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This was originally meant for the Ambage Fortnightly Flash-Fiction contest, but by the time I remembered that there was a 1,000-word limit I'd already reached 2,000 words and was only about halfway done. It still fits the theme, though. There is a reference to a broken mask in here.


Final word count: 5,550. That's rather funny, I hadn't planned it that way. Maybe I should add five more words.


So I hope you enjoy The Golden Mask.










Have you ever gotten an idea in your head? If not, then that's a paradox I don't care to consider. But have you ever gotten an idea, an idea so consuming and wonderful, an idea that so pierces your intermost being, that you couldn't help but pursue it?


I did once. This is my story.


Well, not my whole story, but a part of it. A rather small part I suppose, but I'm convinced that it's the most important part of my entire life. In fact it's not so much about me but rather my idea. And, well, my pursuit of it.







So here's me, Sejon, Po-Matoran. I'm not your average, run-of-the-mill Matoran, either. I was a bit of an adventurer, an explorer, a treasure hunter. There was no Wahi on the island of Mata Nui I hadn't become more or less thoroughly familiar with. And every time I heard of a treasure or artifact? Boy, there would I be.


One time I'd searched out the legendary Golden Statue of Matauka in Le-Wahi. That story actually ended up being a little embarrassing, but can I be blamed if the Le-Matoran had set up a bunch of booby traps just outside their village, if Turaga Matau had given his own little statue such a misleading name, or if he'd made a treasure map leading to it and placed it conveniently on a mountaintop, where any passing Matoran could grab it? I think not.


I'd also found a cave of diamonds in Ta-Wahi, a sunken city off the coast of Ga-Wahi, ancient ruins in Po-Wahi, the hidden valley of Angri-Bah in Ko-Wahi, and I led the expedition that uncovered the fossils of the Sidirosaurus deep in the Onu-Wahi mines.


I love artifacts and treasures of any kind. Even the smaller bits of pottery or tools are to me thrilling little glimpses into forgotten worlds. It is those glimpses and thrills for which I live.


I even found something under the Kini-Nui, but we won't talk about that. . .


Nor about the time I went after the legendary Toa Stones. If Takua hadn't been so lucky. . . Well, that's neither here nor there. But I don't like to talk about it.



Now I don't like to brag, so let's get back to the story, shall we? Oh, yes, I was a rather adventurous Matoran, you see. I was always looking through old tablets and exploring, trying to find anything of interest. Well, I tell you what. One day, I was poring over the tablets in the library of Kini-Nui, which I often did after Kolhii practice. Oh, Kolhii? I was a decent Kolhii player, too. I even won that copper mask a few times. But I won't speak of the one time I broke it. . . Wait, I just did, didn't I? Bah. Where was I?


Oh, excuse me, so I was reading through these old tablets, when finally I found something of interest: An old map, leading to someplace in Le-Wahi. I'd seen it before, and even gone there myself, but there wasn't anything there. Nothing. I never could understand that. It just led to a simple clearing. No shrine, statue or pole, no cave or temple entrance, just a boring old clearing.


But this time, as I looked it over again, a realization sparked in my mind. Why, just the other day I'd found a piece of an old carving. A picture-carving. I was always finding interesting bits of pottery and whatnot that I brought home with me, most of it inconsequential. But what I realized now as I retrieved the fragment, was that it matched the map. Or a small part of it. The original carving, it would seem, had been this map! Most likely the carving was the original and this full version before me a copy.


Fitting the fragment to the map, I was wondering about this, when I noticed a small difference between the two. See, the map had small scribbles of instructions over it, you know, take so many steps, find the stone or tree that looks like a Mahi, the usual. But one of the instructions on the map was different from the corresponding instruction on the fragment!


What did this mean? If my hunch was correct, then whoever copied the original carving had made a mistake!


I was on my way home to fetch my gear in an instant. Bringing with me also the fragment and my personal copy of the map, I hastened to Le-Wahi with the speed of a Kikanalo. Once there I set off in generally the right direction and looked over the map, comparing the instructions.


According to the map, the final stage of the journey was to head due south, about two-thousand paces, until you find the boulder shaped like a Muaka, and from there to turn due east for another hundred paces. But the fragment said twenty-thousand paces instead of two-thousand! Now could there really be two boulders shaped like a Muaka? I had, after all, found one near the two-thousand paces mark. But maybe there could. . .


I paced along, eventually finding my old pal, Muakatherock. I then proceeded for another eighteen-thousand paces or so, which involved a lot of monotonous counting, blisters, and other uninteresting and inconsequential things which would be of no interest to you.



I paced.





And paced.







And paced some more.








Just wanted to illustrate how monotonous it was. Mind you, I'd been strolling through a forest, so it wasn't completely devoid of interest, but then I did have to concentrate on counting so I couldn't really think about much else. By the end of my journey I decided there was something very wrong with whoever drew up this map. Or else they were a far better mathematician than I, or they were hiding something worth going to all that trouble of hiding. All things considered, I hoped it was the latter.


Finally, puffing and panting, I arrived at a second Muaka-shaped rock. I was ecstatic when I finally found it. By the time I reached twenty-thousand paces, I still had to search the forest for an hour or two before I finally found the thing. But find it I did! And boy, was I excited! Oh, the thrill of the chase, the thrill of seeking out old, forgotten, or hidden treasures!


Setting my tiredness aside in my eagerness, I quickly proceeded to take one hundred steps due east. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, as I stepped into a brightly-lit and long-forgotten clearing in that age-old jungle, but a most incredible sight.


Amid the growth of the ages, the beautiful ferns, trees, and vines, and amid the rocks and soil of the earth, stood a large, smooth boulder, sticking part of the way out of the ground. It was perhaps seven or eight feet around at the base, rising to a perfectly smooth ovoid end ten feet in the air. But what was most exhilarating was the words splayed across it, more than clearly visible in the splash of sunshine playing across the stone:




:t: :h: :e: :g: :m_o: :l: :m_d: :e: :n: :m: :a: :s: :k:

:m_o: :f: :m: :i: :m: :b: :r: :a: :n: :m_o:

































I couldn't believe it. . . The Golden Mask. . . The Golden. . . Mask. . . Of Mim Brano. The Golden Mask of Mim Brano! The legendary Mask, THE Legendary Mask, said to hold ten times the power of all thirty-six Great Kanohi combined! The legend rarely spoken of and even more rarely believed, but in my eyes the greatest of the legends. . . The legend through which I discovered my love of adventure and treasure-hunting, so long ago.


The legend went like this: In the Time before Time, even before the Great Spirit carried we Matoran to this island paradise, Mata Nui was given the Mask as a gift from the Great Being Mim Brano, in recognition of a tremendous deed, the specifics of which are lost to time. Using the power of this incredible Mask, Mata Nui forged this very island, raising it from the sea, shaping the mountains and plains, and causing the jungles to grow and the Rahi to come into being.


After this, Mata Nui carried we Matoran to the newly-created Paradise, and from that time on wore the Mask as his own. But when the Makuta, his jealous brother, betrayed him and cast him into slumber, he stole away the Mask.


A brave band of Matoran, desperate to resist the Makuta and restore their beloved Mata Nui, resolved upon themselves to steal back the Mask. This they attempted, and against all odds, they broke into the Makuta's lair and retrieved the Mask. Knowing they could not use its power themselves, they hid it away where it could not be found. The Makuta, in his fury, captured these brave and heroic Matoran and interrogated them, but they would not give in. They kept their secret, and were never heard from again.


The Makuta searched desperately, but never could find the Mask. . . The Golden Mask of Mim Brano. To this day it remains lost to time and history.



But now, here and now. . . Or then, actually, there and then, as I stood before that obelisk, I resolved to take it upon myself to find the mask so our Toa could use it and restore the Great Spirit. The Makuta was gone, beaten by our great Toa, who had just days ago emerged from his lair in triumph, and so I had nothing to fear from him.


And this time, Takua would not be getting in my way. . . hopefully.


So, I had to wonder, where to start? There wasn't much to go on from this stone; just a name. But there had to be more than that, yes? Someone had drawn a map leading here after all. Some might claim that that someone had just been a madmatoran, teasing us with a reference to a hoky legend that didn't exist, but did this occur to me, even for a moment? No, it did not! I knew the Mask was real. It had to be real.


So I searched. After glancing over every inch of the stone and gleaning nothing, I searched the immediate area around the stone, scrutinizing with the utmost attention to detail. But try as I might, I could find nothing, no clues at all.


Finally I returned to the stone itself. Carefully I examined every facet of its beautiful, smooth surface. Every facet I could reach, anyway. By the time I'd finished with that, darkness was falling, and I had found nothing. So I retired for the night, with every intention of starting anew come morning.


The next day I sat before the rearside of the great boulder, pondering my quandary. What to do? In the earlier hours I'd managed to climb the smooth surface of the stone with my ropes and examine every detail of its surface, all the way to the apex. Nothing. The entire structure was completely smooth.


My only hope now was to search in a wider radius around the stone, or go home and research. Pore over more tablets or ask questions of the other denizens of the island.


After a thorough search of the surrounding area, I gave up the ghost and returned home. But had this lessened my vigour and determination by even the slightest extent? Of course not! I knew with unyielding certainty, that I, Sejon, adventurer extraordinaire, would find this Mask of Mim Brano if it was the last thing I did!



For months upon months I researched, reading through tablet after tablet with greater fervor than ever before, as well as interviewing anyone I could, anyone who could possibly know anything about the Mask! The Turaga became impatient with me, for what reason I could not fathom. Could they not see the utmost importance of this glorious quest? In fact I'd thought some would join me, but no, they all scoffed! Even Takua did not believe me! But who needed them? I'd find the Mask on my own!


Oh, beautiful, glorious Mask of Mim Brano, would fortune never give me the chance to gaze upon thy splendor? Would thy sheer radiance and glow never shine upon me. . . ?


As time went by, I slipped farther and farther towards despair. My hopes dwindled, but never could they completely diminish.


Finally the day came that I found myself again before that stone. Many times in the past weeks had I re-examined it and the area around, but to no further avail. All this time, nigh half a year of non-stop pursuit, and what had I to show for it? Nought but darkening dreams and hopes.


I sat all night before the rear of the stone, the side over-looking the river, pondering, wondering what else could possibly be done. I'd done everything I could think of! And still no clue. Not a single solitary clue. As morning neared, I couldn't help but wonder. Ever so slight a wonder. . .


Could it be? Is it possible that the Mask, the glorious Mask, was nought but legend? The mere thought of it left the foulest of tastes in my mouth. And yet. . . could it possibly be that Mata Nui had built the island by his own or other means? Could it be? Could it be the Mask. . . the pinnacle of my dreams and hopes as a seeker of artifacts and treasures. . . simply did not exist?


The mere possibility filled me with far greater despair than I'd ever known. What was the point, then? Of what value had been my many adventures, only to come to this? What was the point of even continuing in the consistent meaninglessness of life itself, if that be the case?


Raw hopelessness gripped me as the sun began to rise, and my cries of despair finally began to take leave of me, bubbling over from my long built-up reserves of utter despondence.


How could it be. . . ? Oh, Golden Mask. . . Of Mim Brano. . . Why? Why, oh why torture me for so long, drag me on through the clutches of so much negligence and ignorance, merely to abandon me now?


The sun shone upon me now, fixing me in its cold, bleak light. The world was a cold, cruel place, where dreamers and hopers chase their objects of obsession in utter devotion, only to have the iron fist of reality fall upon them and dash them to bits.


But as the sun shone upon me, its light spreading slowly downward, I found myself suddenly looking up, and turning to gaze upon the surface of the stone just behind me. The bare, empty surface of the horrid rock which had begun this whole meaningless charade stared back at me. I wished I'd never found that shard of the map, nor certainly this accursed stone!


I stood in fury and raised my foot to vent my emotions against the rock, only to pause, transfixed, as my eyes met a strange sight: A small portion of the stone, near the apex, where the color of the stone shifted ever so slightly from the surrounding area. The boulder as a whole was actually surprisingly solid in color, yet here was a change. Ever so slight a change, but nevertheless. . .


I found myself running desperately for my ropes, lassoing them around the rock, and hauling myself up to get a better view of the discoloration. I'd never even noticed it before because I'd never seen it in direct sunshine as I did now. As I climbed, I couldn't help but wonder, what was I doing? Pushing forward again, chasing blindly after dreams that. . . No, I would give this just one more chance. Even the slightest chance that things had been set right was enough for me to at least look over this one little thing.


I examined the area minutely, desperately hoping, praying. After several minutes I grew impatient, and scratched at the surface. And what to my wondering eyes should happen, but that the stone wore away before my fingertips, and black markings appeared underneath! As I continued to scratch and dig, I found not just markings, but words. A clue!



:s: :e: :e: :k: :e: :r: :m_o: :f: :a: :n: :s: :w: :e: :r: :s: , :f: :m_o: :r: :w: :h: :a: :t: :m_d: :m_o: :y: :m_o: :u: :s: :e: :a: :r: :c: :h: ?

:y: :m_o: :u: :c: :a: :n: :f: :i: :n: :m_d: :w: :h: :a: :t: :y: :m_o: :u: :m_d: :e: :s: :i: :r: :e: , :j: :u: :s: :t: :t: :a: :k: :e: :a: :m_p: :e: :r: :c: :h:





My heart was lifted, my spirit soared! My eyes were overcome with emotion, and I laughed a painful, throbbing laugh! Oh, Mata Nui, the light was returning to me! It seemed the Mask did indeed exist after all! No, I knew it did! I'd sworn I'd find it, and here was the next clue!


I berated myself for giving up on my hopes, to fall into the Pit of Despair when the great Rope of Dreams lay just before my nose! I cachinnated like a fool as I sat there, overcome by the glorious realization.


Finally my mirth subsided, and I sat in a daze of satisfaction. Everyone thought I was mad to keep at my quest for so long, but I'd prove them wrong yet!


I looked again at the words. They were rather vague, but I felt my old love of puzzles returning to me. I looked around. What could it mean? Where?


Finally, I chose to climb the stone itself. I stood upon the top and looked about me. Where was the object of my search? Was there another clue awaiting me? I ran my hands over the surface of the stone, the beautiful perfection of smoothness that it was.


Then finally, incredibly, amazingly, miraculously, a small, tiny, insignificant piece of the stone gave under my obsessive pressing and rubbing and poking. It bore no dissimilarity from the surrounding stone, betrayed no clue whatever to its existence, but there it was.


I pressed it in all the way, and the stone began to shake, lurching violently. If it went on much longer I'd be thrown clear, and fearing for my life I leaped down into the clearing, landing clumsily but safely.


Then I turned to watch as the stone, the beautiful stone, sank straight down into the ground. Hardly daring to believe it, hardly daring even to breathe, I stepped forward and gazed into the hole it left behind. There, in the ground, gazing up at me like so many adoring faces, as if proud of what my continued devotion had accomplished, was a row of steps. They wound round and round, leading deep into the underground.


I whooped a tremendous howl to the sky. I must have jumped ten feet in the air! Here it was, it must be, the object of my desires! The Temple of the Mask of Mim Brano. . . Or some such place with another name denoting the treasure held within, a name lost to time.


I couldn't believe what immense fortune good old Fate had chosen to lay upon me. After all this time, the ceaseless research and investigation. The hoping, the dreaming, the reaching for the impossible! And here, after all this time, the Door of Destiny lay before me. I simply couldn't believe it.




Heart pounding, mind spinning, I took a tentative step toward the opening. Then I took another. And another. Before I had fully grasped what was happening, there I was, standing at the very bottom of the stairwell. What lay before me there was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever beheld: A large chamber filled with a treacherous array of death traps, leading to oblivion.


Straightening my mask and the bag slung over my bare shoulder, I examined carefully the maze of death lying before me. There were swinging axes, lava sprays, wind-bound pathways across thin stone bridges, notches in the walls from which projectiles would no doubt issue forth, impossible jumps across bottomless pits, walls of rods to climb, ropes from which to swing, and no doubt other deadly dangers hidden from my eyes.


I sprang into action. I dodged through the first group of axes, made across the thin bridges whilst praying the sprays of molten liquid would miss me and simultaneously fighting the murderous wind. Those Matoran of legend, if indeed it had been they who placed the Mask in here, were, I thought at this time, both ingenious and insane.


Dexterously I dodged disks and other missiles, climbed walls, swung ropes, made carefully across a floor of endless and deadly tiles, and conquered many other perils which elude my memory, for the anticipation I'd had at the time of finally finding the Mask outshines most of it.


Finally I heaved myself up a hundred-foot tower, my excitement and hope for what must await me there sending tremendous energy surging through my limbs. The closer I got, the more my wonder built, knowing that I had just about reached my goal. All the sweat, the tears, the work, the prayer, the devotion, the long, long months of hoping and awaiting, and the pit of dark emotions in which I had nearly fallen. All of that had led me to this moment, the moment when I would behold the tremendous wonder that was, the Mask of Mim Brano.


Finally, breathless, ecstatic, half-delirious with pure joy, I stood atop that beautiful pillar to gaze upon the splendor before me. It was as if I were in a dream, one of the most joyous and wonderful dreams to ever be had. Everything was surreal. I couldn't really be here, in this temple, finally discovering the greatest treasure in the history of the Matoran. I couldn't really be the one who would bring it to the surface, to usher in a new and glorious age in Matoran history, in which the Great Spirit would no doubt be awakened and perhaps thank me personally for bringing his Mask to him, and perhaps even use it to create another incredible work!


No, it really couldn't be, could it?


Hardly daring to breathe, I stepped forward eagerly to the pedestal in the center of the tower-top, upon which no doubt lay the answer to that which I sought. I could see the golden shine from where I stood.


As I reached the pedestal, I stopped dead. My heart stopped, my spine went cold, my mind froze for one long, heart-wrenching moment.


No. . .


No. . .


It can't be. . .


It couldn't. . .


Wasn't possible. . .


It can't be!


It can't be!!! NNNOOOOO!!!


The howl which burst forth from my own lungs in that moment was the most horrible sound which had ever wrought itself upon my poor ears. It echoed in the chamber, bounded and rebounded off the walls, creating a swirling vortex about me of nightmare intensity. I felt as if my very innermost being had been stabbed with a sword of flame.


It couldn't be! It simply couldn't be! It wasn't possible that such a thing could happen... It wasn't possible that the great and noble Mask of Mim Brano, that given to our Great Spirit by the Great Being Mim Brano, could possibly be befelled by such a fate as this. . . This increduisity. . . This horrosity. . . This pure catastrophification!


I couldn't believe it. Simply couldn't believe it. The Mask. . . The beautiful, glorious, precious Mask. . . The Mask of Mim Brano! It was. . . It was. . . Even now, though the episode is far behind me, I cannot bring myself to even think the words without being overcome with intense emotion.


The Mask of Mim Brano. . . was broken.


There. I said it! The Mask was split in two! Right down the middle! I couldn't believe it! What evil horrendous monstrosity of darkness could do such a thing? Certainly the Mask was far too powerful to ever be broken from age! Sure, it could happen to any regular old mask, but Masks of Power were more enduring, and certianly The Kanohi could never be felled by something as simple as time! The Mask that dwarfed in power and greatness even the Great Kanohi Vahi itself!


I'm not ashamed to admit it. As I stood there before the two pitiless halves, sitting upon the pedestal, my mind, horribly torn as it was, began to break as well. It was simply too much. To come this far, and find the mask in this condition. . .


First I was overcome with sorrow. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, could do nothing but feel numb from the pure horror. No, it was worse than numb, I felt. . . dead. Dead on my feet.


Then my sorrows gave way to rage. Rage and indignation. I swore with the utmost conviction that I, mere Matoran though I was, would never rest until the horrendous, sadistic monstrosity that had committed this utmost pinnacle of crimes would meet the fate it deserved!


Then my mind began to split, stretching into many different directions at once. Rage, sorrow, confusion, fear, pain, terror, anger, and many others I could not identify.


After I know not how long, through this dirge of darkness that lay upon my mind, I came to myself enough to be overcome with sorrow once more. I slumped down before the pedestal, gripping it for mere life, hardly able to feel anything of my body. Nay, all was pain, all was hopelessness. All was nothing but a great pit of sorrow. My life was now meaningless. Without the Mask, which had become my deep obsession for so long, which had become my very life, what more meaning could there be to continuing on in the realm of physical existence?


As I reached the very bottom of my pit of sorrow, something clicked. Something shifted. It was as if a message directly from Mata Nui had been injected in my dejected mind. Something stirred deep within my subconscious. What if the Mask, what if this pitiless little heap that lay before me, what if this object of horror and desolation, was in fact not that Mask of Mim Brano! What if it was a fake? As incredible as it seemed that it could possibly be so, it was more understandable than was the notion that the glorious Mask was in fact broken!


Yes, that had to be the answer. It must be. It was the answer. Deep within the core of my being I knew it to be true. Slowly I gathered myself from the dark recesses of doubt in which I had found myself. Breathing hard, I stood before that pedestal, glaring hard at the two pieces of evil deception that lay upon it. I picked them up and examined them carefully, every facet. After doubly satisfying myself that they must certainly be fake, I stretched my arm over the far edge of the tower, at the bottom of which lay a molten lake. After a moment's hesitation, I let the two little pieces of shiny, golden evil fall to their demise.


Then I turned back to the pedestal. That wasn't all there was to it. There had to be more! Obsessively, knowingly, assuredly, desperately, I ran my hands and eyes over the stone surface, as well as the tower itself, searching for a clue! I'd nearly given up hope twice now, I would not allow myself into that terrible pit again!


But as I did this the tower gave a sudden, sickening lurch. I grasped at the pedestal as I was nearly thrown clear. Then looking out across the lake I watched in horror as the very far wall of the cave was split asunder, a great wave of lava spilling down into the chamber. My time was almost out. For whatever reason the Temple of the Mask was about to be lost forever!


Half-mad, I looked behind me at the entrance to the temple, to the point beyond which lay the light of day and my only hope of safety. I was torn. But I knew that if I left now, when I knew the Mask was here somewhere, I would spend the rest of my days as nought but an empty shell, devoid of any reason for existing.


Frantically I hastened my search, there had to be a clue! I found nothing on the tower floor, nothing on the pedestal itself, until. . . What Lord of Fortune smiled upon me I knew not, but just when all seemed lost my fingertip pressed into a small depression, which only deepened as my fingertip pressed into it. I heard the sound of sliding stone, of mechanisms turning and clicking, and then. . . a hidden compartment slid out of the pedestal.


I knew it. I'd known it. And I'd been right! Numb as I was I looked down upon the beautiful Golden Mask of Mim Brano that lay, formerly hidden, in the compartment, that I'd simply known to be here somewhere. Gently I scooped it up and briefly wondered if and how I could possibly escape with it as the tremendous tidal wave of lava surged toward me across the lake. There was no time to wonder, no time to think, the wave was nigh upon me. I pressed the Mask to my chest and chin, holding it tightly, as the rest of the world faded from my realm of awareness.


The Mask and I. . . together at last. All was light. All was beauty. I could have sat there forever, with the Mask tight in my arms, in pure contentment. An age passed then and there on that tower.


Then reality set in again. I was flung to the floor of the top of the tower as the wave struck. Streams of lava burst out upon either side of the tower as it teetered and began to fall. I grasped the Mask tightly. Whatever would befall us, we would go together.


The tower leaned out farther and farther, and as it did I was forced to adjust my position so as to avoid falling off. As I stood upon the side of the pedestal, now sticking out nigh horizontal, I saw that the point upon which the top of the tower would land was just before the entrance!


Quickly I gathered my wits about me. Just before the tower struck the ground, I leaped clear, and the tower crashed and crumbled behind me. I landed in a clumsy roll, Mask between my folded arms and against my chest. I was dazed and hurt but undaunted. The Mask itself remained without a mark upon its golden surface.


The wave of lava had lost a little ground on me, but it now surged nigh upon me. There was no time to lose. Instantly I rose and ran, half-clumsily, toward the point of our salvation. By some miracle we reached it just in time, and I moved my aching body as fast as it would go up the steps. The lava splashed into the stairwell, large drops of it singing my armor, but I had the determination of a cornered Kavinika in me. Clenching my teeth and giving a slow cry I forced myself up those steps, the lava surging upwards behind me but always a few steps below. One time the lava reached the very sole of my foot before I could snatch it out, but still I would neither slow nor stop.


After what felt like hours upon hours of forcing my unwilling body onwards, I saw daylight above me, and renewed vigor pushed my dying limbs out into the open. I hurtled into the daylight, landing in a crumpled heap in the clearing under which had been hidden the Temple of the Mask. The lava stopped at the very top with a gurgle, then slowly began its retreat, as if it had been some great and terrible predator desperate to devour me, only to give up upon realization of its failure.


My body was frayed, my armor half-gone, my mask damaged. But I didn't care. I felt on top of the world. I felt a king. I felt pure joy well up inside me. I stood, and held the Mask high above me, marveling at its incredible beauty. Despite my narrow escape, its surface was still completely unharmed and undamaged. It sparkled in the sunlight like so many golden diamonds. It shone out upon the world with its brilliant light.


I couldn't believe it. I'd done it. I'd found the Mask. I'd found the greatest artifactual treasure in the history of the world! My eyes glazed over as I beheld it, laughing giddily though it must surely cause my broken body terrible pain. What new wonders and glory would now be known in this world of ours, now that the Mask of Mim Brano was ours!


Oh, Golden Mask of Mim Brano. . . For too long hast thou been lost to glory, but rediscovered now, at last!


I was so happy! I was so joyful! I felt pure light inside me and could not feel the pain of my body. Nay, it was even greater than this, the feeling was beyond indescribable. The glorious, incredible feeling built up inside me until I thought I would burst. To my wonder it felt as though I were expanding, as though I were stretching beyond the limits of my body. I could feel the wind. I could feel the trees. I could feel the mountains, the seas, the rivers. I could feel the skies. A plethora of new and wondrous sights, sounds, and feelings surged within me.


Then began the next step of my journey, in which I would discover an even greater light and glory than that of the Mask, as my old, lifeless shell fell to the ground, still clutching that wonder that was. . . the Mask of Mim Brano.




Well, there you have it, the satirical adventure of the Golden Mask. Criticism is welcome, and I hope you enjoyed it!



EDIT: New word count: 5,643. Wait. . . I know I didn't alter it that much. I guess it's counting each Matoran letter as an individual word? Ah, well.

Edited by TahuNuvaFan

After five long years. . . The Master of Fire is back!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nuile here, reporting with one official SSCC review, as requested.


O thou beautiful, prodigious allegory . . .Not only did this turn out to be a compelling adventure piece, but it was, as I said already, a profound allegory. It might be argued that it was even too explicit, but I don't think there's any harm in that. On the contrary, I think the most beautiful moment in the entire story was the unspeakably named protagonist's plunge into despair. It was elegantly written and very meaningful.In fact, I'm almost disappointed that he did find the mask, after all. Not only would it have strengthened the allegory, but it would have saved the Golden Mask of Mim Brano from its absurdly omnipotent existence. There we stumble upon more questions: Why didn't Makuta take better lengths to protect it? Why was there no greed involved in the mask's history? Why were the Matoran content to hide it away? Why didn't they kill each other for it? Not only does it seem unrealistic, but you missed a chance for further allegorical significance.On the other hand, I was relieved that it didn't end on some sublime epiphany about the mask being only a symbol. I was glad that what it symbolizes was allowed to remain only implicitly metaphorical. Besides, the Kanohi's existence allowed for an exciting and suspenseful action scene, so I can forgive it. Well done.


Just a thought: that twenty-thousand pace walk probably wouldn't have been as simple and easy as it was made to sound. Doubtlessly there should have been deep underbrush, rough terrain, rivers, and dangerous Rahi along such a trek. It also would have been difficult to keep his direction--not to mention his count!--in the depths of the Le-Wahi jungle. You wanted to keep the scene simple and I understand that, but I think it was simplified too much.


I would like to commend the way you integrated BIONICLE detail into the story. That's always been one of the most challenging aspects of fanfiction for me, and I admire the seamlessness with which you accomplished it. It faded, however, toward the end. For example, you mentioned a "wolf." Never heard of it. What a silly name for an animal! "Wolf." Ridiculous. Try Kavinika.Now honestly, that name. "Ihndieahnagouhns." Need a cough drop? The character is impossible to forget, his name is impossible to remember. Moreover, bad puns have no place in a character's name. Subtle puns, by all means; blatant yet nearly incomprehensible puns, no. I knew there was some purpose to his name, but I had to read it over at least half a dozen times before I could understand it.

That end. I did not see that end coming. I was worried how you were going to excuse the discovery of this mask and you found the perfect solution--beautifully put, what's more.On that note, I very much enjoyed your style. It had its moments of awkward stiffness, but that comes with practice, and I understand that you're new to the art of creative writing. It's a matter of becoming intimate with your words, and developing any friendship, even of this sort, takes time.Your first person prose, by the way, was very flavorful, perhaps even to an excess. But in a piece of this length that's no problem. It might become wearisome in a longer work, but in a short story it's sapor lasts.


On the whole, your grammar was excellent and your spelling was fine, but your word choice was questionable at times. These mistakes built up over the course of a 5,000 word story, but relatively speaking they were few in number. Well, here we go:


A rather small part I suppose, but I'm convinced that its the most important part of my entire life.




. . . and I lead the expedition that uncovered the fossils of the Sidirosaurus deep in the Onu-Wahi mines.





I was decent Kolhii player, too.


Inject an a.


But what was most exhilerating were the words splayed across it, more than clearly visible in the splash of sunshine playing across the stone:


That's exhilarating, and that should still be was. Though the words are plural, the exhilarating quality is singular.


Oh, beautiful, glorious Mask of Mim Brano, would I never be chanced to gaze upon thy splendor?


That word just doesn't work in that capacity.



After glancing over every inch of the stone and gleaning nothing, I searched the immediate area around the stone, scrutinizing with the utmost and detailed of care.


Either remove the, or replace detailed with a superlative, videlicet minutest, strictest. The superlative most could be added to detailed, but would become repetitive with utmost so near.



What was the point of even continuing in the consistent meaningless of life itself, if that be the case?


Meaninglessness, inanity, emptiness; or add a noun: existence, void.


Raw hopelessness gripped me as the sun began to rise, and my cries finally began to take leave of me, bubbling over from my long built-up reserves of utter despondence.


That really makes it sound as if he were shouting rather than weeping. Better sobs, moans. Cervantes was fond of using sighs, as in "sighs exuding from the depths of his very soul."


I found myself running desperately for my ropes, and lassoing them around the rock, hauling myself up to get a better view of the discoloration.


Move and to place it before hauling, preferably; otherwise, replace hauling with hauled.


I examined the area minutely, desperately hoping, praying. After several minutes I grew impatient, and scatched at the surface.




FInally my mirth subsided, and I sat in a daze of satisfaction.



I must have jumped ten feet in the air!


Really? Only ten? I thought it was higher than that.Sorry; I had to.


Straightening my mask and the bag slung over my bare shoulder, I examined carefully the maze of death laying before me.




All of that had led me to this moment, the moment when I would behold the tremendous wonder that was, the Mask of Mim Brano.


That comma is unnecessary.


Finally, breathless, ecstatic, half-delerious with pure joy . . .




The howl which ushered forth from my own lungs in that moment was the most horrible sound which had ever wrought itself upon my poor ears.


Gush, perhaps, but not usher, which means to escort or, intransitively as you have it here, to serve as an escort.


What evil horrendous monstrosity of darkness could do such a thing?!


No--no--no. Please--never.


Rage and indignancy.




. . . until the horrendous, sadistic monstrosity that had comitted this utmost pinnacle of crimes . . .




As incredulous as it seemed that it could possibly be so, it was more understandable than was the notion that the glorious Mask was in fact broken!




I pressed the Mask to my chest and chin, holding it tightly, as the rest of the world faded from my realm of awareness.


That second comma can be safely removed.

Now, what I take issue most with is your use of ellipses. You used them excessively, which I don't mind terribly. I do mind that you used them superfluously at times, but even then that's not the real problem. The problem is you don't seem to understand how to use them properly. I will admit readily that the rules surrounding ellipses are difficult to master, and confused me for a long time. Allow me to demonstrate the proper use of ellipses, by correcting a few illustrative mistakes:


And this time, Takua would not be getting in my way... Hopefully.


Here it is all one sentence, and thus hopefully should not be capitalized.


There wasn't much to go on from this stone... Just a name.

Preferably I would replace this ellipsis with a period. You might also replace it with a colon, in which case you should not capitalize just.


But try as I might, I could find nothing, no clues at all... Finally I returned to the stone itself.


Here the ellipsis clearly marked the end of a sentence and thus should have been punctuated (resulting in a series of four dots). However, an ellipsis here is superfluous, and would better be replaced with a lone period. If you must indicate a pause here, start a new paragraph.


Pushing forward again, chasing blindly after dreams that... No, I would give this just one more chance.


Here's an important rule to note. If an ellipsis is used to break off an unfinished sentence, as an em dash might, it should not be punctuated. Thus your use here is, in fact, grammatically correct.



Could it be the Mask... The pinnacle of my dreams and hopes as a seeker of artifacts and treasures... Simply did not exist?


This is all one sentence, and so only the initial letter and proper nouns should be capitalized. Thus:


Could it be the Mask . . . the pinnacle of my dreams and hopes as a seeker of artifacts and treasures . . . simply did not exist?


Note, also, the proper way to format an ellipsis: a space on either side, with a space between each dot.



I hope you enjoyed your first SSCC review. We do tend to get long-winded, but it's all for the cause of helping fellow writers to improve. No writer, after all, is perfect, and no writer ever ceases to improve their skills. Each word is a step toward our unattainable end . . . very much like Don Quixote's quest.


I, for my part, very much enjoyed your story. It shows promise. Allegory, action, and even romance in a sense; and all well-executed. Excellent work.


Keep writing,

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

Edited by Nuile Writerson

When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .


I know I am ready to start my voyage.

A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, thank you for the review from the SSCC! :) A long review for a long story.



I'm glad you enjoyed the allegorical side of this. Thing is, it wasn't exactly meant to be an allegory, and even when it became one, I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting at, except perhaps for a vague notion of following a glorious dream. :P


I'm not sure how not finding the mask would have strengthened the allegory, but thanks anyways! :) And it's true, I've definitely created a paradox here: Between the defeat of Makuta and the rise of the Bohrok Swarms, this all-powerful mask, supposedly with the power to awaken Mata Nui, is discovered and brought to the surface? How does that fit in? I guess you could call this an alternate reality.


And FYI, the Matoran would have broken into Makuta's lair almost immediately after he'd stolen the mask, and he probably hadn't really expected them to attempt it, weakened and dispirited as they were after Mata Nui's downfall, plus the Matoran must have been really really lucky. The Matoran had no choice but to hide it away because there were no Toa around to attempt to wield it. (The Turaga certainly couldn't have handled the power) And the Matoran of Mata Nui have always had some amount of loyalty to each other, right? At any rate, they wouldn't waste their time fighting over the mask when they were busy fighting Makuta and when fighting amongst themselves would simply allow Makuta oppurtunity to steal it back.


That, and kill each other, thereby betraying the Three Virtues, in order to obtain the mask that belonged to Mata Nui and could potentially awaken him? Come now. :P Unless they were traitors to their kind.


Anyway, I doubt if the small band that retrieved the mask from Makuta told any of the others about it. And Makuta killed them, remember.


Yeah, the twenty-thousand paces wouldn't have been so peaceful, come to think of it. The depths of Le-Wahi isn't exactly a walk in the park, even though Makuta had been defeated and the character needn't worry about the mask-infected Rahi. Ah, well, you found a hole in here.


Wow, did I really say "wolf?" XD Yep, I did. Whoops. Nearing the end I was getting a little too much of a human image in my head, and not enough of the Matoran the character was. The temple, too, perhaps speaks more of Indiana Jones than Bionicle. Hopefully not too much to be believable, but ah, well. At least I did well on the rest, according to you. :)


I see what you mean about the name. I was trying to keep it vaguely Bionicle-ish, but it obviously trailed on way too far. That and the reference was perhaps far too explicit. :P I'll even go a bit farther than your criticism and say it was a rather absurd notion to go through with that name. . . I'll try to think of something else. :)


Truth be told, I hadn't seen the ending coming myself until he was about half-way out of the temple, I think. Still, now we have the mask sitting somewhere in the middle of Le-Wahi, which doesn't completely fix the paradox. . . But I guess no one ever found it and it now lies at the bottom of the Aqua Magna ocean. There. Fixed.


Come to think of it. . . Given the ending, how did he write this story, as it is written in first person, after all. I guess he's telling it to someone. *shrug*


I'm glad you liked the style of my first-person prose. This was, I think, the most poetic thing I've ever written, reflecting the personality of the character. I was afraid it might have gotten ramblesome or tediously emotional in certain places, but if it went over well, then I can breathe a sigh of relief.



Thank you very much for the words of criticism, encouragement, and a very meaningful review. :)


And thank you as well for the grammar lesson. ;) I will fix those mistakes, (give the guy a new name), and keep your input on grammar in mind. Ah, those pesky ellipses. . .



EDIT: Oh, and by the way, there's a sort of joke in the name of the sidirosaurus, for anyone interested.



Raw hopelessness gripped me as the sun began to rise, and my
finally began to take leave of me, bubbling over from my long built-up reserves of utter despondence.

That really makes it sound as if he were shouting rather than weeping. Better sobs, moans. Cervantes was fond of using sighs, as in "sighs exuding from the depths of his very soul."]


Well, actualy, I think he was supposed to be shouting there, or close to it. As in, he was uttering loud cries of despair. But I changed it to "my cries of despair."




All of that had led me to this moment, the moment when I would behold the tremendous wonder that was
the Mask of Mim Brano.


That comma is unnecessary.]


Well, but it adds to the effect.


Wow, I was excessive with the ellipses, wasn't I? Going over it again, I got rid of a bunch of them. I think I like it better with fewer.

Edited by TahuNuvaFan

After five long years. . . The Master of Fire is back!

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