Vexmagog contemplated Alex's words for a moment before responding.
"If by 'gods' you refer to me, I should clarify that the term is not accurate. I am a former god, but now am simply a rather long-lived mortal. I understand that to admit this to you is showing weakness, and I do it only because I feel honestly and truly that going through with this contest is not the best course of action. I also bring it up because it bears mentioning that, as far as I am aware, none of the contestants have power great enough to simply, say, teleport out of here. If I were still a god, such an act would be within my power.
"The ones in charge of this contest COULD have chosen gods, but did not. If they simply wanted to see a spectacular fight, that is what they would have done. I say the fact that they did not indicates that they are unprepared for the eventuality of our escape - if it was something they could prevent, they would have chosen, for example, my brother Strekarr, Adma Jinka. Strekarr, God of Hatred. I am confident that his many bladed talons would carve out a battle worthy of any audience. Instead, they chose the mortal Vexmagog, once Vex, Adma Poki," Vexmagog stood a bit taller as he uttered these words, "Vex, God of Chaos."
"And you, Alexander Streinsand. And you, Blitz Wykerr. And you, Steven Taylor. And you, John Swift. I do not doubt that you are all fantastic warriors. I do not doubt that you are all willing, if need be, to fight and die in this competition." Vexmagog's voice rose, and he held his ruined right arm up in the air. "And I do not doubt that we can make the fuckers who did this to us fight and die for OUR entertainment if they try to stop us."
He turned away from the four to face the city square, his green cloak sweeping in a dramatic arc behind him. He pointed up to the artificial sun. "I'm going to round up the other three contestants, and then I'm going up there to find out how the people who lived here before got out." He turned his head, staring sidelong at the people behind him. "Who is coming with me?"
John was finished with his little war game, with the snowmen being the winner, as always. He heard goatman talking about stuff but wasn't really listening. All he heard was fight, death, chaos, hatred, and 'Who will come with me?' Realizing this would probably relieve his boredom whatever goatman wanted him to do, he optimistically said "Sure, why not?"
"....I do not doubt that you are all fantastic warriors...."
Steven couldn't help letting out a small snicker at that. But he does have a point why pick him out of all people for a battle to the death. The only things that distinguish me from a normal human was the gloves. But they gloves were just a small fraction of a whole, why not choose The Master himself, he would surely be a much stronger fighter. But if they couldn't take him bringing a piece of him would be the next best thing.
"I'll come, I've spent the past two years of my life searching for home. I'd be perfectly happy to continue doing so.
Wolf stood back up and stretched. Now that Sen was asserted leader, Wolf could follow without causing fear in the creature. Wolf didn't hurt, which was strange. Maybe more was done to him than being able totalk the yip-yap language?
He padded silently behind Sen, sniffing the air and minding his own business.
He struck his sword into the ground and began to lean on it.
"As much as I would love to accompany you,I think I shall keep to myself.Have fun trying to get out;i'll be waiting here when you realize the inevitable."
Rumble rumble.Something wasn't right...Rumble rumble.Rumble rumble.
"I'm hungry."Alex wandered off and walked into the building that the nobleman walked into not long ago.Surely something of interest must be in there if he's been in there so long.As he walked in,he noticed the other man drinking something.It smelled bitter.He walked behind the counter in search of something to eat.After briefly rummageing,he located a stash of beans;having little to no knowledge of coffee himself,he picked up a handfull and stuffed them in his mouth.
"Blargh!Poison!"Having been acquainted with coffee,Alex's short temper was blown,along with a good portion of the wall.He began to peruse the other buildings with things he could amuse himself with.
All the battles outside seemed to have stopped, for now at least, but inside another was just beginning. Two opposing forces began to move up and out, expanding their influence, slowly moving closer and closer towards their inevitable clash. The conflict wasn't that new, it had been going on for years, but this would be the first time they met on this, relatively, new field of battle.
Of course Steven didn't know about any of this. The only sign that anything was happening was a small twitch from both gloves before the both rolled up into a fist, it had begun.
Sen arrived at the park. It was surrounded on all sides by iron fences tipped with fleur-de-lyses. The Tender could've taken the more circuitous route and found the main entrance, but instead he took a small run-up and soared through the air.
Lanky fingers grasped the iron tops of the bars and offered a final push to let the glowing beast clear the fence. Sen landed with a few huge strides which flowed swiftly into a roll. Standing up and stretching to full height, the Tender rallied its ally, not really stopping to consider how Wolf was going to navigate the barrier.
Having completed the leadership portion of his current task, Sen dug his claws in to get a feel for the soil, other senses taking in other important factors such as available light; space; air humidity, composition, and temperature.
Oh yes, this was much better. Things were positively thriving here, and it made Sen feel a bit giddy just taking it all in. Wasting no time, the Tender's fingers gripped the soil a little tighter, and dug a little deeper. A chunk of turf was wrenched from beneath Sen, who leveraged the clod out and tossed it aside before really starting to dig.
The Tender was not interrupted by a non-piercing, but thoroughly audible wail that came from most of the streetlamps in the suburb. Wolf heard it, but was quickly informed to its meaning when the region of the bubble Sen and Wolf were in darkened as the fake sun emitted a perfectly calibrated puff of fog. The mist coalesced somewhere above them and showered the park in a fresh sprinkle of rain. Sen tasted it through his skin; it had more contaminants than were really ideal, but then again most of this strange world did. He kept up his feverish digging.
While Wolf had made one failed leap to clear the gate, then walked all the way round the block to find the park entrance and then locate Sen by a rose garden, the Tender had excavated a tidy hole about a foot deep and just big enough to fit a rockmelon in. Sen scratched at the base of this pit to loosen the soil, then glanced around instinctively for prying eyes.
Finding none, Sen's dirt-caked fingertips began to glow a brighter, more lurid green. Crouching on one hand again, the Tender's digits reached into their own stomach, and emerged, still glowing, with a nondescript brown pod balanced on the tips. It met a slight resistance, as Sen finally pulled it out of the surface tension which qualified as Tender skin; before it rested, clean and unblemished, if unremarkable, in his grip.
Sen wasted no time admiring the slumbering World Tree, foremost in his simplistic mind was the precognitive sense of impending hunger, which he knew would come while he had no means of satiating it if he did not hurry. The pod was dropped unceremoniously into its cradle, and swaddled up in specially formulated lawn mix.
The Tender was wordlessly watching the spot when Wolf finally found him; Sen's only response was Hrruuuf. Snapping out of some sort of reverie, the green giant walked to the fountain to clean his fingers and take a drink.
Blitz stood, considering Vexmagog's words. He had remained silent for a while, the influx of emotion from his son baffling him. A way to escape...I suppose it could be possible. This former god, or so he called himself, isn't stupid by any means. He thinks around corners. It would probably be in my best interests to follow his lead, for now. He walked up to Vex and smiled. "I'm in. Let's see what we can do."
Going home wouldn't be such a bad thing; preying on the unsuspecting wasn't a bad gig. In fact, Blitz was a bit tired of the idea of this whole "competition" anyways. People ordering him around, telling him who to kill? Not his cup of tea.
Vexmagog watched out of the corner of his eye as his audience responded. He felt the dramatic flair of the pose overruled any benefit to be gained from watching them closely.
John Swift responded first, far too quickly to have actually considered his answer. "Sure, why not?" The corner of Vexmagog's mouth rose.
Steven Taylor responded second, the one of his present company he knew the least about. "I'll come, I've spent the past two years of my life searching for home. I'd be perfectly happy to continue doing so." While Vexmagog did not know the particulars of Steven's quest, he recognized the tale of a warrior searching for his home. Setting up such a journey was one of Vex's many ways to make powerful mortals continue to be entertaining during his millennia as a god. His smile broadened further.
Blitz answered next. "I'm in. Let's see what we can do." Vexmagog was hardly surprised there. That leaves...
"As much as I would love to accompany you, I think I shall keep to myself. Have fun trying to get out; I'll be waiting here when you realize the inevitable."
Vexmagog turned back the direction he was facing, away from the four. His smile faded. Of course. Can't let this tale progress with only one antagonist. Motivated by his feeling of the inevitability of our failure. Should his cynicism turn out to be warranted... well, at least he won't be in the pylon with us, where Jacob seemed certain there would be a way to 'turn off' the air. We could also bet that the long-legged Sen and the four-legged wolf could reach safety before him. Vexmagog's eyes narrowed and his smile returned, though perhaps with a more sinister edge. A swirling indigo tendril sputtered up from a crag in his right arm. It sizzled as it hit his flesh and hardened into more black stone. He did not give Alex the dignity of meeting his eye as the human jogged past him and entered the Starbucks. Odd that he left the group to run ahead of us to our next destination, he thought.
Vexmagog took a moment to recompose his expression before turning back around and making it visible to his remaining compatriots. "We have spoken with Jacob Helix previously, and feel reasonably assured that he would assist us, or at least make an effort not to hinder us." He began to walk backwards, allowing him to see the three others as they followed him across the square towards the Starbucks. I, he thought. I have spoken with Jacob. Careless error.
I suppose I should not mention Jacob's intended course of action should he reach the pylon. I do not believe these contestants have had an opportunity to meet him yet, and I doubt they would be amicable to allying with someone who was only minutes ago considering asphyxiating all of them. "Sen's assistance, or, in fact, knowledge of what he would be assisting with appears to be limited. While he must be a warrior in some capacity to be present in this competition, he has not shown any hostility towards any other contestants as far as I am aware. I don't see any reason for that to change, assuming we all refrain from provoking him. Still, if we are to face off against this 'S' being, any help would be fantastic. We should make an effort to include him in our escape plans as long as such action would be reasonable, but I see no reason for him to accompany us while we investigate." Vexmagog mentally chastised himself for calling out to it earlier and failing to follow through before finding out more about its language. He was unsure to what extent he could communicate with the creature meaningfully. "That leaves Wolf. I have not seen this creature around, have any of you?"
"I haven't," John replied. The other two shook their heads in the negative. Vexmagog was careful to lead the group on a path that avoided the section of the road earlier warped by his arm.
"Hmm. An unknown. Well, it seems likely that all contestants not driven to it by alliance would naturally wind up at the pylon. It's really the only building that the director of this contest mentioned. If Wolf is already on his way there, alone, I imagine his purpose would be to do something to all of our detriments. If he is not, then he is likely either hiding out and waiting for this round to be over or searching elsewhere for a means of escape. It would be in our best interests, then, to go for the pylon now. If Wolf is not there already, perhaps we can find a way to communicate with him from there. If he is, we will see how he feels about our escape plans." He stopped at the front door of the Starbucks. "But first, we should rally Jacob."
He turned and opened the door, just as an explosion blew out the adjacent wall. I know exactly what that was,Vexmagog reflected. Jacob, from behind the counter, started. He spun around to see not one, but four of his competitors entering. His hand went instinctively to the handle of his blade. The flash subsided and he made out the front figure to be Vexmagog, who had not even turned around to see the source of the noise. A thin cloud of smoke rushed into the space between them, bringing drifting embers with it.
"Hey Jacob," he said simply with a smile, remembering the less formal greeting word Jacob had used earlier. Alex stormed out of the hole in the wall. When Vexmagog saw that he was out, he continued. "I see you've met Alexander?"
Steven walked along with the group to the Starbucks. This alliance had formed surprisingly quickly, not that Steven was complaining, he just hoped it would last.
So no-one's seen the Wolf, hmmm. Actually perhaps I could... Steven train of though was interrupted by an explosion. It seemed he'd arrived at the Starbucks and just as alex had decided to leave, via an.. alternate exit. As the others entered the building Steven stood back. With a flick of his wrist both gloves flew off his hands and hovered around eye level. Steven gave them a nod and they flew up and away, searching for the other contestants. Steven put his hands in his pockets and continued into the building.
Wolf was not foolish; he made only one attempt at clearing the iron bars Sen had so casually leapt over before finding an alternative entry. He could smell the greenery, his tail waving about as the Tender called out to him again. As usual, its jabbering was incomprehensible to Wolf, but he supposed it was asking him to join Sen in the park.
Wolf circumnavigated the perimeter, stiffening as he turned a corner. The main gates to the park were a short dash down a footpath, but from that region came the acrid, fear-inducing scent of a burnt-out tree. Stalking along more cautiously now, alert for the presence of whoever had started the fire (from the stink, Wolf reckoned it had been extinguished sharply instead of burning out itself), Wolf poked his nose around the park gates to see what was going on. One formerly stately walnut tree sported a nasty scorch mark. The grass leading into the park was similarly black and ashen, crumbling to fine dust beneath even Wolf's light footfalls.
The park took up approximately two city blocks, enclosed by the tall fence on both sides. To Wolf's left was a wooded, rather over-grown looking region. Ahead, a centrepiece to the green space, was another fountain. Right, there were several trees also, but the layout was more open; with garden beds and flowers taking precedence. Sen stood, head hanging, gazing at a disturbed patch of soil. He didn't appear to have moved far from where he'd landed after he jumped the fence.
Wolf greeted Sen with a quiet growl-cough. The Tender huffed back, and walked past Wolf to get a drink. A little while after what Wolf felt was more than long enough for anyone to quench their thirst, the green head popped up again and bobbed over to take a good look at Wolf. Sen started after a sniff, crests rising and lips parted in a worryingly toothy grimace. Wolf had a feeling he knew why the Tender was reacting as such, and his quiet suspicions were confirmed when the beast produced a series of throaty crackles and clicks and crunchy pops not unlike the sound of fire.
This fire, however, sounded questioning. Wolf pointed out the charred trees and blackened grass on the other side of the park with his snout and eyes, where Alex and John had fought. The Tender did not take kindly to this discovery, inhaling through its fishbone teeth in a raspy rattle of obvious distress. Its legs seemed to be moving of their own accord, pacing back and forth, back and forth, beneath a pensively motionless head. Wolf glanced up at his companion, but the black eyes were inscrutable. Sen's anxiety was leaching into the flora around him, though, and Wolf was suddenly aware of it. The grass, despite already being abnormally thick and unruly for a public park, was growing so fast Wolf felt it pushing at his paws in its inexorable upward march. The lawn (really, it was so overgrown it probably qualified as a meadow before Sen had even started panicking into it) was changing in composition; soft, tender shoots replaced by rough, harsh tussock. A briar rose, devoid of flower, was springing up through the meadow with speed enough to actually catch Wolf by surprise. He leapt out of the wild lawn and stood on the concrete lip of the fountain, watching Sen.
The green beast seemed to reach a decision, and dashed back to where he'd been standing vigil before, now pacing around that spot feverishly. It was only in this patch that plants weren't springing up spontaneously - meanwhile the grass was getting so tall Wolf was struggling to see over it.
Now isolated in a sea of grass, Sen calmed down a little, though he still danced around the see-
The soil split, then cracked apart as a neon-green shoot burst from the ground. It was thicker than Sen's thumb, and was already budding. The Tender chirped with relief, before realising the World Tree was now probably lacking in sunlight. Swiftly attempting to rectify the situation, Sen wasted no time devouring the light-obstructing grass around him.
Meanwhile, a disembodied glove with nothing to fill it perched atop an iron fleur-de-lys. It wasn't sure where the Tender had got to in all that grass, but otherwise there wasn't much it had missed.
The tall beast Sen was a very interesting pack leader. He could lap up much more water than Wolf could, and when he padded his feet against the grass it grew!
Now it was devouring the grass again. Long stalks of grass just winked out of existence as Sen's sharp maw closed around them, knawing until they were enveloped by it's lips. It continued this procedure until it had a wide cricle of cut grass, and Wolf noticed a strange new plant at it's centre. Sen gazed longingly at it, like Wolf would with the cubs.
Wolf felt closer to Sen now. It had something to protect. Wolf had nothing of the sort, so he vowed to assist his pack leader in caring for the plant-cub.
Wolf eminated a warm caring growl that soothed out like a lullaby. He smelled something human and looked up. Shockingly, a Tailless paw was hanging from something. Their paws come off?! How absurd.
[12:39:21] Sruixan: But I'm not a person.
[12:39:23] Sruixan: I'm a cicada.
When John went into the Starbucks, he was surprised to see a 'really huge hole in the wall' over by the end of the building. Absentmindedly walking in the general direction of it, ignoring anything and everything else around him, he stared at the hole for awhile. "I can fix that." He repaired the hole using ice, then turned around to see a little machine that was making noises. Oh, I think I've seen one of these before. It creates liquid from a solid. I think it's called a Liquidtosolidinator. He found some chewed up beans on the counter, and he picked them up using his telekinesis. "Why the hell would someone leave half-eaten beans lying around?" He flew them over to Vexmamog to see if he would know.
It seemed the Wolf and the other creature, Sen, were together now, how interesting. The right glove lifted off it's perch and flew over the park to search for the Tender. It quickly spotted it in a small clearing tending to a young tree sprout, the Wolf appeared to be trying to help. The glove would have smiled if it had a mouth. Here were two beasts who had been thrown into a fight to the death and instead chose to care for a new life. It had seen all it needed to but the glove chose to linger for a little while longer and absentmindedly floated in a little closer
The left glove had gone in a different direction to the right and unsurprisingly it's search had been fruitless. Eventually it came to park where Wolf and Sen were but seeing as the right glove was already there it decided not the bother staying and headed back to Steven. Along the the way it spotted Alexander, the glove stopped with a mischievous glint in it's eyes (well it would have if it had any). Steven wasn't too keen on fighting but it was and it had seemed Alex was too. And besides he had distanced himself from the group, he was technically an enemy, not that the glove really cared about any alliance but still. The glove curled into a fist zoomed full speed towards Alexander's back.