RISE: Avatar of Oblivion - Part 3
Location: The Void Outside
“Breathe, Phyla. Feel your surroundings, but also surround your feelings.”
“...What in the world is THAT supposed to mean?” she said with her fists clenched.
Everything was still. No wind, no tremors in the ground, not even a whisper… except for the one person who could not bare it.
“Why are we even doing this???” She gritted her teeth as she attempted to meditate, but the silence only made her mind wander to what she lost. She tried again and again, but thoughts of her former friends and family only fueled an already raging fire within her.
“We’re doing this to strengthen your mind. You choose to absorb the Chaos King’s heart and now you need to learn to master those abilities or your soul will shatter. That is something I don’t want,”Oblivion calmly said.
Enraged, she gave up and began to walk away. “You told me I was never supposed to exist! I NEVER HAD A SOUL TO BEGIN WITH!!!”
With a heavy sigh, Oblivion continued. “Very well… We’ll do this your way.” With a wave of his hand, forms rose from the ground.
“Who is it this time?” She said as she cracked her knuckles.
With a roar, she lunged at them. Punches, kicks, blades, and bullets collided with her as she barreled through their ranks. There were tactical opportunities, but she ignored them. She punched through some, tore apart others, but they were coordinated. Every blind spot she had was exploited as one of their members, the man with claws, refused to fall. She attacked harder, but Oblivion could only watch as she became little more than a rabid monster.
“I told you, Phyla,” He said as he waved his hand again. “Feel your surroundings.”
She could hear something... a strange booming noise in distance. As she turned around, a massive green fist collided with her. “What the hell…?” she coughed up as she hit the ground.
“I believe you met the female Hulk once, correct? Well in another timeline, that is her nephew after the first Hulk died on planet Sakaar.” As Oblivion said this, the green monster drew a massive blade.
Every attack she threw was countered as his strength and skill was clearly beyond hers. As she roared and tried to strike harder, she could hear the Red Guard quickly approaching. However, she soon realized there were more enemies coming… much more. She blocked strike after strike from the green man, but knew she would be overwhelmed.
“Focus, Phyla. Breathe.” Oblivion whispered.
She closed her eyes... slowed her breath… she waited… and she could feel his presence.
“Enough.” Darkness gathered in her hand as the hulking monster swung his sword at her. A calculated dodge, a skillful step forward, and she was unharmed... her hand placed on his chest. An instant later, dark power erupted from the creature’s back. As she walked away, she pulled her sword from the beast’s crumbling corpse. As she examined her sword, an army was racing towards her. “Kill them.”
Like an explosion, the green monster rose up and launched itself at her enemies. She watched in silence as her puppet tore them to pieces. She knew she should feel some sort of disgust for what she did, yet an eerie sense of calm washed over her.
“Excellent, Phyla,” Oblivion said as he approached her with a smile.
“I could feel it... the Chaos King’s power. But…” She trailed off, unsure how to explain what she felt.
“You could feel his fury, as well as your own, yet you didn’t let it overpower you. That was the point of this exercise. You shouldn’t bury your emotions… you should master them.” He said as he placed his hand on her shoulder.
“I… I’m sorry. I should have listened to you from the beginning and…” As she spoke, Oblivion raised her head.
“Think nothing of it. Even the greatest of warriors need time and practice. You’ll need to keep that in mind.” As he spoke, they saw energy gathering next to them. “Your next challenge starts now.”
With an explosion, Maelstrom appeared before them. “Hey hey, everybody! What did I miss?” he said with a smile and a wave. “Holy crap! What happened over there???”
As Maelstrom observed the warrior Hulk crushing what was now broken corpses, Oblivion waved it all away. “What do you have to report, old friend?”
“Well… I took care of that thing you asked about, but… there’s been a development.” Maelstrom scratched his head, unsure of how Oblivion would take this news.
“Well?” Oblivion asked.
“Time was shattered, sir,” he finally spat out.
“Shattered?” Phyla asked.
“Apparently, some those Earth heroes time traveled too much. The whole thing just snapped! They can’t even tell, but remember those planets colliding together? It’s happening even faster now! It's pandemonium out there!”
“Interesting… and it was Universe 616 again?” Oblivion closed his eyes as he felt everything. He could see the Beyonders working behind the scenes, the billions dying in the chaos, and the mortals who battle against the inevitable. “Quicker than I expected, but no matter… we have better things to do. Maelstrom?”
“Got it, boss.” Maelstrom took out a notepad and began flipping through the pages. “The base has more defenses than most planets, but I got the blueprints for all the security protocols.”
“Excellent. Phyla, you’re to infiltrate that base, locate the lead scientist, and escape. No survivors and no one can ever know you were there. Understood?” Oblivion said as he looked over the notes.
“How do I get to the waking world?” She said.
“Soon you will be able to come and go as you please, but for now, I will send you there.”
“What’s so important about this scientist? Existence is already so close to breaking.”
“This one is extremely important. After all… she created you.”
Phyla was taken back by that statement. “Mother…”
“Now, Phyla. Study these blueprints and prepare yourself.” Oblivion handed her the plans, but she refused them.
“Oblivion... Maelstrom. I understand what you have been trying to do. Now understand me. That is my mother in that facility. I don’t care what forces they send or what walls they put in my way… I’ll tear down the entire universe to get to her…” As she spoke her eye grew red, yet she remained perfectly calm.
Oblivion chuckled at the statement. “Very well, young one,” he said as he burned the plans. “Dispose of all opposition as you see fit.
As he waved his hand once more, she saw everything around her melt out of focus. Once her vision cleared, she was standing in front of the facility. Focusing once again, she reached inward for another ability: Invisibility. Without a word, she entered the building.
40 minutes later
“HELP!! SOMEBODY HELP US!!!”
Before the guard could continue, he felt a blade tear into his throat. As the man collapsed, Phyla looked over her work. Over 200 guards, 70 Kree mobile weapons, and more guns and traps than one could count. In spite of this, they were more annoying to her than threatening. Only one thing mattered to her.
“Hello, mother…” she said as she allowed herself to be seen. The older woman spun around in shock, but her eyes filled with rage as she realized who caused this destruction.
“Phyla?! You live?!” Elysium said in disbelief.
“I assure, mother… I don’t.” Phyla examined the room as the walls were covered in genetics research and technical data. “Is this why you never visited my grave… or Genis’s? Still trying to recreate Captain Marvel after all this time?”
“It is no longer any of your concern.” Elysium said as she slowly motioned around the room. “Surely, you remember what I taught you? Mar-Vell was the universe’s greatest champion. We needed more like him!”
“Really? Is that why you continue to pervert his genetic code with your own? For the universe’s sake? For someone so intelligent, I’m surprised you’re not a better liar.” Phyla said as she looked through the notes. “All this research, yet you could never understand why you continued to fail.”
Elysium continued to inch herself further and further to her desk, glaring at Phyla the whole time. “You’re the one who doesn’t understand… Mar-Vell…”
“...IS A DEAD MAN!!!” Phyla shouted, stopping her mother in her tracks. “You threw away your life and damned your children for a man that the universe cares NOTHING for! He died a hero’s death and existence moved on WITHOUT him! Genis and I DIED for a legacy no one asked for!!! So, go ahead, push that button you’re reaching for… CALL ALL OF THEM!!!”
In that moment, they looked into each other’s eyes. Elysium could see Phyla’s hand was on her sword. Phyla glared at her mother’s hand indeed touching a clearly important button. They both took a breath as Elysium spoke. “So be it…”
Phyla really had no idea what was her mother was hiding, but she knew her mother all too well. As the wall moved aside, she could see her mother’s work… her siblings. An entire squadron of fledgling Captain Marvels walked out of the room, confused and questioning who she was.
“Children,” Elysium chimed in, “This woman is threatening our work and the memory of your father… She must be destroyed.”
They all looked so young… trained to fight, but knowing nothing of war. Maybe they could have been reasoned with... but Phyla no longer cared.
“You sad, miserable abominations…” Phyla said as she drew her weapon. “Did she even bother giving you names? Do you even have thoughts or doubts of your own? You know nothing about the world outside these walls… So, I’ll have to teach you.
In an instant, she stood a breath away from them. One movement, three opponent were cut down. Two movements, five more followed them. They tried to project their energy, but she tore through it… and took four more of them. Some tried physical attack, but she simply grabbed one and threw him into several others. Before any could react, she stabbed into them until they were nothing but a bloody heap. She scanned the room, examining each of these opponents. They were horrified at what they just saw. She thought that was good. They learned the lesson quicker than she expected.
“By Pama…” Elysium could only look on with dread as more and more of her children fell. She could not believe the cold ferocity that was cutting down so many lives.
Each of the Marvels tried to different movements or newer strategies, but nothing worked. It was like walking into a storm of blades. But, for her, it was all just noise to be blocked out. All she cared about was maintaining her focus. All she wanted was to direct her rage. With every punch, every kick, every slash… she felt herself succeed. Until just one remained, standing in front of her mother. Phyla couldn’t help but notice that the girl looked so much like she used to.
“Phyla,” Elysium said, her voice shaking all the while. “You don’t need to do this… you can stop. I’ll abandon the research... I’ll go wherever you want me to… But, this child… just let her go. Let something remain.”
“You’ve done it again, mother.” Phyla knelt down and placed her hand on the ground. “She clearly decided to keep going, but yet again, you never cared what she thought. She wishes for battle, so I shall provide it.”
The shadows began to swirl around the floor, drinking the pools of blood as it did so. The darkness started to swell up and rise as it roared at the two. Before another word could be spoken, the last of the Marvels was crushed under its fist as it hissed at Elysium.
“What… is that?” Elysium had no other words to say. She froze in terror at the sight of it.
Phyla walked up to her, the gargantua mass moving with her. “...It is no longer any of your concern. Goodbye… mother.”
There was a roar… then a scream… then silence.
Location: The Outer Void
“I saw everything, Phyla.” Oblivion said.
“I know.” She bowed her head as to not incur his wrath.
“Are you proud of yourself?” he said as he walked towards her.
“No,” she replied.
“Well… you should be,” he said with a smile.
“You controlled your emotions, you faced your past, and you won. You’ve exceeded my expectations faster than I could have predicted.”
“What do you mean?”
“At first, I thought you would bring your mother here, which would satisfy the terms of your mission. From there, it would be up to you regarding what happened to her and when. I wanted to strengthen your mind for that decision, yet you had the strength of will to do what you decided what necessary. THAT’S what I wanted,” he said as he sat next to her.
“Strength of will? What I decide?”
“Yes. I want you to be the avatar of my will, but I want you to work WITH me, not for me. I no longer have use for abstract monsters or terrified servants. I saw myself in you, Phyla-Vell. That sadness, that rage, that lack of purpose! Worst of all? Hatred! Hatred for the existence that taught me those things!”
Phyla looked on in shock. Such emotion from Oblivion, the Void itself, was not something she ever expected.
“But, I will not force you. If you asked, I could send you back to the waking world with no memories... a fresh start. The decision... is yours.”
“No... it isn’t.” Phyla drew her sword. “There is nothing left for me there and I have nothing, but hate for the existence that turn my family into sacrificial lambs.”
“Is that your answer?” Oblivion asked.
“Yes,” She said as she bowed before him. “I will be the Martyr... avatar of Oblivion... and I will end the lie that is existence.”
To be concluded...