|The Power of Names|
A low grumble escapes Caliga's mouth as he stares down at the Nekojin before him. Once more another week has passed, and to him, they haven't made much progress at all. Maybe its with the blast first ask questions later methods. Maybe its the sheer panic of having something launched from orbit down.
Maybe its just because Caliga has been distracting himself with other things. Whatever the case, he starts pacing back and forth, mumbling things under his breath. If one were listening closely, it'd sound almost as if he were mumbling names.
Tabitha stares at the man as he paces in a quiet show of indifference. There's no real point to this anymore. It just goes on and on with no end in sight. Why is she even here? As a breeze passes she briefly misses her jacket. Sure she could fix it but Caliga's stupid no-dagger rule. The girl scowls at him briefly for that. Her pants are ripped to the point of being shorts and she doesn't remember the last time she got to sleep somewhere comfortable. Of course her ideas of comfort involve a tiny closet and a pile of blankets. Letting a sigh escape her she rolls from a sitting position onto her back and puts an arm over her eyes. "...ya know, a break might help ya think. It's been two weeks..."
SOME TIME AGO
KOTAL KAHN'S ROOM
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS!!!?" Having just walked out of the shower to get rid of all the black goop that was covering his body after battling the nightmares of Silent Hill, the last thing that Huitzilopotchli, also known as Kotal Kahn by the denizens of Twisted, wanted to see, was the deranged presence of Caliga in his room. "I'll cleave you asunder for this insolence!" Just as the Aztec deity was reaching for his macuahuitl to make good on his promise of splitting Caliga in half, the strange man was reaching for the Eagle Knight and transporting him to another dimension.
A booming shout is heard in the distance dramatically breaking the silence and causing the ground to tremble, large chunks of rock split from the earth and being to lift themselves into the air as if gravity had suddenly stopped working. That's just the safe part about this too, since from the horizon a massive sun ray is seen falling from the sky, like an orbital beam canon shot from the sun itself. It lands somewhere in the distance, which is incidentally where the scream is coming from, and despite the deafening noise that the earthquake and the orbital sun canon are causing, the scream in the distance starts forming a tangible and very familiar word.
Looks like Tabitha ain't the only person Caliga dragged to this place, and whoever this other person is, he's mad as hell.
"...A break?" Caliga cocks his head to the side as he turns to stare at Tabitha, as if she just uttered the worst words anyone in the history of existence has ever bothered to say. "You've only learned dodging things is a great way to save your bacon. Admittedly, you've done a good job at it! Of course, that doesn't mean anything."
As Caliga goes to continue to speak, he hears the first scream, and grins like he just did the greatest thing ever. A child getting their first A, buying your first car, graduating highschool. The look on the mans face would put those to shame.
Until he hears the second scream.
"Pssssst. Tabitha. I think your super secret buddy for the day is on their way!"
Tabitha's expression isn't one of being proud. She goes from annoyance to flat out terror in the span of two words screamed at the top of someone's lungs. The final comment just seals that in, leaving her looking alike a deer in the headlights as she sits up, eyeing the horizon in terror. "WHAT HAPPENED TO NOT DROPPING ME IN A VOLCANO?!?" Yeah, this is technically not a volcano, but the idea is still there.
Technically, it kinna is, except the source of searing heat is coming from the sky instead of underground.
In fact, forget the volcano, if Caliga's plan is to have Tabitha fight an enraged Kotal Kahn, its the equivalent of dropping her in the sun!
That scream is heard getting closer, and a figure sails through the sky to land a few meters away from the duo shooting flames up in the air whilst being wreathed in flames itself.
The man.. or creature.. he looks like a human.. but abnormally tall, almost close to eight feet. His exposed skin is a bright turquoise color with glowing golden lines running all across his muscled body, like living tattoos. He wears little more than a loincloth, sandals, gauntlets, and a large eagle helmet with brightly colored feathers, but it does little to detract from the sight of his weapon. A massive serrated blade that is almost as tall as he is.
"YOU DARE PULL ME AWAY FROM MY DUTIES!!!??" Screams the infuriated man as he zeroes in on the two and begins approaching them, the flames that cover his body scorching anything that gets close to him.
"I'LL FLAY THE SKIN FROM YOUR BONES AND MAKE YOU WATCH ME WEAR IT!!!!" In true Aztec fashion and all, let's just that the rumors of Xipe Totec and Kotal Kahn being related in some way are completely true.
A simple wave is given to Kotal as Caliga moves to stand next to Tabitha. "All right kid, I guess you haven't figured out what the numbers mean besides they go up and down on that nice little screen. Time to learn. Push the button, focus on Kotal. The numbers bassicly represent how powerful, well in Kotal's case, his chi is. We're not going to get into the nuances of the differences of Ki, chi, and qi."
Obviously Caliga isn't as worried as he should be with an enraged Kotal Kahn ranting and raving, but thats because if it hasn't become obvious yet, Caliga truly has no sense of prioritizing things.
"Simmer down Sunshine. You don't want to break the poor girl, do you?" The man wanders towards the Aztec warrior, stroking his chin. "You can pretty much use the numbers as a way to gauge a threat, Tabitha. Are you and your guests upstairs taking note of all this?"
Tabitha listens to him and fumbles with the scouter as he goes to make his introduction to the irate Kotal Kahn. As a wealth of numbers suddenly flash up on the screen she looks at Caliga, and his significantly lower set of numbers and swallows hard. She mutters quietly under her breath, "...this is it. We're going to die."
Taking only a brief moment to let that sink in, the nekojin pushes to her feet deciding that at least they can face death standing up. The girl crosses her arms, trying to not show just how completely terrified she is, but her tail trying to wrap itself around her leg throws that effort directly out the window.
When seen through the scouter, Kotal Kahn's chi doesn't seem to settle on a set number. The figure just keeps escalating higher and higher and higher. Tabitha and Caliga might know not this, but while Kotal's chi could easily be measured while restrained in Twisted, out here away from the boundaries of that realm and in a source of sun light, Kotal's energy just keeps increasing the longer he's exposed to a sun -- with no defined limit.
It's a good thing that this scouter is one of them new fancier newer models, or it would have exploded a few moments after getting a load of a truly infuriated Kotal.
"DO NOT MOCK ME, CRETIN!!!!" Is Kotal's answer to the lazy greeting given to him by Caliga. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY LIVES YOU'VE PUT IN DANGER BY BRINGING ME HERE!!?" The Aztec God points at Caliga with his burning macahuitl. "EVEN NOW THE CITY OF TWISTED IS INFESTED WITH DEMONS AND YOU HAVE THE IMPUDENCE OF PLAYING PRANKS ON ME!!!?"
Just if it wasn't clearly already; Kotal is really -really- mad right now. He usually is a easy going non-chalant fellow, but people have to remember that he /is/ the Aztec God of War, and he's about to show exactly why in a moment. It's just a pity that he's about to take out his aggression on a certain cat-girl right now.
"I'LL TEACH YOU TO GET YOUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER!!!" And so the War God charges!!!
One moment he's several meters away from the duo and the next he's right in front of Tabitha in a perfect example of the legendary flash step. He has his macauhuitl blade cranked back ready to slice the two in half with a mighty swing and he just--
"Wait!!" His glowing golden eyes widen in recognition. "I know who you are!" Does he now? And he seems to be addressing the cat girl.
"Are you the one known as Tabitha Li-Bogard?"
Caliga nods his head at Tabitha's words, as if this was the first smart thing she's said all day. "Yep. It's quite possible we are infact going to die." He suddenly vanishes, and reappears next to Kotal, standing alongside the Aztec's left arm. "I'd appreaciate it if you didn't try to cleave my student, Kotal. She still has a fair amount of things to learn! Like love, and... uh.. OH! How to use her own energy instead of relying on pure negativity to save her ass!"
Standing mostly silent, the girl's eyes get larger as Kotal suddenly focuses on her. Instead of dodging or running, she closes her eyes and turns her head bracing for the pain that never comes. As his question comes floating across she opens an eye and peers at him just in time to see Caliga 'defend' her. All she can do is let out another sigh and shake her head. Better to ignore him, really. Turning her attention to the suddenly wide-eyed Kotal Kahn, the nekojin nods her head. "Y-yeah? That's me. Do I know ya or somethin'?" Well, this isn't the outcome she expected.
"Oh? You found about all the trouble Dante and Tabitha here caused down in Hell? That makes this a lot easier." Caliga points at the giant turquoise man. "Tabitha, this is Kotal Kahn, officer of TASK. He works for Dante, if you didn't already guess that."
Reaching into his jacket, Caliga's right hand fishes around for a few moments, only to pull out a small case. Opening the case, his eyes scan over the contents before selecting a small cylindrical capsule out of it with the numbers '2031' in bold yellow print.
Pressing down on the top of the capsule causes an audible 'CLICK-CLICK!', only for him to give the thing a short toss towards the door of the shack. The capsule suddenly explodes with a loud 'BOOM!', creating a bright pink cloud of smoke. Once the cloud vanishes however, a blue mini-fridge remains. Wandering over to the fridge, he opens it and fishes around, only to pull a can of what appears to be soda out for himself.
"Kotal, you can't go blamin' Tabitha for whats going on back on Twisted. She's just as much a victim as Dante was in that. Neither of them really understood just what they were dealin' with down there. Which is why I figured it'd be best to finish training Tabitha in the art of Ki."
Tabitha blinks at 'young lady' her gaze falling to the ground afterwards at the statement about unleashing. She doesn't even try to defend the accusation which somehow makes Caliga speaking about her recent blunder almost more embarrassing for the girl. At the mention of working for Dante she looks up again, confused. Does this mean Dante blames her for everything now? Her heart suddenly aching from the idea of one of her few friends hating her, the girl misses the rest of Caliga's statements, dropping to a crouch and letting her head fall limp onto her knees. In a voice nearly a whisper she explains, "...I thought it was th' right thing ta do..." The nekojin doesn't try to say anything else. Her emotions are too out of control at the moment for her to take much interest in conversation.
"Ignorance is no excuse!" Kotal answers with a steadfast clench of his fist. "Dante confined in me that he knew going into the wasteland was a terrible idea. Had this girl not manipulated him into going then Twisted would not in a state of complete panic!"
He huffs and sets his giant sword on his back again whilst Caliga goes to get some refreshments for himself. "The citizens of Twisted have suffered much as it is, only to now find themselves prisoners within their own homes." Kotal is really not pleased with this outcome, and it seems like he has really gotten attached to the city, calling it his own now. It's only natural for him though being a leader of empires and all, as a god of war and progress, he feels like it his duty to keep those that are under his protection safe.
Whilst Tabitha goes into a pitiful crouch and Caliga drinks his soda, Kotal moves away shaking his head. "Nevertheless, what done is done. I will have Dante and mayhap the council deal with this child once the matter with the fog has been resolved. Which could be a very extensive campaign from what I understand."
He then glances back to Caliga and his cat protege. "And just exactly /how/ is her training any concern of mine? You still have not answered my question, Caliga."
"Why am I here? And why should I care about Tabitha learning how to use her chi?"
"If you are quite done making me scare this girl senseless, then I will kindly ask you to return me to Twisted. I have demons that I need to slay."
"And if ignorance is no excuse, then Dante shoulders the full blame for being an adult, who leads the police force that is supposed to protect the populace, and allows himself to free a demon because a pair of googoo eyes were made at him? What if I told you that even if Dante and Tabitha here had never ventured into Hell, and released one of its prisoners, that Christabella still would have most likely been set free?" Caliga finally opens the can of soda and grins.
"The fog, Kotal is the least of your concearns. Its the least of all our concearns. So long as TASK is up to the job to protect the populace, of course. Now, if you, as the great and grand warrior that you are, bemoans a challenge against hordes of nightmares and evils that would still have eventually found a way out seems like you're trying to say you aren't up to it. At least this way you have a headsup on it."
Taking a long drink of the soda, Caliga narrows his eyes now. "Tabitha is to learn, Kotal not only because I said she is to, but because it will save her life and allow her prove she is more then what people like you are trying to make her out to be. She will usher in a new age for Twisted and the worlds that connect to it, and with the right training, it will be an age to look forward to."
It's an inspiring speech, really. Arguably the best one Caliga has ever given. Regrettably it will probably be forgotten as Tabitha suddenly falls limp, her body dropping off to the side like a puppet with its strings cut. A moment later a hand twitches and life returns to the girl's body and she pushes herself back onto her feet. Despite her eyes being mostly covered by her hair, Caliga should already realize which one has come out to play by the wide toothy smile across the bottom of her face. "Oh yesssss, we manipulated him didn't we? Wrapped him right around our little fingers?" Her head jerks upwards at an odd angle to look into Kotal's face with white, pupil-less eyes. "Fuck him! FUCK Twisted!! Why should I fuckin' care what happens to that useless chunk o' wasteland?" The girl marches in front of the Kombatant to stand between him and Caliga. "...an' why should I care at all about YOU?!" She reaches out, shoving his shoulder back with more force than her small frame implies. Deep black circles seem to be fading into view around her eyes as she suddenly laughs, "Ya wanna blame me fer yer troubles? Fuckin' stop talkin' an' do something about it."
"Oh, I will deal with Dante in due time." Answers Kotal, sounding quite sure of himself as usual. "Though he may be a formidable warrior, it is quite clear to me that he lacks experience as a leader."
"This is why I shall forge him into the commander that I know he can be. With Lady Amaterasu and mine council to aid him, we will make certain that a catastrophe like this does not happen again." The Aztec scoffs and glances sideways at Caliga "You have your protegees and I have mine, Caliga."
Then, the War God is scowling when Caliga tells him that the fog arising was inevitable. "Then why have them there imprisoned in the first place?? This is what you and Diablo call security?? All I have done ever since I arrived in this blasted realm is fix your messes! If it is not the squabbles between you two then it is running errands as if I were some manner of glorified messenger!"
"I would complain too of having to do all the fighting here as well, but I enjoy the challenge of fighting Dracula and all these flayed beasts from the cursed fogs."
"Make no mistake, I will be speaking to Diablo about this incident and see exactly just what were his preventive measures. Because it is clear to me that if there were any, they are not working. I grow quite tired of all this... inefficiency.."
Caliga then goes on to speak about how Tabitha will be the one to herald a new age of progress for Twisted, and how only she will be the one to bring a new time of prosperity for the city and the realm. Kotal does not look convinced and he's about to bring about his retort when Tabitha suddenly flips out and shoves past them. The Aztec does not move when she tries to push his muscled, broad shoulder, but he lets her pass nonetheless. All he does is watch her walk away to then give Caliga knowing, almost taunting look with raised eyebrows.
"Some savior.." He chuckles and looks away, crossing his arms. Looks like he's done here too.
"Ah, youth.." Caliga takes a long drink from his soda, only to set the now empty can down atop of the fridge. "You seem to forget the passion and zeal of the young, Huitzilopotchli. In time, you will see I am right in this as well. As for everything else.. Hmmm. I can't tell you the secrets yet." Taking a step towards then now, he suddenly vanishes.
As the persona who calls herself Samantha goes to walk off, Caliga appears infront of her. "As for you, young lady. I think its time to show you why you should care. Tabitha has need for you still. So.. I am going to give you a gift."
Slowly removing the sheathed katana from his back, Caliga lays it on the ground. "You are the first, and the worst of those whom reside within that shell. You were never given a chance to do what all whom are given life deserve to. Your existence was created to create sorrow."
As he speaks, Caliga's form starts to flicker slightly, as he allows his energy to swell, slowly but surely allowing his true form to seep through. A faint outline of a tail, and clothing not of this world covers his form as he reaches towards Tabitha's body.
"Hear me, and hear me well. I give to you a name, so that you might break away from your sorrowful past. I give to you a new beginning. You were the first, and you will guide your sisters. You are /not/ Samantha Li Bogard. You are no longer the shadow that was made to torment." Grabbing ahold of Tabitha's shoulder, Caliga utters one single word.
The nekojin glares coldly at Caliga as he reaches out to her. "The worst of them?! You don't know me! FUCK YOU!" She tries to shove away as he grips her shoulder, forcing her to listen to the rest of his words. Specifically one word, one that makes her go numb. Even if it had been sarcastic, the name is instantly taken by the personality. Her chaotic nature momentarily humbled. She'd never been given a name, and she knew that meant she would one day fade. It made her constantly push to die and take the rest with her so that she didn't die alone. With one word that was shattered.
Meria's eyes begin to water as she yanks herself away from his grasp, taking a step backwards. "How COULD you?!?" Her tears caused by fury and not sadness. The girl wipes her no longer white eyes on her arm and shakes her head, glaring back at Caliga afterwards. "You have NO fucking idea what you've done!!" She whips herself around and marches towards the cabin, her hands balled into fists and shaking. Reaching her destination, she punches a wall of it and slinks down to the ground. Her mind reeling as it tries to make sense of things...
"Hmph." Kotal Kahn grunts when Caliga uses his Mexica name and at the very least causes him to pique his interest enough so he's facing him and Tabitha again. "You would be surprised how very often I am reminded of that." After all, he has Dante to deal with a daily basis, and despite the demon hunter's claims of getting old, he's still considerably younger than Kotal and far -faaaaaaaaaaar- more immature.
When Caliga draws his sword out to face Tabitha, the Aztec immediately assumes that he's about to FINISH HER. He makes no attempt to stop this though, good riddance as far as he's concerned, because if Caliga hadn't killed her, the best fate that awaited Tabitha was life imprisonment in TASK's cells, of that, Kotal would have it certain.
But its not swift decapitation that awaited Tabitha.. or at least this version of her.. apparently, judging by her reaction, it was something much worse. An identity.
The ramifications of this development are kind of lost on Kotal. He has all of Caliga's memories, but even with those, this Tabitha continues to be much of an enigma, and mind you, not one that Kotal is particularly interested in solving. People like Nancy or Datenshi seemed more profitable to research.. but Tabitha? As far as Kotal could tell was little more than a nuisance, a wretch, and at best a victim.
Kotal could spare little for the girl besides pity, and her sorrowful display isn't changing his view.
In fact, where is Kotal in all this? He's been awfully silent--
Oh, looked like he wandered off and is now raiding Caliga's mini fridge. "Eldergods... not more of these sugary, bubbly drinks." Grumbles the Aztec as he seems to find nothing but soda.
Hey, Kotal's nickname /is/ Mr. Sunshine and he can't help but sometimes lighten things up somethings, especially after such dour displays. Besides, it looks like he's stuck here for a while so might as well get himself a drink.
"Meria. If you intend to sulk, please send Tabitha back out, and assist her with this next phase. You don't get to fade and take the rest of them out on my watch. Otherwise, please present yourself with dignity." If he hadn't been forwarned by Coleen about their predicaments, Caliga may have been intent on calling the persona whatever he felt like. However, now there is purpose again to this.
Reaching down to pick up the katana, Caliga visibly winces. He spent too much of his own energy on that, and what remains in the sword isn't as much as he would like to actually teach the basics of Ki. "Kotal.. please explain to the girls just what Ki actually is, would you? I.. need to take a moment to rest."
When Tabitha does finally rise, there's a strange air to her movements. She seems to have control of herself but she sways like she's slightly drunk. The girl turns and stares blindly at Caliga, her eyes going in and out of focus. The nekojin says nothing, but turns her head to continue looking his direction as he goes to reclaim his sword. Likewise she turns her gaze to Kotal Kahn as he's spoken of - still not really seeing him so much as moving her head to face him.
Suddenly she begins to speak, her voice holding a strange echo to it. "Each cell is assigned a lock to stabilize fluctuations and maintain the seal. Of course, locks, whether humans, dogs, or weasels, never know what they've been doomed to be." There's a pause as her eyes flicker into focus again momentarily. Her brow narrows like she's trying to regain control, but it's suddenly gone again and the doubled voice continues, "Sane or damaged to begin with, they all share a common demeanor - introverted, quiet, and of no threat to anyone but themselves. Inevitably they degenerate collapsing into a quiet, mental dissolve."
The girl jerks her head to the side, shaking it as she grips her head in one hand. "...I-I'm sorry." She looks up seeming very much Tabitha's normal self. "I don't know what-" Tabitha stops mid-sentence to stare at Kotal Kahn as if seeing him for the first time. "Do I know you?" Well that's new.
Wincing the nekojin rubs her temples. "I just missed something didn't I?" Lowering her hands she looks back at Kotal again, this time with recognition washing over her. She takes a step back and apologizes again, "I'm sorry. Please ignore what I said." The important question might be which part?
"For future reference.." Kotal Kahn begins to speak as Caliga moves out of the way to retrieve his sword. "Whenever you wish me to educate someone in martial matters, you can simply ask me to help instead of attempt to kidnap me." The Aztec is now armed with a can of soda which he promptly sips whilst making faces at it, he's never really liked the things, but he rather drink carbonated water with copious amounts of sugar than nothing at all..even if it does make him more thirsty.. its more like a placebo effect than anything.
"That way, we can avoid spending a few hours fighting amongst each other and have all these things derail into unnecessary fits of distress." He motions his can of soda to the still sobbing Tabitha and begins to straighten up when the cat girl suddenly begins to speak in prophet like speech. Kotal frowns, trying to make sense of what she said, until she once again -seemingly- regains control of herself.
"Right." Says Kotal and moves away from the fridge. "I am just going to ignore that and move on." Eldergods damn it all, he's going to talk about chi today and no crazed catgirls are going to stop him!
Moving towards Tabitha, the War God draws his giant sword again and begins to draw in the sand, making a large cross.
"Let us start from the very beginning, Tabitha. For as master Bo'Rai'Cho often says to his students. In order to master something, you must first understand where it comes from."
"In all the universes, there are four fundamental sources of power."
"Arcane magic, which comes from the universe itself. Mysticism, which is when someone draws power from a deity like myself or nature spirits. Psionics, which is mental fortitude pushed beyond its limits. And chi, which is power that is drawn from the spirit."
He moves away from his cross and takes another sip from his soda. "As you may or may not know, we all have very different spirits and though the great majority of chi users can manipulate their power to take the form of pure energy, there are others that have a more unique take on these things thanks to the nature of their spirits, enough that it can be confused for magic."
He gulps down the rest of his soda and tosses the can forward. "Take mine for instance. The spirit of the Osh'Tekk people is unlike any in the rest of the universe. Though there are ways to manipulate the sun to do your biding through arcane magic and mysticism, only us few remaining Osh'Tekk can do this from the power of our chi."
He extends his hand and its as if the sky had suddenly turned into his own personal magnifying glass. A beam of amplified sun light falls from the sky directly into the can and melts it into a pool of metal.
"What is your spirit like, Tabitha? Are there any elements you strongly associate yourself with? This may help you channel and master the usage of your own internal chi."
"Not as fun." Caliga smiles weakly as he moves towards the fridge, reaching in it to retrieve a blue can with a large smiling water drop on it. "She hasn't even grasped that yet Kotal. That's why I told Meria to play nice and explain it, because she understands the principles of Qi as a whole. Obviously she's given us her answer."
Dropping down to the ground next to the fridge, Caliga opens the can and sips from it. "As Kotal has so excently put it Tabitha, the four foundations are Qi, Magic, Psionics, and Mysticism.. Your dagger and the abilities of it.. I'd classify as a hybrid between Magic and Mysticism. Magic, because it feeds off the energy around you, and Mysticism, because it feeds off the negativity stored in the lock. /That/ thing is a mixture of all four schools.."
Tabitha takes in all in with a surprising amount of focus. In the end Kotal's question leaves her pondering. Just as she's about to open her mouth, Caliga steps in and comments on the dagger. His words ringing a blank spot in her memory and forcing her to ask, "...stored in what lock?" She doesn't know about Johnny and where his powers came from. And Meria isn't about to try and explain that. "I know about castin' little fire spells and I know about usin' shadows, but I've never heard about this lock thing." Well Caliga? Care to explain?
Kotal pauses and glances down in search of this dagger. He's heard of this infamous dread dagger, both from scouring through Caliga's memories and just heresay. The people of Twisted can be a chatty bunch sometimes, and Kotal has overheard that they were used by that psychopath called Johnny and that Tabitha was in possession of one of them.
"If Caliga has not told you before, then you must know that you should not use those accursed items. Weapons like those that draw power from those sources will scar the spirit.. permanently. They will turn you into something that you should not be." So hey, there's more incentive for Tabitha to give up that dagger.
When the catgirl speaks of a lock, Kotal looks up to stare at Caliga. "If Tabitha's chi is locked then it is no wonder she cannot use it. She must be cleansed before she is able to tap into her own natural sources of power."
A glance is given to Tabitha, as a frown rests on his face. "Later Tabitha. I'll explain that all later. Just pay attention to Big Green. He's better at explaining it then me."
With a shake of her head, Tabitha draws out the Dread Dagger and stares at it. The dagger itself is a solid black piece of some unearthly metal. A ball is carved at the base of the hilt made to look like an angry stick figure's face. The blade has jagged edges along the rear of it and grooves carved down it's length to intensify the damage it can cause. "I don't get it. If it's so bad an' terrible, why did everyone tell me I -had- to carry it? Why does it always come back to me? Is that tha 'lock'? Whatever ties it ta me?" She looks up at Caliga again who's completely tuning her out from the look of things.
Releasing an exasperated sigh the girl turns her focus to Kotal Kahn, instinctively twirling the dagger like a gunslinger as she looks away from it. "Is that really it? I mean how is that gonna do some terrible thing ta me? It feels like... It feels like it's a part of me when I wield it." She frowns, looking back down at the dagger again before resheathing it. "That probably doesn't make any sense, does it?"
Ah.. so finally the Dread Dagger is revealed.
Kotal Kahn had seen something similar to it here in Twisted. If he's not mistaken, Caliga's katana is made of similar design, that much he can tell after he faced him in glorious kombat. But unlike the Dread Dagger, Caliga's katana didn't scar his soul, it seemed more like a tool to channel his own spirit.
The Aztec straightens up and walks over to Tabitha, ignoring for now Caliga's less than forthcoming information, he's used to Caliga letting him figure things out.
"No, it makes sense to me." Says the warrior and unsheathes his own sacrificial dagger. "You see, Tabitha. Cursed items can indeed carry undeniable power, even if it is eventually a deterrent for whomsoever wields those things. This is often why those creators of cursed items do not intend to wield their own tools.. rather.. they create sacrificial lambs to use these things for them, and can often manipulate their chi signatures so the wielder feels compelled to use their tools."
"This is what happened to me too when I wielded the kamidogu dagger. A weapon meant to channel the immense power of the One Being through blood sacrifices. I became addicted to this power, because to me it felt 'right' as it began to mimic my chi signature."
He twirls his own dagger in similar fashion to Tabitha. "I was so distraught when I lost the kamidogu that I continued to use blood magic through other means, but these arcane powers did not scar my soul as the kamidogu did. That is a power that should be wielded by none, for it would have brought about the end of my universe."
He sheaths his obsidian dagger then. "If what I understand of your origins is true, which I only know thanks to Caliga, it is not entirely impossible that you were meant to use the daggers as an expendable being. You think that the dagger is meant for you because it now has your chi signature, it /is/ part of you because it draws power from your own chi too."
"But much as blood drawn from a tick has ceased to belong to you, cursed items such as this can be parasites."
"I fear, if you continue to use it, you will cease to be its owner.."
"And it instead will own you."
His words hang heavily over her thoughts as she takes them in. If he's right, she needs to get rid of it and fast. She's seen how quickly it seems to amplify her abilities... But at the same time something in her mind tells her it's not true. It isn't the sort of feeling one gets when they continue to do something they know they shouldn't... It's more like knowing the answer but not knowing the words to describe it. That said she tries to push it out of her thoughts and focus again on the current situation.
Tabitha says, "So... elements? Fire counts as an element right? There's fire, earth, wind, and water... right? If I can use fire, that means fire is my element, right?" She's trying to understand.
Kotal will leave Tabitha to make the decision of keeping the dagger for herself. He doesn't know her nearly well enough to advice her on such a thing, and Tabitha /is/ a very complicated person, albeit rather annoying from what Kotal has seen, he's never been too keen on overly mercurial people like the catgirl.. it makes them unreliable. Although having a cursed item is /never/ a good idea, perhaps Tabitha's sacrifice serves some kind of purpose that Kotal doesn't know about.. ultimately only time will tell.
Instead of trying to convince her to do the smart thing and THROW THAT THING AWAY IMMEDIATELY, he focuses on doing what Caliga wanted him to do, teach Tabitha to control her chi.
"Not necessarily." Kotal places his sword on his back again and takes a stand next to Tabitha. "Just because you can lob fireballs around does not mean its your element. It can very well be arcane magic that you can naturally tap into."
He motions for her to pay attention. "A sure way to tell if something is chi or not is to feel where it is coming from in your body. The basis for the strongest martial arts techniques comes from the core." He taps his chiseled abdominal muscles. "Surely you have heard of the phrase 'finding your center'. I understand it is a very common phrase in Earthrealm." Sure, Tabitha /isn't/ from Kotal's Earthrealm, but he can sense the similarities.
"Reach deep within you and see what lurks inside of your being. Then, feel it been drawn outside, sense it travel from your navel, up your chest, past your biceps and to your fingertips." Kotal demonstrates be extending his hands forward whilst in a horse stance, forming a small levitating orb of sun fire between his palms.
Tabitha frowns being told she's wrong. She wants to understand this stuff but she seems to come up wrong each time she tries to. At the new instructions she nods her head with a cheerful "Okay" and closes her eyes. She tries to focus on the core of her being. Reach inside past the darkness to what lurks beneath it. She tries to feel it moving outwards and focus it between her palms...
Of course what lurks beneath the darkness in Tabitha's case is simply more darkness. She tilts her head back as if to scream and that darkness comes running out of her mouth, turning her skin and clothes to a solid black. It seeps out of her fingertips, crawling back along her skin doing the same. In seconds she stands bathed in darkness, her body nothing more than a living shadow and her eyes burning with a bright white light. The girl blinks, looking down at her hands. "Was that supposed ta happen?" The only indication of her mouth being open are the whites of her teeth being exposed as she speaks.
That was certainly unexpected.
Kotal knows that shadows themselves aren't evil. Just like light itself does not mean righteous goodness either. Just take Kotal for instance, he is powered by the sun itself and he may be one of the most brutal and bloodthirsty warriors that Twisted has ever seen. The simple matter that he is /related/ to Xipe Totec in someway should be a sign of how just because he is powered by the sun, doesn't mean that he's good. He's certainly no Lady Amaterasu.
That said, Kotal isn't concerned about Tabitha's shadows representing good or evil.. its that she seems to be utterly consumed by them. Is this really her chi? Its like a plague of some sort, like a sickness almost...
"No..." Kotal straightens up looking at Tabitha with glowing eyes that still show great concern. "No.. I do not think that was supposed to happen."
Could it be perhaps that its too late to sate Tabitha from the corruption of the Dread Dagger? These shadows seem to be all consuming.. Kotal is surprised that Tabitha hasn't lost herself already.
"How do you feel? Does that not hurt you?"
The nekojin continues to study her hands and by extension her body as Kotal studies her. "I feel fine. Focused." The only times she's been like this have been when she's fighting so this is a new experience for her. She waves her hands in the air, feeling their weight, and suddenly pushes herself off the ground making her float. "I think I could get used ta this." Extending a foot she lowers herself back down and laughs.
Her concentration broken by the laughter - the darkness fades away leaving her looking normal and slightly depressed. She looks down at herself again and sighs. "...that figures." Looking up at Kotal's reaction and then to Caliga to see if he's paid any attention at all, the girl runs a hand through her hair and takes a deep breath. "Okay, jotting that down as th' second weirdest thing to happen ta me today."
Kotal Kahn crosses his arms over his broad chest and watches Tabitha intently, all through her little experimentation.
The shadows certainly seem to be chi, the do feel like chi to Kotal Kahn, even though something about them just doesn't feel right. Only chi would allow Tabitha to float in the air like that, and only chi would break when the concentration was lost. So, ignoring the fact that Tabitha's element is shadows.. why does it bother Kotal?
It feels like Tabitha has way too much..
Yes.. that must be it.
"Are you sure you are a novice at this?" Asks the Aztec War God all of the sudden, almost looking a little apprehensive. "You seem to have tremendous amounts of chi. That is not something that can be attained without practiced skill.."
"It is most strange to me that it has taken you this long to tap into it. With that much spiritual strength, mastering chi for you would have been accidental rather than require for someone to teach you about it."
Tabitha's face falls at the statement. She shrugs slightly and stammers over facts she's been forced to accept as of late. "I... I don't know." She gestures towards the side of her head. "Everything is a bit scrambled. I have these other me's in my head an' we all seem ta know a little bit about where we came from, but none of us know everythin'. I thought I grew up on Twisted until a few weeks ago an' now I have ta come to grips with th' fact that I killed the woman I thought was my grandmother." She sighs, her hands shaking slightly. "Th' only clue I have is Diablo stickin' his hand into my head an' little flashes of stuff that happened to th' other mes."
Nervously she rubs at her hands, "But th' shadow stuff I've done with th' dagger before. Not like /that/ but similar." She shrugs again, "It's easier with th' dagger."
"Of course.." Kotal Kahn grits his teeth and he visibly tenses. "I should have known this had something to do with Diablo's tampering."
Aaah.. one of these days Kotal really oughta punch that devil right in his smug face. At least once he's finished dealing with that pesky bodyguard of his.
The Aztec continues speaking to clarify what he means by that. "There is a certain technique that only the most powerful of sages and deities know of. One that involves grasping a person's soul and forcefully unlocking its hidden potential, unleashing all the energy that the person was unconsciously holding back."
"This is essentially 'cheating' as it is a shortcut to achieving full power and the person does not learn as much as if they had learn it from themselves. However, the results are undeniable."
"If Diablo truly 'reached' within you to do something, he may have done far more than just tamper with your memories. I would not put it past that crafty devil to do something like that... though I wonder.. for what purpose..?"
"Tabitha, stop." Caliga sighs loudly as he climbs to his feet, eyes slowly coming back into focus. He frowns at Kotal, only to shrug his shoulders. Now it seems that Kotal has come to the bane Caliga's training with Tabitha. "It is chi, but it's not /hers/ to be specific. It's not even Meria's either."
Grumbling loudly, he crosses his arms, turning now to face Kotal. "Diablo has nothing to do with this. As a matter of fact, not even Tabitha's 'father' is at fault here. This goes a lot further back then even either of them understand."
Moving towards the fridge, Caliga now opens it, and pulls out another blue can which he tosses towards Tabitha. "That power she was just tapping into, belongs to.. Hmmm. It has no name, and I would prefer not to give it one. It's simply a beast. Well, it was until it decided to start thinking on its own and nearly killed me. However, what it is.. I don't wish to speak upon at this time, but it is something that I will explain to you at a later time Kotal."
Caliga now turns his attention to Tabitha, frowning at her. "Diablo.. tried to seal it. That backfired in new and exciting ways. That is why he messed with her memories. He wanted a way to try and keep the beast under control, so it couldn't be set free."
Tabitha listens to Kotal with an obvious show of worry. So far his explanation makes more sense than what she's managed to put together herself. Especially about the Devil's involvement. It could very well be that this power was his fault. It would explain the affinity towards shadows.
As Caliga finally speaks up her gaze locks onto him, listening to him as he moves towards the cooler and digs around. Well, parts of his story are true. Not that anyone here is going to dispute the parts that are wrong. Tabitha catches the beverage and opens it up, grateful for something cold to drink. Over half of it is chugged down immediately. Pausing to breathe she can't help but look down at the ground and frown. If that's story is true, she's been significantly wrong about Diablo. But why doesn't it feel right?
"If ya knew about that, why not tell me sooner? We coulda cut all that nonsense out from tha start." She takes another drink. "I wouldn't have even gone ta Hell if I'd heard that story first." Now she's mad at him again. Keeping that knowledge from her is the reason Christabella had the chance to manipulating them into letting them escape, and that means that Caliga is at fault for the very thing that made him bring her here.
Kotal frowns right back at Caliga when he frowns at him. Why is he angry for? He's teaching Tabitha about chi like he wanted isn't he? Cut Kotal Kahn some slack here, he was literally kidnapped and forced to teach some girl that he by all means should be throwing in jail about how to control her ever growing destructive power. If Kotal wasn't so much of a team player, he might have wanted to spare everyone the trouble and just down right slay Tabitha right there and then. It would simply things.
But the simple way isn't always the right answer, and Kotal Kahn's patience pays off yet again, by finally discovering just what is the source of Tabitha's powers.
"It would explain why you have so much of it." Concludes the Aztec. "It is not truly yours, there is another source within you that is providing you with so much power, and if what Caliga says is true, then this 'thing' has no control of itself."
Darn, suddenly Kotal is taking a step back and he's also looking at Caliga with a fair amount of anger. "Teaching this girl how to channel her chi is a terrible idea. If Diablo could not contain the source of her powers then what makes you think she will have the mental capacity to do so??"
How Tabitha has not succumbed to her own darkness already is completely beyond him.
"Yes, because allowing her to continue to draw upon the power of a beast that has the strength to nearly kill /me/ Kotal is the smart thing to do." Caliga rolls his eyes at the Turquoise giant. "If Tabitha /learns/ to do this on her own, because a part of who she is has done so in the past, then that is less of a connection to the beast, which will continue to allow it to slumber, meaning it gives me more time to figure out how we can be rid of it once and for all. As for why I never told you any of this Tabitha?"
Caliga scratches his chin for a few moments, trying to carefully word just what he says next, lest he anger all four women before him in one fail swoop. "Because I was dying should count as a good reason, but I'll use this one instead. Because you're still not ready for the whole truth of everything I know Tabitha. I still have a lot to learn, and I'm in no place to be sharing half-cocked notions or ideas with you, or your sisters. Once I have taught you how to draw upon your own Ki.. I promise you I will begin my investigations again, and.. even find a way to that.. /house/ to speak to them..." As the words leave Caliga's mouth, he violently shakes, as if he were trying to subdue a rather repulsive memory, and the thought of where he should look next leaves him rather unnerved.