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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Evolutionary origin of the Zesk

A full cycle of your moon has come and gone since I last heard from Milethi, and finally she has produced new information.  I find the results of her latest research to be simultaneously surprising and not.  When her calculations of the earliest evolutionary form of the Vorox revealed a petite insect-like Rahi, I suspected that the Zesk may have had rather modest beginnings as well.  What I did not expect, was to be shown something so nearly identical in overall shape and size to the prehistoric Vorox.

From this it is clear to me, and Milethi agrees, that the Vorox and Zesk had a common evolutionary ancestor.  In simpler terms, long ago, they were one and the same.  I had actually heard long ago that this was the case, but the information was heavily disputed and speculation on the matter is widely considered taboo.  Fortunately my personal web of contacts and information spans great distances and time alike, and I have been able to assemble quite many useful pieces of this puzzle.

I need but one further bit of research from Milethi, a further confirmation of sorts, to complete this story.  She has agreed to my new request, thankfully, but unfortunately for me, this time she has requested more difficult "errands" in return. 

Now, I have a bit of travelling to do, but I will of course return at the earliest convenience...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bionicle MOCs: Lost Rahkshi

Today I present two of my older Bionicle MOCs, both non-canon Rahkshi.  The first is the Great Rahkshi Kluurakh.  Kluurakh was formed from the exceedingly rare act of fusing a live Stage 7 kraata of Confusion into a Stage 7 armor.  The unexpected result was a creature of extraordinary size, strength, and, to Terridax's dismay, intelligence.  Kluurakh's will was strong enough that he was able to escape the Makuta's mental control, even in close proximity, and live as a free being.  Not much is known of his life, though it is believed that he lives in deep caverns beneath Metru Nui to this day.

Here's a size comparison with the normal type:

Next up is Tierakh, pronounced "tee-eh-rock."  Tierakh was raised & trained to be a personal bodyguard of Teridax.  His most exceptional feature is his Shadow Shield, an intangible device powered by pure elemental shadow energy.  It appears as a very small, shadowy field, but when an attack is inbound, whether physical or energy-based, the shadow force extends forth and concentrates ahead of where the attack is aimed, absorbing it and rendering it ineffective. 

It is believed that Makuta Teridax absorbed the life force of Tierakh to supplement his own power in advance of usurping control of the body of Mata Nui.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bionicle MOC: Shadowed Vengeance, leader of the Dark Hunters

At last, this MOC is unleashed!  You should of course read the brief Bionicle-world story of the rise of Shadowed Vengeance, but here as usual I'll just explain the backstory of the creation of the piece.  I actually built this guy several months ago, but didn't have a compelling story for it.  It was one of those MOCs that I started by getting inspired by a color (in this case translucent orange) and just going from there.  When it was done (minus the staff), I realized it would make a good Dark Hunter, but I couldn't decide which one.  It had wings, horns (which were slightly different at first) and a strong shield like Vengeance, but its overall appearance looked way too much like this drawing of The Shadowed One.  It wasn't until last week that I got the idea to combine the two official concepts into one, but after that, the pieces really fell into place with ease.  All I had to do was to build a Staff of Protodermis and slightly adjust the head, and I would be set.

For the staff I again referred to this pic from the Dark Hunters book, since I was really underwhelmed by the official version that was used in the combiner set.

The figure has pretty decent articulation and stability.  The only thing that's really lacking is strength in the articulated right hand, which makes posing with the staff a bit tricky.  The final head came out pretty decent, though.

Shadowed Vengeance, new leader of the Bionicle Dark Hunters

With Teridax's shocking rise to complete power over the Matoran Universe, Vengeance, the Dark Hunter with a life mission to fell the treacherous Makuta, grew more hateful, wicked, and erratic with each passing day.  As the realization grew clearer that his last chances to fulfill his goal may have passed, wreckless fury brewed within him and began to dominate his existance.  He grew increasingly inpatient and disobedient, drawing the ire of The Shadowed One himself, who ordered Vengeance to take time off from his duties to... contemplate... his allegiances.

Vengeance reluctantly obliged, retreating to a solitary shoreline cove at the northwest corner of the island to gather his thoughts.  There he sat, silently, staring aimlessly at a point on the ground just a few paces in front of him.  For four days and nights he sat, pondering future possibilities, running scenarios through his head.  Just before dawn on the fifth day, he stood.  He realized that the only possibility of gaining the upper hand on Teridax would be if the Dark Hunters all united in singular pursuit of this goal, something that would never happen without a leader who was completely dedicated to the task. 

Eight nights later, The Shadowed One was walking back to his throne room after a day of surveying the land, when suddenly, Vengeance sprung upon him from a dark perch above.  Vengeance charged his rhotuka, but before he could fire it, The Shadowed One destroyed it with a blast from his Staff of Protodermis.  The two separated and The Shadowed One fired off several more blasts, but Vengeance easily deflected the attacks with his incredible shield.  The Shadowed One reared back and charged with all of his might, his weapon pointed straight forward.  They met with a thunderous clash and the very tip of the Staff of Protodermis just barely penetrated Vengeance's shield.  The Shadowed One fired a blast, sending a small stream of Protodermis directly into Vengeance, but with much of it reflecting back from the shield.  The substance instantly hardened on both Dark Hunters, and The Shadowed One could no longer control the staff.    Protodermis continued to stream out and immediately harden, encasing the two in an ever-growing, solid mass, until all of the energy of the staff had been drained.

For several minutes there was complete and utter silence, until a faint reddish-orange glow began to emanate from the folds & creases of the protodermis mass.  Vengeance was using his telepathic powers to activate The Shadowed One's powerful eye beam attack.  Incredible heat and pressure built up in the core until the protodermis completely liquified from the inside.  The outer shell glowed intensely and the chamber began to shake.  Fractures appeared on the surface of the mass, and then, in an instant, it burst in all directions, sending a concussion wave rocketing down all corridors of the lair.  Splatters of molten protodermis re-hardened on the walls and ceiling of the chamber, but where two encrusted Dark Hunters once stood, now there was only one.

The intense concentration of power from The Shadowed One's eye beams not only liquified the protodermis, but energized it.  Trapped inside, he and Vengenace combined into a single being, now known as Shadowed Vengeance.  He bears Vengeance's shield and telepathic powers, has The Shadowed One's eye beam strike and Staff of Protodermis, and small wings that aid brief gliding flights.  Strangest of all, he contains the combined, conflicting consciousnesses of both warriors.

Time will tell how this shocking development will affect the future of the Dark Hunters, and whether what remains of Vengeance will manage yet to take down the powerful Makuta Teridax.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bionicle MOC: Toa Nidhiki

This is my personal interpretation of Toa Nidhiki.  Click it for a bigger view.

If you haven't long since read about it, Nidhiki, most commonly known as a Dark Hunter, was originally a Toa of Air before being morphed into his four-legged freak state by Roodaka.

Breaking from the way I normally work, I searched the Web for examples before starting on this guy because I knew wih the popularity of Toa MOCs, there were sure to be some previous attempts.  Sure enough, there are some out there, but I didn't look them up for inspiration -- I looked to see what was already done to make sure mine wouldn't look like any of them!

I used the correct canon mask (per Farshtey himself) and included the breast plate that was preserved in the popular mutated form.  Most commenters on previous MOCs have insisted that Toa Nidhiki must be built with a typical Toa Metru body, following the style of the Iruini set.  Well, I briefly looked at that possibility, and I hated it. Looked very weak and spindly.  Sorry, I will not rebuild this with a Toa Metru body!  It's much better like this, trust me.

I used this Nidhiki picture as my main inspiration during the build to get the appropriate mix of colors.  Since he was a Toa of Air, I wanted to give him wings, and the Mistika pieces looked just right.  It was extremely tricky and took hours to get them mounted, because I wanted them to fold into a diamond neatly behind his body.  I ended up setting them up on a beam that would slide straight down about 3/4ths of an inch to extend the wings, and move back up to keep the front profile heroic in nature.  When the wings had a fixed mount low enough to fit under the arms properly, they looked all wrong when folded up.

Finally, there's the whole deal with the Air Scythe.  I'm sure there are plenty of concepts about how this should look, but this is my simple take on it, using a piece from the TRU titan Toa Mata Nui set, mounted at an angle and with a curvy handle.  In putting this together I just looked at pictures of real scythes and tried to find what would approximate that look without inspiring images of the Grim Reaper.

 So there you go, Toa Nidhiki!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bionicle MOC: Valtys, Fire Titan of Bara Magna

If you haven't yet seen the story of Valtys, you can check it out here.  What was my inspiration for this MOC?  Basically out of nowhere I wanted to do another being that would tie into the Bara Magna storyline, and the first things that came to mind were the colors red and yellow.  This is how most of my builds begin -- a random spark of inspiration, which leads me to start pulling parts out of bins and spreading them out on the floor.

Now, we've already had some official Fire Tribe releases from LEGO, including two Glatorians, and Agori are pretty easy, so I decided to go with something on the larger side, and the idea of an original Glatorian titan emerged.  Here's the direction I was going at first:

I felt like this had too much Mata Nui in it, though, plus the Brutaka mask, even with the Bara-esque translucent shadow-Matoran head underneath, didn't really feel right to me.  I think mostly it was just too large, making the whole figure seem smaller.  When I substituted Mallum's head, it was perfect, making this guy look really tall and buff, and I rolled with it from there.

The horizontal part of the shield actually can be pulled out slightly and rotated parallel to the vertical part for carrying.  I don't have a good picture of the left hand but I set it up so it looks like he's holding a real shield handle with his clenched fist, rather than integrating a ball socket into the structure of the shield itself.  The axe uses two Axxon axe halves back to back, forming parallel blade edges.  There's a hand & wrist guard only on the right side for a little extra protection -- he didn't need one on his shield side because, well, there's a shield there!

Valtys has a little bit of twist available at the waist thanks to one of those sturdy two-way rotating joints from the original Makuta Teridax set, buried deep in his lower core.  Yes, I use a Zamor launcher as a Thornax launcher.  No, it doesn't really shoot, but visually I think it fits together nicely, especially for a shoulder-mount where proper Thornax launcher jaws would be pretty long and unwieldy.

Well, that's Valtys for ya!  Hope you like 'em!

Last Bionicle Titan of Bara Magna: Valtys

How quickly we forget.  Ackar may have been the first Glatorian in history, but he was never one of the greatest, nor the most influential.  The Element Lords, during their reign, paid much attention to the actions and accomplishments of their lieutenants, the highest among the warrior class.  The strongest, hardest-working, most righteous were promoted in a secret ceremony attended by a single Great Being, transforming them into titans.  Within the jurisdiction of the Element Lord of Fire, Valtys was the first and only of these titans.

Valtys was strong of mind, body, and will, not one to be crossed.  At the same time, he was unshakably pious and just, always looking out for the best interests of his people before all other things.  When the Core War broke out, Valtys initially wanted no part in it other than to protect the Agori of his land from a secondary invasion by the overzealous forces of other tribes.  However, as the fighting intensified and broadened across the entire planet, it was Valtys who formulated the plan to assault the northern region and claim the energized protodermis, and it was he who led the successful charge. 

Why such a dramatic change of desires?  Why from shunning the war would he dive directly into it?  His plan was to secure the energized protodermis, extract it, and deliver it directly to the Great Beings to transport if off the planet.  With the object of the war removed from play, the war would surely end.

Well, end, the war did, didn't it?!  Not the way Ackar had planned, obviously.  Rapid extraction of energized protodermis enhanced the pressure differentials in the planet's core, ultimate leading to the Shattering.

Valtys was thought by some to have been destroyed by that horrific event, but this is not so.  He survived, battered and ashamed, swearing to dedicate the remainder of his years to the protection of the remaining Fire Agori, and to never forgive himself for his horrific mistake.  He died many, many years later, standing his ground against a marauding horde of Bone Hunters, allowing a band of Agori and Glatorian, Ackar among them, to safely escape.

Some Agori are said to have seen Valtys's spirit in the form of a nearly transparent silhouette roaming the desert in the last moments of light after the sun sets.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bionicle MOCs: Rilovian history adjustment

In Zeyek's introductory post about the Rilovians, there was one photo that bothered me a bit.  It was this one:

The thing is, though I had tried hard to mix up masks and equipment to both ensure good variety between all of the Rilovian MOCs and also to keep them from looking like Matoran analogues, I accidentally failed at the latter part with the elders.  I see some serious commonality with a couple of like-colored Turaga in there!  Matau & Nokama anyone?  Argh.  Today I got a package from an eBay seller that helped me to remedy this embarassing predicament like so:

Voilla!  Now I feel much better.  Here's the whole crew with the updated old dudes:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bionicle Vorox: True evolutionary origins revealed

Earlier I noted that I had come into contact with Milethi, a highly skilled Bionicle evolutionary scientist.  I tasked her with determining the earliest calculatable form of the Vorox of Bara Magna, and her work has borne fruit:

Based on recent and fossilized remains I provided, Milethi has assured me that with very little margin of error, this diminutive creature, barely larger than a Bohrok-Va, is the ancestral Vorox as it would have appeared between 50,000 and 80,000 of your "years" before the Shattering. 

Most troubling this is, indeed, as it flies in the face of history as we know it.  The Vorox are said to have once been proud, upright-walking, talking, very intelligent beings who received particular attention from the Great Beings themselves, only to later devolve into the beasts we know of today as a result of the cataclysm.  What we see here looks like a perverse larval form of a Zesk!  What could possibly be the explanation?

Hmm, the Zesk.  "History" tells us that the Zesk have a parallel story to that of the Vorox.  If the Vorox had such humble origins...

I must contact Milethi again.  I have a new assignment for her!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bionicle movie: The Legend Reborn

Saw the new movie, Bionicle: The Legend Reborn this week!  No spoilers here, but as you know, it follows the story of Mata Nui as he comes back to life on Bara Magna after his spirit is expelled from his mighty mechanical body (itself taken over by Makuta Teridax) within the Ignika.

I have to say, I liked this movie the most out of all of them so far!  The storyline was pretty direct and straightforward (though there were a couple twists to keep it interesting).  It was easy to follow and the renderings of the Glatorians and Agori were very good and their personalities were represented well.  You can't go wrong with the authoritative voiceover work of Michael Dorn either (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Lt. Commander Worf) -- he spoke for Mata Nui.

The first three movies, which I've seen thrice now, still strike me as being a little hard to follow in terms of the whole timeline.  The fact that they're out of order, yet still have some overlapping characters, leaves me confused to this day, no matter how much I read about them and try to put things in order in my mind.  The Legend Reborn, on the other hand, fit right into what I expected... with just one exception.  In the opening sequence, they show the Ignika leaving Aqua Magna and heading out into the vastness of space.  Directly behind Aqua Magna is another planet, as close as a moon.  However, it's not Bara Magna.  The Ignika shoots off into the vastness of space and seems to actually exit not only the solar system, but the entire galaxy, before finally finding its way to a far, far away Bara Magna.  That just doesn't make sense to me, since Aqua Magna supposedly orbits Bara Magna. 

Oh well.  Other than that, good Bionicle movie.  I definitely recommend it!  Makes you want to buy the whole Glatorian & Agori series of Bionicle kits!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bionicle MOCs: Hordika (not Toa)

The latest from Zeyek tells the story of the Hordika in an alternate reality.  Technically it does start with the Toa Metru and quickly breeze through their Toa Hordika phase, but it really focuses on the fully-devolved Hordika who are no longer Toa in any way.  Haven't you ever wondered what real Hordika would look like?  There was an official LEGO fully-mutated Hordika Dark Hunter built by a fan, but I don't at all agree with the direction he took it.  From proud upright humanoid Toa Metru, the mutation seen in Web of Shadows takes our heros to a shorter, slouched-over form that clearly suggests that they're mutating into 4-legged animals.  With my Hordika MOCs I just tried to follow the progression to a natural end.

To let you in on a little secret, this whole mini-project came about because I had way too many large claws and wanted to figure out a way to use up a lot of them at once by inventing a claw-bearing species!  I guess it worked, because I used up 24 claws.  I still have too many extras, but at least now I can close my "feet" drawer a little more easily.

I don't recall how or why I came up with the idea of Great Hordika, but I was really happy with how Vakama turned out.

Great Hordika Onewa was the last of the series that I did, and I think the body is a pretty decent up-scaling of the original, but I feel like the head is way too small on the enlarged body, especially viewed from any front quarter.

Can't win 'em all I guess!  At least it's not so bad from this angle though.

The Hordika

Have you heard the story of the Hordika?  Be not quick to answer, when you may not understand the question.  I speak not of the Toa Hordika.  I speak of the actual, rahi, Hordika.  You see, there exists a reality in which the Toa fought on the side of good, but the Rahaga did not.  When the Toa Metru were infected upon their return to Metru Nui, the Rahaga of this reality saved & befriended them as in the more familiar story, but here, it was a trick, and a trap.  The evil Rahaga led the Toa on an exceedingly long quest to find a mythical plant they claimed could counteract the Hordika venom.  In reality, the plant did not exist, and the quest was merely a diversion to give the poison enough time to complete its work.  The Rahaga were successful, and the Toa devolved fully into Hordika before they even began to suspect foul play.

The genetic differences between the six Toa caused them to assume new unique characteristics when their transformation was completed.  Whenua become short and stocky in his build, with strong shoulders and upper arms, but relatively weak hind legs that made him the slowest runner.

Nokama grew long and sleek, able to leap great horizontal distances.

Matau's transformation seemed to have stalled before it was complete, as he continued to walk primarily on two legs.  He was also the most diminutive of the Hordika, and the most greedy.

Nuju's new form was uninteresting, but his personality was most unusual.  His nerves were shaky and he became the most passive and easily frightened of the group.

Vakama, predictably, was the most ill-tempered Hordika, prone to overreaction and fits of rage.  He felt himself superior to his brethren in every way, but the deep evil & hate within him clouded his judgement and limited his ability to act on his feelings.

It was Onewa, exceedingly strong of body and clear of mind, who proved to be a natural leader.

The numerous deadly Rahi that inhabited Metru Nui in its darkest days made survival difficult for any and all creatures, and the Hordika found that they were best off sticking together to find & hunt food and to defend themselves. Onewa's consistent good judgement, combined with his prowess in battle, caused him to gain strength rapidly and he could feel pure power coursing through his veins.  Eventually, he was able to undergo a second transformation, becoming the very first Great Hordika.

An enormous beast oozing raw physical strength, Great Hordika Onewa was not a creature to challenge, and yet, with his newfound power came no change in his demeanor.  He continued to lead his fellow Hordika, but freely shared all food he gathered or caught, and demanded nothing in return but respect and loyalty. 

Vakama, meanwhile, grew ever more jealous of Onewa, and irritated by the others whom he saw as increasingly weak and subservient.  He turned to the mischievous Rahaga Iruini for solace.  In private meetings they mocked the other Hordika and fantasized of a day when the others would be but obedient slaves to the clearly superior and more capable Vakama.  Over time, the tone of these conversations became more serious, and the two actually began to devise a plan to turn Vakama's dream into a reality.

Over the following year, Vakama pretended to slowly acquiesce to Onewa's leadership and even began doing favors for the Great Hordika such as bringing him his favorite fruit.  Into one of these delicious treats, Iruini secretly injected a mutated form of the Hordika venom.  Upon injesting it, Onewa quickly felt a new surge of energy as the venom briefly boosted his strength as it took hold.  Not long later, though, he started to become terribly disoriented, and he instructed the group to rest at a camp while he broke ranks to collect himself alone where the others would not witness his wavering condition.  Vakama quietly followed a safe distance behind.  Onewa became increasingly concerned about what was happening to him, and his walk turned into a frustrated jog.   His eyesight began to fail and he crashed and tripped through bushes and vines, eventually collapsing to the ground in a small clearing.  This is when Vakama revealed himself and what he had done.  Onewa summoned the strength to come to his feet and angrily charge after the treacherous Vakama, but nearly blind and with weakening joints, he couldn't mount any form of effective attack.  Vakama merely sidestepped and smiled before pouncing visciously upon his poisoned victim, brutally assaulting him and bringing him to within an inch of his life.  Standing over the head of the defeated and nearly lifeless Onewa, Vakama himself underwent the dramatic transformation into a Great Hordika, while Onewa simultaneously shrunk back to normal size.

Onewa would actually recover from his physical injuries, but the mutated venom left him blind and simple-minded.  From then on, the heartless Vakama would subjugate the Hordika and lead them with an iron fist, or should I say, four iron claws.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bionicle MOC: Milethi

The latest post from Zeyek is up and features a new character named Milethi, my first female Bionicle creation.

Milethi is as much of a lone ranger in her field as Zeyek is in his. Needing to give her some special equipment to match her unique status on the universe-wide playing field, I realized I had finally found a perfect recipient for my purple-hued sun-damaged copper Huna. Literally everything was built out & down from the mask, focusing on decent height (about 9 1/2"), confidence, and femininity (even got heels in there). Most of the structure is completely custom, with a Mistika Onua front piece giving just the triangular shape I wanted for the middle of the torso (doesn't show up so well in this photo). I'm not entirely sure what she has in her hand. Let's just call it a ceremonial scepter, shall we?

Friday, August 28, 2009

A personal quest

In a much more recent development in my research, I've managed to finally make contact with a most peculiarly evasive individual. Her name is Milethi and she is a scientist of very advanced age and intellect. Unfortunately she makes herself very scarse due to the severe criticism and harsh rejection she has received among many communities. The problem, for many, is the particular branch of science that she studies -- Bionicle evolution.

Milethi has studied countless species of rahi plus a handful of higher-order creatures and mastered a process of determining what she calls "evolutionary momentum." With this momentum calculated, she can predict the future form of a species. Even more intriguing to me, she can actually determine the evolutionary origin of a Bionicle being if its physical form has altered over time. The process requires significant and accurate data about the subject, and can take many weeks of work to complete, even with the help of an impressive array of electronic computational devices. The results always have a margin of error, but that margin can itself be reasonably calculated.

It has taken me many years and quite a significant pool of resources to track Milethi down. Now that I have finally made her acquaintance, though, I have managed to convince her to conduct some research on my behalf, in exchange for some... let us say, errands. I have always had a keen interest in the story of the Vorox (and, by affiliation, the Zesk). Genetic experiments by the Great Beings, the Shattering, regression, yes, yes, I've heard it a thousand times but there are holes in those stories the size of a Kleetha whale's eyes. There is a bigger picture, a deeper story, and I must discover it.

My first request to Milethi is to calculate the earliest possible evolutionary form of the Vorox. I will report back when she has results. It may take... awhile.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I love (Bionicle) Goooooooold!

This week I received a beautiful set of the '02 gold Bionicle Mata Kanohi masks.

Well, one thing led to another, and soon I found myself photographing a whole bunch of gold Bionicle stuff side by side.

As I kept digging, I found even more.

Then things got completely out of hand.

After taking this shot I realized that I had forgotten to raid one of my bins, and I missed all of the Takanuva armor & shoulder pieces. Why do I have so much gold? Basically I needed a lot for another original "species" I've invented for my next upcoming epic. However, I certainly didn't need this many. The bling just got to me -- it corrupted me! Now I can't get enough! Somebody help, make it stoooooppppppp....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Posing & photographing LEGO Bionicles

For me, Bionicle MOCs are used as creative decorations where I sit at work. No matter where you keep your Bionicles or how you use them, if they're out where they can be seen, don't leave them in boring standing poses like they're suspects in a police lineup. Sometimes half of the personality of a Bionicle creation is in the pose itself! Check out the difference between these two shots of the Agori Metus.

In the first, he's a little swashbuckler pumping his fists "Rah! Rah!" during a pep rally before a big battle. In the second, he's a seasoned, calculating warrior stalking his opponent, carefully protecting himself while waiting for the perfect moment to strike. It's the exact same guy; not a single part was changed. All I did was alter the pose! Try it with your favorites! Don't look at the canister or box art. Instead, just look at the figure itself and experiment. See if you can find its personality, and come up with a pose that really brings that personality to light.

Here are a few more of my Agori representatives (before I stopped following instructions and tore these guys all apart). First is Atakus, ready to parry any attack and strike a devastating blow no matter what move you make against him.

Next up is a gorilla-inspired Tarduk, sitting proudly, wondering why you are bothering him.

Here's a very amped-up and ferocious Solek. You can almost hear him taunting, "Come on! Bring it!"

One more angle for effect.

I close with a Zesk in an exceedingly dramatic pose, one shoulder dropped way down, the other propped up, one claw slowly rising off the ground as he inches up on something (or someone) that he reeeeally doesn't like. Ever get the feeling pain is just a few steps away?