Mirror Universe Evil Twin
Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Disembowelled in a Ditch
Originally posted on MSPA
Ur moved closer to the door, blank eyes locked unseeingly on the crack, divine gaze staring into the void. It was... Everything. Everywhere. A meaningless chaotic expanse that was simultaneously the perfect order of entropy and a living history off all time and places. Where a mortal mind would have shrunk away, as Juliamy's had before and as the uncountable ghosts locked in the empty shell of the goddess did now, some part of the lady in green moved forward, tasting the power of infinity and savoring the sensation of the void. Something within Ur stirred. Something that had been presumed long destroyed. It tentatively moved through the crack, uncertain and unthinking, but driven by purpose.
The Fifth appeared again, apparently hanging from thin air. Her sanguine lips pursed as she watched the still goddess staring blankly; the only sound audible over the oppressive silence of the door was her gentle sigh.
"I have told another and I will tell you. This place is not for your group, brought here against your will or not, and the threshold will neither bend to your will nor provide you with what you want. You are not who this place needs."
There was further silence for a time, with Ur simply staring at the crack; the Hanged Woman saw no reason to do anything, as this one was at least not violating the threshold, but... She was unsettling. Finally, the silence was broken by a quiet voice; it was high and soft, with a gentle tone and pleasant timbre.
"No. But this place is what I need."
Balance rushed through the forest of hands, impelled by his nature to stop the coming fight from ending so one-sidedly. Even in the midst of a grand interdimensional battle, a personal crisis involving his mother, and actively fighting off a series of fungal monstrosities and the scenery itself, he was who he was made to be. He scythed through hand tree after hand tree, but for every one that fell another burst out of the ground, most near Dove and Cole. The newly-grown hands wrapped around the dome at the environmentalist's will even as Cole formed a large pair of termite mandibles and began gnawing his way through the twitching wood with impressive speed.
There was still a considerable barrier of living, writhing wood between Dove and Cole when Balance arrived; the fact that the dome reshaped itself as it was damaged certainly slowed down the bug-man's progress, but it couldn't keep him out for much longer, especially since it was incapable of retaliating. Balance took in the scene and came to a simple conclusion: one ability was tipping the balance strongly in Cole's favor, and taking that one thing out of the equation would change the entire dynamic of power. Removing that aspect entirely was out of the purview of the god's powers, however, but shifting it to the other side of the equation would have essentially the same effect.
"Cole Aran," boomed out the imperious voice of the haughty deity, "Your actions have thoroughly upset the balance of power in this battle and this dimension. This must be rectified."
The scientist's now-mandibled face turned momentarily towards Balance, just in time to see him make a complicated gesture that sent his robes swirling. At first, there was no noticeable effect, but after a moment, Cole realized that he was no longer generating bioelectricity; this realization came for him at the same time it apparently did for the trees, judging by the fact that the dome sprang open and several hands swatted at him as he took to the air. Even on the nimble wings of a dragonfly, he was unable to avoid all of the sudden onslaught; he was knocked hard into the trunk of another, stiller tree and slid to the ground in a heap as his wings snapped and fluttered uselessly. The dome finished unfolding, and Cole looked up to see Dove advancing on him, skin crackling with electricity and an expression of twisted glee spreading across his face.
Soft hadn't gone far; she made sure that her vantage point was from somewhere that she could watch the battle, but Cole wouldn't be able to see her or her crow. Not that he'd be looking at the sky much, she expected, but it wouldn't make much of a good story if he happened to see her, hovering uselessly and waiting for his inevitable call. She made a few bored passes over the forest, axe cruelly severing fingers with each dive, but made sure to always stay within hearing distance of her charge. He was going to come out of this improved if it killed her. Or killed him, more likely.
It wasn't long before she heard Balance make his judgement, but what was she supposed to do about that? Nothing, that's what. Messing with gods was a bad idea, and nobody had asked for her. She contented herself with climbing higher on her increasingly-annoyed crow to be able to see what was going on better. Her height gave her the best vantage in the battle, so she was the first to see what was happening in the distance.
It... worried her. Still, it wasn't really her problem. Per se. And besides, she had to stay here. The good witch didn't give the repentant protagonist three wishes and just not grant them when he asked. That wasn't how things worked! She had to stay here, and hopefully all that blood and static would just... Stay where it was.
Besides, what good was an axe against a writhing mass of nothingness? None at all, that's how much. Er, what. It didn't even have beheadable parts!
Ur advanced towards the door, raising her hands, and Fifth felt forced to make a move. She breathed in and out slowly, then opened her eyes. Even through the bandages, it was visible as a faint outline of light where they would have been on her face, but those were not the important eyes: thick black sludge began materializing at the borders of the clearing, gathering into shapeless blobs that moved surprisingly-quickly towards the goddess. As they got close, eyes began opening all over their surface, oily blackness reflecting the soft light of the rainy place as well as the striking red of the eyes opening all across the sky. Several lunged of the eyebeasts lunged at Ur, whipping tendrils of their body at her; she drew her sickle at air-hissing speed and hacked into the attackers, never turning her face from the door.
As more and more emerged from the forest, she finally turned to the Hanged Woman. She smiled gently and beatifically, shaking her head as though at a dearly-loved child who had just made some minor transgression. Without speaking, she raised her hands and dropped them again; the soil around her followed suit, forming a high ring around her, then collapsing again. The entire clearing rippled, sending eye creatures flying and splattering against trees.
"I wish I could say I'm sorry for what I'm about to do."
Phil nodded slightly in his helmet. He wasn't sure exactly where Dove was, but suspected it would be fairly easy to track someone as loud and violent as that, especially with obvious clues like "nature itself is acting oddly in this area". He picked a direction and altered the trio's path slightly, remembering a small grove of particularly-dense trees he'd have picked to make a stand if he was in Dove's position. Julia began humming absently to herself; between that and the clank of Reinhardt's armor, it was near-impossible for the soldier to make anything out beyond their immediate area. He raised a hand and made a shushing motion; Julia at least quieted herself, but it was hard for Reinhardt to be more stealthy than he already was.
As they moved towards the copse Phil had in mind, though, it became apparent that the noise wasn't going to be much of an imposition: the sounds of yelling and fighting were clearly obviousthrough the trees. He nodded and pointed ahead, picking up speed and shooting over his shoulder, "Julia, stay here and hide."
She obliged, rolling her eyes inwardly, and the two men crashed off farther into the forest.
Dove had pinned Cole against the tree he'd crashed against, but the mandibles had come to his aid; several twitching hands lay on the ground, useless and dying, and Cole was using the time Dove was taking to regroup to grow a large, barbed stinger and try to repair his wings. The eco-terrorist, for his part, was trying to formulate a plan of attack wherein the abomination before him wouldn't be so effectively able to retaliate. The two were effectively stalemated when the others arrived.
Phil burst through the barrier of hands first, weapon morphing to a wicked-looking shotgun; he was followed moments later by Reinhardt, his sword hacking mercilessly through tree after tree. Wordlessly, they spread out, flanking Dove. Between Cole and the new arrivals, a triangle of hostile figures formed around the crackling environmentalist. Several trees fell as Dove protected himself from a hail of shot, and a few more collapsed under the onslaughts from scientist and tyrant.
Balance narrowed his eyes; this was perhaps more unacceptable than it had been before his original intercession. Leaving his right flank completely open, he dove towards Reinhardt, forming another of the stone pillars he was so fond of using in combat.
Julia lounged against a tree, idly scanning the area for anything interesting and waiting for Network hits. One of her sensors reported something anomalous, and she wasn't the sort to write that off as immaterial. She began moving towards the source when another blipped oddly. And another. And another. This was extremely worrisome; she stopped simply running and began speeding forward. It wasn't long, however, before more and more of her sensors began failing or reporting endless streams of nonsense data.
Julia, overwhelmed, collapsed on the ground, losing base consciousness much as she had done when staring into the chaotic abyss behind the door.
The lips on the Fifth's impassive face parted slightly, but she found herself trapped, unable to move through the rainy place as she usually could, losing control of and the ability to create more eyes, unable to feel the presence of the survivors of the seven. Ur's smile broadened slightly and she returned the sickle to her belt while raising her left hand; it snapped into a fist, and the Hanged Woman shuddered. A number of long, black spears appeared in midair around the immobile figure in midair; they hovered momentarily before sending themselves slamming into her flesh, blood gushing from cruel wounds.
"Your last king had the right idea you know. He just lacked the proper ambition. If there's one thing I have..." Ur moved her fist as though pulling on a rope, and the Fifth found herself yanked from her position in midair and pressed against a tree; more spears appeared and nailed her to the selected trunk, more blood dripping onto the ground. "It's ambition."
Most of the creatures the Fifth had summoned were dissolving into nothing, but the eyes in the sky stayed there; similar black spears formed in them, and their red tones were intensified as real blood began cascading from them, pattering into the clearing. The goddess's sot smile didn't waver as the blood slid down her face, somehow failing to stick to her skin, hair, or clothes the way it was to everything else around her.
She turned back to the door, raising her hands again; responding to her, the cracked portal opened itself, the void beyond buzzing with eagerness. She moved closer and reached inside with both hands. When she pulled them out, the right one was holding an old-fashioned hat with an attached plague doctor's mask and the left was clutched around a glove with pen nibs at the tips of the fingers; her smile widened.
"This seems appropriate."
The melee in the clearing was going at a fevered pitch, chaotic and brutal: hands slammed into bodies and were bitten, sliced, or blasted off; shot after shot rang out, lead peppering the bodies of most present at least once; blows were traded and given freely. Even though outnumbered, with Balance's considerable (if exploitable) powers and Dove's advantage given the setting, things were moving in favor of the pair over the trio. Balance mired the soil beneath Cole, who still hadn't managed to get airborne; Dove took advantage of the opportunity as the scientists stumbled, and send several trees swooping in to grab him.
Pinned, and in such a position as to be unable to bite or scratch at the restraints, Cole could do nothing as Dove approached. He saw that balance was holding off the other two rather effectively, so there was no rescue coming from there; staring into the face of death, he was again forced to swallow his pride. He coughed, then bellowed "Help me!"
With a smirk that clearly indicated he expected no help to come, Dove raised a hand and began the process of having the trees squeeze the life out of the perverter of nature in front of him. He watched Cole's lack of a face with slight disappointment at the fact that he was unable to see the agony he inflicted; it was still gratifying to know that this man would suffer as he had caused so many to suffer before he died, but he wished there would be some screams and pained expressions. Dove was so intent on his victim that he failed to see the diving bird until it had knocked him over and pinned him to the ground with its talons.
As Ur strapped on the glove and donned the mask, a large canvas appeared before her; blood from the sky streaked it and she made no move to stop it. As the pristine white was stained with browning red, the void began escaping from behind the portal, solid static rising into the air and mixing with the falling sanguine rain. After a time, the goddess decided that enough had fallen on her canvas and formed a hovering roof over it; though her face was entirely hidden, she radiated a sensation of smiling as she watched the blood dry and crust over, forming a background of red-brown pillars and stripes. As the bloody painting dried, Ur moved towards the pinned woman; she stooped, running the nibs on her glove gently across the bleeding face and nodded. The inkwells were filling rather quickly, given the grievousness of the wounds she'd inflicted, and it wasn't long before she was hovering back towards the canvas.
The mask gave Ur's pleasantly lilting voice an odd hollow quality as she nearly sang: "Be happy. Not only will the pain be over soon, but you will die with the knowledge that you were an integral part of the end of everything. Something to be proud of."
The static that was flowing freely out of the door by now was mounting high into the sky and flowing across the forest; tree after tree was swallowed, but a hollow formed around the clearing Ur was doing her painting in. A pleasant, echoing melody was just barely audible over the buzzing, grinding sound of the spreading static as the goddess hummed. Bloody flames formed across the canvas at her delicate touch, bloody buildings and bloody people burning in a graphic and terrifying but pleasantly-arranged way. As the image progressed, not only did the static move faster and more aggressively, but the ground began to shake; as cracks formed in the soil all across the forest of hands and the whole of the Rainy Place, more static, more angular and malevolent than the flowing sort emanating from the door, began emerging from the new holes.
As Julia lay on the ground, several of the hand trees had seen fit to pick her up and toss her around; ultimately, it was all that saved her, since she was closer than any of the others to the epicenter of the great undoing Ur was orchestrating. When the static burst from the ground below her and flowed across the soil, she was too high up and being passed along too quickly to be erased.
Cole pulled himself out of the grip of the trees as Dove's influence over them faded. It rankled with him that the only thing that had stood between him and death had been some quasi-deific little girl, but in the end he was too practical to die on principle like that. He quickly rejoined the fray; Soft's bird had taken off or disappeared or something, and the spirit was enthusiastically pushing Dove back with her axe. Reinhardt and Phil were doing much the same with Balance, and soon the two were entirely boxed in by the other four. The mercenary raised his shotgun again, but before he could finish off Dove once and for all, the earth beneath his feet rippled, shaking and cracking as though in the midst of an impressive earthquake.
Most of the combatants were knocked off their feet, and all of them scrambled backwards as the static began bursting out of the ground as well as rolling in from elsewhere. All animosity was forgotten in an instant as they all struggled simply to avoid the onslaught of buzzing nothingness, and the fight dissolved into a combined retreat.
The painting was nearly complete; a crumbling urban scene morphed as the viewer moved right into a planet, which itself became a solar system and a galaxy and finally dissolved into a complicated and abstract pattern. All of it was done in the browns and reds of the Fifth's blood, and all of it was being consumed by painted fire. If one stepped back from the canvas, the shape of a skull being consumed by fire became apparent, a sort of gestalt image created by the lines of the others; the symbolism was heavy-handed but apparent, and it would do the job. Ur moved back for the seventh or eighth time to gather more blood from the pinned woman, estimating that this would be the last load she would need before finishing. She dropped to the ground for the first time since being entered into this contest, letting the her feet splash in the bloody puddles forming on the ground of the clearing in time to her song.
The end was coming, and it would be glorious.
Figures spread out as they moved away from the encroaching void; most sought to put as much distance from each other as from the static, reasoning that tripping over or attacking each other would likely get them both killed. Dove, however, was tailing Cole closely, intent on using this opportunity to finally kill the monster; Soft, for her part, was following Dove, accurately predicting him plan and still considering herself bound to complete the second favor.
Cole, unaware of the other two, had finally finished repairing his wings and took off; he found he still couldn't produce the shock he'd been keeping the hands off with, though, and as he strove to gain height, Dove blindsided him with a hand; it batted him back to the ground and pinned him again as the static approached. Dove moved out from behind the trunk, an expression of manic glee twisting his features as the void moved towards Cole.
You will finally meet your end, perverter of nature. I only wish it was going to hurt more, but we'll see what I can do about that in the meantime."
No-one would ever know what Dove had intended to do; before he could do so, an axeblade flashed in the reddish light and collided with his ankle. The tendons snapped up like a spring-loaded window blind, and he screamed and collapsed. Soft's axe made quick work of the hand holding Cole down, and she pulled him to his feet and away from the advancing wall of nothing. As it absorbed and unmade Dove, his screams echoed momentarily before being drowned out by the hellish buzz of static.
It only needed a few more strokes; her glove trailed across the painting as Ur put on the last few touches.
Then the world winked out around her.
In entirely the wrong way.