|I Can Say Macuahuitl, Can You?|
Another day, another battle against untold horrors that threaten Twisted. Being the director of TASK doesn't mean that Kotal Kahn gets to spend most of his days behind a desk. Actually, it -could have- meant he spent most of his days signing papers and overseeing data feed, especially since the building lacks a crucial AI that is supposed to be taking care of that. However, that's exactly one of the reason why Kotal decided to get a second in command, so she could handle the paperwork along with his assistant.
Kotal doesn't regret his decision, but that means he had to bear the burn of his choice. Namely, that he was spreading his already insufficient forces thin, which leads to him tackling most of the fog monstrosities and whatever other creatures wander into town from the wastelands or, recently, from the seas as well completely by himself.
Kotal may be a god, but even he has his limits. That's why after a grueling day of non-stop fighting, the doors to the Usual open with a slam and the statuesque figure of Kotal limps in. He's covered almost from head to toe in what appears at first glance to be black mud, but the locals would recognize it as what passes for blood amongst the fog monsters. His giant macuahuitl is similarly coated in the vile stuff and he's dragging the blade along the floor with some effort.
He somehow manages to make it to one of the bar stools and almost immediately goes face first on the counter, burying his face there looking more like an ostrich than an eagle. "Bartender.." He groans tiredly lifting one finger. "The usual." Kotal's a regular here so staff pretty much knows what he drinks. Pro tip: It's always the same thing, a certain Aztec beverage.
Unfortunately, behind the bar today is a newbie here. That's the problem with a restaurant that will basically let people come in off the street to work... You'll sometimes get those new people that don't know what people's Usual are. As Himet opens her mouth to ask this, however, thankfully another, more regular employee, fills her in while passing by. "Pulque? Really?" She asks the regular, but she shrugs as she goes to find where this drink is. Returning with a large mug of the stuff, she cant help but comment, "That is some rather old equipment, Mr. Blue. I've not seen a macuahuitl like that outside of a display case." Surprisingly, she actually pronounces that like someone already quite familiar with the word. And then she moves on down bar to handle someone else's needs.
Kotal is only dimly aware of the Usual's policies of hiring anyone, so when he looks up at the sound of a female, he narrows curiously when he doesn't see the regular bartender. "You're not Steve." He declares astutely, though it matters little to him as long as his demands are met. Rather than dwell on this new face for long, the war god reaches for the offered mug and drinks the brew thirstily. He finishes it almost in one gulp and wipes his mouth with the bracer of his forearm, the golden glow on his eyes starting to return.
He regains his senses just in time to notice the girl's concern about his weapon. He's never met anyone that could pronounce macauhuitl in its native Nahuatl properly and so it piques his curiosity. "What would you know about the hungry wood, mortal?" This being what the macauhuitl translates to.
After dealing with the other customer, Himet indeed does return. Best way to get a good tip is to strike up conversation with the patrons, after all! "Hungry- Oh, what's what it means, isn't it?" Well, there goes any theories that she can actually speak Nahuatl. "Hrrrm." She takes a better look at Kotal now... though it's a little hard to tell, what with how her eyes barely seem to be open, if at all. "Looks to me like you're just all about the old style eagle warrior, aren't you? I've done a bit of museum hopping in my days." She gives Kotal a smile. Despite her trying to make it look friendly, it ends up just looking more smug. Really, she can't help it sometimes. She apparently ignores being called 'mortal.'
Himet won't be getting any tips from Kotal with that condescending tone of voice, not to mention her expression. Kotal quickly surmises that this girl doesn't actually speak any Nahuatl considering she didn't know what macuahuitl meant, but that she even -knows- of the weapon is reason enough for him to prod her, at the very least a little more. It's not every day in Twisted that people seem familiar with his adopted culture, or at least, that they are familiar with it outside Mexican food.
"I am no mere Eagle Knight." He straightens up on his stool, deciding that there's only one sure fire way method of knowing to just what extend does this girl know of the Aztecs. He'll just tell her who he really is. "I am Huitzilopotchli." Depending on her reaction, it'll tell Kotal if this girl is in someway related to his adopted people or she's just a history buff. In any event, he slides his mug her way asking for a re-fill.
Himet quirks an eyebrow as she accepts the mug. "The war god? Well, your skin tone matches the older styled images I've seen. This place really is wierd. Another cup, coming up." ...Okay, she's new to this whole service industry thing, and can't quite turn off her usual self just yet. Still, she at least understands that he wants another, and she happily goes off to comply with his request. Upon her return, she asks, "So what's got you outside of your usual sunny disposition that you're needing this much liquor?"
"The very same." The warlord nods and seems satisfied with the response. That Himet didn't immediately get on her knees means that she's not an Aztec herself, but the recognition to her voice means that there might be more than just someone who happens to know of the warfare and culture of Aztlan. It might prove profitable to keep talking to her.
He waits until his next drink is brought over and gives a long chug before responding. "Battle makes me thirsty." Answers he and exhales from his mouth. "My warriors and I are in charge of this city's safety, and there is no end to the dangers that threaten it." Also, the fact that she's asking who he is and what does he do also answers the obvious question of how long has she been in Twisted. He guesses its safe to say that not a long time. "You are new to this realm." It's not a question, its a statement.
Himet says, "Got it in one, Huitzilipotchli. Less than a week." That one didn't seem to come quite as naturally to her as macuahuitl did, and she frowns slightly after saying it. "It's quite a mouth full, your name. Do you mind if I just call you Huitz for short? You can call me Himet." The nametag on her shirt certainly would agree that you can call her Himet. "In charge of city safety... That'd make you TASK, right? The nice squid lady... At least I think it was a lady... told me about that one. Well, I'm glad to have someone like you keeping the mortals like me safe!" She nods, re-emphasizing her point. And then she's called off to another patron a few chairs down."
"As I suspected." Hmms Huitzilopotchli in thought, also noticing Himet's difficulty pronouncing his name as opposed to saying macuahuitl. How very strange. "Here, I am known as Kotal Kahn. You may address me as such if you prefer."
"I am pleased that you know of TASK. Yes, I am its director and enforcer of the Twisted laws." Now that has a strange ring to it.
"Oh, you've met Serenity." That's the only person Kotal can think of when Himet mentions a squid lady. "She is good at making newcomers feel welcome, you are lucky that you had her receive you. Others aren't so lucky with their first experiences."
"At any rate, well met Himet. I hope you enjoy your stay in Twisted, for however long you are trapped here." Quite the dark sense of humor this one. He even chuckles into his drink as he sips some more whilst Himet goes to tend to another customer.
Himet does manage to keep the conversation going, however. The other guy seems significantly less talkative... although that could be from having the god of war sitting just a few seats from him. It certainly doesn't stop Himet, though. "Kotal Kahn, that's a lot easier on the tongue," she says as she walks back from getting the other guy his beer. "So can I ask why you're all the old style Huitzilipotchli instead of most of the renditions from the last eight hundred years? Like I said, you're all kinds of outdated looking."
Although Kotal Kahn has proven countless times that he has Twisted's best interest in mind, that still doesn't change the fact that he's a merciless god of war and its -probably- best not to cross him. Just because he hasn't yet challenged a civilian to Mortal Kombat doesn't mean he won't. Therefore, the other guy is wise not to try and antagonize him by taking away his conversation partner. Himet, in fact, might realize that most people in the Usual know Kotal, and if they don't say hi to him, they at least give him a wide berth. No one is sitting directly next to him for instance, so it might hint to Himet just what kind of reputation the god has around here. Then again.. it might just be because he's currently covered in smelly demonic goop.
Kotal Kahn hmms at the question and lowers his mug, glancing sideways at the woman with the very slanted eyes. "This is how I've always looked." He states simply. "I do not know much of what transpired in Earthrealm after the fall of my empire to the plague of the Spaniards. If I was portrayed in any different ways I had no say in the matter." Actually, saying that makes Kotal Kahn considering something and he regards Himet more closely. "By what form do you know me?"
Himet raises an eyebrow, seemingly at a loss for words for a moment. "Well... huh." She recollects herself, returning to a more neutral expression. "I think I see why now. I guess there are differences here and there. Seeing as it was when Spain tried to take over the region that the depictions changed. Did the Inca fall to Spain as well in your 'Earthrealm'? The form you're typically depicted after that war is related to that Italian guy that some people thought was kinda the second coming of you." She raises a hand up to her head mimicking flickering flames with her fingers. "Fire for hair - I suspect he was just a redhead, really. Not so much blue skin. Also, he kinda pushed for using more European style weapons, so you'd be using a sword instead of a macuahuitl. But I suppose this proves he was just an Italian guy who fought for the Mexica." She shrugs.
"Yes, they did." Kotal admits looking quite sad all of the sudden, his glowing gaze cast downwards to his drink. "The Inca, the Mapuche, the Maya, the Chichimeca, the Tarahumara, the mighty Zapotec, even their very own Tlaxcala allies were betrayed. Sometime later in Outworld I heard that all the northern tribes had fallen as well. Each one exterminated one by one until none were left." His eyes close and for a moment there's no light coming from him, until he opens his eyes again. "I failed my people then, I do not intend to fail again here." So it seems that the protection of Twisted is rather personal for Kotal Kahn.
Himet's depiction of the form she's more familiar with causes Kotal Kahn to look at her curiously. Some Italian guy with red hair that fought for the Mexica? Curious. The obvious answer is that Himet is simply from a different dimension, but Kotal doesn't point this out just yet since he's still fishing for answers. "Strange, I've never heard of this before. Is this form of mine revered in your time period?"
Strangely, noone else seems to be needing drinks right now. Himet glances around, noting there are patrons, but for some reason all the newer arrivals are heading for tables instead of the bar. She seems ever so slightly concerned about this, but then shrugs it off. If she recognizes any of the other names mentioned, she doesn't show it. "Revered? Not really. Kinda myth, legend, but noone's actively worshiping you, as far as I was able to tell. But hey, who knows?" She shrugs again, glancing about the restaurant as she takes a glass into hand to wipe down. She's been told that's a very bartendery thing to do.
Kotal shakes his head at not being worshiped, though he doesn't look necessarily angry, more like a reluctantly disappointed. "I am not surprised. Though many revere war, there are few who still remember me. All the power I acquire from worshiping is mostly gained indirectly nowadays." People aren't too keen on ripping out hearts in his name and all, even though there's plenty of folk out there still killing each other.
"How is it then that you know so much about the Mexica?" He asks all of the sudden. "I've met many Earthrealmers, and mortals from many dimensions, and very few even know what a macauhuitl is."
Himet says, "Hrm? Oh, well, I've run into quite a few. I spent a little bit of time on Texcoco Station, seen the museums there; like I said, I've seen those old weapons in a case before. I even went down to see the old city once. Fascinating old stone buildings, biggest ones I've ever seen without steel reinforcement." She nods approvingly. "Your people didn't do too badly." She silences herself as she looks over the rest of the bar again, continuing to wipe down that glass.
And that's when Kotal Kahn truly realizes that Himet is not really from his world. No genuine macauhuitl exists in Earthrealm anymore, the last one having been lost in a fire hundreds of years before the last Mortal Kombat. One could say that the only surviving macauhuitl truly created by Aztec hands is Cuauhtemoc, Kotal's very own obsidian sword.
All meaningless in the grand scheme of things. All Kotal knows is that this Himet is not one of his people and though she seems to know much of the Mexica, he can't feel that kinship that he had hoped for. "Hmrg, of course we did well." Grunts the Aztec. "Had it not been for that pox my warriors would have wiped the Spaniards to the last man and Hernan Cortez's head would adorn my great hall." He clenches his fist but relaxes soon after. He's come to terms with what happened a long time ago, and he has learned that rekindling old hatreds is pointless. Even more so now that he's a prisoner of Twisted.
Himet says, "Hrm." She ponders this for a moment, a hand placed on her chin. "Interesting. I wonder how that came out different, then. It's not the kind of thing that one would see being that different." She then bounces on her feet slightly, clapping her hands once. "It's so interesting seeing how differently things can go, isn't it?" Calming herself down to her normal state, she then brushes a lock of hair aside that fell out of place in that hop, but retains that usual almost smug look of hers, though only for the breifest of moments. "Oh, um, I'm sorry for the loss of your people."
Kotal doesn't appreciate Himet's burst of joyful curiosity when he's mourning. Something he makes evident by making quite the ugly scowl. "Spare me your false sympathy." He says when she adds that last part about feeling sorry for the loss of his culture. "Instead, go forth and spread the word of the Mexica. I will not see everything we built be lost and forgotten, even in this Eldergod forsaken realm." He chugs the rest of his pulque down and stands, pulling some coins out of his belt pocket. "It's been exhilarating, truly. But if you excuse me I really need to go take a shower." He really does, Kotal's starting to smell kind of bad thanks to that goop.
"Have a good evening, and do not wanders the streets at night. There are monsters about and I'm quite certain I didn't kill all of them today."
Himet says, "I'll take note of that! Have a nice night, sir!" She waves a bit less cheerfully than she would typically, for once actually identifying his mood.