By OminousFlare 1 Comments
I have a great story to tell. But I just have trouble putting it out in words. I have a very poor vocabulary, and my grammar is rather shaky at best. So I'm going to try something, summarizing my story with my best effort and capability. It's definitely no Shakespeare, but... let's give it a shot.
The following original story is rated FR15 for some sexual implications, harsh language, and some amount of non-explicit violence. The story is set in the 616 Marvel Universe.
Prologue 1: Duel of the Masters
It all started as a pleasant day, eighteen years ago. Akai Tanner was just a little kid, barely seven years of age. His father, Kendrick Tanner, had brought him to a small island off the coast of Costa Rica, Ameline Island. It was going to be a building site for Kendrick's dream, a tourist attraction with the most extravagant entertainment facilities known to the world as of then. With the fundings readied and the construction began, it was a dream come true. Alas, it was not to last.
The father and child were exploring the site, mesmerized by the great opportunities that land could offer. As they returned to the four-wheeler they had drove in from their boat, two other vehicles pulled up behind their transport. Six men stepped out of both cars, with two carrying a suitcase each.
"Mr. Tanner, I presume?"
"My boss wishes to purchase off this little island from you."
Kendrick was less than interested in money, of course. Money he could always earn from his creation. Money wasn't involved in his dream.
"Who is your boss?"
The name was well-known to him at the time. He was a powerful adversary in his business. Almost an underminer. Yearning to sort this out with the irritable tyrant, Kendrick agreed to follow the men to their boss, a fatal mistake he would have wished he hadn't made.
Within the cruise ship Foxe was waiting in, the tyrant was having a tarot-card reading in the ballroom - a request made by his servile wife. The wizened old man had an ill reading as he flipped the cards upright... much to Foxe's displeasure, naturally.
"The first card is The King. It represents Mr. Foxe's wealth and fortune."
"The Queen represents Mrs. Foxe's doubts and worries."
"The Wheel represents a big change that is to come upon your family."
"The Lion represents an impending adversary of great strength Mr. Foxe shall encounter."
"The Devil. If Mr. Foxe's mind is not strong enough, he shall cling onto him."
"Death. It shall pay a visit to your family in the near future."
That drew the straw. He was amused at first, by the ludicrous nature of the reader's words. But the mentioning of the final card was an insult his pride and ego - traits Foxe is well-known of - would not tolerate.
"Are you done?! You dare to toy me with this little magician act?"
Lepton Foxe was known as more than a ruthless businessman. Like many of the super-powered beings of New York, he too wield certain 'talents' that he sometimes used to further convince his fellow clients and competitions not to be a problem for him. Using the minimum of ease, Lepton raised the cards into his rising palms and swirled them around in mid-air. Telepathic display this was not. Nothing more than mere illusions, to be accurate.
As Foxe continued his mesmerizing performance, he secretly stashed away one of the cards into his costume - the Death card.
"Fate is controlled by man's hands," Foxe boasted as he slowly descended the cards onto the table, neatly stacking them back into a single deck before the reader. "Go ahead. Deal the cards. Let's see what kind of fate you could deal me this time."
The reader shook his head as he began to deal the cards once more.
"Mr. Foxe, you're too confident of yourself. As such, you have brought your wife more concerns than ever. And it's due to your self-righteousness that the wheels of fate have turned for you. Soon, your adversary shall appear."
After dealing the final card on the table, the Devil card remained nowhere in sight.
"This is no longer the Devil card. How do you explain that?"
Unknowledgeable in Tarot as any average individual, Foxe had not known about the true representation of the card.
"This card, Mr. Foxe, is Justice. If you continue to use unjustly methods to deal with your adversaries, Death will still appear." With that remark made, the reader drew another card onto the table, and the said Death card was revealed. But the reader was yet to finish. From the main deck, he continued his draw. "Your family, your first-born, second-born, and your third-born will all be taken away by Death itself. And if you remain stubborn, with Justice standing by your adversaries, she, too will receive the proper judgement."
As he concluded his reading, the reader pointed his index towards Lepton's youngest child - his daughter, sitting in Mrs. Foxe's arms.
"Bull***! I, Lepton Foxe, only believe in Man's triumph over God! I will never believe your lunatic ramblings." Lepton then proceeded to pull out the one card he had kept hidden within the cuff of his suit and flashed it in the open. "The Devil was already in my hands all along! What do you say to that?!"
As Foxe released a maniacal burst of laughter, he tossed the card away from his sight and departed the religious talk he was becoming tired of. When he had turned to walk away from the table, however, Foxe failed to perceive the discarded Devil card's perfect landing on top of a particular card in the center of the tarots - the King card. Both Mrs. Foxe and the reader, naturally, witnessed the ominous sight.
On the other end of the ship, Foxe's men had successfully brought Kendrick and his son on-board.
"Escort Mr. Tanner down to Mr. Foxe's quarters," ordered the only member of the black-suited lackeys dressed in white.
As the other men proceeded to lead Kendrick as they were ordered, the white-suited one held young Akai away from Kendrick's clutches.
"What is the meaning of this?!"
"Don't worry, Mr. Tanner. We'll take good care of your son."
"Just you dare harm my boy."
Bitter that his son was taken away and be put in potential danger, Kendrick paused for a moment as the men guided him. He turned around to take one more glance of Akai, hoping his boy would be safe.
"This way, Mr. Tanner," insisted one of the men escorting him, forcing Kendrick to go along with this blatant trap.
Standing over an adjacent platform up top, the reader and Mrs. Foxe watched the events unfold with worried hearts.
"Mrs. Foxe, you have to convince your husband to take precautions. Even though his Art of Deception might be legendary and unmatched, deception will always lead to a bad end."
Within, Foxe's men had brought Kendrick down the steps to an arena, where he came face-to-face with the group Lepton Foxe was notorious for being the supreme leader of, The Elemental Eight. As the name suggests, the members of the team consisted of individuals with the powers over the elements of the Earth, with only the leader himself being the exception. Standing patiently in the spacious room, three of the eight members challenged Kendrick to a fight. Kendrick wiped them clean, naturally, even when all three of them worked together at the same time.
The female of the trio, Maria, had the power over the earth. She had attempted to seal Kendrick in a solid dome of hardened soil, leaving only a single opening available. This would give the fire-wielder, Jankris, the chance to envelop the entire interior of the dome with his flames, leaving not a single area untouched. His heat would be further increased by the airbender, Henderson, who would use his power over the wind to increase the intensity of the flames bursting into the dome.
The strategy was well-planned, of course, if they were dealing with any normal individual.
Instead, Kendrick's powers allowed him to avoid any of that mishap before it actually happened. It was not telepathy, future-sight or any of those mind-bending skills, but rather the heightened perception of his senses. As soon as Maria had raise the dome out of the Earth, Kendrick had already leaped out of the way and out of sight. The plan proceeded as intended with ignorance, and only after a minute of barbecue cook-out did Maria lowered the dome, only to find a circular section of the flooring charred and blackened, but with no corpse in sight.
The voice lured their eyes above, much to their mistake. As soon as they raised their heads, three wooden sticks were fired towards them, each of them hitting the same spot on their bodies accurately - the lungs. Naturally, the impact was not strong enough to harm them in any way, but it was certainly a satisfying victory for Tanner, who literally dropped in on them thereafter from the section of the ceiling he had clung onto.
"Hope I didn't damage your egos too badly, boys. Lady."
Standing above in a private booth, the familiar maniacal laughter was spread throughout the room, echoing from one corner to another. Turning their attention to the source of the voice, the three fallen villains took in a gasp of nervousness as Lepton Foxe threw a vicious stare over them.
"Mr. Foxe, I presume?" Kendrick remarked with glee.
"The Elemental Eight had always been unbeatable. Even with the three of you, you are still utterly defeated. My entire reputation is tarnished by you pathetic worms!"
"We understand what we must do."
Upon Maria's signal, the three super-powered beings each pulled out a dagger sheathed in their costumes. To Kendrick's utter disbelief, the trio proceeded to lash out the blades against their eyes, leaving them eternally blinded.
"The three of us," the trio said all at once, "we shall never use our powers ever again."
After the shocking episode was done with, Lepton led Kendrick back into the ballroom he had came from, with his son escorted behind him by Foxe's man. There, another surprise awaited Kendrick. Sitting at the end of the table this time was Rebbecca Tanner, Kendrick's very own wife.
"I would never have thought that you would be interested in conversing with a woman as average and powerless a normal citizen as my wife, Mr. Foxe," remarked Kendrick as he approached the table. "Unless you have an ulterior motive...."
"You belittle your wife, Mr. Tanner. She came here prepared, my friend. Look what she brought with her." Reaching under his gold-plated dinner jacket, Lepton pulled out a sheet of paper familiar to Kendrick's eyes. "Your deed to this land."
Ashamed, Rebbecca turned away from her husband while shedding a tear. "I'm sorry, Kendrick..."
"Half of this island has already belonged to me, Tanner. Your little dream of building that Tourist Resort could no longer be fulfilled. There can only be one tycoon on this island!"
"Name a price then, I'll buy it back."
"No... I wish to gain that second-half of the island as well!"
"And you wish to blackmail that out of me?"
"No, not blackmail. We are both super-powered individuals, after all. Let's battle this out. The winner walks away with the other half of the deed."
"Hmph. You are the Master of Deception. I am the Master of Perception. Both our abilities lie in different areas. Why the need for battle?"
Again, the maniacal laughter.
"That is, unless you do not wish for your entire family to leave this ship in one piece!" Lepton's frightful words caused Rebbecca to leap in fear, and into Kendrick's arms.
"What do you mean by that?!" Tanner retaliated.
"Kendrick Tanner, I will battle you today no matter what!"
Kendrick breathed in slowly. His adversary is frighteningly powerful and utterly cunning, but it was his belief that the power of perception - along with his belief in justice - will ultimate triumph.
"Fine. If I win, you shall return me the deed, and allow my family to leave here safely. But if I lose, Ameline Island is yours."
"Excellent! BUT, I feel that the stakes are not exhilarating enough. I, Lepton Foxe, had battled against you for more than a decade, and yet we were unable to decide a reigning champion. This match we have today, whoever loses... will have to swear abandonment from using his powers forever! And you know what that means..."
Having to witness Lepton's own minions' unbelievable actions for himself, he more than understood his meaning. Naturally, with his strongest perception being his hearing, he knew, rather than a depravity of sight, Foxe would ask from him his very own ears.