The Balance of Power
The Dark Army; the Avengers
On another World, Within another Universe
The Spirit World
A vast, endless crystalline barrier. For thousands of years it has been undisturbed. The Dark Army imprisoned within the confines of the indestructible barrier by Avatar Kira and Hiro-Arin eons ago. Now, with the Heart of this world in his possession, Hiro-Kala would seek to destroy the barrier and release the ruthless Berserker Spirits that have been contained for so long.
Stepping forth from the portal, Hiro-Kala approaches the towering barrier, reaching his hand out to rest upon the smooth surface of the barricade. An intense expression of concentration adorns his face, his eyes closing briefly before opening again. Summoning the vast energies of the Heart and the Old Power, Hiro-Kala removes his hand from the surface of the barrier. Lunging forward, a primal scream of rage and ferocity erupting from the depths of his very soul, Hiro-Kala strikes the barrier with all of his might.
In a blinding explosion of the light, an explosion of such force that it's felt throughout the physical and spiritual worlds, the endless crystalline barrier is shattered. Standing among the devastation brought out by his own hand, Hiro-Kala looked on as infinite, hulking, shadowy masses marched forth from the shattered remains of the barrier and encircled him from all sides. He could sense their eyes focusing on him, he could hear them snarl and hiss as they bared their sinister tooth-filled maws.
Most of the monstrous creatures stood seven to eight-feet tall, their flesh as dark as the pitch-black armor that rested on their shoulders. Some of the vile beasts had two glowing demonic eyes, while other possess as many as four or six. The beasts stood and moved in bipedal fashion on two legs, though the ones with four arms seemed to prefer a more quadruped stance as their two extra limbs seemed to assist them in moving more quickly through the environment. Weapons, swords and spiked maces, were forged from their very dark essence and materialized in their five dexterous, clawed-tipped digits. These were the Berserker Spirits, the most blood-thirsty and ruthless creatures ever to exist within the spiritual and physical worlds.
But this did not matter to Hiro-Kala. He feared nothing. The Berserker Spirits would serve him, they would aid him in his conquest. If they refused to obey him willingly, he would force them to abide him and carry out his agenda for this world. He would have their loyalty and cooperation, even if he had to slaughter thousands of them with his bare hands to achieve it!
"I am the one who released you from your eternal prison. I am your lord and master. I am your God. Now... kneel.", Hiro-Kala proclaimed in a voice colder than ice.
One of the larger Berserker Spirits stepped forward, it's four malevolent eyes focused on Hiro-Kala. The creature let out a savage snarl, its toothy maw dripping with saliva, before materializing a giant spiked mace made of its own essence within one of its clawed hands. The Berserker Spirit had challenged Hiro-Kala to a fight to the death, to see if the Oldstrong was indeed their lord and master.
The Berserker Spirit charged, swinging its massive mace with the deadly intent of crushing Hiro-Kala beneath its spikes. But the Oldstrong was too fast, avoiding the thunderous blow and striking out at the Berserker Spirit with speed that rivaled lightning. The precision-based strike, combined with the Old Power energies that encased his fist, rip through the flesh of the Spirit's chest and burst out from the other side of its spine. Even as the dark spirit slumped down to its knees, Hiro-Kala ripped his arm free of its chest cavity before lunging forth and grabbing the Berserker Spirit's throat. The creature hissed in defiance one last time, saliva and dark fluid flowing from its toothy maw as it gazed into Hiro-Kala's glowing eyes. Then, with brutal finality, Hiro-Kala rips the head of the Berserker Spirit clean off its shoulders.
The surrounding Berserker Spirits snarl, hiss, and roar at Hiro-Kala, who tosses the decapitated head of the dark spirit aside. He glares at the Berserker Spirits, his gaze cold and filled with malice. Seconds later, the Berserker Spirits charge at Hiro-Kala from all sides, hoping to overwhelm him and tears his form asunder. Unfortunately... this would prove to be a grave error.
"I said... Kneel!", Hiro-Kala bellowed, unleashing the Old Power.
The Old Power ripped through thousands of the Berserker Spirits, the bursts of azure energy shredding the surrounding landscape. Those dark spirits who managed to avoid incineration were sent soaring through the air or crushed beneath massive chunks of earth. The assault, which seemed to last for hours, ends as abruptly as it started. The Berserker Spirits, in their infinite numbers, watch as Hiro-Kala slowly made his approach. Like the Red Sea, they parted and allowed Hiro-Kala to walk among them.
Then, suddenly, the infinite masses of Berserker Spirits knelt down before Hiro-Kala. Absolute silence reigned until one of the dark spirits, one of their formidable warriors, lowered its head and spoke directly to Hiro-Kala in a rasping, sinister voice. Only then did the Oldstrong cease his movement, his attention solely focused on the Berserker Spirit.
"We... follow. And we... obey, Lord Hiro-Kala.", The Berserker Spirit hissed.
"Remember your place, and there will be a position in this world for you. Defy me, and I will make you beg for something as sweet as Death.", Hiro-Kala finally spoke, walking past the kneeling Berserker Spirit and on through the domain.
"Come, my Dark Army. Let us end this world and annihilate those who would dare oppose my will. For it is only then, after I purge this world, will I be able to create it anew.", Hiro-Kala commands, his sinister voice chilling the very atmosphere itself.
On this night their eyes would bleed and their hearts would become ice. This night would be filled with their cries. This night would be filled with death and darkness.
New York City
It all went smoothly at first. A conflict had been seemingly avoided. That is until Tony Stark let his arrogance and pride get involved, resulting in him provoking an altercation with Skaar by unleashing a powerful energy blast from the Hulkbuster's titanic metal gauntlets. The force of the blast sent the son of Hulk tearing through the strata that made up the tiny island's landmass before his eventual, explosive halt. It was then that all bets were off!
Leaping into action, Korra and Laura set aside their differences and attack Captain Marvel and Smasher, the female Avatar wielding all the elements to assault Carol Danvers while X-23 brought her adamantium claws into play against Isabel Dare. Needless to say, it was a fierce altercation. Captain Marvel couldn't get near Korra without being assaulted by a barrage of elements, whether they be bursts of intense searing flames or lightning, titanic chunks of boulder missiles, hammering hurricane-like blows of air, or icy daggers or whips of water. Smasher, on the other hand, was doing everything in her power to avoid getting close to X-23, knowing full well of how dangerous and lethal her adamantium claws could be if they were to make contact with her flesh or if they were to pierce through her internal organs. Therefore, it only made sense for Izzy to utilize her flight, speed, and eye blasts to keep the female clone of Wolverine at bay until she'd come in for a strong physical assault.
Meanwhile, Skaar was dealing with the combine might of Thor, Hyperion, and Iron Man's Hulkbuster. Their thunderous blows sent shockwaves in all directions, the very impact of each blow echoing throughout the island of Manhattan. Hulking fists smash against iron and flesh, iron gauntlets collide with emerald skin, the fists of a sun-empowered Eternal strike with lightning speed, and a mystical hammer belonging to a god is wielded with devastating force and destructive power as it slams against flesh & bone. Truly it was a battle that could level entire cities and shake the planet itself to its very foundations.
It was also a battle that Skaar found himself against three opponents that consisted of a thunder god, an eternal, and a suit of armor created specifically to take on the Hulk. He was outnumbered, most definitely, but outmatched? Not so much. Much like his father & mother, he would meet this challenge head-on. He would see his enemies fall, or he would fall and take them down with him in the process.
Smashing through the upper layer of a skyscraper, Skaar finds himself in what appeared to be an abandoned office. Before he could react to the sound of looming thunder, a massive bolt of lightning surges forth from the heavens and annihilates the entire skyscraper. The towering structure collapses to the earth, the bolts of energy searing through Skaar's flesh even as the structural mass, consisting of thousands of tons of steel and concrete, slams down upon his muscular frame. Moments pass before Skaar manages to explode from the rubble of the fallen skyscraper, his eyes gleaming with a savage rage akin to his father's own.
Standing not far away, Thor stood strong and tall, his mighty hammer Mjolnir clenched tightly within his hand. He had faced the Hulk many times before, therefore he knew very well the challenge set before him. As in those battles against the Hulk, the God of Thunder knew that his might would be tested. But he would not yield, neither to the Hulk nor any being. Nonetheless, he also acknowledged the fact that he was facing a young warrior, one who was not unlike himself in many ways. He remembered well what it was like to be full of rage and pride, to wield a sword and rush head-on against any threat or foe.
"Stay thy hand, Son of Hulk. This fight is one you cannot win, nor is it one you could possibly want.", Thor proclaimed, pointing the mystical uru mallet at Skaar.
"Heh. You don't know me that well, do you, Puny Thunder God?", Skaar sneered mockingly, rushing at the God of Thunder with unbelievable swiftness.
Thunder made the heavens tremble and lightning scorched the very surroundings in which Thor and Skaar fought upon, their blows causing seismic activity across the entire continent. Back and forth, massive fists of emerald and a mystical weapon forged of great power collide, neither Skaar or Thor relenting in their attacks. For quite some time it would appear that both combatants were even in might, until Thor realized that, much like in his battles against the Hulk, he would have to use more than force.
Utilizing centuries worth of combat knowledge, Thor to take a defensive/offensive assault on Skaar by avoiding or countering the son of Hulk's blows before attacking full force with bludgeoning body strikes with Mjolnir. One hammer blow slams into Skaar's sternum, the second and third striking the Oldstrong/Hulk hybrid in the ribs. Enraged, Skaar swings wildly only for Thor to duck under his strike and deliver a thunderous blow to Skaar's knee, causing the Son of Hulk to drop down to one knee.
Summoning the power of lightning to his weapon, the energies surging within the uru hammer capable of incinerating an entire continent, Thor soars high into the air and then comes crashing down upon Skaar. Mjolnir smashes against Skaar's skull, the tremendous impact creating a very large laceration across the son of Hulk's forehead and release of energy vaporizing everything within a radius of an entire block. Paying no heed to the emerald blood that leaked down his face from his gaping, yet quickly healing wound, Skaar pushed himself up to his hands and knees to glare savagely at the Thunder God that stood before him.
There was times that even Thor pondered which was more durable: Mjolnir, or the Hulk's skull. And this was indeed one of those occurrences. Very few beings could withstand the full might of Mjolnir, the Hulk being one of the exceptions. It surprised Thor to learn firsthand that Skaar, much like his father, was more than capable of withstanding the power and might of Mjolnir. Nonetheless, he knew the son of Hulk had to be dealt with, that Skaar needed to be stopped. But could he do it alone?
"Any last words before you fall, Savage One?", Thor inquired, getting ready to unleash his thunderous fury again on the savage Prince of Sakaar.
Unfortunately, Thor failed to take notice of azure-blue energy coursing throughout Skaar's body until it was too late. The brief moment of respite was all the son of Hulk needed to summon and channel the Old Power, the heritage of his mother Caiera the Oldstrong and her race. All too soon, the son of Odin would simultaneously experience a new form of unfathomable power and unbelievable pain.
"Yeah. See you in Miami, Thunder God.", Skaar sneered, a wicked smile forming on his features.
Lashing out with thunderous uppercut, a blow that is further enhanced by the Old Power, Skaar administers the devastating attack. Thor is sent careening through the heavens, soaring across entire states until coming to an abrupt crash-landing moments later in the cool ocean waters near Miami Beach. Back on the isle of Manhattan, Skaar had little time to recover. For no sooner had he dealt with Thor, the powerful god-like Eternal known as Hyperion speared Skaar, carrying the son of Hulk through the air while driving them both through one towering structure after another.
It was only when Skaar made use of his larger size and greater strength did he drive Hyperion through the earth, tearing sections of concrete apart and sending them high into the air until they managed to come to a crashing halt. With sheer brutal ferocity, Skaar begins to deliver devastating jackhammer blows to Hyperion, repeatedly smashing the powerful Eternal down into the earth as the seismic activity registers as distant as the Hawaiian Isles. Almost out of desperation, Hyperion manages to catch Skaar's fists, holding them at bay until he manages to summon forth his immense solar power derived from the sun and his unique genetics.
Then, without hesitation, Hyperion unleashes a full on blast of his heat vision from his eyes and directly into Skaar's face, temporarily blinding him and allowing Hyperion to rise to strike the son of Hulk with a powerful double hammer fist bash. Truly effective and powerful, the shock-wave generating blow sends Skaar soaring back and smashing through several small building before coming to an abrupt halt at the bast of a skyscraper that was current under construction. Of course, the impact was more than sufficient to cause the building to collapse, burying Skaar beneath its mass.
Flying down to the wreckage of the fallen skyscraper, his face bloody and bruised, Hyperion awaited in mid-air for Skaar to reemerge. Powerful he may be, but in this case he was up against a foe whose might rivaled his very own. If he were to have any success in stopping Skaar, Hyperion realized that he would have to summon and exert all of his power to the fullest. For much like the Hulk, he acknowledged that Skaar would give no quarter in this conflict.
"You're only making this more difficult on yourself.", Hyperion shouts in declaration, watching as Skaar rose from the rubble that once buried him.
"Heh. You haven't seen nothing yet.", Skaar quipped, rushing forward only to bombarded by Hyperion's heat vision, the energies unleashed being at their finite peak.
"Stupid moron. I was born in molten fire as hot as the sun! Did you think you could hurt me?", Skaar snarled, wading through the continuous burst of energy like a man wading through the heavy rain from a storm.
"No. Good thing that I've two fists to beat some sense into you!", Hyperion retorts, ceasing his energy-based attack and lunging forward at top speed to batter his enemy with his fists.
Blow after thunderous blow, each one shaking the entire city to its foundations, Skaar and Hyperion battered one another without remorse. It appeared that, much like the previous battle with Thor, the two were seemingly an even match. That would soon change, however, as Skaar managed to grasp Hyperion's cape and resumed to utilizing it to his distinct advantage. Viciously, Skaar smashed Hyperion into the earth again and again, treating the powerful Eternal as if he were no more than a rag-doll.
"I hate capes.", Skaar states in proclamation, slamming Hyperion into the ground one last time while keep a firm grip on the Eternal's cape.
Then, with both hands grasping the cape, Skaar begins spinning Hyperion around and around until they were both nothing more than a powerful, cyclonic blur. Only when he achieved a fast enough speed did Skaar release his grip and launch Hyperion into the air, his body soaring out of Earth's atmosphere and heading directly towards the planet's Moon. With any luck Hyperion would be temporarily knocked unconscious from the impact, assuming he'd land on the Moon, of course.
"Enjoy your trip to the Moon, Super-Jackass!", Skaar bellowed just as soon as the powerful Eternal disappeared from his sight.
He would receive little time to celebrate his victory, for no sooner had Skaar dealt with Hyperion did Tony Stark's Hulkbuster ambush him. The powerful machine slams Skaar through several building before lifting and tossing the son of Hulk down an street, his body rolling and tearing apart the tar & concrete road while sending vehicles soaring in the air or crashing into nearby structures. Shaking it off, Skaar rises to his feet just in time to receive a powerful sucker-punch from Stark's Hulkbuster that sends him careening into another structure.
"You just don't know when to stay down, do you, kid?", Iron Man said mockingly.
"And you never know when to shut up!", Skaar snarled, bursting from the rubble and leaping at his armored antagonist.
"Touché.", Tony Stark quips, activating and unleashing a charged unibeam blast from the Hulkbuster's chest.
The searing blast of energy slams into Skaar, sending him crashing through various structures. Before he could even come to a complete stop, the Hulkbuster pressed the advantage by releasing a volley of missiles and repulsor blasts. Detonating against his flesh with tremendous force and power, it was apparent these weapons were unique in design.
"Gamma-empowered missiles. They pack quite a punch, don't they? Conventional weapons don't seem to phase Hulks. So, I thought... why not use the most powerful form of energy in the universe and create some weapons that would actually be able to stagger Hulks?", Tony Stark informed, landing the Hulkbuster nearby as Skaar slowly got to his feet once again.
"My Father made a mistake in not killing you, Stark. I won't be as forgiving.", Skaar said, his voice seeping with rage and savagery.
"Show me what you got, Conan.", Stark mocked, the Hulkbuster getting into its fighting stance.
Simultaneously, Skaar and the Hulkbuster charge, slamming into one another with an impact that splinters the surrounding strata. Back and forth, without hesitance or mercy, the two titans trade blows that make the city quake for dozens of miles. For a while, the Hulkbuster had a slight advantage, using its size to enable it to slam and pin Skaar to the ground before assaulting him with powerful, earth'shaking jackhammer blows. But it was not to last.
For much like his father, the Hulk, the angrier Skaar would get... the stronger he would become! Just as the Hulkbuster's massive, metallic fist came down for another punishing blow it met resistance. Having caught the fisted gauntlet in his left hand, Skaar summoned the Old Power to his right fist, channeling it into his attack. Skaar's devastating blow rips through the nigh-impervious metal alloys of the armor, tearing the arm of the Hulkbuster completely off in the process as it goes soaring through the air.
The damaged Hulkbuster crashes in the middle of the city, its impact sending up clouds of dust and chunks of strata in the air. Sparks fly from the damaged sections of the armor, yet the machine still manages to force itself into an upright stance. A shadow loomed over the Hulkbuster, but as it descended... it was too late. A titanic chunk of steel, concrete, and glass ripped from a skyscraper smashes down upon Stark's armored form. Skaar lands soon after, waiting patiently for his enemy to rise from the crumbled remains of the skyscraper.
Suddenly, a sound caught Skaar's immediate attention, his eyes zeroing in on the rubble the Hulkbuster was buried underneath. It sounded as if something were... powering-up. Then, in a blinding flash of light, a powerful burst of energy erupts from the remains of the skyscraper, enveloping Skaar in its raw destructive energies. Rising from the wreckage, the Hulkbuster continues to focus all of its power in the unibeam emanating from its core. Roaring in primal fury, Skaar digs his feet into the ground and begins to slowly advance, pushing against the raw energies that washed over his hulking form.
Step by step, inch by inch, Skaar trudged towards the Hulkbuster as it continued to release its destructive energies. Through the searing heat and pain, Skaar strengthened his approach, determined to reach the Hulkbuster by any physical means necessary. After what felt like hours, Skaar reached the Hulkbuster, lunging his fist forward and plunging it into the arc reactor core of the Hulkbuster. The energy of the unibeam ceased, its core throwing out sparks just before Skaar rips it out and sends the Hulkbuster crashing back with a solid kick.
"You're done.", Skaar said, his voice low and dripping with venomous finality.
"Uh... I don't think so. Believe it or not, I've still got a few surprises left.", Tony Stark, exiting/flying out of the Hulkbuster, revealing that he was wearing one of his Mark VII armors beneath it.
What transpires is a contest akin to cat-and-mouse, with Tony trying to stay out of Skaar's grasp while firing his repulsor beams. He wouldn't be able to do it forever, that much Tony was certain of. The Mark VII, while formidable in most cases, was utterly useless in engaging powerful enemies... especially Hulks. If Skaar were to get a firm grip on him, Stark knew that he and the suit would be torn apart. Therefore, he was doing everything to make sure that didn't happen.
When it seemed like Tony's luck had run out, the unexpected return of one of his heavy-hitter allies saved him from being ripped in half by the enraged son of Hulk. Slamming into Skaar like a blazing meteor going at the speed of light, Hyperion returns, solar charged and ready to battle once again. Driving Skaar through countless skyscrapers and structures, his flurrying fists striking the son of Hulk at light speed, Hyperion propels himself and his foe into the heart of Central Park, their impact like that of a massive explosion.
Stunned, Skaar slowly rises from the crater only to once again be besieged by Hyperion, the powerful Eternal moving at such extreme speed that cyclones begin to form around the vicinity of Central Park. Within the vortex, Hyperion continued his assault, mercilessly pummeling the Oldstrong-Gamma hybrid with a barrage of lightning quick punches. But it was only a matter of time before Skaar fought back with savage fury, blocking some of the Sun God's own blows and countering with pulverizing strikes of his own. The vortex they were within, and the ones that surrounded the area, dissipated when Skaar ripped powered through it.
He kept his massive limbs encircled around Hyperion's body, attempting to crush the very life out of the powerful Eternal. Knowing that he couldn't break free with sheer strength alone, Hyperion acknowledged that he must break free by using a totally different tactic. Unleashing his heat vision full force and a point blank range, the intense solar-energies bursting against Skaar's face, forcing the emerald-skinned titan to release his crushing bear-hug on Hyperion.
It would appear that Skaar and Hyperion would continue their battle, but then something caught their immediate attention. Tearing across the heavens, a massive sphere of lightning and mystical energies hurls itself in the direction of Central Park. In a flash, Hyperion blasted off into the skies, leaving the son of Hulk to deal with the incoming destructive force. Narrowing his eyes at the blinding light, Skaar could make out a familiar silhouette within the massive sphere of energy... a silhouette that was wielding a weapon forged by the Gods.
Roaring in fury, Skaar leaps at the sphere of energy, determined to be the first to strike. The resulting collision is cataclysmic, the explosion engulfing a vast portion of Central Park, the titanic bolts of mystical lightning ravaging the landscape. When the blinding light and energies dissipate, a scorched crater and an equally scorched landscape are left in their wake. Within the center of the scorched crater, Skaar lays hunched over on his hands and knees, his thick hide seared by the powerful spherical burst of lightning energies. It was then that Thor, his body and attire damaged from battle, made his approach. He came to an abrupt stop several meters away from Skaar, Mjolnir tightly clenched within his grasp as his azure-hued eyes focused on the Prince of the extinguished world of Sakaar.
"Do you yield, young warrior?", Thor inquired sternly.
"Never!", Skaar growled in retort, spitting a wad of blood from his mouth and wiping the remainder of it away with a motion of his forearm.
"Very well. You leave us no choice.", Thor responds, lunging forward and striking Skaar across the face with Mjolnir.
"Don't let up! Hit him with everything you got!", Iron Man orders, speaking to his allies through the comlinks.
In an instant, the conflict between Skaar, Thor, Hyperion and Iron Man is rekindled. Across the cityscape the battle waged on, neither willing to surrender as their clash leveled skyscrapers and entire city blocks. No matter who would come out the victor of this world-shaking altercation, the bitter taste of loss and defeat would belong to the people who lived upon the isle of Manhattan.
Like a living rocket, Captain Marvel was sent soaring through the air, her body destined to land in upstate New York courtesy of one savage She-Hulk by the name of Lyra Banner. She, along with Korra and Laura, proved to be more than a match for the female Avengers Captain Marvel and Smasher. It was a lengthy battle, but in the end they managed to achieve victory. Korra delivering some of the most devastating assaults with her elemental manipulating abilities, her anger nearly getting the better of her as she nearly uprooted the entirety of Liberty Isle itself in order to dispense with her enemies.
Now, having achieved victory, the three heroic women set about to cheer and celebrate their triumph. It would be short-lived, however, as the earth trembled and their eyes caught sight of a devastating spectacle. Massive bolts of lightning tore apart the darkened skies, striking the earth as several tornado-like vortex descended down to the cityscape. Then came bursts of golden energy, appearing like solar flares from a distance. They were soon accompanied by the sound of explosions, from powerful missiles and bombs. Then there was the sound of hulking fists connecting against their intended target, making the earth tremble from the savage onslaught.
An azure meteor smashes against the landmass of Liberty Island, the explosive force of the shockwave knocking Korra, Laura and Lyra off their feet. Korra, Lyra, and Laura slowly get back up on their feet, focusing on the sight where the object landed. What they found in the impact zone was not a meteor at all, but the prone form of Skaar lying flat on his back... seemingly unconscious.
"Skaar!", Korra, Laura and Lyra cried out before immediately rushing to his side.
Korra and Laura immediately knelt down, both of them working together in lifting and tenderly holding Skaar's head while Lyra stood guard over them. She couldn't help but steal a glance at the two women who comforted her younger brother's unconscious Hulked-Out form, immediately taking notice of how they tenderly held his head and caressed his face with their fingertips. It was without question, at least to Lyra, that Laura and Korra cared greatly about Skaar. Both as a friend... and possibly as something more. Only time would tell if her suspicions were correct, and who it would be that'd obtain her brother's heart.
Then, suddenly, Skaar's eyes snapped open and he bolted up to his feet, unleashing a primal roar of fury as he lunged and grasped Laura & Korra each within one of his massive hands. His eyes seemed too glow with rage as he held Korra & Laura suspended in the air. If he desired... he could crush the life out of them. It was only due to Lyra's intervention and his sudden clarity did he relent.
"Skaar! Stop! It's Korra and Laura!", Lyra shouted.
"I... I'm sorry.", Skaar apologized in a low voice, reverting back to his Human-Shadow form while releasing Korra and Laura from his death-grip.
"It's all right. You just...", Korra said, resting a comforting hand on his shoulder as she attempted to come with the right thing to say only to have someone beat her to the punch.
"Lost control. We've all done it.", Laura stated, reaching out to rest her hand on his unoccupied shoulder.
"Especially in the midst of combat.", Lyra added, a reassuring smile gracing her features.
Before anything else could be said, a massive thunderbolt slams down close to where Skaar, Korra, Lyra and Laura once stood, the explosive force of the unexpected attack sending them all crashing back in different directions. Hovering in the sky, Thor and Hyperion descended, their attention clearly focused on Skaar. It was when she seen this, that she believed her friend to be in grave peril, that something within Korra was unleashed. A fierce determination coursing through her as she rose to her feet, an instinctual desire to protect her friends.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!", Korra screamed, putting herself between Skaar and the two Avengers.
It was at that instant the waters of the surrounding ocean swirled to the heavens in towering vortexes, lightning tears across the heavens, the air spirals until it reaches the velocity of the strongest of hurricanes, and the earth trembled from a magnitude of force greater than any felt that day. It was as if nature had gone berserk, lashing out at everything and anything that dared to stand against her wrath. Unknown to them all with the exception of one, it was just a precursor to the ultimate power Avatar Korra would manifest, a power she would unleash for all to see.
"By Odin's beard! She's manipulating the very elements themselves!", Thor proclaimed, astonished by the power the young woman wielded.
Skaar's gaze solely focused on Korra, noticing what was happening to her. Her skin, normally a cocoa hue in color, changed to gray-white in color... exactly like his own. The white sclera of her eyes transformed, becoming pitch black even as her sapphire-blue irises remained intact. Seconds later, her eyes glowed with a fierce destructive power... a power that Skaar recognized immediately.
It was the Old Power.
Smashing her fist into the earth, Korra summons forth the Old Power to assault Thor and Hyperion. The energies burst from the earth, striking the Thunder God and the Eternal with such insurmountable force that they're launched out of Earth's orbit. Much like a falling star, Hyperion and Thor streak across the heavens and into the depths of space.
But it did not end there. For in truth, while Korra had managed to learn how to control the Old Power... she had yet to truly master it. She lacked the experience and control of the Old Power, experience and control that Skaar possessed. For someone who was not born with the Old Power, or did not possess the will to control it, the Old Power could corrupt and overtake the individual... resulting in their demise.
It was happening to Korra. The Old Power was overtaking her, unwittingly making her tear at the very tectonic plates of the North-Eastern seaboard. Skaar could sense it, and he realized that her fate was now in his hands. Only he could reach her, only he could get her to regain control of the Old Power. There was no other way, for if he tried to forcibly take control of the Old Power from her and remove her from the equation... it may do serious harm to Korra and the landmasses affected by the Old Power.
"Korra! You're losing control! If you don't stop, you'll tear this entire continent apart!", Skaar shouted, using the Old Power to make himself invulnerable as he trekked towards Korra.
Powering through the elements and the cascading energies of the Old Power, Skaar managed to make his way toward Korra. Reaching out and gripping her by the shoulders, he stared into her eyes, hoping that she recognized him and would be able to hear him. He had already lost so much in his young life... he couldn't bear losing her.
"Come on, Korra. It's me... Skaar. Remember what I taught you. Don't let the Old Power overwhelm you. You can control it.", Skaar spoke to her, urging Korra to regain control of the elements and of the Old Power.
A eternity of tension passes. Then, the elements and the Old Power itself, ceased their raging and calmly dispersed. Korra's eyes and skin return to their normal appearance, signifying that she had severed her connection and use of the Old Power for the time being. It had the affect of draining her, her exhausted body falling into Skaar's arms. Easing her down gently, Skaar held her close, cradling her head and shoulders while keeping her upper body elevated as not to cause her any discomfort.
"Ugh... Skaar?", Korra groaned, gazing up at him.
"Shh. It's alright. I'm here, Korra... I'm here.", Skaar uttered, a small smile forming on his features.
Returning from forced exit from Earth's orbit, Hyperion and Thor quietly settled down on the grassy earth several hundred feet away. They did not attack, but watched as Skaar held Korra in his arms while Lyra and Laura made their approach. Assisting Korra to her feet, the four heroes then focused their attention to Hyperion and Thor. All was silent for a time, until a certain Eternal broke that silence.
"Should we attack?", Hyperion asks his fellow teammate and close friend.
"Nay. I will not strike a defenseless opponent. Nor will I endanger the life of the young maiden he is protecting.", Thor answered.
"Come on, Thor. This is no time to get sentimental. We're doing this for her own good. Not to mention that of our own.", Tony proclaimed, landing between Thor and Hyperion.
Before Tony could do anything, the arrival of Bruce Banner and a team of heroes stopped him dead in his tracks. Appearing via teleportation tech, Dr. Banner had gathered the Fantastic Four: the brilliant, elastic genius Dr. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic; the headstrong, force-field projecting and sometimes unseen Susan Richards/The Invisible Woman; the high-flying and supernova encased Johnny Storm/The Human Torch; the rocky mountain of muscle-stone with a heart of gold, the indomitable Ben Grimm/Thing. And accompanying them on this adventure? The charismatic hero Scott Lang/Ant-Man and his teenage daughter Cassie Lang/Stature.
"That's enough!", Bruce Banner exclaimed, narrowing his eyes at Tony Stark as he made his way over to Skaar, Korra, Lyra and Laura.
"Ya heard him! Break it up, ya jerks! Step away from the kids, or it's Clobberin' Time!", Ben Grimm bellowed, marching over to where Skaar, Korra, Laura and Lyra stood.
"I'd listen to the mountain of stone, if I was you. Ole Ben has been itching for a fight.", Johnny remarked, soaring in the air above them before coming to a landing beside Ben.
"That's right, match-stick. So, if one of you bums want to slug it out, I'm more than willin' ta oblige and knock some sense into ya.", Ben said, slamming his rocky fist into the rocky palm of his hand.
"I don't think that will be necessary, Ben.", Sue said, her voice remaining calm and gentle as a summer breeze.
"Providing that Tony and the others cease their aggressive assault. In other words, Tony...", Reed added, marching over to take a stance alongside his wife and friends.
"In other words, back the hell off!", Scott Lang/Ant-Man interjected heatedly.
"Are all of you serious?! She is a being from another world, from another universe! She has no rights! She might as well be an alien from another world! She needs to be contained in a SHIELD facility and placed under intense inquisition! The way I see it, I have every right to do what is necessary to...", Tony rants on until someone finally decided to shut up the eccentric billionaire.
Unable to listen to Stark any longer, Ben lashed out with a wicked uppercut that sent Iron Man soaring and crashing against the foundation of the Statue of Liberty. If there was one thing Ben Grimm couldn't stand, it was an arrogant loudmouth. And if there was one thing that ticked ole Ben off even more, it was some creep trying to hurt a bunch of kids.
"Shut up, ya egotistical, self-righteous bum!", Ben shouted.
"I don't know who he is, but I like him.", Korra whispered to Skaar and the others.
Marching up to the prone form of Tony Stark, Dr. Banner glared down at his former colleague. He couldn't believe that Tony would stoop this low, to send the Avengers after Korra and his own son. It was taking all of his mental restraint to not Hulk-Out and smash them all into oblivion.
"I'm only going to tell you this once. Stay the hell out of my way, Tony, or I swear, I will come down like the fist of God on all of you... and I'll make this world into one where gods, heroes, and villains don't exist!", Bruce Banner threatened, knowing full well that if he desired it he could definitely back up his threat.
Turning and marching away, Banner barely took notice as Iron Man departed, blasting off into the skies. It was only when he felt a large hand gently grasp his shoulder did the nuclear physicist stop in his tracks, glancing over his shoulder to look upon Thor and Hyperion. If he knew the son of Odin, which he did to an enough of a degree, Banner was certain that a formal apology was about to take place.
"Forgive us for our transgressions, Dr. Banner. We did not wish to cause you any grief. And we shall neither seek trouble, nor garner your rage, any more this day. Go in peace, my friend.", Thor said with the utmost sincerity.
A slight nod of acceptance of this apology came from Banner, letting the God of Thunder and the Sun Eternal know that their actions would be forgiven on this day. And just like that, Thor and Hyperion departed, soaring high into the heavens and disappearing from sight. Marching over to Skaar and Korra, Banner reached out to rest a hand on their shoulders as he came to a sudden halt.
"Are you all right?", Bruce Banner asks, a father's concern evident in his voice.
"A little tired and beat-up, but we're okay.", Korra answered.
"Korra, I'd like to introduce you to some friends of mine. They're quite anxious to make your acquaintance.", Dr. Banner stated, stepping aside and allowing the Fantastic Four to approach the young multiple element wielding young woman.
"Hello, Korra. I'm Dr. Reed Richards. I, or rather, we have been told quite a bit about you. It's a privilege to make your acquaintance.", Reed Richards said, introducing himself in a polite manner that one would expect from the gray side-burn adorning scientist.
"Hi, Korra. My name is Susan. And this is my brother, Johnny.", Susan said in a gentle voice, introducing herself and her younger brother to the young woman.
"Hey, what's up? You've got some pretty hot moves. They're almost as hot as me.", Johnny greeted, almost in a flirtatious manner.
"Cool it, Match-Stick. Don't need your ego goin' all supernova on us.", Ben remarked.
"Ben, shouldn't you introduce yourself?", Susan suggests, hoping that it would be enough to make Ben avoid a verbal squabble with her brother.
"Oh, yeah. Right. Ahem. How ya doin', kid? Name's Benjamin Grimm. The ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing. Don't be fooled by my good looks, though, 'cause I'm the toughest mug to ever come out of Yancy Street. Heck, I'm one of the toughest mugs on the planet.", Ben said, reaching out briefly grasp and shake Korra's hand.
"Tell that to the Hulk.", Johnny shot with a smug smirk.
"Don't start with me, Torch.", Ben rumbled, glaring at his teammate and friend.
"Hi, Korra. I'm Scott Lang. And this is my daughter, Cassie.", Scott said, stepping forward as he introduced himself and his beloved teenage daughter.
"Hiya, Korra! Nice to meet you.", Cassie said, smiling warmly at the elemental young woman.
Cassie then waved at Lyra and Laura, garnering a smile from the She-Hulk and glare from X-23, before her eyes focused on Skaar. A look of pure adoration flashed across her features, soon followed by a twinkle of impish mischief gleaming in her irises, as a coy and affectionate smirk adorned her lips. She practically skipped over to where Skaar stood, throwing her arms around him in an embrace before giving him a quick flirtatious kiss on the cheek.
"Miss me, cutie?", Cassie giggled.
"Uh... hey, Cassie.", Skaar muttered, not sure how to handle the blonde's flirtatious demeanor.
"So... she's that Cassie, huh?", Korra inquired, eyes glancing to Lyra for confirmation on the subject.
"The same Cassie who has a crush on my little brother? Yep, that's the one.", Lyra confirmed, whispering to the female Avatar.
"Figured as much. Not that I care or anything.", Korra remarked, crossing her arms over her chest before staring off in the direction opposite to where Skaar and Cassie were at the moment.
"Do I detect a hint of jealousy?", Lyra teased, a knowing smile etching its way across her features.
"No.", Korra and Laura stated in perfect unison, much to the sheer surprise of one another, discovering that they actually had something in common.
"And here I thought I was the only female green-eyed monster in the vicinity.", Lyra chuckled in sheer amusement, much to the chagrin of Laura and Korra.
"Shut it, Lyra.", Laura and Korra spoke in unison, surprising each other once again.
Their was a moment of silence between the two young women, both of whom who were known for their tempers and formidable combat abilities. They had gotten off to a rocky start... okay, perhaps that would be a major understatement. They beat each other to a pulp and were willing to possibly kill one another over a great misunderstanding. Being the Avatar, who's destined to bring peace and balance to all, it was only natural that Korra would attempt to reconcile with Laura.
"By the way, Laura, thanks for fighting beside me back there. And I'm sorry for what happened earlier. I didn't mean to... uh... you know, hit you and stuff.", Korra apologized, rubbing her arm in nervous gesture as she glanced down to the ground.
"No, I'm sorry. I attacked you. The fault was my own.", Laura replied, willing to take responsibility for her actions.
"Just out of curiosity, why did you attack me?", Korra asks, once again meeting the gaze of X-23.
"I... It was a mistake. I thought you were attacking him.", Laura answered, glancing briefly towards Skaar.
"So... you were just trying to protect Skaar?", Korra responds, receiving a nod of confirmation from X-23.
"That makes sense.", Korra uttered, clearing understanding the need to protect those closest to someone.
Korra's attention remained focused on Skaar, who was still trying to deal with the playful and flirtatious actions of one Cassie Lang. For some some reason or another, the blonde's affection towards her friend made her tense up. She wasn't jealous... at least she didn't think so. Could she? Nah, that couldn't be it. She just didn't like how Cassie was throwing herself at Skaar. That's all it was, right?
"Don't know about you, but I think Cassie is getting a bit too cozy with Skaar.", Korra stated, a hint of annoyance seeping into her voice.
"Don't remind me.", Laura almost growled, a far greater irritation evident in her voice.
"You're not jealous of her, are you?", Korra inquired, immediately taking notice of the intense aura of anger radiating from Laura.
"Of course not.", Laura scoffed in a low voice.
"Okay, then, why do you look like you want to walk over there and rip her head off?", Korra questioned further, her curiosity intrigued.
"I have my reasons.", Laura answered.
"You like Skaar, don't you?", Korra asks, waiting to see how the female clone of Wolverine would react to her inquiry.
Laura said nothing, but she did turn her gaze towards Korra. She stared at Korra a few moments, rubbing her arm in a nervous gesture before glaring downwards. It was all the confirmation that the master of the four elements needed, a wide grin forming across her features as her eyes gleamed with mischief. She couldn't believe it. Laura really liked Skaar. Who would have thought that Lyra would be telling the truth?
"No way! You totally do!", Korra exclaimed quietly.
"Not. A. Word.", Laura warned, placing her claws near Korra's throat.
"Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me.", Korra assured her, not at all taken aback by X-23's warning.
"Hmph.", Laura grunts, sheathing her adamantium claws and turning her attention back to Skaar and Cassie.
From the corner of her eye, Korra noticed a flash of light coming from around the corner of the Statue of Liberty. When it appeared that all the eyes of the gathered individuals were focused elsewhere, Korra stealthily made her approach. She was curious, if a bit hesitant on what could have produced the brilliant flash of light. What she found awaiting her was something that she, nor anyone else, would have expected to find. A teleporting guard-dog of a race of super-beings known as the Inhumans.
"Hey there, big guy. Are you lost?", Korra said softly, approaching the over-sized canine.
Steadily, she reached her hand out to pet Lockjaw, who appeared eager to welcome her presence and affection. The large creature gave Korra an affectionate lick across the side of her face, causing Korra to chuckle. She continued to pet the titanic dog, her hands passing through the animal's fur and massaging the skin beneath. Interacting with the Inhuman canine made Korra think of her beloved polar bear-dog Naga, and how dearly she missed her friend and companion.
"Friendly, aren't you? You remind me of someone on my world. I bet Naga would love to have someone her own size to wrestle with for a change.", Korra mused, chuckling lightly as the over-sized bulldog continued to display affection towards her.
Suddenly, without warning, the antenna-like object that adorned the top of Lockjaw's head began to glow an azure hue. It definitely caught Korra off-guard, causing her to take a slight step back from the massive Inhuman dog. Composing herself, she leaned down to expect the antenna closer, her curiosity intrigued.
"Uh... is that thing on your head supposed to glow like that?", Korra asked.
It was then that Skaar, Laura, Cassie, Lyra and Ben made their appearance on the scene. Detecting an unknown presence, thanks in due part to the Old Power and his keen sense of smell, Skaar immediately noticed Korra's absence and followed the unique scent. Of course, that meant pushing Cassie away, which unintentionally caused the blonde heroine to fall back on her rear and on the grassy earth. If nothing else, it brought some measure of amusement to Laura, who quickly followed Skaar.
"Korra!", Skaar said, racing towards her at top speed... but it was too late.
"Whoa!", Korra gasped, disappearing in a flash of light along with Lockjaw.
"KORRA!", Skaar screamed, his eyes glowing with a familiar emerald aura.
"Did anyone see what happened?", Reed Richards questioned as he and the rest of individuals arrived onto the scene of Korra's abduction.
"Yeah, we did indeed, Stretch. It looked like that mutt that belongs to the Inhumans dropped by to pay a visit and took the girl for a trip.", Ben answered.
"You mean Lockjaw? Their teleporting wonder-dog?", Johnny commented, scratching the back of his neck as he did.
"That's the one.", Ben replied in confirmation.
"Where did it take her?", Skaar asks between clenched teeth, his rage and concern for Korra causing him to Hulk-out.
"Skaar, calm down. It'll be all right.", Banner spoke, trying his best to console his savage son.
"Where is she? Where has it taken her?!", Skaar demanded, towering over the group of heroic individuals that gathered before him.
"She's probably on Attilan.", Susan stated quietly, breaking the tension that seemed to be mounting in the silence.
"Where can I find it?", Skaar inquired, leaning down to glare into the Invisible Woman's blue irises.
"That's a trick question, kid, 'cause Attilan isn't always in the same place fer long.", Ben interjected, drawing the attention of the son of Hulk to himself.
"What Ben means is that Attilan is a constantly moving fortress. It never remains in the same location for long.", Reed Richards explained.
"Then, where is it now?", Skaar snarled, his patience wearing thinner with each passing second.
"Skaar, calm down. We'll find Korra.", Banner reassured, hoping that it would succeed in calming down the teenage Human-Oldstrong-Gamma Mutate hybrid.
"I'm not waiting, Father. I'll find her myself!", Skaar proclaimed, bounding off into the distance before Banner could manage to speak a word.
"Oy vey! What a revoltin' development this is.", Ben groaned, resting his rocky hand against his forehead.
"Bruce, what are you going to do?", Susan asks, all eyes intently watching the nuclear physicist.
"If I know Skaar... he'll take the fight right to the Inhumans' doorstep. We just have to make sure he doesn't send Attilan crashing down on our heads.", Banner answers, knowing that a conflict between his son and the Inhumans could prove to be devastating.
"I can find them.", Laura informed, stepping forward.
"Then, by all means, lead the way.", Banner encouraged, a smile gracing his features.