Main Event Winner!
Hall Of Fame!
Survival - 12 Wins!
Team: The Fallen
Personal Wins: 12
Personal Losses: 3
Joe Two-Teeth was as skinny as a rifle barrel and twice as tall, which is to say that he wasn't very tall at all. The rain gave him a smell not unlike a wet rat, which, coincidentally enough, was exactly how the inhabitants of Lowtown would describe the man. Presently, he was sitting on a rusted lawnchair meant for small children, eating a jar of garlic pickles. Glass shattered in his jaw as his two teeth, both in their sixty-four inch wide glory, crushed the jar between them. He smiled as he first ground the shards into a fine powder and then swallowed. He wrung the water from his red cap into a nearby trashcan lid before taking another bite. "Lemme tell ya, lemme tell ya, I used to be big. BIG!" He nudged the soaked man in the black cloak squatting beside him with his elbow. "I had 'em all crying in the night. I was why children locked their doors at night, why parents wouldn't let their children walk into the woods at night, why the night became so god damned fearsome in the first place! Me! S'all me, I tell ya!" He sipped the vaguely reddish liquid from the trashcan lid before wiping his mouth on his sleeve. "And then some... Hero... Comes along and track me down. He says to me, hey, you're the one eating all those children and I says to him, I reckon I am and what's it to ya and all that jazz. Well, he says to me, I think you should stop that or else see this vorpal sword here, I'll make it go snicker snack on your poor little bottom. Well, I know how these stories always turn out, so I decide to go against the grain and do what he well says. No one's going snicker-snack on my bottom, I'll tell you what." Joe Two-teeth licked his fingers. "An 'at's how I got here to Khazan. Didn't seem like there were many other places to go. Course, I don't much mind, there's plenty to eat, good places to live and people fear the god-damned night here like proper people should." Two-teeth chuckled and nudged the black cloaked man with his elbow again, this time a little harder. Let it be known that Joe Two-Teeth wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the box, but something seemed to click in his head at the end of his last sentence. "Say... You don't talk much, do you?" The black cloaked man squatted silently. "'At's alright, my ma wasn't much of a talker either, though she wasn't much of a ma either, if'n you get my drift. Where you from anyway? You don't got the scent of a Khazan native, and I'm a connoisseur of these things, not to toot my own horn, you know." The man in the black cloak didn't say anything for a while. The tattered cloak would have swayed in the breeze if it weren't already waterlogged. The man tightened the grip of his nearly skeletal fingers around a staff easily twice as tall as Joe. Just as the redcap was about to ask whether he heard him properly, an emaciated jaw opened and a wet, hacking cough emerged. The black cloaked man spat and what one could only hope was saliva began to eat a small hole in the pavement. Then, he spoke. His voice made the rain seem like a hot shower upon his now clammy, cold skin. "I am from a place that is neither cold nor dark, but in that absence is colder and darker than you even imagine. It does not have the reassuring properties of most places, such as time, space, light, darkness, temperature, or energy. It is not a reassuring place. But it is my place." The man didn't seem like he was taking pride in this fact, nor was he condemning it. He was simply stating it. The redcap couldn't see the man's face behind the hood of the cloak. "Doesn't sound like a very nice place, if I must say so myself" Joe Two-Teeth said in an attempt to recover what confidence he still had. The next sentences dashed it to bits while the ones after that pissed on the remains. "It is neither good nor bad. It is simply that which must be. It is in everything that breaks down, everything that falls apart. It is in the wars, the decays, the forgotten memories and broken homes. It is the way of things, our only real constant. One day, light and darkness shall annihilate each other in their mutual hatred while order and chaos will lose all that distinguishes one from another. Creation shall wind its springs down to dust all while the universe slides into the embrace of the Void. In the end, it is the Void that shall remain. As it always has. I know this shall not happen today, nor will it happen tomorrow, or next week, or next century or so on and so forth. All I know is that it will happen eventually. And when that eventuality arises, I will be there. The Void always endures. Heroes rise and gods are born, yet the Void still remains. Servants are slain, portals are closed and champions of light return home victorious. Yet the Void still remains. It cannot be destroyed, for destruction will never turn on its master. The Void still remains." And then, to Joe Two-Teeth's horror, the man in the black cloak turned to him and he finally got to see what was underneath the hood. The man opened his mouth again and he revealed a tongue black and bloated lolling around a mouth full of blood. "Yes, I do not speak with this thing's tortured vocal cords, as they faded away and rotted ages ago. I am only... Borrowing... This body. Until I can find a new one, a better one. It was difficult enough recovering my ego, stitching together concepts like 'Self' and 'I' and 'Memory' and 'Drive.' These things, too, break down and decay within my place of power. A body would have been all but impossible in the Void." His voice reverberated through Joe's entire skeleton despite the fact that it barely registered as a whisper. Joe wanted to run. His legs wouldn't listen. It was as if someone had dropped a tub of ice into his stomach before sipping the chilly acid from the inside out. Some sort of hidden instinct that told him to run as fast and as far as he could. Somehow, something about this stranger suppressed every one of those instincts. "I used to be big too. I used to send entire planes of existence screaming into the great unmaking before crumbling into dust and then nothing as the hungry Void claimed every last speck of matter there. I have unraveled the very essence of great heroes and leveled all traces of their homes from ever having existed in the first place. I have single-handedly assaulted afterlives and slain the pathetic excuses for gods inside. More recently, I have been very interested in Khazan. Do you know the nature of the ground you sit upon?" Joe Two-Teeth thought that the man's voice was as dry as bones bleached in the hot desert sun. It was like a bowstring that would snap at any second. "Khazan," said the man, "Is all. It is the nexus of all reality, the byway by which all reality is linked, center of the infinite, as contradictory as this might sound. It is here that I have spent most of my attentions recently. It is here that I have met my greatest frustrations. I have been close, so close, to plunging the whole of reality into the Void. Twice, I have stood at the cusp of victory. Twice, I have been... Frustrated. I remember a pain. It seared me in this, a world devoid of pain, an unwelcome intrusion of passion, or energy in a place which has no passion, which abhors energy. In a silent room, the smallest whisper echoes. Imagine, then, how an opera must sound. This is to what I compare the assault the Avatar of Universe, Seryph Gibbons, performed upon me in my own realm. It... Burned me. There is no other word for it. It began as a warmth in my center and slowly spread outwards, growing brighter and hotter with each passing second. This was no fire, though, that seared my very essence - I have endured the hearts of stars thrown at me from the best and brightest mages in reality. This was the very stuff of existence, the very form of reality, of Universe, channeled into me at once. For a brief, searing moment, I remember being filled with every reality, being filled with existence. Not a lot was clear at that time. The thing, though, that I remember most vividly, was surprise. As I looked down at the sword in my midsection, I remember thinking that he should not be able to do this. In my place of power, he had harmed me. In a formless realm, he managed to bind me to form before striking it. Piecing myself together after that conflict... The process lasted geological ages, but what is time in the Void? I have crawled from that place, back into reality, because there is still much work to be done. I sense... Something... In the air. Some grand reason I must be here, now, in Khazan. The time is right, yes?" Joe Two-Teeth was frozen to the chair. If what the stranger was saying was barely a whisper, his own voice had become a whisper to a whisper. "You're Quietus. Back after all these years." Quietus rose, bones popping into place, sinew screaming as he attempted to gain an upright, regal posture and failed. He leaned on his staff, back hunched. "Reality yearns for peace and the grave. When I am finished, not even the grave shall remain." An eyebrow raised Joe Two-Teeth's bones emerged from his flesh, not even a scream escaping with his final breath." I am Quietus. And I have returned."
Khazan... So much has changed since I touched you last. Buildings I once viewed from the Fallen Tower stand no longer and are replaced with new ones. The air smells of magic, of smog, of hope and despair. And... Demons? Angels? It seems an apocalypse has struck the Nexus in my absence. The Avatar who dispatched me is Avatar no longer and the damnable Legendary Hero prepares to pass his title to someone who does not yet know what a prison being that Hero is. How auspicious is this time of my return - with any luck, those equipped to oppose me will lack the same mettle that has frustrated me twice before. The Marauders have been taken over by an icey upstart but remain the same ineffectual band of thugs they have always been. The Fallen, though, have undergone a most interesting change. I often wondered, the last time I was here, what they would do in my eventual absence. Apparently some crude council is meant to fill the power vacuum. It makes sense - anything less and they would dissolve into outright civil war within weeks. The members that make up this council, though, are impressive to say the least. The Dancer, the Angel, the Devil, the Time Traveler and the one who is Just a Man. An irksome bunch. And powerful. But useful. It would not be prudent to reveal myself to them, to Khazan, at the present moment - the Council is much too powerful and I am still far too weak. But that doesn't mean I cannot reassert control over my errant organization while I bide my time and recover my strength. That is the first order of business. I sense much turmoil within the Council anyway, and that turmoil can be harnessed as all entropy becomes my tool to use. I shall remain in the background with neither the Council nor the Heroes none the wiser as to my return, neither one aware that the actions of the Fallen are soon falling in step with the desires of the Void.
Ah, the plutocrat. Dollar builds his cities, his starfleets, his planets, his empire, in the hopes that his legacy may one day outpace the reach of the Void. It's quite touching, really, to see one blow against the hurricane for as long as he does. For Dollar knows he is not the first to achieve such an empire, though hopes to be the last. He has seen grand armies surrender to nothing, defeated by no one, only to find their greatest enemy was not another army but rather time itself, flowing on and grinding all that they accomplished beneath its pitiless heel. Every single one of them thought they could outlast, outlive, and outwit entropy only to find their name relegated first to historians' textbooks and then to nothing as their name, like their cities, scatter like dust among the stars. The charming thing about Dollar is that he perpetuates the very same psychology that all these emperors before him possessed - that his is the supreme. That, while other empires may have crumbled into dust within one thousand, two thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand years, his will not. Somehow, he thinks he can ignore the precedent of history and believe that his is the empire that shall be different and break the terrible trend that has repeated millions of times before. How quaint. He has accomplished more in the short time he has existed than almost any other emperor, to this I credit him. But, ultimately, his empire will suffer the same fate as all empires and he the fate of all emperors: extinction.
Until then, though, Dollar is remarkably useful. His very existence contributes to entropy - octillions of lives are lost only to create things which shall never last anyway. He sows the seeds of destruction and instability wherever the Dollarcorp banner falls. His forces stretch far and wide and his resources are legion. And, under my careful control, Dollar will utilize these resources to destroy my enemies, to aid my plans, and further bind reality into a suffocating gilded straightjacket from which it is impossible to escape while I complete my master stroke.
The Dancer. I don't even have to try with this one. The Secret Dance recognizes its master, after all. For does not the Secret Dance reenact every destructive moment with each step the dancer takes? Does it not infect more and more of the mind with every twirl, every jump, every punch and kick? Is not its ultimate goal the same as my own - the absolute destruction of everything? Is it not a physical, lyrical manifestation of the very Void it seeks to return all reality to? The man who once sought to control that which is uncontrollable, to control that which eventually wound up controlling him, the noble, aristocratic, jaded man... He is fading fast every day. The Dance shall soon be finished consuming him. When that is done, he shall be more than a pawn like the others - he shall be the hand which moves the pawn, a younger, stronger extension of myself. The Dark Dancer sees intricacies in every movement and possesses a talent for linking these same intricacies in ways that can only be called brilliant. With his tactical mind, my takeover of the Fallen and then Khazan is all but inevitable. His power is my power. From behind the scenes, I shall direct that power to my own ends.
Super Speed: Superior
The Time Traveler, a tragic case if I ever saw one. Despite his valiant opposition to me and my kind, he has played right into my hands. To prevent the end of reality as he knows it, he has stretched space and time to the breaking point, destroyed entire worlds, made suns go nova prematurely, tortured, killed, made deals with dark powers that share many of my own goals and scattered many minds into the four temporal winds. He has turned the past, present and future upside down with his subtle machinations, destroyed entire universes with temporal paradoxes, and made the very essence of reality in some places as taffy and he still thinks he is FIGHTING destruction! His level of self delusion manages, somehow, to SURPASS that of Marc Dollar's and that is no small feat. He has made the very structure of reality weak and malleable, perfectly infiltratable for things beyond the dimensional veil to break through and cause all untold havoc. The Chronomancer won't tell you, for example, that after he retroactively prevented a nebula from forming, a sentient cloud of quadratic functions consumed the entire galaxy before it starved to death. He also won't let you know that destroying the first set of proteins in a distant star system destroyed the internal logic of that universe and caused it to break down within a fifth of a second. He does not like to admit his mistakes. His quest is all that matters and it is through this avenue that he who should be my greatest foe becomes one of my most useful pawns. Anything can be made, eventually, to be of interest to him in the context of his fruitless quest against decay. The Time Traveler, for all his power, is an idealist and idealists are most easily molded into perfect soldiers. His control over the very flow of time itself shall no doubt come in handy in the trials to come.
Iron Will: Supreme
The Angel. What many angels don't perceive is that there are Heavens and Hells beyond their own. There are as many Heavens as there are living, sentient, beings in reality that are able to conceive of Heaven. In many of them, Lucifer fell because of Pride. I have found, in my years breaking down pearly gates and wearing the rainbow blood of slaughtered angels, "angelic pride was not a sin endemic to Lucifer". One of Zalrafel's many quotes in his oft cited writings, sold in the more blasphemous bookstores in Khazan. No, many angels are unable to perceive that their Heaven is not the only Heaven and that their God is but one of billions, trillions, eight hundred thousand septillions. All angels, even the fallen ones like our little Zalrafel here, are so full of self importance and pride that the concept that their God might not be special, unique, simply does not occur to them. And, of course, almost no angel really catches on to this, for no mortal explorer ever gains access to Heaven, and all angels still on their God's side agree that theirs is a loving, kind God and the Fallen ones all agree that theirs is an ultimate prick of a God. Some do perceive this and go mad. Still, I find the very concept of Heaven an amusing one in and of itself - it's perceived to be eternal, perfect, good. Yet, I myself know they are far from eternal. I have destroyed many Heavens, some full of souls that have been there for thousands of years or more, and sunk them into the sweet emptiness of the Void. Heaven is nothing more than a waiting room for me to arrive and relegate your paradise to nothingness. Some Heavens are mighty while some fall like grain in the breeze. They all fall eventually, though, as all falls eventually. Despite this, the other angels still live on, still think theirs is the One and all other Heavens are mere shadows to the glory of THEIR one true Heaven with their one true God. This delusion, these blinders, make angels ridiculously easy to manipulate, even, once more for feeling, our little Zalrafel, who hasn't been in Yahweh's good graces for well over a millennia so far. His anger, his inability to contextualize and see the big picture of his conflict, makes him the perfect tool for the Void. His hatred for Man, the Host and God will eventually consume first him and then reality as all he cared to save as well as all he cared to damn slips into the Void, the only real eternal certainty in this reality.
The Demon. One whose very essence is manipulation, he will be a difficult one to control with any real degree. Still, the demon appears very involved with his own schemes at the moment to begin detecting my own. When he's not busy counter offenses from the rest of the Council, he seems to be occupied with his own little game within this dark organization. Perhaps something to do with all the newcomers? Perhaps he seeks to gain control by sponsorship of the most promising members - knowing that this method failed against he himself. I always respected the forces of Hell much more than the those of Heaven anyway - at least the lowlies in Hell show some spine. Still, Hell makes, essentially, the same mistake that Heaven does in the belief that their realm is eternal. They have their beliefs half right when they genuinely believe that Heaven will fall. They never take that option into account for themselves, however, and thus they show the same weaknesses of their angelic brethren. Those of the Dark can be led astray by the same factors that keep the Light running in circles - by supporting their eternal opposition to each other. The conflicts between these two forces have been among the most destructive in the history of reality. It has always been within the Void's best interest, then, to prolong this conflict as long as possible. Keep him running and eventually nudge him in the direction you would like him to run. In the end, then, all shall be resolved.