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> Hate And Vengeance, S&T Contest #6 Mahri Nui Entry
PeabodySam
post Apr 18 2010, 03:24 PM
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I have waited a long time for this moment.

The sea surrounding the underwater village of Mahri Nui was dark as always, like an eternal night with neither stars nor moons. Sinister… angry… dangerous… treacherous… these were the dark waters of the Pit, reflecting the black hearts of its inhabitants.

They will feel my wrath.

Near the outskirts of Mahri Nui, one of the Pit’s inhabitants dared to approach the Matoran village. His Protosteel Tri-Talons felt ready to tear anything to shreds. His spine shivered with apprehension. He laid his cold, sapphire eyes upon a small shrine on the edge of the city. He was ready.

They will feel my hate.

He waited for the correct moment to strike. As he prepared to make his move, he faltered. He gnashed his mandibles together and narrowed his eyes as an Onu-Matoran approached the shrine.

Matoran. I… hate… Matoran!

The Onu-Matoran was a problem. There would be a witness and possibly resistance. It would make things far more difficult than they needed to be.

Then, the prisoner of the Pit relaxed. There was no need to worry about the Onu-Matoran. The Matoran was alone… and lonely Matoran make excellent prey. He smiled. He was going to get his moment and enjoy every instant of it.

And I will get it, thought the malevolent being, for no sane being would dare deny Barraki Ehlek his pleasure.

*****


Behind his Kanohi, Reysa could not help but smile gently as he approached the shrine. Normally, the Onu-Matoran would be attending to his duties as a Hydruka Guard, but as the “safe hour” when no predators stalked the seas had yet to come, he was allowed some time to himself.

The shrine was not an incredibly large one. Similar in appearance to a miniature Kini, it had been carved many years ago; perhaps even in another life that did not involve a constant struggle for survival and endless maintenance of the air bubbles that encased the village.

The most prominent feature of this shrine was the dome in the center, resting on which was a Noble Kanohi. It was an ordinary Noble Kanohi, and none of the Matoran could access its powers. However, it was one of the few surviving artifacts of the disaster which landed Mahri Nui and its inhabitants deep beneath the sea. Often, a Matoran staring at this Kanohi would suddenly recall a memory of a life long forgotten. Since any recollection of life before Mahri Nui was considered valuable information, this particular Kanohi quickly became sacred and revered among the Matoran of Mahri Nui.

Reysa smiled upon the Noble Kanohi. For him, it triggered memories of friends and places, the names of which he could not remember, but often gave him a feeling of warmth and happiness. Slowly, the Onu-Matoran shut his eyes and knelt, paying respect to the sacred Kanohi and whoever its former wearer might have been.

Then, Reysa frowned. Something did not feel right. He opened his eyes and stood to his full height. Being an Onu-Matoran, his eyes were naturally adept to seeing in the darkness, but the single Lightstone that illuminated the shrine made it difficult for his eyes to adapt, thus blinding him from anything outside the radius of a few bio. Concerned, Reysa stared out into the darkness beyond the air bubble.

Suddenly, a monstrous creature stepped within the light of the Lightstone. Crimson and sapphire armor covered its scaly flesh. It carried a spear in its claws, and its bright red eyes glared at Reysa with intensity. The reptilian creature opened its mouth, lined with razor-sharp teeth, and cried out what almost sounded like a single, bloodcurdling word: “Vengeance!

Shocked, Reysa backed away from the edge of the air bubble. He relaxed himself a little, telling himself that the beast could not attack him from outside the air bubble. After all, it had to be a water-breather, which meant it would suffocate if dared step inside the air bubble.

The creature stood just outside the air bubble, seeming to contemplate this fact. With a deadly imitation of a sneer, it placed one clawed foot inside the bubble, then the other, and then completely entered the bubble.

Reysa eyes widened as he realized this monster was amphibious. It had to be stopped, for it could attack the whole village! And, if there were others like it… Reysa shuddered at that thought. He grimaced, realizing that the time it would take to fetch a spear, a sword, or any other weapon would be too long.

Once more, the beast seemingly cried, “Vengeance!” Then, it stabbed at the Lightstone with its spear. The crystal crumbled to dust, its light immediately extinguished. A swipe of its claw, and one of the shrine’s stone pillars was knocked over.

Reysa, struggling to see in the newfound darkness, found himself overtaken by fear and fled. As he did so, he glanced over his shoulder at the shrine. His eyes, slowly adapting to the shadows, could barely make out the outline of the monster as it bent down, picked something up, and left.

*****


“No!” shouted Ehlek from his vantage point.

With haste, he swam towards the air bubble containing the shrine. Although he did not dare to enter the bubble, he could see even from his position that the shrine was in ruins. Worst of all, one particular artifact was missing.

“The Noble Kanohi,” Ehlek hissed, gritting his pincers. “It’s gone.” Angered, he shot his head in the direction that the thief had gone and began to pursue. He came to an abrupt halt as his cautious nature got the better of him.

He vaguely recalled that the reptilian creature that stole the Kanohi was called a Zyglak. That name triggered memories and warnings of the vengeful beast said to carry a disease that could destroy organic Protodermis. To pursue the Zyglak would risk contact with this disease, and Ehlek knew this would be a foolish action.

Sighing, Ehlek continued to stare in the direction the Zyglak had gone. Perhaps this is a good thing, he thought. The Zyglak will likely destroy the Kanohi, which is what I would have wanted. I should feel content.

Still, he did not feel satisfied. He expected pleasure, but only felt disappointment. As Ehlek swam away from Mahri Nui, he did so with only half a heart.

*****


Ehlek knew he was mad, seeking Takadox for advice. He considered going to the other Barraki, but realized none of them were good candidates. Pridak is too self-obsessed, Carapar is a moron, Mantax would not care, and “emotion” is a foreign language to Kalmah.

As much as Ehlek hated to admit it, Takadox was the only Barraki who could understand his feelings and possibly help him. Still, Ehlek knew to be very careful, for Takadox’s “help” could easily be fatal.

Cautiously, Ehlek entered a sea cave and swam through a tunnel fit for undersea worms. He felt a chill down his spine as he approached the tunnel’s occupant. Takadox sat upon the rock floor with his legs folded and his eyes shut in some form of meditation.

Ehlek loudly cleared his throat, averting his gaze even as the other being opened his eyes and looked at the newcomer. “Why… have you come?” hissed Takadox.

“Here’s dinner,” muttered Ehlek as he handed over several deceased sea squids. He was careful to avoid making eye contact with Takadox, whose hypnotic vision could bend anyone to his will.

Takadox frowned upon the dead squids with distaste. “They’re cold. I prefer my meat fresh.”

“Then get up off your rock and fetch your meals yourself!” snapped Ehlek. “Unlike Carapar, I am not your slave!”

Takadox laughed. “You want something from me, don’t you?” he inquired as his bit one of the squids.

Ehlek was silent, already reconsidering his decision to seek Takadox for advice.

“You failed in your petty mission to destroy that Noble Kanohi,” murmured Takadox. “And now, you are left uneasy and confused, with your violent emotions and reasonable caution conflicting against one another like two enemy armies.”

Ehlek scowled. “It’s not a petty mission!” he growled. “It is far more significant than that! And… how did you know that?”

Takadox chuckled. “You’re easy to read. Besides, psychology was always one of my skills. So, did the Matoran chase you off with their Hydruka?”

Hot with anger, Ehlek snapped, “No Matoran or Hydruka could stop me! It was a Zyglak!”

Upon hearing the name of the Great Beings’ mistakes, Takadox became suddenly intrigued. He thought things over while he chewed the sea squids. This would have worried a calmed Ehlek, but Takadox’s rhetoric had been engineered to give Ehlek’s violent emotions dominance over his rational caution.

At last, Takadox smiled darkly. “After planning for so long to attack this shrine and destroy this Kanohi, you’ve been robbed of this opportunity and, thus, your revenge. Your personal vendetta against Mahri Nui leads me to believe that this revenge would only be yours if the Matoran could see you, and not some Zyglak, destroy it.”

“Thank you for stating the obvious,” muttered Ehlek, though Takadox’s suggestion helped him realize his own internal conflict.

Takadox did not let this comment deter him, and he continued to smile. “It is not too late, you know. The Zyglak will likely be returning to its clan, but it will take its time and be in no hurry. After all, it perceives no danger, for who would dare attack a Zyglak?”

Upon hearing this theory, Ehlek forgot his caution in his excitement, brandished his Tri-Talons, and laughed menacingly. “Then I shall pursue that miserable creature and take the Kanohi from its cold, dead hands! Forget its disease – I’m not afraid of any disease! I’ll send word for my lieutenant, Nocturn; he’ll help me in killing the beast. Then, I shall return to Mahri Nui, crush the Kanohi, then crush every single Mator-”

“No,” Takadox slowly shook his head. “You will not kill the Matoran. They may play a vital role in our lives one day. Perhaps one day they will find means to escape… then again, that may not matter to you. Of all of us, you are the only one who considers the Pit your home.”

Ehlek stiffened. “The sea is my home. The Pit is my prison! As long as Mahri Nui stands, I share your contempt for the Pit.” He paused, then added: “Very well. I will not kill all the Matoran... but they will feel my hate. They will fear me!” With that, Ehlek turned to leave.

“Hold,” Takadox raised his hand. “Do not leave yet, for I have one final word of advice.”

Ehlek snorted. “Which is…?”

Takadox smiled maliciously, his sunken red eyes gleaming. “Remember, Ehlek. Sometimes, the most effective way of instilling fear… is by showing mercy.”

*****


Furious, Reysa slammed his hand down upon the table. “How could they?” he shouted, releasing his anger. “I cannot believe they are just going to let that monster get away!”

Immediately after the attack, Reysa had told the Matoran Council of the monster that destroyed the shrine and took the revered Kanohi. Unfortunately, it was unanimously decided that, while the Kanohi was indeed sacred and important to the Matoran, the sea and its inhabitants were far too dangerous to send out a search party.

Reysa felt emotions stir up inside him. Anger… frustration… sadness… and above all, a sense of hopelessness. The creature had attacked a sacred shrine; was the entire Mahri Nui the next target? In addition, the shock of the stolen Kanohi was just too much for Reysa. He felt like it was an insult to all the Mahri Nui Matoran had worked for, and a bad omen of things to come.

Still, Reysa knew that life in Mahri Nui had to go on, for the sake of the Matoran. Embittered, he left his hut and released four Hydruka from their pen. Two of them, Morak and Thulox, were his, while the other two were loaned to him from a Po-Matoran friend. “Safe hour” had come, and with it came Reysa’s duty to guard the harvesting Hydruka…

The Hydruka

Reysa watched the two nearest Hydruka, Thulox and Morak. They were both armed with a natural air bubble launcher on their tails, and perhaps if there was more Airweed beyond the Fields of Air…

He smiled as an idea dawned upon him. It’s foolish and probably will result in my death, thought Reysa, but as I always say, it’s better than no plan at all… and better than letting that monster get away with the Noble Kanohi.

With that, he grabbed a Lightstone and led the four Hydruka in the direction that the Zyglak had gone.

*****


“There you are…” Ehlek smiled darkly, watching from his position on the undersea cliff.

Then, he glanced around anxiously and cursed softly to himself. “Where is Nocturn?” he muttered. “That walking muscle should be here by now!”

Still, although his lieutenant had yet to arrive, Ehlek felt he was ready. As Takadox had predicted, the Zyglak was in no hurry to return to its clan, and Ehlek managed to find the creature not too far from Mahri Nui, wandering through an isolated patch of Airweed in a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by cliffs.

Airweed, thought Ehlek. That might be a problem if the Zyglak can figure out how to use it against me. It might also be difficult to fight with so much foliage to obstruct my vision. Perhaps I should wait for it to leave the patch…

Ehlek cursed again – he was letting his cautious nature get the better of him. Still, he knew that it was his rational caution that kept his emotions in check. Thus, he decided to wait on the cliff until the proper moment.

Suddenly, he noticed a bright light in the corner of his eye.

Glancing in that direction, he was surprised to see a Lightstone held by an Onu-Matoran surrounded by four Hydruka. The Onu-Matoran was the same one who had been at the shrine, and had entered the valley clearly in pursuit of the Zyglak. The Hydruka were carrying leaves of Airweed in their jaws, evidently to provide their master with extra air.

That fool will light up the whole area, frowned Ehlek. The Zyglak may spot me before I strike. Besides… I could use something to sharpen my claws. With that, Ehlek descended into the valley and swam swiftly towards the Onu-Matoran.

The Hydruka spotted him first. A second later, a solid air bubble hit him, and Ehlek felt the world spin as he inhaled the toxic air.

Struggling to regain his composure, he continued to swim towards the Matoran even as the Hydruka continued to launch air bubbles at him. Displaying incredible agility, Ehlek dodged these projectiles.

Just as Ehlek was nearly upon his prey, the Onu-Matoran turned in his direction.

Acting quickly, Ehlek slashed with his Tri-Talons, instantly destroying the Lightstone and throwing the valley into darkness. This would limit the villager to only seeing a tooth, a claw, or a pair of glowing eyes; keeping the Barraki hidden in shadow would allow the Matoran’s imagination to conjure up an even more frightening image.

Ehlek noticed one of the Hydruka preparing to fire another air bubble at him. A second swipe of his Tri-Talons, and the Hydruka was beheaded. Its kin hissed in fright and backed away from Ehlek.

Smiling maliciously, Ehlek prepared to dispatch the Onu-Matoran when he heard a chilling voice cry out: “This Matoran is mine!”

Ehlek spun around and saw the Zyglak charging at him, carrying a spear in one claw and the Noble Kanohi in the other claw. Instantly, Ehlek dove out of the way.

The Zyglak ran past him and planted one end of its spear in the side of a second Hydruka, and then the Rahi was no more. As the Zyglak prepared to strike again, Ehlek snatched the Kanohi out of its grasp.

Angered, the Zyglak hissed at Ehlek and thrust its spear in the Barraki’s direction.

Ehlek maneuvered the attack and followed up with one of his own. Bolts of electricity shot out from his spines and struck the Zyglak. To Ehlek’s shock, the Zyglak simply shrugged off the attack.

The Onu-Matoran and the two remaining Hydruka immediately swam for the Airweed patch.

The Zyglak pounced upon Ehlek, attempting to impale the Barraki with its lethal spear. Careful to avoid making direct contact with the Zyglak, Ehlek grabbed the spear’s shaft and threw the Zyglak off.

He fired more electricity at the Zyglak, but the effects were still the same.

When the Zyglak once again thrust its spear towards Ehlek, this time Ehlek jumped to the side and slashed with his Tri-Talons, shredding the weapon to pieces.

The Zyglak tossed aside the broken remains of its spear and slashed with its own claws.

Ehlek just barely jumped out of the way in time, and once more tried electricity to no avail. Ehlek’s eyes widened as cold fear took over. I cannot risk making direct contact, he thought, but my electricity does nothing. If the Zyglak lands a blow on me, I’m dead!

Then, Ehlek noticed another being enter the valley. A massive crimson-gunmetal robot he had hoped never to see again, holding a chain that leashed an Energy Hound. Maxilos and Spinax, two guardians of the Pit.

Ehlek cursed to himself; he had forgotten that Maxilos and Spinax patrolled this area. Even if he could defeat the Zyglak, Maxilos would bring certain death… or worse, imprisonment.

Then, an idea dawned upon Ehlek. Without hesitation, he swam towards Maxilos and Spinax. As he expected, the Zyglak pursued him.

“Maxilos!” Ehlek shouted, catching the robot’s attention. “I am glad that I have found you! An escapee of the Pit is right behind me – you must subdue it!”

He knew that Maxilos would not trust him for an instant, but the prospect of one Pit escapee turning in another was perhaps too good an offer for even Maxilos to refuse.

Dutifully, Maxilos charged towards the Zyglak, swinging its Twin-Bladed Black Fire Sword and firing its devastating Cordak Blaster, with faithful Spinax snarling and running alongside it.

The Zyglak, led into the trap, was caught by surprise by the appearance of these two figures.

Ehlek smiled darkly. Maxilos was the perfect combatant against a Zyglak, for it did not fear the Zyglak’s disease. After all, Maxilos had no organic Protodermis, and it lacked emotions such as fear.

Ehlek watched Maxilos as it knocked the Zyglak down again and again. A well-placed blow to the spine, a loud crack, and the Zyglak screamed in pain. Then, Maxilos grabbed the Zyglak by the neck and slammed it down onto the seafloor. It fired its Cordak Blaster at the cliffs surrounding the valley, and seconds later an underwater landslide buried the Zyglak’s body.

Ehlek suddenly frowned. He realized he was no longer holding the Noble Kanohi; he must have dropped it during the fight with the Zyglak.

Maxilos turned towards its new target: Ehlek. Frightened, Ehlek backed away, but in only a few strides, the massive titan was upon him. Maxilos lifted its Twin-Bladed Black Fire Sword, ready to dispatch the Barraki.

Suddenly, a large figure slammed into Maxilos, knocking the guardian robot off of Ehlek.

Ehlek smiled as he recognized this newcomer to be his lieutenant, Nocturn. Powerful and relentless, Nocturn fared a better chance against Maxilos than Ehlek or the Zyglak.

“Keep Maxilos and its Energy Hound busy,” ordered Ehlek. “I have some business to attend to.” Nocturn nodded and charged towards Maxilos, engaging the robot in combat.

As he swam back towards the Airweed patch, Ehlek paused by the Zyglak. While mostly buried under rubble, the creature’s head was still visible. “Stupid, stupid creature,” Ehlek muttered. “The only thing you live for is revenge.”

Barely alive, the Zyglak looked up at Ehlek. “In that,” it spoke quietly, “we are alike.”

Shivers ran down his spine as Ehlek snarled. “No,” he hissed. “I live for hate. Revenge is but a game I play to sharpen my claws for the day when I escape this prison… this Pit… and claim my rightful place as ruler of the universe. You are nothing. Your life means nothing. Your revenge will mean nothing… but you will never live to see it.”

With that, Ehlek grabbed a rock and slammed it down upon the Zyglak’s head, ending the miserable creature’s life.

When Ehlek returned to the patch of Airweed, he noticed that the Onu-Matoran and his two Hydruka made good use of the plants, since the Matoran’s personal air bubble was still far from depletion. He frowned when he noticed that the Onu-Matoran had recovered the Noble Kanohi.

Angered, Ehlek swam towards the group. Although the Hydruka fired air bubbles at him, he simply ignored the effects. He was determined not to let the Matoran escape with the Kanohi and end everything he had worked for.

As soon as he was close enough, he snatched the Kanohi out of the Matoran’s air bubble. Although his body was mostly obscured by darkness and Airweed, he allowed his eyes and his tri-talon to be visible through the foliage. He tightened his grip, and cracks formed in the Kanohi’s structure.

The Onu-Matoran’s eyes widened as he realized Ehlek’s intent. “No!” he cried. “Stop! You do not realize what you are doing!”

I do, Ehlek thought, in a mixture of mockery and contempt. This Noble Kanohi no doubt belonged to a Turaga that led your pathetic group of Matoran before you came here, crushed my home, and left me zealous for your deaths. It is a revered remnant of a life your village had long ago. You look at it, and you might remember friends, places, and things of your old life, therefore you erected that shrine. Surely, to destroy such a sacred Kanohi would be a heinous crime, for it would cut a wound in your culture so deep you Matoran would never dare step outside your safe little air bubbles again!

With that, he closed his Tri-Talon, crushing the Kanohi in his fist. Then, he raised his other Tri-Talon, this time to shred this Onu-Matoran to pieces. Surprisingly, he hesitated, for Takadox’s words came back to him.

“Sometimes, the most effective way of instilling fear… is by showing mercy.”

Ehlek realized that, if he killed this Onu-Matoran, there would be nobody left to tell the frightening tale of what lurked in the deep. Even if nobody believed the Onu-Matoran, the rumor of horrors from the Pit would effectively keep Mahri Nui in fear, never knowing when Ehlek would strike again.

At last, after a few seconds that seemed to last a thousand years, Ehlek lowered his talon. He glared at the Onu-Matoran, his cold eyes piercing into the Matoran’s heart.

Go, he thought, as though commanding the Matoran. Return to Mahri Nui with the knowledge of the horrors in the deep. Enjoy your life… and fear every day of it.

Without a second’s delay, Reysa turned and fled in the direction of Mahri Nui. His two surviving Hydruka, Morak and Thulox, followed. Ehlek silently watched them leave, feeling content for the first time in months.

Ehlek would never know the identity of the Turaga who once wore this Noble Kanohi Kadin. He would never know that this Turaga was once a Toa of Magnetism, who had once journeyed long ago on a quest to save the universe. He would never know that this Toa’s quest involved a legendary Kanohi.

But, one day Ehlek would know that this legendary Kanohi would change the lives of the Barraki forever.

EDIT 05/25/10: Added section detailing Ehlek considering the other Barraki, turned Ehlek's ending speech into thought, fixed typos and other errors pointed out by members.
EDIT 06/02/10: Fixed Ehlek's referring to Spinax by name, made minor wording alterations to reduce word count.
EDIT 06/03/10: Fixed two typos.
EDIT 02/08/11: Revised Takadox's section, turned a line of Reysa's dialogue into thought, reformatted the action sequence, and mentioned Ehlek hiding in foliage near the end.

This post has been edited by PeabodySam: Feb 8 2011, 07:57 PM


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Toa Makao
post Apr 18 2010, 03:52 PM
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This is excellent! Though, the Maxilo are like brand of robots used by the OoMN, not just one robot. And how would Ehlek be able to identify Spinax; all Maxilos robots have Energy Hounds.


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2008: Phantoka: 6/6 Matoran: 6/6 Mistika: 6/6 Titans: 3/4 Vehicles: 2/5
2009: Glatorian 12/12 Oversized "Toa" 1/1 Agori 6/6 Titans 2/2 Vehicles 5/5
2010: Stars 6/6
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Masterweaver
post Apr 19 2010, 10:19 AM
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Makao, you're wrong on that point; the energy hound belonged to Hydraxon.

But I agree this story is wonderfully written and a fitting entry to the competition. There are a few grammar hiccups where word flow jolts, but nothing that can't be smoothed over. It's a shame I'm not an official judge type person.

Although, and this is just me, I would have loved for the Zyglak to call the matoran a serf. More tribal.
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Toa Makao
post Apr 19 2010, 10:48 AM
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QUOTE(Masterweaver @ Apr 19 2010, 03:19 PM) *
Makao, you're wrong on that point; the energy hound belonged to Hydraxon.

But I agree this story is wonderfully written and a fitting entry to the competition. There are a few grammar hiccups where word flow jolts, but nothing that can't be smoothed over. It's a shame I'm not an official judge type person.

Although, and this is just me, I would have loved for the Zyglak to call the matoran a serf. More tribal.

Whether it was Hydraxon's or not, there were, and to my knowledge; are, still several more in the Pit that were kept by the Maxilos robots, so it's unlikely Ehlek would be able to identify Spinax from the rest.


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2008: Phantoka: 6/6 Matoran: 6/6 Mistika: 6/6 Titans: 3/4 Vehicles: 2/5
2009: Glatorian 12/12 Oversized "Toa" 1/1 Agori 6/6 Titans 2/2 Vehicles 5/5
2010: Stars 6/6
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LewaLew
post Apr 19 2010, 11:19 AM
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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.

1) The meeting between Takadox and Ehlek does not seem to match their personalities--particularly Takadox. Why would the Barakki who is always out for himself (as is proven by his betrayal of the other Barakki to the Brotherhood of Makuta) even care about Ehlek's predicament, and why would Ehlek go to Takadox? Sure, he may have gotten Takadox lunch, but they've got entire armies to do that. In addition, having a conversation with Takadox would probably result in hypnotism rather than true assistance, and psychology was never stated to be one of Takadox's skills, although it does make sense, with the whole hypnotism thing.

2) Reysa sees Ehlek up close and personal, and does not get hypnotized/amnesia/death or anything like that which erases the memory or prevents him from spreading the message.


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PeabodySam
post Apr 19 2010, 11:46 AM
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QUOTE(Toa Makao @ Apr 18 2010, 03:52 PM) *
Though, the Maxilo are like brand of robots used by the OoMN, not just one robot. And how would Ehlek be able to identify Spinax; all Maxilos robots have Energy Hounds.

True. However, Ehlek never truly recognizes this Maxilos as a specific Maxilos, he just recognizes it as a Maxilos. Also, while the story identifies Spinax's identity, this is more for the purposes of informing the reader. Ehlek himself never refers to Spinax by name.

QUOTE(Masterweaver @ Apr 19 2010, 10:19 AM) *
There are a few grammar hiccups where word flow jolts, but nothing that can't be smoothed over.

Would you be so kind as to point out these hiccups so I may correct them?

QUOTE(LewaLew @ Apr 19 2010, 11:19 AM) *
1) The meeting between Takadox and Ehlek does not seem to match their personalities--particularly Takadox. Why would the Barakki who is always out for himself (as is proven by his betrayal of the other Barakki to the Brotherhood of Makuta) even care about Ehlek's predicament, and why would Ehlek go to Takadox? Sure, he may have gotten Takadox lunch, but they've got entire armies to do that. In addition, having a conversation with Takadox would probably result in hypnotism rather than true assistance, and psychology was never stated to be one of Takadox's skills, although it does make sense, with the whole hypnotism thing.

2) Reysa sees Ehlek up close and personal, and does not get hypnotized/amnesia/death or anything like that which erases the memory or prevents him from spreading the message.

I thought it would make perfect sense for Ehlek to seek counseling from Takadox. Takadox, being a traitor, is a manipulator. To be a manipulator, he has to have a strong understanding of people and how they think. While the official storyline never explicitly states that Takadox is a psychologist, I'd say that he fits the definition rather well due to these reasons.

If you read between the lines, who says Takadox actually was helping Ehlek? Think about it. Takadox the traitor just convinced Ehlek to hunt down a Zyglak, a potentially suicidal task. If Maxilos and Spinax had not conveniently shown up, Ehlek would be dead. Takadox probably had this in mind, but played on Ehlek's feelings to get him to chase after the Zyglak. Then, there would be one less Barraki in the world for Takadox to deal with.

As for why Ehlek would go to Takadox, Ehlek had mixed feelings and was confused about them. He got what he wanted, but he felt discontent. Therefore, go to the pseudo-psychologist. Also, since Takadox is considered the wisest of the Barraki, it would make sense that others may go to him for help.

The story explicitly mentions that Ehlek avoided making eye contact with Takadox during the entire conversation, which is how he avoided hypnotism.

Also, the story mentions that while Reysa was very close to Ehlek, he barely saw anything. He carried a Lightstone with him, but then Ehlek destroyed the Lightstone, thus blinding Reysa. If you're carrying a lamp in a deep, dark forest, then a werewolf suddenly knocks the lamp out of your hand, and the lamp goes out, would you be able to see the werewolf? Even if you allowed your eyes to adjust to the darkness, you would only see the general shape of the werewolf, and maybe a tooth or a claw, but you would be unable to make out details. Same thing with Reysa and Ehlek.


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LewaLew
post Apr 19 2010, 12:01 PM
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QUOTE(PeabodySam @ Apr 19 2010, 10:46 AM) *
QUOTE(LewaLew @ Apr 19 2010, 11:19 AM) *
1) The meeting between Takadox and Ehlek does not seem to match their personalities--particularly Takadox. Why would the Barakki who is always out for himself (as is proven by his betrayal of the other Barakki to the Brotherhood of Makuta) even care about Ehlek's predicament, and why would Ehlek go to Takadox? Sure, he may have gotten Takadox lunch, but they've got entire armies to do that. In addition, having a conversation with Takadox would probably result in hypnotism rather than true assistance, and psychology was never stated to be one of Takadox's skills, although it does make sense, with the whole hypnotism thing.

2) Reysa sees Ehlek up close and personal, and does not get hypnotized/amnesia/death or anything like that which erases the memory or prevents him from spreading the message.

I thought it would make perfect sense for Ehlek to seek counseling from Takadox. Takadox, being a traitor, is a manipulator. To be a manipulator, he has to have a strong understanding of people and how they think. While the official storyline never explicitly states that Takadox is a psychologist, I'd say that he fits the definition rather well due to these reasons.

If you read between the lines, who says Takadox actually was helping Ehlek? Think about it. Takadox the traitor just convinced Ehlek to hunt down a Zyglak, a potentially suicidal task. If Maxilos and Spinax had not conveniently shown up, Ehlek would be dead. Takadox probably had this in mind, but played on Ehlek's feelings to get him to chase after the Zyglak. Then, there would be one less Barraki in the world for Takadox to deal with.

As for why Ehlek would go to Takadox, Ehlek had mixed feelings and was confused about them. He got what he wanted, but he felt discontent. Therefore, go to the pseudo-psychologist. Also, since Takadox is considered the wisest of the Barraki, it would make sense that others may go to him for help.

The story explicitly mentions that Ehlek avoided making eye contact with Takadox during the entire conversation, which is how he avoided hypnotism.

Also, the story mentions that while Reysa was very close to Ehlek, he barely saw anything. He carried a Lightstone with him, but then Ehlek destroyed the Lightstone, thus blinding Reysa. If you're carrying a lamp in a deep, dark forest, then a werewolf suddenly knocks the lamp out of your hand, and the lamp goes out, would you be able to see the werewolf? Even if you allowed your eyes to adjust to the darkness, you would only see the general shape of the werewolf, and maybe a tooth or a claw, but you would be unable to make out details. Same thing with Reysa and Ehlek.


I still don't think that would work. The way I see it, Ehlek shouldn't go to Takadox for one main reason: Ehlek is not Carapar. He is just as smart as any other Barakki, and all of them, including Carapar, have the good sense not to trust Takadox without a second opinion or something like that. Takadox is too good at manipulating others, even without hypnotism, and all the Barakki know it.

As for Reysa and Ehlek's meeting, it's less that he might see Ehlek that worries me, more that he heard Ehlek's voice. Knowing that there are other intelligent beings out there is bad enough. They are not supposed to know anything about the Barakki. Sure, Reysa could have mistaken it for a Zyglak, but Zyglak always kill Matoran. Zyglak prefer dead Matoran over fearful ones. In addition, they heard a small amount of Ehlek's backstory (destruction of his home when Mahri Nui fell and so forth) That's just a little too much. I would encourage using some method of symbolism instead.

This post has been edited by LewaLew: Apr 19 2010, 12:03 PM


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Masterweaver
post Apr 19 2010, 01:31 PM
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It's just general things. A good rule of thumb is never to use the same exact verb or noun in adjacent sentences. Also, thoughts don't tend towards phrases like "in addition." They're swifter, more "And they could."

About the Takadox thing, you could have Ehlek mentally eliminate the other barraki and be very, very cautious about Takadox's words. Maybe even have Takadox say, "But that's just me manipulating you."
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X-Ray
post Apr 19 2010, 10:02 PM
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I really like your writing style. I noticed ONE spelling mistake, and maybe a few grammatical errors. The whole Takadox=shrink thing makes sense to me, but the confrontation between Reysa and Ehlek could be downplayed a bit. And from what I've read on Ehlek, he would more likely kill Reysa, tie his body to Thulox or Morak, and send them back with it. But other than that, this is superb.

Sincerely, X-Ray.


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PeabodySam
post May 2 2010, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE(LewaLew @ Apr 19 2010, 12:01 PM) *
I still don't think that would work. The way I see it, Ehlek shouldn't go to Takadox for one main reason: Ehlek is not Carapar. He is just as smart as any other Barakki, and all of them, including Carapar, have the good sense not to trust Takadox without a second opinion or something like that. Takadox is too good at manipulating others, even without hypnotism, and all the Barakki know it.

As for Reysa and Ehlek's meeting, it's less that he might see Ehlek that worries me, more that he heard Ehlek's voice. Knowing that there are other intelligent beings out there is bad enough. They are not supposed to know anything about the Barakki. Sure, Reysa could have mistaken it for a Zyglak, but Zyglak always kill Matoran. Zyglak prefer dead Matoran over fearful ones. In addition, they heard a small amount of Ehlek's backstory (destruction of his home when Mahri Nui fell and so forth) That's just a little too much. I would encourage using some method of symbolism instead.

True, Ehlek would likely know better than to trust Takadox's advice, but I do like Masterweaver's idea.

Well, as for your second point, I've had a long PM conversation with GregF about this. In brief, I was hoping that if I could rationalize my idea of Ehlek speaking to Reysa, GregF would give approval for it. I was unsuccessful, but it seems that if Ehlek keeps his mouth shut, GregF thinks it may work. At least, that's the impression I got from his most recent PMs. If you want to read the PM conversation, here it is, put in spoilers for the convenience who don't want to scroll through a bunch of quotes.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


QUOTE(Masterweaver @ Apr 19 2010, 01:31 PM) *
It's just general things. A good rule of thumb is never to use the same exact verb or noun in adjacent sentences. Also, thoughts don't tend towards phrases like "in addition." They're swifter, more "And they could."

About the Takadox thing, you could have Ehlek mentally eliminate the other barraki and be very, very cautious about Takadox's words. Maybe even have Takadox say, "But that's just me manipulating you."

Alright, sounds good. I'll look through the entry and see if I can remove those problems.

I do like your suggestion about having Ehlek mentally eliminate the other Barraki as candidates before going to seek advice from Takadox. It would be a short, quick, easy solution to the trusting Takadox problem - Ehlek thinking about each Barraki then thinking of reasons why they could not be a help, reluctantly and cautiously concluding that Takadox is the best answer.

I also take it that you're suggesting that Takadox uses reverse psychology on Ehlek to trick Ehlek into believe that Takadox is not manipulating him, right? I'll consider that.

QUOTE(X-Ray @ Apr 19 2010, 10:02 PM) *
I really like your writing style. I noticed ONE spelling mistake, and maybe a few grammatical errors. The whole Takadox=shrink thing makes sense to me, but the confrontation between Reysa and Ehlek could be downplayed a bit. And from what I've read on Ehlek, he would more likely kill Reysa, tie his body to Thulox or Morak, and send them back with it. But other than that, this is superb.

Sincerely, X-Ray.

Thanks! Would you be so kind as to point out this one spelling mistake? Also, I see the most important part of the entry being Ehlek's decision of overcoming his violent, irrational personality and delivering fear through an even more effective method. This is also why Ehlek must seek advice from Takadox first, as he would never come up with this idea on his own, and it would make more sense for Takadox's words to come echoing back to Ehlek.

-----

So, I'm requesting permission from a judge so I can make the following changes to my entry:

1. I will look through the entry and try correcting any grammar or spelling issues pointed out by my readers.
2. I will add a brief section before Ehlek goes to Takadox, in which Ehlek mentally considers going to the other Barraki and reluctantly decides that Takadox is the best choice.
3. I will change Ehlek's dialogue at the end from speech to thought. He will not say anything to Reysa. Instead, he will think to himself, in a mixture of contempt and mockery, how destroying the mask would be a horrible crime, and then he will think to himself how letting Reysa live will force Reysa to live in fear.

Also, I'm not sure how necessary this would be, but I've noticed nobody has commented on the last sentences of the entry, which indirectly identify the Kanohi as the Noble Kanohi Kadin of Turaga Jovan. I'm wondering if perhaps this is too vague and would require specifically identifying the mask and its wearer as Kadin and Jovan.


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Marvin Trionx
post May 20 2010, 08:39 AM
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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.

First, I give permission for the changes you asked for. (I didn't see that another judge did.)

Second, apart from the issues that LL brought up, (Which seem to be mostly cleared by now) I did notice that at the end that there was this mistake:
QUOTE
Ehlek would ever know the identity of the Turaga who once wore this Noble Kanohi Kadin.


Should be "never" smile.gif

Seems good other than that. Good Luck!

~LT


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PeabodySam
post May 25 2010, 04:09 PM
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Okay, I've finally gotten around to editing my entry. All errors pointed out by LewaLew, Lord Trionx, and other readers have been fixed.

QUOTE(Lord Trionx @ May 20 2010, 08:39 AM) *
Second, apart from the issues that LL brought up, (Which seem to be mostly cleared by now) I did notice that at the end that there was this mistake:
QUOTE
Ehlek would ever know the identity of the Turaga who once wore this Noble Kanohi Kadin.


Should be "never" smile.gif

Wow. How did I ever miss that? I would never have guessed! Well, at least it's fixed now.


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Tikiturbo
post Jun 1 2010, 09:10 PM
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Great story Peabody, I really liked it. Even though we're running against each other, I still think you wrote a pretty awesome story. I only spotted one problem: When Ehlek sees Nocturn and tells him to go after Maxilos and Spinax, he calls them "Maxilos and Spinax". Since you already said that he couldn't have recognized Spinax, maybe you should change it to something like "The dog and the robot" or "Maxilos and his mutt". Besides that, good job and good luck in the contest man.

BTW, does anyone know how contagious the Zyglak virus is?

This post has been edited by Tikiturbo: Jun 1 2010, 09:18 PM


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The First Speake...
post Jun 2 2010, 07:31 AM
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QUOTE(Tikiturbo @ Jun 2 2010, 02:10 PM) *
Great story Peabody, I really liked it. Even though we're running against each other, I still think you wrote a pretty awesome story. I only spotted one problem: When Ehlek sees Nocturn and tells him to go after Maxilos and Spinax, he calls them "Maxilos and Spinax". Since you already said that he couldn't have recognized Spinax, maybe you should change it to something like "The dog and the robot" or "Maxilos and his mutt". Besides that, good job and good luck in the contest man.

BTW, does anyone know how contagious the Zyglak virus is?


The one that eats away organic proto? If it is that I think that it contagies through physicall contact.


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PeabodySam
post Jun 2 2010, 03:59 PM
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QUOTE(Tikiturbo @ Jun 1 2010, 09:10 PM) *
Great story Peabody, I really liked it. Even though we're running against each other, I still think you wrote a pretty awesome story. I only spotted one problem: When Ehlek sees Nocturn and tells him to go after Maxilos and Spinax, he calls them "Maxilos and Spinax". Since you already said that he couldn't have recognized Spinax, maybe you should change it to something like "The dog and the robot" or "Maxilos and his mutt". Besides that, good job and good luck in the contest man.

BTW, does anyone know how contagious the Zyglak virus is?

Thanks, Tikiturbo! I'll be sure to check out your entry! Also, thanks for specifically pointing out that error about Ehlek referring to Spinax by name; since you were the second member to point it out, but the first to actually tell me where this error was, I was able to find it and correct it. As all other instances of Spinax being identified is part of the prose, not the dialogue, I kept assuming there was nothing wrong... but I had forgotten that Ehlek told Nocturn specifically to "Keep Maxilos and Spinax busy". I've changed it to "Keep Maxilos and its Energy Hound busy." Thanks again!

I wasn't sure just how contagious or quick the Zyglak disease is, other than the fact that it spreads through physical contact. But I'm pretty sure that cautious Ehlek did not want to try finding out for himself how contagious it is!

Also, since I was afraid that my entry was getting too long, I decided to shorten it up a bit, mainly through rewording sentences and removing unnecessary phrases. A list containing most of these changes can be found below, put in spoiler tags for the convenience of those who don't want extra scrolling.

» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «


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The First Speake...
post Jun 3 2010, 02:26 PM
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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.

I liked this story a lot! I hope it wins. I'll definately vote it!


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bonesiii 
post Aug 5 2010, 03:31 PM
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QUOTE
Furious, Reysa slammed his hand down upon the table. “How could they?” he shouted, releasing his anger. “I cannot believe they are just going to let that monster get away!”

...

An idea dawned upon him. “I have a plan,” smiled Reysa. “It’s foolish and probably will result in my death… but as I always say, it’s better than no plan at all… and better than letting that monster get away with the Noble Kanohi.”


Who is he talking to? Is he talking out loud? Also, you don't smile a line, you say or think it, smiling. tongue.gif But my advice is to make these thoughts, not having him speak out loud, although the first one does make sense because he is angry.

As for the smiled problem, I recommend something like this; start the paragraph with this:

QUOTE
An idea dawned upon him and he smiled.







QUOTE
Just as Ehlek was nearly upon his prey, the Onu-Matoran turned in his direction. Acting quickly, Ehlek slashed with his Tri-Talons, instantly destroying the Lightstone and throwing the valley into darkness. This would limit the villager to only seeing a tooth, a claw, or a pair of glowing eyes; keeping the Barraki hidden in shadow would allow the Matoran’s imagination to conjure up an even more frightening image.

Ehlek noticed one of the Hydruka preparing to fire another air bubble at him. A second swipe of his Tri-Talons, and the Hydruka was beheaded. Its kin hissed in fright and backed away from Ehlek. Smiling maliciously, Ehlek prepared to dispatch the Onu-Matoran when he heard a chilling voice cry out: “This Matoran is mine!”

Ehlek spun around and saw the Zyglak charging at him, carrying a spear in one claw and the Noble Kanohi in the other claw. Instantly, Ehlek dove out of the way. The Zyglak ran past him and planted one end of its spear in the side of a second Hydruka, and then the Rahi was no more. As the Zyglak prepared to strike again, Ehlek snatched the Kanohi out of its grasp.

Angered, the Zyglak hissed at Ehlek and thrust its spear in the Barraki’s direction. Ehlek maneuvered the attack and followed up with one of his own. Bolts of electricity shot out from his spines and struck the Zyglak. To Ehlek’s shock, the Zyglak simply shrugged off the attack. The Onu-Matoran and the two remaining Hydruka immediately swam for the Airweed patch.

The Zyglak then pounced upon Ehlek, attempting to impale the Barraki with its lethal spear. Careful to avoid making direct contact with the Zyglak, Ehlek grabbed the spear’s shaft and threw the Zyglak off. He fired more electricity at the Zyglak, but the effects were still the same. When the Zyglak once again thrust its spear towards Ehlek, this time Ehlek jumped to the side and slashed with his Tri-Talons, shredding the weapon to pieces.



No major problem with this section, I just wanted to point out that it's all paragraphs of medium, regular size, which isn't very fitting for an intense action scene.

As many one-liner paragraphs as possible, preferably interspersed between the larger paragraphs, makes stories much easier to read, especially in action scenes. In both action and dialogue, preferably when one person does something, then the other person does something else, the second should be in a new paragraph.

Go back and look at your earlier sections; you have a good mix of one-liner paragraphs or two-liners versus the longer ones. Keep that up, is basically what I'm saying. smile.gif



Good comment coming (tongue.gif):
QUOTE
Suddenly, a large figure slammed into Maxilos, knocking the guardian robot off of Ehlek. Ehlek smiled as he recognized this newcomer to be his lieutenant, Nocturn.

Just wanted to praise you for a well-set-up rescue; too many writers would have Nocturn just suddenly arrive, but you made it clear earlier he was coming, so it wasn't Deus Ex Machina. Very good, and I had forgotten lol.

I love the psychology you've got going on throughout this story, revolving well around the title.

About Ehlek and Takadox, even with your edits, I felt it was a bit odd that Ehlek was basically acting as if Takadox was a psychologist he just bought the services of. It wasn't so much the idea but just how much "psychobabble" Takadox pours out, and Ehlek's introduction for why he was going there. I thought the elimination thing worked, but Ehlek still seems to be acting like he's going to see a psychologist versus talking to another villain for strategy advice.

I guess my point is, Ehlek seemed more like a responsible good guy who cares about his emotions and thoughts and stuff -- I find that hard to visualize canonically. I love that your story gets into the psychology, including in this part, I just felt like the way it was stylized didn't fit violent warlords.

But that was the only part that bothered me, and I think you can still fix it. Just tone down Takadox's advice a bit so it sounds more like something a warlord would say. Ehlek's attitude could be changed a bit but it was mostly okay.


I did have a question about the end. Are you saying that because the lightstone was destroyed, Reysa didn't actually see Ehlek at all even at the end? You went out of your way to show that Ehlek broke the lightstone before Reysa saw him clearly (loved that scene, by the way), but then he seems to get face to face with him. Also, let's not forget this is an Onu-Matoran, so he has better night vision.

My advice is to simply answer that question -- have Ehlek mentally reassure himself that Reysa hasn't actually seen him clearly, even at the very end because it's still dark.

Also, you might wanna consider having Ehlek try to stay mostly behind rock formations -- even when he's holding the mask near the end, he could be reaching around a rock so all Reysa would see is his hand. That's up to you though.

This post has been edited by bonesiii: Aug 5 2010, 03:36 PM


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