Description: The wayward shaman encounters the mad gear in the unlikeliest place possible; Shang Tsung island. Though their previous Konfrontations have all ended in violence and blood, this time, Nightwolf learns that Testament may be set upon an unlikely new path.
It's dark in here. But the only forest he can find has trees that keep trying to eat him, despite having gotten one taste of him and probably not finding it all that palatable. Poisoned blood, after all, doesn't taste great to just about anything that likes blood. So it's the throne room of Shang Tsung where Testament has found something like peace. It isn't all that peaceful at all. But it functions as such.
Testament is alone again, missing the black raven this time. Perhaps she needs to 'feed'; with so many people here she certainly has her pick of meal. It's odd. He's spent quite a bit of time away from his succubus-in-raven form. More than he's ever spent since he made the blood pact. But he needs to think, and doesn't really want to try to pick through the confusing din of three people's thoughts-- his own, Zio's, and the strange voice from the shard.
For now he lurks near the back, far from the sources of light, leaning against the wall. If it weren't for his pale skin, he'd probably end up blending in completely with the shadows. His arms are crossed over his middle, in a somewhat defensive pose. And his face is pensive, a frown on his face that speaks of being somewhat disturbed by something.
With the tournament well under way it is no surprise that Shang Tsung's throne room is relatively empty. The loses of Earthrealm have been great but so have those of Outworld. Of course, in a battle of attrition Outworld would surely win considering its far greater population and no matter how many of their demons they lose in this most sacred and abominable of events, the Emperor would surely keep sending his minions to their untimely deaths until they are capable of overpowering Earthrealm's champions.
However, as long as one of them remains, there is still hope for the mortal realm, and many of them still stand. One of them in particular who has crossed paths with Testament in the past. One, who's long known of Testament's presence in the island and its not until now that he's decided to pay him a visit.
The Gear will find no solace in the shadows as a presence makes itself known. A dark pelted wolf emerges from one of the windows and bares its teeth towards Testament, white eyes glowing with green power staring at the lonely form of the pale skinned Gear.
"You!!" The wolf snarls, a familiar voice being heard despite its bestial growls. "What are you doing here, Testament??" Would the Gear perhaps remember those fateful encounters at the UN building and the rock concert?
Oh yes, Testament remembers that. His eyes are closed, but as he hears the growling voice, the red-pupil'd eyes open and turns toward the source of the voice. There's an instant when Testament realizes that he's got to play the evil bastard... and he almost groans in dread. He discovers that... he's not really in the mood to play the evil, cackling maniac. So... he doesn't.
Instead of grinning madly in the wolf's direction, Testament turns to him with an unreadable look. He's quiet for a moment. "Would I be here for any reason but being in the tournament?" Though technically he's probably not actually /in/ the tournament anymore. "I swore allegiance to Kotal." Notably, he says 'to Kotal'. Not to Shang Tsung.
Nightwolf is in no mood for these kind of games. The wolf is sorrounded by green mist that covers his visage turning him into the more familiar form of the Apache shaman, one of the mortals who confronted Testament in the UN building and continuously gets in the Gear's way whenever he attempts to go into a killing spree.
This though, is far more serious that a rampage of murder. This was pure and simple genocide. The apocalypse.
"The War God!!?" Nightwolf exclaims with great indignity being well acquainted Outworld's forces, in particular those that hold high ranks of powers. Additionally, Huitzilopotchli and Nightwolf's people share quite a bit of history.
"Testament, this goes beyond simply murdering a few dignitaries or politicians. If Outworld wins this tournament it will mean the end of this world! Are you mad??" Just as the shaman says that he realizes his mistake and tightens his lips. "Hm, don't answer that."
To his credit, Testament doesn't appear to be playing games either. If anything, he almost looks... tired. However, he nods once, looking forward again. Voice still quiet-- almost... reverent?-- he notes, "I've never known it before. At least, I don't remember it." He's perhaps a bit unaware that he may not be making sense. But Testament isn't the most mentally put-together at the best of times. And Testament doesn't really have a 'best' of times, does he? Or if he does, this is probably it.
There's a bit of a smile. But it's not the mad grin that Nightwolf might have been expecting. It's almost... content? "To start over. That's what's needed. Tear it down to the foundations, build it up again as something better." He still may not be being very clear. But even if he's being calm now, he's still insane. The mad gleam is always there.
Yet even as he speaks, the little blue feather earring flickers briefly. He frowns darkly, and then shakes his head as if clearing it. He suddenly looks displeased by something.
Yes, Nightwolf has heard this kind of rhetoric before from those Outworlders that deem themselves 'enlightened'. More often than not, its creatures like Kotal who first started as champions of Earthrealm only to change allegiance when something didn't go their way. The shaman scowls as Testament suggests that with his new found loyalty to a Master has made his cause just and pure. That it is for the betterment of Earthrealm to wipe out countless millions of innocents, if only so that the Earth can be made pure once again.
Fortunately, Nightwolf doesn't immediately lash out and calls Testament a naive fool for believing that crap, that would be counter productive to making his case.
"You are being mislead." Begins the Apache Brave as he takes a few steps closer to the Gear. "Perhaps if it was Huitzilopotchli leading this assault then you would be somewhat right. Though despicable in his actions, Kotal would wish the renewal of mankind. It is why he forsake his realm and went to join with Outworld."
"But it is not your Lord who wishes to invade Earthrealm. It is the Emperor Shao Kahn, a creature of so much accumulated evil that it makes everything in all the realms pale in comparison."
"Don't you see, Testament? There will be no renewal of Earthrealm if Outworld is to win. Everyone will die and those of us who survive would be made playthings of the Emperor."
"It would become Hell by any other name."
More conflicting information. And the feather flickers again, as if trying to punctuate the point. Testament frowns. Oddly, when Nightwolf steps closer... Testament edges away. Surely he's not afraid? "And before coming here... my revenge was not? I want to see them burn. I want to see ALL of you. Burn." His voice lacks the usual madness though. "Kotal has aimed it in a direction you should consider more constructive."
As for Shao Kahn? "That is not my concern." A flicker from the feather in his ear, and he frowns. "No, it's not." Wait... did he just reply to someone speaking? No one spoke just then. Only Nightwolf. A growl, and it's not aimed at Nightwolf. "...Quiet." Is he... losing his shit here? "That's not my problem. Whether he burns the world or I do, it will be the same result." He sounds... resigned?
Testament is notoriously bad at this poker face business. He says that he is a monster and that he wants nothing but the destruction of mankind, and yet he has shown emotion both in the past and now. The very fact that he has sworn allegiance to a Lord means that he has some semblance of rationality. Monsters don't follow orders, they just lash out at everything that is around them with no semblance for reason, or in some other cases, due to a case of absurd egocentrics.
Teastment is clearly neither and Nightwolf knows this quite well.
"You say that you want to see us all burn, Testament, but that is not so." The Apache continues, unperturbed by Testament's reaction. He doesn't press his luck by getting even closer though, keeping himself at arms length from the crazed Gear. "I know what is it that you want, and that is the specific destruction of certain people." Namely, the people that turned Testament into what he is now.
"The death of billions of innocents is not the way to set things right. You know this much, and that-" Nightwolf points at the blue feather perched on his earlobe. "Knows it as well. It beseeches your true self."
The shaman pauses, letting Testament weigh those words in before he continues. "I can understand wanting revenge." Does he ever. "If you so wish it I can help you find those that did this to you.. but you must spare those that did you no harm. Shao Kahn would drown the innocent and the guilty alike. That is not the path of proper retribution."
"If you were to mention this to Kotal, he would, however grudgingly, agree to this."
With Nightwolf's acknowledgement, the shard flickers again. And Testament frowns, more darkly. "Blasted shard," he mutters. "I would rather have been killed than be saddled with this blasted thing. It's a constant pain. It drags my guard down at the worst possible moments. I might not have been so thoroughly humiliated by that Earthrealm warrior if it weren't for that..." That's quite an admission!
He sighs, folding his arms across his middle. "...It's too late. You and I both know that," he says quietly. His eyes close. "I've done too much evil, killed too many innocents. I'm in this too far. And I won't betray Kotal. Not now. Whatever he decides is the right course of action, I'll follow." Testament's devotion to Kotal seems almost fanatical. But he's not frothing and growling his devotion to Huitzilopotchli. Currently his madness is... well, at rest. But it's still there, in his eyes.
"Don't blame the shard." Nightwolf says sounding more accusingly now, his finger even pointing at the Gear. "It merely speaks of your true self. If you have a blue shard it must mean that you are worth saving, or at the very least someone wants to keep you alive. Such is the decree of the Elder Gods." Essentially, someone high above has a vented interest in Testament's continued existence.
Nightwolf then shakes his head when Testament says the rather predictable excuse that it is too late for him. "There is always another path, and it is always your choice to walk it." White, dead looking eyes narrow softly when the Gear expresses loyalty to the War God, and the shaman smiles ever so briefly. "So you do care for someone then. Monsters aren't supposed to do that."
A chuckle is heard, though not a malicious one.
"You do not have to betray anyone. If you admire Huitzilopotchli so much, talk to him about what you truly desire. The death of those who wronged you. Though we Apache worshiped Haokah, Lord Raiden, we've always respected the deity of our cousins the Aztecs. Even if his allegiance has shifted, I am certain he retains the same level of rationality he exhibited in the past."
Testament frowns. "/Kotal/ gave me the shard. Not the Elder Gods," he corrects. "He gave me that shard with his own hands. The shard didn't just appear on my person. It was Kotal that wanted me to stay safe, so I could continue to stand with him. So that I could turn the fields red with blood when the tournament ends."
"A monster, an attack dog-- the same thing," he states, with a shrug. But here that madness starts to rise again, just a little. Just enough to put a crazy little half-smile on his face. "If it means that I'll get to kill some of you, I'll gladly sit at his feet like a dog and wait for that opportunity."
Though the smile begins to fade a bit as Nightwolf brings another bit of logic to the conversation. "After the tournament." If Kotal survives that long, he adds mentally. "For now we are all stuck here. So there's little need in thinking about it now. You've little worry of me committing horrors during it. I will leave that for after the tournament too." The mad smile returns, in full force.
The shaman doesn't seem surprised about Testament's clarification of who was it exactly that gave him the shard. In fact, Nightwolf inclines his head, giving Testament a knowing look, as if the Gear was proving the Apache's point.
"He cares about you. His allegiance non-withstanding, it is a great honor to be chosen by one of the Gods. You should not dishonor him by thinking so little about yourself."
Nightwolf begins to turn away when Testament compares himself to an attack dog. The Apache seems strangely satisfied, a half a smirk on his face, and his thumbs return to be tucked inside his belt, giving that oh so very casual walk of his.
"Dogs are noble creatures. Loyal, practical, fiercely protective. They are certainly not monsters." A glance towards Testament from those those white dead looking eyes. "I should know." Continues the Apache just as he shifts back into his wolf form, moving slightly away from the grinning mad Gear.
"You will kill again, Testament. I have no doubt of that. As long as there is life in the realms, there will be those who would forsake their right to live."
"What matters here is -who- you kill. Direct your aggression towards those who deserve it, just as I do."
The wolf turns to give the Gear another look, this time with more understanding to his blank eyes. "You and I are not so different actually. I too serve a deity who guides me. And like you, I too consider myself an attack dog. "
"Seek guidance with the great Huitzilopotchli. He will give you the purpose that you seek.. and you may be surprised yet what is your part to play in the grand scheme of things."
The Gear's mad grin falters, and he frowns. He is confused now. The concept of someone thinking highly of him is not one that his brain can easily wrap itself around. And the satisfied look on Nightwolf's face just makes the frown deepen. "And what has you looking so smug?" he asks, a sharpness to his tone.
It's difficult to find something n particular for Testament to latch onto mentally. The whole conversation seems to have the air of one that had merely confirmed something that Nightwolf already thought. And that irritates the Gear to no end! At the moment, though, he can't find the give-a-damn enough to get angry about it. He's just grouchy now.
He's also worried. Because he DOES hear Nightwolf's words. And what he hears is that he is somehow doing a disservice to Kotal. And while most of his mind still believes this is just a human trick to unsettle him and make it more difficult for him to do his job... part of him hears it and sees some truth in those words...
He doesn't speak as Nightwolf begins to walk away. He's thinking. Worrying. And trying to ignore the unsettled feeling in the pit of his stomach. He doesn't want to make Kotal think he's weak. Well, any weaker than he already does. But if there's more he could be doing... shouldn't he? Didn't he owe Kotal that?
Testament is going to be grumpy for a while yet...
Log created on 21:48:42 10/13/2016 by Nightwolf, and last modified on 21:54:09 10/16/2016.