Here is my entry for the Anniversary contest. Enjoy! vote 4 me 2
I find it quite imperative that I chronicle my adventures here, in this scroll. Very few of my ancestors have done so, and their legends have been lost to time. It is necessary that I write what I am right now, for what I have experienced is a tale beyond compare, one which many could learn from. And so, with my introduction ended, let us begin the history of Racine.
I was born in the three-hundredth year since my people had begun to recognize time. We were quite advanced, with an ingenious system of vines that let us swing above the treacherous floor and the most powerful masks at the time. When I was a young boy my father was recruited for the Ground Force, a subsector of the military charged with guarding our raised villages. Anyone who has visited the jungle would now that it is filled of many a despicable creature, some with fangs the size of a Karuka blade, others with camouflage that would make the best Ice-villager jealous. Irregardless of the fact that it was a dangerous job, in which only a few lasted through, my father accepted the offer and lived his life on the floor. Sadly, he was one of the many who did not survive long in the occupation. I was in my tenth year.
From that moment on I was forced to provide for my mother, who had come under a terrible depression since my father had passed away. I had to leave school and become a vine collector, retrieving possible plantlife that could be used to replace the vine system should it become too old and weak. However, this was not enough to support the both of us, and I was forced to go hungry many of the restless nights. The only thing that made my eternal misery bearable was the rich song and dance of my people. On very few occasions we had no music, no quick footed Teruan dancing and singing in the moonlight. The parties and light-hearted ways of my people made my life of neverending pain and suffering turn into a positive and friendly one.
It was at these social gatherings that I met my best friend and current village doctor Seruta. He was a tall and thin Teruan, with a smile that would woo even the women with the coldest of hearts. It was he who first introduced me to my wife Reteka, with whom I have been married for many years.
It was at a short time before my marriage that the most amazing occurrence in my life took place. I remember it quite clearly. It was a bright and beautiful day. The sun dripped down the jungle leaves and sprayed the wooden decks of my village with a pleasant yellow light. Everyone in the village was in a melancholy mood however, for today was the day when the village elder would choose who would go to represent us in the yearly villager conference. He had been too sick as of late to travel on his own. At about noon, everyone in the entire region had arrived by the vine system to see who he would choose. The sickly man stood up to a podium, using an oak cane to support his diseased body. Out of his robes he produced a small piece of papyrus.
“It is a great honor to cough appear in front of cough you all today, brothers and sisters. As you all cough know, today is the day for me to choose who will represent cough the region of jungle in this year’s conference. The Teruan who I have chosen is cough strong, intelligent, wise beyond his years, and cough a hard worker. The Teruan who is to cough represent us in this year’s conference is-” One of his bodyguards whispered in his ear. He nodded and turned to face us again. “The representative, my friends, cough is Racine of the southern village.
The congregation went dead silent. I recall feeling the stare of hundreds of eyes on me.
“Come up, Racine.” The elder motioned for me to join him on the podium. When I had navigated through the crowd he whispered to me. “Say something inspiring. I cough have to get back to my bed. I can’t stay up here any longer.”
I stood stock still in front of my fellow citizens. My tongue had been stopped still. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity at the time, I was able to speak.
“My fellow regionmen...and women, um, I, um, would like to say a few words.” The area was still silent. “It is my pleasure to represent us in the conference. Even though I know the journey will be difficult, I am proud to, um, come before the other Teruans of Okoto and impress them this year. Thank you.” As I exited the stage I raced to the vine system. Reporters followed close behind me, asking me how I felt and what I was going to say. The truth was, I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t thought for one second that I would have to leave behind everything that I knew. Seruta, my mother, Reteka, my people as a whole. Why would he choose me? He knew that I had a hard life as it was right now, now he was forcing me to leave it all behind and travel across the most dangerous terrain in all of Okoto to talk with a few bickering elders. None of them could agree on what to do. That was why we still had the regions, as opposed to just having one nation on the island. As I swung back to my southern home, I began to notice something following me. I turned around to see… Seruta.
“Go away,” I said. “I don’t want to see anyone right now.”
“Yes you do. You know you do. You’re going to need someone to go along with you if you expect to survive down there.”
“You’re going to go with me?”
“Tradition can eat my mask. To Makuta with the village elders ways.”
“Who would say that you could go with me? You know how they say goodbye. Everyone gathers together and pretends like you’re going to make it there. Down inside they know that we won’t return. If you try to leave with me, the Ground Force will undoubtedly stop you.” I started to swing again. Seruta followed close behind.
“I don’t care. I know you won’t make it alone, and so do you. I’ll just sneak down and meet you off the trail. You know I could drop off of the vine system.”
“Seruta, no matter how many they send no one makes it on the floor unless they have the power of an elder mask. You’ll just get killed with me.” I nearly lost my grip on a vine. Luckily enough I caught myself.
“Who said that we didn’t have an elder mask?”
“What? You stole it!”
“I didn’t steal it, I picked it up for you. If you had stayed around a bit longer, you would have heard about what happened to the elder.”
“He didn’t make it to his room. He’s gone, Racine, and he’s passed the torch on to you.”
“So now the southern village is the capital of the jungle region and I’m an elder at the age of 20. Go figure.”
“I’m going to be a doctor, Racine. In just a few years I’ll be your right-hand man. Just say that this is a way for us to bond before I end up at your side.”
I swung into the port that lead to the southern village. “When do I leave?”
“Now, if you want to make it in time.” I groaned.
“I’ve got to tell my mother,” I said as I headed towards my house. Seruta stopped me.
“She can’t handle knowing you’re going onto the floor. She’s sick enough as it is, and both you and I know she wouldn’t last if she was anxious about you traipsing around down there.” He lowered his voice. “She’d kill you if she found out you’re going with me.”
“You’re probably right Seruta. But she’s my mother. All she’s got is me, and I can’t go without letting her know that I’ll be leaving. No doubt she’ll hear about it eventually, might as well get it over with.”
Seruta was getting very angry. “No. You’re not going to do it, you’ll be the end of her Racine.” His voice had something to it, something that convinced me to listen.
“Alright,” I sighed. “Just let me grab some stuff at my house.”
“I’m going with you. To make sure you don’t tell her anything about what’s happening.”
We both went to my house and grabbed some of my most important possessions, along with my father’s dagger. There was no doubt it would come in handy.
In just a few minutes I was on my way, and Seruta had left to follow me via vine system. About one mile in, he dropped down from a tree and walked beside me. The cheers of the villagers had long since died down. Now there was no doubt they were mourning what was sure to be a premature death.
Luckily enough, we weren’t attacked at all that day. We did hear the growls of a Veriki bear behind us, but it never emerged from its hiding place. We made good progress, too, almost twice as much as was expected. The new elder mask took some getting used to, since it was a good deal larger than most of the other masks at home. Seruta entertained me by singing the anthem of the jungle region, a chant which had the uncanny ability to make plant life sway, if only a little bit. We shot a Worsi deer and roasted it over a fire. There was enough meat to feed the both of us for two or three days, and that it did.
That night a few birds decided to perch on our tent. Their silhouettes were beautiful, each of their long flowing feathers illuminated by the silver light of the moon. I could do nothing but stare in awe at the magnificence created by the jungle, which I very rarely saw despite what my job would imply. The night, much like the day, was uneventful.
Seruta, being the lazy Muaka he was, slept in too much. We got off to a late start and made barely over our quota that day. I could not decide if that was attributed to him sleeping late or to the fact that, when heading up a hill, I had dropped a pack containing our cooking supplies, which we had to gather afterwards.
That night we came upon a pack of deer, which surrounded our campsite and pranced around to show their dominance to these new visitors to their land. Seruta and I laughed as we reheated the deer from the night. I couldn’t help but think how grim this would be if the deer had any way of recognizing that we were eaten one of their kind. It decided to rain, and the loud pattering of the drops kept me up all night.
Despite the fact that I didn’t get any rest we still made impressive ground. Setura mused that perhaps the reason that the estimates for travel were so high was because all of the other elders were old, feeble men who couldn’t carry their own weight half of the time. I smiled a bit, and he grinned in return, knowing that his joke had been received. I was glad to have such a good friend, one who would support me despite the fact that I had been given such a high ranking position at a very young age. Most Teruan would find it impossible to not be jealous.
That night marked the first in which we would find the true danger of the jungle. A pack of Yuv began to circle us, eying the last scraps of deer. I lit a piece of bark on fire, which frightened them enough to make them leave us alone. The two of us were forced to stand guard due to the fact that they were very likely to come back. As I stood guard I heard something come up behind me. I spun around just in time to see one of the beasts leap for my head. I knew if it got me, the others would swarm me until I was ripped to shreds. I pulled out the dagger and pierced it into their heart. I shouted for Setura to get out here, and he staggered out, his own dagger in hand. I estimated that there were about a dozen other creatures lurking in the dark. All at once, they charged the two of us. I managed to fend off about three, but one bit me on the calf. I fell down in pain as Setura attempted to rip the fiend off of me. I plunged a dagger into its jaw, and it fell down limp. Setura was now facing down six Yuves, with one knife and an injured ally. However, I remembered in the knick of time that my mask was the most powerful in the region. I swarmed the beasts with thick, thorny vines that tied them to the ground. All of a sudden, the action died down. Setura gave me a deep look and then said,”So I guess I’m carrying you tomorrow, then.” He both laughed.
“I guess so.”
The next day, he did, in fact, carry me. We made half of the ground we needed to, but our meeting place was within sight now. It was once a majestic, bustling city with a knack for commerce and international trading. Beings from all over the world had come to buy and sell their goods. Ever since the battle between the brothers, though, it had slowly died out, until it had become just one of the many relics in the region of jungle. A few Teruan were still there, cleaning and dusting off the monuments to the once legendary marketplace. I couldn’t help but whisper a prayer to the gods that one day Ekimu would awake from his slumber. I stayed up all night watching from afar, looking and pondering what it would have been like to live a hundred years ago and see the majestic city. He knew there was a way to do it, but it was far too dangerous. The mask of time had destroyed the future several times, causing cataclysms and horrific changes.
Setura woke up early, for once, and grabbed me. “Hey, elder-boy. Wake up, I wanna be the first ones there.”
“Why? There’s nothing special about that.”
“It’ll set a precedent, for an all-new age of rulers. Maybe it’ll shock ‘em so much, they’ll croak.”
“Setura, that’s a terrible thing to say.” Both of us knew that it would be for the better, though. The elders were stubborn corrupt old men who didn’t have a clue how to reunite the regions after the Great Darkening. Ever since I had left on this journey, I was worried not only if it would end up being my responsibility to unite the six, or whether I would fail and become just as untrustworthy as these others. I had a destiny, my father said, to do something great. But would it be for dark, or for light?
That day came with a steep climb up a rocky cliff, which was riddled with loose stones and footholds that slipped away as fast as a Burdle worm. Somehow, possibly with the help of the gods, we made it up without falling to a death. And once we were up, I saw a horrifying sight. The city was broken, the metal was rusting, the stone crumbling. The historic bridge that connected the city to the majority of Okoto had broken down a great deal.
“How much work have they been doing on this place? It’s a rathole.”
“I don’t know Setura, but I’d suspect something isn’t quite right.” We ran across the bridge, excited but worried about finally seeing the ancient city. When we got to the other side, we saw a sign above an arch that read, “Here Lies the Great City of Okoto, Home of the Brothers and Place of Peace. All Those Who Tread Here Are Friends.” So much had changed since then, with the creation of the Mask of Ultimate Power and the battle for control of the island. No longer was this a place of peace, this was a place of suffering and growing darkness.
“Setura, I have a bad feeling about this city.”
“Me too, friend, but who’s to say that Ekimu didn’t when he first came here? Maybe this could be your first initiative: Rebuild Okoto 300. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”
“Setura, this is no laughing matter.” I clenched my fist in anger at how the other elders had let this city rot. “I’m going to change this city, even if it kills me.”
“Frankly, Racine, I don’t think that we could do it without the help of the Toa.” He looked at what had once been the mask forge. “And Ekimu knows how hard it will be to convince the other protectors. I nodded in agreement. Then I heard it. A slow, malicious sound, like leaves blowing through a fire. Slowly I turned to face the source of the noise and I saw something that I will never forget.
It was the Lord of the Skull Spiders, a creature that was thought to have been killed in the early days of the ancient city.
Both Setura and I unsheathed our daggers and pointed them at the sinister creature. It merely spat on the ground and charged us. We knew that we could never stand a chance against something that even challenged the might of Ekimu. We hid behind a fallen piece of stone. The spider looked for us.
“Well, at least he isn’t a genius,” Setura noted.
“I want you to distract him, I’m going to try and attack.” Setura looked at me. His eyes seemed to say, Seriously? You’re insane as an Ice Bat. I countered with a stern look.
“Oh no it’s a spider someone help me please,” he said without enthusiasm. I sneaked behind the spider, which had begun to charge Setura, and threw my blade. It bounce off of his hard exoskeleton and hit a rock above him. I crashed down and opened to reveal… a mask. It looked like that of a skull spider’s body. The Lord gave a noise that implied happiness at the finding. I gasped as it picked it up and used it to summon an entire massive swarm that filled the city. I grabbed Setura by the arm and ran from the army of spiders. They were right on our heels as we sprinted as fast as we could. We could see a carriage carrying the fire elder headed to the city. We headed in its direction and hopped on, ordering for the driver to head back. The elder yelled at us to get out, but once he noticed the army of spiders and my mask he complied with our commands. We doubled back at breakneck speed. After about a blip of chasing the Lord ordered the spiders to stop. The fire elder and I sent messengers to warn the others of the infestation, and the conference was changed to be held in the central village of the fire region, which was much to the protest of the ice elder.
After days of bickering I was able to silence the others and propose a plan, which they found outrageous at first but then agreed to. We would have to summon the Toa, especially if the infestation spread.
And as anyone with a rudimentary understanding of Okoto’s current events knows, the invasion did happen. As I write this, I am on my way to meet with the other elders, who have since that time been cycled out for much wiser replacements of varying age. We are off to the temple of time, to summon the Toa and save Okoto from certain doom.
May the gods be with us.
Here is my entry for the Anniversary contest. Enjoy! vote 4 me 2
really like your story, but I can't get passed the fact that Racine is the name of a city here in Wisconsin. Otherwise, you're a strong contender.
Thanks. Like most of my character's names, Racine is french for... I'll keep that a secret. Or you could just use google translate, I don't really care.
This is a great story!
Hope you win!
I started to read it but then found myself wondering if I should, since I'm also entering the literature portion.
So I'll just virtually shake your hand and wish you the best of luck.