@king_leo: That seems like a sweet spot to call it for now. ♥
Somewhat surprising! Not gonna lie, I went into that with the full expectation that this might very well be their last encounter where it wasn't on sight.
@_araneae_: Sounds good!
Yeah me too actually. This is part of why I love interactions where every step of the way isn't planned. We just let things happen organically, and the spontaneity of it makes it exciting and fun. I didn't see it coming to this either.
@king_leo: It was not everyday that the Master of the Mystic Arts went to space, not he had much of an issue with going there in the first place. The environment was completely silent and had a view the would put virtually any natural sight on the planet Earth to absolute shame. While he has gone to space several times recently in ten form of going to the JLA moon base, none of those instances gave him the opportunity to admire the environment that he would be placed in. Most of the tIme there he would be meditating or interacting with other members of the alliance, not taking a moment to appreciate his circumstances. But the joy of being in this void of peace would not last much longer for Matthew, for he was on his way to meet with the Prince of Power and possibly the Daughter of Athena. Making his to the desired planned destination in a bubble of blue mystical energy around himself, he finally had the location that he desired come into view: the Augusta.
He approached the emerald fortress with a certain respect and seriousness that he would reserve only for the most important and high ranking locations known to across the very stars. Like a church, the mags planned to go to it with a well of dignity and peace of spirit that he believed such a place deserved to have. As he neared the place, Matthew wondered how the ship and its occupants would be aware of the presence that the mage posed to the structure. It was more than probable that there was some type of security system that would keep track of any potential visitors who came in close proximity to the station. There was also the chance of the location's owner, King Leo, having such capable senses that he would simply know that he was outside. With that, Mister Surreal sent a telepathic message to Helena who he imagined would be there before he been able to make the trip. "Helena, if you are at the Augusta please notify King Lionel that I am here and ready to enter if he is.", the sorcerer said with a patient tone of voice.
The way that he saw it, alerting Shield-Maiden to him being there was a much better course of action than him simply waiting outside or attempting to gain entangle without permission. Even though he was invited to be there, it would not be wise to risk setting off the defences that were almost certainly in place to fend off any sort of intruders who came for less than noble reasons. The last thing that Matthew wanted to do was pose a threat to the station and in turn mask it so that Leo was something of any enemy to the magic user. It was not out of his ability to fend off such an opponent, but the sorcerer knew that he would not benefit from having a godlike being as his enemy, there were enough of those already. Rather than create more enemies, Matthew wanted to create an alliance between himself with Leo, one that was more than simply having a small chat on a mountain top. He even wanted to make a good impression by choosing to wear his best tuxedo for this particular occasion. The new sorcerer had only success on his mind.
A part of Hephaestus wanted to remove this so-called King's essence from his body and place it inside the Kolkhis Bull, like the installment of a car battery. The boy was bold to lay his firm hand on his shoulder and rash to guide it almost near his neck. This display of aggression, he was well accustomed to - it plagued his half-brother, Ares, whom he despised dearly. In fact, humanity suffered from hubris because of his father's desire to seek revenge against Prometheus for bestowing mankind with fire. Did he need to remind himself of his imperfect creation, Pandora? No, the pain of the memory was too great. When Zeus instructed him to mold a woman from the earth, he should have put aside his personal grievances and warn his father of his flawed scheme, but then again, Zeus would have considered it a challenge to his authority, particularly when he was filled with rage. Athena, beautiful in design and thought, even attempted to reason with their father but to no avail - his heart was as dense as indurated steel. In the end, Pandora's Jar was opened, releasing all the evil that now ravaged humanity - Hubris being one of those evil spirit's.
Like a programmed automaton, Pandora had followed her protocol and brought the curse that now inflicted mankind - of course with the gifts flowered upon her by his family. Zeus would not admit this to anyone, but she was not to blame for what was wrought against humanity; he was - along with the other Gods who took part in molding her into their weapon, including Zeus. Pandora might have been a success for what she was intended for, but she was also his greatest failure as she should have been crafted for the good of man. But his desire to mold an imperfect being.....like himself..blinded him into doing the bidding of his father.
Now here he was, standing before a mortal who clearly was defected - the warrior stood proud and tall like the sculpture of Augustus, the Roman Emperor, but with a limb missing or two. He loomed over the stubby stonemason as if he himself were Zeus or Ares, presenting himself as divine and more powerful than an Immortal God. Whether this was intentional or not, Hephaestus would not tolerate mankind's insolence, even if the Gods were responsible for their flawed nature. Despite their faulty wiring, mankind still had the gift of free will, which meant they had a choice to allow their programming to dictate their behavior or not. The Blacksmith of the Gods wanted nothing more but to allow his beard to combust and reduce this mortal to ash, but for the sake of his niece, Olympus, and humanity, he smothered the flame that almost sparked into a wildfire in his beard.
A deep rumble uttered from Hephaestus throat, clearly revealing his annoyance with the space warrior. "Faulty wiring. Rusty sprockets. Could have been invented better. Why was Prometheus tasked with such a sophisticated task?" The Blacksmith grumbled under his breath. From where Helena was standing, her uncle sounded like a defected radio, jumping through frequencies, producing static. What did Leo do or say that unsettled the divine inventor? It didn't matter. Now was not the time to anger the only person who can grant them the logistics they needed in a short amount of time. "Lord Hephaestus? I am certain Leo meant no--" Hephaestus gestured a stop sign with his hand, preventing the demigod from interjecting. The imperfect being studied Leo's face with a scowl as if trying to determine if he should dismember his parts, put him back together, or figure out why he sought his aid in the first place. "Hm," He uttered while observing what made Leo who he is. "Now I remember why I tolerate your behavior, boy. A discussion for another time," He glanced over at Helena, grumbled a few words then turned his attention back to Leo. "Unlike you mortals, I do not disappoint. You will have my aid, blacksmith," He acknowledged Leo's profession, revealing he was aware of his talents the moment they met. "May Poseidon order the sea to devour my sacred forge in Lemnos if I intend on breaking my pledge to you. Does that affirm my commitment to you both?" He asked, lowering his screwdriver from the damaged offering device to glower at them both as if forcing him to swear was another insult. "Besides," He tossed the screwdriver over his shoulder. Helena watched as the tool in midair magically disappeared and teleported back into his front pocket. "This Ancient One. He hinders my work, threatens Olympus, and distracts us from what is really stirring. All the more reason to aid you in your war." Hephaestus said, fiddling with the device in his hand.
What could possibly be stirring that was more imposing than the Imperium? What could possibly make a God tremble in fear? Helena silently thought. Could this be the threat her mother warned her about? The one the prophecy speaks of? The one that threatens Western Civilization? If so, Olympus and her existence were in danger. She wanted to ask questions, but she was certain Hephaestus would not reveal much more without her first seeking Apollo - which angered her greatly. Instead she chose to reserve a bold question for later - a question that might increase the speed in which his beard burned. "We are grateful, Lord Hephaestus. Myself and Leo," She gestured to the proud warrior himself with a reassuring look - a look that read she will not cross her allies or go back on their agreement. "Will hold our end of the bargain; We swear this to you on the River Styx." She reaffirmed, doubling down on their promise with a sacred promise.
"Humph," Hephaestus stroked his long beard, smothering the small flames that burned through his strings of hair - only for the beard to smolder. His bushy unibrow narrowed as if he was not buying into their vows. "I have witnessed my family, demigods, and mortals, make pledges before, daughter of Athena. Jason, leader of the Argonauts, pledged himself to Medea, and yet he violated that oath. I would hope for your sake, you know the dangers of swearing an oath to the River Styx?" He asked, his unibrow while hard to notice raised slightly. "With all due respect, Hephaestus; we are not the famed Captain of the Argo. And I am certainly not my family. I stand firm in my oath as does Leo. Now you must decide whether you wish to place your trust in us or not. Remember in order for you to make such a judgement, you must already know our nature or worked with us before." Helena felt as if she checkmated the Olympian and stunned him with her response. She prayed that wasn't the case; they couldn't afford to lose his support after he agreed to aid them. The demigod wanted to glance at Leo, but she was too afraid to see his expression. Her words were bold like the Queen of the Amazons and yet full of wisdom and diplomacy like her mother.
Hephaestus looked unsurprised by her response - the small flames burning through his beard did not increase with speed, which meant he was not angered or bothered by her little display. "I suppose you are right, child of Athena." He rumbled under his breath. Just as the atmosphere was beginning to grow slightly awkward, Leo came to the rescue and began expressing their needs from him. Hephaestus eye gleamed with interest as the proud warrior went on about weapons and other supplies he would have to forge to aid them in their war effort. If anybody could muster the logistics they needed in a short amount of time, it was him. "I see," His beard reignited with flame as he was filled with anticipation. "Luckily for you, I can grant you these things easily," He said. "But word of advice, boy," His hands finally stopped tinkering with the teleportation device. "Place your faith elsewhere. Organic life will only disappoint you in the end. But machines - they can be repaired and improved on," He brought his hand slightly to Leo's face, revealing the crimson sphere he gave to Helena, now fixed and refined. The former princess caught the prince of power glancing at her with the corner of her eye - based upon the reading of his expression, he wanted to ask her something or was curious of something, but she couldn't determine what it was - a question for later. "You will have the necessary tools to sustain your warriors, that is a blacksmith's pledge to another. If you asked me, I would have advised this war be fought with automatons and androids, but you mortals are a complicated bunch," Hephaestus shifted his body to Helena and threw the device for her to catch. Helena caught it with ease.
Shifting his body back to face Leo, the blacksmith was met with a unique offering from the proud warrior. Held in his extended hand was an ornamented staff with a distinctive blue button. A twinkle of kindness and gratitude flickered in his eye as Leo explained it's nature. "Humph. Fine craftsmanship, I must admit. I now understand why your name has been foretold, blacksmith." Hephaestus regarded both the gift and Leo. "What did that mean?" Helena glanced over at her new male companion - her face astound by this shocking truth. Was his fate intertwined with hers? No, impossible - Leo was not Greek, but --neither was Mister Surreal or the JLA. The demigod's head spun - she wanted to puke, but why was she so worked up? Her uncle never acknowledged their fates were connected, but this feeling pierced her gut as if she already knew the truth. She wanted to muster the courage to say something, but she knew her question would be swatted aside. "Now. My forge awaits me." The deformed God wobbled a three-sixty and began limping away with his gift. "Wait," Helena called out all so suddenly. Now was the time to ask the question she's been eagerly waiting to ask. Hephaestus grumbled a few words in complaint and wobbled around to meet her energetic eyes. "Demigods and their demands...the longer you confine me here-" She interrupted his sentence before he could complete it, surprising the imperfect smith.
"What is Olympus role in all this? Will they not join us in the impending effort?" She purposely asked. Helena wanted to see if she could possibly gain an audience with the King of the Gods, to put an end to this hunt for her life. The speed in which Hephaestus' beard burned slightly increased - he rumbled and then let out a sigh, slowing the process once more. "Your mother is drawing up a defensive strategy to protect the West in case your efforts against the Imperium fails. Zeus has reached out to some unexpected allies of ours that share the same interest as Olympus - your mother was not too pleased about that. Nevertheless, we are working to preserve the fate of Olympus and humanity. Does that satisfy you, demigod?" He asked half-annoyingly. "Give my mother my regards. Let her know we will not fail - I refuse to lose this war. The Ancient One has hindered my journey and kept me away from her and my people - and for that it will pay," She affirmed, revealing how committed she was to sending the Ancient One to Tartarus. "We are forever grateful for your aid, Lord Hephaestus. You may leave now." And with that being said, Hephaestus nodded and left the space station in a cloud of black smoke.
"Helena, if you are at the Augusta please notify King Lionel that I am here and ready to enter if he is.", A familiar voice traveled through her mind. When the smoke finally dispersed, Helena approached Leo and attempted to shove the teleportation device lightly into his chest. "I am better at diplomacy." She bantered with a smirk stretching across her mouth. If he took the device, she strolled past him to locate his meeting room - walking as if she conquered the station and made it into her personal kingdom. "You may want to allow our sorcerer friend inside by the way." The demigod called as she walked away, mustering a laugh, which echoed throughout the corridors of the station. For once, she was happy something went right for once in her life.
"Unlike you mortals"
The words echoed in Leonel's mind, and soon - theydrew a chuckle from the Hyper-God. Arms crossed over his chest, posture domineering, and his eyes undaunted, Leonel stood before Hephaestus and the amusement flowed out his throat cool and dismissive. "Mortal?", Leonel paused, a calm smile and shake of the head, "I'll enlighten you, blacksmith. I'm no mortal. But you presuming to know what you don't is. Even one of your mortal philosophers knows that he doesn't know. You're no god to me", unfolding his arms, the Prince of Power stepped forward, leaving little more than an inch of air between him and Hephaestus, "Remember your station when you speak to someone who doesn't need ambrosia to be immortal". Chin high and a gaze of contempt, Leonel turned away, dismissing a god who quickly showed himself more disappointing than divine.
Declaring Hephaestus beneath him, Leonel left the task of speaking to him to Helena. And though Hephaestus' words floated to him, they were nothing. And the god - nay, the man - himself, less than nothing. Leonel simply hovered, above the ivory floor, and his cape flowing like a cool wind. Watching Hephaestus vanish in a cloud of smoke, the Prince of Power caught the smell of soot in the air. Hephaestus would lend them his aid, but the impression the god of blacksmiths'd left on Leonel was a poor one. "I suppose I must really like you if I'm willing to deal with your uncle", he returned, his smirk matching hers as he sank from the air till he touched ground. "That or I want the Imperium destroyed more than anything. I'll let you decide", Leonel teased, catching first the device she'd shoved against his chest, before - should she allow him - wrapping an arm round her waist to hold her close.
"I'll gladly give you a tour but you're heading towards the waste disposal area", Leonel bantered, his body heat flirting with hers before he unwrapped his arm and glided away, "Follow me, there's a briefing room this way", he gestured. "Hex, open Augusta's gates for Mister Surreal and escort him to the briefing room", Leonel ordered, a glowing hexeract - Hex, an A.I. - soon soaring through the air to command Augusta's gates open. Meanwhile, the Prince of Power came upon the open door to a large room dressed in a sapphire glow and a holographic computer at the heart of a long wooden table surrounded by chairs. "Nordok's cosmic sorcery's the most frustrating thing about it. It's not it's war resources or it's sphere of influence, it's the fact that you can vaporize it's body down to it's elementary particles, when it shouldn't exist anymore, but it's still alive, somehow, someway".
"It's doing something. Manipulating the quantum information that constitutes it's... essence or something, and it's doing it in a way that should be impossible. Even Nordok manipulating matter and energy that way would be impressive. But instead, it's manipulating the abstract part of itself that I need the most fine-tuned and advanced instruments to begin to touch. For this, I'll need our friend's expertise in the area of sorcery. And after this", Leonel paused, holding Helena's gaze as he always did, bold and unapologetic, "After Mister Surreal has helped us come up with something and he's left, you and I need to talk. About you. You're stubborn, as most warriors usually are, but I'm fighting you on this, Helena. Something is haunting you, and you need someone to talk to".
"Maybe even someone to help. Every warrior, no matter how good or experienced, will need help at some point. With both physical battles, and others. I need help with the Imperium, and you and I both know it'd do you good to have someone to help you overcome whatever's haunting you". He needed her mind clear of doubt, and the fears of her past conquered if she was to succeed in the war to come, and as a liberator of Battleworld's warriors, yet as he held her gaze, Leonel felt something else lingering, something compelling him to reach out and help her.
Like me? His words sent a chill down her spine as if Khione, Goddess of Snow, traced her vertebral column with her frosty touch. No one was suppose to like her - anybody that grew close met their demise or was wounded in the heart by her rejection, Himerous; God of Sexual Desire and Unrequited Love, "made certain of that." It was the winged god's duty to pierce her in the backside with an arrowhead dipped in the juices of unwanted love and cause her to flee from the effects of Aphrodite and Eros. Helena glanced up at the ceiling, silently imploring her mother to pour reason into the proud warrior's head. From the corner of her radiating eyes, she could of sworn she caught a glimpse of a winged child gliding above with an arrow nocked into a small bow, but when she turned her head to confront the perpetuator, no one seemed to be there.
Just as she was about to shift her body around to see if the Prince of Power had realized the sailing child, she felt an arm wrap around her waist; ensnaring her as if she were subdued by her golden lasso, which hung from her side. His arm was sturdy like the mighty Heracles and his body temperature cozy like a fireplace. For once in her life, she felt mellow and at peace. Closing her eyes in complete harmony, Helena lost herself to the feeling of being whole once more and just as she was beginning to enjoy the bold embrace, she realized her mistake. Mustering the emotional strength, she broke free from the confines of Anteros, God of Requited Love, and gently removed his arms from her waist. "Are you mad?" She boldly asked, turning to face him. Her face was stern and her tone fierce, yet a battle waged inside of her. "Forming an alliance does not give you special privilege to embrace my person," Her voice quivered, a small indication she was conflicted with how she felt over the stunt. If this were anybody else, she would have pummeled them into the guts of Gaea until they reached the Underworld - but Leo was no ordinary person to her, at least so far.
"Lead the way." She said in a gentle low-pitched voice, her eyes darting away from his. Helena did not want to push him away, but to involve him in her complicated life would be unwise, dangerous, and futile. If some of her relatives wanted her obliterated or imprisoned, she could not bare to put him in the crosshairs, especially when he carried his own burdens. It's true having someone supportive to bare a part of the burden did ease the weight of it; the Spartans proved this perfectly with the phalanx formation. But Leo and her were not in the same military, they were not fighting the same fight and from her knowledge, he was not being hunted by the most powerful and revered Gods in history. If she could spare him from this nightmare and save him the trouble of liking her, she'll stand firm.
Helena mouth slightly opened to apologize to the Prince of Power - to explain why she took offense to his daring act, but she watched as he glided away, guiding her toward the briefing room. Instead of bringing the topic up, she chose to reserve it for the future - it was better not to open up anyway if she wanted to shield him from her burdens. The heel of her leather black boots echoed against the floor as she followed, her cloak fluttering behind her. Now beside him, she wondered if he was bothered by her reaction to his bold move; if only she could ensnare him with her lasso and compel him to tell her his feelings, but that probably would not have been the wisest of ideas. She never understood why men grew affectionate toward her; in her opinion she had no personality. Maybe it was the work of Aphrodite and Eros; so desperately wanting to add a love story to her tragic life, only to make it worse as seen during the Trojan War. For your average mortal, a storm cloud would hover over their head, but Helena did not have such luck - Aphrodite and Eros hovered over instead, clashing with Anteros and Himerous, attempting to gain a foothold on her love life. She could hear arrows whizzing over her and soothing commands made by the Goddess of Love - charmspeak, she presumed.
Desiring to make their journey toward the briefing room less awkward, Helena was bold enough to mention their interaction with her cynical uncle, Hephaestus. "I don't think Hēphaistos was the worst relative you could have met," She glanced at his well-structed face to read his reaction; If only he knew how fortunate he was to not have met Ares and Thanatos. "From what it seems, he aided me my whole life and is choosing to aid me once more," She flexed her arm - the sleeve of her dress loosely slid down her arm, revealing her gleaming vambraces. "He might be cynical and bitter, but these are symptoms of a man with a tragic past, don't you think?" She asked, hoping to add some perspective into his proud mind. Helena gathered why Hephaestus was so grim, all she had to do was look back at literature and carefully observe his words, outlook, and personality. "I am no fan of Hephaistos, he tried to sexually force himself on my mother - at least according to the tale. Not only that but his distrust of us was illogical, baseless, and insulting. Nevertheless, understanding his nature makes him tolerable and I implore you to get acquainted with him. Doing so will not only give you an understanding of his character, but it'll also make things less complicated for you when you hold your end of the bargain. In addition, if he becomes an enemy you can use what you have gathered to your advantage." A smirk stretched across her alluring lips as she advised him with the best advice she could give.
Helena was not trying to convince him to be a footstool to Hephaestus by all means, she just wanted him to understand the nature of those in his ranks just as much as he wanted to understand her. She glanced upwards as Leonel ordered something to open the fortress gates for Mister Surreal. Soon after a glowing hypercube ascended into the air - like the winged child she might have seen earlier - and disappeared, leaving the two alone to walk the halls once more. Being the curious demigod she was, she wanted to ask him questions about it's nature, but they came upon an open door that led into a massive room clad in the color of his eyes - the color of the ocean depths. She could see why he chose this room to be the briefing room; the illuminating color brought tranquility and made her forget the weight she carried on her shoulders - perfect for war planning. If you wanted to win a war, you needed to draw up plans in the best environment or at least somewhere that brought some form of peace as generals did not always have the luxury of planning in good conditions during an ongoing battle. A wooden table sat at the heart of the room with chairs surrounding it and a holographic computer in the center.
After taking in her surroundings, her mysterious eyes locked on his striking face as he expressed his concerns and plans for the Ancient One. In truth, she wish brought her shield along; it was a sentient object and held the gift of nigh omniscience - but now she had to rely solely on her own gifted intelligence. "I assure you, Mister Surreal is truly blessed in the mystical arts; if anybody could come up with a solution, it's him," She reaffirmed her confidence in the Sorcerer Supreme. "But I am uncertain if this being could truly be slain." Helena expressed as she reviewed the facts that were laid out. She searched for anything in her memory banks that could solve this solution, but she was only able to remember two ideas from the myths that might work. "I might have a solution, but we should wait for our sorcerer companion to join us." She locked eyes with his, wondering if their fate was indeed intertwined. She felt a slight pull toward him like a magnetic field, drawing them together, but she chose to swat the feeling away as if it were an annoying bug. Helena wanted to ask him what he thought of what Hephaestus said - about his fate, but being the daring man that he was, he brought up something that she did not want to discuss. The demigod shifted uncomfortably - her eyes darted away from his, breaking free from his enchanting gaze - and her mouth opened slightly to utter a response, but then closed as the words scattered in her tongue. "You are tenacious, Leonel, I give you that. But if I tell you of my trials and tribulations, I know your stubborn nature will compel you to aid me, and that is not what I want for your life. Not because I don't think you are capable, I assure you that is not the case. I just don't want you to carry a burden that clearly is not yours. You might be able to hide your own burdens on the surface, but I am certain you are at war - not with the Imperium, oh no - but with yourself. How I know this? On that mountain you poured your heart out to me, expressing how you could relate to no one and how you made a fool over yourself. I am certain there is more to that story you are not telling me, nevertheless, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to carry someone else's journey while dealing with your own." She mustered the strength to pour out her concern. A part of her wanted him to say yes, but another part wanted him to say no.
Shortly after notifying Shield-Maiden of his presence, the master of the mystic arts noticed the movement of one section of the floating fortress, something that he was very pleased by. He floated over to the large breach in the castle like structure as his mind raced with anticipation as to what he would encounter once he stepped foot inside of the Augusta, this would his second space fortress enter. As the large gates that allowed access to the grand fortress' interior had completed the process of separating themselves for the magic user, Mister Surreal was encountered by floating drone who he assumed would be the one to show him inside of the station's halls. As he got closer the drone floated away from him towards the direction that it had first emerged, Matthew saw it as being who or more accurately what would he showing him inside of the colossal location.
Going through the main gates, Mister Surreal saw them promptly close behind him and the mechanical butler flew beside him with great haste as he now entered the main hall of the Augusta with all of its glory. It was an enormous area that was very much like the grand hall of a castle, sparkling with the emerald surface that coated the walls as far as the eyes could see, making every bit of it feel like it size was nothing but a place holder for the treasures that lay within. Being inside of it was like being inside of a place where every dream that you every had could become a reality, a shining futuristic utopia contained within a metallic corridor that offered only the most promising of fulfillment. The room was filled with the sounds of buzzing and whistling that were only slightly covering up the overarching sound of the space station shifting and bending ever so slightly, almost as if the building itself were still adjusting to it own size.
Before he got too caught up in the spectacle that was nothing but the lobby like portion of the Augusta, Mister Surreal turned back to the drone so that he could get in with the reason why he had come there in the first place. Once again staring at the drone which he could believed was tasked with guiding him through the huge space station, he continued with his journey. "Could you please take me to the location of Prince Lionel and possibly Shield-Maiden?", he asked respectfully as usual. The drone responded accordingly and made its way to another path, having Mister Surreal walk behind it with a sort of dignity that he would maintain even in the most abnormal of instances. Making his way after him was somewhat challenging, the drone chose to soar through the air at a fairly quick pace, not that the sorcerer would blame them, it would I take hours to walk around this place. The speed however did cause him to walk at a brisk pace, which an exhausted sorcerer was not thrilled about.
Numerous halls and doors passed by as the two carried on through the bowels of the mountain sized fortress, going deeper and deeper into it which made for the impression of it having simply a never ending supply of space within already colossal appearance from the outside. It only kept the amount of marvel that he was feeling increasing steadily with each footstep that he took, for Matthew it was like being a visitor inside of the Sanctum of Cryptic Sources for the first time. Having the feeling of wonder consume his very being as he looked around the ship even more impressed by what he would come across as he went down further into the location of the place. It would only continue to gain the admiration of the sorcerer to have the opportunity to look observe the vastness of the hall that lay ahead and behind him, filled with many passages that would make it even more difficult for a stranger to locate a specific room among all of the maze of a space station.
Finally coming to his last stop, the hovering assistant instructed that Mister Surreal enter the door that stood right before them and floated patiently waiting for him to do as he was told. Walking a few more steps, the sorcerer entered a room that was filled with oceanic water painting all sides of the walls filling his own green eyes with a reflective glow of turquoise that was truly a sight to behold. As his eyes scanned the room, he immediately noticed Helena's long black dress that caused her to radiate with beauty, not that she needed the dress for her to have that effect. Matthew noticed her beauty ever since he first layed eyes on her, she was truly one who had a gifted appearance. But seeing as how he was already spoken for, he felt only admiration for his for his friend's appearance and nothing more. His eyes turning slightly, Leonel came into the mage's view looking just a formidable as he had on their first encounter.
Taking a few steps forward Mister Surreal cleared his throat as a way of gaining their attention, not because he doubted that they already knew that he was there but mostly so that he could properly begin interacting with them. "Sorry about coming so late, I had to deal with an unexpected emergency on the way here. You would ne-...That's not important, however, what is important is that we discuss the reason why we are here, Nordok." Mathew clenched the tie of his black suit in a business like fashion as he made the how important the subject was to him known by the others. "I have expertise that may be useful, but only by collaborating with others who can add upon it.", he said starting the discussion.
Breaking his gaze from Helena's, the Prince of Power cast his eyes upon the cascade of holograms hovering above the middle of the table. Drumming his fingers along the table's edge, Leonel studied the information glowing before him - profiles on key Imperium figures, and all that he knew about Nordok's cosmic sorcery. It was a puzzle his super science, no matter how advanced, had failed to solve. Whatever the Ancient One's cosmic sorcery entailed, it wrinkled his mind like nothing else. A mind that so effortlessly calculates the space-time coordinates when he leaps in and out the hyper-spatial bulk, a mind responsible for breakthroughs that mankind was millions of years from sniffing. And yet, Nordok's greatest power baffled him, made him feel... human, mortal.
"Hmm", furrowing his brow, Leonel returned his eyes to Helena and considered asking for an audience with her mother. He held little regard for gods of the ancient world. Backwards gods, he called them. Gods who ride flying chariots while he builds fortresses in the higher dimensions of space-time. Gods who used scrolls and parchments while he was a god who designed femto-scale computers. But Athena, a goddess who deals in intelligence and warfare - both of which Leonel respects - was an exception. "Hephaestus' machines'll be useful", he reminded, breaking his brief silence. "But your mother'd also be really helpful with our war strategy, and the tactics we'll use to implement it. Her insight and ideas'd be valuable. But", he paused, locking eyes with Helena and withdrawing his hands from the table, "I can understand if you don't want to involve your family in this any more than you already have".
"Though you're right, as much as Hephaestus annoys me", he shrugged, strong arms crossing over his chest as he smirked, "Whatever I learn about him'll be useful if he ever becomes an enemy. Or a nuisance". Soon however, his smirk faded, and Helena's words floated to his ears with a gravity she could have only inherited from her mother. With his eyes on hers as he listened, Leonel raised his left brow - and chuckled. "You're right about one thing, I am stubborn", that he admitted, "But I'm not at war with myself, Helena. I have been, in the past. But now? If I'm at war with anything not Imperium-related, it's the expectations people have of me. Nine times out of ten, I don't give a shit about anything that doesn't have to do with me, be it directly or indirectly related to me. Despite that, people want me to live my life as though I owe a preexisting moral obligation to everyone and everything".
"That's why I don't relate to anyone, not because I'm at war with myself", he chuckled, the laughter flowing out calm and cool, "But because I'm a warrior in a world that insists I be an altruist. Because I recognize that my primary moral duty is to myself first, and to others second. And because I value honest conflict over dishonest peace". Uncrossing his arms, Leonel stepped forward, "And you, Helena, are maintaining dishonest peace with what's really bothering you by refusing to address it. There's something haunting you that you're trying to avoid. A conflict you're trying to ignore instead of solving. Nine times out of ten, I don't care if whatever's happening has nothing to do with me. But the tenth time, I do. Right here, right now, you're that rare ten I give a shit about. I admire your strength, the sharpness of your mind, your regality, your beauty. And that you're trying to be yourself instead of aspiring to be like someone else".
"But you could be so much more if you faced whatever's haunting you. I'm not trying to carry someone else's journey. But I want to help you carry your own journey. But", Leonel shrugged, "I've said my piece. Mister Surreal is here", he noted, his eyes catching the infrared glow of the sorcerer's body heat. Turning to meet eyes with the Sorcerer Supreme, the Prince of Power issued a subtle inclination of the head. "Mister Surreal", he smiled, "Better late than never. I've learned some things about Nordok's cosmic sorcery. In the past I've tried manipulating the quantum information that makes up Nordok's "soul", but it didn't affect it the way it's affected others. My machines failed in a way they never have. I'm not sure why but whatever the reason, it allowed Nordok to resist my manipulation of the quantum information that constitutes it's being at the most fundamental level. And I can only assume that this is something arcane. Your area of expertise. Any idea of what it may be?".
"And if we need some more brains to help us with this dilemma, we might need more arcane experts. And both you and Helena know more of those than I do. Any candidates for people that can help?", he asked, eyes shifting between both his allies.
Helena let out a silent sigh as Leonel countered her observation - her energetic eyes darting away from his as she pondered on her minor failure. She made a fool of herself and acted on emotion once more, which irked her more than anything - like the tip of a sword poking into her olive skin. Hanging from her left hip, her enchanted sword yearned for blood, anticipating battle like the God of War himself. Runes magically inscribed itself into the wide groove of her blade, shimmering in a blue light. Hanging from her right hip, her golden lasso was overtaken with a lustrous glow of yellow light. Both magical artifacts seemed to react to the distress of their queen and were awaiting to be unleashed on those who offended her.
She should of not insinuated anything. Instead, she should of implicated, he was wrestling with something from his past. Unlike her mother, Helena never mastered keeping her emotions in check, but it was something she was striving for. She didn't want to be one of Hephaestus' projects - emotionless and cold - but instead calm and reserved, like a Shaolin Monk. Her goal was to make wiser decisions with less emotional interference - and while she has made progress, she still was not where she wanted to be.
"Forgive me," She uttered, her eyes now shifted to meet his. "One should know the facts before making such a bold claim." She concluded, observing the fact that she might have allowed her emotions to dictate her logical thinking. She loved the fact that he was not blind to his tenacious behavior - a warrior who knew himself, need not fear the result of a hundred battles. But a warrior who knew himself but not the enemy, could lead to ruin. Leonel while a remarkable warrior seemed to be committing the same mistake as she by assuming something he clearly did not have the facts to. "If you wish to know what is troubling me, very well. Once our meeting with Mister Surreal is over, my journey will be made clear to you. But assume nothing, Leo of the Cosmos - I am trying to solve the mysteries that plague my life, even if you cannot see that. You must understand, you cannot truly solve a puzzle if you have yet to discover all the pieces," Her eyes locked with his, bringing light and life into his dark blue eyes. His eyes were like the twilight zone in the ocean - dark with no plant life, but when their eyes met, her energic eyes mimicked the dim sunlight that penetrated into the disphotic zone. "Am I haunted by these nightmares? Indeed, I am. If what you said on that mountain was true, about you being able to relate to me, then you of all people should understand how difficult it is to talk about the things of the past." Her eyes broke away from his.
While explaining all that, Helena's sensitive nose caught the whiff of chemicals burning - dye and starch. Glancing downwards, she noticed the black pants she wore underneath her dress was smothering like a volcano project - a small cloud of smoke rising from the thigh region. Her lasso, which glowed and illuminated the room, was burning through her pants, about ready to catch on fire. "Off" She mentally commanded the lasso with authority. With that command, the lasso's glow dimmed down and reverted back to an ordinary golden lariat as it responded to it's queen. The planestrider must of mentally commanded the lariat to burn as she reflected on her embarrassment with Leo, but strangely enough, she never ordered the magical artifact to do anything. Swatting the fumes and smoke away, her eyes darted back to the Prince of Power and penetrated his eyes once more. She wanted to ponder about the strange circumstances behind her lasso, but she thought it was best to just focus on Leo's words.
The former princess of Atholis wanted to grab the deities of love by the throat and crush their windpipe. Leonel, the Prince of Power, had fallen to the influence of the Erotes, and was now confessing his admiration for her. She had to admit for someone who held such high self-esteem, Leo was pretty vulnerable to her in his own way - she liked that. But at the same time, she didn't believe she was capable of returning those feelings, even if he was that rare kind of warrior to her. The space warrior was Orion to her and she was his Artemis - both impressed by each other's skills, personalities, and physical features - both fond over each other, but could not allow their feelings to flourish due to the interference of the Gods and her own self. But every rose had it's thorn and Leo was not except from it.
When the Prince of Power revealed he was a firm believer in putting his well-being over humanity, it sent an unsettlingly feeling down her stomach. Judging by his display with Hephaestus, Helena believed Leo felt superior to the Olympian Gods - yet he was no better than they were. The Olympians cared for their existence more than anything with humanity coming close second - but only because their existence was tied to humanity. So what made Leo any different from her family when it came to selflessness and selfishness? She thought to herself. "Give Tyche praise, we do not share the same principle," She bantered, knowing he did not worship her family. "If we did, I would not be here right now." She said with a slight smirk. Despite their minor differences, Helena was still willing to share her journey with the proud warrior and.....get acquainted with him.
As the two discussed, the act of someone clearing their throat, caught their attention. Turning her head toward the doorway, Helena and Leo were met with the revered sorcerer himself. She did not mind if Matthew heard their discussion; he was one of her close companions - whom she trusted with her dear life. It was not too long ago when Mister Surreal offered his services to Ares for the freedom of the Justice League Alliance, including herself. It was there, the sorcerer displayed his prowess as both a warrior and the Sorcerer Supreme. If anybody could find a permeant solution to the Ancient One, it was certainly him. Even Athena, her mother, revealed the sorcerer was well known in the Halls of Olympus. "Mister Surreal. Glad you can join us," She greeted him with a slight smile. "I want to personally thank you for coming to my aid to protect the cosmos," Her tone was welcoming and diplomatic, but her garb and hairstyle screamed she was an Amazonian Queen, ready for war.
After they all greeted each other, Helena moved to the end of the table, where she could face her two allies and reveal the idea she picked from her memory files. She listened as Mister Surreal and Leonel discussed the issues with slaying the Ancient One and the need for those who held complete control over magic, witchcraft, and sorcery, to further aid them in finding a solution. "Is it possible to scatter it's essence? Like Kronos did his father, Ouranos?" Helena joined in, standing tall and dignified.She wanted to explain her plan further, but she first wanted to see if it was possible to somehow scatter the tyrant and then lock whatever was remaining in a box sealed by magic. The plan was fastened from the story of Pandora's Box and the downfall of Ouranos. "As for other allies such as my mother.....I have no direct communication with her," It pained her to say those words, but she mustered the strength to give Leo a facial expression that read she would explain later.Even if she could summon the aid of her mother, she knew Athena was too occupied with drawing up a strategy to protect Western Civilization in case Leo's plan to topple the Imperium failed.
The notion of silence in space rooted itself in scientific fact. Though, the man who once identified himself as eight different versions of the same English nobleman prepared for a substantial quiet.
A collection of 'big band' memorabilia from Earth played on loop, a solid thirteen-hour reel of it, all twisted by the machinations of a single finger twirling in midair. The musical scroll danced around him in the odd bullet-shaped psionic field swallowing both him and his precious mortal possessions.
He simply chose a reclining position despite the surroundings of complete void and distant star. An appointed destination was with his counterpart at the other side of the galaxy near Andromedan space. Though he experienced a slight hiccup of a few centuries, he had severe doubts that the malicious intent of the inhabitants of this particular multiverse evolved that much.
They were probably only just recently delving into multiversal theory.
At any rate he exited the Earthen solar system without much delay or pacing issues, blasting beyond its nearest counterpart in even less time. Still, the saxophone and trumpet music blasted in his ears. The deranged smile never left his face.
Gaining momentum, the being breached Milky Way space and journeyed through pure void for a long while. He remembered how superstitious humans used to be, back when he was in his first incarnation of 'Thomas'.
They had concept of space, perhaps not space travel in a conceivable capacity. The hope and willpower was certainly there, just not the technology.
But, in the same vein, he started to get feedback from something he didn't expect to be this far out. It started on the frequency he played on his practically imaginary radio station. Instead of oldies, he started getting radio transmissions and encrypted signals from a... space station?
And in a language from Earth, curiously.
Stopping just short of the space station, five or take a few thousand miles, the being already guessed it had picked him up at this point. He slowed his approach just to see if something would happen.
Surely this could be fun somehow.
@thisisgonnahurt: Amazing post, Warsy. But I think me and King Leo will be doing our own little thing once Mister Surreal leaves. But! I am willing to do a separate interaction with you or add you to this awesome RP I have planned - if you are interested? Just shoot me a PM for details if so 😊.
A long time a go a woman name Maya Summers had a mental breakdown that would change the multiverse forever, as a result of that breakdown her ability to Warp Reality crafted a new reality--Reality-M"
The problem with this...Reality "M" was that it exist as a parallel reality to every universe across the multiverse. When the Judges declared it's origin universe "Dead" a Reality "M was created with the birth of the nU and so on and so forth across the multiverse.
Because each "M" was different than the last the Judges decided to leave it be, that is until the nU's M met it's demise at the hand of M-Ziccarra and M-Champion. A few fugitives that were supposed to perish with M somehow found safe passage to the nU and somehow manage to build productive lives for themselves.
However now the time for judgement arrived, The High Queen knew they weren't supposed to be here and would begin collecting evidence for the trial against the entire universe.
The first was Leonel Pettis, The Azure Son, The Olympian Champion, Thee Champion II, The Last Son of M; throughout the multiverse he had different nicknames; but this incarnation of him had to be the strongest she'd seen thus far. Despite the shroud of calamity that surround his "family" she could sense the determination fortifying his resolve. But there was something in her that was starting to simmer, something she'd never felt before.
"Leonel Pettis of Earth-M, I am the High Queen Ishara; Judge of the Multiverse. You are on trial for crimes against the multiverse"
White cape flowing in the air as he strode through the higher dimensional halls of the Hypercube, the Prince of Power did as he always had; study his personal arrow of time. Glancing at it's end, Leonel watched the events of his own past. Every mistake he'd made, every relationship he'd forged and inevitably abandoned, everything. Yet he couldn't seem more distant. There was no guilt in his gaze, and no worry in his mind. He could not worry about the past, about what he could not change. Instead, he learned from it. Why in his past did Reality-M always die? Why did he always migrate to the nU? Why did he always befriend Trinity? And why did Ziccarraalways die? Brow furrowed and his mind deep in thought, his ears very nearly missed the echo of judgment passed on him.
"Leonel Pettis of Earth-M, I am the High Queen Ishara; Judge of the Multiverse. You are on trial for crimes against the multiverse"
The voice, he didn't recognize it. Yet it's power felt familiar. As though it's always been there, whispering in the background as the voice one swears they hear when alone in a room. "Judge of the Multiverse?", he murmured, turning at the heel to lock eyes with the High Queen. Impossible, his mind thought as his eyes looked her up and down. His gaze, no matter how deeply it burrowed into her skin and the very cells in her dermis, found no flaw. No bacteria, no wrinkles, nothing. Only a cosmic purity that his mind had correctly deemed impossible. This, he imagined, was not the High Queen's true form. It couldn't be. Yet it was still perfect. The glow of her skin, the power in the air, how easily she'd glided into the hyper-dimensional heart of the Hypercube without going mad... what was she? Truly? Crossing his arms over his chest and holding her gaze, he spoke again, his voice clear but his mind racing.
"Crimes against the multiverse?", he asked, a picture of composure despite the questions swarming into his mind. "Care to elaborate? It's not everyday a stranger of your... power, pops up and calls me a criminal".
The High Queen expose her right palm with her other hand still positioned behind her back, manifesting in the ambient space between them was a book from the library entitled "Reality-M" specific to the nU.
"You are aware of the fate that befell your world" Her voice amplified by the space between them. "Reality M was judged and declared dead by my sibling, however you and a few others have manage to slip through the fabrics of space and time and take up residency here" Ishara moved forward closing the distance between them seemingly enamored by the structural design of the hypercube.
"In the beginning, the Gods of Creation and Destruction crafted the multiverse and established boundaries, they then created my kind the Multiverse Judges; my siblings and I were to maintain order and balance across the multiverse. Your journey from Reality-M to this place was unauthorized, you're not supposed to be here. I am here to judge whether or not your presence here affects the natural order of this universe, or if you being here is inconsequential."
Much like Leo had before Ishara arrived displayed the events of "M" instead of the arrow of time, it was the Book of M that displayed these images; even the events that transpired after Leonel left.
"I am aware these events are not pleasant, but it is my responsibility to ensure the rules of my parents are followed. They were perfectly fine with you being here, but like you, others followed.
With a point of her index finger the faces of other universe "hoppers" appeared some he knew others he probably didn't. "Shayla, Ashley and Quintus Knightfall, Maya Summers, Animus...there is a corridor opened here. I intend to close it. Should my findings be correct, you and the other jumpers will have to be dealt with in some fashion"
The High Queen's tone did not deviate from her usual conversational tone, but the matter was serious to say the least. What she intended to do if these defectors were adversely affected the nU was still a mystery, but those were details to be worked out later.
A wave of clarity washed over him as the High Queen passed the first phase of her judgment on him. Yet as he held her gaze then glanced at the book titled after his corpse of a universe, the Prince of Power grew curious. The golden glow on her skin, the cosmic purity of her voice as her words electrified the air, it echoed the will of a being who walked on ground too high for even gods such as he to reach, a Hyper-God no less. Yet as his eyes returned to hers and his mind parroted what his ears'd heard, Leonel felt a tinge of disappointment.
"It is my responsibility to ensure the rules of my parents are followed"
She glows so bright that mortals eyes would find her physical splendor blinding - and others maddening. And yet, one so high was little more than a pawn of those who'd birth her. Still, he said nothing, and instead felt the titanium muscles in his jaw tighten at Shayla's mention, and his heart burn with an anger that could melt diamond. It was because of her that his father'd spent a year and more as a vegetable. And despite the differences he had with him, he was still his father, and he'd yet to avenge him. But as he shut his eyes and felt the storm in his heart pass, Leonel opened his eyes to again lock gazes with the High Queen. Finally, he spoke. "Maybe it's arrogant of me to presume I can dissect the mind of a being of your station, and maybe you don't even have emotions that leave you beholden to your parents' will", he paused, uncrossing his arms to rest them at his sides.
"But you do this, pass judgment on other universes not because it's what you want to do, but because it's what you've been told to do. What you're expected to do because of what you are", again he paused, wondering why it was that beings so close to the top of the cosmic strata were always little more than mindless tools with no will of their own, no personality. Only conduits carrying out the will of something or someone else. It disappointed him. "You've been told that you have a preexisting obligation to this role your parents' rules chose for you. When you, a being of so much power, so much knowledge, so much shit a lowly little godling like me could never hope to be, could be so much more, have your own identity. But... I'm no one to be passing judgment on you", he shrugged. "I'm just a little godling who doesn't know any better", he smiled. "So, I suppose I'll just wait to know if I'm guilty or not".
"Also, you'll have to forgive me for not addressing you by your proper title, Ishara", Leonel said, calm and as Roman as a veteran of the final Punic War. "My mind's prioritizing other things now that I understand the gravity of my situation". Facing his body towards hers, he continued, undaunted and as cool as the calm before the storm he'll raise to resist whichever punishment the High Queen and her people condemn him to. "I'm looking forward to the closure I'll get once your judgment's passed".
With a quick swipe of her divine hand the book containing the knowledge of M return to the library. She'd been thru this for eons creatures with personalities such as his questioning the very nature of her existence, over the years she'd come to rather enjoy her position as it gave her the ability to experience first hand these "Characters" in the books she often read.
"You're God Touched, with powers beyond the imagination of mere mortals. But compared to myself you're still just a mortal. What you do in your life may or may not have an impact on the universe. What I do with mine certainly does. As indicated by your fascination with M, you have an emotional tie to events you never really had control over. An obligation to rectify events that started when you were a mere child. M fell not because YOU failed, but because you all did. Your mother and father were an unbreakable unit that could predict each other's moves through a language you could never understand. Why? not because you aren't capable because you'll never allow anyone to get close enough to understand."
She'd read the story of Alexis and Ziccarra many times, throughout every version where the two were the aggressors the story was the same--Mass destruction. Their trust and love in each other became so immense it was like a power in itself.
"You're assessment of me couldn't be further from the truth Young King, I do what I do because it simply is what I am. I am a law, a boundary personified. An extension of the cosmos you are not yet ready to understand. Placing her other hand behind her back, she could feel the subtle shifts in his energy--defiance. The judges themselves were forbidden to intervene in events, they weren't allowed to fight or sway events in any particular fashion; they exist solely to judge and record. She could feel at this moment this king was mentally preparing to challenge her authority.
"If that is all then, I shall be on my way" She said turning at the heel to essentially walk out of the hypercube. The next person on her list was none other than Ashley Knightfall.
"It would be awkward, Ishara, if I didn't have some emotional tie to my home universe", Leonel conceded, his eyes following hers with the scrutiny and quiet intensity, "As for my mother and father", he smiled, an emperor's regality - authority even - swarming through his posture as though he stood before no High Queen of the multiverse, "They were a unit of course, but because they needed to be. I don't. So while I may never understand the language they spoke in, they'll never have the strength of purpose to understand mine, or the strength of character to deserve to". The Prince of Power trusted only in himself, in his own strength and capability. It has earned him everything at his fingertips, Augusta, super science beyond mortal reach, and power worthy of worship.
Trusting in others has earned him little thus far. "My point exactly, Ishara. You're just that. An extension of the cosmos. A thing when you could be someone. You're a slave to your own nature. You do x because you're y. At the mercy of your own instincts. You have no freedom of self or choice. Ironic then, that the highest of gods is more mortal than even the lowest of human slaves. Because while you can't even be anything else, a mortal slave has freedom in their own thoughts, the freedom to dream of being something else. You don't even have that".
Watching the High Queen turn at the heel to take her leave, Leonel caught the shimmering trail of cosmic purity in her wake. What a waste, he thought. "Take care, Ishara".
"Maybe one day we'll cross paths under better circumstances".
The High Queen's essence dissipate as she manifest outside his compound...and a smirk slithered across her lips. Feeling herself give into what appeared to be some sort of mortal inclination. What was this?
This was the flaw purposely planted in all the judges, 'the longer they stayed in a universe...the more susceptible they were to taking on traits of those judged.' Because they were forbidden to read their own books she couldn't see the change taking place. It was a flaw only those who read the books of the previous judges were privy too. She did not.
The War of Kings made Ishara the only presiding judge in the Multiverse. The Pre-Trial, The Trial and the Judgements phases would undoubtably consume much of her time. In time her ability to stay Impartial would be tested; this "Self-Choice" Leonel previously spoke of could prove to be detrimental in the grand scheme of things.
The character of Nordok was quite intriguing to the mind of the magic user, him being one who took great interest in the mysterious nature of things and what the entailed. A creature that was not only well versed in not only the various fields of science but also the the various of the arcane was not common by any sense, if the creature indeed drawing part of its abilities from what was arcane and not something else entirely. It was quite possible that Nordok was actually using power that not even the Sorcerer Supreme was aware of, someone who was highly knowledgeable of powers that most people were not even aware had existed let alone them being experts on them to a degree. Even though the notion would come off as being unlikely as first the fact of the matter was that Nordok was a cosmic entity who almost certainly wielded power that no one in the room had ever heard let alone witnessed before, making the task of finding his weakness a great task to say the least.
Fortunately, the sorcerer did inside much about one possible aspect of Nordok that Leo believed he was using: magic, something that Mister Surreal did know. Many did not trust his expertise when it came to such things, but he was undoubtedly one of the foremost authorities of the mystic arts regardless of what the matter surrounded. Matthew intended to use that very same level of expertise to help solve the problem like he had countless other times when people came to ask for his assistance, in this situation it would be to take part in setting up failure for a cosmic source of power that plagued every planet within the known universe. "Hmm...It sounds to me like Nordok has certain aspects of himself scattered on different layer of existence, different types of planes. In this case, its soul or 'quantum information' as you put it would be beyond the dimensional frame of most quantum mechanical structures, making it undetectable to your machines."
"This was important for me to tell you because the first step to resolving a problem should be be finding the cause of it." Going into deep thought once again, his eyelids glazed over as the pearly balls that they contained tilted downwards towards the sparkling floor that projected his own reflection back at him, almost as if he were trying to gain insight from the version of himself that lay within the reflected image. It was a step in the right direction for Matthew to have given his hypothesis as to how Nordok was seemingly hiding himself out of the known dimension, but how exactly they would deal with the issue was a different matter all together. For now, he and anyone else who looked to remove Nordok and the Imperium from their pedestal would need to take into account all advice given to them by valid consultants. Even if he was right however, being able to defeat Nordok in this form would still prove to be a challenged for them. Easier said than done.
"Now, if that is the case then Nordok would almost certainly be housing part of itself on a layer of reality known as the astral plane, the location of which the non-physical aspect of a sentient creature's being exists on.", the spell user said as if he were teaching as class. "It contains the core aspects of a person's existence on the fundamental level. Not only that, but it can be used to draw power from in many unfathomable and extraordinary ways. If Nordok has in fact projected part of itself there, then I have little doubt that it would in turn erase Nordok from existence, or at the very least drain a vast portion of its energy." Easier said than done indeed. While there was the possibility of Nordok relying on the astral plane to use as insurance that any damage done to his physical body is only a minor set back, there was still the need to find a way of defeating him there. Despite being very capable when it came to dealing with the astral plane, the sorcerer had implications to spare.
"However, there is more." The sorcerer's voice became grave with a tone of disappointment that wished that it could muster the ability to come off as being more mournful. "While I may be able to take you there, we should be more than certain that Nordok would be prepared to attack us. If he is powerful as you claim it to be..." Mister Surreal said turning to Leo. "...Then Nordok's mystical abilities would be far more powerful than anything that I have ever seen. It would be like comparing a minnow’s ability bubbles to that of Poseidon's mastery of the seas. If we are planning to attack him on the astral plane, then we are going to need something more than a collection of spells." It would be far from the first time that Mister Surreal would be facing an opponent with power that dwarfed his own, but this felt like a greater challenged than anything that he experienced. "Either way, this battle needs to be fought on more than one front in order to destroy Nordok is his entirety, what suggestions do you have?"
Sorry about the hold up, it's been a busy week. The post also may also have been somewhat sub par since I finished pretty late last night. Anyway's here it is :]
"Give Tyche praise, we do not share the same principle. If we did I would not be here right now"
Altruism for altruism's sake. The Prince of Power thought nothing of it - nay - less than nothing. Helena was a god. A goddess who walked the sky alongside the thunder and lightning once worshiped and feared by the cultures of man. Yet for all the steel muscle in her body and virtue in her heart, she was still bound by the one value many of Earth's heroes seemed to champion; love everyone, even if you don't. Them first and yourself last. But could he blame her? Truly? After all, she has not seen what he has. Spend most of your life fighting a global war against your parents, his thoughts echoed, Watch everyone you know die or be forced into slavery, they continued, Live through the destruction of your entire universe. And then tell me if your first moral duty isn't to yourself.
That's why everyone's dead, and I'm not. To the Prince of Power, what mattered first was his own happiness - not everyone else's. Why put the lives of others above his own? What greater worth did they yield to him compared to his own? He cannot love everyone. Nor should he have to. And as he held Helena's gaze, the gaze of a woman who could move freely through the world and bend steel like rubber, she didn't have to either. Lest she want to. "You would", he countered, his cape white like the Sun, eyes blue like sapphires, and heart steely like a blade. "You and I are more alike than you realize. I may not have all the pieces to the puzzle", returning her banter with a smirk, "But I have one. I know that you're a warrior. You're defiant, you like to fight. It thrills you. And above all, you want to survive. An alien empire ruled by a cosmic monster who wants to take over the universe? What warrior wouldn't jump at the chance to fight that?".
Crossing his strong arms over his chest, Leonel smiled and taunted, "Even a criminal would if the threat's big enough. And what threat's bigger than Nordok? Than the Imperium? But", he shrugged and teased, "Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you'd be excited to become a citizen of the Imperium". But soon the conversation came to pass, and it was Mister Surreal - Sorcerer Supreme of Earth - who spoke, offering both he and Helena his wisdom on Nordok's cosmic sorcery. "That makes things difficult. Different types of existential planes... I can build machines to reach out into the higher spatial dimensions Nordok can hide in, but other planes of existence, I don't understand as well. I'll defer that task to you. I'll fit my machines with instruments uniquely sensitive to the higher dimensions of the hyper-spatial bulk, at least higher than the ones I can interact with at the moment".
"But supernatural planes? Mystical realms? The astral plane? That's your area of expertise, Surreal. Physical space-time, I can deal with. But I've only studied psychic phenomena enough to weaken it's effects on me. Basically, I don't know shit about it's finer details or fundamental nature", he confessed, a low chuckle flowing out his throat as he admitted his limitations. "Seeing as how the fate of the universe's at stake, I hope it isn't too much to ask you to compile what you think's relevant about the astral plane regarding Nordok and bringing it here for the two of us - and Helena", he added, glancing at the demigoddess who glowed with the beauty of Venus and stood with the posture of Mars, "To plan out how best to destroy Nordok. My science and your magic. I have something I was working on. Something you may be able to fortify with your magic or an artifact".
Hand open and his palm facing up, Leonel beckoned his last great and incomplete creation to his palm; a small glowing orb that seemed to warp to his hand. "It's not yet ready for use. But I made this to destroy Nordok. Or try to. The orb glows but it's hollow inside. It's made from space-time fabric stitched and weaved together. Inside it, there are machines, smaller than the eye can see, operating at the femto-scale of reality to trigger unique quantum fluctuations. Inside this orb is the ideal environment for information and energy to be manipulated in ways thought impossible. This, is a lot of power, but not enough to kill Nordok. For that we'll need to somehow enhance this", he paused, his eyes meeting Mister Surreal's and Helena's, "With magic".
Helena stood, arms crossed, and tall as she listened to the exchange of ideas between Leo and Mister Surreal. The two discussed like they were German Generals during World War I, devising the Schlieffen Plan. Meanwhile, she stood in silence - glaring into the table before her. It came to her realization she was no expert in the field of science, which made her regret not bringing her shield even more. At least with her shield by her side, she could be advised on topics such as this. But right now, she felt vulnerable and unintelligent, and dreaded every negative emotion swarming her like a plague. She was suppose to be the daughter of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, Knowledge, and much more, yet she only held basic knowledge on the particular subject. If her mother was looming over Mount Olympus, looking over her; she probably was uttering "I warned you, child."
The former princess was born with immense knowledge and wisdom, but there were minor things she had to learn or be taught; Science tragically being one of those things. She remembered actually falling asleep during her studies when the subject was brought up, and now here it was: Taunting and reminding her of her failure as both a warrior and child of Athena. Ivar, her father, was said to be a walking scroll of knowledge and wisdom, but she knew very little of him as he was said to have been killed during the war with New Rome. To be fair, if she was to study or be taught more on the subject, her brain would absorb the information like a sponge, but she first needed to break the constraints preventing her from exploring it further.
For the most part, she understood everything that came out of the Sorcerer Supreme and Prince of Power's mouth: Praise Athena. She glanced over at her enchanted sword, which hung from her side. She wondered if she could use it to enter the astral plane, but felt the task solely belonged to her Justice Alliance companion and those who specialized in the mystical arts. It was unwise for someone to take on a task they had no expertise in. She just recently learned she could use the sword to travel around to different locations on earth, and was still learning it's capabilities. Right now, her duty lied with destroying the Ancient One's forces and leading a band of lawless warriors into the heart of battle - unless Leo had other plans for her. She did not care what her role was, just as long as she got the chance to harm the tyrant, and was able to complete the task given to her.
"Seeing as how the fate of the universe's at stake, I hope it isn't too much to ask you to compile what you think's relevant about the astral plane regarding Nordok and bringing it here for the two of us - and Helena",
Their eyes met once more, piercing through each other's skull as he mentioned her name. As they held each other's gaze, she began to wonder if the Prince of Power could read her mind. Helena was not one to assume, but being the curious woman that she was, she did begin to observe the evidence before her. Every time a sensitive topic from her past was brought up, he somehow read through her essence and knew her journey as if he himself were there. Maybe she was overly reading into the situation; Leo did get a few things about her wrong. But if he was a telepath, she reminded herself to wear her tiara at all times. If there was one power she despised the most, it was telepathy.
"You and I are more alike than you realize. I may not have all the pieces to the puzzle", His words from earlier echoed through her brain. Maybe they truly were alike with some minor differences. The demigod warrior smiled dreamily at the thought. She prayed she was wrong about her suspicion because for the first time in her life, someone finally understood her, and that's what she yearned for secretly. "No!" She shouted in her mind, mentally deflecting the heart-shaped arrows loosed by Eros with her vambraces. She would not allow distractions to get in the way of her journey, and as she stated before, anything other than companionship was a risk.
Something you may be able to fortify with your magic or an artifact".
Helena shook her head as she was brought back to reality, freeing herself from the grasp of Morpheus. She looked in awe as Leonel opened his palm, revealing a glowing orb, the size of a pearl. She listened and nodded as he explained it's nature to both her and Mister Surreal. Once that was over, Helena stepped in and announced. "We will also continue to recruit those who can turn the tide in our favor. Once that is done, we will all meet here to discuss, draw up our strategy, and organize."
Basic post! Next post will surely be better :)
As the orb of reality continued to glow with its brilliant space-time energy, magic user could only watched with amazement in his eyes as to how such a masterpiece could be created from seemingly only the use of pure science. It was filled with vibrant ever shifting colors that were pleasing to both the eyes and the soul. Despite being a sorcerer, he had to be impressed with the level of almost divine intelligence that Leo had displayed to Helena and himself, it was a feat that anyone should be impressed by regardless of who they were and what they were capable of. While Matthew wielded magic on a daily basis that had capabilities millennia ahead of most of Earth’s scientific ability and think nothing of it, witnessing the miraculous works of someone else only to be in complete awe, it felt like he was on the other end of the stick when it came to showing off one’s power. Some people believed that magic was just an extremely confusing of science with unknown laws or simply a branch of science that had yet to be discovered, but Leonel came close to proving that magic was simply the next stage of science.
"This object is incredible, I can only imagine the amount of work and study that went into creating something such as this.", he said with his typically humble tone of voice. It was however not entirely true that Mister Surreal's understanding as to what this object was could only be to the extent of what his mind could think of on its own, he was no stranger to the feat on achieving an extremely taxing feat that required immense research and hard work to accomplish. He would spend many nights studying and practicing various incantations and rituals as a way of coming up with and establishing new types of spells that he and many others could utilize for a variety of reasons. It took him many sleepless nights and work fueled days to come up with anything that would allow him to implement an original spell into his daily life, it was difficult but the mage knew that if he was successful in his work it would be more than worth the trouble that he had given through in order to achieve it.
And here he could see the same thing, only to a much greater and bewildering degree with the construct made by none other than the Prince of Power himself and all of his glory to boost give his creation the display that it deserved. It was still captivating to watch as the ripple in space-time morphed and bent itself in all directions of the self-contained ball that would only grow more precious looking by the moment. Being almost lost in its appearance at the moment, Mister Surreal decided that it would be a good idea for him to actually input his advice as to what they should do with the ball of quantum power. "I could enhance the spacial aspect of this by using a type of combination of the magic that I use to create portals with my general enhancement capabilities, that wouldn't be too much of a complication. But the other aspect of this is time, while inherently linked to space my would still need me hone my abilities to an even greater degree."
The sorcerer rubbed his chin with thumb and index finger as if in deep thought, which was unsurprisingly exactly the case with the World Warper at this time. It had been quite a while since he had used his time manipulative abilities in a way that would be such an enormous risk to the fabric of the space-time continuum. "However, it is necessary that I use the full range of my abilities in order to effectively enhance this...strange occurrence." Matthew knew the dangers that could be unleashed from the bulk of space-time all too well, they were they very same type of dangers that he had spent the last ten years trying to track down and rid the world of. It was the very same type of magic that he would need to use in order to enhance Leo's creation that had helped contribute to the problem that he so desperately wanted to solve. He knew that if this was the rout that he would be taking, it would require him to do more research on the matter at hand and so some self discovering to boot.
Though before he could go into more detail, Helena spoke up on her two sense that she had to contribute to the whole conversation and as usual did not disappoint with the advice that she had to offer.
"We will also continue to recruit those who can turn the tide in our favor. Once that is done, we will all meet here to discuss, draw up our strategy, and organize."
"I completely agree, there is also the fact that we need to be prepare all of our resources at our disposal if we want to put ourselves in the best place possible to the victory in this war of ours. Which is why it is imperative that I immediately make myself in the best of conditions to accomplish this task." Mister Surreal knew that what he was going to need to do was no small feat, as he was not only messing with the fundamental pieces of existence but doing so with magic. "My current job is providing as much information as I can about the astral plane and giving myself the tools that I need to do it. I will meet with you both when I am ready, but for now I must train." And with that, the Sorcerer Supreme left with twirl of his wrist and the opening of a primal, to began his preparation for the greatest challenged that he has encountered yet: himself.
This post was actually quite troubling because the path that this would take was uncertain for Mister Surreal. i figured that it would be for the best to let him leave so that he could go off and do some soul searching. It also gives Shield-Maiden and Leo the chance to speak alone ;]
It was unheard of, to see a dreamer of science come together with a maker of magic. The Prince of Power discovered the hyper-spatial bulk - and built a structure to harness it. The Sorcerer Supreme unearthed spells to bend the arrow of time and fold the fabric of space. And together with a war goddess strong in both spirit and will, they would wipe out the greatest plague the cosmos had ever seen; the Abyssal Imperium. "Stay in touch, Surreal", Leonel nodded, watching the Sorcerer Supreme vanish just as the Hypercube pulled his orb of power back into it's heart. Turning round to lock eyes with Helena, Leonel swore he'd seen a crack in the steel mask she wore. She was a loner, like him. Yet as all living things do - mortal and gods alike - she yearned for the power of comfort.
Most warriors found it in battle, many thinkers found it in the solitude of their own thoughts. Leonel found it in both, and here, in Augusta. Helena however, he suspected had yet to find that power. And if she had, the Prince of Power had no doubt her moments of comfort were few and far between. "I'm going to take a guess at things, Helena", he began, striding along the table. How often did one who has touched the thermonuclear hearts of stars allow his feet to touch the ground? Rarely. But he was grounded by curious and interest. "Of course, I can't presume to be absolutely correct. That's why it's a guess", Leonel paused, strong arms crossed over his chest, and his eyes like two oceans for Helena to get stranded in. "But, from what I know and from what I can tell, you're a loner. Like me. Few friends and very secretive. It makes me wonder why someone so concerned with being distant and rejecting attachment, cares so much about Earth and it's people".
"It didn't make much sense, until I considered that this is how you connect to people without actually having to connect with them. Protecting the world, saving people, it makes you connect with the world and the people you save, even if only briefly. And it feels good, it makes you feel like you finally belong to something, to somewhere. After all, all these years running from whatever's haunting you probably takes it's toll on you. It never lets you settle or be at peace. You're always looking over your shoulder, always worried. Those few moments of comfort when you can connect to the world, to others, are temporary. Because something bigger's on your mind", Leonel paused, narrowing his gaze and never breaking from hers. "Something that's either convinced you it's too dangerous to let people in, or conditioned you not to trust others because of something that happened in the past".
"Whatever the case, if something's got you - a goddess - uneasy and apprehensive, it has to be something big. Something that worries me. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but you've probably convinced yourself that this is a journey you have to make on your own. That this shit shouldn't involve anyone else. But you don't have to". Leonel was no altruist, but he identified with Helena, found both a kindred spirit and Aphrodite's beauty in her. She interested him. "I may not have all the pieces to puzzle", he bantered, lips twitching into a small smirk, "But I know something about threats so powerful they isolate gods the way you isolate yourself because of whatever's chasing you. And it cost me an entire universe once", his smirk faded and his face wore something grim. "It took me a long time to realize I can't do everything on my own. That I'll need others".
"It's why I've allied with you, Surreal and others to help against the Imperium. Let me help you, Helena. Tell me, what's going on?".
Helena bid her final farewell to the revered sorcerer, as she watched him leave in a dramatic exit with just the flick of a wrist. Truthfully, she did not want him to go; she did not want to face her demons or be reminded of them. Believe it or not, she and Mister Surreal were becoming close, like brother and sister. At first, she despised their growing companionship, and tried to avoid it, but the Fates were cruel and already had other plans for her complicated life. Fate brought them together when Western Civilization was engulfed in complete darkness. It was there the two discovered their journeys were intertwined, like Jason and the Argonauts.
Now she stood, uncertain but tall, alone with Leonel, the Prince of Power. Their eyes met, clashing against each other like two swords in the heat of battle. Silence plagued them, but the sounds of technology danced around them. If Apollo and the Nine Muses were present, they would use the gifts of Hephaestus - the machinery and equipment scattered around the room, to produce music that would echo to the next millennia. "I'm going to take a guess at things, Helena" He broke silence, interrupting the concert of the Forge God, and Apollo's chance to release the greatest hit of all time. Her eyes followed his stride, as he moved alongside the table, like a Roman General observing the battlefield from a map. This was the moment he longed for since he had sought her out on that Cretan mountain. He wanted to know more about her - get closer - and build something, that would catch the eyes of Athenian Poets.
He could say he wanted her to conquer her disturbing past, so she could properly lead his gladiators into battle and realize her full potential, and that may be true, but she knew he had taken interest in her. Leonel, the loner, had fallen to the inducements of Aphrodite, or so it seemed. No man dared approach her the way he did, unless he was driven by love or lust. No man attempted to pry into her life the way he did, unless they deeply cared for her or her well-being. She had been with the Justice League Alliance for a bit, and none of them were as persistent as he was in getting her to open up and allow people in her life. She too began to stride along the table, but on the opposite direction. Her eyes, blue, and filled with what looked to be electricity attacking her pupil, stood locked with his oceanic eyes. His eyes attempted to drown her out, but she counteracted as the ocean feared electricity.
"But, from what I know and from what I can tell, you're a loner. Like me. Few friends and very secretive." He guessed correctly. She loved that he could make an educated guess, instead of just guesses. It showed her, that he was carefully observing her, which meant they were alike. It showed her he was an intelligent man. While that sounded pleasing and all, it also reminded her to be more discerning and prepared. If they were ever to become enemies, he could be her Achilles heel, and that vulnerability is something she refused to allow. While not a follower of the Christian God, she did admire certain teachings and lessons from His Bible.
"For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God’s house we walked in the throng." - Psalm 55: 12 -14
Those verses lingered in her head, reminding her to once again be cautious of those who stand by her side, and to ready a plan to defeat everyone she met. Both of them continued to dance around the table, until Leonel stopped in his tracks. She did not realize before, but the Prince of Power's feet were firmly planted on the ground, for the first time since they met. Was this done to make her comfortable or feel like they were equals? She was not certain. What she was certain of: She could fly and hover too. Helena kept this a secret from everyone she met, even her own adopted-daughter @raptor_prime. She also despised using the ability, as it only reminded her of her failure, and what she done to obtain it.
"It didn't make much sense, until I considered that this is how you connect to people without actually having to connect with them. Protecting the world, saving people, it makes you connect with the world and the people you save, even if only briefly. And it feels good, it makes you feel like you finally belong to something, to somewhere. After all, all these years running from whatever's haunting you probably takes it's toll on you. It never lets you settle or be at peace. You're always looking over your shoulder, always worried. Those few moments of comfort when you can connect to the world, to others, are temporary. Because something bigger's on your mind", He once again made an educated guess, but this time, he was only half-right. She stopped in her tracks, a few inches from him, and clenched her teeth without having to open her mouth. This is where everything would change. Helena Troy was finally opening up, and she despised it. "That is only a half-truth. Nevertheless, you are not entirely wrong," She admitted, not breaking away from his eyes one bit. Deep down though, she wanted to use her sword to teleport herself back to earth. "I assist those in need because I know what it's like to be pried on by the strong," She paused. The former princess couldn't believe she was doing this after so many years had passed, and so many potential companions she had pushed away.
"I know what it's like to be hunted, and hopeless in a tainted world. So when I see those in need, I come to their aid because it reminds me of when I was in need," She had to rip through her entrails to admit that. "Do not be mistaken; I conquered those who dared to hunt me, but only because of my training, wits, and the gifts that came with being half," She once again froze, and raised her palms to her face, as if her nature was a curse. "Divine," She closed her palm to a fist, before lowering them to her sides. "But I longed for someone to free me of this burden, to end this constant torment of being hunted. I was a child, Leonel, a child; I was on my own with no one to stand by my side. And while I was honed to survive on my own physically, spiritually, and mentally; I never thought I would be tormented for twenty three years with no explanation of why," One of her eyes slightly twitched at the reminder. "So the reason I aid people now stems from that. And now that I know what I am, I could use that to protect those who don't have my "gifts," and are tormented by the strong." She concluded with that.
"Whatever the case, if something's got you - a goddess - uneasy and apprehensive, it has to be something big. Something that worries me. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but you've probably convinced yourself that this is a journey you have to make on your own. That this shit shouldn't involve anyone else. But you don't have to." The Prince of Power reiterated what she had told him before Mister Surreal joined them. Nevertheless, it was true. Helena drew closer, a part of her wanted to plant a kiss against his lips, but she restrained herself, and instead moved her hand toward his cheek, attempting to rest it there. If he allowed it, she would slap his cheek gently. "You are getting soft on me, Prince of Power," She sort of bantered, even though she despised every moment of this. Deep down, she realized Aphrodite and her children, almost got the drop on her, but she was fast enough to "deflect the arrows loosed at her, and mentally strong enough to resist the inducements of Aphrodite." The last words that were uttered by Leo "But you don't have to," attacked her heart, as if the Goddess of Love had hijacked his body, and poured nothing but power and emotion into those last words.
Despite her hatred toward opening up, Helena was at least glad the person she opened up to was Leo. The two had their philosophical differences, but as he stated once before, they were alike in many ways. For once in her life, she was glad to have someone who wanted to be in her life, and assist her in her journey. "You are correct though. I refuse to allow anyone in because this journey is mine to bare alone, or at least that's how I feel. After spending so many years alone, why do I need aid now? Especially now that my answers await me in Delphi," She slightly backed away from him to give him some room, but her eyes still rested on his.
"But I know something about threats so powerful they isolate gods the way you isolate yourself because of whatever's chasing you. And it cost me an entire universe once", He talked about his home once more, and from the way he talked about it, his universe did not exist anymore. Another thing, they had in common. Atholis was in another dimensional plane, and it's entrance was hidden somewhere on Mount Olympus, the actual mountain. While Leo's universe seemingly was destroyed, she was banished from Atholis, with no way of ever returning back - unless her mother granted her access once more. Like the Prince of Power wanted to know more about her, the demigod warrior found herself wanting to know more about him and his universe. "By the Gods, what is happening?" She mentally said, realizing she was compromising her vow to herself and Artemis.
"It's why I've allied with you, Surreal and others to help against the Imperium. Let me help you, Helena. Tell me, what's going."He pushed further, and for the first time ever, she caved - but only because she wanted to. "Where do I even begin?"
There was no mistaking the smile of desire in her eyes as their gazes held. With no more than an inch between them, Helena's chest rose and fell, and his ears caught the pace in her breath. Yet as his cape brushed the sides of her ankles, Helena did as she always had - resist and push back. Her hand stroked his cheek like a soft gust of air, but as she sought to slap it like a gale, the Prince of Power caught her hand with his own, and her waist with his arm. With a smirk, he recalled her teasing hum of her words.
"You are getting soft on me, Prince of Power"
"So? That a bad thing?", Leonel bantered, head tilting an inch to the left, and his eyes daring - challenging - her as he always had. But just as it'd come, the moment passed and Helena drew her feet back to withdraw from the warmth of his frame and pull of his gaze. "Independent to the point of your own detriment", he paused, the amusement smiling on his face, "It's strange. Where we're different, we're very different. But where we're similar? We're alarmingly so". Though as his mind pulled back to Helena's account of her difficult past, the smiles and amusement were quick to fade from his face. The weight of her past sat heavy on her back like a mountain. And to it, she surrendered much, like the pride she should have in her own godhood. "Pride in your godhood. Don't forget that", Leonel reminded.
"You were hunted because they were scared of what you could become. It's not the first time in history that those in power sought to eliminate those whom they believed threatened that power. It's funny", he paused, his chuckle held behind his smile, "That the full-blooded gods have more of the human flaw than the demigoddess". Fate had been kind to neither of them - only merciful. Fate had allowed Helena to survive but shackled her to isolation from family and friends. Fate had allowed Leonel to escape the death of his universe, but now it judged him for it. "As for where do you begin... tell me from the start. What happened? And what's happening? And Delphi, I'll help you with that, if you'll have me considering how stubborn you are", he bantered, his smirk returning.
"You may not need help, but can you really say you wouldn't like to have a day where you don't have to constantly look over your shoulder? At worst, you won't be doing it alone".
It all happened too fast, and while she could of avoided the entrapment, she found herself premising it. Leonel caught her like a Venus Flytrap - her hand encompassed by his hand - his arm wrapped around her waist like an anaconda. Her eyebrow quirked from amusement, but her face read she did not want to entertain this longer. It was a mistake to daringly approach him, knowing full well she could not allow attachments to fester. She blamed Aphrodite, her infuriating children, and Apollo, for this whole mix-up. Apollo for allowing this "ailment" they called love to spread within her essence. To be fair, she did ask for it when she playfully slapped him, but that only was a veil to conceal what she truly intended to do.
"So? That a bad thing?", She was playfully teased as usual. "It depends," A smirk slid across her lips, as she purposely took the banter to heart. "If it blinds you from winning the war, then yes. Can't have you distracted from doing what needs to be done in order to achieve victory. If my fate is to sacrifice myself during our fight with the Ancient One, you must accept that." She removed her trapped hand from his cheek, and tapped his chest with the back of her palm - his arm still wrapped around her waist. The former princess observed his facial features one last time before pulling away - as she intended. Like the Roman Emperor, Commodus, Leonel was as handsome and imposing as the legendary Hercules of Roman Myth. The similarities ended there as Commodus believed himself to be the reincarnation of Hercules, while the Prince of Power obviously had no intention of being anyone but himself. She had to admit, the heat that radiated from his body, made her question whether she should pull away - his warmth eased her burdens, and made her feel as if she could confide in him with no sense of worry. But having the psychological resilience of three-hundred Spartans holding Thermopylae with their Greek allies, kept her from falling to Aphrodite's little game.
"Independent to the point of your own detriment", He gave her that entertained look, as if he were a Roman Emperor overlooking a gladiatorial arena. How ironic it was to think she could not trust the man she stood before today - yet here she was, pouring the darkest secrets of her life to him. She was certain she would not make him a companion on that mountaintop, but the Fates once again had other plans. Helena could picture the Goddess of Love laying on a mattress, indulging herself with fruits and ambrosia, as she made a mockery of the demigod. She could hear her enchanting laughter in her head. "Everyone loves." The soothing "voice" of the Goddess mocked.
"It's strange. Where we're different, we're very different. But where we're similar? We're alarmingly so". The Prince of Power said, bringing her back to reality and drowning out the imaginative voice in her head. "That I can agree, but," She paused for a brief moment to gather her composure. She was bothered by the fact that Aphrodite was waging a war against her vows to maintain celibacy. While she no longer was a member of the Sisters of Artemis, she still believed in abstinence. "Never mind. It would seem my days of baring this journey alone is over." She said - both of her nostrils sniffled, as if the thought of no longer being alone irradiated her.
"Pride in your godhood. Don't forget that", Leonel objected, realizing she was not satisfied with being a demigod. How could she though? This nature has only brought confusion, torment, and various trials and tribulations. One might say the most revered demigods recorded in Greek history had their fair share of suffering, and while that might be true; none had experienced what she had been through. "There is nothing to be prideful about, Leo. As you can see the Gods have bestowed humanity with extradentary gifts, and laid out a clear path for them. Being of my nature is no longer a gift, as many are ten times that of a demigod. Most individuals whether heroic or not know what they fight for - they know how they came to be the individual they are today - I do not have such luxury," She paused once more, hoping she was not sounding like a spoiled child. "Do not mistake me; There are those out there who can relate to my journey, but - they are the minority compared to the majority." Helena concluded.
"You were hunted because they were scared of what you could become. It's not the first time in history that those in power sought to eliminate those whom they believed threatened that power. It's funny", She listened as he spoke nothing but words of wisdom. It's true, as seen with the story of Kronos. The Titan King was led by fear after slewing his father, and hearing his final words that one day one of his six children would overthrow him in the same fashion he overthrew his very own father. "That the full-blooded gods have more of the human flaw than the demigoddess". But while the Prince of Power's words were sound and filled with truth, there was still a major hole in his argument regarding her. "Humanity was sculpted by Prometheus, and then tainted by the Gods through Pandora. So indeed: The flaws that we are burden with, stem from the Gods very own flaws." She added onto his statement, before focusing her attention on the hole to his previous statement. "But, I am no threat to the reign of Zeus. If anything, he should have targeted my mother when she was born. There must be more to the story, and that is what I intend to find out on Delphi." She concluded.
As for where do you begin... tell me from the start. What happened? And what's happening? And Delphi, I'll help you with that, if you'll have me considering how stubborn you are", This was it: The moment where she would become vulnerable and talk about her life for the first time in years. Could she say for certain she trusted the Prince of Power? No. But there was no reason to suspect he was an enemy. While she was violating everything she swore upon, which troubled her greatly; she still accepted that this was now the Will of the Fates. "If you insist, but" She held up a finger. "We will trade stories among one another. I share a piece of my story with you, and you share a piece of your story with me. No deception, no excuses, and no hesitation; those are the rules." Helena offered, before starting with the beginning of her story. "I was born in Pallas, the Capitol of an Island called Atholis. Believe it or not, it's in another dimensional plane, while it's entrance is concealed in Greece." She was no fool to give up the actual location of her home to someone she just met. Even if he did deduce the actual location of the gateway, it was sealed with magic foreign to her. Still, Leo was impressively brilliant, and it would be unwise for her to risk the chance of exposing the location to someone as persistent as him. "My mother, Athena, who I believed to be mortal all my life was the Queen. She went by the name Queen Athenais," She said, hoping he did not take her for a fool for not deducing the true nature of her mother. "As evident as that sounds, take into account that the island was inspired by Greece. We worship the Gods, and bare names that honor them. So a woman baring the name Athenais, is not unheard of," Helena explained.
"I never knew my father. Some say he was as wise as Athena, and as sly as Hermes. Our enemies said he fought with the ferocity of a bear, and used his wits against his opponents. My mother said during the battle with New Rome, he fell on the battlefield - devoured by a creature called the Wolf Titan. I have never heard of such creature, but according to my mother, it took three-hundred men to slay it from existence. My father's name was Ivar the Wise." She frowned. Raised with no father and just hearing the stories of a man she never knew impacted her a lot growing up. "As for me: I was the overly curious princess. My curiosity bore my mother many troubles - it brought me many troubles. I would say even till this day, my curiosity is my greatest enemy. Isn't it ironic that a daughter of Athena, born with immense knowledge and wisdom, desperately craved more knowledge and wisdom? It was as if my mind was missing certain pieces of a puzzle board." She rubbed her chin in thought.
"As for why I am no longer a princess and with my people: It was during the Winter Solstice when it happened - the day of the year when darkness and ancient magic is at it's peak. Pallas was invaded by the most formidable creatures in Greek history, on all fronts. How they infiltrated our defenses is still a mystery to me, but I am certain sorcery was at play. Our people were massacred, our infrastructure reduced to ash, and Pallas was going to crumble before my eyes. My mother must of predicted this day would come; she looked as stern as usual. She rushed me to the outskirts of the city, and demanded that I find the gateway to earth. She said no harm would come to me there, and that when this was over, she would return for me. I wanted to fight with my people, but my mother did not take no for an answer. She said her farewells, and bestowed me with the gifts you see before me," She gestured to her sword, lasso, and vambraces. The rest of her divine itemswere back at the JLA headquarters. "Of course, I did not listen - at least at first. I took off into the forest, which was just as treacherous as the invasion." Helena concluded the first part of her story. "Your turn, Prince of Power."
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