t want to yet. Not yet. First, I had the Makuta to confront.
 
I pinpointed his establishment among the others, and walked off towards it. No longer could I hear the protests of the Matoran, just a few murmurs from the Nynrah Ghosts in their homes as I passed by. Eventually, I came across the building, and walked over towards it. A sound was coming from the residence, I noticed, growing more intense as I got closer. It was a conversation. I put my head to the door, not bothering to see if anyone was watching. The Makuta was in exchange with another being. I couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, but I heard the names “Tridax” and “Chirox” passed around. I listened closer, intrigued.
 
“Why is it my job to ensure your dominion over this island, Tridax?” asked a voice distinctively different from the Makuta’s.
 
“Because, Chirox,” the other voice, belonging to the Makuta, replied. “You make the Rahi with the biggest teeth, and big teeth is just what I need to scare these Matoran into submission. They’ve been slacking lately, and slacking leads to bad business, and no profit to the Brotherhood.”
 
I gasped. I was correct in my assumption that something was wrong now. The Makuta, or Tridax, as the other had referred to him, had been using the Rahi to scare Matoran into work.
 
“And how has that worked out? A Toa rescued the Matoran, and now all they’re talking about is becoming ‘heroes’,” the first voice, who I deduced could only be the one Tridax called “Chirox”, answered.
 
“No thanks to your efforts. I ordered you to give me instructions for infected masks and your Rahkshi, and look what happens,” Tridax hissed.
 
“I recall I told you precisely how to create infected masks – and it didn’t involve tampering with the Kraata or the masks along the way any further than I instructed,” Chirox growled, anger rising up in his voice.
 
“Perhaps your instructions weren’t good enough. After all, how was I supposed to know it would drive the Rahi insane?” Tridax suggested. I heard only a grumble from Chirox in reply. “Now, next time I request your assistance, I expect that these creatures don’t escape and nearly kill a Matoran. I don’t particularly care for them, but another death could mean total rebellion, and that’s not the thing the Brotherhood needs to deal with for the moment.”
 
“And next time perhaps you should not tamper with my experiments, Tridax,” Chirox mumbled. I heard a slight noise too quiet to identify. Then, the door burst open, and Tridax emerged in his crimson and purple armor. He was different now, albeit only slightly, with sharper claws and small wings, but I could still identify him. I couldn’t see anyone within his establishment that Tridax could have been speaking too, only air crackling with energy.
 
I turned to face Tridax, who was staring intently at me with that same rage, the madness in his crimson eyes that melted my courage. I gulped and backed off. “Well, little Matoran – tell me, what brings you here at this time?” he asked, with an edge of sarcasm in his voice.
 
I held up the pitted, darkened Pakari I had found. Tridax merely nodded and said nothing more, waiting for me to speak. “I – I found this at the village,” I said, stuttering with fear. “What Rahi wears masks?”
 
Tridax sighed. I felt something brush against my mind, only briefly, and Tridax’s eyes widened. “So…you certainly know a lot, Matoran. You’ve been digging a lot. You’ve even been making deals with Toa, with them offering you generous gifts. But, let me tell you the problem with digging, Matoran.” He leaned closer to me. I backed off even further, but his mad, crimson eyes were still locked onto mine. “Have you ever heard of the tale of the Matoran miners?” he asked me.
 
I shook my head, not knowing what would happen next. Tridax simply grinned. “Once, there was a group of Matoran miners. They found something interesting on the ground – an odd lightstone. It glowed so brightly, they’d never laid eyes upon a lightstone so bright. They thought, perhaps, if they kept digging in this spot, they would find more of them. So they kept digging and digging and digging. They dug themselves into a pit so deep, but to their dismay, when they looked up, there was nothing to meet them but a pile of earth. And so the tunnel they had created crumbled around them, burying them alive. And there was nobody to hear them scream. Nobody to help them. Nobody even remembered them. They just…faded away, buried alive, never heard from again.”
 
Just then, I realized that this Makuta could kill me right now. I backed off, Tridax’s glance still intent on me. A wicked grin was plastered on his mask as he watched me. “I think you’ve just about missed your friends. They left without you.”
 
I ignored Tridax’s words, running off as he continued. “Go ahead, little Matoran,” he said. I looked behind me. He was still glancing at me, his eyes not moving. His mouth hadn’t even moved when he spoke, almost as if he had spoken to me through my mind. “Go ahead and run. You’ll never be a hero, only a coward.”
 
I ran off through the village, ignoring all around me. I saw a nearby, small boat and merely leaped into it, ignoring the madness around me. I didn’t care about returning to my home now. I didn’t care about those that I once knew. I’d even left my aspirations to become a hero behind then. But the Makuta’s mad gaze, and his threats – I wanted to get as far away from this island, and this life, as possible. I could still hear Tridax’s words echoing in my head as I used the oars to row away. “You’ll never be a hero, only a coward.”
 

----

 
That had marked the end of my life as I knew it. The rest of my days for 10,000 years had been spent wandering the world, only subject to passing rumors among the various passengers I traveled with. In that time, I learned many things. Dume, the very Toa that had rescued me, had become Turaga of the island of Metru Nui. Phantom, the Matoran who had been kind and generous enough to offer me shelter in his presence, had been shunned by his people after the experiments, and cast away, leaving him only to join the group of murderous thieves and bandits, the Dark Hunters, where he continued to go by the codename of Phantom.
 
I learned much in that time, but I paid no mind to it. My life had lost its purpose. I was no hero. I was only a coward. I’d fled then, fled from that confrontation. I’d fled from my life.
 
This time of my life would come to an end when, perhaps by chance, or perhaps by the hands of the Great Spirit himself, I stumbled upon the island of Metru Nui. It was quite an active, busy, industrial place, buzzing and bumbling with activity. In my wandering, I was quick to come upon two Onu-Matoran deep in discussion with a slightly taller figure. I stared at him, a strange feel of familiarity in my head as I looked over his features. He was adorned in red armor, and he wore a Noble Kiril. I remembered him now. He was Dume, the very Toa who had rescued me. He was far shorter now, but I could tell he was the same being who rescued me. He looked at me in amazement.
 
“I remember you. You were the Matoran I had met on Nynrah,” he said, amazement in his voice. “I never even learned your name then.”
 
I’d never spoken my name in the longest time, but I told him then. “My name is Lhikan.”
 
“I see you haven’t remembered my gift to you,” Dume replied, ignoring the now-arguing Matoran at his side.
 
I remembered now. The glowing stone that Dume had given me so many years ago. I’d left it on Nynrah!
 
“Take it to the center of the village. There, you will find the Suva. You’ll know what to do,” Dume said.
 
“Why? What’s so special about it?” I asked him, confused.
 
Dume only smiled, and gave me that same look of admiration he had given me when we’d first met. I nodded. I didn’t know what this would do, but the stone was the last part of my life, the last spark of my dreams to become a hero. I had to follow Dume’s orders. I set off, ready to return to Nynrah and return to my past.
 

----

 
Energy coursed through my body now. I looked at my arms and legs. Whatever the Suva had done, it had changed me. I had become a Toa. I looked at my armor, seeing now that it was almost like Dume’s armor. I saw Dume’s form reflected in my own, now. I grabbed two pieces of equipment lying near the Suva, two large blades. I slammed them together, fitting them into one, then taking them apart again. This would certainly be useful. A sudden spark erupted in my mind. I was a Toa now! I could be the very hero I once wished and aspired to become.
 
I decided, then, to face another aspect of my past. The very being that had tricked me into fleeing that day. I walked through the Exo-Toa infested villages, as the machines nudged Matoran and the Nynrah Ghosts’ customers along. I ignored them. I continued along, paying no mind to the Exo-Toa pointing their weapons at me. I was intent on one thing now.
 
I ran into Tridax quickly. When he turned to face me, I remembered that glare – the same glare that had instilled fear into me before. I thought, then, being a Toa, that I would feel no fear, but I was wrong. I still felt that fear when I looked into the mad, crimson eyes. He wasn’t much different than he was before. Slightly taller, this time with an acid-tipped spear in his hands. He stared at me, rage prominent in his features.
 
“Well, well, well. The coward returns to right the wrongs of his past, does he not? Nothing to see here, move along, unless you wish harm upon yourself,” Tridax hissed. My courage melted as he stared at me, but I continued, resolute.
 
“It’s…time that your corrupted rule comes to an end,” I said, fear in my voice.
 
“My corrupted rule? My, my, Toa, how delusional you are. I’m only enforcing order. Now, I shall give you one chance to flee. To return to your little cowardly world and hide from the truth. Or you may die here,” Tridax growled.
 
I stood there, defiant, even with the fear in my heart. “No. I will not flee again.” Tridax only nodded in response. Gesturing towards his Exo-Toa, they moved in towards me, as the Matoran bystanders watched in horror. I held up my two swords near me, almost in defense, as the machines edged in towards me. Soon, I couldn’t take it, as they slowly inched closers and aimed their weapons at me. I ran fast on my feet, away from the scene. I felt it all over again. I ran again. I was a coward. I felt Tridax’s eyes focused on me as I fled, his mad cackling echoing through the village. I heard the same words again. I was a coward. I was a fool to think I could be a hero, that being a Toa would make me a hero. I just wanted it all to end again.
 

----

 
Once more, I wandered, my life’s purpose lost again. This time, it had been far shorter, as I caught passing rumors of a group of Toa who had recorded the entire history of the Brotherhood of Makuta and left it, guarded, in the safety of their fortress. They distrusted the Brotherhood too, and, remembering the treachery of Tridax, the words passed between him and Chirox, I volunteered to join them.
 
Perhaps it was a mistake, perhaps not. Soon, the island would be raided by two Skakdi savages, and then rampaged by mad Frostelus who murdered all but one of the group. That one was me. I remembered it clearly. The leader of the squad telling me to flee, to recover the Makoki stone, as it was called. I followed one order. I looked for the stone, and to my dismay, I could not find it. I still fled. I thought it was merely following orders then, but now as I reflect upon it, I realize what I had done. I had fled a third time. I had fled from my life twice, and I had again.
 
That day, I resolved that I would never flee again. I’d left too many innocent lives behind, let people die, because of my cowardice. I would never run again. It might not make me a hero. It might still leave my reputation as a coward imprinted throughout history, but I resolved that the least I could do was pledge never to leave my allies behind again. I would never run from the truth, or anything, again.

Edited by bonesiii, Jun 17 2014 - 02:13 PM.
Format reconstructed after a BZP glitch. -bones

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#2 Offline Truaga_nuju

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Posted Nov 27 2012 - 03:57 AM

Nice story, but you're not sorry for the late reply. >:|Kidding. But this is rather good too. Sah many good entries. D:
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#3 Offline TLhikan

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Posted Nov 27 2012 - 02:35 PM

The following comes from an authorized Contest Judge: At least one inaccuracy or error has been found in your entry. After reading this judge post, you are authorized to edit your entry to fix these errors. After editing to fix these things, please post in the entry topic saying what you changed. Well, you certainly made me do my homework on this one :P.be Maybe this is just a personal issue, but you'd think as Fe-Matoran, the Nynrah would be metallic grey. Anyway, grammar stuff:

I made a decision, then. It probably wasn't a wise decision. I really don't know what that decision was, perhaps a stupid one. Or perhaps it was the decision that would shape my future

It's a somewhat confusing sentence; for a start, "would" doesn't fit with the tense here.-TLhikan

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#4 Offline Toa of Italy

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Posted Nov 27 2012 - 03:14 PM

The following comes from an authorized Contest Judge: At least one inaccuracy or error has been found in your entry. After reading this judge post, you are authorized to edit your entry to fix these errors. After editing to fix these things, please post in the entry topic saying what you changed.Unfortunately I've found some canon mistakes. The biggest one is the fact that Lhikan actually meets the Nynrah Ghosts. We know that they usually stay in enclosed buildings and aren't seen, and that to receive something from them a request must be left in a slot. Since Lhikan's meeting with the ghosts is a central part of your story and you obviously can't remove it, I would suggest creating a believable motivation for this.

After recent discussions with Turaga Dume of Metru Nui, I've resolved to move to the island to contain a Rahi attack.

Are you referring to the attack on Metru Nui by the Kanohi Dragon? In that case, Lhikan and Dume didn't actually discuss anything. Dume sent Vahki to ask for help for Metru Nui and Lhikan and the other Toa Mangai answered.

I gasped. I was correct in my assumption that something was wrong now. The Makuta, or Tridax, as the other had referred to him, had been using the Rahi to scare Matoran into work.“And how has that worked out? A Toa rescued the Matoran, and now all they’re talking about is becoming ‘heroes’,” the first voice, who I deduced could only be the one Tridax called “Chirox”, answered.“No thanks to your efforts. I ordered you to give me instructions for infected masks and your Rahkshi, and look what happens,” Tridax hissed.“I recall I told you precisely how to create infected masks – and it didn’t involve tampering with the Kraata or the masks along the way any further than I instructed,” Chirox growled, anger rising up in his voice.

Something doesn't work here. The Nynrah Ghosts might not have known about the Makuta's ability to infect masks, and it is completely possible that a Matoran like Lhikan didn't know what Rahkshi were. The Nynrah Ghosts, however, certainly did: some of them had been to Destral and they had served the Makuta on many occasions. It seems strange to me that Tridax, or any other Makuta, for that matter, would risk the Rahkshi being recognized, especially if their purpose was to avoid encouraging rebellion (unless I understood the whole thing wrong).

Once more, I wandered, my life’s purpose lost again. This time, it had been far shorter, as I caught passing rumors of a group of Toa who had recorded the entire history of the Brotherhood of Makuta and left it, guarded, in the safety of their fortress. They distrusted the Brotherhood too, and, remembering the treachery of Tridax, the words passed between him and Chirox, I volunteered to join them.

You do say that they're just passing rumors, but I think that if the secret of the Makoki stone was known by some, it would reach Brotherhood ears, and we know they didn't know about it. We also know that Lhikan himself was not aware of it. Just have a Toa of the fortress recruit him. It's easier, I think (or you might find another solution, your choice).Language mistakes:

I am a crafter, but my work is regarded as mediocre. I don't particularly blame anyone for saying so, but I try my best.

I think you ought to use the past tense, since you're using it elsewhere.

We didn't expect a welcome from divine, wise beings now, but simply no welcome at all. But our expectations were not met.

This sentence is hard to understand (at least in my opinion). Perhaps you should try and rephrase it.

A large group of Matoran were gathered in a fire-lit, rocky clearing, around a large establishment from which a taller being stood.

I don't quite understand what you mean by "establishment".

accidentally stumbled into one of the Nynrah Ghosts along the way, knocking him off of his feet.

I think it's just "knocking him off his feet".

"What are you doing there?" he asked me in a low, pulverant growl.

I looked up "pulverant" on a dictionary and didn't find it. What did you mean by it?

I arrived at the scene to lay eyes upon a sight I wish I hadn't.

"I wish I hadn't" what? You should put "seen", though perhaps a synonym would be better in this case.

Just then, there was a flash of light. Flames danced around me and the creatures, leaving me scatheless, but deeply singing the armor of the beast that had assaulted me

I think the word you're looking for is "unscathed", not "scatheless".

The Makuta had attempted to answer this call by calling for the shipment of automated Exo-Toa guardians to the village, but the Nynrah Ghosts were having different plans in mind, I would find.

I think "had" is better than "were having" in this case.

I prepared for my leave from the island, alongside my other Matoran comrades.

Either you substitute "leave" with "departure" or just write "I prepared to leave the island."

Something beckoned me to the sight of where I had been attacked, and where Dume had rescued me.

I think saying "the sight" doesn't work very well. Perhaps say "... beckoned me to the place where I had been attacked..."

I don’t particularly care for them, but another death could mean total rebellion, and that’s not the thing the Brotherhood needs to deal with for the moment.”

"Care about them", not "care for them", if I understood the meaning correctly.

This time, it had been far shorter, as I caught passing rumors of a group of Toa who had recorded the entire history of the Brotherhood of Makuta and left it, guarded, in the safety of their fortress.

I think using the simple past instead of the past perfect is better here. Meaning that you should, maybe, change "it had been far shorter" into "it was far shorter".That's all. I also noticed that there are many repetitions in the story which, while not strictly mistakes, certainly lower it's quality. If you re-read and edit to change them I think there won't be any problem.

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#5 Offline Mersery

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Posted Nov 28 2012 - 03:24 PM

Interesting entry. Hope it does well!
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#6 Offline TLhikan

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Posted Dec 22 2012 - 12:03 PM

The following comes from an authorized Contest Judge: No inaccuracies or errors were found in your entry. Unless another judge or member finds a problem later, your entry is likely to go on to the polls.

 

 

 

-TLhikan


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#7 Offline Truaga_nuju

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Posted Dec 27 2012 - 11:59 PM

Oh? I didn't think you were going to fix this, SM. But I am glad you did, as it's great. :D

 

Good luck on the polls!


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#8 Offline fishers64

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Posted Nov 14 2013 - 11:33 AM

The following comes from an authorized Contest Judge: At least one inaccuracy or error has been found in your entry. After reading this judge post, you are authorized to edit your entry to fix these errors. After editing to fix these things, please post in the entry topic saying what you changed.

 

Mostly what the other judges said; this story portrays Nynrah in the wrong light, and the Nynrah Ghosts as well. They are incredibly reclusive. Maybe having Lhikan's group hunt them down would be more realistic. 

 

Also, I'm not sure it's consistant with Lhikan's character to run and give up so many times. I would have liked it better if you gave the Toa a parting shot at Tridax with his fire power. 

 

But that would have made the story longer, and I'm not sure what you would cut to make it shorter. Still, the problem with the Nynrah needs to be resolved before I approve. 


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#9 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jun 23 2014 - 03:31 PM

Okay, I saw that there were judge posts to this one saying there were major canon issues, and that the author has apparently not been active since posting it. I have now read this carefully and looked through the issues, and unfortunately I have to agree, most of them really are problems. Normally they would not be too big of problems; the author could easily fix them IMO if done right, but the lack of activity means that this may be unlikely. I will PM the member anyways, but if nothing is fixed by the time we launch polls, I'm afraid this will have to be excluded. :(

 

Here are the relevant parts from the judge posts:

 

The biggest one is the fact that Lhikan actually meets the Nynrah Ghosts. We know that they usually stay in enclosed buildings and aren't seen, and that to receive something from them a request must be left in a slot. Since Lhikan's meeting with the ghosts is a central part of your story and you obviously can't remove it, I would suggest creating a believable motivation for this.

I was thinking this could be solved with some reason why the Matoran visiting Nynrah go behind a wall into an area normally off-limits. This could make sense, because they arrived at the same time as presumably all the Nynrah were "in a meeting", and not a normal meeting. Whatever potential customers arrived at that kind of rare meeting where basically the island is closed for business, might be curious enough about the oddity to open a door they aren't supposed to open or something. Maybe somebody left one accidentally unlocked, or maybe one of the Matoran (maybe Lhikan) might decide to pick the lock, thinking the Ghosts might actually be in trouble.

Then the Ghosts would have to react to their unallowed presence, but reluctantly decide to allow it since they'd already seen them now, and make them promise not to speak of them to others. Or maybe the Makuta would interrupt his complaining to say that. Done right, this could be added with only a few lines, possibly replacing some of the "we walked in" lines that are there.
 

After recent discussions with Turaga Dume of Metru Nui, I've resolved to move to the island to contain a Rahi attack.

Are you referring to the attack on Metru Nui by the Kanohi Dragon? In that case, Lhikan and Dume didn't actually discuss anything. Dume sent Vahki to ask for help for Metru Nui and Lhikan and the other Toa Mangai answered.

I don't consider this an issue worth barring it from the polls (not taken alone, anyways), as it's common in English to summarize statements of indirectly speaking with a leader through emissaries as "speaking to the leader." The Vahki were taking Dume's messages out. Still, it would be better rephrased slightly, as "discussions" is a bit of a stretch. It's more of getting a message from Dume and deciding to answer. Changing "After recent discussions with" to "After a recent message from" would do it.


 

Something doesn't work here. The Nynrah Ghosts might not have known about the Makuta's ability to infect masks, and it is completely possible that a Matoran like Lhikan didn't know what Rahkshi were. The Nynrah Ghosts, however, certainly did: some of them had been to Destral and they had served the Makuta on many occasions. It seems strange to me that Tridax, or any other Makuta, for that matter, would risk the Rahkshi being recognized, especially if their purpose was to avoid encouraging rebellion (unless I understood the whole thing wrong).

This could be solved by just shortening or taking out some of the lines in the overheard dialogue between the two Makuta, where they imply that the Nynrah don't understand what's going on. The reader could be left to interpret it as the Nynrah knowing but being too afraid to talk to the visitors about it. This might actually shorten the story a little to make room for other fixes. It could be shortened even more by not making it sound like Lhikan somehow doesn't know about Rahkshi and infected masks (he should know, I'd think, but you could word it ambiguously, without letting the reader know whether he does or doesn't, if he just sees them, and then goes to confront the Makuta, and just holds it up, without commenting on it, while confronting the Makuta).

 

You do say that they're just passing rumors, but I think that if the secret of the Makoki stone was known by some, it would reach Brotherhood ears, and we know they didn't know about it. We also know that Lhikan himself was not aware of it. Just have a Toa of the fortress recruit him. It's easier, I think (or you might find another solution, your choice).

Agreed, although this one need not really be changed, as those rumors could be passed between Toa only, who presumably would all know that telling a rumor to a non-Toa is a no-no.
 

Mostly what the other judges said; this story portrays Nynrah in the wrong light, and the Nynrah Ghosts as well. They are incredibly reclusive. Maybe having Lhikan's group hunt them down would be more realistic.

Also, I'm not sure it's consistant with Lhikan's character to run and give up so many times. I would have liked it better if you gave the Toa a parting shot at Tridax with his fire power.

But that would have made the story longer, and I'm not sure what you would cut to make it shorter. Still, the problem with the Nynrah needs to be resolved before I approve.

I agree about the Ghosts, but the running made sense, because he tied it to a canon incident of just that occurring, which serves well as evidence for the prior ones. His portrayal also implies that there could be many other incidents where he didn't run, and Lhikan is just focusing on some major times when he did. Most of these cases look like if he hadn't run, he might have died then. That implies that except for these times, and the final fatal incident where he ran toward the danger with Vakama and the Vahi, not away, that he didn't run into "run or die" situations. So I'd say that part works.
 


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#10 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jun 23 2014 - 06:18 PM

Wow, nice story. I love the characterization of Tridax. For a minor character who didn't get much of a spotlight, you've made him truly menacing.

 

I only have a few quibbles. I don't know if you're allowed to correct these if a judge doesn't propose them, but I just wanted to make my opinion known.

 

I made a simple life on the Southern Continent. I am a crafter, but my work is regarded as mediocre. I don't particularly blame anyone for saying so, but I try my best. Considering my discreditable work, when I heard of the island called "Nynrah", and the "Nynrah Ghosts", I was in awe. The Nynrah Ghosts had always been shrouded in whispered tales and myths. Their craftsmanship was said to be the finest in existence, surpassed only by the skill of the legendary Artakha. They were said to have no equals, no match, no competitors.

 

...

 

That had marked the end of my life as I knew it. The rest of my days for 10,000 years had been spent wandering the world, only subject to passing rumors among the various passengers I traveled with. In that time, I learned many things. Dume, the very Toa that had rescued me, had become Turaga of the island of Metru Nui. Phantom, the Matoran who had been kind and generous enough to offer me shelter in his presence, had been shunned by his people after the experiments, and cast away, leaving him only to join the group of murderous thieves and bandits, the Dark Hunters, where he continued to go by the codename of Phantom.

 

...

 
This time of my life would come to an end when, perhaps by chance, or perhaps by the hands of the Great Spirit himself, I stumbled upon the island of Metru Nui. It was quite an active, busy, industrial place, buzzing and bumbling with activity. In my wandering, I was quick to come upon two Onu-Matoran deep in discussion with a slightly taller figure. I stared at him, a strange feel of familiarity in my head as I looked over his features. He was adorned in red armor, and he wore a Noble Kiril. I remembered him now. He was Dume, the very Toa who had rescued me. He was far shorter now, but I could tell he was the same being who rescued me. He looked at me in amazement.

 

a. Lhikan keeps using past tense to refer to the Ghosts, which seems a little odd to me. Since they still exist at the time of his writing, wouldn't it make more sense for him to say "They are said to have no equals", etc.?

 

b. I feel that the clarification "where he continued to go by the codename of Phantom" isn't necessary. None of the readers assume that he's going to change his name. You could just mention that he joined the Dark Hunters and end it at that. (Phantom's is a tragic story, isn't it?)

 

c. This one is definitely redundant; you end two sentences in a row describing Dume as the Toa/being who rescued Lhikan. Just once is enough to get the point across.

 

And that's all, folks! Great job with the characterization. I especially liked Tridax's little story; that was a nice touch. Best of luck with the contest!


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Short Stories:
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal and Makuta Teridax
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox

#11 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Jun 23 2014 - 07:20 PM

I don't know if you're allowed to correct these if a judge doesn't propose them, but I just wanted to make my opinion known.

I'll approve editing to fix those.

 

I did think the mention that Phantom keeps that name was fine, though. Not everybody knows the DH list by heart, so it might not be as obvious as you might think.


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#12 Offline Yaldabaoth

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Posted Jun 23 2014 - 07:33 PM

Well, the "he kept the codename" mention kinda messes up the flow of the sentence, which was my main reason for pointing it out. :P But do what you will.


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"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."
 
-- Harlan Ellison
 
Short Stories:
DESCENDANT, starring Kraata-Kal and Makuta Teridax
AN EVEN EXCHANGE, starring the Makuta of Stelt
THE END OF THE BROTHERHOOD, starring Tobduk and Makuta Chirox




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