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This is a preview of my new epic. It is also my entry for the SS contest. Happy Halloween! ______ Two Le-Matoran stumbled down a wooded ravine, neither sure of where they were going. The air around them was cold and the sky was unnaturally dark—the sun’s efforts to reach them were defeated by the layers of thick, leafy tree canopies above them. “I told you we shouldn’t go out,” said the tall one. “Shut up,” said the short, round one. He tripped and fell first into a small creek. The tall one burst out laughing, both amused and thankful at the chance to stop. “So,” tall one said, taking a seat on the ground, “how many Rahi have we seen?” Short one spat a number of venomous curses in his companion’s direction. “None. That doesn’t mean I was wrong.” “But it does mean I was right.” Shorty sighed. “Look, I only know what I was told. That kid back in the village said he saw some animal or something, so the Turaga told us to check it out.” “You’re missing the point,” tall said. “I said that kid didn’t see anything. We both know he didn’t. If you don’t, you’re just… well, you’re just being stupid.” He glanced over his shoulder, before continuing somewhat ominously. “And we both know it’s time for the tribute.” Shorty laughed patronizingly. “Sure sure, I know all the stories. ‘Deep into darkness, a Matoran send, for the reign of terror, quickly to end.’ Do you really believe that? Do you really want me to believe that the Turaga would send two of his own to be eaten, or killed, or whatever you say, every month?” He looked away. “You’re the stupid one.” Tall sprung up. “Yeah, you laugh! You make fun of me, but you don’t realize what’s going on here! How many of us are there on this island? A hundred? Two hundred? And still we live in fear.” His companion stood. “Now wait a minute—” But Tall would not listen. “We out number him! We need to stand up to him, and show him the true power of what Matoran can do! There’s nothing that could stop us, if we put our minds to it! But not, instead we listen to feeble minded… twits like you who are fine with being slaves! ‘Oh no, the Toa will come they’ll save us…’ You’re the fool for believing that, let me tell you. There are no Toa. There never have been and there never will. We all know the Turaga just tell those lies to calm the hopeless. We’re alone on the island, each one of us, in more ways than one. We need to forget our pointless bantering and actually… do something!” The air chilled. Silence bid its way into the forest, as the two stood motionless. Shorty grasped for something to say, his face containing a look of anger and disgust, but he soon turned away. Tall at last spoke. “Let’s get back to the village already. There are no Rahi, no Toa and no Makuta out here. We’ve wasted our day.” “Do you really doubt me?” Tall’s eyes narrowed. The voice had been higher and gentler than Shorty’s. He must have not heard correctly. “What did you say?” Shorty turned to face him. “I didn’t say anything.” “But then who…” “I did.” Tall one nearly jumped out of his armor. He spun around to see another Matoran wearing a cloak. The newcomer’s Kanohi was entirely hidden by shadows. “Who… who are you?” asked Tall, backing up. By now Shorty had noticed and had likewise turned around. He was equally stupefied. “I have many names,” began the newcomer. “Some call me Everything. Some call me Nothing. But you, my children, may call me Master.” Shorty chuckled. “That’s a good one, Master. But really, who are you and what are you doing here?” But Tall was not so oblivious. “I don’t think you should…” “Oh please, he’s obviously crazy and just looking for someone’s attention here.” Scarcely had the words left Shorty’s mouth when he rose from the ground and was flung against a tree—he screamed in pain as he fell to the ground. Tall tried to move to help his companion but found himself unable to move. The newcomer slowly walked over to the fallen Matoran, his footsteps making now sounds as he drifted across the forest floor. “Pity,” he said, a touch of irony in his voice, “that any of my children must leave me.” Shorty started to scream. He flailed his legs violently as he clutched his throat, his yells becoming more and more muted… until finally they faded all together. The newcomer paused, looking down at the now-dead Matoran, before turning to Tall. He slowly and deliberately paced around Tall, speaking as he walked. “And so,” he said, “you have seen the fate of those who challenge me. You… have realized my awesome power and woeful might. And for that, you will be rewarded.” Tall relaxed himself. He found himself once again able to speak. “Thank you… master… what I said early was just… just talk…” “Stop the apologetics, before I regret my decision. There are a thousand ways I could kill you, each one of them more painful than the last. I have made more powerful beings than you scream in utter horror—screams which would make your blood curdle and your ears cry for mercy. It is only by my benevolent grace and mercy that I do not decimate this island, and all those whom you call brother with it. No, you will not die. But rather you will serve as a reminder of my good will and you shall be a testimony to my hold over you.” In one fast motion, he threw back his hood. Tall was immersed in a bath of blood red terror. The newcomer’s eyes tore through Tall’s mind and soul, as though they searched through every moment of his life. All in one moment Tall’s greatest fears were realized around him, while he saw his greatest desires shattered. He saw his loved ones dead, as his enemies stood over their bodies. Every awful moment of his life was relived, even as the good were forgotten. It was over in a matter of seconds. Tall fell to the ground, twitching slightly. He muttered incomprehensible nonsense under his breath, his mind having been destroyed completely and utterly. The newcomer sighed. He replaced his hood, and his blood red eyes were once again hidden by the shadows of his cloak. He looked down at the now demented Matoran. “Do not forget. I am everything. I am everywhere. I am forever. I am Makuta.” And he was gone.