Description: While meditating on his current assignment in the Appalachian Mountains, Ermac finds himself visited by Lord Vega. The master of Shadaloo looks not for a fight, but for information of the origins of the collective souls from Outworld and to make his claim on Earth known.
Somewhere deep in the Appalachian mountains, High Noon.
Winter has conspired with high altitude and an arctic front to make the temperature particularly low. Though the day is bright and clear; the sky a washed-out whitish blue; it is none-the-less cold as hell.
At least it isn't snowing.
A relatively dwarfish peak juts out of the stony ground, its steep sides soaring a good 200 feet above the surrounding boulders. Deep drifts of frosty white snow are packed into every little nook along the sides of the peak, it never getting quite warm enough for them to melt entirely, but the mostly flat top of the edifice is naked grey stone. Constant whistling winds have swept the squarish surface completely bare. Over the years those same persistent winds have worn the stone down, creating a mostly smooth stone platform roughly 70 feet to a side.
A single dark-clad figure floats cross-legged in the center of the small plateau. The figure is clearly a man, dressed in loose black garments much too thin for the weather. Long black scarves trimmed in gold and carmine trail from various points on his body, currently streaming out to his left in the grip of the wind.
The figure's posture is relaxed, eyes closed and cloth-wrapped hands resting palm-up on his knees.
The energy that holds him aloft is a brilliant lime green in color. It swirls lazily about him in a thick cloud, moving against the wind at times in a very unnatural way. A soft, bone-deep hum resonates in the air around him, and occasionally a face seems to form in the mist and peer out at the world with haunted eyes. To the energy sensitive, the amount of power rolling off of the figure might be daunting, depending on your perspective. To the uninitiated the power manifests itself as a great weight, pressing down on the ambitions of those who tread too near to the psychic warrior.
This is Ermac. Trusted Enforcer of shao Kahn. Creature of souls created to serve the Emperor of Outworld.
meditating in the mountains, for whatever reason.
Even in the furious winds at this altitude, in mere moments its obvious that something has suddenly caused them to shift. At first it begins as a small eddy, visible in the way that the snow that enters the region begins to swirl. As it grows it becomes more apparent that something is there, the force of it suddenly pressing the snowfall away from what begins as miniscule spec of purple energy.
It doesn't take a mind versed in other realms and psionic power to /feel/ the presence that expands from within. It is as if some pin as punctured a hole in the fabric of reality and tendrils of power begin to worm their way out, reaching for the sides and tears them further apart. Once it establishes its grip, the tear opens incredibly fast, the purple energy swirling outward, whipping the snow about at such a tremendous pace it begins to melt, float outward into the cold, and form small dagger-shaped shards of ice that fly in every direction.
All the while the bubble of energy expands further and further until it forms an ellipsoid shape some eight feet tall and five feet wide, it's base still two feet off the ground... and then it is as if a membrane bursts, the surface tension in a bubble shattering as two points are jointed together, and with it the sense of power explodes outward like a shockwave.
It is oppressive. It is dark. It is evil.
And it flows not from the portal, but the man who slowly floats outward. A man shrouded in an aura more impressive than mere physical scale. He can be felt by those around him.
The man himself is imperial, his clothes are given a stark military cut of red cloth, marked with some unusual metal that to an attuned soul seem to throb with power marking his shoulders, wrists, and boots. A black cape whips about in the wind behind him, seeming to make him fill the space about him. His arms are crossed over his chest, thick, powerful muscles faintly straining their confines. Resting under a military cap with a winged skull atop its brim sit two blank, white eyes that seem to stare directly into the soul.
"So you are the interloper. The one who speaks of other realms and a ruler whose name I have never heard spoken before." His voice booms, carried with a force that overwhelms the howling of the mountain top wind. A voice that is impossible not to hear. To feel. "You find yourself in the presence of Lord Vega. There is no warrior who will ever live who matches my greatness. You should feel honored."
Vega's Aura rolls over Ermac upon the tyrant's arrival, and 'Evil' is the taste that creeps through the enforcer's mouth. His souls rebel briefly at the smell of it, flexing in preparation for a fight.
It is that reaction that startles the warrior's eyes open.
Evil? But why should his souls react in such a way?...NO matter. He can consider this at a later date.
Ermac's now attentive gaze seems to focus on the caped figure standing before him, his blazing green eyes staring past a cluster of icicles hanging suspended in the air between them. Each shard of ice is encased in a glowing green shell of energy, halted a yard out from the enforcer's body.
There is a beat of heavy silence filled only with the thrum of Ermac's Telekinesis and the howling of the wind.
Then, the green light fades from the icicles and they fall out of the air. The fragile shards smash to pieces against the ground, the tiny fragments light enough to then be snatched up by the wind and whisked away over the edge of the plateau.
"We are Ermac." Responds the same, his own layered voices tearing through the wind like a chanting crowd. As he speaks he removes his faintly glowing hands from his knees and unfolds from the lotus position. The transition from floating cross-legged to standing is incredibly smooth, the loosely-wrapped figure's feet finding easy purchase on the cold stones.
"We wander your realm in search of a powerful sorcerer." Ermac continues Laconically, Shao Kahn, emperor of Outworld, has tasked us with finding and aiding this sorcerer. We have no commands regarding you."
Now standing, the enforcer can be measured more clearly against the larger tyrant. The green-eyed figure is the smaller of the too, with less chin and muscle than the red-clad dictator. Even his power, though nothing to scoff at by most standards, pales in comparison to Vega's overwhelming presence.
But where Ermac really differs from the other is, he is not evil. There is no sense of malevolence clinging to the conglomeration of souls. Only a fierce warrior's determination. The will of a champion, shared by every soul in his unnatural body.
Slowly behind the dictator, the tear in reality begins to close in upon itself. No longer sustained by the concentration of Vega's Psycho Power, it slowly coils in upon itself, looking strangely as if it is moving further away without actually shifting position in reality, until it ultimately vanishes into a speck.
Even when it is gone, that pressure fails to diminish, making it apparent that every ounce of power must have flowed from the man now floating here. An unparalleled will within this world that stands completely and utterly pure in its blackness.
"Any man of real power in this world would already be known to me. My sight leaves no inch of space worth examining uncovered." Lord Vega speaks with the absolute certainty that few could equal, and far less could seem to give off such a feeling to suggest that they may be correct. "I hear rumors of decript old sorcerors of no real worth, hiding away in a palace, too cowardly to dare step their presence beyond the shores of his island, but this so-called Emperor to whom you pay fealty... this is is new."
The man floats closer to the smaller figure of the collective one. As his feet lower toward the snow covered ground, light flares of purple energy swarm around his feet, evaporating the snow around where he now stands in the blink of an eye, leaving dry stone around him.
"You will tell me everything about this... Outworld of which you speak. Whatever power it holds, if it is capable of forming a being like you that has managed to catch my interest... it is worthy of being conquered by the might of Vega."
yet another heavy moment stretches between the two psychic warriors, Ermac offering no immediate reply to Vega's demand for more information. Though the action seems insolent, there is no sense of disrespect in the creature's erect posture. It is a possibility that he is subtly snubbing the dictator. His jumbled up souls make it nearly impossible to examine his thoughts, but, that does not seem to be the enforcer's nature.
"Greatness." Ermac says eventually, many voices carrying easily through the wind without him having to raise them to a shout. "If you are truly the ruler of this world, you are no doubt a great warrior. We can sense your power. We do not take you lightly." And here, the conglomeration of souls sinks into another silence, his various scarves tangling about him in the fierce wind.
"There are many plains of existence." Ermac continues in a solemn chant, utterly ignoring a segway from one line of thinking to the next. "They are known as realms. Outworld is one such plain, forged by the might of Emperor Shao Kahn through his conquest into other realms. Many have fallen. Even if you are the most powerful warrior in this realm, we do not advise you to challenge our emperor. Such an action would be unwise. A peaceful merger would not likely end in your death." Perhaps tactfully, He leaves unspoken the reverse. That challenging Shao Kahn likely would.
Finished delivering his solemn speech, the enforcer falls into a state of utter stillness. His eyes, the gems across his costume, and his hands throb with green energy; but there is a sense of mechanical calm about him. The information has been delivered. He does not seem distressed about what Vega might do to him for speaking so openly.
There is no easy way to describe Lord Vega's response to disrespect. Many would assume that the dictator would respond violently to any form of insubordination or insult, and they would not be entirely wrong; it is not uncommon for the man to utterly destroy those who dare to stand against him. What makes it more difficult to explain is that he intently looks toward the future. Do not destroy something that has the potential to be valuable for petty reasons, you should only unleash your rage when its threat or insult exceeds its greatest potential worth to his future plans.
Vega is content to wait for the time being; he has never seen something like this entity made of a collective of souls before. He hasn't heard of Outworld or other realms, aside from pointless words in misguided religous tomes. There is much value yet to remain, and the insult is still minor.
"Intriguing..." The single word is left to hang in the air; it is hardly more than a musing reply and yet it pierces clearly through the air, overwhelms the furious screams of the wind atop this peak.
There is merit in patience... Certainly it would be foolish to act without thought and consideration. Power comes in a great many forms, some of which Vega still desperately hopes to discover and understand, to determine how best they may be used to increase his own personal standing. Even with all of his current strength, he is not yet perfect, there is weakness in his body that limits him, and the most important task is to find a body that might hope to contain the ultimate strength of his Psycho Power. Perhaps these new realms are an answer.
"You may give a message to your emperor. I have no doubt that during your time upon Earth you have felt not other that can compare to me. My Psycho Power is the ultimate strength, and I am the one true master that lords over it." Vega's tone is imperious, and yet not overtly threatening as he speaks. "If Shao Khan has interest in Earth, then you will tell him that you have spoken with Lord Vega, and you will tell him of my power. I have no doubt that if he is as great as you claim him to be, then he will be able to locate me and send an Envoy."
And then it comes, that surge of evil and might pulsing from the Dictator as he raises his right hand before him, helded in a clawed grip as if clasping around some spherical object. Purple flames of pure Psycho Power begin extend up from each of his finger tips, begining as small sparks before encomposing the whole of his hand in an inferno of evil. "And you will tell him that if he dares to interfere with /my/ world without receiving my blessing, all his armies will be annihilated by my Psycho Power." As finishes, her lips pull back slowly, revealing every tooth in his mouth as they emulate a smile. There is not an ounce of humor or kindness. It is a smile of a predator looking upon injured prey.
With no fuss, grand-standing, or pomp; the enforcer nods his head once in response to Vega's demands. Though the tyrant's power dwarfs his own, the warrior does not seem to have the need to puff himself up and prove his worth. Vega might recognize the easy efficiency of a servant in him. Not an underling hungering for advancement, but a creature built specifically to serve.
Not unlike a doll, in fact. Less attractive maybe, and more complex under the hood, but the same.
"Shang Tsung is the sorcerer we seek." Ermac responds, voices as calm and bland as ever, "You have mentioned an island. We have suspected as much, for we can feel his presence in this realm, but his location remains hidden from us. An island full of his enchantments would have such an effect. Only once we have located Shang Tsung will we be able to inform Shao Kahn of your desires."
Vega's toothy smile is met with utter indifference. The powerful man's aura rolls over Ermac, breaking against him like waves on a beach. His glowing green eyes remain tilted slightly up, locked on the taller man's face.
"Unless you have further messages for us to convey," the enforcer choruses into the face of the psychic flames Vega holds between them, "we will continue our search."
There is use is idle tools such as the Dolls, but even Vega knows the limit of such mindless tools or else his entire army would be made of them. No, it is important to have tools with some freedom and creativity, even if those tools are quite ready to betray you. The most important aspect is knowing what the limits of those tools are and when they will no longer serve your purposes so that they can be disposed of.
In a flash, the spark of power begins to reform behind the dictator. He seems to give it no acknowledgement even as the whirling winds of energy expand. He knows that they are there because he wills them to be there, and he knows that they will form without error because they work by his own power.
Lord Vega lowers his hands, dissipating the psycho flames with a casual ease, once more crossing his muscular arms over his chest as his feet slowly lift off the ground.
"So be it. For the time being I will overlook your actions in this world unless you choose to interfere with my operations. Hunt, kill, search as you desire until you locate your sorceror, but I will take further intrusions without my permission as acts of war."
Now completely off the ground, the man levitates back into the portal, only managing one last thing before he disappears into its darkness. "And any who dare declare war on Shadaloo will become aquainted with perfection annihilation!" His threats are punctuated with the sound of joyless laughter, ringing out across the mountain ridge even as the portal consumes the dictator and vanishes into nothingness, leaving behind nothing but the echoes of Vega's presence.
He is gone, and it as if an oppressive pressure has been lifted.
Ermac offers no response to Vega's parting words. Really, no response is needed. He will pass along the message, but ultimately Shao Kahn will do as he pleases. Ermac is just an enforcer.
With the dictator gone and the portal closed for a second time, the wind on the plateau returns to its normal howling shriek. Ermac stands atop it, scarves tangled about his limbs, and stares vaguely into space. The 6 gems spaced across his costume pulse once as he ponders the nature of evil. The thought causes his souls to stir restlessly.
It is time to get back to work.
A swirl of green souls twists itself about Ermac, and abruptly he vanishes from atop the plateau. Shang Tsung has lead him a marry chase, but he is finally closing in. How many remote islands can this realm hide?
Log created on 17:21:36 11/26/2014 by Vega, and last modified on 21:07:09 11/26/2014.