|Marvel: In the Beginning...|
From the fabled vale of Asgard, deep within the black mountains, rises an ebony castle. Hewn from the very rock itself, the stony fortress casts a grim visage over the landscape. Deep within the citadel not made with hands is an obsidian hall wherein sits a large black throne. Upon the throne broods a godling. His horned helmet sits low upon his brow and his pale face is marred by a deep grimace. "Odin has forbid travel to Midgard and yet I must strike at Thor while he is vulnerable. None, whether god or man, shall thwart the will of Loki, god of Evil!" An elaborate brazier sits before Loki. The sorcerer reaches a hand into the vapour, conjuring forth an image from distant Earth. The scene shows....Central Park.
A beautiful day, spring turning into summer. Oblivious to any gods that might be spying on the area, Jen Walters wanders along one of the paths wearing a skirt and a short sleeved blouse and occasionally taking a BIG slurp of a vanilla ice cream cone. She seems to be in a pretty good mood, for now. Of course, she's not likely attracting much attention from those around. Yet.
With a big pretzel in hand, one Curtis Doyle is in the process of carefully opening a container of cheese to dip said pretzel in. Not the most healthy snack in the world but he couldn't resist. Sitting at a picnic table in Central Park, he's unaware of spying tricksters as well. "One more final and I get a break..." he muses softly.
Kurt Wagner strolls along the sidewalks of Central Park, his hood up and hands stuffed into his pockets to look as much as he can like any other New Yorker who's pretty much covered from head to toe with summer coming on... He's been spending a lot of time upstate at the school getting things prepared for his classes to teach, but it hasn't made him any less nervous about them. So he set out to the city, looking for some friends he'd made on Coney island for their advice in how best to teach kids Acrobatics and to pick up a couple of books on teaching to help guide him along. But he always enjoyed Central park and so it’s with his newfound treasures under his arm that he's enjoying the afternoon.
Bobby is in Central Park proper, down by the water, feeding the ducks with a bag full of seeds. There might be a cheeto or two in the bag too. So if you see any cheesy ducks... you know why. He's blissfully unaware of any spying gods or extra dimensional evil-mongers watching him and that's probably a good thing. All-powerful gods and sorcerers and you use your dimension spanning magic to peek at people running in the park? At least get creative with it.
Mild mannered physician, Donald Blake, picks his way along the walkway, heading for the nearest bench he can find. He's dress a bit casually in a shirtsleeve white cotton shirt and blue slacks. He's left his jacket and hat back at the office. His walking stick makes beats an interesting staccato along the stone path; it's almost musical. Reaching his destination, Don takes a seat and leans back. It's rare that his schedule is light enough to permit an afternoon break, so he is going to take full advantage of his down time.
From far Asgard, the god of Mischief watches the image unfold before him. When Donald Blake comes into view of his scrying ball, his brows arch sharply and his grimace twists into a devilish smirk. "How now, brother, enjoying a moment's respite? You shall not have a moment's peace, not when Loki doth harry thee!" Reaching into the viewing sphere, Loki makes some arcane gestures at some nearby trees. He intones a few words in ancient Norse, <<Green of leaf and brown bark skin/Silent without yet living within/Rise and walk, more plant than man/Obey my will; fulfill my plan!>>
Suddenly the trees shudder and rise, like green barky giants. They uproot themselves and begin grabbing and swatting at the innocents in the park.
She-Hulk might well be mistaken for an innocent. In fact, one of the animated trees does indeed lean down to grab her in its branches. "GRAH!" Her eyes flicker green, then her skin begins to change color, although given the change is not instant, the tree gets to live a little longer... It seriously picked the WRONG girl to mess with today. Sorry, guys, no lingerie...she remembered her costume this time.
"Stupid...plastic...should just..." Curtis grumbles as he struggles with the plastic container. He's just about to give in and use his powers when he finally gets it open. "Ha!" the young man declares just in time to see trees coming to life. "Oh man...Pandora's Cheese..." he mutters, looking sadly at his snack and then back up at the trees. Stuffing everything into his backpack and hoping the cheese stays in it's container, he heads for somewhere out of the way to make the change from mild mannered to super heroic.
Kurt Wagner sees someone a little bit familiar and wanders over towards Bobby for a better look. "Pardon me Herr, but Are you..." he doesn't manage to get more than that out of his mouth before the trees start to pretend like this is the Lord of the Rings. "Pardon me!" He disappears with a BAMF and a cloud of brimstone, only to reappear next to a woman who's about to get turned into mulch, "Pardon me Fraulien!" He scoops her up and is leaping away from the whomping willows with her.
The lame Doctor jumps up when the surrounding flora suddenly takes on a life of its own. No...Scratch that. When the flora suddenly takes on human-like life. Better. Donald Blake holds aloft his walking stick. He's about to strike it on the ground when one of the Ents (coz that's what sentient trees are called according to Tolkien or treants or tree folks) strikes a mounted policeman. The poor law officer goes flying from the back of his steed, slamming into a nearby post. Donald Blake looks torn for a moment, then leans heavily on his cane and rushes over towards the fallen man. "I'm a doctor, lie still."
Turning to see Kurt, then grinning as the fuzzy elf teleports away to help some random woman. "Ok... gardening time I guess and I forgot my lucky hedge shears." He mutters, glancing around and focusing, turning his hands on himself. As his inner temperature drops, coating his skin in frost, his 'cold' beams coat him in an inch of hard flexible ice, concealing his identity form any passing news crews. Then he takes off running, turning his hands and powers against a tree that reaches for him. "Chill out."
Jen, as she is in mid transformation, appears to be a likely victim for the Treants (see...you can call them that too). It squeezes her tightly in its two barky hands (not hands really, more like tree limbs, but you get the idea). She might actually have gotten hurt by this if she wasn't already hulking out. At the most, she's probably going to be annoyed which is going to spell a world of trouble for the tree folk (see...used all their various names). A rather spry oak swats where Kurt and a women were, only to get a branch full of sulphur. If Ents have facial expressions, this one's would be confusion and frustration. Curtis rushes off to go hero out of plain sight. Bad thing is he's in a park where the trees being animated by magic. So while he's out of the eyes of onlookers, it doesn't mean that he's in a safe spot. A particularly gnarly maple tree starts dragging itself towards him. If Ents had voices (which they might, haven't figured that out yet), it would be growling at him. The tree that Ice Man yelled out doesn't seem to understand his words. But it does understand his intention. The creature tries to pound Bobby into a mound of man-sized crushed ice.
"Unbranch me!" yells She-Hulk...and then she just reaches to grab the branches holding her and to separate them. She's actually trying *not* to damage the animated tree, but...well. It's a tree, she's a Hulk, do the math. Either way, she's going to be free in short order. "Great. Dunsinane Wood is here." Literary references go her!
Seeing himself out of the way of pesky onlookers, Curtis turns to face the maple. A quick guess at what type of tree it is and a moment to thank one of the plant-crazed friends he hangs out with and he raises a hand. Letting the ring become visible on his finger, Curtis smirks. "Time to make syrup out of this tree!" he declares, letting the ring release a flash of light and turning from plain old Curtis Doyle to the pink and black clad Freedom Ring. Once the transformation is complete, he gestures again and tries to make the ground open under the maple in an attempt to pull it back where it belongs.
Kurt Wagner lets go of the woman once she's out of reach from the Oak, and to make good and sure, he turns and leaps up into the branches of the War Tree. "I have often played in trees, but nicht have I ever had them trying to play back with me." He twists and wriggles, trying to keep from getting snarled up in the branches, and then an idea hits him. People end up traumatized after he teleports them, what would happen to a living tree? Grasping hold he pushes his power to its limits, but its limits aren't enough for the massive tree. Instead of going anywhere, Nightcrawler just feels strain in his brain and starts to lose his balance, falling from the tree branches.
See's the incoming branch, but can't think of anything to do to defend against it, other than moving. Then Kurt gives him that reason. "I got ya fuzzy!!" He shouts, taking off running full tilt across the grass towards Kurt as he starts to fall. His hands extend and his 'beams' lash out, icing over the ground, so his running turns into a long slippery skid, aimed to put him under Kurt when the elf hits the ground, taking him out from under the attacking tree at the same time.
She Hulk makes handy work of the tree's limbs. Indeed she is freed of its grasp in short order. Hulk, tree, math, we get it. Another floral fiend turns to engage the Emerald Amazon. Trees don't learn too quickly do they? Empowered by the strange band he wears on his finger, Freedom Ring opens the ground beneath the malicious maple and watches satisfied as the creature is replanted in the ground. Nightcrawler, with superhuman effort, manages to teleport the Treant. Kurt is fortunately caught by Iceman whose arctic slide allows him to slip underneath the fuzzy Elf and prevent his fellow mutant from going splat. Still, no good deed goes unpunished as the walking tree strikes at the pair of mutants. Doctor Blake is still busy tending to his patient to engage the tree monsters. He sees that other heroes are here doing the job, so he comforts himself in that knowledge. He can help other ways.
The Norse god of Evil watches as the battle unfold, using his powers of clairvoyance to reach across the distance. When he sees that Thor is not engaged, he shakes an angry fist to the heavens. "Nay! Ignore the human dolts and attack Thor! Smite down Thor!" Obeying the mystic compulsion from their master, a few trees start to stalk towards the Thunder god's mortal form. Unfortunately, there're a few innocent bystanders in the way.
She-Hulk winds up to simply punch the second tree approaching her. She's a little busy to notice the wider tide of the battle shifting towards the apparently innocent doctor...instead; she's trying to send that tree flying...and probably turn it into firewood. "We need...a way to stop this, before I have to actually smash all the trees...we'll never replace them!" She's annoyed. Definitely.
"You stay put now," Freedom Ring tells the maple, offering a mock salute as he jogs for the next tree. Seeing them change direction, the hero with the cosmic ring frowns. "Alright...wings, wings, wings..." he mutters, concentrating. And with a 'POP!' feathered wings appear on his back. He might be mistaken for a certain X-man for awhile as he takes to the air and tries to come in for a landing between the doctor and the trees. Of course his landing might be more of a crash...
Kurt Wagner shakes his head groggily to clear it. He blinks as he can feel he's moving, but not falling. And he's glad he's got his sweatpants and hoodie on. It feels like the middle of winter rather than... wait... "I saw you freeze the lake before ja? You make the air so cold it was like winter ja? These are trees, und they are dormant in winter. Do you think you could do the same here? Stop the trees with cold?" He gets back to his feet on the ice slide as the pain finally fades away from his overextension of his teleporting. He looks at the pack of trees converging on the innocents, "Brace yourself. This may hurt." He takes a deep breath and exerts his power, teleporting himself and Bobby between the trees and the innocents, including the crippled doctor. "Ow... I'm going to have to take a break from that..." Bobby groans and shakes his head as the world vanishes and reappears twenty feet from where he was and stinking of rotten eggs. "Yeah, I'll try...” He mutters standing, and holding both hands out, dropping his temperature as low as he can manage, a nasty -200 degrees Fahrenheit. The elf might get a bit of frostbite if he's sitting too close. Mindful of this Bobby steps away, and lashes out with his powers, his 'Beams' attempting to flash freeze anything wooden that comes his way.
Although a lady isn't supposed to engage in fisticuffs, She Hulk's punches and chops reduce the tree to so much kindling. While not eco-friendly, the tactic sure is effective. Freedom Ring spreads his wings and takes flight. Indeed the Bugle is probably going to confuse him with a certain winged mutant. That is until Curtis soars over to Doctor Blake, coming to a crash landing a foot or so away from the other man. "Good word!" explains Blake, which I guess beats 'zounds' but is almost as old fashioned and out of date. Before the good physician can recover from that shock, a cloud of sulphur bursts in front of him and out of the thin air appears a fuzzy blue demon and a walking snow man. Can this day get any weirder? Sure it could, when Iceman lets loose with his powers and puts a group of advancing trees into cold storage. Ice quickly creeps up the trunks of the trees, across their branches and down their roots. The once animated arbours suddenly fall still. Still, that's there are at least 5 of them left fully animated and ready to rumble.
"Timber!" Shulkie yells as she turns to another tree. She doesn't want to destroy this one, its bad enough as it is...but restraining it? The spell might not wear out for hours. She can't knock a tree out. For a moment, she hesitates, then she jumps to pin the tree's limbs to its sides. Whoever's animating it has to get tired eventually. Right?
"Ow," Freedom Ring groans as he stands up, wings popping out of existence a moment later. "The ground hurts," he grumbles, glowing eyes looking around. He watches trees taken down and then looks towards one before him. "Alright. No more games," he mutters, gesturing and generating a fireball in hand. There’s a moment of pause before he jumps. "Gaaah! Hot! Hot! Hot!" the young man yelps, juggling the fireball from hand to hand before throwing it at the tree. It should flash-burn the animated monster while Freedom Ring tries to cool his hands off.
Kurt Wagner leaps away from Bobby as he feels the temperature quickly dropping. He remembered the effects it had on Scott and isn't going to delude himself with how well he can last against it. He's better off amongst the trees, leaping from limb to limb as icicles start forming up on them. It's a good thing he has his clinging powers or he'd have fallen back down long ago. He breaks off a large chunk of ice to start using as a club as he leaps into the branches of a tree that just seems to refuse to freeze in place.
Bobby grunts and strains his powers, seeking that point he was shown just a week before, his temperature holding steady, able to shatter steel if struck with enough force. His powers seek the wooden soldiers, and branches crack and break off under their own weight, encased in ice. "Move 'Crawler, move.” He mutters to himself, using the elf as a target as he jumps and flips through the trees, lagging just seconds behind as so not to hurt his friend. The tactic is capitalizing on Kurt’s erratic movement through the trees, catching every one he can with his powerful abilities.
She Hulk forcefully restrains one tree while Freedom Ring and Iceman unleash opposing elemental attacks on two others. Nightcrawler uses a huge icicle like a club and beats some sense into yet another piece of foolish flora.
From his lair, far away in the dark mountains of Asgard, Loki lets loose with one final gambit. Casting yet another spell, he sends forth a bolt of eldritch energy into the forest surrounding the heroes.
Back in Central Park, the Earth shakes and groans as dark magic flows into it. Rising out of the middle of the green is a Giant Ent. Not that the previous ones were small, but this one is crazy big, the granddaddy of all treants from the looks of it.
While everyone's attention is drawn away, the mild mannered medic draws away from the crowd. Holding his walking stick aloft, he looks up towards the heavens. "Human heroics are not enough thwart this threat. I must unleash the might of Thor!" That said, he strikes the ground with his cane. There is a shattering boom of thunder and a blinding flash of lightning. And where once stood Donald Blake, now strides the divine form of the Mighty Thor!
Thor leaps into the air and lands before the giant tree monster. "Foul creature of darkest magic! Return to the embrace of Jord and cease thy onslaught!" The Norse god of Thunder hefts his magical hammer upwards to the sky. Dark clouds gather instantly and gale force winds rip through the terrain. A peal of thunder shakes the park and blue white arcs of energy rake the sky. The bolts of lightning strike the remaining trees. And as each arbour is hit in turn, the evil energy that animated them is burned out, leaving nought by normal trees in the aftermath. Thor surveys the battlefield and nods to himself. A job well done.
She-Hulk releases the tree as Thor de-animates it. "That was rude. Not you." She flicks a finger at Thor. "I thought I was going to have to smash all of them, and that would have been a shame." Green hair is tossed back. "Is anyone hurt?"
Noticing Iceman, Freedom Ring holds his hands towards him and lets out a little sigh at the soothing cool. He glances at his palms and nods when they prove unhurt. He jumps as Thor pulls off the big finish and glances around. "I coulda done that," he mutters. Letting out a breath, he rolls a shoulder. "I'm fine. Nothing a nice shower won't fix," the pink and black hero replies to She-Hulk.
Kurt Wagner looks about wildly as the earth begins to tremble and then split apart as the Grandaddy Ent comes up out of it. "Unglaublich!! That one was getting far too much fertilizer!" He leaps from the tree he was in, trying to figure out what to do against the giant as Thor goes flying up into the sky and lightning comes down. waiting for another shoe to fall for a few moments before he finally discards his iceclub, Kurt looks over to She-Hulk and shrugs his shoulders, 'I think I broke part of my brain und I'm freezing meine tail off, but otherwise I think I am alright Fraulein."
Thor steps towards She Hulk, ignoring the other heroes for the moment. "Hail and well met, Green Giantess. I doth see that Fate has crossed our path yet again." Thor gives She Hulk the once over, before turning to the others. "Valiantly fought, mortals. Thy bravery greatly outstripped thy ability. Had you had fallen in combat, surely the All-Father would have sent his Warrior Maidens to whisk thee away to the white halls of Valhalla!" In Thor speech that means 'good job'.
She-Hulk shakes her head. "I'd have done a lot better, but I was *trying* not to kill all the innocent trees." She lets out another breath. Of course, she's completely unmarked...a few animated trees? Not a huge deal for her. It's the rest of them that were having the huge problems. Freedom Ring gestures and creates a space heater that seems to be powered by the plug connected to the ground appears next to Kurt. "There ya go, fuzzy guy. Keep the tail from freezing off," he days. A grin is offered to Thor and the ring-slinger laughs a little. "Yeah, it's all no big deal. Just dome trees. Nice show with all the lightning though, big guy," is his reply to Thor.
Kurt Wagner bows to Freedom Ring, "Dankeshon to you." He does indeed take advantage of the nice heat. Looking up at Thor, "I am pleased to know that, but if it is alright with you, I am nicht wishing to test anytime soon if I am to go to heaven or not."
Thor gives Kurt a double take. "By Odin's beard! A Svartálfar? How walketh thou in daylight?" The Thunder god looks very confused and perplexed by Kurt to the point that he totally misses what Freedom Ring said to him. With a impressive shake of his golden locks, Thor breaks his stupor. He turns back to She Hulk. "Thy ire, Emerald One, is duly noted. The Ents were but innocent, twisted by foul dark magicks. I shall uncover the evil force behind this attack and avenge the abused children of Jord upon him. So says Thor, god of Thunder!" At that, Goldilocks strikes a pose, holding his hammer high in the sky. As if on cue, there is an accompanying flash of lightning and crack of thunder. Guy obviously has his own special effects people or something.
"I thought I was a ham," Shulkie murmurs. "And I don't think he's a svartalfar, I think he's just a meta." Seriously, SHE looks like a small giantess. Depending on the kind of giant. Or a very tall dryad.
"Magic?" Freedom Ring asks. That was the only part of what just happened that made even a little sense to him. "Hmm. That would explain it then. I wonder why some other magic guy bothered if I was here..." he trails off, still unaware he's not magic. "And don't worry about it," he adds to Kurt.
Kurt Wagner shakes his head, "I think you have me mixed up with someone else Herr, I am nicht Svartalfar but am known as Nightcrawler." he would offer to shake hands, but currently his hands are busy being held in front of Freedom Ring's heater in this winter wonderland that Iceman created.
"A meta? Aye...." Despite the fact that he's agreeing with She Hulk, the Norseman still doesn't sound to certain about this meta-human thing. Not that he knows anything yet about mutants and mundane. Heck, he's still trying to figure out this mortal immortal dichotomy out. Thor steps into the clear. He turns back to nods at the gathered assembly. "Fare thee well!" With that, he wheels Mjolnir about really really fast and then flings the hammer into the air. The strength of the move carries him aloft into the clouds and then away from view. Unseen by any of the heroes, Thor lands in an alley by a certain medical office. A strike of the hammer against the pavement sees the warrior replaced by the healer. The lame physician hobbles his way back into his practice, as he tries to come up with a good reason for why he is so late from lunch.