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The Pedestal

The Bearer continued to laugh, as he held up the remote toward the wall and pressed another button. The walls came to life, revealing many large television screens, some of them showing various news reels, others showing different weather satellite and Doppler images of around the world. He then set down the Cube in the center of the Pedestal, and they all watch as it began to glow, then it's sides unfolded onto the grid of the pedestal, revealing a glowing multicolored orb in the center. Additional panels began to slide out of the sides, covering the pedestal.

"Now, watch," the Bearer said with a smile, and held the remote forward to the four of them, while raising his other hand over the orb. The bars of the cells then began to slide down slowly, from above, until they came just down below their eyes. He then put his hand on the orb, and energy rose up from the top of their heads, over the cell bars and flew toward the orb. After a few moments, it stopped, and he raised the bars back up again. "And just like that," he said, finally putting the remote into his messenger bag, "the disappointing players of this round of the game forefit their positions."

"So what now," Earth said with a sneer while trying to shake the bars loose. "You've taken the power from me, now what are you planning, giving the power to four new individuals?" The Bearer shook his head, and brought both hands over the orb. A wave of energy came out from it over the panels on the Pedestal, forming into a map off the coast of Florida, and another pattern appeared above it appeared that, based on the screens on the walls, appeared to match the cloud cover over the area.

He moved his hands in a pattern, and the clouds floating above the pedestal began to change, forming into a pattern appearing like a hurricane. The four simultaneously looked over at the wall, as the satellite and Doppler patterns shifted to match, and one of the news images changed to an emergency broadcast beginning to warn about the hurricane. "Now a hurricane is a pretty good start," the Bearer said, shrugging his shoulders, and waved his hands to clear the map above the Pedestal and reform it again. "But we can do better than that." He looked up at Water, and smiled. "How about we continue what you two started fifteen years ago?"

"You wouldn't," Air said with a sneer, and Water simply glared at him.

"Ah," the Bearer said, beginning to chuckle, "but did you tell your new friends about then? About how the two of you, caught up in the excitement of having power, and the energy of a grade school crush, nearly paralyzed the entire Rocky Mountain region by turning the winter storm into flooded landslide?" Water looked over to his companions. Air was bowing her head in shame and embarrassment, while Earth looked upon him with bewilderment, as this was a detail the two had left out of their explanation of the events of the past. Fire, however, wasn't looking at him, just staring at the Bearer, while scratching an itch on his left forearm. Fire noticed, for the first time, a black tattoo on the man's left arm, running in a helix around his arm and up where he couldn't see it in the sleeve, which is what he was scratching at.

Could it be, Fire thought to himself as he thought back to the events of the past. "Yes," he said, turning to the Bearer, "Air and I did nearly cause some damage, we were troublesome little children back then. But we realized our mistake, and that's why we got back together later and resolved to take it down. We've spent years planning, preparing for this moment, just to take it out." Water then smiled a sinister smile. "And you've not only handed us the Cube, you've given us the Pedestal along with it, which is more than we were hoping for. You've handed the means to destroy you to us on a silver- excuse me - golden platter."

The Bearer frowned, and began to wave his hands over the sphere again, the energy turning into a series of mountains. "Once I've destroyed your home," the Bearer said with a chuckle, voice much more terse though than before. He stopped, lowering his eyebrows, appearing like he was surprised that he seemed more worried at what Water said than he should be. "You'll have to watch your home destroyed, and everyone and everything you love there wiped out with it. And then yes, I will give the power to four new people. Four new people who will lose their homes in my disasters, and be told that the others were the cause. A new war, a new game, and I will force you four to watch it before I kill you, to watch those with dark hearts destroy the world."

The sound that then filled the room was not the Bearer, but it was Water, filling the room with a low cynical laugh. "You certainly are full of yourself and your ability to control others as puppets." He reached into his pocket, and brought out a black lighter. Flicking it open, he held it up and out of the cage. "You know," he continued, "being a puppet yourself." The Bearer looked up to him, and his face went pale as Water lit the lighter, and its flame turned to a bright purple. He then clicked it closed and dropped it to the ground, and the Bearer suddenly fell to the ground. "Now, Fire!"

Fire nodded, and pulled up his left sleeve, and as the Bearer began to stand back up he ran a fingernail along his tattoo. A loud, high pitched whine filled the room, and the Bearer and the others fell to the ground grabbing their ears in pain to block it out. He then held forth his hand, and the tattoo around his arm began to glow, then darted out off of his arm to the ground, slithering along until it reached the Bearer's messenger bag. It disappeared into the bag, then with a flick of his wrist back toward himself, the bag lifted into the air, and the remote control, wrapped up in the energy coil, flew back to his hand. He then held forth his hand again and it went back out, and wrapped itself around the Bearer's legs, preventing him from getting to his feet again.

Fire pressed the button he had seen the Bearer press before, and the bars began to lower once again. "What was that lighter, anyway," he said to Water, turning to him while waiting for the bars to lower completely.

"An old relic of the Grand Game," he said simply, and walked toward the Bearer once he had enough clearance from the bars. He lifted him up by his jacket, then dragged him over to the cell he just vacated. Fire pressed the button on the remote, and the cells rose up to trap the old man in it.

"I'm surprised you still had it," Air said, picking it up and holding it up close to her eyes. "I thought it was taken away along with the other things." Water simply chuckled in response. "And that tattoo as well," she continued as she turned to look at Fire. "I remember that, someone else involved those years ago had it, not one of the four users though. How did you come across it?"

Fire recalled the tattoo back to his arm from around the Bearer's legs now that he was locked securely away, and then pulled his sleeve back down to cover it up. "It belonged to my uncle. Several years ago he gave me a card with the symbol, telling me a strange tale which I honestly didn't believe him, until after that man showed up at my apartment and involved me in all of this." He scratched at it a few more times, still itching. "I was going to use it to rescue Earth, to be honest with you."

"That's all fine and dandy you know," Earth said, drawing all of their attention, "but we're not out of the woods yet." They all turned, and looked at the Pedestal. "We still have one more thing to do. We have to stop the Orb."

Wed, 28 Dec 2011 13:00:00 -0600

The Cube

The man held forward the cube, the side for Earth facing them, and the symbol began to glow. They all looked at Earth, as suddenly glowing bands appeared around her wrist, and her arms began to raise into the air. "Wha- what is this?" she stammered, panicking, and tried to back away, but her amrs remained fixed in the air at the position of the wrists, still moving on their own. Lines of energy began to flow out of the bands along her fingers and up her arms, and they all looked back at the Bearer, who began to laugh, as he brought his free hand forard, holding it above the Cube.

"You fools," he said as he continued laughing, "do you really thing you can go against the will of the Cube?" From his hands, strings of light appeared to descend into the Cube, and as he began to move them with his fingers Earth suddenly screamed out, and when they looked back at her she was clearly in pain as her arms were being stretched in a way they wouldn't be naturally. She continued struggling to pull away, pushing backwards against the ground, until she was no longer able to. Panicking, she looked down at her feet, and then shook her head worringly.

"Stop this now," Water said, holding out his hand to blast the man with water, but before the spray could go forward the floor in front of him raised up, blocking the shot. The raised floor then broke apart, and flew forward toward him. He ran forward toward it instead of dodging it, and jumped up onto it as a platform to jump up to the ceiling. He punched through the drop tile, grabbing onto pipes above it, and then suddenly the sprinklers all came to life, pouring down water. "Now then," he said, "I believe I said stop."

He looked down to Air and nodded, and she nodded in return. She then held her hands up, and a fierce wind started blowing in the room, swirling around and gathering up the water from the sprinkler, preventing it from falling to the ground. She then clenched her hands together, and it all converged on the Bearer, who held up his free arm to shield his face from the onslaught. As he did this, Water then reached down with his free hand and undid his shoelaces, and loosened his boots. He lifted one leg backward and then kicked it forward, sending the boot flying toward the Bearer, but missing. He then did it again with the other boot, hitting the cube and knocking it out of his hand.

Earth fell to the ground, and Fire ran over to help her up. As he went to touch her, though, a shock ran through his body, and he pulled back. "Uh uh," the Bearer said in mocking response, bending down to pick up the Cube. Water jumped down to the floor and began to run forward to attack him, but from his sleeve a small metal bearing rolled into his hand, which he tossed forward toward Water. Once it hit him, he stopped moving, frozen in place, and the ball fell to the floor. "That was a little clever," the Bearer said, picking up the Cube and holding his hand up to it once again, the strings of light reappearing. "I wasn't expecting to get a shoe thrown at me, anyway."

He moved his hand, and Earth stood to her feet, then stepped forward and grabbed at Fire. He tried to get free of her grab, but, enhanced by whatever spell the Cube held her in, her strength was much more than he was expecting, and he was unable to overcome it. "I will admit, though," the Bearer continued, "puppetry was never a strong suit of mine, and trying to control her is proving to be more work than I thought it would be." Air ran over to try and help pull him free, and Fire watched as the Bearer put his hand down on the top of the Cube, and the strings fell down from his fingers. The Bearer reached into his pocket, and as he pulled his hand back out Fire could see several more of the small metal bearings in it, which he through forward at the three of them, hitting the three of them.

Water was the first to be able to move again, finding himself locked in a small metal cage. He could see nothing else in the room, the only light a beam coming from above him which illuminated nothing else. He tried holding his hands up to use his power, but the bars of the cell began to glow, and he realized it was engineered to absorb his power. "Bearer," he decided to shout instead, "are you out there? Show yourself!" The response was simply a laugh, and three additional lights came to life around him, revealing his other three companions, who were still frozen and each in their own cage.

"Very nice tools," came the Bearer's voice, from somewhere in front of him. "I'm glad I saved these little balls." Laughter filled the air again, and a new light came on, illuminating the Bearer. In one hand he held the Cube, and in the other hand he held a remote, which was pointed toward the ceiling, controlling the lights Water guessed. Gasps of air came from his side, and he looked over and saw the other three had unfrozen as well. "And now that you're all awake again, we can move this into its next phase." He pointed the remote to the ground next to him, and a platform opened up, revealing something as it rose from the ground.

"What is that?" Fire asked, as a light came on over the rising platform. Upon it was a column, with a board atop it showing a large grid of gold wires. Water frowned, not expecting this move. As far as he was aware, this was supposed to be destroyed, and the company had made a cheap imitiation for its minimum effect. Seeing it again after so many years made things so much worse. Although, as he thought about it further, perhaps it was a good thing taht it was still around after all.

"That," Water said, "is the Pedestal. It is used to bring out the full power of the Cube. And with both in his control, the world is doomed."

Sun, 18 Dec 2011 12:00:00 -0600