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The Cruelest Game


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It has been a while, I know. Certain things just kept me held up for a while. I actually had the first third of this written months ago, but I hadn't been able to finish it. This is another short story set in my same "Literary universe," this time taking a look into the lives of three different characters as kind of a follow-up. This is also a chapter from the same story, but I figured it was probably worth standing as its own thing, as well. So, here you go.




Located in a desolate area of Spherus Magna was an island so devoid of life and ominous in appearance, no one who saw it ever dared to get near it. Even so, it was rare for anyone to even find it, let alone know of its existence.


To the leader of the Knights of Terankos, this was the perfect place to hide his new organization to serve the mad god himself. With the Blessing of Terankos and his new powers, he was able to construct a sturdy fortress on his own, working endlessly for many days and nights. He ignored the need to sleep and eat, driven solely by his sacred mission by the will of the mad god. It was not long before he began to recruit anyone he felt a kinship with, as his people were not the only ones displaced by the Order of Mata Nui.


A great amount of time had passed since Terankos gave his newly anointed Lord Almatas the task of finding those who thrived in the darkness. Lord Almatas looked out the window of his private chamber, reflecting on his success.


It won’t be long now before I can see my mission to completion. Lord Terankos will be most pleased and I will be rewarded. This, I am sure of.


Having been driven by one purpose for so long and having been exposed to the powers of darkness for an extended period of time, Almatas had changed a lot since he initially pledged himself to Terankos. Being exposed to the shadows for so long as he was would be enough to take a toll on their health and eventually lead to expiration. For Almatas, however, because his will to live and serve Terankos was so strong, he did not fall to illness. Instead, it slowly robbed him of his mind, sending him into insanity. He did not care, however, so long as his god was pleased with him.


Even now, I have found a pitiful tactician to serve as my right hand. My victory is ensured, so long as he remains under my thumb. His pathetic younger sister will be leverage to keep him in line. After all, so long as nothing happens to her, he will do whatever I want. That was the condition of our initial agreement when he practically… begged me to spare her. It was so absolutely delicious to watch him grovel and plea. So many years ago, I was in that same place, begging for my family and friends to be spared.


Almatas turned away from the window, his hood cloak billowing with his sudden movement. He made his way back to a large throne at the very end of the room. With a sigh, he say down, closed his eyes, and raised his head.


Unlike those dogs serving the Great Spirit, I actually showed mercy to him and his weak, useless sister and allowed them to live, so long as they did as I wanted. Then again, she is not so useless. She does manage to heal and care for any operatives who fall ill or get injured during recovery missions. Perhaps she isn’t as bad as I initially thought her out to be.


The Knights leader opened his eyes and lowered his head back down. His thoughts were interrupted when a large pair of crimson eyes manifested in the darkest corner of the room, adjacent to where Almatas sat. Without hesitation, Almatas leapt from where he sat and immediately rushed to the corner, kneeling on one knee as he looked into the crimson eyes before him.


“What is thy bidding?” he asked.


You have served me well, Lord Almatas. Soon, our time will come and we will take the world for our own. I have two tasks for you to complete, and these are to be secret.


“Whatever you wish, I will do it, my master,” Almatas responded.


The first of my commands is to head to a fortress on the island of Artidax. Without alerting their pathetic security, you are to steal and hold onto a relic known as the Hand of Karzahni.


“How will I know where to go?”


I shall implant the location into your memories. Once you have this gauntlet, do as you please with it. You may wear it or keep it locked away. Above all else, you must remain in possession of it, no matter the cost.


“What of the second task?”


You shall be gaining a new operative into your ranks. Her heart is filled with darkness and deception, making her a perfect candidate. However, she serves the Order of Mata Nui.


At that moment, Almatas became visible uncomfortable, trying to hold back the myriad of emotions he felt the moment he heard that name.


I know how you feel about these fools, but listen to me. Allow her into your ranks. Through her, you will be presented with valuable knowledge about the Order and what actions they take.


“Very well, my master, I shall do so. Where must I go to find her?”


Once you finish with the task on Artidax, wait on the edge of the southern-most wall of the fortress. There, she will come to you.


“She will come to me?”


Precisely. Do not worry too much about her. She will remain in the shadows, hidden from the rest of your operatives. She will receive her orders from the Order as usual, so it is with that I implore you to communicate with her every so often to remain current with what they are planning.


“Very well, my master. If I may ask, what about--?”


Patience, Lord Terankos. You will possess it in due time. Now is not the right time for it, however, which is why I only ask for you to steal the gauntlet. As the time approaches, I shall implant a false memory into the mind of your tactician in regards to learning about the location of Artidax, where he and a group of your best operatives will go and carry out the mission. Once the stone is in your grasp, her usefulness will have been served and you can dispose of her as you wish.


“It will be done, my master. I shall leave immediately.”


A nasty grin beamed on the face of Almatas the moment he was given permission to do away with this “new operative” he was going to meet.




Far across to the opposite end of the world was the island of Daxia, which housed numerous inventions, a vast amount of relics and artifacts, and countless operatives serving the Order of Mata Nui. One of them was a young maiden named Tuyet, who initially came to Daxia from a small village located in the Kradus Peninsula.


She spent a majority of her life there with her three childhood friends, who were pleased with their humble, seemingly “uneventful” lives, but Tuyet had other desires deep down. She longed for glory and reverence. She wished to have her name chanted and held in high regard, and to be loved and respected everywhere. Such ideas would seem outlandish and even dangerous to some. At least, those were the words of Lhikan, one of her best friends. Upon his advising when she expressed these desire to him, she kept them to herself as to not cause a stir.


It was not long before the Order found out about their village, considering Lhikan was in possession of a very rare and valuable mask. He also possessed limited knowledge of elemental sorcery, most notably fire. As the Order was about to whisk him away with no questions asked, Lhikan put in a good word for Tuyet, as well as their other two friends Nidhiki and Naho.


From that point on, Tuyet served the Order with a smile, but it was a begrudging smile worn only to avoid causing trouble as Lhikan warned her long ago. It seemed she was locked into a role of monotony and pointlessness. That was until one day she met… him.


A Divine Encounter, the maiden in blue told herself, feeling a sense of joy for the first time in so long.


He recognized her potential and agreed that her talents were wasted and squandered with the likes of the Order. He then told her about a way she could finally obtain the power she so desired, to the point she could even take her place among the gods. All she had to do was follow his every word, whenever he contacted her in secret when appearing as a vision.


Tonight was one of those occasions, and Tuyet presented herself to him, bowing her head and kneeling before the apparition of darkness before her.


“How may I serve you, my master?”


She raised her head, gazing into a pair of deep crimson eyes with a sinister smile on her face.


Lady Tuyet, you have served me well. The time you have been waiting for will soon be approaching. First, you must complete a task.


“What must I do, my Lord Terankos?”


You are to go to the island of Artidax alone. Make note of the fortress for any places that may have a weak defense, save for above. Have you already convinced the Order of my little… proposition?


“Yes, my lord,” replied the treacherous Tuyet. “Hydraxon has already begun work creating the automatons after Helryx accepted the idea. She has even started helping him to increase productivity.”


Excellent. You have done well. Now then, once you reach Artidax, go to the southern-most wall of the fortress. There, you will meet someone.


“Who, may I ask?”


The leader of the Knights of Terankos.


“The so-called ‘heretics’ Helryx is so obsessed with?”


Correct. You are to feign allegiance to him, asking him to join the Knights as a double agent. However, you must remain with the Order as much as possible to avoid any conflict. This is the first and only time you will ever interact with him in person.


“Will he be so willing to accept me into his ranks?”


I have already put in a… good word for you. In addition, his mind has been degrading over the years. He will accept you without question. You must make sure he is unaware of our exchanges and our promise, otherwise the plan will be compromised.


“Very well. It will be done, my Lord Terankos.”


Excellent. Listen to any orders he may relay to you to stay in his good graces, but afterwards, ignore them. You will directly serve my orders alone. Should he attempt to retaliate, I shall make sure you are taken care of.


“And… the Nui Stone?”


Patience, my dear. All in good time. Once the Knights claim it as their own, you will be able to take it for yourself. This can only be done so long as you play your part.


“Thank you, my master. It will be done.”


“Tuyet? Are you up there?” came a familiar voice faintly from behind the door.


“I must go now,” whispered Tuyet.


You may leave. Remember to follow my orders. Remember to follow the plan…


As the dark apparition vanished, Tuyet rose to her feet and quickly rushed to the door.


“Coming, Lhikan!”




Deep within the Shadow Realm, an unsettling laugh echoed.


“Soon… Soon everything will come to pass according to my design. Pawns are so easy to manipulate. All you have to do is tell them what they want to hear, make some pitiful promise to them, and they are under your power indefinitely.”


The laugh echoed once more, causing the ground to rumble and shake.


“Soon, my brother, you will be nothing more than a memory, and once more, I shall be free!”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very nice! I enjoyed the atmosphere very much. I don't know anything about the larger universe this is set in, but it made me feel nostalgic, like the old BIONICLE novels and serials. Terankos is an excellent villain, who reminds me of the best elements of Teridax, Palpatine, and the other chessmaster types. It's impressive that you were able to finish it after such a long hiatus. It makes me feel convicted to finish some of the old projects I never did.

"You are an absolute in these uncertain times. Your past is forgotten, and your
future is an empty book. You must find your own destiny, my brave adventurer.
-- Turaga Nokama


Click here to visit my library!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've had these ideas since late 2016, and I guess I've just been wanting for the longest time to put them out there. So in some ways, you could say I just try to pick up from wherever I leave off as best as I can, whether it's a few days, weeks, or even years. Sometimes in those hiatus moments, I get ideas as well that help me move the stories along. Like, I know how I want it to begin and how I want it to end, so it's just a matter of "okay, so how do I get there?" It also helps that I've made and kept a lot of note cards of ideas.


Like one bit of useless trivia, after my mom's passing in 2017, I partially named a character after her (her name was Mary, so I made "Merith") in Knights of Terankos. So sometimes the hiatus can be a good thing if it helps me figure out how to fill in the blanks.


I guess for a sparknotes version, here's basically the key things to know for this story:


  • There are 2 cosmic gods who kinda set up everything, Artakha who represents order and Karzahni who represents chaos. But we don't talk much about them since they're locked in an eternal battle and are too busy to influence Shperus Magna much, let alone take major actions on it without leaving themselves open for an attack. 
  • There are 3 main guardian deities made by Artakha to protect Spherus Magna. Mata Nui, god of light, Kjetha Magna, goddess of death/rebirth, and Terankos, god of shadows and keeper of the Shadow Realm.
  • Karzahni threatens to offset the order Artakha has worked for. Additionally Artakha created the six Toa born of the elements and a mysterious Sorceress of Time as a fail safe in case Karzahni's words prove true. Karzahni does manage to shoot a small virus onto Spherus Magna.
  • After a war involving the League of Six Kingdoms, the Order of Mata Nui forms. Helryx eventually becomes leader and goes on a witch hunt.
  • About the same time, the disgraced Barraki warlords implant negative thoughts into Terankos' head, which kinda sets him off. In addition, being exposed to the power of shadows for too long leads to madness.
  • He challenged Mata Nui, jealous he was not revered in the same light. It ultimately ends with Kjetha Magna stopping the mad god and the Sorceress of Time, Calza, stepping in to imprison him in the Shadow Realm.
  • Almatas was a victim of Order and lost his home, as well as Umarak and so many other future knights.
  • Terankos promises him great power so long as he obeys him, and forms the Knights of Terankos. All he has to do is help him escape the Shadow Realm.


You could say Palpatine and Teridax were heavy inspiration for Terankos (even his name is a nod to Teridax a bit). Considering how much I love Star Wars, it might be hard not to find little nods to it here and there in my writing.

Edited by ShadowBionics
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