Original ► Clash of Two Gods - Challenge to Bonechill



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Just a warm-up challenge. Hopefully I'll get back into the mood for Roleplaying and be able to contribute around the section again.

So, to being. Details.

Intensely powerful characters are encouraged; for example, a level 9 or above on Lord of Chaos' power scale. These powers may be bound to an object, much like our last battle - Twilight Versus the Cold - or ingrained into the being of the character. The environment will be in flux, depending on the fighters' moods. Take extreme rage, for example. Suddenly, a huge gap appears between the two combatants. It takes the briefest of moments for the heat and light to hit you. A volcano has been forged by the emotional status of the two gods. You get the picture, right? Oh, and for our benefit, templates needn't be posted.

Well, without further ado, I invite you to post first. Don't go easy on me, you hear. Now. Let the clash of us gods... begin!
 

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He had made a deal with the Devil. Joshua was crippled after his last defeat, left to die and rot in hell; and in an event of irony he did go to hell. It was a scorching hot place for a teen of Josh's icy cold temperature. The place degraded him, sucked the life out of him, bothered him. Fortunately Joshua was noticed by the Devil and restored to life at a price; you see the Devil was a smart man to realize Joshua had destructive potential, but he could be more than that.
He was made a deal: Become a master of the elements and regain the title of living, lose your ability to speak. Joshua accepted the deal almost immediately, not even caring about losing the ability to communicate with others. People weren't interesting anyway, to a God at least.

With that Joshua left the burning Kingdom of Hell with full control over Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Ice and Lightning. He went to take a deep breath, received nothing and realized he had no mouth.
Oh.
Joshua readjusted his scarf to cover the empty space on his face where a mouth once was, brushed dust off of his now tattered and black coat fitted his fedora to his head and took in his surroundings.
Well, this is not the Arena by any means. It is not as hot as the burning Hells, but warmer than home. My Keys, are they still here?
The God checked his hands and in a moment of sadness realized his Keys were gone. Keys leave their owner when they die, and that's exactly what happened to Joshua. He shrugged. He could survive without them, all these elements inside of him had magnified his physical strength tenfold.
I can still feel my bones too, so the Devil didn't steal that power. Now that I think of it I could've just killed the Devil after I got these powers. Damn.
 

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Usane looked into the sky. It was overcast, as if it was unsure of what was to be. He turned his head to the ground and make a glance from left to right. The landscape was much the same. Some trees were withered as if winter still froze their boughs, others shedding crisp orange leaves. Some looked like they had just broken free of winter's grip, the remainder looked like summer was in full bloom. It was annoying beyond anything. Because it fit the scene perfectly. The clouds choked all but the brightest of light, the wind was stagnant, and the land writhed with hills of inconsistent gradients.

He stretched his body across and out. Not in the literal sense though. That would just be weird.

Usane had been under many names. He had possessed many powers. He had been of a thousand appearances. But never had he been so powerful. He was done with the name Tomas, and had forsaken his Keys for the very power he had sworn to eradicate. He had begone of Sui, the armor and moon that had offered him haven. He was now content. Give it a few million lifetimes and he was sure his mood would change.

He waved his hands, and glorious sunbeams struck through the clouds. They glanced on his body, and he smiled. The place where he was had a vague feel of the Arena. As the smile touched his eyes and left his lips, the sunlight seemed to get just a bit brighter. Was it him, or... no. He could not make that assumption now. He would wait.

Usane towered over the area around him, his frame tougher than nails. He stretched again, turned his head, and felt the heat flood his body. He stood taller than any man could hope, two hundred and twenty centimetres. Each inch of his body was taut, or at least without fat. Usane supposed he could transform it again into something less elegant and more practical, but where's the fun in that. Besides, strength was beyond the physical now.

He turned his head forwards again. Huh, that's weird. Was it him, or had the hills and slopes moved? They angled inwards now... forming a sort of path. Usane had enough experience with this kind of thing. It was rare that his instinct was wrong. It also explained what he had sense before. Fate, beyond even his own comprehension, wanted him to wander down this lane. Who was he to defy it?
 

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Joshua had started walking along a path that was, out of all the dark grass in the area, flattened. It was as if something had been through here, definitely not human by any means, as the path was perfectly flat with a defined edge. He looked into the distance to see if the path continued and to his delight it did. The path started to have light brown patches of dirt replacing segments that had once been covered by the beautiful dark grass. Since being brought back to the world of the living Joshua had started to go into a mental debate over religion.

Originally Joshua was a strict atheist, completely dismissing any and all religions as being based on characters who did not exist, then he moved to an agnostic point of view on religion. Now he didn't know what to think.
I have met the Devil himself, He thought. Does this mean that there is a God? Other than me and that Tomas individual? I have so much to think about now, so much to tell. I wonder what I should do now. Attending Church doesn't sound very exciting.
Joshua looked up at the sky, his now completely black eyes taking in the cloudy sky before he made numerous clouds descend to him. He smirked, he'd get the hang of these new elements very soon it seemed. He shut his eyes and the clouds vanished.
Wait. He had seen something when he shut his eyes, so he shut them again. There was a static light into the distance, surrounded by the darkness inside of Josh's eyelids. It was like electricity, but moving. Moving around and a large, curved thing. Joshua opened his eyes again and saw the curved thing. It was a few hills. Something was moving around those hills.

Joshua came to quick conclusion.
The static light he had seen was the electric brainwaves of a thing, or to put it formally a humanoid individual. He continued to move. Whoever that would be, if worthy, would suffer the wrath of Joshua, God of the Elements. A little training isn't bad.
 

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Usane had many eyes. Not on his physical form. That would remove the air of elegance that clouded his body. It was just one extension of his power. He had been watching the whole time he walked, and he had noticed a few subtle changes, imperceptible flickers in landscape. As he had thought, it responded to how people, or things really, felt. Of course, it had been changing at a few odd times. That would only suggest one thing. There was someone else here. Then again, how big was 'here'. Furthermore, wherever in his own name was 'here'?

Too much for now. So, he set back onto the task of walking and watching. Watching was something that he had become very good at. Necessity forces a lot of things upon one. Even one so divine as a god. So, it was as he watched and noticed the hills steepen, the grass sharpen, and the rocks harden that he came upon another conclusion. Not only had he decided that there definitely was someone here, but that they were close by. Usane, not-Tomas, decided on a fact very quickly. Much faster than a mortal mind could decide.

If there were this close, in this place, they were to be reckoned with. There had been some instability with The Kingdom Below recently. Lucifer was awakening from a lapse in his rage, and it was all pointing to one thing. War. War in Heaven. That would surely spell death for everything mortal, and for most not. Some would survive, and come to rebuild. Unless the Devil won. Then all would crumble, and everything that was, will be, and won't would be cast into oblivion.

He'd probed some more. Attuning his senses over that which was his, he watched. Someone strode, down the very same path he did. They were exuding huge power. They were a physical form. And they were without a mouth. That was pretty much the end of all doubt. It was an emissary of Lucifer of some sort. There was no way that Satan would provide someone, now something, else with a considerable chunk of his power... not without restrictions. More questions, and his mind replied with more rapid answers. The benefits of being divine.

There was only one answer. It became clear as, he or it, got ready for combat. It must have noticed him. How did not matter. Only that it had, and that he must now react. So that is what he did. In a split second, he captured the sun's light, willed it to blast away the remaining cloud-cover, and surrounded his body in dazzling armor. The armor covered his whole body, aside from his face. Topaz gems glittered and absorbed sunlight, refracting it into a hundred thousand directions. An invisible barrier was raised by the bounds of the reflected sunbeams.

He flicked his wrists, and forced his attention onto the figure once again. It was coming. But he was ready. Superhot light gathered into his palms, and he began to connect to the stars in the sky. If Satan or his emissary wanted a war, then a massacre he would get.
 

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Too close, getting uncomfortable.
Whatever was coming had some sort of power, itching at the back of his mind. It was like fear, Joshua realized, but it was not his own. It was something else fear, something darker's. Something within him. Joshua went to turn around, head in the opposite direction and carry on as if nothing had happened. But he didn't.
'Run you fool,' He heard within his mind, not startling the God at all. He had come to a conclusion, something he was getting good at, that another being's thoughts were within him; trying to control him.
Devil, you were not invited into my conscience. Leave now.
'Regarding the contract that you failed to read, I have full power over your body when and where I seek a presence within the mortal realm. On the note of wanting to continue to have a presence inside of the mortal realm I insist you adjust your current course.' The Devil's seductive voice echoed inside of Joshua, frustrating the God further.
You lack confidence in me demon. I have powers granted by you, Lord of Hell, enough to shape a country into my own image. In a better bargain, enough to storm the Heavens; granting they even exist. He looked up into the sky in thought. Heaven would have to exist, would it not? There is a Hell after all.
'That does sound interesting, but storming into the Heavens would be out of your power, boy.'
I am no mere boy.

Joshua held his hat and vanished into the slight breeze provided by the wondrous thing that is nature; carrying him to a hill that was rising in height. He reappeared physically and watched his foe from a distance. There was no doubt he would have already been spotted by whatever powers the enemy had.
​I recognize the stench. It is him. The one that sent me to you, Devil.

'Fleeing is still an option.' Muttered the Devil, almost childishly.
You haven't seen my combat expertise, demon. I recall only just losing to this man when I only had Ice to fight with. He didn't mention that he had his Keys with him at the battle, he no longer required them now with the large arsenal of abilities he had. Yet he felt a space in him was now empty without them, they had been with him for so long and were gone. Now witness a grand fight Devil, a clash of two Gods is about to occur.
A blade of grass blew past Joshua and the teen grabbed it, examined it and summoned more to him; all of these floated around him as they were set alight with flames before he fired each one at Tomas. Joshua then vanished into the air again, appearing at the opposite side on a parallel hill. Had the other God noticed him? Yes, there was no doubt his foe would already know his presence before he sent the fire at him. It was now just a matter of out doing the opponent and Joshua did not want to go back to hell. That place was too hot.
 

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A few bare slopes separated them now. They were getting perilously close; if neither backed out now, then confrontation was sure. And confrontation between one of Above and one of Below spells only one thing: death. Was there truly death for an omnipotent, all-powerful? Did they cease to be, or did they just fade, to exist once again. Usane decided he would rather not found out. At least not from personal experience. It was always best to observe these sorts of things. How else was he to observe, if not send these acts into motion himself?

It was becoming clear that it was more than a messenger. The way it walked, the way it moved, the way it talked.. to itself. They were all common signs of a contract. Usane guessed its mouth, or more its lack of one, was also a pretty clear indication a deal with the Devil. So, that decided it. Now, what was left to figure was how deep the deal ran. If what had been seen was true, then perhaps a this was going to be quite the battle. If not, then it would be quick and painful. None of Lucifer's spawn deserved mercy. Not one.

His eyes continued to trace it. There was something oddly familiar about it. The poise it held itself with screamed into his head. Was it he... the Lord of Winter? No. He would not deal with the Devil. He would melt before his wrath. Wouldn't he? Usane looked deeper at the figure, moving the sunbeams into a circle around the once-Keyholder. He stared and studied. Who was the Lord of Winter? As soon as his mind asked the question, he found the answer: Joshua.

Yes, it all came to the forefront of his mind now. The fight, the Lord's reputation, the circumstance of his 'death'. So it seemed, those of the Keys were offered a second chance. That ended part of his investigation. So what of the superior? Nevermind. He needed to turn his attention back on task. If he faltered now, death was imminent. If he faltered now, death was sure. Because nothing could be so deadly as a once-Keybearer given second chance. No, more than a second chance. New power.

Then something weird happened. It was like Joshua was doing more than 'talking' with himself. There was some kind of... connection. Usane could almost see it, feel it. Lucifer was tightly bound to this one. Even more, he was scared. There was tension in the air. What little wind had blown past before dropped. The tiny sounds of insects silenced. The leaves hung, suspended. Then the moment passed. Joshua looked to sky, and it was the most unnerving sensation Usane had felt in a long time. Was he looking at him? or did he just happen to pass his eyes over the cloudless sky?

Joshua held out a hat... and vanished. Usane's senses scrambled, searching for the residue that is usually left behind by such warps. He moved at godspeed, appearing atop the final hill. He flexed his palms, and light radiated forth. Where it fell, his power touched. But even his power could not find the particles left by a rift. That could only mean one thing. The Devil had done the deed. Sealed the Great Contract.

He looked with every eye in proximity, hastily looking for who had been The Lord of Winter. Something alien to someone of his power started to clench his heart. Was it... fear? He could no longer remember how that felt. It had been so long since he was challenged. Now he wished it hadn't. The feeling lessened, as he found Joshua standing over a hill behind him. He smiled briefly, remembering how many times this had happened when they had last met. He turned, and looked at the Lord of Winter.

For a full moment, he did nothing. The next moment, a leaf was plucked from the air. Joshua examined it shortly. Then. Poof. There were hundreds circling his body, each in their own orbits. Another moment passed, and they went ablaze, like the spray of sparklers in the night. A final moment longer. They sped towards him.

Usane raised his hand, and swept at them as they hurtled on their path. A huge fireball erupted forward, engulfing the little sparkles of Josh's flames. They were gone faster than they had been conceived.

Usane knew they had not been a real attack on his form. He knew they were but a demonstration. A demonstration of greater power. Something to reckon with.
 

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Classy.​ Devil, I wish for you to speak for me. Joshua locked eyes with Tomas as he waited for the Devil's response, not even being dazzled in the slightest by Tomas' fiery demonstration.
'What is it you wish for me to say?' The Devil responded from the depths of Joshua's mind. The feeling was alien like, like there was an empty pit in the back of the God's head vibrating. Words can't explain it greatly enough.

Just copy what I say to you, there won't be much talking after this point I can assure you. The job isn't difficult when compared to what I must do to survive this battle. A grunt of acknowledge was the devil's response.
'Tomas we meet again.' The words were a mixture of what was Joshua's voice mixed with the Devil's, seeming to be speaking at once but not. They came out of Joshua's body like vibrations, sound waves if you will, towards Tomas. 'You look different. Physically. You know, as in your body. Do I detect fear? Of course I do I can read it on your face. Heh.... Well, it appears you are in the way and I can't just walk by you with you running home and telling your superiors; that would just be an inconvenience.' Joshua vanished from his position to reappear ten metres in front of Tomas. 'So you have two options: You either pinky swear that you don't tell anyone I've returned, or I blast you into oblivion. So tell me Tommy, do you believe in an after life?' The ground behind Joshua lurched and writhed, making a pit between the two.

Joshua frowned. He'd started to miss his mouth, smirking was something he did commonly and he could no longer enjoy that simple pleasure. No longer would he be able to make sure his opponents would know he constantly oozed confidence.

He threw his fedora to the side and instantly summoned a sword of fire when his hand was free, then in his left summoned a shield of ice. Patterns were roughly etched into both, Joshua's own handy work.
'Gotta go with the classics Tom, a little class can go a long way. Now, feel free to make the first move.' He could feel the air surrounding him and the earth around him, both of which had an intruder by the name of Tomas. He would be able to feel any movement made, the trick to this fight was just realizing Tomas would probably be able to do the same in a different form.
 

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The fight was nigh. There was time to turn back. Usane could turn and move. He could move faster than either of them could possibly imagine. But he wouldn't. If he let this creature, Lucifer's spawn, get loose and free on the mortal plane, untold terror and havoc would erupt. That simply could not be. No Upper God would allow of such a thing, and no divine conscience dare give permission - none aside from the twisted mind of Satan.

It was odd. Not too long ago, yet hundreds of millennia before, he would not forbid of an invasion on the mortal realm. In fact, he might have taken place. There was something now right about the mortals as they were, they had no fear for the Keybearers. So, he would descend upon them and bring ruin to their lives. Now, though, he felt responsible for them. Like they were a seed of his form. That if they were to fall, then it was his fault for not saving them.

So it was that fear vanished from his chest. So it was that he watched as Joshua began to ramble. As Lucifer lent his voice to Josh's, any remaining doubt in his boundless mind vanished. The Devil had claimed this one, and Joshua now possessed a threat to the innocent. He stood, an aura of calm enveloping his body. He grew tired of the Lower Lord's voice. As the soundwaves met his sphere of light, he canceled them. The rambling continued, and only as he sensed the vibrations cease to hit his shield did he wave his hand. Sound returned to him.

The ground coiled and slunk deep down. A pit now lay between the two and it smelled like Hell. Only more reason for Usane to take a stand. He judged its depth. Not deep enough to even begin to hurt either of them... it would give the height advantage to whoever could force the other in. More so, it would let him funnel...

He continued to watch Joshua. He flung his hat, a fedora, to the side, causing Usane to smile sadly. Typical. Usane's eyes traced the tension in Joshua's palms. It suggested that he was about to-- Yep. There it was. Flames sprung to form in his right hand, taking shape of a blade. A shield of supercool ice appeared into his left. It was more difficult to judge on his sword, but it was definite. There were marks and runes lined along both. Dork? If that's what he wanted on his weapons of choice, who was Usane to judge. Oh. Right.

'Gotta go with the classics Tom, a little class can go a long way. Now, feel free to make the first move.'

It was am invitation, and like with Fate before, Usane was inclined to accept. And if he was going to act, then he had to act big. Reveal your cards early, so they fear from the start. If they fear, then they rush; and rush causes mistakes. Of course, there would have to be many mistakes in this battle. It was going to be long. it always was. Because it was becoming clear that Lucifer had done more than a deal with Josh. It was clear that the Great Contract had accepted Joshua and transformed him into a deity. A deity of natural forces, or elements. Which made things interesting. So, if this was a God of The Lower Kingdom, then this was truly the start of the war. So Usane had to come out swinging, and bring swift end to this little uprising. Remind Satan why he was fearful of Christ.

Usane sighed, and dropped his hands to his side. His body went lax. The orbs of sunlight that had gathered on his palms dissipated. He clicked his right, then looked to the sky.

"Why did you do this Josh? I thought you would have more sense than to sign a deal with the Devil. Us of the Key were supposed to have more sense than that," Usane called, his voice resonating with unbridled power. He raised his hand, lowered his head, and pointed. "Now, I have to end you." A huge bolt of intense heat dropped from the sun. It burned with the same ferocity of the stellar object, the extreme heat and force of nuclear fusion. Even gods had come to accept science into their being. Usane threw his hands to the heavens, and more sunlight fell to his hands. The orbs returned, and he spun thrice. As he spun, his hands wavered. On the second spin, light burst forward, searing the trees to dust, burning the grass alight, and slashing at Joshua. The land turned to pandemonium, oblivion. As his third spin ended, he stepped forward and jumped in the new gods direction. His feet touched down, and he punched out. A small ball of fusing hydrogen and helium burst out, heading straight towards Joshua.

Usane was content with the way he started the fight.

The Lord's last words rumbled into his head, muffled and quieted: 'Gotta go with the classics Tom...' Tom. He still called him Tom. So, knowledge still had to impact his mind. It would surely be growing. Soon, he would come to the conclusion that Usane was different now. Well, to a degree. There was one similarity. Usane would still wipe the floor with Joshua.
 
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An impressive first move without a doubt, but Tomas still had the potential to amaze Joshua. His foe was a man of class and dignity, an impressive thing to find in the world of mortals as they were all selfish beings. Joshua could think this now, as he was no longer mortal. The God didn't like to admit it but he was now a puppet of the Devil, a playing piece on the Grand Chessboard as his grandfather would say. There was a way to remove the Devil of course, but that would involve an amount of pain Joshua didn't wish to receive for a while.

"Why did you do this Josh? I thought you would have more sense than to sign a deal with the Devil. Us of the Key were supposed to have more sense than that," His adversary raised his hand, lowered his head and pointed right at Joshua. "Now, I have to end you."
The light that had come quickly, burning Joshua's surroundings. It slashed at him attempting to injure Joshua, but the teen carried himself through the air and materialised where he had been standing after the wave had passed to welcome the sight of Tomas coming right at him.
'Oh joy,' Radiated from him as Tomas' ball of magical science flew at him, only to be negated as Joshua moved the air surrounding it, swinging it around his own body before sending it right back at Tomas at double its former speed.

'Us of the Key? My Keys left me, I could feel them leave my body, my soul, while in the afterlife! How do you think that feels Tomas? Do you even feel anymore?' He swallowed his rage. Rage led to mistakes and mistakes led to defeat. 'I accepted the Devil's deal because I wanted to live, God knows how long it took but I am alive again. Powerful enough to not experience such pain as I did that day again.' He sunk into the ground and rose from the opposite side of the pit. Joshua pointed his sword at Tomas, creating a target for the wide selection of miniature meteors he had just created behind him. They fired.

He vanished again as he began to swing the sword, appearing beside Tomas so the blade would connect just as he did so.
'It has obviously been some time Tomas, you look different. Heavenly like I must add, a nice look. Much better than my own, that of the burning, rotting and screaming Hells. Would you like to fill me in on just how long it has been exactly?' Joshua knew that eventually he or the Devil would find a way to corrupt their foe, that is if Joshua didn't crush Tomas first.
 

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Joshua dealt with the attack better than had been expected. He was already accustomed to shifting light and flame. In fact, for lack of a less suitable word, he danced around the blasts. It was almost an art, as he vanished and appeared in successive steps. Sign of higher intellect, again. Repulsing an attack was not so difficult. Redirecting, on the other hand, a lot harder, especially at the speeds these fights were under. It took more than just power and force. It took skill.

So, when his orb of sunlight returned, it brought mild surprise. Usane spread his arms apart, allowed the orb to pass his defences, and opened his chest. The orb slung into his ribs, and tore him apart. Bones shattered, skin shriveled, and life ended. Or so it would have, if not for his knowledge. The topazes lining his body shone brightly, and the sunblast was absorbed. As the orb met his sternum, something strange happened.

The world glowed red, and a roar of pure rage crashed through the clouds. The hills turned to mountains, and they growled. They loomed, and cast terrible shadows down onto the land, rocks fell from their peaks. They split in two, causing colossal sound; sound that was as silent as a mouse compared to the roar that continued to echo through his ears. Lastly, the pit that lay between the two was filled with coals, then flames, then lava.

Then it was all gone. Usane blinked as his vision returned to normal, and the sound stopped reverberating inside his head. It had to be an extension of the area's ability. He decided in the barest of moments that it was much more deadly than the Arena. It could catch them both off guard. But it seemed that it hadn't affected Josh in the slightest - could it be that it was his emotions that had spurred the sudden shift? It must have been. Usane knew exactly what the shift was imitating. Rage. The base of Lucifer's emotion.

The orb had reabsorbed successfully. The added power was almost unnoticeable, but definitely there. The lack of superhot death also counted for something. Usane looked across the pit, feinting that he had ever lost sight of Joshua. All along, he continued to watch. From the skies. Six sunbeams gathered around Joshua, this God of Something. He had teleported across the pit after he had sent the orb back at Usane, and was in the process of summoning meteors of some sort. Tiny things, they were surely to be of considerable power.

The best way to take care of a problem is to remove it before it occurs. The six sunbeams glowed with brilliance as they melted the rocky projectiles to liquid, then gas, before they could begin to make an impact on the battle. Joshua then moved again, appearing... where?

He could feel a presence try to invade on his protective sphere. It felt like a nagging, then a push. Something wanted in. That something had to be Joshua. Usane met Joshua's force with his own, forcing the frequency of his produced light to insane heights. They moved and bumbled in varied directions, buzzed with energy, and caused all sorts of havoc below the microscopic level, disrupting the natural path of particles. This left Joshua with either two options: appear in random assembly inside the sphere (not neccassarily in one piece), or pull out of the shield, and escape the effects of Usane's sphere.

Usane calmly waited. A cool breeze rolled in from the sea - something having just formed. Yes. This plane was interesting.
 

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The meteors had been negated easily by several sunbeams, melting Joshua's lovely mini-meteors. How that worked scientifically was a puzzle to Joshua, so the light being used by Tomas was not of a natural type. Divine perhaps. A surprise, but definitely not a welcome one.

Joshua's sword attack was nullified as well as Tomas pushed the light he radiated to further limits to create a blinding light. Of course it would be blinding if Joshua were still mortal, now it was just a bothersome addition of Tomas' arsenal to partner the new shield he sported. The Lord of Elements frowned as he acknowledged his sword would not penetrate his adversary's shield and simply let the weapon go, performing a great leap backwards to land on scorched grass as his sword created an omnipotent explosion.

Devil, I request you lend me a minor amount of your power for this battle if you would be so kind.
Thought Joshua, not having the Devil mimic it for Tomas to see.
If that is truly necessary then I shall lend you my strength. Joshua's body hunched and the area went silent, even dimming the light of Tomas for the moment. The God's eyes became white and took on the form of flames in Joshua's eye sockets. Great pillars of earth erupted from all around and Joshua rose two feet into the air, levitating.
'This power will be enough, Devil. I thank you.' The powers of the Hells coursed through Joshua's body, cancelling all emotion within him. He felt nothing, only a thirst for bloodshed.

Blue flames coursed around Joshua, wrapping around his body like chains. His body surged and Joshua's right arm flung upwards, covering the ground in ice. If either Tomas or Josh were to touch these the ice would slowly, but surely, travel along their bodies and eventually paralyze them. Fortunately Joshua carried the title of The Lord of Ice so this would not effect him even slightly.
'Now Tomas,' Joshua radiated powerfully. 'What ever happen to your control over darkness? Do you choose not to use them, or were they stripped from you when you begun serving Heaven? I desperately wish to see them.' Joshua knew that Tomas was using powers that used chemicals and scientific elements like that of the periodic table, but so far no darkness had been seen at all. The sky, above the towering earth pillars, was bright and welcoming.

Joshua's shield turned into a state of natural water dripping down on to the ice underneath him. The drops were loud and taunting before they stopped. Joshua's body surged again and a large scythe of several elements rose from the ground and into his hand. He twirled it multiple times and then brought it down with a hard swing, its blades scraping the ice.
'I am the Gate Keeper.' The surroundings rumbled, rocks falling from the earth pillars emphasized how great this proclamation was.
 

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"I am the Gatekeeper".

The world rumbled. It shook and vibrated, the earth and rocks shuddering at the command of this... this agent. This was a God, through and through. The Mad Claus had called, and had been answered. Lucifer had lusted, and his sin brought him this, an abomination and a power fused. A Gatekeeper stood before Usane; but which Gate did he keep? Oh, surely it was one of the Realms of Hell, if not the collection, but was their anymore? The Void, the Beyonds, or Before? Only time would tell.

Or combat.

Usane's fists glowed with radience, and the sunbeams intensified in his palms. He clapped forward, and light shot forward. It was a wave, a wall, a bubble, and it blinded all. Usane took to the skies, soaring on the photons that coursed every which way you could see. His senses were supreme, and he was at one with his element. The world spun below him, and he spun above it, gathering light inside his armour. In moments, his spin continuing well beyond the collection of light, he was resplendent in a shine so dazzling it would faze the hardiest of souls.

He performed a sharp weave, feinting left then darting right, streaking straight into and through the Gatekeeper at the speed of light. He curved, and smashed through again, again, again, and again. Seven times he blasted through this God. At the end of the seventh dart, the number of perfection, he broke his arrow-form, and his arms spread through the air. The light stored in his topaz armour erupted towards what was Joshua.

Upon contact, the light would begin to attack The Great Contract, thereby neutralizing the powers that the Lord of Winter had received. If failed, the light would bombard and confuse the brain. It would explode on and around the skin, and sizzle down to the bone. It was merciless, as the Agents of Good often were.

To maintain the balance, there must be Bad within the Good. To keep harmony there must be Good within the Bad.

Usane flickered, and he touched down. He cleared his thoughts, and gazed upon the Gatekeeper, or what might be what was left of him. The King of the Sun was finished on the offence for now. His palms went aglow with refracted light once more, and he awaited retaliation.
 

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Joshua, or rather the Gatekeeper, welcomed the seven blows from Tomas. While they did hurt in a way, it tingled. The Gatekeeper was satisfied with what his foe had become, as well as himself. Now that Tomas had given the Gatekeeper space to fire his blast of light Joshua took the opportunity to move. Half a moment before the blast of light made connection with Joshua the Gatekeeper became one with the air, following its many paths and finding the one directly behind Tomas.

The Gatekeeper materialized behind Tomas and swung his scythe upwards, lodging its blade into the armour of his foe, then followed this up by swinging the scythe down with great force sending Tomas plummeting towards the ground.

'Tomas, you have changed so much. No longer are you the one I have spent my life fighting, tell me, how much time has passed since you defeated me last? You were not an agent of God then, what had made you become one?' The Gatekeeper didn't expect to receive an explanation from Tomas, but he would be pleased to receive one.

He rocketed through the air to his foe, teleporting to different positions in the air to avoid any possible attacks from Tomas. He could feel the skin on his body burning, a strange sensation that he inquired to the Devil about.
My skin, Devil, it burns. Why is this so?
Unfortunately your urgent wish for a share of my power before was a surprise to me and I had no contracts on hand. I'm sure this is fine to you, but the usual price for a share of my power is that the receiver is to serve me forever as a keeper of my Gates. You are becoming a Gatekeeper and losing your skin and organs, soon you will become a skeleton.
Lovely.
The news was not what Joshua exactly wanted as he had planned to eventually kill the Devil himself and take command of the Hells. He had heard the the Gatekeepers couldn't physically touch the Devil by a seal engraved in their skeletons, thus ruining Joshua's plan.

The Gatekeeper reached Tomas and swung his scythe with his right hand, rocketing Tomas to a wall at a deadly speed. Joshua did not give chase to this, instead remaining where his was and spinning his scythe around his body, entering a stance where held the scythe single handedly. He noticed the skin on his right hand fade away, revealing the ice-white bones of his hand. His body surged again and blue flames erupted from Joshua's eyes, he was ready for Tomas' attack.
 

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Usane's mind reeled.

It wasn't that the blows hurt. It wasn't that the world spinning into a blurred image of universal colour disorientated him. It wasn't that he was surprised by the strength of the Gatekeeper. It was the cascade of possibilities that whistled through his mind like a vision. He thought about what the God could do. The possibilities were nigh on limitless, the power, boundless. The Lord of Winter given a Gate of Hell, what could it mean? It was apparent that he was an element bender - perhaps that was it? Or was there more?

The ground crumpled beneath him, the earth sizzling as it dissolved into gas. He eased himself from hitting the ground, rather shifting the soil away and slowing his rate as would be expected. His gaze locked onto the Gatekeeper, and he forced himself to shift out of his curiosity and to pay attention to the present. Usane inwardly sighed, knowing he had grown lax in his omnipotency.


"Tomas, you have changed so much. No longer are you the one I have spent my life fighting, tell me, how much time has passed since you defeated me last? You were not an agent of God then, what had made you become one?"

It wasn't an inapt statement. He had changed a great deal. Before, he would have taken down on humanity, a squabbling mess of ill-faiths and weakness. Now, he would defend them, for their hope, and their powers of belief. Time had passed, eons upon eons, and galactic powers had shifted. No longer did the Key wielders roam unchallenged. Now, the Gods reigned supreme. For the power of hope had manifested. Such a thing would not have been allowed under the iron-fisted rule of the arrogant Key Bearers. They would have crushed such feeble emotions heartlessly.

But what had changed? Usane was a ghost of his former self. He looked the same, aye, but he spoke differently. He thought differently. Hell, he even walked differently. It wasn't a matter of a single thought happening upon his mind one day - although it may have started with such - but a long slow change. He is the last of his ancient race. Or, well, was. Not so much anymore, at least for now.

He stared into the eyes of Joshua, the man who was akin to that comedic Voldermort fool. One moment he was a hundred feet away, the next he was ten. His scythe, declaring him as a Reaper of Men, flashed before Usane's eyes, and he rocketed backwards into the side of a mountain that had not been there moments before. He slumped to the ground, cursing his weakness. How could he let the Gatekeeper, no, his own bloody thoughts get to him. His vision swum as his thoughts thickened. He feebley raised a shield, the sunlight intensifying as a shell around him. His armour glowed dimly, as he awaited the movement of the still Reaper.

But the Reaper waited. Usane's vision snapped into focus. His palms burst open, two colossal beams of starlight descending from the heavens being grasped as they were forged into thunderbolts by fast-moving fingers. The Hope of Dawn flung his hands out desperately, needing moments of time to call together his resources.
 

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Flashy. The Gatekeeper liked Tom's style. Joshua didn't have powers that required him to summon things in epic ways, he had powers that simply made them appear quickly. It was much more productive than Tomas' flashy displays, but still he was jealous of the certain pizazz Tomas had. The Gatekeeper wasn't very creative like that, only in the art of violence.

No one made a move after that. The two stood there, at the ready, waiting for one another to make the first move.
To hell with it. Joshua thought. Ice erupted from the ground as pillars and spikes, clouds rolled in from above and Joshua and his enemy were raised high into the sky by the ice pillars. Ice was still the Gatekeeper's favourite element at his disposal. Wind was very useful, fire was decent and earth had its moments, but overall ice was Joshua's trump card. The two were high enough that Joshua could feel the oxygen in the air lacking. Fire wouldn't be as useful then.

The first move was still Joshua's, so he launched his scythe at Tomas and vanished into the air. As the scythe collided with the shield surrounding Tomas Joshua reappeared, grabbed his scythe and wrenched it back out of the shield. The Gatekeeper nimbly flowed through the air backwards to avoid a sudden attack from Tomas, then flew into the sky. Made a shadow by the setting sun he plummeted back towards his enemy, spinning his scythe as he did so, drawing in the air around him and then thrust the scythe forward blasting his enemy with a harsh blizzard.

The Gatekeeper withdrew from the blizzard, brushing shards of ice from his clothing and examining his skeleton hand. By now Joshua guessed he was now a complete skeleton. That was cool at least. He held out his right hand, holding his scythe, and ice fired from the blizzard to him, attaching itself to the Gatekeeper as armour. When enough had reached him the ice shuddered and became a set of armour like a knight form medieval times.
Cool. Joshua thought.
​Don't be so childish.
 

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An blizzard, an unliving wraith of steel-tough snow, fell upon Usane.

His shield was brushed aside, the columns of ice splintering the shell as if it was a solid wall, or popped it as if were a thin membrane, a bubble. The pillar ground upwards, and still Usane was moved. He was a feather before this glacier, a persistent feather no less. Finally, as the clouds parted around him, the climb slowed.

The sun was harsher up here, on this tower over the sky, and it fueled his strength. The armour, previously dimmed from Usane's exhausted energy supplies, shone bright once more, and his shield returned. Suddenly, the unbending pillar was stopped. Icicles flew before his eyes. He watched with great interest, and saw every intricate detail. It was mesmerizing, like watching the bonding of particles on a mass scale. His golden sphere was highlighted as the pale cloud of ground ice curled around its boundaries.

A brief moment passed, and serenity fell on him. His collected presence often watched from this place, the kingdom in the sky. The empty air before him folded in on itself, and a city of superviolet light appeared before him. It crashed in an instant.

A scythe cut through the sky, ripping through air with the same speed it stole life, and hurled into him. His shield held against the impact, a latticework of great cracks appearing on the light. The air flickered, and the Lord of Winter reclaimed the bringer of death. Usane cursed, and sent a slash of light crashing towards the Gatekeeper.

The Gatekeeper pushed on the air, darting away in a single, swift, movement. The blast of solar energy passed by harmlessly, the Gatekeeper's elegance odd and out of place. A fraction of a second, and then a blizzard, fueled by a mighty hurricane, engulfed Usane. The sun was blotted, and his shield crumbled. The ice stripped flesh from bone, and his godly existence was torn to shreds. He could feel the Void, that place he dared not tread, press upon him. A moment of pure terror...

and he was gone.

Or so the Lord of Winter would think. Since Joshua had revealed his strength as a Gatekeeper, a collection of light had been playing the form of Usane. The God of Suns & Stars appeared, a dazzling, blinding beacon of brilliance, above the head of the Mad Claus. He reached out with tendrils of light, given hard and sizzling form by the extreme UV sunlight. They wrapped the skeleton of a Keybearer, stunning him in the heat of fusing hydrogen.

Then he dropped the hammer.

Gravity, the equal strength of the hugest neutron star, slammed on the head of Lord of Winter. He was held in place by the combined force of the mystical powers of the tendrils and the heavy presence of gravity, binding his particles in place. A sun, the smallest to ever be forged, the size of a mere fist, flashed down onto the falling body. Another, another, another, and another, seven of them, each doubling in size from the last, fell in succession onto the Gatekeeper's form.

That out to have destroyed the strongest of angels, and the mightiest of demons. So, how wounded would the newborn god be?
 

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Devil, it appears that this battle has started to heat up.
That it has, Gatekeeper, that it has. Do not let yourself be the recipient of too many of those attacks or we will have to return to my kingdom.
I can assure you that I won't let that happen.
The suns that Tomas had used against him tore a hole in Joshua's clothes and left the bones of his exposed rib cage burned, taking on several different shades of black. Joshua wasn't very fond of Tomas' attacks, the attack had hurt but it left with only a numbing pain. Maybe being a Gatekeeper wasn't a terrible deal.

"Hear me," Echoed the united voices of Joshua and the Devil. "I will not rest until I have defeated you, Tomas. Even if it takes centuries, I will not falter."
The tendrils and gravity upon Joshua were still there, and above him the real Tomas. Target found. The Gatekeeper opened his jaw and out of which he hurled a beam of ice at Tomas. Immediately afterwards Joshua released himself from Tomas' grasp by fading the individual bones held by Tomas' tendrils into the air, allowing him to drop and then have his bones return. He was finally getting comfortable with his powers.

"You've finally shown me, Tomas, you've finally shown me what you can really do." The Gatekeeper vanished and reappeared behind Tomas, swung an attack, vanished again and lastly reappeared above Tomas to connect the blow with the strength of Joshua's own respective Gate of Hell, the Gate of Elements. Joshua flew backwards through the air and with a hand at each end of his scythe he split it into two handheld scythes. His body surged and from the Gatekeeper's chest erupted a massive beam of lightning, flying through the air at an impossible speed before it met with Tomas. With both handheld blades Joshua tele-ported to his foe and unleashed a flurry of attacks upon him, raining down the blades of the scythes. He stopped before he could be attacked, descending below Tomas.

He returned the two scythes to each other, forming the full scythe once again. Joshua spun the scythe around his body and its blade was covered in a black flame.
"The power of my Gate is ready to meet you, angel."
​Excellent. Unleash it all, Joshua. Eradicate him.
 

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Fury. It fell upon him like the cascade of light as the sun rose in the morn'.

Joshua had survived the attack, relatively fine. His clothing had been burnt to bits and shreds that hung loosely around his torso, and the flesh across his chest had been melted and burnt so badly that it refused to grow back. That, of course, worked in favour of the Gatekeeper - he could manipulate bones, after all.

It was almost amusing, the way that the attack had played out. Usane had always wondered what a deity looked like on the inside. Sadly, it was much the same as any other entity: a whole lot of blood, guts, and... less desirable pieces of matter. True, the physical form of a god was not so much the real one as a projected shell, but it had to count. Somewhat.

There was no pause as the body hit the floor. There was no momentary silence. There was no peace. There was just attack and then counter-attack. Waves of sound reverberated through the air, bouncing from particle to particle, reaching Usane's ears. They were no sooner heard as the Gatekeeper had begun his attack. A spear of ice launched towards him, its jagged tip shining as the last rays of the setting sun reflected through it.

Usane could only assume it was a distraction. It had had no effect before, and it would have no effect again. It exploded into a massive cloud of icy shrapnel, a powdery mist that was impossible to see straight out of. It had been timed perfectly, as his second sight had been robbed from him. The God of the East almost felt stung. It would take a small deal more effort to sustain his bubble now.

Crack!

Usane looked up. His shield had been shattered by a deft blow. The Gatekeeper had brought an almighty blow down.

"Impressive," muttered Usane under his breath. Contempt ran thick in the word, his frustration almost evident. His luck had changed very quickly.

Barely a moment after his words had been lost in the winds, white light filled his vision. A jagged bolt of lightning shot towards him at an impossible speed. So, the God of Light reacted appropriately. Moving his hand as fast as he could, he swiped across his body. A solid wall of light gold, an aura given form, wove itself into the air parallel to the path his hand created. If he had reacted a hundredth of a second slower he would have been shocked into paralysis.

Lightning splayed across the golden wall. Sharp blue light was tinged orange as it passed through the barrier, but it took no merit away from the beauty of the bolt. It was mesmerizing. The flickers of the electric current, difficult to see under the naked human eye, were a treat under the perceptive vision of a god. It lasted moments, fleeting microseconds, but it was stunning in itself.

Usane's neck tingled, and he jumped over the barrier to the other side. A half second later, a blade slashed where he had stood. Another cut, and the wall shuddered, cracks all too visible for his liking. A thrust from Lucifer's accomplice, and the wall broke. Before the God of Elements could eviscerate his form, Usane got as close in as he could. He slammed the Gatekeeper's shoulder at the cost of a long swipe along his back, sending the Satanly spawn spinning away. Mid-spin, he teleported again.

Usane scanned the skyline briefly before looking to the earth. There, below, standing as still as Death himself, was the Gatekeeper, his scythe ablaze in a fire as black as night.
 

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He's a tough one. Joshua thought to himself as his scythe continued to burn with it's black flame. It is a shame I will have to put him down.

Joshua would smirk if his head were not completely skeletal right now, but it did look cool. Oh wait, he didn't have a mouth anymore either way. Darn. He had realised that his last attack was successful, in a way, because of a distraction the Gatekeeper had made to keep Tomas' eyes oblivious to his position. It was funny how luck tended to fall to Josh's favor.

With his left arm Joshua raised his hand into the air and pieces of earth rose from the ground quickly to compensate for how high the Gatekeeper and his enemy were. Large chunks of earth rotated around Joshua quickly in a circle, coming closer and closer until he was almost consumed by the many hulking pieces of earth. Then his brought his left hand into a fist. The chunks and pieces of earth erupted and filled the air with a thick layer of dirt, like a heavy sandstorm.

It was at that time the Gatekeeper made his move. Hidden by a mask of thick dirt he darted through the air, seeing by locating the electric activity within Tomas' brain, and planted a foot down on the air as he made a segment solid and leaped at Tomas. Slashing out with his scythe the Gatekeeper grunted with approval as black flame lashed out of his scythe and buffeted Tomas. Following the slash Joshua slammed Tomas with the side of his scythe that did not have a blade. As his enemy was knocked away Joshua brought his left hand up into a fist and swung it back down, sending Tomas into a wall of solid air.

The Gatekeeper was pleased with his offense and moved backwards through the air, closing Tomas into a cube using the wall of air he made earlier. Then he rose Tomas higher and higher into the air, following him from a distance. They passed the clouds and made shadows by the night sky as the sun had finally vanished. They were so high that Joshua could feel the oxygen in the air thinnen.


'This is such a lovely evening, Tomas. Lovely indeed.' His voice, while not entirely his own, filled the silence of the night. 'Unfortunately our time together is coming to its close. Pity'

Joshua gripped his scythe and fired, flashing its blade through the prison of air Tomas was inside and coming straight out the other side.
 
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