Atop the roof of the Integra's Arms stands Setsuna Mioh, the ever watchful guardian who recently added to her list the duties of watching and protecting Twisted. She's spent the past few weeks here, watching the city below her. Her amusement growing as Diablo is repeatedly taunted by his guilt, as people drift around speaking of Councils, and of the small slices of life conversations here and there. She can't listen to any of it, but she's kept an eye on it. Waiting. Biding her time.
None will likely speak of the slowly dwindling amounts of attacking beats from the fog, much like no one will notice the wheelchair bound killer who vanished due to similar circumstances. What else has she been doing besides watching? Protecting. Being a guardian. That's what she does, after all. Not with flashy words or elaborate shows, but silently. Stealthy. A true good deed is the one that no one notices to be able to thank, and she's kept herself busy doing lots of good deeds.
At the moment though her eyes fall upon that eyesore of a tower which was constructed where the two Twisteds first merged. That behemoth of portals ripped from their natural locations and drug bleeding across the astral plane to become part of what they call the TASK Building. She can respect it as much as she finds it loathsome. At least that damage will eventually heal...
No, what catches her eyes at the moment seems to be the two she'd confided in lately. The braggart and the warrior. Caliga and Kotal Kahn. While again she can't hear them, something about their actions concerns her. Why does she get the feeling they're looking for her?
That would be because she's right!
A light breeze and an imposing presence follows as the sun shines just a little brighter over Integra Arms Inn. All signs that herald the coming of Huitzilopotchli, God of War, known as Kotal Kahn to those of Twisted and to some close few; Kotz or Koko, but that is besides the point.
The statuesque turquoise giant lands upon the rooftop where Setstuna is currently standing guard with nary a sound. It looks as if he just floated down from the sky and descended quietly instead of his regular explosive entrances. “Greetings Lady Setsuna.” Kotal's booming and commanding voice is heard first as he begins to approach the senshi of time with deliberate steps, glowing golden eyes staring outwards to the dark skinned woman.
“I am glad to see you once more.”
Having already noticed their approach, Setsuna leans on the raised edge of the rooftop facing Kotal, her legs crossed and her staff stands as straight and tall as possible considering she's randomly twirling it between her gloved fingers. Clearly given her previous reluctance to sit at all things have changed. Maybe she's become more calm and more relaxed. ...although it's probably just that dampening effect Twisted City has from the barrier causing her to tire more.
"And you, Kotal Kahn." She pauses momentarily to glance for Caliga. He was following behind him, right? Odd. Showing respect for Kotal's standing as well as his position prior to Twisted she bows her head slightly and announces, "You honor me with your presence. How may I assist you?" Any indication she knows what he's here for is kept in check, for now.
Kotal Kahn is as, per usual, all about the formalities and good etiquette-- perhaps the main reason why he and Caliga are always constantly bashing heads. As Setsuna greets him the proper respect, the warlord smiles softly and offers her an elegant bow, arm across his abdomen in European fashion.
As he straightens up, the Aztec glances from side to side, presumably looking for Caliga as well. When he can't see or sense him anywhere, he purses his lips lightly in though and simply decides to carry on by himself.
“Surely you have heard the news, my lady. The plan to dethrone Diablo has been finally set in motion. I've come here to discuss what our first move will be as new Council Members.”
“And may I add that I am thrilled for the opportunity of finally being able to work alongside you. I foresee great things for Twisted under our rule.”
Setsuna seems a little annoyed at that announcement, an annoyance she quickly verbalizes. "The plan was not to 'dethrone' him, it was to force him to listen to reason. It's why I told you that you needed to win the people over. If the people of Twisted want change, he's forced to provide it. If the people of Twisted want a new Council, he's forced to accept it. He set these rules himself and to win at this game you must follow them. Being on a Council does not see you as a ruler. It sees you as an advisor. One he is forced to listen to because you represent the people of Twisted and he must go along with what the people want."
She lets those words hang in the air a moment before elaborating further, and possibly taking part of that back. "But I've made my choice. I will not be assisting with the Council." The senshi crosses her arms, her face painted with a look of pure determination. "I'll be taking him down myself. If need be I will lead Twisted and appoint you to serve as my own Council as well."
These words may not sit well with Kotal, but then she did encourage the course of action they've taken. This is clearly something personal for her. "I'm already tired of his games and I think it's time we played by a new rule book."(edited)
Oh yes indeed, those words do not sit well with Kotal, but not for the reasons that the guardian of time might think.
At first, the god of war's eyebrows furrow, giving Setsuna a perplexed look. Then, those golden eyes of his widen as if incredulous. “Surely you jest, my lady. Winning the people over?” He scoffs. “That battle has been won many times over. There is simply no contest.”
He walks towards Setsuna though not to strike as one might think at first. He stands next to her upon the edge of Integra Arms' rooftop, a place where he can see Twisted street below. “Countless times already, my warriors and I have saved this realm from untold horrors. We've pushed back nightmarish demons. Defeated monsters from the great beyond. Stopped massacres of innocents by fighting against a ten thousand year old warlock. Forced peace upon an entire hostile civilization of killer underwater serpents.”
The Aztec breaths deeply but he keeps his view on the city below, as if breathing in the very essence of Twisted. “I've mingled with civilians in the Usual Restaurant. I've given them entertainment in the Arena. Protection from dangers. Given a great many of them purpose and new reasons to live. Many of them know me not by my title or by my godhood, but by name.”
“Many more still are convinced I am the leader of Twisted already and some think that Diablo is naught but a myth.”
Then he turns to Setsuna at last. “You ask what the people of Twisted want? Please.” Another scoff. “I /am/ the people of Twisted. If we were to have democratic elections there is no question of who would be the next undisputed leader of Twisted. Or have you really not seen the fliers with my face on them?” Yeah, there really are fliers with Kotal's face with the words LEADERSHIP on them. They are hard to miss.
“But I wish not to rule. Not like that.” He quiets down rather strangely, forgoing his previous boasting. “Even I would be corrupted by power eventually, it is the fate of any leader that stands on his own. That is why a Council is needed, nay, it is necessary!”
And now he's frowning again, though its not a perplexed frown of confusion this time, it is the unmistakable sign of slowly building anger. “And now you mean to tell me that you wish to take all the power for yourself, my lady Setsuna? Say it is not so. I have not worked so hard to tear down this tyrant of a demon just to put another one in his place.”
“Not to mention that you stepping down from the Council means we'll be one short of the five needed. Just who would you propose for such a critical position in such a short notice??”
Now he takes a step back, regarding Setsuna more carefully. “Not once before had I any reason to think of you as anything but an ally, my lady. Yet your intentions now give me pause. You say that we must play by the rules and yet you claim that you will be following your own rule book.”
“Which one is it, lady Setsuna? Rules or no rules?” Kotal's glare might warn the guardian of time that she should consider her answer carefully.
Setsuna listens to his words carefully. She did not come to this decision lightly and she knew there where hurdles to be faced before she began it. Still, it shouldn't have played out this way and these new variables must be calculated as well. Ironically doing just that is Diablo's strong point - despite the talks the two are currently having.
"I never said I was going to 'play by my own rules', what I said was that we needed a new set of rules." She steps away from him, pacing a little to put her thoughts in order and once done she reproaches him directly. A Council alone cannot rule Twisted. There needs to be someone to take the fall when things go badly. There needs to be someone to stand up when things look to be their worst. Diablo's position is that of a leader because it is what Twisted needs. The problem is that under Diablo's leadership he answers to no one because the people don't realize they can question it."
Turning away from him again, Setsuna gestures towards some of the already faded posters Kotal had strung up around the city. "You speak of him like he is a figment saying that the people think he is a myth - yet you've reminded people of his very presence by putting up posters of yourself to win over people without telling them why you would do so." She turns back to him again, folding her arms across her chest as best she can while clutching her Garnet Rod tightly. "The people don't know they possess the power of change. They don't know that right now any one of them can stand up to this tyrant and demand he do or say something on their behalf. A Council lets this happen. A Council speaks for these people, but if the Council replaces him then it is no better than the despot it needs to keep in check and the people will not go to them for guidance." After so many words she comes back to the point at hand and an almost sadness falls over her features. "I cannot be on the Council. I do not have the..." She searches for the right word, "...people skills. You and the rest of the people I've seen you and Caliga speak with are better suited to this task. The citizens are not afraid to come to you and you are not bothered to stand up for them. My actions have always had to be in the shadows, and so they will likely remain."
Her gaze passes briefly towards the arena as she contemplates Senior Diablo's position once more. "Twisted needs someone to sit and act as a leader. It is a position that while treated with respect is not one of absolute rule, it is one of a figurehead. It is one that the people will always blame the city's faults on, and yet one that would give the illusion of stability. I'd hoped that we could do this without casting out Diablo, but between his obligations for balance and his recent paranoia it cannot be helped. He must be taken down."(edited) Setsuna steps closer to the former warlord lifting her hand up as if to place it on his shoulder, but after a moment's hesitation puts it back down. "As you said, power corrupts. Which is why it should not be you or any of the rest of the new Council. I am a Guardian of Justice and I've sworn to protect this world and it's people at the cost of my own life. With the blessings of Emepherea bestowed onto me I have the power to cast him down. Once done we can change his rules, his policies, and we can make this place the haven it was always meant to be."
Stepping to his side, she resumes her original position leaning on the edge of the roof and lets out a sigh, "I've nothing to gain from power. I could have changed any event in my time guarding the Gates, but I am honor-bound to my word. I've made no attempt to gain an 'edge' or remake things in my own favor. I've already lost the only selfish thing I could have sought, and even though it would be a simple thing to do - I will not undo that event." The senshi turns her head towards him once more, this time with sadness in her eyes, "Let me take this burden, Kotal Kahn. You have nothing to fear from me."(edited)
The Aztec deity's gaze never falters and continues to stare at Setsuna as she moves. It is not an intense, judgmental gaze that clearly speaks of ill intent, but it is attentive, clearly not wanting to miss a single detail of the Senshi's response.
“That is acceptable.” Kotal responds once Setsuna speaks of her intent of acting as the head of Twisted while having the advice of the Council. “I am certain that you would prove to be a far more competent a leader for Twisted than Diablo. You have my vote in that regard, and my unwavering support. I admire people with strong convictions such as yourself.”
He glances at one of the fliers with his face on it as Setsuna draws attention to it. The moment is fleeting and he's once again glancing at the Sailor Senshi. “When I first spoke to Diablo he struck me as a good leader. From what he told me it is clear that he made countless sacrifices for the benefit of Twisted. It may very well be that the continued existence of this realm is thanks to him. Without his battles against the Old Council, this city and all its inhabitants would have surely perished, never to surface again. It was the main reason why I never challenged him to Kombat and wrest the power forcefully away from him. He was a necessary evil.”
“However, he made the mistake of putting too much burden on his shoulders. It is not that people did not believe he existed, Lady Setsuna. They did -not- want to believe. Those citizens that knew he existed were terrified of him and those that didn't refused to believe that a demon was the ruler of their city. Though they had many things to say they dared not approach him. Only a select few such as Dante Sparda were ever kind enough, or perhaps naive enough, to confide in him as a friend. And that only lead to the fog.”
“Diablo has become the thing he hates the most and he does not realize it. By the time he hired Alucard to protect himself from me -surely because he feared I would challenged him to Mortal Kombat- I had lost all faith in him.”
“We won't make those same mistakes.” He says as he finishes his spill, crossing his arms. “Take the throne of Twisted and govern with my blessing.”
It seems that he's satisfied with this decision, or at least until Setsuna regards him sadly and almost decides to touch his shoulder. A sign of a very introverted individual and it draws concern from Huitzilopotchli.
He follows her with his gaze as she sits down again and frowns. “With all due respect, Lady Setsuna. Your solitude has perhaps skewed the way you look at things. I cannot comment on how you handle the flow of time. As a god of war, that is not my domain. But I can tell you not to think you are making a martyr out of yourself by taking the throne. You will have our support and we will be in this together. As a governess of Twisted you will be more than just a figure head, you will be our leader, whether you like it or not.”
The Aztec looks back down at Twisted street, regarding the city again. “It may not look like it now, but ruling this realm is far more complicated that watching the flow of time. Of that I can assure you.”
Sensing that the woman has been in solitude for eons, Kotal does dare to touch her when she hesitates, and he places a comforting hand on her shoulder giving her a grip of reassurance. It lasts only a moment and he is pulling his hand away soon enough. No power games here, he's just trying to make her feel comfortable.
“That said,” he continues, “There is still the matter that we are now one council member short. And before you even suggest it do not say Caliga. You may think that he is good with people but trust me when I say he is not. Him being a council member would only lead us to ruin.”
Setsuna hums slightly to herself at the mention of the number of members. Something about that doesn't sit well with her. "Kotal Kahn? Who decided how many people needed to sit on the Council? I know that there is a reason for the seven seats in Hell - but does Twisted really need to be governed by Hell's rules?"
The question is short, but she's said much today. However, she doesn't wait for an answer before continuing on. "It doesn't matter. There will be as many or as few as we need. We don't need the specifics of the Council set in stone before making our move against the Devil. Simply knowing we're all on the same page about things is more than sufficient at this stage."
The senshi pauses at that point, glancing around the rooftop once again. "On that note... What did happen with Caliga? I'm a little concerned now."
A faint cough echoes out from behind the Senshi as the Lord of the Endless Planes slowly comes into view. "I've been here long enough to hear what I have needed." Caliga idly limps towards the two atop the rooftop, his makeshift cane clacking heavily across the concrete as he nears. Its obvious that while just the day prior Kotal may have thought Caliga to have been on Death's Doorstep, now the man appears to have fully crossed over the threshold and made himself a cup of tea and got comfortable. "I've already located a suitable replacement. It was my mistake, Lady Setsuna, for thinking that you would join them on their new endeavour and I apologize for this."
“We cannot have an even number of councilmembers or we’ll have no way of breaking deadlocks.” Kotal Kahn responds just as quickly. “An alternative would be for you to break such things, Lady Setsuna, though that would require you to take an active part in the council.”
Luck would have it that just as Setsuna asks Caliga’s whereabouts, the mysterious man makes his appearance with a cup of tea in hand. “There he is.” He motions to the appearing man who as usual is already aware of what transpired.
When Caliga mentions that he already has a replacement in mind, the Aztec warrior turns to him with furrowed eyebrows. “And who would this replacement of yours might be, Caliga? I do not want any more surprises.”
Just as quickly he’s glancing back at Setsuna. “If we do not need to have the Council ready before dethroning Diablo then we should linger no longer. We should strike now.”
As Caliga arrives finally Setsuna regards him with only a passing concern. It is highly strange to see him in such a state, but they have other matters which are more pressing. Kotal's explanation is valid but, "If I sat on the Council myself I would be no better than how the Devil has run things in the past. It would put me in a position to influence decision making directly... which was likely his original plan." With a brief glance back to Caliga, the guardian nods her head. "Luckily that is apparently neither here nor there."
Her focus turns back to Kotal before she gazes out at the streets below once more. "We cannot strike now. Diablo isn't on Twisted. While you two where meeting the other day he fled, I assume over whatever heavenly force he's convinced is spying on him." Heavenly force? Was that an assumption or a slip of the tongue? "We will have to see what state he returns in before we can act. If we go too quickly the people may side with his version of things, and we cannot risk that with how elaborately he's constructed this web..."
"When the time is right, I'll reveal the third." Caliga plainly states this as if it is a fact, leaning on his makeshift cane heavilly. However, once Setsuna starts mentioning the web Diablo has spun, there is a brief grimace of annoyance, which quickly passes. There is a reason for everything that has transpired, however.. "Once... this is done I am retiring away for the forseeable future. Twisted must run itself, and relics of a prior age such as myself will need to be put away, and hopefully forgotten."
Of course, Kotal seems keen on fully intent on riding Twisted entirely of Diablo, however that is something that could cause more problems. "I've openly betrayed someone who truly at one point, had the best intentions for Twisted. And like the prior leaders of Twisted, I have spun a web so strong that in the end, they found themselves trapped in it and unable to break free, only for their downfall to be the result. I don't take what I am doing lightly, nor will I expect anyone in the end to ever understand my intentions." A low cough escapes Caliga's mouth, only to suddenly turn into a mighty fit that lasts foew a few seconds. Eventually, the fit subsides, and the man seems to regain some composure. "Diablo is paranoid. Moreso thenever. My announcement truly was the final nail in the coffin, and there is a chance that all of this could infact be resolved peacefully because of this."
A last glance is given to Setsuna, and then to the mighty Aztec before Caliga turns away to move towards the edge of the roof. "We will fully move forward when I say so. A moment too soon, yes, it will all crash down upon us and have the opposite results. I still have fourteen days until I return to my power.. Until then, I will keep spinning my web until it has reached perfection.
An exasperated sigh escapes Kotal Kahn when all is said and done, it seems that those are beginning to become more and more common for the War God. “More waiting??” He said with disbelief and threw his arms up feeling uncharacteristically helpless. “We have done nothing but wait for months! It does not matter in what state of lunacy Diablo may or may not be, the people are not with him, and that is without them knowing that he's the one responsible for the fog.”
He shakes his head when, just as he suspected, Caliga refrains from announcing who he has in mind for a likely candidate for the council. “I should really stop being surprised about your insistence of withholding information. I just hope one day you realize it serves no purpose, Caliga.” Other than annoy Kotal Kahn that is, which -could- be the extent of Caliga's plan.
Nevertheless, even before the council is fully established, Kotal Kahn is already operating in a more democratic setting. Its two against one here and therefore he has no choice but to relent. “Very well.” He says with a sigh. “I'll do as you wish and wait. Hopefully we are no making a great mistake by letting Diablo catch his breath.”
The Aztec turns to leave being actually quite busy, TASK doesn't run itself you know?? However, he freezes on his steps and turns abruptly back to the two. “Wait, I just remembered something important.”
“The AI, Gegoshi. When Diablo falls we must find a way to claim her for our own. She is far too important for the stability of Twisted to allow Diablo to drag her down to Hell with him.”
Setsuna lets out a sigh of her own as Kotal complains about waiting, "If he's not on Twisted, we have no one to make a move on. We /have/ to wait until he comes back. Anything less will be misunderstood by the citizens of Twisted or worse viewed as an attempt to take over because he's not here at that moment. As if we'd be too frightened to stand up in his face. You of all people should understand that. "
While it obviously wasn't meant as a response to her statement, she goes silent when Kotal agrees to wait anyways. There's only so much one can do or say on the subject. She lets her gaze drop to the floor of the roof as he starts to walk away, her eyes glancing at a map of Twisted City someone had burned there. His question makes her raise her head once more. Inwardly she chastises herself for not considering Gegoshi sooner.
She opens her mouth to say as much--as the roof access door is suddenly thrown open. Leena, one of the two synths who assist in running the Integra's Arms steps out onto the roof, pauses, and cheerfully announces, "Nine Forty Seven exactly! Secondary objective complete." Well, this is odd.
Setsuna glances at the gathered party, hoping someone might have a hint as to what was going on. Without answers she returns her focus on the often glitching snyth. "Can we help you?"(edited) Leena's smile is uncharacteristically creepy as she turns to the Guardian's voice and takes note of the group standing here. "Setsuna Meioh. Caliga Satanas. Ko'atal Kahn. Identities confirmed. Commencing primary objective as instructed." Yeah, that doesn't sound bad at all. Abruptly she dashes closer to the trio and pauses as soon as she's standing between them. "Following instructions received at seven twelve this morning, this unit will now deliver message from user "@[=g3,8d]&fbb=-q]/hk%fg"." Whatever name she attempted to speak comes out sounding like an old modem connecting online. "The AI synth known as Gegoshi shall be of no concern to you. The City of Twisted shall be protected. The corruption will be purged. The Prophecy shall be fulfilled. Message ends."
The synth's eyes go dark as her primary program completes and she shuts down. After an uncomfortable moment of silence she reboots, gazing upon the group as if for the first time. "Greetings and welcome to the Integra's Arms Apartments! How can I he-lp?" Leena glances around confused. "That's silly. Why are we on the roof? Please come inside if you require assistance. I shall resume my post at the front desk." Regardless of anyone's objections the synth turns and goes back inside leaving them to stand in their confusion.
"..Fuck.." As much Diablo has been perseverating and freaking out over those very words, it is enough to actually disturb Caliga. Unless of course this is an elaborate hoax. (There is no such thing as a hoax on Twisted. Somewhere, somehow, there will be truth to it. Just not always in the way someone will expect of course!) "You know.. I really was hoping he was just finally going crazy.." A brief shrug of the shoulders, and already Caliga is walking away towards the door of the rooftop. "For now, I guess we leave it to mystery screechy hissy noise in regards to Gegoshi while I hunt down a paranoid deity."
“Who said anything about waiting??” Kotal answered Setsuna as she assumed she knew his strategy. “This is the perfect opportunity to charge into the bowels of Hell and obliterate him in his own realm while he is maddened. It would not be my first time in the Netherrealm and Diablo would never expect us to strike him where he thinks he is most well defended.”
Of course, he should have suspected that they would be interrupted when they were having a meeting. Kotal is quickly reaching for his macuahuitl when the Integra Arms receptionist emerges into the rooftop. In fact, the only thing that stops him from flat out splitting the synth in two vertically is when she announces that she has a message for them all. This ought to be interesting.
Turns out, it wasn't! “Bah.” Kotal says in distaste as some deus-ex machina intervines once again and literally from the looks of it. “I've had enough of this.” He declares to all present and turns to leave. “I need to go kill something.” His tone implies that trying to stop him would be an incredibly bad idea.