I came so close to naming this 'I CHALLENGE YOU TO MORTAL KOMBAT' but there's no fighting. Instead Kotal seeks out Senior Diablo and we get a sizable chunk of exposition and a bit of back story for you youngsters who missed it the first time around.
|The information contained within this log is to be considered information gained Out of Character (OOC).|
This information may not be used as In Character (IC) knowledge or in roleplay unless it has been learned in-game or permission has been granted by the parties involved.
Questions should be directed to staff.
Town Hall - Arena(#4390R)
Referred to as 'the Arena' by citizens of Twisted, the center of the Town Hall is a large sandy area surrounded by tall pillars which hold up the angled celing overhead. The arena area is actually about ten feet lower than the rest of the building with a stone walkway beneath the pillars allowing people to stand and look down at whatever events may be hosted at the time. From the North and South are stone steps leading to the two main entrances of the building. The one to the South leads back to the main street of Twisted, the one to the North leads to the TASK building.
Often times people have asked why such a parthenon-looking structure would be named the Town Hall, at which point Senior Diablo would simply smile and walk away leaving it to the imagination. Hanging from the pillars are colorful banners representing the season, viewable only from the inside of the building.
An interesting feature of the building is that the area around the sandy arena is somehow protected against attacks. Meaning if a fight where to break out in the arena itself, anyone standing along the walkways would be completely safe should the fight get out of control. Because of this seeing people wildly testing their abilities here is not uncommon.
Kotal Kahn has never been one to stand idly by. The God of War knows the folly of inaction! Even in this strange, chaotic realm, the laws of the universe still apply to a certain extent. Those who have the tenacity to drive forward survive, whilst those that stand complacent and allow things to happen to them, fall by the wayside.
It was true thousands of years ago when the Osh'tekk empire refused to adapt their tactics in the Mortal Kombat tournament and was thus engulfed by Outworld. It was true hundreds of years ago when Kotal Kahn was complacent with his Mesoamerican empire and neglected to expand to the rest of the world, falling prey to the Europeans because of it. The same happened when he took command of Outworld and did not consolidate his footing in Earthrealm, costing him a civil war that lasted for an entire decade. It really is always the same thing.
The strong rule and the weak die. Men fight and lie for power and gold, and die for the same.
It was before, it is now. Here. There. Everywhere. The same.
He's learned his lesson by now.
Deciding that he has bid his time long enough, Kotal Kahn takes the initiative and wanders out into Town Hall where he was told he could meet with this elusive Devil Governor. The Aztec God of War moves through the massive halls of the arena, yet another strangely familiar sight, and looks about the tall pillars with banners that remind him so much of the Emperor's coliseum.
He cracks his neck and readies himself just as he would before a fight before speaking in a loud booming voice.
"Hear me o' Mictlantechutli! He who goes by the name of Diablo here!!"
"The God of War calls upon you for an audience!"
The ground rumbles softly, like thunder in the distance. Rising before this God of War is a tall, slender, skeletal figure. It's bones red with blood. The creature's eyes, suspended somehow in the vacant sockets, looks down at Kotal and somehow manages to smile. "Well, well, well. I haven't heard THAT name in quiet some time."
Flesh begins to form around the skeleton and the shadows seem to rise up wrapping it in a cocoon of leathery robes. With horns rising from the sides of his head, Diablo's eyes fade to a solid black, that devilish smile still resting upon his now newly formed lips. "I'm not your Mictalantecuhtli, I'm sorry to say. He and his wife had a bit of a falling out with me during the writing of the Codex Vaticanus and stopped inviting me over." The devil shrugs, "Considering I'm standing here now, I think I got the better part of the deal."
Senior Diablo offers a hand to pull Kotal back up to his feet. "Just be glad you didn't mistake me for Xipe. That could have been viciously ugly." Well, it's true.
An earthquake is something that Kotal Kahn /should/ have seen coming.
The Azted deity instantly reaches for the handle of his macuahuitl out of instinct even whilst he is falling on one knee to maintain his balance, one hand planted on the ground ready to sprint forward. Never back, because that's now how the Cuachic rolls.
His head looks up, golden glowing eyes watching as how a grotesque skeletal form raises from the ground warped in darkness. Even this is familiar for he who once was Huitzilopotchli, and he grits his teeth in preparation for Kombat! If this really is who he thinks he is then he has a hell of a fight on his hands.
The incomplete creature speaks even when it has not fully materialized, Kotal eyes stare up to the disembodied eyes suspended in mid air. He's preparing himself, ready to sprint forth as soon as the creature manifests some kind of physical body, and it is only when it assures him that he is not who he thinks he is that Kotal refrains himself. "Hmm.. you are not Shinnok either." Although he does have the fallen Eldergod's horns, thinks Kotal once he gets to see Diablo in his full form. "I would say that also is good." Although they say that the evil that you do know is better than the one you don't, Kotal would prefer to not deal with Shinnok in this place if he can help it, at least it would be refreshing to have some crazed creature of darkness running about.
Kotal lets go of the handle of the macuahuitl strapped to his back and snatches Diablo's hand with a firm grip to get up, frowning as he speaks of the other deities that he knows.
"Xipe Totec treads this realm as well?" He looks around. "It is somehow not surprising. He would find the nature of this place to his liking."
Patting his hand once, Diablo releases it while lowering his own voice, "Best we not say his name in full if we can avoid it. Voices travel and names have power, especially in places like this." Taking a step away Senior Diablo folds his hands behind his back. "To what do I owe the pleasure of this meeting, Kotal Kahn? And please, do refrain from calling me by those silly names people are always dreaming up for me. My proper, distinguished title is Senior Diablo - Lord of the Lower Depths, Master of its Archives, and leader of the Councils of Twisted." The demon smiles smugly. He doesn't get to give out his full title often. "I do also apologize that no one was there to welcome you when you first arrived. I really must get someone to fill that position once more..."
Some people might be perturbed by the horned Lord of the Depths patting their hand in a strangely amicably way.
If Kotal Kahn is disturbed by the gesture, he does not show it, preferring instead to rise to his full height and dusts himself once Diablo releases his hand. Either he is too worldly to pay attention to these things, or maybe he is just too accustomed to strange things happening around him. It is true after all that this is the second time he is stuck in a realm where he cannot escape. Maybe its just like killing people. It gets easier the more you do it.
Speaking of, Kotal Kahn's stone like facial features do not change when Diablo warns him not to say the name of Xipe Totec in full. It doesn't look like he is scared of him. Overconfidence? Arrogance? It pays to bear in mind that Kotal Kahn looks like he knows who Xipe Totec is. Perhaps if he has faced him in Kombat and lived to tell the tale is a testament to his prowess.
Nevertheless, this all can only be assumed, since Kotal refrains from saying anything about it until Diablo speaks his name. "You have heard of me I see." Says the Aztec as Diablo properly introduces himself. "Senior Diablo it is then." As much as Kotal dislikes the Spanish tongue, it is best to address this deity as he prefers.
"If you already know my name without my need of introductions then you already know why I am here, Diablo." Kotal glances about the area. "You are what you appear and I would imagine you have eyes and ears everywhere, certainly at least in the city of Twisted."
"I am here because you are the governor of this realm and I would wish to know who is it that lords over the place I now live in."
The turquoise giant frowns when Diablo apologizes that no one was there to greet him. "Fill the position once more, you say?" He breathes out through his nose. "Then it is as I suspected. This place did not use to be so devoid of life as it is now."
Kotal glances up once more, golden eyes glowing up to stare up at El Diablo. "I will not pretend to know what happened to your realm that made it as it is now. More than likely, I will learn in time."
"But I can tell you what my eyes do see, and that is a city full of defeat, fear, and weakness."
"As the God of War and Strength, I cannot let this be. More so if I am to reside here."
Senior Diablo seems amused as Kotal begins to speak. Even more so as he shows his intelligence with powers of deduction, but that grin becomes a frown as he begins to comment on the state of things. "You certainly have a /keen/ grasp of the situation." The word comes out of his mouth with a moment of hesitation and a slight sneer. "This city, this world, was created from chaos and I've done all I could to see it be brought to a state where it can expand and where it's people can go about freely and safely. It hasn't been without a fair share of turmoil."
The devil begins to pace in a circle around Kotal as he carries on, "Twisted has had its heroes, but the former Council pushed them to their limits and most of them have gone off to rest until another day. A few simply where... lost... as it tends to happen in a chaotic place." He pauses, turning to face the warrior once again. "This place is a melting pot for unstable worlds. The veil of realities are thin. I was the first to try and build a peaceful way of allowing these worlds to combine into a stronger whole and after the fighting I had to do to wrestle it away from those who would try to prevent it, I will not set idly by and allow it to happen again."
Senior Diablo stands silent a moment, taking this new acquaintance in as he weighs the options of provoking this Kombatant. "If you wish to assist, it would be a grand gesture... But if your goals are in opposition then I shall simply wish you good luck. The rules are a tad different here, as I'm sure you're already aware."
When the Lord of the Depths begins to pace around the War God, Kotal does not turn his face to follow. He simply stands where he is, muscled arms resting as his sides, whilst he listens to Diablo speak of the better days, and of his struggles.. and of his failures...
Was there a hint of a smirk on Kotal's lips? It's hard to tell due to the Eagle Knight helmet he constantly wears.
"It sounds as if my words wound you, Diablo." Now Kotal turns to face this fellow once more, every golden eyes still shinning bright as the sun. "This is not meant as a critique to your rule. It is naught but a mere statement. This place is not as it once was. You and I both know that." Indeed, it can be very disturbing how Kotal, who for all intended purposes looks like a no brains all brawns meat head, has an unnerving sense of insight. He can tell a lot about people by the way the talk and that appears to include fellow deities.
"I do not doubt that you have faced plenty of struggles and hardships. Forming this city out of chaos must have been a daunting task, even to those of your stature. I do commend your efforts for bringing order when there was none before."
"But.." And then there's that keen look from Kotal's eyes, alluding that he knows a lot more than it appears. "I can tell by your defensiveness that it has made you grow weary. A weariness that only comes when you struggle to keep that which you care for the most from destroying itself."
"It is not the first time you have faced one such as I, is it? This Council you speak of, I see no signs of them being here anymore, and you do not sound too fond of them."
Kotal can feel it. He is the God of War after all, and he is intimately aware when someone, anyone, is preparing themselves to fight. "Do you feel threatened by my presence, Diablo? Do you perhaps think I would be as this Council was?"
Suddenly, Kotal's fists are tensing and relaxing again, a clear sign of someone that is aware that a fight could be brewing, even if his tone is more curious than threatening. "What is it that they did that makes you think I would want to usurp your power?"
"It must have been grand that they would plant the seed of fear in one such as you."
With a twitch of an eye Diablo likely confirms Kotal's suspicions as his words hit far too close to home. This was not a confrontation he was prepared for and the last time some caught him this unprepared... With sigh he attempts to calm himself and take control of the situation once again. "Because of the way this world operates, there were a number of innocent souls who found themselves in the realm we refer to here as Hell. The former Council did everything in their power to prevent me from freeing those souls, proving to me that they cared less about the people of this world than they did their view of how it should be ran. They even tried to set me up as a scapegoat in a disastrous war that nearly destroyed Twisted all together."
Reaching into the ether he suddenly clutches a wine glass in his hand and takes a long drink from it. "I had set up my own Council within Hell to organize what I could and to build an alliance. In the fighting that followed we lost many, including one of my Council. It is why I fought so hard to change things and why it's so important not to lose what I now have."
Suddenly he gestures to the world around them, outside those pillars of the Arena. "You do not see evidence of those Councils because I changed those rules. I made an open forum so that everyone here can speak their thoughts. I saw the death of that accursed Council and it's tyrants myself. I honestly wish it could have gone more peacefully... But the words of men can only do so much when they fall upon deaf ears." He finishes off his glass and releases it, sending it vanishing to wince it came. "Does this satisfy your curiosity, Kotal? Do you understand what it's like to fight so hard for your people, for your beliefs, and fear the constant threat of having it taken away?" Diablo takes a moment to look him over and sighs once again. "Something tells me you do..."
These types of debates are not unlike fights, Kotal knows this much.
And in fights, the punch that you don't see coming, its always the one that knocks you out.
Having caught Diablo unprepared gave Kotal plenty of information of the current situation by watching his reactions. This was perhaps not necessarily a bad thing where Kotal is concerned. Judging by Diablo's gestures and his responses to the War God's inquires, Kotal could tell that this deity cared deeply for Twisted.
Kotal had come here ready for a fight, he was expecting a tyrant like Shao Kahn or an uncaring, despondent God of Death like Shinnok. How else could a city so full of possibilities be in such a sorry state? How can a world where literally anything or anyone be found be so utterly dead?
Instead, Kotal found a tired leader that has done everything in his power to keep things from being destroyed, and against all odds too.
It is possible that Diablo could be lying to him.
But Kotal doubts this very much. Not because he trusts in this horned devil, but because he would be gaining nothing and risking much if he were to lie. Besides, reactions like those, /weariness/ like that, those are hard to fake, even for Gods.
"Oh, I do know. How do I know!" Kotal answers, eyes widening in strange kinship. "Three times have I fought for Empires that I have called my own, and three times have I seen them fall from within, usurped by madmen that would sacrifice it all for the sake of their own ambitions."
"But as I am sure you know.. there are many times when you cannot save those you care for from themselves."
Kotal closes his eyes whilst Diablo busies himself with a drink, his muscled arms cross over his broad, scarred, chest and he allows himself to give a half snort, half chuckle of amusement.
"How disappointing. I came here with the full intent of fighting you... and yet now I find myself incapable of doing so."
"You have sacrificed much for your people, Diablo. No amount of posturing can hide this from me. It is something I am all too familiar with."
Senior Diablo listens to Kotal speak with a somber silence, nodding at the truth behind saving people from themselves. The fact that in at least one situation he attempted to do otherwise is probably best left for another day. One that despite this devil's planning will probably come sooner than later. The statement about fighting brings a chuckle to his lips. "I prefer to do my fighting with words and alliances whenever possible, but if fighting is your preference I know a number of people who would gladly accept the challenge." Several names instantly come to mind, but he remains silent a moment longer letting this God of War finish his thoughts.
"I'm tired of sacrificing things to useless battles, just as I'm tired of seeing the weaker citizens of this city go without protection." This devil pauses with a momentary frown. "There was once a group who protected the Council and its policies that I've recently decided to turn into a force for the people. Someone whom they can call upon to help and protect. I believe you've already met the acquaintance of one Dante Sparda?" He pauses again just long enough to gauge Kotal's reaction to the name. "I've recently given this group to him to lead as he sees fit as his dedication to helping these people is inspiring. I would consider it a great honor if you would consider joining this new version of TASK. It would certainly be better than spending your time traveling to speak to old fools like myself and trying to size them up for combat."
Kotal gives a mirthful laugh when Diablo offers to surrender a list of worthy opponents for the God of War. The thought amuses him as he would have never thought that he'd have being as powerful as the Lord of the Depths to try and appease him in such a manner.
"It appears that even I have to give the devil his due." Says Kotal with a vicious looking grin. "The offer is well appreciated, but I am certain I will encounter these fighters sooner or later. Judging by everything that I have seen and what you have told me, I believe there are still plenty of battles to be fought for the future of Twisted."
"I will indulge myself in the thrill of War when the time is right."
The Aztec Cuachic nods when Diablo mentions his weariness, it is a somewhat grim nod of understanding at that, showing how familiar he really is with the subject. "As am I, and yet men like us must go on. We won't be satisfied until we see things running just the way they are meant to be. However long that may take."
The mention of Dante draws another half smile from the turquoise giant. "I have more than met his acquittance. The boy shows much promise despite his.." He tries to think of a polite way to put it. "Limitations." He really has met Dante hasn't he? "He chose well in offering me a position as his second in command."
Then, as Diablo reveals his plans, Kotal arches an eyebrow. "Interesting, Dante failed to mention this to me. It is good that I decided to talk to you when I did."
Again, the War God closes his eyes in thought, taking a moment to consider things internally before finally speaking. He's not one to make knee jerk reactions apparently. "It is something that I had talked to Dante about before. The boy had voiced his frustrations with the inability of the local police to help the people. If we were to take command of the guards.. then we would not longer be mercenaries, or independent contractors.. we would be recognized as the law."
Kotal nods. "Yes... you have chosen well in turning this power over to Dante, Diablo. A testament of your leadership abilities. The fire of hope still burns within you."
Then another chuckle. "Do not give yourself so little credit. You still have your place here in Twisted, and I sense that I may yet see you in Kombat. Either against you or side by side." Strange, Kotal seems to pronounce combat with a K, and his accent actually makes this noticeable somehow.
It is worth noting that at least two people on Twisted would have called Diablo out for spelling 'Kombat' wrong in his speech (Yes. Out loud.) but this is the first time the pronunciation was ever so apparent. A shame that this detail is lost on Diablo for all of his observations and dismissed as simply an accent. It is also worth noting that the mention of a second in command gives another surprised expression and a proud smile knowing Dante is so far besting his expectations.
With a chuckle himself at the mention of credit, Senior Diablo takes an elaborate bow. "I must apologize but my attention is unfortunately required elsewhere. It was a pleasure to meet you face to face, Kotal Kahn. I do look forwards to the next time."
A nod is followed by a warrior salute. Kotal Kahn brings his palm to his chest, right over his heart, just as the Aztec warriors of old used to do. "Fare thee well, Diablo."
"Until our paths converge once more."