Description: Sometime before the Mortal Kombat tournament commenced in full, a wayward God of War tracked down the trail of one who in the past had caused Earthrealm much trouble. The Eternal Emperor, Shao Kahn, had been very impressed by what the forces of Majigen did to Metro City, and thus, he sent his envoy to strike a deal with the one responsible of it all. Whatever develops from an alliance between Outworld and Majigen is uncertain however, save for one thing; Earthrealm is sure to suffer.
Metro City has not yet returned to its full glory since its experience to the Majigen realm. The buildings with the worst damage were quickly condemned and leveled to the ground, costing of billions. The city park, once an island of clean air in the midst of a smog-filled city, is just as depressing as the rest of the city. And the bridge, of course, serves as a painful reminder to all commuters of just what was lost.
It's easier to forget the damage, here in the Outskirts. The wounds are not as severe -- suburb-dwellers are much more aggressive about maintaining the austere illusion that they haven't planted a pre-fabricated house, a white picket fence, and 2.3 kids in place of a perfectly lush forest. Every so often, though, the fractures in the earth flare up with a faint purple hue -- circular remnants of the severe stress imparted upon the earth's crust by the aged Italian thaumaturge.
It is just after dusk. An army of brown recluse spiders -- sized to human scale, standing on only six of their eight legs, and wearing dark lab coats -- surveys the faultline with hand-held scanning devices, just out of the reach of the suburbian streetlights.
They are obvious. They could be spotted. Rumored, even. But if past experience holds true, panicked city officials will downplay the reports as alarmist. Interpol will consider the reports to be fraudulent.
But one figure is harder to play off than the recluses. Seven foot tall, with a giant red scythe propped over one shoulder. He says nothing -- the blue-skinned noble has already spoken his peace on the matter, and micromanagement is not his preferred style. He simply glances around, eyes half-lidded as he makes his own inferences on the stress fractures in the earth.
The scars of War still linger in this place.
The distant echo of clashing weapons, the screams of rage and pain, the burning fires and the deafening sounds of explosions. They can still be heard in the whispering wind of the night. The faint energy of gory glory still lingers..
And it draws one who is War personified.
From the shadowy, filthy streets of Metro City comes.. a rather average man actually. Walking outside the city's limits and into the outskirts is a tall, muscled dark skinned fellow. He's dressed in the garbs of what can be described as a peasant from south of the border. Cotton white shirt, red sash, cotton white pants, and leather sandals. Imposing as he might appear, one would clearly think him insanely brave to simply walk towards the giant recluse spiders with no attempt to hide his presence.
Once he is well within speaking distance with the inhuman creatures, the tall fellow pauses and starts scanning the area. His eyes rest on the blue skinned noble in the midst of spiders, his gaze lingering there, clearly having found that which he was looking for.
For now, he says nothing. Almost as if awaiting a greeting from his arachnid hosts and their noble leader.
Despite the city's insistence that the Reaper of Metro City was done meddling with the city's affairs, the demonic lord has been maintaining a constant vigil over the city.
Many consider him a thoughtless murderer.
He considers himself a scholar of the arcane. Just with... unconventional methods.
The Blood Weaver cracks one eye open wider as the new arrival enters his field of vision. Interesting, that a man would wander so closely, in mild opposition to the supernaturally lethal beings stalking about the suburbs of Metro City.
A number of ideas come to mind -- though, it seems that the appearance has not gone unnoticed by the recluses. Lord Jedah Dohma's makes a dismissive hand gesture at the dutiful scientists, before turning to the tall, dark stranger.
The Blood Weaver arches one eyebrow -- amusement playing across his lips as his sanguine eyes pierce the darkness, focused intently upon the stranger.
"Nice night, wouldn't you say?"
The recluses continue their work, without further interruption.
The Warrior God supposes that there are worst greetings. Though in cases like this he would not have been against the idea of being honored with Kombat. The arachnid creatures with the lab coats looked like they would make interesting targets for the blades of his macuahuitl and his rays of scorching light.
Alas, there will be plenty of battle to be had ahead. Kotal is not one that lives controlled buy his impulses and bloodlust, he is more than willing to remain calm and wait the approaching storm with composure.
"I prefer the day." The dark skinned man answers and sheds his disguise, sensing that there is no need for it.
In one brief second the army of recluse spiders and all the buildings around are revealed. The apparent peasant is covered in bright sunlight from within and when the light fades, there stands a creature from ancient, legendary times. An Aztec Eagle Knight, with turquoise skin much like Jedah's own, and glowing golden tattoos running across his body.
"I am Huitzilopotchli. God of War."
"I seek the one known as Jedah. I presume you are him?" He speaks directly addressing the scythe wielding noble.
In that one brilliant sunburst of light, shadows cast themselves into stark relief. The recluses panic, fleeting from the brilliant light that would seek to destroy their attenuated night vision. There is no respite from the sun for the underlings, for that one moment of glorious sunlight. One recluse even collapses to its knee-joints, curling its forelimbs over its eyes.
The demon lord lifted only a finger and a thumb. In the brief moment of sunshine, the noble's thumbnail had scraped across the underside of his index finger, shooting a thin stream of blood from the tiny incision. That stream of blood painted across his face in a quick, haphazard fashion.
As the intense sunlight fades, it will become clearer what he'd just done, as the vitae rapidly coagulates into thin frames of bloodforged iron. The rays of sunlight have done little against someone of his power -- someone who merely -prefers- darkness for his work, rather than requires it.
Jedah raises his extended index finger to the temple of his ad-hoc sunglasses. Peering over the iron frames, he spends a brief moment taking in the form of the proclaimed God of War. His calm answer is presented with a voice composed of the smoothest silk: "Lord Jedah Dohma, of Majigen. A pleasure to meet you, in person."
Chittering can be heard to his back. Somewhere off in the distance, police sirens. Another graceful wave of his hand beckons the recluses back to their task, already twice interrupted.
The grin grows, as his daggersharp teeth are bared. Amusement, clearly. "To what end have you come here today?"
The Blood Weaver has his guesses. Many of them. But he is curious to hear the words from Huitzilopotchli himself; he is not so eager to tip his hand in this contest of wills.
There is no Kontest of wills as of yet. Huitzilopotchli does have the tendency of being the proverbial bull in a china shop, his every movement enough to shatter the ever so more frailer things around him, which in turns aggravate him further causing in a chain reaction. Even a so called God has its limitations in such a way. It is seems that Kotal is almost incapable of not destroying things wherever he goes given his particular domain. The panicked recluses and the need for Jedah to summon shades are naught but minor collateral damage in the wake of the War God.
And yet, its clear that if Huitzilopotchli wished to attack he would have done so already. No, the brilliant sunlight was simply an after effect of Kotal shedding his disguise. There was intent of posturing from his part.
"The pleasure is all mine, sir." Answers the Aztec warrior very politely as he continues to advance towards Jedah, only stopping when he's within the perimeter where the recluse scientists are doing their work.
"I seek your counsel today for two reasons."
"First, I come bearing a message from the Eternal Emperor, Shao Kahn. He has a proposition for all those who would wish to be in his good graces."
"But also.. I wished to personally congratulate you. You performed spectacularly against the mortals of Metro City. I must say, I am quite a fan of your work."
Kotal, ever the one with a sunny personality. Though in most cases it is quite literal as his glowing tattoos still shine faintly with the light of the sun.
The arcane scholar listens patiently, even as his frazzled understudies resume their scans of the area. It is strikingly obvious that neither the Lord of Majigen nor the God of War are interested in keeping a low profile -- their presence is both a challenge to one another, and an act of the utmost diplomacy.
There is no sense in aggravating a potential ally, not when the realm of Earth has such mighty heroes at its disposal.
The warrior's approach does not faze him in the slightest. As the blood obeys his call, the scythe resting precariously on his shoulder provides sufficient defense in the case of abrupt cessation of diplomacy -- particularly from the way the haft of the bladed weapon appears to perfectly counterbalance the substantially heavier mass of the blade.
The name Shao Kahn stirs a memory from the Blood Weaver. Just before Majigen temporarily annexed Metro City, an amalgamation of souls named Ermac had beseeched him with a similar opportunity -- a profitable exchange for both parties.
The guarantor of that loan, however, was...
Jedah does not get to ask the question on his mind. Flattery is much more important. The highborne noble bows his head in a show of humility, the blonde locks of hair bobbing in the process. "Why, thank you. It pleases me to be recognized by one of my own caliber. The short-lived denizens of this plane have such narrow grasp of the bigger picture."
But, the first issue remains heavy in the momentary silence which follows, and demands to be addressed. "... You have my attention." His fangs are concealed, but the smile remains intact. "I have dealt with another of his illustrious following -- a servant to a certain... Shang Tsung." The eyebrow arches, his languid features hinting at mirth. "But surely the God of War could be tasked with a purpose more lofty than that of a messenger boy..."
A long finger is extended upwards -- making clear that the words were merely the noble's arrogant test of the sundrenched warrior's mettle. "... Unless the message were of serious import. For we all have our own... separate agendas, of course."
The recluses chitter with satisfaction at their current scans, moving on to a wider dispersal. The police sirens in the distant begin to grow louder -- and then fall silent, all at once.
"Tell me, then... what does the Eternal Emperor, Shao Kahn, propose?"
Indeed not. Although every poise and movement from the War God lends itself for the potential of violence, he has thus far adopted a most civil demeanor, and shows no signs of changing that any time soon in the presence of Jedah.
Because in truth, Jedah is quite right in his conclusions about the Earthrealm champions. So much in fact that it is the very reason why Kotal is here in Metro City, searching for the scholar of the arcane. Even a deity of war such as Huitzilopotchli can get more than his fill of Kombat.
He doesn't appear too eager though, Kotal is no stranger to the art of diplomacy and makes certain to compliment Jedah in his previous Kampaigns against the Earthrealmers. In helps that he is actually genuinely interested in the noble's work. It takes one Konqueror to know another after all.
"So true." Nods the Aztec warlord when Jedah comments on how quickly the Earthrealmer's lose interest on things. "Mortals nowadays tend to have the attention span of gnats. Perhaps a side effect of the development of faster methods of communication." He's been keeping up with the times despite being in Outworld for hundreds of years it seems.
But enough pleasantries. "I know that you were contacted by one of the Emperor's champions before. He goes by Ermac and is part of my squadron." A sign of the prestige Kotal holds in the Emperor's court, it seems he is wise and strong enough to maintain an elite force of his own.
"You are correct in your assumptions, noble." Continues the Mesoamerican warlord. "The Emperor has seen fit to send me to personally deliver a message to you."
"Outworld is finally poised for the invasion of the realm of man, and we would like to have the support of one as illustrious as yourself."
"Have you perhaps heard of the Mortal Kombat tournament starting soon?"
Jedah Dohma has had much on his mind. Minor losses are easily acceptable upon a long enough timeframe, such as his triple-digit lifespan. The mortals of Earthrealm may have believed themselves to have won their city back, but the fact remains that the souls infused into his unholy progeny provided a great advance to his long-term agenda.
Blonde eyebrows fold downward at the pleasant reminder of Ermac's involvement in that former strategem. It was a timely investment, and a profitable one, even accounting for the payment of souls to the Outworld representative. "He serves you much credit. He wields a most intriguing fighting style, and a unique way of approaching business."
Ever since the -first- meeting with Ermac, however, Lord Dohma has been cogitating on the eventual invasion of Earthrealm. Ermac himself was a unique fighter, but they were not the only denizens of Outworld to make their mark -- indeed, Skarlet and Mileena had stalked their own prey within the Majigen playground. The invasion of Earth would be a risky proposition if these Outworlders were involved -- and as proven, the Lord of Majigen is not above making strategic arrangements.
He is not ready for an invasion of Earthrealm. But it sounds like Kotal and his squadron may be.
"My subordinates have communicated the nature of the tournament to me, to some degree. That is it the tenth such tournament, held once a century. That the Protectors of Earthrealm send their champions as delegates for the safety of their realm, rather than wage war themselves."
The noble strokes his chin, as the bloody lenses of his frames grow progressively translucent. Crimson irises stare back at Kotal. "A truly... interesting arrangement indeed."
The recluses continue their observations in relative peace, no longer needing direct orders from their lord and master.
"Let's not mince words -- you seek my support in succeeding in the tenth and final summit. Outworld's success is the precursor to an invasion of Earthrealm -- which is an interest of mine as well. But what I know not is... what does Outworld gain from this, and how does Majigen stand to profit from it?"
Kotal will have to remember to compliment Ermac once he is done regenerating. He did very well in his excursion to Earthrealm considering he had no back up whatsoever and no leadership. Not to mention that with Princess Mileena and her escorts loose in Earthrealm he had the unsightly task of doing damage control on potential Outworld allies. Let's simply say that Princess Mileena is not known for her self-restraint, and it is something that has caused plenty of headaches to Outworld representatives such as the Aztec warlord.
Fortunately, Jedah has seen the more dignified part of the Emperor's forces, at least enough so that he is willing to listen to a proposal. In fact, he seems to be well informed about what Outworld intends to do with the realm of man, which may or may not work to his advantage.
There comes a point in a diplomatic meeting when posturing is to be left aside in order to go to the point in matter. That time comes when Jedah decides to ask the big question. What does Majigen gain from allying with Outworld?
"Make no mistake Lord Jedah." Glowing eyes narrow and though his tone remains polite there is that hint of warning in Kotal's voice for Jedah to choose his words wisely. Vampire Lord or no, he is still talking to a legit deity. "If Outworld wins the tournament there will be none who will be safe from the purging tide. Innocent and guilty alike will be slaughtered en masse and their souls will fuel the forges of Outworld. Earthrealm will be plunged into an age of darkness where humanity and Darkstalkers alike will be forced to fight for the entertainment of the Eternal Emperor."
He smiles despite the apparent threat. "I will not posture with you, Lord Jedah. I hold much respect for you as a fellow immortal. Allow me then to list your options."
"You can choose to oppose Outworld and aid Earhtrealm in the coming tournament. Win, and all will return to normalcy, free to continue your plans at your leisure."
"Lose, and you too become prey to the Eternal Emperor."
A pause is given to allow Jedah a moment to consider having Shao Kahn as his enemy.
"On the other hand, choose to aid us and you will be given free right to partake in the coming slaughter. You will be invited to join the Emperor's Kourt where you will feast on as many mortals as you wish and revel with Outworld nobility."
"And if by some miracle Outworld were to lose despite your aid, then you can return to what you were doing. No strings attached."
"Aid Outworld and you have nothing to lose but everything to gain."
Threats abound. Jedah is certainly no fool -- he does not take stabs at the regal messenger who approaches with honeyed words without some grander itinerary in mind. The Black Messiah would, however, not exist if not for his brash irreverence towards the "proper" way of doing things. Societal constructs are a means to an end for him, and he means to place an end to them -- on his own elongated timeline, of course.
Narrowed eyes from Kotal draw only a faint uptick in the thaumaturgical visionary's lips. Humanity and darkstalkers fighting for entertainment -- great minds think alike, or so they say.
In the case of Earthrealm receiving aid, there is nothing to -gain- from the arrangement. Jedah's lips stiffen into a firm line. 'Prey to the Eternal Emperor' is a small threat to Lord Dohma; the thought of Majigen being within the crosshairs of an Outworld invasion is a possibility, however remote.
But choosing to aid Outworld has significant benefits, all the same. Feasting upon mortals holds much more appeal than revelling with Outworlders.
The issue of aiding Earthrealm becomes moot, accordingly.
Jedah Dohma's reply takes only two seconds. His lips spread into a knowledgeable smile. "Huitzilpotchli, your words speak to a grand opportunity -- a bargain I have been most anxious to accept for quite some time. It pleases me that the opportunity has finally arrived."
The scythe hovering upon his shoulder sags, as if its constitution were transformed to that of warm butter. A moment later, it dissolves into crimson liquid, clinging to Jedah's form as if magnetic.
The liquid adopts a new state -- that of two scythelike wings affixed to the bloodweaver's back. The liquid coagulates, hardens -- and iron blades emerge from the sticky morass.
The fearsome weapon no longer presents a threat.
And as Jedah angles his head in acquiescence, neither will he.
"I, Jedah Dohma, will provide the support of myself and my soldiers to the success of Outworld in the coming Mortal Kombat tournament."
"You have chosen wisely."
Kotal's response is immediate, almost as if someone else had told him this before. A pact, not unlike the one he himself made with the Eternal Emperor hundreds of years ago. And though like him, Jedah may have ulterior motives, the short term goal is far too important to worry about possible future squabbles.
When the scytche turns from weapon to wings, the Aztec warrior takes that as a gesture that he is free to approach without appearing as if he is trying to inch into the noble's circle of defense. Aristocrats that they may be both of them are warriors in their own right and Kotal is well aware that diplomatic encounters and fights often have similar etiquette. Don't do gestures that may appear threatening if you aren't actively trying to fake them out and don't get within striking distance unless you are ready. These foundations have served Kotal well in both Kombat and Kourt.
As he approaches, Kotal takes his obsidian sacrificial knife from its scabbard, though not as Jedah might assume and attempt to stab him with it. Instead, the War God places his palm upon the blade and cuts the skin of his own hand to let the Godly blood pour.
He extends said bloodied hand towards Jedah for him to shake.
"Earthrealm will not be able to withstand this Deadly Alliance."
Lord Jedah does not flinch in the slightest; if Kotal had wished to plunge the knife into his chest him, the conclusion of a mutually beneficial agreement would be the least optimal time in which to do so -- in addition to probably the easiest way for Kotal to lose an arm.
Dohma, for his part, needs no knife. As he is of like mind to the Warrior God, the Black Messiah's curved thumbnail will suffice in reaving a thin red line across his palm. The divine lifeforce of the Blood Weaver seeps forth, two drops escaping the madness to spill upon the ground before the pact is sealed with the God of War.
"May the screams of the defeated resound through the halls of Outworld," he assents, a confident grin on his lips and a borderline manic intensity gleaming in his crimson irises.
The recluses buzz merrily in content, retracting from their positions. The readings were complete, finally -- and the data would be tabulated back at the science labs. But for now, the recluses converge, taking position at Jedah's back as they await the close of business.
"You will know our representatives when they arrive. To our inevitable success in Mortal Kombat."
Log created on 21:20:29 09/14/2016 by Kotal, and last modified on 19:59:45 09/18/2016.