|Drink of the Gods|
The dog might or might not look unusual for a dog. If not, it looks like nothing more than a white do-- actually no, that is not a dog, it's a wolf. The face is too narrow, the cheekbones too high. It's like... an elf-dog. Something like that.
Though if one is inclined to believe that not all is as it seems, one might see something a little unusual-- red parkings on the face and front flanks, winglike tufts on the front flanks and at the 'ankles', two curls of the hair of its tail, and the end of that tail stained black, as if it had been dipped into ink. And over its back, a fiery disk.
And it's not alone, either. There's a glowing speck, about an inch-tall, bouncing on the end of the wolf's nose. While the beast walks, the glow never misses the nose. The glow seems to be wearing a hat that resembles a green beetle of some kind. The green beetlehat thing also speaks. "Good, I'm starved! Let's see what they've got here!" Pause, and the wolf emits a playful 'mrf!'. "Oh I do not! I just have a healthy appetite! Hey! I wonder if you could get a job here? You could carry a tray on your back, right?"
Fortunately, Kotal Kahn is surprisingly reasonable for a God of War, and he ambles along following Amaterasu and her speaker to find a seat that is a little closer to the ground so he can continue conversing with Amaterasu. "Consider the twisted nature of this realm, it is safe to assume that this establishment carries nearly everything that can be found in the infinite universe." Says the Aztec down to Issun. "Why, on my first arrival here, I was surprised to see they carried ample amounts of pulque." That's an alcoholic Aztec drink made out of the maguey plant, by the by. "Which is difficult to find in Earthrealm as it is, to say nothing of other realms."
As he sits, he too gives Issun a wolf like growl when he suggests that Amaterasu should get a job here as a common waitress. "We already have a job, Wandering Artist. Don't forget that."
Does he sit down? Order himself a drink? No- his first action is to grasp the nearest waiter, spilling a carafe of orange juice on the floor. "You. Have you seen any people in low profile armor around here? A- a girl, a young woman, short, blondish hair, or a wood elf? Sort of a square jaw, laugh lines around the eyes? A- a cat. He would've insulted you. No? No? Dammit!" The manhandled waiter just blinks, sort of pulling away when he's released and moving off to find a mop as the green skinned tusked fellow just sort of, stops, in the middle of the restaurant with an utterly despondent, lost expression on his face.
The commotion gets Amaterasu's attention first. Particularly when the question of a 'cat that insults you' is mentioned. There's something familiar about that concept. She turns in Gogron's direction and emits a confused 'Rrr?' Also that sad look. Amaterasu doesn't like sad looks. She hops down off the chair seat-- oddly, when her feet hit the ground flowers and grass spring up FROM THE FLOORING, disappearing without a trade an instant later. Issun reacts to the sudden movement, "Whoa! Wait, Ammy... where ya goin'?"
The answer to that question? Over to the fellow with the tusks. She pauses there, wagging her tail slightly, emitting that confused 'Rrrr?' again. Issun, the green glow located now on the top of her head, bounces so he can be seen. "Oh uh. Hey there. Ammy here's wondering what's wrong!"
"If you'd like I can order a couple." Kotal reclines on his chair and seems happy that Amaterasu takes the initiative and actually sits on a chair. It matters not to him that she looks like a wolf, she /is/ a Goddess and people should treat her as such. That means she gets to sit with people instead of being on the floor like a dog.
As for Issun's comment of having a back up plan, he merely shakes his head. "Being a waiter would scale low in a list of backup plans." Forget about plan B, it'd be like plan H or something, certainly way back there in the alphabet.
Suddenly, there's a commission at the side of the bar and being the God of War, Kotal Kahn recognizes the signs immediately. The dented armor, the tired look, the dirty state of his axe that had recently seen mundane action. This man was a warrior, and a tired one at that, one that would think twice about starting a fight but -would- welcome one if the opportunity presented itself, it would give him just the right amount of adrenaline to continue his search. Warriors are like that, they like to keep the momentum going, when the body can go on no longer, it is the spirit that carries.
Kotal knows this much because he's been there.
Before he can do anything though, Amaterasu is leaping off to meet with the stranger and not wanting to provoke a needless fight, Kotal orders four drinks whilst motioning for Amaterasu and Issun to bring the orc over to their table. If they can manage to sit him down, they can probably spare him from starting a round of Kombat he would undoubtedly regret.
She takes a step back, but doesn't growl. Yet. Issun tries again, "Hey, this isn't just some old wolf! Her name's Amaterasu!" The not-wolf in question backs up, sits down, brings her tail around, and draws a Japanese character on the floor next to her. The ink seems to disappear without a single stain the moment she's done. It was the kanji for 'friend'.
She realizes he might not have been able to read it, but maybe it will at least note she's not just some dumb animal. A wolf doesn't write kanji on the floor with its tail.
That's why Kotal Kahn didn't want Amaterasu to go and talk to the orc. A tired warrior like him might not recognize who means a fight and who doesn't, and considering that Amaterasu's form might draw pause /at best/, if the watcher happens to be non-magically inclined, they'll see nothing but a normal wolf walking up to them.
In that case, it's a perfectly legitimate reaction to try and draw your axe out if you see a large wolf coming in your direction.
Though the God of War sees Issun try and talk to the orc and Amaterasu attempts to do some kanji, he really doubts this fellow will be able to understand -or care- for either. He looks like a brute, plenty of them not only in Outworld but all the realms where he's been.
Men like this orc, they only understand one thing.
"HEY!!" Kotal SLAMS his heavy palms on the table, rattling /every glass/ in the restaurant. It's loud and disconcerting enough that its unlikely that any patron in the restaurant isn't looking at him right now, short of them being asleep, which is possible.
"PUT. THE AXE. DOWN. NOW!" Demands the large turquoise skinned Aztec. Mind you, he has /no/ doubts whatsoever that Amaterasu would wipe the floor with this orc, he's really trying to help /him/ by attempting to defuse the situation through intimidation.
Poor employees. There are cooks in the back room that look up and hey, the glasses are dancing. Isn't that fun?
To be fair it does manage to snap him out of it- the orc flinches back, eyes wide, the sound and force of it having momentarily taken him off guard. The eyes narrow, lines in the neck standing up-
A very familiar look in the eyes-
He doesn't put the axe down, but he seems to be studying the newcomer with a thoroughly confused, rather stunned and somewhat taken aback expression.
And at this point Issun-- he can be seen by normal people, not to worry-- quite literally hops up, aiming for the orc's head! Not to attack, no. But if he can land there, Gogron will feel tiny human-like feet hopping around. "HEY! PAY ATTENTION GREENBOY! That's not a wolf! That there is the sun goddess Amaterasu!"
That economy, huh?
"Come sit with us instead." Says Kotal and invites all three of them to come over to the table, holding one of the glasses of pulque up. "These drinks are unto you like your blood."
"Make sure not to spill them."
A pause, then, giving voice to something he did not want to give voice to, he rasps out, in the middle of the restaurant, a hand on the ground, "I'm dead aren't I? I'm dead- we're-" Head down, shoulders hunched in defeat, it's a low cry, "Please- say it was just me I- I don't know how it happened I- please, I have to know they're okay. Or divines tear it all, that they're with, Sithis, they always believed in Him and the Night Mother and I..." Speak not the secrets of the Brotherhood, not ever, and he had never given them away but- hot stinging in his eyes. To weep before the god of combat, the spurned and ostracized, is to shame himself before his people's god. He doesn't know Kotal. He sees only a great godlike figure, green as he is, and knows only what he knew and where he came from. It's not that stupid a mistake. "I just, need to know, they're okay."
Issun is a little more vocal. "Yeah... I know what you mean. I'm worried about Sakuya, too. And the other Brush Gods! But it's all right, really! This is Twisted! It's not death! People get stuck here sometimes! That's all. So your friends are probably all right, since you didn't die!"
Kotal has been in this position before, to see fighting men kneel down before him and revere him as the God of Combat.
It's not a position that has inflated his ego. Pride might look like a good defense for a fighter, but it is not unlike diamond; hard but brittle, and once shattered there is nothing that can fix it.
Understanding is by far better, both as a defense and offense. Kotal sets the glass down and approaches the kneeled down orc on the verge of tears.
He glances first at Issun, who is as usual running his mouth, but he gives Amaterasu a more meaningful look. It is a word without words, a look that says 'This is one of mine. I know what to do.'
A God of War always recognizes his worshipers..
Even those that like Gogron, have been lead astray.
"In your world I may be known as Malacath." He begins. "But here I am Kotal Kahn." The Aztec God is /by no means/ a veteran of this realm known as Twisted. At best, he's been here like two weeks.
But he learns fast, and adapts just as quickly as warriors are meant to do. He instantly recognizes him as a total newcomer to Twisted, just as Issun has already surmised.
"You are not in Mictlan, or the Netherrealm, or as you call it, the Ashpit. This realm is something entirely different."
"It is called Twisted, and like you, we are all prisoners here. Whatever friends you have left behind in your world are beyond even our reach. All that we can tell you with certainty is that you are indeed, not dead."
Suddenly, Kotal is taking out his ceremonial dagger from his belt. Is he going to grant the orc a quick mercy kill or something.
"Look up." Commands Kotal to the orc and brings the knife to his own palm, slicing it open. The blood of the War God spills and he squeezes his fist so that it drops to the restaurant's floor.
"The dead do not bleed. You are alive just like us."
His breath is a thick thing, hiccuping and catching in his throat, eyes squeezed shut. "I do not FOLLOW you, I am not one of yours! Why am I here? Has Sithis thrown me from Him?" He's still convinced he's dead. He has reason to be, but that is neither here nor there. Well more there than here, either way. He is speaking to Malacath, or, Kotal as he wishes to be known of here as though he were a drinking buddy instead of the Daedra lord of the scorned and abandoned, the spurned and the turned away from, of battle and honor, the Sworn Oath and the Bloody Curse. He's left blinking, raw voiced, raw bodied, just raw. He looks up, as the demon, the god, whatever he is, bleeds, the drops hitting the floor, his face stricken and blasted by it all. "The last thing I remember is the coldness coming over me, of not being able to breathe. Of all the things, whoever didn't even bother to face me in battle. To fall in the field is one thing, a sad inevitability and the end of a career, but to die like that! You say I still live but I /remember/ it! Dread lord why would I- how could I remember it and yet, be here?" He's shaking. Supposedly he's still alive? He can only accept the god's words, looking away. "As you say, so I shall accept lord." He still doubts, but he cannot deny the words of a god. A look over to the wolf on the floor- and then he's ruffling it's fur. It seems to be the god's pet. Maybe it'll eat him for it, but it's a sort of apology to the wolf if not the lord itself for his earlier behavior.
Suddenly her fur is being ruffled! This seems to please Amaterasu, and she offers a happy bark, her tail thumping on the ground. She is still a wolf, and a canine. Due to that, her need for praise kind of takes the form of... well... very much liking being petted and ruffled! It's a little undignified maybe, but hey. Simple form, simple needs!
"Every time you put on that armor. Every time you draw steel against a worthy foe. Every time you stand firm against the tide. These are my prayers, my benediction. You can try to escape me."
"But you will never be able to escape yourself."
Kotal's eyes glow gold and suddenly his bleeding palm bleeds no more, as if it had healed instantly. He puts his dagger away and still listens to Gogron prattle on about his supposed death. Sounds like he fears he was choked to death in his sleep, but even now Kotal can be certain he is alive, being able to feel his life energy where he stands. Unfortunately, powerful as Kotal may be, he just has no idea how to chuck Gogron back to his own dimension. All he can do is comfort him.. in his own way.
"Those are warrior words you speak." Says Kotal and gives a half chuckle half scoff when Gogron simply decides to accept things at face value. "You will learn, in time." He will, oh he will..
Although Kotal can really do nothing to stop Gogron from petting Amaterasu and the Sun Goddess is far too kind hearted to bite the man's hand off for dare petting her, the least he can do is at least /tell/ this man what he's doing. "This is Amaterasu, the Goddess of the Sun." Maybe that'll make the orc's light bulb light up. "And the glowing jumping green thing is her speaker, Issun the Wandering Artist."
"Come, rise warrior. I do not even know your true name so you can rest assured I have not called you yet to join my halls. Join us if you wish for now, we were about to drink some pulque." Will Kotal /ever/ be able to finish his drink tonight? Tune in next week to find out! Or.. just keep watching actually.
Pet pet pet ruffle ruffle pet- he's never pet a wolf before, it's a rather novel experience overal- and then he's ripping his hand back, as though burned, eyes wide. "The wolf of the Aetherius." A hole in the sky into the realm of the gods itself, and it has a wolf as it's creature? It is the- thing, his head hurts. He is glad he heard that last bit, he'd figured the voice was one of the ones in his head and had been ready to backhand the little green thing. Um.
Stumbling to his feet- well, more stumbling, less feet, he wobbles, halfway falling, rising after a moment, expression profoundly embarrassed; even exhausted nigh on unto feeling like death itself, it is no excuse to stumble before the god of your people like a young pup. "Pluque?" An unfamiliar word in the extreme.
Mind, Issun and ammy have no concept of 'evil' gods. What Gogron would call an 'evil god' would be what Amaterasu and Issun would called a 'demon'.
Yes, she is the goddess of the sun, and she is also very much enjoying being petted! But yes. Some part of her mind does recognize that it's a little undignified. Aetherius? Amaterasu's tilted head and 'Rrr?' are probably enough to tell she's confused by this. Once Gogron stands up so does she, and heads back over to the table she and Kotal had been sitting at. As before, jumping up into a chair and sitting there. The table's up there, after all!
"Kotal says it's a drink that his people drank!" Issun replies. "He likes it, so I'm willing to give it a shot." Amaterasu barks once, quietly, indicating she would as well.
But he will find his own way in time. If there's something that Twisted can offer is plenty of paths to take. They may not all lead to places you want to be, but they will certainly take you far from where you started.
Its not the time for that now though, now its time drinking!! "Yes, as I said, it comes from maguey and.." He rolls his head. "Much is lost if I elaborate on its origins and I have spoken plenty already tonight. Let us simply drink."
He raises his cup for a cheer. "To Twisted! And the bright future it offers us!"
Naturally, Kotal clinks his own cup on Issun's itty bitty tiny cup and Ammy's bowl, since they needed certain accommodations, but after that he's downing the drink.
It tastes very sweet to those that are feeling brave tonight and try it, like sugary fruit. But.. yeah.. let's be honest, it feels like you're gulping down sticky saliva.
The texture takes some getting used to, but he manages it after a moment, coughing faintly. "Tastes like moon sugar! I mean- I don't partake of that, of course not, nor have I ever in a particularly bad time in my life." Whistling idly he sits back in his chair, smiling and fighting his way through the pleasantly sweet drink. "It's a warriors drink! It fights you drinking it, I like that!"
Regardless, Kotal's toast is returned with a "Here, here!" from Issun, and a happy bark from Amaterasu. They're both quite surprised at the consistency of the stuff. Issun remarks, "Whoa. This stuff is pretty thick. You all right there, Ammy?" Amaterasu actually draws her nose back from her bowl for a second to figure out how to manage this syrupy stuff.
Issun nods to Gogron's question. "That's right! If you follow a war god, when you fight, fight with your all! If you follow a god of music, when you sing, give it your all! And truly believing in the gods makes them stronger, so they in turn can make you stronger!" At Amaterasu wuffs, and Issun adds, "Well, that's true. That's how it works where we're from, anyway."
The mention of 'moon sugar' gets Amaterasu to look at Gogron with a blink. Issun, however, agrees with Gogron. "It's hard to drink! It's good though!" Herself, Ammy nomfs a little at the 'drink' before downing it-- humorously she almost needs to chew it a little before she can manage to get it down, otherwise she just has to lick the surface of the amount in the bowl. Dog-tongues scoop, and they're not good for syrupy liquids.