|A Taste of Things to Come|
He's sitting back, at one of the tables, his eyes closed, a few glasses before him. ...Some warrior.
The frighteningly fluorescent guest flutters out of the door to the dance club with one last somersault in the suspended water and a persistent grin (as well as one can grin, sans chin). Straightening to a vertical stance, Ren starts sliding toward the exit at a more sedate pace, but pauses upon spotting Gogron again. Ren then shifts direction to approach his table and raises a 'wing' in greeting.
The voice that slips from the green skinned stranger is low and oddly reproachful, "I haven't done skooma in years and years, years and years and years, supposedly it's supposed to be out of your system by now." He waves an accusatory finger at the floating tentacleless squid beastie as she, it, she... as it slash she approaches. After all, he's only SO drunk. This stuff is hard to get drunk on, it really is.
All the freaks are coming out of the dance floor today it seems, since the appropriately fluorescent dance mollusk is not the only brightly colored dancer to emerge from the dance floor. The tall figure of Kotal Kahn is seen pacing behind the bubbled dancing sea creature, it seems that he too was partaking on the joys of the dance club, though its hard to tell if his was a hands on approach or if he was just enjoying the show.
One thing that is obvious though is that he spots Gogron waving an accusatory finger at his companion. "It is you again, warrior." The Aztec says with recognition, golden eyes flaring when he observes in the sorry state that he is in. "Are you still drinking pulque??" The horror of it all suddenly strikes him. Has this orc been doing nothing but drinking since he and Amaterasu left him a few nights ago? "This is a drink meant to consumed with moderation. Partaking in vices is no way for a warrior to behave." Mind you, Kotal Kahn doesn't sound mad, just.. kind of disappointed, like a very hard to please father. He glances to Serenity momentarily and then to Gogron trying to figure out if the two have met already or not.
Serenity flows to a stop by Gogron, though does put a table and Ren's estimate of an axe-length between them. "Pardon?" Ren responds to his complaint with a puzzled expression. Ren gestures toward him with a pair of fins, putting a fold in them to imitate the shape of a cloth-covered human arm. "I recalled seeing you drinking here recently," Ren hisses amiably. "I'm afraid that I didn't succeed in helping you home, but I was hoping that someone else did." Serenity doesn't seem nearly as reproachful as Kotal- concerned, rather. Ren waves an imaginary arm to Kotal as he speaks up. Ren adds thoughtfully, looking back, "Now there is a possible service for TASK."
As the trio start to come together, the low hum of music from the dance floor slowly starts to become muted, buzzing with the low hum of static. While there may be some stragglers still on the dance floor complaining about this, their complaints may be nothing in comparison to the violent rumbling that tears through the skies of Twisted.
The lights of the Usual Resturant flicker and then go out, only to momentarily return to life as the backup power system comes to life.
Patrons suddenly start to file out the doors of the restaurant, Skutters prodding them along as if unforseen danger may infact loom on the horizon, only to cry out in surprise as lightning strikes down upon the ground. A wide breadth is now given for what rises from the now smoking ground, taking the shape of a male human, if it could only be described as such.
More and more as it draws closer and through the doors, more features become defined. Of course, it still looks like this man has been drug through a wood chipper a few thousand times and them beaten around just for good purpose. /He/ turns his attention towards the three, only to smile as three teeth fall out of his mouth.
"Oh! We have new residents! And here I thought things had finally settled down."
The orcs burnished golden eyes open wide, and then look down, into the accusatory spread of cups. Shame does interesting things to his skintone, granting it a rich sort of brownish hue for a moment. His expression is pitiful. "It stops the voices, and the horrors in my head. Pulls me back from, things. That. Wouldn't help here." A shine in his eyes, and he looks away, ashamed. "...I may yet be alive but I am also separated from my dear family, and I have not the words to express- what, this is, doing to me. I'd thought my... proclivities had been the thing that had left me feeling so fulfilled, but now I do wonder if it hadn't been, just, being, surrounded by my people, my friends..." He looks so pitiful there for a moment, no proud warrior he. To be brought so low... sadness. A waste. "I, don't know what to do. I am... adrift, rudderless, and I have forgotten how to swim." A spiritless chuckle. "Suppose it's just a matter of time then." A glance down over himself. "...I need to work on my armor." It seems pretty dirty still, slightly dented and strewn with the splinters of earlier. Yep. Seems he's been here the entire time.
As for the squiddly thing, he just sort of waves an arm at it irritably, "Begone, I have not turned to the crystals again, I am clean, shoo apparition." He's still convinced it's a hallucination- until Kotal looks right at it. There's a beat- and then the rattle of a chair falling backwards, the orc scruffled across the floor until he bumps against another chair, this one still standing, "What- by OBLIVION is THAT? I'd thought it some skooma induced hallucination! You mean it's /real/?" He's being rude, and he so very doesn't care right now.
But flying space squids without tentacles really can't compare to- whatever, the hell that was. The lights die, the infernal racket of the place seems to stop, and he's left blinking in the dark- but when the lights are back on, the orc is standing and the axe is in his hands, glowing that ominous dim red it seems forever to be sheathed in. He looks... apprehensive, to say the least, but despite the ample indulgence in pulque and the shaming of him by the god of his people (as well he should, he has been a pitiful shadow of an orsimer of late) he still has the wiry energy of a true warrior to his body and face as he squints at the much beaten lightning fellow. "I am not sure how much more of this I will be able to handle." Not a warning so much as a very tired observation, his eyelids drooping somewhat over those burnished gold orbs.
Kotal's gaze falls first upon Serenity who updates him on the fellow's situation. "Hm.." He says nothing at first even if his expression says it all. So Gogron really /has/ been here the whole time, that is really troublesome. When his companion suggests that as a new member of TASK it falls upon his duty to remove drunkards from the streets, Kotal's eyebrows furrow in confused pondering. "Let us not be hasty in our approach, Serenity." The turquoise warrior isn't proud enough that he'd dismiss the very idea of doing something as demeaning as throw drunks out of the streets, even as a deity he knows that even the smallest of actions serve to preserve order. But, it's not even pride that halts him, its the fact that he's not convinced Gogron needs to be thrown out just yet.
When the orc speaks, he nods in understanding, it is the plight of the lone warrior who has lost all. A prayer that he hears beyond those that worship him. Even Kotal himself isn't impervious from the sensation of loss, and we are talking even before being stuck in Twisted.
"Take heart, warrior. Although your heart is heavy now with the absence of your battle brothers, it is exactly as you said. You will learn in time to swim again, to find a new family, a new pack, a new purpose to lift thine battle axe."
"Think not of this place as a prison, but a place for new beginnings."
Then he's shooing Serenity away as if she were some pest and he frowns, realizing that Gogron was under the impression she was just an apparition fueled by the pulque. Kotal chuckles softly. "Fear not, my friend. This is Serenity, she and I are co-workers."
A presence approaching.
Even before the lighting and the eerie silence, the turquoise skinned man already looked on the alert. His hand reached to his back to grasp the hilt of his macuahuitl and looked in the direction where the man wreathed in lighting appeared. This presence.. it was chained somehow, burdened by something, but the only thing that the God of War could tell for certain is that he didn't recognize this chi signature. This wasn't Diablo, or Raiden for that matter.
Still frowning when Caliga finally materializes himself, the Aztec Cuachic maintains his grip on his sword handle and makes no attempt to try and prevent Gogron from arming himself. Instead he turns he glances at Serenity from an oblique angle and asks,
"Serenity, who is this man?" The mollusk has been here for a long time after all, she might be able to offer some unbiased information.
Serenity frowns at Gogron's accounting of himself without remarking upon it and nods with Kotal's words of encouragement. The mollusc glances over briefly at the surge in folk exiting the club when their music ceases, but Ren doesn't seem terribly alarmed by this development. More worrisome is when the large, loud, well-armed fellow suddenly knocks over a chair in his hurry to stand. Ren 'blinks' eyes inward in surprise before twisting quickly to look behind for the thing that Gogron was shouting about. After failing to spot anything of concern there, Serenity has little enough time to relax before the thunder and lightning arrive. "Kkkh!" Thus primed for trouble, Ren seems to prioritize finding cover over exposition. A rapid squeeze of water from between the layers of fins is the signal for the black disc to carry Ren past Kotal and under the neighboring table. Now shrunk to four feet in length and with rhinophores likewise shortened, Ren eventually rasps out, "I haven't seen that one!"
"Oh no no no, there's no need for that. I mean, /she/ could even take me in the state I'm in now."
He points rather rudely toward Serenity, but then again he could be pointing at the pink Skutter making its way around the table to clear the mess that has been made.
The man slumps forward, creating a rather unsettling sound that is reminiscent of wet limbs slapping against an equally wet body, only to fall onto a chair near the three. He adjusts his body as the wounds start to knit together, and in places where there is no skin, outright regrowing as if it were the natural thing to do.
"Oh. That's right, you don't know who I am yet.. But rest assured! I know /exactly/ who you three are." He reaches into what COULD have one point been a pocket, or maybe a lump of flesh that was once a part of his side and pulls out a bean. He nimbly pops the bean into his mouth and chews it with a loud crunch, as the regeneration of his skin and body speeds up as if time were moving at the speed of light around him.
It doesn't take long for a completely healed man with barely any clothing left upon his body to be sitting there.
"You can just call me Caliga."
Do assassins count as battle brothers? He has never gone on a job with any of them, though he has heard of their adventures upon their return, and though he has never shed blood with them beside them, he does feel it to be true. Battle brothers. Yes.
It rips the heart from his chest to hear it spoken of as such. A new family, a new purpose. No Ocheeva, or her brother, or Lucianus or dear little Antoinetta Marie or even the grumpy mage and merchant, the cat. That it might truly be over, that he might not ever see them again. A terrible pain, all through the core of him, and his face is an ugly thing to see; grief and fury and the horrors of uncertainty- were their bodies there he could mourn them, but to not know if they are elsewhere and wondering where he is, if they are being cut down and he already dead- though the god of his people assured him he was in fact not, and merely... changed, transported to this strange place. To not KNOW- fury and grief, yes, two twins who rest within his chest, occasionally lighting brands in the darkness of his stained, strange heart.
As Kotal reveals that they are coworkers, he comes to entirely the wrong conclusion, but it at least serves. "...A daedra, then." fingertips pressed together in an A shape, his head lowers, eyes closed. "Dread lord forgive my ignorant words, I had not recognized you for what you truly were, please spare this warrior." Warrior is NOT THE RIGHT WORD THERE but fuckit.
She. Ah crap. "Um. Yeah. Sorry about, that." Derp.
The eyes narrow, a thumb along the blade scraping a horrid sound of daedric metal against daedric metal. Not a fun sound. But then seeing the damn near naked man standing there, he sort of blinks a little... and then he's moving. The straps are surprisingly easy to disengage and he's shrugging out of the heavy armor which lands with a CLONGG on the tabletop- and with a shuffle he's pulling a green stitched tunic off of some decent cut and material off, leaving a scarred bronzy green chest bared, hard packed with muscle- and then the armor back on- albeit with a wince because daedra-infused metal is not much fun against the skin. And it's not hone hundred percent fresh but it's intact? That's something. It's offered over with a confused expression. "Caliga. I don't suppose you're Daedra or Aedra too?" He seems to be in odd company.
A turquoise skinned arm extends sideways slightly as Kotal sidesteps and makes full intent of protecting Serenity with his body "Stay behind me." He even says. Glowing eyes still peer at this strange man with the burdened presence, and attuning more closely to his chi reveals that he is, in fact, saying the truth. There is very little spiritual power there, and Kotal isn't entirely sure this person is at all capable of summoning it in his current state.
Kotal makes a habit of never underestimating his foes, particularly when in strange new lands. The -only- reason why he even considers releasing the handle of his macuahuitl is because this man decides to introduce himself. However, he also claims to already know who they are, drawing even more suspicion, and as Gogron decides to prepare himself for battle by donning some armor, Kotal Kahn decides he will keep his hand on the handle of his weapon for now.
"Caliga." Kotal repeats the name with a frown, glowing yellow eyes glancing at Serenity who shrinks behind him and claims to know not this man. He can tell she's scared too and that's a bad sign.
Gogron's worries will have to wait a moment, there is time for consoling, and then there is time for KOMBAT. And Kotal isn't entirely sure which time it is right now.
The War God holds a hand up for Gogron to keep his focus and he continues. "How is it that you know of us? Are you an enforcer of Diablo?"
"He should know that I do not take kindly to interlopers intruding in my business."
Serenity, at the moment, does not seem especially focused on Caliga's introduction, nor terribly concerned about correcting the mistaken identity. However, Kotal's suggestion does appear to sit quite well with Ren. Serenity keeps the hovering mass of water close to the floor beneath the table while peering warily around Kotal's legs at Caliga. Ren maintains a shape that is nearly as small a target as possible, only extending a curled fin slightly to fan the gill-feathers. "For the record," Ren hisses quietly, "I am quite happy with and not at all threatened by having stronger people as coworkers."
A slight shake of his head is all Gogron receives from Caliga as the tunic is offered. Already the strips of clothing that remain upon his body are reforming, a crimson trenchcoat already making him more modest in a public setting. "The gesture is very appreciated, Gogron gro-Bolmog. However, it is not quite needed in my case." Of course, once Kotal's words ring out, this causes the man to rise to his feet slowly.
"...Enforcer of Diablo?" The sheer audacity of it makes Caliga spit towards Kotal in disrespect. "Huitzilopotchli.. Or would you rather I just called you Kotal? Be wary of what accusations you may make in this realm." He moves to sit back down, and pulls out a rather impressive looking tablet, which he starts casually prodding at. "Serenity byStewVendor fromGoldsmith.. Race is.. fish thing. Threat level is.. rather unimpressive."
The man glances towards Gogron, and then starts speaking again. "Gogron gro-Bolmong. Race is Orsimer, and threat level is more impressive then the first one." He then looks at Kotal, only to stroke his chin.
"I think I'll leave it to your imagination what this says about you, Kotiekins." He then slides his tablet back into his jacket, and leans forward.
"Once again, my name is Caliga Satanas, One Seventh Council, Lord of the Endless Planes, Dai Kaioshin, Ruler of Hell and lord of Death. Really though, just call me Caliga."
Hm. So it's some sort of a magical daedra. Watch out for flying spells. Tucked away in the mind's eye of Gogron's internal topography, he hurms thoughtfully, squinting and narrow eyed, both fierce and confused at the same time. He is comfortable in his armor once again- and by comfortable we mean slightly uncomfortable- feeling the armor, forged with the heart of a daedra itself and burnt dark and strange in the forge, an odd alloy of different metals and techniques he did not wish to contemplate. The hand takes the cloth back, the face growing thin and tense, those sharp tusks in evidence, the teeth bared. "How do you know my name." It's a tense, seethingly unhappy sound, those words.
And then he's stepping forward, blood boiling, eyes incensed. ONE DOES NOT SPEAK TO THE GOD OF HIS PEOPLE AS SUCH and he brandishes his axe, feeling the armor chafe and the heat rise in his neck and thunder in his chest. "You will not speak to Him thusly." He is really not being cool here- one does not disrespect gods, even by stepping up if someone ELSE is disrespecting them. But then he's never been very religious. It was always about the murder with him, not Sithis or the Night Mother or any of that. It was about looking into their eyes as they die, filling the hole in the center of him, that gaping ever hungry hole.
It's funny to note that he just got here, evidently survived dying, only to die. Ironically by a lord of death. But to oblivion with the lot of it. He would rather die then live in that state of shaking helplessness- let it strike him down, he will not let it speak such to the god of his people.
There's an ugly scowl from Kotal Kahn when Caliga has the gall of spitting in his direction. It takes a tremendous amount of will power to simply not swing his macauhuitl down at this man as saw him clean in half. Kotal has killed men for less insulting actions, the fact that he is a War God doesn't even come into the equation, a warrior simply doesn't take that kind of slight sitting down.
For a moment, it really does look like Huitzilopotchli will finally quench his thirst for Kombat. However, years upon years of leadership has taught Kotal Kahn to not be too impulsive in foreign relations. Too violent and he might make mistakes, and too deferent and he might appear weak.
Instead, he just grins, showing fanged teeth. Its a vicious smile.
"Aah..you are one of the old Council." Looks like Kotal's patience paid well, had he succumbed to more primal needs he might have never learned who this man truly is. "Now I understand your ill will towards Diablo."
Kotal's reaction is immediate, there was even no need to be attuned to the orc's chi, he could feel Gogron's blood boiling where he was standing.
"GOGRON! STAND DOWN!" The War God's voice crackles like thunder and it makes the tables and glasses shake in their place, one muscled turquoise colored arm barring the orc's way. Kotal glares back at the orc to force him to stay up like a commanding owner of an attack dog. He appreciates that his worshipers are ready to defend him, but it is /his/ honor that is in question here, and he is the one that will handle it.
The Aztec turns abruptly back to Caliga and he is no longer grinning. "A warning to you as well, strange one. Diablo might have tolerated this sort of insolence from the Council, but you will find that I am far less forgiving. Take heed when you address my friends and I."
Glaring still at the man when he points a tablet at all three of them, the deity assumes that this is how Caliga is able to know all of their identities and powers. "Kotal will suffice." Says the War God with a scoff, but smirks knowingly when Caliga refuses to disclose what the tablet says about him.
"I can imagine what it says judging by your reaction."
Kotal finally releases the handle of his sword and crosses his muscled arms across his broad chest. "Well then, Caliga. I do hope your purpose of coming here was more than to announce our names and spit at me."
Oddly-pupilled eyes the color of rusty copper continue darting from one of the speakers to the next, with an occasional glance toward those who failed to evacuate in time and are sheltering in place. Serenity winces at the sudden shout at Gogron but says nothing and continues a tense frown. "Hhh..." After Kotal's demand of Caliga, though, Ren eventually ventures to speak up. "TASK is under the control of the government, and here we have a government official here. But I'm sensing that perhaps there were some jurisdictional disputes with the previous TASK, yes?" Ren ripples slightly to the side for a view of Caliga unobstructed by Kotal's leg, but continues gill-fanning while speaking. It might be more convincing if the speaker were not hiding under a table. "Councilmember, may I suggest that a harmonious society might be better served by closed legislative debate than by, hhhh... these less-reserved discussions in public?"
There is a slight smile on Caliga's face as Gogron rises up in retaliation for the slight against Kotal. Of course, there is no response from him until Kotal tells him to stay his hand. There's a fair amount of misunderstanding already, and the damn Devil isn't doing anything to clear it up. "...I see."
He slowly rises to his feet, walking over to the bar. He reaches down and pulls up a single bottle which he then sets down on the bar. "None of you have /any/ idea just who I really am, and what is actually going on, now do you? I suppose that is to be understood. I'll forgive the ignorance now, and I apologize for my earlier reaction Kotal."
Once more Caliga reaches behind the bar and pulls out four rather dusty glasses which then sets down. He waves a hand over the glasses, causing them to catch ablaze to sanitize and wash away the filth that rested on them, only to then fill them with the contents of the bottle. "Please, have a drink with me and I will explain things. Then, I shall answer whatever questions I can that you three may have."
He's quivering faintly, muscles dancing, a fresh sheen of sweat breaking out across his body as he feels the heat and spreading stain of the flush along his neck and body, creeping up behind his sensitive pointed ears. His face is tight, strained, stress evident on his features. His heart is hammering- he's not one of the warriors who gives in to the bloodlust but all orcs are berzerkers. It's in their blood. They can't help it- and Gogron is having a hard time not giving into that hot sizzling need, the metallic taste in his mouth, sour and strange, the heady hammering of the blood in his veins- his vision is a little flushed and red around the corners, teeth in his purple lips- blood drips from the corner of his mouth, but the words are there and he yeilds to them, albeit with difficulty. One listens to one's god after all, even if one is not that religious. He bows before that restraining hand, but Kotal would be able to feel, to smell the fury and the need within the green skinned warrior- he's on the edge. The eyes that flick to Kotal's own are desperate things, holding on only with difficulty, but bows in wordless apology for his presumption. His nostrils flare as he takes a reluctant, tension-laden step back. This is beyond him. This is above his head. He's just a humble assassin, nothing more. Not the providence of gods and daedra and things that are really a mix of the two. It's all just a little too much, and Gogron is on the edge of something. The very edge of it. He's not sure what. But it's there, whatever it is, and he quivers with it.
"You are not being too forthcoming with the information either." Kotal Kahn answers in an ever oh so accusing tone. However, as bothersome as this arrival has thus far proven to be, Kotal does appreciate good manners, and apologizing for his previous slight is a step in the right direction to not incur the wrath of the God of War. "You are forgiven." Says the Aztec Cuachic and makes no mention of Caliga forgiving his apparent ignorance. It's not his fault this guy came to posture all of the sudden. Even people in Outworld have more manners!
Well.. not really, but at least in Outworld it is culturally acceptable to challenge someone that insulted you to Mortal Kombat.
The rules are slightly different here in Twisted. Kotal can sense, even -hear-, the chains that bind Caliga, keeping him in check. But Kotal really doesn't know much about this place and dares not kill someone that he shouldn't.
All he really knows is what Serenity tells him. This guy is a government official, and for all Diablo told him about the Council not being in power any longer, the Aztec deity figures that it might look badly on him and TASK if he were to eviscerate a council member in public.
Kind of bad manners he thinks.
"Very well." Says Kotal and puts a heavy hand on Gogron's shoulder. He can feel his rage brewing and he can sadly do nothing about it for now. "Join us, Gogron. Have another drink." The War God takes a seat and motions for Serenity to come with them too. "Soon you will have your release, warrior." Not now, but soon. Yes, soon.
Serenity seems not at all reassured by Caliga's tone or by the flaming glassware. Rather, Ren frowns at the effects of Gogron's internal battle and slides out just a bit to look up at Kotal's face. Serenity then looks for a third opinion from the other patrons of the restaurant, but there's no help there- the remaining ones have all made their escape during this conversation. It's only when Kotal goes to take Caliga up on the offer that Ren makes a move from beneath the table. Ren stretches to eight feet in length while in a curled posture, then flicks fins to slide out with a six-foot length. Ren looks warily at Caliga, darts a glance toward a convenient bit of cover, then finally ripples over to 'stand' in the gap between Kotal's seat and the neighboring one. "If you're concerned," Ren offers uncertainly, "that we might be getting biased information, I would be quite willing to accept a written statement from everyone involved and type up some questions to discuss in a deliberate manner at some point in the future..."
Caliga picks up one of the glasses, and takes a sip from it. "Allow me to give you all a lesson in history." His free hand reaches into his pocket and pulls out a lone white feather. He twirls the feather between his fingers, staring at it sadly before letting go of it and allowing it to hover in the air before him. "This... belonged to Concordance. She once was the head of the Council of Twisted."
He gently pulls the feather from the air and places it back into his pocket. Once more he retrieves the tablet and this time it displays a vivid hologram. "Concordance, Guarlesia, Myra, Iolken, Abomination, Harpanic. These were the six members of Twisted's Council. Eventually they were joined by Nancy Dark. Nancy Dark is the only member who remains, and she is to be treated with the greatest of respect and assisted if she ever needs it. The other six are dead."
He then taps the tablet and seven new beings appear. "This is the council that appeared the rise against Concordance's council. The council of Seven. The Council of Hell. Diablo, myself, and the Maniac are that remains of that council. We agreed that no more should Twisted be ran by gods, but by its people. Diablo was the front runner of it all, as both the Maniac and I lost far too much in the aftermath of our war. Diablo, however, still has machinations for what needs to be done to ensure that this realm.. thrives. Me? I'm just pissed of what he took from me afterwards."
Rage would be easy. He's dealt with rage before. This is something else, something tainted with other things, other problems, but he seems to still and calm under the touch, his eyes going closed for a moment before he looks away slightly, breath slowing and heart easing in his chest. He seems heartened by the words. Maybe He is right (of course He is right to even question one of them is) and maybe it will get better, be okay in the end, maybe the hunger will lesson, maybe the old needs and desires will leave him alone.
Maybe the voices will stop.
A glance towards the daedric squiddly thing, his head tilting. Written statements? Questions? What sort of strange demon is this? But the story has him decidedly on edge, and he finds to his shame that he is stepping behind Kotal a bit, liking the contents of the story and the one delivering it not one bit.
As Caliga speaks, Serenity leans toward the bar to peer around Kotal and observe the projections. The seat and counter are dampened as the forcefield intersects them, but Ren's attention is on the speaker. Ren frowns as the images of Johnny and Oblivion appear. "I had an unfortunate run-in with Oblivion and his companion not long ago, where Sun protected me. They seemed evenly-matched up to the point where I escaped, but I wasn't inclined to ask her about the incident afterwards. I take it that he is no longer eligible to govern?" Ren doesn't seem entirely sure about this supposition, perhaps because of Johnny. "What exactly *does* qualify one to govern?"
Caliga places the tablet back into his jacket and grins. "Of course, it was one hell of a battle. So were the ones leading up to it." He then steps towards Gogron and Kotal both, allowing some of his true power to finally seep through the chains that bind him.
"Oblivion still lives? I guess I'll have to seek him out again." He turns his gaze towards Serenity now, continuing to allow his power to seep outwards. "What qualifies? It depends on who you ask. Power, wisdom, courage. Those three things seem to be staples in old worlds. Me? Make no mistakes. I do not rule anything on Twisted. However, if you wish to visit my realm.. Well. I'm certain that as a member of TASK.. you would be more then welcome to visit. The chains that bind here, do not bind there."
And Gog just sits down as indicated. Have a drink. When gods talk and daedra walk, have a drink sounds like a damn fine idea.
Serenity shoots Kotal a concerned look as Caliga mentions seeking out Oblivion. "While I have no questions about his power and courage, I'm afraid that Johnny's actions have caused me to wonder about his wisdom. He seems a bit... unpredictable at times." Ren adds, raising a fin edge to rub the beginnings of the gill-feathers, "Likewise, the being that telekinetically reduced the school patio to rubble as something like a careless gesture to emphasize one's words. Perhaps not a well-considered action." Ren waves a 'wing' out to the side and ripples the edge. "Given that this isn't a democracy, I can only say this as a personal opinion," Ren tentatively remarks, "But I happen to feel that compassion is also a fine quality for a leader."
Kotal first glances at Gogron and only after he has sit and taken a glass does he pay full attention to Caliga. Warriors must hold themselves proudly against all obstacles, not like cowed dogs. If Gogron does dare to call himself one of his worshipers, then he should act accordingly and show some dignity and not like a frenzied beast. The War God does feel the orc's inner demons though, and he will make sure to address them.. but at a later time.
Once they have all seated, Kotal leans back on his chair and rests an elbow on the armsit whilst placing his chin on his knuckles, a classic Emperor position that drips with arrogance.
He does listen closely to the history lesson and frowns at the mention of the Maniac, a name, or title? He has heard it spoken many times here in Twisted including by Diablo himself, and he has concluded that it was that one fellow with the knives that was running around like a lunatic screaming about burritos when he and Amaterasu sought Dante. "That psychopath with the daggers?" Says Kotal with surprise to his voice. "He is a council member as well?" There's some clenching of his teeth that no doubt voice Serenity's own concern about this place's government.
When Caliga steps closer and speaks of his own realm, Kotal leans in with narrowed eyes. "Cease your pointless posturing, if you please. Should you wish to challenge me you need naught but request of me a trial of Kombat. I will be more than happy to oblige even in your home realm." At this point Kotal is just looking for an excuse to fight.
"By all means, give me a reason to do what I am so very good at doing."
He leans back again, drumming his fingers. "Is this what this visit is about? To ensure that I do not become like one of the council in ages past? I already told Diablo of my intentions. I can be a stalwart ally or a ruthless enemy, the decision rests squarely on your shoulders."
Then, as Serenity speaks, he huffs through his nostrils in a sign of exasperation. "Compassion, yes, something that thus far I have only see in Diablo and Dante. It is no wonder why are the only ones left in any position of power."
A grunt from the orc. "...What wabbajack touched fool is this you speak of?" This is worrisome. Someone who might as well be touched by the hand of Sheogorath himself seems to be in a position of authority? What? Oh dear.
Discomforted in the extreme, he finishes his pulque, eyebrows rising faintly as he watches the council of gods and demons talk.
"Of Hell, yes. Of Twisted? No."
Of course, as Kotal speaks about posturing, Caliga only laughs at him. "Oh no, this is to remind Diablo I'm not his little play thing once again. Twice now I've had to remind him. The third time will not go by as he planned." He allows his power to stop seeping outwards, only to smile. "Of course, I'm a bit more tricksy then the Devil himself."
The War God first leans over to Gogron when he grunts in question of this Mania fellow. "You will run into him eventually. Skinny fellow with two daggers. Reeks of the ashpit." Kotal remembers how Gogron refers to the Netherrealm, or Hell by any other name. Other than that though, there is not much known about this guy except that he seems to be crazy. "You are an assassin are you not?" Ask the Aztec of the orc. "His ways might be familiar to you." And Kotal mentally adds that insanity and voices in his head might be one of them.
As Caliga offers him a mocking smile Kotal returns it, but not for the same reason. He noticed Caliga made no attempt to take the War God's offer to fight. "I can certainly imagine so. A testament as to how you are still alive despite the rise and fall of the previous council members." It's clear that direct confrontations are not the way to go here. Twisted isn't like Outworld where disagreements are solved in the coliseum. It seems that political intrigue is the way to go here. A more tedious battlefield, but a battlefield nonetheless.
"While I do have to thank you for the extensive information about the Twisted of ages past, there is something that I wish to make clear as well, Caliga."
"Whatever bad blood there may be between you and Diablo, I will see that none of it spills into the city. I can tell that the citizens of Twisted have suffered enough already for them to become prisoners within their own homes."
"Should you two wish to resolve your differences, I invite you to take it to the arena. Should I see you or any of your henchmen in the streets attempting to revive up old hatreds, or attempt to drag us in any of your schemes, I will ensure they are dealt with in a manner that is proper of TASK."
"I am certain that Dante of Sparda would agree with me on this as well."
Serenity's eyes are on Caliga while he cheerily delivers the ominous promises, but Ren looks to Gogron as Kotal calls him an assassin. Ren nods as Kotal goes on to make his own promises to Caliga, but ends with a somewhat worried expression as he finishes so emphatically. "As I offered before," Ren adds hastily, motioning to Caliga, "I agree that there is no need to involve members of the public in any jusrisdictional disputes. I'm sure that you can, at the least, all agree that disagreements over territory are destabilizing and involve unpleasant stress." Ren gestures inward. "So, if you do run into any trouble, we can make sure to find a suitable mediator for the councilmembers' debates, whether they be in closed session or public speaking."
A low tremble, and he nods. An uncomfortable look, but he nods. "Aye." Indeed. An assassin, who happens to be mad. To be fair Gogron recognizes that he too is mad, but he at least isn't touched by Sheogorath, not a jibberer, a sayer of strange and pointless things. His voices only speak within, whispering of what he should do or shrieking curses and shrilling stinging insults and scorn or saying his name as he's trying to fall asleep. Totally different things, those. Totally different. He sits back, watching the two behemoths wrestle with their words, a look of worry on his face.
As Ren looks over at him, his expression is one of... discomfort, but he is here nevertheless. He had been outed as what he was- there was little point hiding it at this point. Assassin named and assassin quantified, if sitting here not killing anyone at the moment. He was kind of a... rather unaccountably direct assassin anyhow.
The smile remains on Caliga's face as he swirls his left index finger, causing a dagger to appear. "Why Kotal. You wound me. You think I have henchmen, and would actively strive to cause what I sacraficed so much to build back up any harm?"
He allows the dagger to vanish, staring directly at Kotal. "I've invited you to my realm. If you wish to do battle Kotal, then we will do it there, where none of Twisted will be affected. You would do well to remember that Twisted, nor the Arena is a place that someone of your ability should ever be serious in battle. The bonds that limit us all are strong, but they are not everlasting."
He then rises up to his full height, staring directly at Serenity now. "As a member of TASK, you will be hard pressed to find that everyone is willing to just talk it out." However, a light smile crosses his face. He opens his jacket and pulls out a ruined looking badge. However, the words upon it can still be read as clear as day. He then sets the the badge down on the bar. "I hereby vacate my posistion as an Angel of TASK." As the words leave his mouth steps forward only to vanish, only to reappear behind Gogron. "As for you, tell me something. How do you feel about leadership?"
"You tell me." Kotal Kahn says whilst still resting his chin on his knuckles and making no reaction to the dagger that appears out of thin air. "It is not I who is openly singing my hatred for Diablo right now, the ruler of this city."
"Then it is there where we shall fight'" Continues the War God." As I will face you only where those chains do not bind you." What chains is he talking about? Maybe Kotal is seeing something that is not completely visible on Caliga's person right now.
As for Caliga's reminder that Kotal should be wary of not harming civilians that might get caught on the crossfire of his power, he merely opens his palm as if indicating he should stop. "Rest assured, I am in no need of chains to keep myself in check." He chuckles and rest his chin on his knuckles again. "That is what mental fortitude and skill are for." Pretty sassy in his own archaic way.
When Caliga stands and addresses Serenity, Kotal simply frowns at this man's instance of bullying the poor mollusk. Even the ruthless War God can't help but put a comforting hand on Serenity's bubble just to ensure her he has his support.
The badge thrown at the table though, that was rather unexpected. Caliga was at one point a member of TASK!? It is no wonder now why Dante kept complaining on and on about the former police's inability to hold the peace, and Kotal Kahn did imagine they would have to deal with some.. previous elements of the police force. The War God says nothing and mere stares at the badge, he will let Serenity deal with the paperwork. That's her job, he's kind of here just to bust heads.
Suddenly he's behind Gogron, but Kotal Kahn still makes no movement, preferring to see how the orc is going to react instead.
Serenity does not look happy with the posturing from Kotal, yet refrains from comment. Under Caliga's direct attention, Ren shrinks a little, a more literal thing when one is literally lacking a backbone. Still, Ren nods a slow acknowledgement to Caliga's assessment. The relinquished badge, then, Ren gives a wary look, as if it might have picked up some of its former owner. Ren 'blinks' at Caliga's blinking into existence behind Gogron, and Ren's eyes flick to Kotal's face after Caliga's offer. Ren reaches the edge of a fin through the water to pat the offered hand in return.
The chair scrapes as he starts, jumping slightly to the side and nearly losing his seat- "I- What?" A startled blink, those deep golden eyes turning to take in the possibly deific individual suddenly RIGHT NEXT TO HIM, expression haggard and shocked. He is used to mages being tricksy bastards, but this is a little much. "How do I feel about- what? Leadership? Don't look at me, I'm just an Eliminator." Not even a full assassin as the ranking structure went. Something about too much attention, too many casualties, but hang it all, sneaking and skulking about was for the weak and feeble minded, those lacking in draft of spirit as much as strength of arm. He was not one for skulking in shadows. He stares at Caleb with a certain apprehensive bewildered confusion. Blink?
A loud laugh escapes Caliga's mouth as Gogron replies to his question. "Excellent. I like that response." He then bows towards Serenity and grins. "Oh dearest Serenity, don't be so apprehensive. I'm no longer a protector of the people. You are. Please, do me proud." Only, now, his power once again starts to rise as raises himself once more to his full height.
"Huitzilopotchli, as for you.. I'm going to leave it in your very capable hands." He leans forward as the power explodes from him, blowing out all the windows of the Usual Resturant as he phases forward, allowing his hair to suddenly become silver in hue as his eyes blaze with an eerie light.
As he nears Kotal, a long silver tail that seems to be simian in nature appears behind Caliga, only to burst through the Blue Giant, errupting into silver flames as he then crumples to a heap behind him. "I'm.. leaving them with you. So you will at least understand for you will have the power to prevent the forgotten past from becoming a reality again.."
Serenity appears puzzled by the words of encouragement from Caliga, or perhaps by the fact that there is no implied threat there. Still, Ren nods a silent acknowledgement. However, Ren doesn't catch sight of Kotal being set on fire, as the fluorescent mollusc is darting under a table again after just a moment of freezing in shock at the explosion.
The energy spike causes Kotal's eyebrow to rise as well.
One moment he is treading Serenity's bubble to touch her fin and the next he is violently standing up sensing danger approaching.
"MOVE!" He yells for Serenity and spins on his heel in one fluid motion. The War God immediately has a forearm upfront with the intent of parrying a blow, a wide stance taken and his right fist cocked and ready to strike by his hip. For an Aztec deity he seems to have a distinctively Eastern fighting style.
The power explodes towards him along with Caliga and the War God meets it head on, launching a piston like fist sailing straight for the council member's face!
Only for the wave of chi to flow right through the God of War.
"HRRRRRRGGGGAAAAAA!!!" For a moment, it looks like Kotal Kahn was the victim of a massive electrocution, not unlike facing against the God of Thunder, Raiden, thinks he. Blue energy crackles around his body and the turquoise giant spasms while clenching his teeth in apparent pain. His once golden glowing eyes turned blue.
And just as quickly as it started the energy vanishes.
Kotal falls from his brief levitation standing up right, like an arrow planting itself square on the ground. Even after having endured what seemed like a massively painful spike of energy, the God of all warriors still stands imposing and tall, albeit, with sizzling smoke rising from his skin as if he had just been set on fire.
His shoulders rise and fall... so many memories, so quickly passing through his mind, so much information. It would drive a mortal mind insane, for sure.
Caliga chose well-- only a God would be able to receive this.. gift.
Kotal turns on his heel to face the prone Caliga, his eyes glowing gold again, his features.. perturbed and pensive rather than being pained.
"You place your trust in me." Says Huitzilopotchli rather cryptically. "I am.. honored that you think of me as a fitting vessel for your retribution." The Warrior God looks down, still thinking of the words, so much information..
"Rest assured, your trust is not misplaced. I will ensure that such atrocities never happen again."
"So long as I live, this I swear." Aaaand then, he's side stepping out of the way of Gogron.
Because he doesn't think even he would be able to stop an orc that just saw the God of his people being attacked.
It's not really something he'd planned- the voices, you see. He can't always- when he's not prepared, when he's not guarded for it- they're so loud, you see, and sometimes, he can't help but listen to them, can't help but follow what they say. Kotal is, as far as he sees, the closest thing to normal. He might not be the god of his people, but he might not not be him either, and he's done nothing but good for the rather lost, stressed and saddened orc the entire time. An anchor in a time of swirling chaos and grief, paralyzing uncertainty, killing apprehension and fear-
And this one- he'd just- there was screaming and-
It was the voices, you see- he wasn't on guard for them. And-
The axe still has that strange dull red glow as he suddenly rips forth an enraged shriek, his vision suddenly struck red and his lips pulled back, eyes more than just a little lost to madness. The movement, however, is pure training, pure love and dedication, practiced over and over, the axe striking true- if he wishes not to be struck by it Caliga might well wish to do something about that- um.
Or Kotal for that matter. Orcs. Berzerkerism. It's a bitch sometimes, it really is.
Pain is really not something Caliga enjoys, and as that axe blade strikes down upon him, a loud scream escapes his mouth. The sound is primal, almost as if the energies of things that are older then time itself are escaping into this realm. Then silence.
Moments pass until he groans loudly. The man rises to his feet, and a look of pure anguish rests upon his face. "Why am I finding it more difficult these ways to come out of things unscathed...?" He limps towards Gogron now, looking down at that axe of his. "I would really, and man do I mean really, like it if you put that axe down and not swing it at me again."
Of course, it does seem like he's getting any stronger now.
Serenity, meanwhile, is trying to find a compromise between keeping any parts from sticking out from beneath the table while flatting out as much as possible against the lower surface. That wood is going to have a wintergreen-scented water stain under there for some time.
Kotal Kahn may have actually never seen an orc before, but he has seen many a beast, and warrior.. and warrior beasts for that matter too, that share that berserker fury. The War God recognizes the signs when he sees them. As soon as he stepped out of Gogron's way to let him have his much deserved retaliation for all Caliga's abrasive behavior, he could see the sheer madness in the orc's eyes, that primal fury.
Gogron's reaction might have been fueled by a desire to protect Kotal Kahn, but at this point the orc was no longer in control of his own body.
"ENOUGH!" Whilst Gogron is focused on swinging his axe down ferociously on the fall man, the Aztec dives for Gogron's back and wraps his muscled arms around the orc's waist. Controlling his center of gravity, Kotal lifts by his breeches and goes to fling him aside and hopefully thrown him to the ground. Make no mistake, Caliga -probably- deserved that axe to body, but any more than that would just be cruelty.
"Enough, Gogron!" Kotal repeats. "His slight has been paid in blood."
Just to make sure that Gogron doesn't try to ignore him and go for another go at Caliga, Kotal stands on his way and bids him to stay where he is. "He has learned his lesson."
And just where is poor Serenity in all of this?
Oh, there she is, hiding under a table.
Sad truth, that. What had been borne in the need to defend and protect was baptized in fury and raised in the hot rush of blood, and was no longer his creature. His focus is entirely for Caliga however, and thus as the axe bites and rises once more (a fun feeling, like leaden exhaustion, terror and illness washes from the blade, sapping endurance and the will to fight) his balance is off- and he's lifted, voice an animal roar of rage- and hurtled to the floor, his great double headed daedric axe spinning across the floor, spitting sparks. He's halfways risen, on hands and knees, his eyes burning- but the voice of Kotal cuts through, managing to drive him back an inch with a bit of a flinch. Body quivering, he looks up, face twitching. He... doesn't, ask where he is, he remembers, albeit vaguely, where he is. Shaking as he rises, leaning on the wood, his eyes go to Caliga, narrowed, but he offers no further insult or slight to the other.
"..Thank you." Caliga gently dusts his jacket off, only to wince. He's obviously quit a bit weaker thanks to that axe, but he's had worse. Which is quite a statement indeed! "..Kotal, there is so much more you need to understand, but what I've given you will be a start. You will make your own assessments of these things of course, but I need you to remember. He is not an enemy. Of course, I'm still going to stab him in his fucking face. That doesn't concearn you though."
He limps forward once again, this time to stare directly into Gogron's eyes. "Don't you ever do that again." The words are spoken softly, however they are meant. "Not unless you wish to find that axe being placed into a very uncomfortable place, and no, I don't mean the backseat of a Volkswagen."
He then moves towards the door. "I'm tired. If any of you wish to find me.. well. Eventually it'll become apparent how." He gives a faint wave, but its not like he can really rush off if someone truly wanted to stop him.
Kotal is just now beginning to understand that he has until now been scratching at the surface of what is a much bigger problem. He had not come to Twisted as a conqueror, nor a savior, he had arrived just like any other refugee, wandering aimlessly into the Usual Restaurant so that a kind local mollusk could fill him in on his situation.
Now that he knows what he knows, he finds himself pulled into events of a magnitude that make Outworld politics with Earthrealm and the Netherrealm pale in comparison.
He made this dive willing, he's ready to see it all the way, regardless where it takes him.
For now, he offers nothing back to Caliga. There is literally nothing Kotal can tell this man at this moment that he doesn't already know, and viceversa. The War God simply nods, when and if the time comes for Caliga to collect his dues, Kotal is certain he will do it in a manner that won't threaten Twisted.
As he begins to limp away and tell Gogron off, the War God simply goes over to the orc and places steady hand on the warrior's shoulder. "You did well, Gogron. Go get your axe." No, it doesn't look like he has anything more to say or ask of Caliga, Eldergods know Kotal has gotten to know the man way too intimately at this moment.
"Serenity?" He looks over to the hiding mollusk. "You can come out. It is safe now."
There is much work to be done still. But for now Kotal only wishes to see to the safety of his friends.
He'll worry about preventing another impending apocalypse later.
He'd only just managed to put it away- oh it slams home though, rushing back to the surface like the fountain of a newly breeched aquifer, choking him in it's sudden blinding froth. It takes everything he has not to lay into this one with just gauntleted fists, his body quivering with the need of it. The gold burns bright in those eyes, the nostrils flared, face tight with tension and strain. A choked, croaking sound, heavy with raw and bleeding feelings, scraped bloody on the jagged shards of his earlier breach of control. He looks to Kotal, trying not to quiver like a child, hands balled to tight fists as the hand finds his shoulder. He nods, quick to pull away, his face a mask of barely held rage and humiliation, pulling back from the edge, fighting the need to loose his grip, even for a moment, though undoubtely it would be- very, negative for him, should he allow himself to do so.
His hands find his axe, fishing a hammer out of a pouch on his side and taking to it a few times, the angles expert in their casting of it, knocing out a ding near the handle without so much as a forge's kiss before slipping it once more onto his back.
"Kkk," Ren abruptly crackles in reply to Kotal. Ren and the attendant field generator and mass of water slide out from beneath the table with little hesitation. Serenity quickly returns to more usual proportions, but Ren's sides have a thin translucent sheen. But the hammering draws Ren's attention to Gogron, earning a frown. "I would appreciate an explanation tomorrow, after I've washed up and had a good night's sleep... a night's sleep, at least," Ren hisses wearily. "After that, I'll start working on that job advertisement for our staff psychologist.