Exit Post

Nov. 8th, 2015 06:12 am
alec_swamp: (Default)
He had given up most hope of leaving. Of returning to the world. The body that was him was destroyed. The door home was no more. He would forever be the avatar of the Green here instead where he was needed.

And so it was that he had settled into the woods, to begin his new life. Until, to his surprise, a door appeared. Outside. Where he didn't think one was possible. A door that opened. To reveal, standing on the other side, the Phantom Stranger.

"Dr. Holland, you are needed." The voice was soft, calm, controlled, much as it had been the few times Alec had met the Stranger before. There was only a touch of urgency to it.

"Stranger, how are you opening a door to Milliways?" Alec rose to his feet, and tried to not to get his hopes up.

"Do you truly think that I cannot go where I am needed? The Enclave is called to meet. As you are still the Avatar of the Green, despite your best efforts to fail in that task, your presence is required."

Constantine told Alec about the Enclave. A meeting-place for the mages, the wizards, the forces of light and dark, regardless of their alignment in the battle of good and evil. Where matters of cosmic and mystical import to all creation are debated, and decisions to protect reality are made. For some reason, the avatar of the Green is expected to be part of it. Or so Constantine claimed.

For once, Constantine wasn't lying.

"So I can just walk out of here?"

"Yes, but hurry. Even I can only hold the door open for so long. This place...does not like my magic." Alec wasn't surprised. He doubted the Bar liked anyone's magic for long.

"Everyone is gathered?"

"I need to find a few others. And we aren't bringing the other avatars today. Not enough time."

"It's urgent?"

"It's always urgent, Dr. Holland."

Alec stepped through the door. Which promptly vanished in a puff of smoke.
alec_swamp: (Default)
It began as it usually does, with a visitor in the swamp he calls home. A visitor whose idea of saying hello was to threaten the swamp. Alec did his favorite "create a giant head from the depths of the bayou" trick to scare her. And then it turned out she was a superheroine and just wanted his attention.

Her name was Stargirl, and Alec was vaguely aware that she was famous as a teen hero in LA and that she was part of some under-successful offshoot of the Justice League. Clearly, she thought highly of herself if she would risk his anger. But he was willing to let it go once she explained there was a threat to the Green in Lake Erie. A threat that he had missed, since it was crowded in with all the other seemingly small threats to the Green. But one that, once he focused, was clearly not to be lumped in with logging and lawnmowers.

So, after letting the Sureen know where he was going, he left the heat of the bayou for the cold of the shores of Lake Erie. Where he would soon meet the rest of Stargirl's team - which she said was connected to the Justice League, but she wasn't clear as to how. And where he saw the threat. A huge festering pink sore of an island that reminded him of the Rot but didn't have the same feel. It was, as the heroes insisted, of another reality. But after all he'd seen since becoming the avatar, he was sure he could handle it.

The rest of the team was a strange mix. But Alec was glad to see Buddy Baker, Animal Man, involved. He'd been hoping to talk with Buddy, to offer condolences on the death of Buddy's son and congratulations on an unlikely Best Actor award. To tell Buddy about the recent avatar war that somehow left out the Red. But Buddy was all business, rushing the players onto the stage, and turning leadership over to heroes Alec had never heard of.

Even stranger was who the heroes chose to bring in. Mera was Aquaman's wife or lover or something - it wasn't clear - but she didn't seem to share Aquaman's antipathy for him. Etrigan the demon was, as ever, arrogant, hateful and verbose, but the scope of the threat was so great that he was willing to work with others, and didn't mention his grudge against Alec from their recent battle.

And there was Poison Ivy. Her reputation was widely known. Criminal, twisted, crazy, and connected to the Green. He'd met her - a version of her, at any rate - in the future of the Rotworld, and found her to be, if not reliable, at least a friend to the plant kingdom. Meeting her in the present, she was in awe of him. He'd seen it before, from the Seeder and from Capucine, and he never could accept it. He was not a god. He was not even that unique. But she looked at him and just stammered that she was not needed if someone as powerful as the Swamp Thing was along.

And yet...

The moment they set foot on the strange island, it all went wrong. Alec could have never dreamed that the forces of the island, what Stargirl and her teammate Equinox called the Breakers, could cut him off from the Green! He could not feel it. Could not reach out and touch the trees of Siberia or Somalia or San Juan. Could not project his mind into the grass and the grains and the seeds and the sunflowers. Could not move! The island was sucking him in. His power was gone. His power was gone.

He felt lost. And then he felt the island. It was at once trying to kill him and trying to absorb him. It was alive and if not sentient, it was following a plan to remake Earth in its own darkness. There was not a thing Alec could do.

No. There was the tiniest thing. He managed to create one single flower on the surface of the island. For a second, he thought maybe he could get it to grow, to form a new body. But this was all he could manage. He would die, and take the world with him.

"Can you hear me?" It was Ivy, somehow reaching him through the Green or through her own powers or through some magic source of power he couldn't identify. He reached out to her. And the connection was complete. She would not merely repeat his warning. She would speak in his voice. For a single moment, they were one, and he told the others that the island was going to connect to the methane at the bottom of the lake and use it to move the next step, and the next. But he could not help them stop it. It was up to Ivy and Etrigan and the neophyte heroes and the woman from Atlantis.

He was done for. The link between him and Ivy severed. He was fully engulfed in the eldritch power of the Breakers. And then he saw it. The tiniest of things. The tiniest of doors. A door to another place. Not the extradimensional hell of the island. But a refuge. A refuge where the Green, or another version of the Green, was strong enough that he could take just a little power. And send a shoot through the door.

Moments later, the power of the heroes and the villains destroyed the island, and with it destroyed the body of the Swamp Thing. Poison Ivy wept for the loss of the most unique and special being in the world, and swore to restore his body and mind through her own strange alchemy. No one has any reason to know that at least a part of him had survived.

November 2015

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