Description: Before the Tournament begins in full the Soul Shards must be given to each Kontestant. In Testament's case, Kotal carries out that duty personally.
Shang Tsung's throne room. No Mortal Kombat is going on at the moment. Or if it is, it's at least not happening in this room. There are people, but only a few; their attention is elsewhere. And the air is charged with an electric hum, anticipation for the tournament to come.
But there's something else in the air too. At this precise moment, it's a pressure, making the ears throb a little. An odd 'warping' sound. And then a skull appears in the air. Around its grinning visage, the image of Testament seems to 'unfold' lengthways in the air, and then the pressure is gone. Upon his shoulder is his black raven with the silver collar.
He pauses, looking around. Kotal had said to meet him here, hadn't he? He hadn't said why. Testament isn't worried, though. Kotal wasn't human. So, ironically, there was less to fear from him.
No Mortal Kombat.. yet.
For now, Shang Tsung's throne room is merely a place where Outworld fighters have gathered to converse and feast.
Perhaps to Testament's enjoyment, he'll see not a single human present in throne room. He'll only see a portion of those inter-dimensional warriors that have traveled through the veil to represent Outworld's interests. As Testament appears, he'll be greeted by a multitude of stares. Men with serrated teeth and blades for arms. Others, giants with four arms and burning red eyes. Yet more, muscled, ogre like creatures, an Oni for sure. There are more too, all inhuman, all twisted and monstrous, though in a way perhaps beautiful and alluring as well. Creatures with the top part of beautiful women and the waist down the body of a horse. You know, things of that nature. Its a place that welcomes Testament and they all nod in greeting.
Though they seem to cast Testament in their lot, the warriors of Outworld seem to leave the Gear alone and return to their talking and their eating. They know that he has business elsewhere.
"Hello, Testament." Indeed, from the shadows emerges the turquoise skinned Kotal. The Warrior God places a hand upon the Gear's shoulder and smiles gently at him. "I am glad to see you recuperated well."
Oddly, Testament is the odd one here, being mostly human in appearance. Though his red-pupiled eyes would mark him as being unquestionably not human, at least not totally. And Kotal has already sensed the oddly artificial nature of Testament's power. He too nods in greeting to those in attendance.
The sound of Kotal's voice draws Testament's attention, and he turns to regard the large turquoise-skinned warrior. And he nods here as well. "I heal quickly," he notes. With a bit of a bitter tone, he notes, "I'm not sure I could die if I wanted to."
"So I have noticed." The Aztec responds with no small amount of pride to his voice when Testament assures him that he heals quickly. Kotal is acting not unlike a father who's child had just overcome some great challenge. "Most mortals would have not survived my soul scorching techniques. You are a very powerful Kombatant indeed."
When Testament bitterly states of his insecurity about being unable to die however, Kotal's face turns grim and he turns away from the Gear. "Ironically, that is the very reason why I summoned you." He begins walking towards a secluded corner of the Throne Room, away from the banquet proper. "Come, there is something of great importance I wish to discuss."
Kotal leads Testament to a smaller throne, set no doubt for a prestigious guest of the sorcerer. The Aztecs sits there whilst a table and a chair are pushed towards them by some servants. "But first, can I offer you something to eat? Perhaps Tset would like something?"
There is a strange feeling of accomplishment there. He hasn't felt that in a long while. Not since...
No. There's no need thinking about that now. Nothing will come of it but sadness. He turns his attention to the present. Testament nods, following Kotal to the more secluded area. He offers a nod of thanks to the servants bringing the table, and then sits.
The offer of food gets an affirmative response. "Thank you. Does Outworld have anything resembling potatoes?" he asks. He likes potatoes. A pause, he looks at the raven for a moment, and then back to Kotal. "Tset would like some raw meat and berries if possible."
The Aztec's mood brightens when Testament accepts his offer for food. Hunger is always a good sign that someone is healthy, and Testament is a growing boy that must be fed! Ah, perhaps Kotal is getting into this 'dad' role a bit too much, but he just can't help it, something about the Gear feels strangely boyish, as if he was the son that Kotal never had. Or perhaps, there was that need in Testament's eyes that he needed a father figure.
Casting those thoughts aside, Kotal claps once and summons a few more servants. "The sorcerer's island is actually more stocked with Earthrealm foods than anything else. We try to cater towards the defending team to keep things more fair.."
Sure enough, the servants bring a variety of potatoes for Testament, both the salty and sweet kind. For Tset, freshly cut raw and bloody beef along with a large platter of berries.
The Aztec waits for the Gear and his familiar to settle in for their food before he continues on with business. "Let me go straight to the point, Testament."
"Has anyone told you about the Soul Shards that will be in use for this tournament?"
If Kotal has fatherly instincts towards Testament, he's likely been disturbed by the young man's appearance. Perhaps it's a result of his powers, or something that happened to him during the transformation into a Gear. But Testament always looks like his ribs are showing.
But, potatoes are brought out, and a rare smile lights Testament's face. "Thank you." Tset 'awp's at the food, and hops off of Testament's shoulder to go eat. And in response, Testament smiles. And here Kotal begins to ask about the Shards.
Testament tilts his head. "No," he replies. "But I've been keeping to myself for the most part. Hard habit to break. What are these shards?"
Perhaps if Testament were of normal physiology would Kotal be concerned about his appearance. However, although the Aztec deity is not privy to what a Gear /is/ or how it was created, he does know that Testament is of not normal physique, and that his skinny nature may be completely normal for the boy. Suffice to say, Testament fights very well and shows no signs of being weakened by his fragile appearance, if Testament does not wish to be a muscled bound warrior like his dad-- I mean, Kotal, then he doesn't need to be one. Just as long as he continues to fight well.
The Aztec gives a non too concerned shrug when the Gear tells him he's kept mostly to himself. "Truthfully, I do not blame you. Outworlders have never had the reputation of being good conversationalists, and the only other alternative is the Earthrealmers." Which as it has been abundantly clear by now, both Kotal and Testament hate.
"It is best I tell you about them." Kotal shifts in his seat and leans forward, elbow resting on his knee. "As you know, this tournament will be to the death. But it is not only the body that will be destroyed upon demise. The soul of a defeated warrior is also forfeit, given upon them true death. One, that returns them to the endless cycle at best, and binds them to eternal slavery at worst."
"Even Gods such as I can die in this tournament, Testament. That is why the Elder Gods had decreed that Soul Shards will be given to the Kombatants. To protect the souls of some while others are condemned."
It's true, the bony-looking nature doesn't seem to affect his ability to fight, or anything else really. It's probably normal for him. The mention of conversing with Earthrealmers gets a curl of Testament's lip, a sneer. "There are others in Earthrealm that are like me. Not human. They can prove to be wonderful conversationalists. And I don't mind human children so much. They're at least honest."
He listens as Kotal begins to explain the tournament, the danger therein. True death? Destruction of the soul? Testament listens with interest. "I see. What determines whose soul is saved and whose is condemned?"
"Oh, I know of the Earthrealm Darkstalkers." Kotal assures Testament. "But just like humans they can be of very broad varieties. Some are worthwhile allies while others, well, they can be completely useless and even human lovers." The very thought of it sickens the Aztec to his very core.
"But that is not the reason why I summoned your presence." Continues the Warrior God as he explains the Soul Shards further. He reclines his back upon the throne's rest and glances down at the Gear with impassive glowing eyes. "A number of factors determines that. A Kombatant's ruthlessness, their allegiance, their power.. their ambition.."
"But in your case. I have made my case with the sorcerer Shang Tsung, and it has been decided that I will choose for you."
Testament nods. "They do have a disgustingly high propensity of protecting humans," he notes. "Shameful, since those very humans would stick a knife in their backs the first opportunity they got." He sounds utterly convinced of that.
But he listens as Kotal explains the rules of the Soul Shards. He seems surprised by the notion of Kotal having chosen for him. He doesn't appear upset with this decision at all. Just surprised. Honestly he's perfectly all right with it. "Oh?" he asks. "What sort of Shard will you choose?" A pause, and then another question, in a curious-sounding tone. "Would the choice have been any different if you hadn't made it?"
Honestly, Kotal had expected some kind of resistance from Testament when told him that he had take the decision to choose his fate away from him. Did the boy trusted him so much? Truly, they've only known each other for weeks at most. It is true that Kotal is no stranger to assuming a position of leadership and taking responsibility for his warriors, caring them as he feels fit. And yet, Testament is no normal warrior, he feels as though there should have been some argument.
Perhaps Kotal will yet get his discussion when he explains Testament the nature of the Soul Shards.
"More than likely it would have been different." Kotal says mysteriously and extends a hand out, palm open and pointing upwards. Before him appear four floating crystal shards of different colors.
"The Blue shard protects the body and the soul but prevents the killing of others."
"The Green shard only protects the soul and though it also prevents the killing of others, it does not protect the wielder from having his soul signature stolen."
"The Yellow shard offers very little protection and only prevents one from losing too much power if defeated. It does allow for the killing of others however."
"And lastly.. the Red shard."
Kotal stares at Testament whilst the red shard glows angrily. "The most vicious of them all, it voraciously eats the energy of the defeated and gives it to the wielder while offering no protection at all. It is kill or be killed with this shard."
Naturally, the shard that best suits Testament, right?
"To you Testament, I give.."
"The Blue shard."
Perhaps it's a question of trust. It could be that Testament trusts Kotal implicitly, merely because he isn't human. Kotal IS a god. How can one really hope to question the judgement of a god and be in the right? Or perhaps it's more than that... Testament doesn't really care about his own fate. Perhaps he just... doesn't care what happens to him here. What does he really have left, besides Zio anyway?
Testament's eyes are drawn to the four Shards as they appear. He listens to the explanation of the Shards, looking at each in turn. It's true, his eyes do settle on the red Shard. It sounds like that would be the best fit, doesn't it? Which is why it surprises him all KINDS of ways when Kotal picks the blue Shard for him. His brows raise in surprise, and he looks to Kotal in question. Even the bird looks up from her meal and gives a quiet, inquisitive 'awp?'.
"Blue?" Testament tilts his head. "You've seen how violent I am. I'm a murderer. A monster. Why would you pick that one?" He doesn't sound angry or upset, not in the slightest. Just honestly confused. He hasn't touched any of the Shards as yet, though. Perhaps he's giving Kotal a chance to reconsider before committing a monster to a soul-saving Shard. It just seems so weird and backwards to Testament.
No reconsideration needed. Kotal seems certain of his choice as he is certain of the sun in the sky. As Testament might assume, the Aztec is indeed a God and his every movement seems to be backed up by a confidence befitting of a deity of his stature. Every action, every spoken word, every step has been given thought.
It is safe to say then that Huitzilopotchli has considered Testament's fate very well.
"That is the very reason why I have picked this for you." Explains the Mesoamerican warlord, pushing the floating gem towards Testament bidding him to take it. "It is understandable that you will want to reap as many Earthrealm lives while participating in the tournament. However, strong as you may be, you are not invulnerable." Their earlier spar would be evidence enough of that. "And this would be the perfect opportunity for these mortals to finally strike you down."
It appears that while Testament doesn't care about his own safety, Kotal does.
"Above all, Testament, I do not want you to die for my selfish sake. I drew you into this Konflict that is not your own. I will not sacrifice you."
When the Shard is pushed in his direction, Testament does take it. Though he picks it up gingerly, as if he expects something that preserves life would disappear or die in his hands. He looks at the Shard almost suspiciously, while Kotal explains his reasoning... and then Testament sort of... Well, he just kind of... stops. He's not frozen. But he's definitely hesitating.
It's weird, having someone that isn't Zio care about his welfare. He's so unaccustomed to it. So he's more than a little confused when Kotal expresses concern. And it's pretty obvious that he's confused, too, what with how lost he looks. What does one say to that?
"...Thank you." It's all he can say at first, and he sounds unsure of himself. But eventually he looks up from the Shard, at Kotal. "...Someone will kill me eventually." Wouldn't it be better for his death to happen when he was doing something worthwhile...?
Log created on 20:31:30 09/10/2016 by Kotal, and last modified on 22:39:32 09/13/2016.