Description: Three guests enter Illyria to discuss matters of other worlds and wars. One guest honored and invited and the other most certainly not.
The Faery Courts, The Makai. The Boundary. The Backyard.
Needless to say, Leo Whitefang is no stranger to the concepts of worlds beyond what he can prsently see, hear, taste and touch. Illyria itself was founded at the end of a long conflict regarding an attempted by a corrupted fae queen to enter the world and render unimaginable damage to it. As a leader of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights, he was often called on to defend the world against supernatural incursions of all sources. Battles that the prominent world of professional fighting will never hear of, fought behind the curtains that are drawn to keep the public sanity in check.
And yet Outworld..remains a mystery to him. A blank page in his persona dictionary and something that the extensive libraries of the Illyrian Castle know previous little about. Therefore it's time for a change.
As such the so called 'Second King' of Illyria has extended an invitation forth to a figure whose lineage and chosen duty is known to him by rote of pure reputation and operating in similar circles of the supernatural and those sworn to deal with it. Obtaining knowledge is one of his hobbies and you never know when a proper recruitment pitch might gain a needed ally. It worked for Jubei after all.
So, at the moment, he waits in a courtyard, seated in a large chair with one leg propped up across another as he leans back with one fist propped up on the arm of the chair for him to lean his head into. The table is set with food and drink and he patiently awaits his guest to be escorted in.
ON the table - a large touchpad screen displays the events of the New Generation League's Rumble event. "...Hmm..I wonder whose going to come out on top of this one.."
Liu Kang was summoned.
He must answer.
A dedicated protector of Earthrealm /and/ Outworld, Liu Kang feels a child of two worlds. Though from China by ancestry, Liu Kang often ventured into Outworld to defend it against the likes of Shao Kahn and Shang Shung. When the Second King of Illyria had outstretched his hand in invitation. His efforts gained him repute and honor, but that's part of what brings him here today...
To see if this 'repute' was flattery or well-earned.
He steps into the courtyard. Unlike others of note, he has no formal clothing like robes or armor. Instead, he looks as if a martial artist.
The Second King lifts his head up and immediately mutes the pad and pushes it away from him as Liu Kang arrives. He's on his feet shortly afterwards, brown fur-lined coat trailing behind his movements before settling about his imosing form like a resting curtain. Though giants roam the world, from the likes of Zangief to Abigail and beyond, Leo still cuts an imposing figure with a large frame and a towering height but his movements are easy going and friendly as he returns Liu's bow of respect with one of his own and then gestures for him to come closer.
"I am." he answers, baritone voice cheerful though there's that perpetual hint of seriousness that lies beneath. "I am Leo Whitefang, Second King of Illyria and Sacred Knights commander. I appreciate your coming, Liu Kang. You honor me with accepting my invitation. I'm sure the journey was long. Please join me."
He gestures to the table and the prepared chairs but remains standing himself, "There's food prepared but I can summon anything you request. I believe our kitchen facilities should be properly restoked after our last..ah.."
After Rugal's visit? Or was it Sol? One of them had ripped the doors right off to make off with lots of meat.
The Second King rises to meet him and Liu Kang looks up at the towering figure. He doesn't appear intimidated by his size, surely he's fought against and beside men of lesser, similar, and greater stature. Yet, he seems somewhat surprised at the well-spoken nature of the fellow. Despite the chairs that await them, Liu Kang doesn't move to take it quite yet. He iether prefers to stand, or won't sit unless his host meets him on equal ground - as he much so already has.
"Leo Whitefang. A strong name. Surely, you have made those who are with you and those who follow you proud, judging by your accomplishments and reputation alone." Flattery should be intoned with flattery.
Yet, he approaches the chair and he looks down at the food. "The journey was long and dangerous. Many trials lie between the realms." He tilts his head.
"...I trust it was an entertaining event. Seems to be growing in frequency everywhere of late. I would hope hte mess wasn't too big?" He seems to be rolling a strand of prayer beeds in his palm. A monk of the Order of Light, judging by the insignia of the beads. "Tell me then...while I am honored by your invitation...why have you called me here?"
Straight to the point.
Leo takes no offense and actually simply sits back down, comfortable and casually. Being direct to the point is preferred, especially with all the dancing around that Rugal was doing when he was here.. That so many do when trying to dig at the secrets being guarded by the Illyrian knighthood.
"I appreciate your directness." he notes before continuing, "It is, in fact, your journey that I'm hoping you can provide me with some enlightenment and insight. Perhaps eve direction."
He makes a gesture to indicate the whole of the courtyard, "Illyria was founded in the throes of an invasion from another realm. A mad fairy queen sought to use an ancient power that is seeded through this land for ascension. Her forces - many whom would be labled Darkstalkers by the media - ran rampant over this revealed land and threatened other realms besides. Had she succeeded an ancient spell, Saint Elmo's FIre, would have triggered and send shockwaves through the leylines criss crossing the world. That and other challenges happened but my point is that one of the founding goals and principles of the Sacred Order concerns itself with defense of the world from dangers beyond, mostly supernatural and magical in nature."
He leans forward now, eyeing Liu with eyes more steeled though the aggression isn't towards him personally, "We were given this land and we've spent years shoring up our defenses, making alliances and harnessing the magic here but in my estimation it's time to stop looking inward. There was a strange darkness enveloping the last tournament I participated in and I wasn't able to uncover its source. It did show me that we've been idle for too long. In my attempts to be prepared for the dangers that loom on the horizon I came to realize that we have almost no experience or connection to those fmailiar with Outworld or who can aid us in understanding it yet its denizens seem present. It's a blank spot to me and my research and studies led me to you. To learn more about it, what dangers it presents and howe the Sacred Order could be ready should danger emerge from it to threaten us."
When Leo sits back down, Liu Kang slowly descends into the seat in question. His stance is rigid and firm, detailing lifelong training that refuses to allow so much as a slouch. Discipline in all things, forever. Though Leo appreciates the directness, something which earns a soft nod of Liu Kang's head. Honor must be returned with honor, less such hospitality be disrespected and such pains thrown aside.
He listens softly to the tale of the attack by Darkstalkers upon this land of Illyria, how an ancient power from a mad fairy queen was intended to be used to wage a war across the worlds. Liu Kang frowns softly, looking down at the table as his eyes briefly close.
Liu Kang begins to rest his hands on the table. "...in Earthrealm, we were attacked numerous times in raids by Outworld. In an attempt to focus the conflict and prevent unnecessary loss of life, a tournament was created. A tournament to decide the fate of the realm. If the attacking side won...they won the entire realm. If the defenders won, then Outworld could not invade, regardless of the power they commanded. This was known as Mortal Kombat."
He hums softly. "I recommend finding areas where the veil between worlds is weakest and plan a defense around those points. I believe these...ley lines are such points. Perhaps where they are most concentrated? And let that be a...my friend calls it a 'plan B'."
He hums. "But, if it is alliances you seek...then alliances you must form. Of both magic and natural worlds. But, I have experience in fighting against sorcerers...often times they rely too much on their magic, and rarely do they look above them."
Liu Kang says, "yes! sorry!"
"A single tournament to decide the fate of two worlds?" It sounds absurd to say it aloud but as Leo frowns, rubbing his jaw in thought, he realizes rather rapidly that it only makes sense.
"It would cut down on loss of life. Risk to the populace. To the people of both realms but.. How would such a victory be enforced..? The powers that be would certainly never agree to such terms or be easily forced to bow to them..such as an organization like the NOL.."
He shakes his head and frowns, leaning back in his chair once more, "..I believe you of course. But it is alarming to hear of this as it raises a number of questions such as the relation between Outworld and The Makai ....the world of demons for lack of any other word. As to finding where the walls between worlds are thin--? You may have a point. We would need a better grasp on how specifically to attune any barriers to Outworld itself but to hear you describe it.. it sounds as if our world and Outworld are more tightly linked then the other realms we know of..."
Liu Kang looks completely serious. In fact, he seems almost intrigued that other worlds and realms do not need to obey the rules of Mortal Kombat nor are they knowledgeable, implying they never had to suffer the tournament to begin with. He lifts a hand then to his chin. "Between Earthrealm and Outworld, we possessed the guidance of the Elder Gods. Overseers, you could say. My mentor is one such being. Lord Raiden- Though I will doubt we will have such help in this matter in particular."
For rarely are they to interverene in matters not related to the act of Mortal Kombat.
"The enforcement is perhaps something to look into...perhaps a bargain. A leverage you could press upon the mad queen, a bluff?" He suggests to him.
Though he nods softly. "I have heard of this NOL. I intend to make moves against them, yet I know not how to do so most effectively. Perhaps there we can help one another."
He nods softly. "Outworld has many ties to many realms...it is one of many reasons why their military might is so overwhelming."
It doesn't sound as if he's unfamiliar with that name. A sudden dawning settles on Leo and he frowns lightly before simply nodding his head, "I know of Raiden. There was an incident some ears ago that enraged him but the matter is abit complex to get into. Suffice to say the situation was dealt with but that seems to explain the scale of this more properly. I don't know who the rest of these Elder Gods may be but...a global situation implies global powers invested or interested in the outcome and it sounds like it is one unified entire world versus the...admittedly chaotic, broken and disparate factions of Earth. With what you're saying, the idea that their armies are unified and bolstered by forces from even -other- worlds then..it makes sense it would pose a threat that would leave the option of a tournament as the only viable one. There's no way Earth could mount a singular defense against that without incredible loss of light and extreme planning ahead of time.."
Leo nods his head in agreement and then clarifies, "Mab is no longer a threat. There was..a battle. She was stopped and so was her spell. These lands we're in now were transformed but I brought her up more to point to say that we here have experience with dealing with forces from other worlds. I see now, though, that Outworld may be a more unique threat due to its organization and intention on invasion. That differs greatly from say, The Makai.. In fact, if you're suggesting that Outworld has ties to many realms it likely does have ties to the Makai and some forces and powers it draws from related to that."
The Second King nods his head, gravelly now, "I see that this may be more involved and intense then I had first realized."
At the mention of dark magic, a chill breeze wafts through the room unbidden setting the various expensive and regal looking drapery scattered about the throne room aflutter and the castle's defensive wards flaring to life with sudden urgent intensity. Klaxons blare a warbling tone as magical glyphs flash into existence on the walls and emblems carved into the very stone floor itself thrum with power, protective spells meant to ward away whatever harmful or unrecognized energies had set the countermeasures into motion.
The unnatural chill seems unhindered by these potent defenses, however, growing ever more biting with each passing moment until the air is frosty enough for each exhaled breath to swirl visibly as white mist.
A more visible manifestation of the power at work here makes itself known shortly after the initial warning. Thin tendrils of inky black midnight begin to slither into sight - only a handful at first, but their numbers swiftly multiply into the dozens and then the hundreds. Writhing as a coordinated mass, they quickly move to obscure the windows, blotting out any source of natural sunlight that might be present within the vast hall before solidifying into solid panes of dark shadow.
Perhaps surprisingly, the shadow tendrils do their best to avoid making contact with any living being in the room; likewise the various sigils and runes. Anyone who approaches them, however, or makes any attempt to interfere with their task of covering up the walls will quickly come to regret it. To mere touch of one of these unnatural vines is akin to grasping a block of dry ice with one's bare hands - intense biting cold assaults those foolish enough to make the attempt, the very warmth and essence of their vital energy being drained away by fel magic.
Once the task of dousing the sunlight has been accomplished, a feat that takes no more than a minute or so for the creeping shadows, a new source of darkness makes itself manifest at the main door. Pure midnight power gathers into a wide line across the threshold and begins to rise like the curtain of a theatre being slowly lifted to reveal the first act of some Broadway play. Reality itself seems to be stained by this inky magic leaving behind a gaping hole into a bottomless void where once the majestic doors once stood.
A suitably dramatic pause is given for the audience to this dark play to take in the haunting new ambiance. Without the sun to fill the space with light, only those sources of artificial illumination which might be present offer any sort of visibility in the shadowy gloom - even those seem to struggle to bring the atmosphere anywhere above 'dim and creepy'. After a few drawn out moments the surface of this unnatural shadowy gateway ripples slightly, the darkness somehow quivering like the surface a pond into which stone has just been cast and from within that unholy portal a figure emerges.
This is not the first time that the castle has been invaded without warning. Leo himself was present when the terrible progeny of the Universal Will, Ramlethal, appeared and wrecked havoc upon its unprepared defenders. The being which finally reveals itself, no doubt the person responsible for the sudden redecoration efforts, proves to be something rather unexpected, however, for it is no hostile chimera of magic and technology nor a rampaging fae hellbent on revenge - but a young girl.
Clad in a long black dress woven from midnight silk and a flowing cape of dark bloody crimson, the maiden in question seems like something that stepped right off the pages of Grim's Fairytales. Her features are pale and fair in ways that are completely unnatural, the gentle contours of her face beauteous and blemish-free beyond what any human could ever hope to attain. Soft locks of flaxen hair drape down from beneath the hem of a raised hood, her bangs playfully arranged to hide portions of her face in a fashion meant to enhance her supernatural allure. Large doe-like eyes the color of ruby gems peer out from beneath these golden curtains, faintly alight with a glow of fel power.
The girl pauses upon making her dramatic entrance, swinging her head in a slow circle without hurry or comment. Where her gaze falls upon the castle's defenders and staff a visible shiver runs through their bodies as if looking into her wide innocent eyes is akin to having a finger run down their spine. With a faint smirk on her face she makes sure each and every one of the king's minions gets a taste of her unnatural presence, seeming to revel in the way they flinch from her stare.
Then, with a wide flourish, she turns her glowing eyes to the leader of the Sacred Order himself and his unusual guest. Setting into motion, she seems to all but glide across the floor with graceful steps until she stands but a dozen or so paces away from the table and its grand feast, only to offer a sudden curtsey to the pair of them like a dainty princess presenting herself at court.
The fae-like woman's voice is as strangely beautiful and gentle as she herself appears to be, soft and comforting in ways that are hard to pin down. A small smile is given to Leo, disarmingly genuine in nature.
"Allow me to introduce myself. You may call me Lady K. I do hope you will pardon the sudden nature of my unannounced visit. But it only just came to my attention that you were hosting a guest to speak of matters which are of... considerable interest to me."
"You have met him?"
Liu Kang seems most surprised at this turn of events. He wasn't aware that Raiden had been around more often around others, but it was not Liu Kang's place to tell a God where he must and must not tread. He hums softly for a moment, seemingly in thought. "Neither do I. I know of one other - Fujin, The God of Wind, but I know little else besides that." Liu Kang remarks softly regarding the Elder Gods, but he does nod. "Yes....that is why Mortal Kombat for Earthrealm is so important. We are many, but divided. They are one...and /many/."
He shakes his head softly. "But, I'm glad this Mab is no longer a threat. It is very likely Outworld is allied with this...Makai."
Then...suddenly and oh so swiftly, there is another face coming to join the pair. The woman in a long black dress comes to join them, the girl makes a dramatic entrance, careful in her introduction and carries with her a presence of extreme proportions...for only a fool judges a book by it's seeming cover.
He sighs ever so softly.
"Lady K." He nods softly. "I am Liu Kang, of Earthrealm. Shaolin of the Order of Light." He introduces himself in turn. "I am honored. If it is of interest to you...I see no reason why you cannot join us."
"No reaosn other then this being intended as a private affair and an invite only. You could have called first. Sent message by way of one of my aides."
Leo's dry voice and calm demeanor is in utter contrast to the sudden turn of events and the dark dramatic display that has so easily swept into the place despite the wards over the castle. It's not as if there's a forcefield preventing entry after all but she was wise to so carefully manage her approach as she did.
A quick gesture from Leo causes the knights present to stand down. They are the standard soldiers at the moment. Trained, large bodied, able swordsmen but not the likes of their trained magic users or the titanic magitech wielding Convict Hammers or sharp shooter Twin Triggers. Caught off guard they may be but even with the shivers that naturally come to them, they hold their ground. They wouldn't be much good as Sacred Order kngihts if the supernatural simply broke them on the spot.
"As I was stating to my -invited- guest... Liu Kang, the Sacred Order's very existence and trade is based on dealing with dark sorcery so..I advise..that if you wish to keep this conversation cordial, oh Lady K, that you please remove from the walls the magic that you have decided to interrupt our meeting with. It's impressive and smartly woven but I'd rather not caise excessive alarm or have unnecessary force brought against you if you're truly here to simply talk..."
He remains seated as he speaks, tone even, though he gives a quick glance to Liu Kang and then back towards their mysterious guest.
"Do we have a deal?"
If she seems at all put off by the irritation in Leo's response, the young woman doesn't allow it to show on her face. Her lovely smile remains firmly fixed in place as he assesses the threat and then motions for his guards to stand down. She's well aware of the danger that she's placed herself in by coming to the Sacred Order's headquarters, alone and uninvited. She had been careful to avoid the deadly magical defenses when creating her portal through the shadows and doubly so to keep from harming any of the king's men. That seems to have won him over for the moment, though perhaps if Leo knew more about her true nature he'd be less keen on welcoming her so quickly.
Once it's clear that she isn't going to be attacked for her dramatic and uninvited arrival, Lady K - as she's calling herself, moves to take a seat the table, ignoring for the moment Leo's request that she banish the shadows. One of the fancy chairs is pulled aside and she gently lowers herself into it, her pale hands coming to rest demurely in her lap.
To Liu Kang the small girl inclines her head in a gesture of acknowledgement.
"Well met. I have heard many stories of your deeds, young warrior. In truth, your presence here is part of why I chose to intrude. I have a great deal of interest in those who battle the forces which would threaten Earthrealm."
Turning her attention to Leo now, Lady K looks thoughtful for a moment before responding.
"I am afraid I must request indulgence on your part, your Majesty."
The girl turns her head and gestures to the nearest window and the barrier of intertwined shadows which covers it.
"The presence of sunlight is... unpleasant to me. In order for me to participate in this conversation meaningfully it must be banished. No harm will come to your castle or your subjects, so long as they keep their distance."
She turns to the maned king again, fixing him with her softly glowing eyes. Her smile widens further, the corner of her dainty lips peeling away to present a flash of the pearly white teeth beneath - and the tiny fang where her canine should be.
"Upon my honor as a noble of the Makai, I give you my word."
Indeed, Liu King had the intention of being courteous even if he lacked a certain trust for this strange woman calling herself 'Lady K'. But, far better to keep your enemies close than have them far away and unseen, if she truly is an enemy. But perhaps...perhaps she is instead a powerful ally that emerges from the shadows to take back the fight.
This Place was well-guarded. Liu Kang had seen many such defenses. Seen many of the Magitech titanomechs wielding large hammers and the sharp shooters just waiting for trouble in addition to what seems standard rank and file knights. Yet, this woman managed to bypass them all. Though Liu Kang doesn't speak further about what Leo and Lady K discuss.
This is Leo's castle. Liu will not command him in how to operate it. The quick glance is met, but his eyes are on this...vampire.
Liu Kang has terrible relations with creatures of darkness. From Tarkatan soldiers of Outworld to literal zombies. Yet, she appears a noble of Makai....one who seeks bound to her word. But one who could bend the very skies to her will?
A potent ally...or danger...indeed.
Though he seems intrigued that he's part of the reason she's present for this meeting. Flattering, perhaps, but it's clear Liu Kang hears humility, for not once has he boasted of his ability to protect Earthrealm.
"...and if they do not keep their distance?"
"Well since you've explained yourself so nicely..."
Leo's known for being as pragmatic as he is to make wild decisions and tactical moves that befuddle many who are in turn as equally befuddled when said decisions work out for the best.
So it's not to far out of the realm of posDsiblity that he would permit this admiddted Noble of the Makai to remain here versus attempt to bind, blast, banish or any other assortment of 'B' words her and instead just calmly observes her.
"Don't worry.." he finally says towards Liu, "They won't do anything on my command and word has already been given to those outside to leave matters be for now."
his prior gesture had already given them all that they needed to hold steady and wait for his next word. "Now if Ky arrives then matters may change but I'm willing to entertain this a bit longer.."
The unspoken being that should legitimate danger arise it's not really the soldiers that she has to truly worry about given present company. The fact that she still so brazenly and comfortably sits here is telling.
"I suspect even if we were to need to engage her it'd be fruitless on our part. Surely a 'Noble of the Makai' would not be so careless as to enter the capital of Illyria to speak wit ones such as ourselves and not have a rapid escape route in mind should things go sour...and truthfully I'd rather not ruin this courtyard trying to catch her.."
He finally sits forward though his mvoements reveal the Iron-Cross blades at his sides. Dormant but charged with magical energy to snap to life on command. His hands rest on the table.
"So fine. I'm willing to listen. She's here now. Be a shame to waste all that dramatic energy. So what would you have to say to us concerning Outworld as a member of the Makai? Are the Makai allied with Outworlds forces?"
"Then they will most likely perish."
The small vampire noble turns to regard Liu Kang, her expression and tone strangely cheerful as she states this matter-of-factly. The prospect of someone killing themselves by stupidly doing what she expressly warned them not to do doesn't seem to concern her all that much. If anything, she seems amused by the idea.
"The energies of the Makai are not meant for mortals to dabble with. My powers in particular tend to be quite inimical to the living. So, for the sake of our continued good relations, I suggest you not indulge your curiosity on this matter."
Leo's assurances that his soldiers will respect proper boundaries is met with another warm smile. That smile grows into something more smug as he lays out his reasoning for refraining from engaging her openly, her posture becoming more aloof and confident in the chair.
"Indeed," she says, confirming his suspicions about the nature of her visit with a hint of haughtiness in her voice. "Your majesty is most wise. And it is a fine courtyard. A bit too... bright for my tastes but it would still be a shame to ruin such fine construction."
Clasping her hands together, Kira rests them on the table in front of her and leans back into her chair.
"Though, I should point out that, while you may be able to drive me off in the short term, none present possess the necessary power to destroy a Noble of the Makai realm on a permanent basis."
Her gaze shifts between the king and the Lin Kuei warrior, eyeing each of them in turn.
"This, among other things, is something you should be aware of if you wish to stand as guardians of Earthrealm against the myriad threats which loom upon our borders. You both seem to be aware of at least some of the dangers we face."
Her focus turns to Liu again, expression thoughtful.
"And you have knowledge which I lack. This... Outworld of yours. I am, to my shame, wholly unfamiliar with it. I wish to rectify that."
'Then they will surely perish'.
Liu Kang's eyes seem to harden for a moment until Leo speaks peace into his spirit, quieting the Dragon before it had a chance to awaken. As a result, Liu Kang stays seated since the master of these lands has given permission for Lady K to do as she intends.
So long as no lives are claimed.
Today is not the time for curiosity to rear its head. "You seem quite confident in the Makai's ability to be unable to be destroyed." Liu Kang remarks softly, but he nods once as he meets the dark eyes of the vampire princess.
"That will be a long story. My enemies in Outworld are numerous..."
Where Liu's eyes soften, Leo's do harden slightly. Ironic since he had been the one enabling the tense but maintained calm.
"Lady K.." he begins after Liu finishes, "To bring up an old point - your posturing and smugness is over selling and over extending your hand. Let's dispense with that. Surely you don't mean to imply that my soldiers will blindly hurtle themselves against your magicks and simply die. After all, you no doubt understand that you are in the heart of the Sacred Order and that my men are well warded and protected and have the arsenal and magitech to instantly bring your wall down should I give the order." A gentle 'warning' perhaps. A reminder of her position at present, confidence being displayed or no. He may be giving her some benefit of the doubt that she is prepared to defend herself and take her leave but at the same time..it seems he feels that even that is at the kings leisure.
"But as I've stated you're safe, despite you being the one to make your way in here brazenly..."
He pauses for a moment as if listening to or contemplating something and then adds, "And that goes for any minions or associates of yours who you think may have escaped our notice. So no more need for this smug attitude. Especially given that you've come here seeking information and don't seem to have any to give in return.."
There's a lingering pause as if he seems to wait expectantly, "...Or do you? If the Makai or..at least yourself..are unaware of Outworld then would they be invested in preventing an invasion of the Earth?" To Liu Kang he turns and asks, "An army requires a general. Who holds the reigns in Outworld?"
Contrary to Leo's desires, challenging the small vampiress openly seems only to intensify the haughtiness in her posture. She sits up a little straighter in the oversized chair, her chin tilting up slightly the manner of an imperious noble regarding a slight to their honor. As a mortal Kira had always been cocky and stubborn. Her transition into the role of an undead noble has done nothing but amplify that arrogance to levels befitting a queen of the damned. This might as well be her own castle they're sitting in if the amusement she shows at the prospect of Illyria's king trying to make good on those threats is any indication.
"Is it now?"
The vampire's eyelids narrow slightly as she regards the king, the faint trace of unholy power behind her eyes smoldering with slowly growing intensity until the center of her irises glow yellow-orange like freshly stoked embers. The small girl's presence seems to magnify itself in those moments - a palpable pressure upon the minds of those present as she releases some of the restraint she had put in place. The mere existence of her kind is anathema to life, a twisted and unholy mockery of what most consider pure and sacred. To stand before one of the Makai nobility in all their corrupted splendor is straining to the average mortal. Many of the soldiers here are likely warded well enough that the simple background radiation of her aura is unlikely to bring them down but the pressure would be felt nonetheless, theirs minds being squeezed as if submerged into steadily deeper waters.
After a few moments the uncomfortable pressure vanishes just as quickly, its cold icy touch retreating back into the writhing shadows. All throughout her little display Lady K keeps her gaze fixed directly on Leo's face, staring deep into his courageous eyes should he wish to test his own will against the intense alluring power at work behind hers. Her expression remains fixed in a dainty smirk, one fang cutely peeking out from beneath her slender lips, her eyes twinkling with dark mischief.
"And I would say it is you who seems to be taken with unwarranted bravado, your Majesty."
Kira leans back in the chair, her smile blossoming into an expression of childish glee. Her hands raise from her lap and she claps them together in amusement, tittering like a schoolgirl at the exchange.
"Oh, but this is fun! Shall we engage in further posturing? Or would care to actually test the mettle of your soldiers against mine? I dare say it would be an amusing bit of sport. Perhaps once our business is concluded we shall see if your confidence is well placed."
The towering portal of inky midnight through which the vampiress had herself made her entrance yet remains, its surface continuing to ripple occasionally as if a living and restless thing. There's no telling what sort of forces she might have lying in wait on the other side of that dark doorway, what monstrosities from the realm of nightmares she could call forth to her aid if spurred to act. Even should Leo's confidence prove well-founded, whatever losses he sustained in driving her away would be permanent, while her own minions might very well share her unnatural resilience to death. The only way to find out would be to push the issue and she seems to know it. The question, then, is whether Leo is willing to tolerate the irritation of the Makai noble's whims in exchange for whatever aid she might have to offer.
On that particular point, Lady K seems quick to return her focus once she's made it clear that his threats are of no concern.
"Now, to return to the matter at hand? It is true that I personally do no have much in the way of information regarding this 'Outworld'. However, there are threats far closer to home of which you should be concerned as well."
Kira make a broad gesture, sweeping her slender arm before her to indicate both Liu and Leo.
"You keep referring to the Makai as if it were a singular entity, united of purpose and intent. That could not be further from the truth. The reality is that the Makai is a dimension of infinite vastness filled with disparate beings who share little in common, be it physically, spiritually, or ideologically. Most of the Makai nobility is at constant war with itself, locked in an endless struggle for domination and supremacy. Alliances are made and broken in the constant pursuit of power or for whatever passing flights of fancy happen to take them. Makai and its residents likely have little to no interest in Outworld for such a place was as remote and inaccessible to them as the Earthrealm was until the recent... reopening of old doors which had long since been sealed."
Her doe-like gaze shifts back to Liu Kang pointedly.
"That is, they have no interest /yet/. But I can assure, young warrior, that as soon as it becomes known that there are fresh battlefields to conquer and unplundered spoils to reap you will have an entirely new type of nightmare to contend with. One which likely cares little for your rules and tournaments."
"It seems someone hasn't learned their lesson or quite understood the situation they are in.."
As if on signal there is a flash of blue-white light that begins piercing through the veils of darkness. Pinpricks of light bleeding through as if a great heat burning through a silken veil. The wards and sigils of the castle bursting to life and beginning to expand in size and grow in strength.
A rim of blue white fire begins forming around the edges of the portal the dark lady used to enter the heart of Sacred Order power. Beyond the veil of shadows, Sacred Order magic users and those in the War Room nod in agreement working in concert now upon Leo's subtle signaling to enable a clearer visual threat to Kira's posturing.
As to the pressure caused by her antics. Leo's gaze and resolve remains firm and while certainly those of lesser will felt the pressure of her darkness.. As Leo warned, this is not somethign they are inexperienced with.
"As I said before, I tire of the presumption that we are to be underestimated so easily. This assumption that because of your nature you are safe in our very home is your undoing Lady K. To assume that simply beacuse you are of the makai that we cannot banish, imprison, diminish or otherwise hamper you in ways that would make your kind -wish- you could be more easily destroyed is..frustrating. You are no Jedah and I've been facing demons, nightless, ghosts and anything else you can name well before the NOL showed its corruptive head and tried to seize the reigns.."
Leo looks around and then finally gestures dismissively, "This conversation is over." he states with the finality of his position as The Second King and a Sacred Order general
Leo leans forward and nods to Liu Kang, "My apologies for jumping in but she crossed the line once more with her incessant need to attempt to intimdiate us while also telling us nothing we don't already know or couldn't surmrise. As if it's a surprise that those in the Makai would enjoy a war with Outworld or the Earth"
He doesn't stand or draw a weapon but he does prop one leg up over the other as he leans back in a relaxed pose, "Perhaps some other time we can attempt this again without the posturing, Lady K. In the meantime I've no desire to put my men at risk for the sake of satisfying your ego but you -will- leave and do so without any more attempts at 'displays' else the wards take greater effect in the castle and make things ... uncomfortable. If you'd like I can personally escort you to your portal. As a..courtesy"
A gamble? Possibly. He's no -real- gauge of her strength after all -- he can only guess. But the same is true for her as well and many have tested the Sacred Order's strength and resolve to their regret. A surprise attack by a command Gear being welcomed at first may have given false flag reports of just how easy it is to test these magical soldiers and the wrong strategic move on their holy ground could prove unfortunante.
Throughout all of this, Liu Kang has been a careful observer.
Though a mighty warrior in his own right, he sees no reason to believe that Kira's claim of her people's true immortality is false. Yet, intimidation tactics aside, Liu Kang seems willing to answer her questions just as much as he's willing to rise in defense of himself in the face of a grave threat.
Yet, Leo Whitefang, King - second of otherwise - of these lands appear to have lost his patience. Members of the Sacred Order ready themselves for conflict. The threads of darkness, so tightly interwoven in a protective shield for this Princess of Shadows, are pierced by sacred light from the ancient wards that guard this realm.
Spoken to bg Leo as an apology for his need to act, Liu Kang shakes his head. "None are needed, Wise King. These are your lands under your protection and stewardship. I am a guest. I will honor the decisions of the host in whom they allow and remove from those lands so long as they do not pose a threat to all that is good."
He bows his head softly. "You speak the truth." Regarding war with Outworld or Earth - or both.
That said, Liu Kang remains seated as he witnesses this gamble play out, his eyes drifting between Vampire and King, as if he were some observer between Gods as a third party to record such a dispute.
If there's one thing the nobility of Makai is very bad at it is learning when to quit. Perhaps it is a facet of their immortality that drives these creatures to push and prod, even when all common sense and decorum suggests it would be wise to do otherwise. After all, what need a vampire princess fear from any mortal save the chosen few upon whom weapons of terrible reality-warping powers have been bestowed?
Imprisonment? Even if the Sacred Order possessed the necessary power to bind someone of her stature - so what? So she spends a few centuries locked up in some hidden prison. Whatever magic they use to contain her will fail eventually. Her powers will simply continue to grow with time until she is able to slip free of the limited mortal magic they can conjure up. That is assuming they manage to keep the multitude of supernatural powers who long to sink their teeth into Earthrealm at bay.
And, of course, there will be the retaliatory efforts of her own small personal army of highly trained elite soldiers. The Dragoons have already proven themselves against foes both mundane and otherworldly on many occasions, marching into the freshly opened maw of Makai without hesitation and facing down the combined might of the NOL and all those who rallied to Southtown's defense. The Sacred Order might be able to fend them off but it would be at a terrible cost.
No, there is little for Kira to fear - and even if there were, her ability to experience such emotions has grown distant in the years since her unholy transformation. You need a heartbeat for your pulse to quicken with trepidation and alarm, a flow of blood to send the adrenaline surging through your veins.
And so, as Leo's patience wears thin with the diminutive intruder who dares to invade his sacred halls and make light of his warriors and resolve, the vampire simply smiles. The magic of the castle's vast ward network begins to make quick work of the interwoven shadows that had blotted out the sunlight. Spears of light begin to peel away the tendrils as if tearing off old crusty scabs - first the searing blue-white fire of magical flame and then shortly after the golden rays of the daystar bathe the vast throne room with fresh illumination. One by one the sinister curtains fall away under the onslaught of purifying power, some slithering back into the empty void of the open portal while others simply burn away in puffs of acrid black smoke.
Lady K's dainty hands slip to the back of her neck, pulling the large red hood of her cloak up over her head to shield her pale face from the glare of the sun. Some of the writhing shadows wriggle their way over to where she sits, creeping up her slender body like snakes to wrap the exposed flesh of her hands in deep midnight power. It isn't nearly as powerful a shield against the influence of the sun as her progenitor's aura of condensed moonlight but her sire never deigned to teach her that particular trick - or anything else for that matter. It is a good enough countermeasure to allow the girl to keep her irritatingly smug smile fixed in place, however. That is until he compares her to one of the more vile entities she has the misfortune to have made acquaintances with.
"I should hope not," she says, wrinkling her prim nose at the very idea she might have anything in common with that demented psychopath. "And you should be thoroughly grateful for that. Were I even a fraction as twisted as Lord Jedah this conversation would have been decidedly less friendly."
Rising gracefully from her oversized chair, the vampire fixes the host of the castle with a dismissive expression, somehow seeming to look down her nose at him despite the towering differences in their height.
"And yet you seem entirely willing to risk their lives for the sake of satisfying /your/ ego. I wonder how many of Earthrealm's foes will so easily goad you so."
One of the vampire's midnight-cloaked hands sweeps out in an imperious gesture, her cloak swishing dramatically out to the side as she turns her back upon the two men seated at the table. Her head tilts far enough to regard Leo with a sidelong glance, crimson eyes burning with faint inner power beneath the shadows of her hood. Her smirk returns, a look of arrogant mischief playing across her shadowed features.
"Fortunately for you, your majesty, I gave my word - no harm shall come to you or yours this day. Should you wish to put that hubris to the test on more neutral grounds, however, I would be quite happy to educate you on just how vast the gulf between mortal and Makai really is."
She meets his gaze for a few long seconds. There is no need for her to fire off a quick sassy challenge and then scurry away without giving him a chance to reply. Despite her youthful and innocent appearance, there is naught but power and confidence that radiates from her posture and tone. The kind of relaxed cockiness that only an apex predator can indulge in. She dangerous. She knows it. And she enjoys that everyone in the room knows it too.
With a final flourish, the vampiress turns away and begins to stride unhurriedly back towards the quivering maw of her dark portal. Even as the holy fire eats away at its exterior, steadily dwindling the once gaping void in reality with each passing minute, it maintains its shape and power. Should Leo wish to show himself a gracious host and make good on his offer to 'escort' her off the premises, she cares not, save to offer him an elaborate curtsey before vanishing through the midnight surface which promptly collapses into a tiny swirl of churning blackness before dissipating in a puff of smoke.
"It wasn't for 'ego' that you were dismissed this way and my men ready to face you or your minions.." mutters Leo under his breath as she waltzes off. She may feel he was goaded but all moves are calcualted. All decisions are deliberate. There is a greater, lasting damage, then loss of life alone, to allow her to simply seem as if she can walk all over those present without any sort of push back or exertion of right and will against her kind. She may feel herself invincible or at no real risk but such is the distortion of the thinking of such beings.
It's part of why they can be fought so well and dealt with as if they -truly- treated humanity as the proper threat it is .. then certainly the situation would be much more dangerous as a foe driven by blind fear is a different sort of dangerous desperation then posturing to the point of being caught in a trap sorely underestimated by your own ego.
The towering knight does rise and he walks behind her. Stride even and deliberate.. pausing just before reaching the edge of the blue-white arcane fire which opens enough to let her pass through without hinderance. He says nothing else, merely narrowing his eyes at her final words. Then she is gone.."She is fortunante that Ky Kiske, the First King wasn't here." he notes to Liu as she leaves, "My own weapons could deal with her and do her proper harm but he wields one of the sacred weapons. But he's also more patient then I am in some ways. Far less in others. I think you'd like him, Liu Kang. In fact, you remind me of him. I've no doubt that we could have dealt with her if needed and any of her minions and far better then she expected but I am glad she saw reason and departed versus testing herself. Again, my apologizes Liu Kang. Let me offer you proper refreshments inside of the Castle. You have free reign to explore our facilties as you see fit and may stay as long as you like. You, at least, are more then welcome here and in any land the Sacred Order walks in."
Log created on 20:50:01 07/30/2023 by Leo Whitefang, and last modified on 00:22:58 08/14/2023.