Fiddlesticks - Master of the Carnival Bell
Roleplaying Log: Fiddlesticks - Master of the Carnival Bell
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Thor and the Absorbing Man test their strength.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: May 31, 2019
IC Location: Coney Island
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 31 May 2019 20:19
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Summer. Hundreds of beachgoers begin to pack their things after a day lounging in the sun and frolicking in the sea. Although it will be light for several hours to come the rapid approach of dinnertime has pulled people from the edge of the water and into nearby Luna Park where lines have already begun to form for the fabled 'Wonder Wheel'.

When the world is not fraught with cosmic danger the Son of Odin wastes his days in whatever idle frivolity amuses him at the moment. Earlier this afternoon there was quite the spectacle when he dropped onto the beach from the sky above while holding aloft an unopened umbrella and clutching a styrofoam cooler.

Were it not for his method of arrival he might have appeared no more significant than any other well-muscled figure upon the beach. Just look at him now …

Thor; God of Summer? Thor walks down a boardwalk lined with carnival games in cheap dollar store flip-flops. His ice cream cone rapidly melts onto his hand as he simply meanders about. Blue-and-red board shorts to his knees and a t-shirt whose sleeves have been ripped off over his torso. Long blond hair is tangled from a day in the sand and the surf.

A voice hawks, "Step right up. Step right up! Test your strength!"

Reaching to the top of his sunglasses he pulls them down a fraction of an inch and looks at what is before him. A test of strength. To be judged by how well a man can swing a hammer. Grinning he sucks vanilla from his knuckles and emerges from the crowd.

In short order Thor has an ice-cream cone in one hand and a large sledge hammer in the other and he is negotiating prizes to a crowd that has begun to gather just for the spectacle of a beach-bum boasting "And what if I ring your bell with only one-handed swings, twelve times? Do I then own the whole carnival?"

* * *

Not all who travel to such a place are in high spirits; Carl Creel, the 'Absorbing Man', has been in something of a depressive funk. Although he made an explosive debut some weeks back, it ended in little more than the danger of the week. A crushing response from heroes, a day's worth of headlines, and the world simply moved on. When he escaped incarceration only a couple of weeks back, Crusher had expected the headlines to be screaming about it. 'Absorbing Man Missing!' 'Super-Villain On The Loose!' But no, it was instead about the unusually warm weather. At the back of a distant page, it mentioned his escape, sparing all of two lines to his past.

Unacceptable…! His opportunity to be recognized in the boxing ring is forever gone, but Carl had at least thought that a career as one of this world's many enhanced beings could bring him the respect and admiration he desired. Instead, there's been a lot of drinking, lounging while watching television, and bitter outings to find the next bar to continue the circuitous hell. Clearly, a random rampage or bank heist will accomplish nothing. And his inability to decide an alternative continues to buzz about his head into a useless dormancy.

And why is he here, also taking in the sun and festivities? Much the same reason as Thor. An idle distraction, some desperate desire for an outlet, and the knowledge that his favorite game is here. Oh, carnival tests of finesse and precision have always been beyond him, but the classic 'Strong Man' hammer swing is another matter entirely.

Only to find some well-built and damnably handsome blonde man gloating already before it. Carl himself is wearing a white tank top, and somewhat baggy cargo pants with feet left bare. A large duffel bag is on his shoulder, with an oddly round and obviously heavy item within it. His tolerance for such showboating only last until Thor gains the recognition of the crowd. With the haze of a hangover and the shrouding of his glasses, he doesn't recognize Odinson for the national legend he is.

"Like you could hit it harder than me!!" Carl suddenly shouts out, pointing at Thor's back. It's true, in terms of physique the massive man has the Asgardian well beat. A shame such rarely translates to capabilities. "How about if I hit it THIRTEEN times, you shut up and give someone else a turn?!" Well, he's successfully gotten the attention of the incredulous crowd, at any rate. Even if his confidence is a touch misplaced, as he's not entirely aware of who he just tried to throw down with…

* * *

Thor holds the hammer so that the crook of it rests upon his shoulder. He's slow turning and gesturing with his melting cone preparing another boast when …

'Like you could hit it harder than me!!'

The muscles at Thor's shoulder tightens and then he turns around as a wide grin moves slowly across his face. He had thought that when he spun around he would be looking eye-to-eye with the challenger but, not so, and there is light comedy to Odinson's gaze as it slowly climbs the mountain of a man to settle upon his features. Light comedy but no appearance that Creel's physical stature causes him to rethink the matter.

"Then," Thor begins with irreverent confidence his undeniably grin taunting, "I would strike /fourteen/ times and you would have to try again." His forehead creases as brow narrows behind cheap plastic sunglasses, "Thirteen times with one hand? A true feat of strength even for an ogre such as yourself," he swings the hammer down and then pitches it Creel, "but I have fought ogres before. If it takes a /twelve days/ I swear to thee that the Son of Odin shall always swing the hammer one more time than you are able."

He gestures inward with his ice cream cone.

The crowd continues to gather to the delight of the barker but also something to his chagrin. Did one of them just say they would be at this for twelve days?

* * *

Far too confidently, Creel lifts up his hand and splays the fingers. The hammer impacts it before there's a *grunt*. Unlike Thor, it dips considerably, and he bends well forward before recovering and hauling it up to his own shoulder. Having seen the smaller man handle it, he had thought the mallet of trivial weight. But no, this is pure wrought metal, and most can only manage to feebly let gravity do the work in this particular game. That grin… within it, he can see the pride. It is not a question of victory to Thor. Such tangles with his own shame like bile, teeth clenching together in almost a grimace.

And he still has no idea it's Thor, of course.

"I've no idea who Odin is, but like hell am I gonna let you keep that smug look!!" Creel hucks his duffelbag aside, and there's a great CLANG of what's definitely not a hidden ball and chain within. Rolling his shoulder, he shifts the mallet to his right arm. Sliding a hand down to take the very end, he then flows his entire body into a motion. Little technique, here. Just a raw application of muscle. It works well enough, as these games were made for mere mortals.

Whoosh! CLANG! So far, the check is cashed. It's reasonably vigorous, how the metal bit rapidly climbs and DINGS loudly. Creel grins himself, drawing it up once more to swing a second time.

DING! DING! DING!

…Ding. …Ding.

On the twelfth swing, he's exhausted. The wasteful motions on such a heavy item with merely one arm has gotten to him, and he's too proud to swap to his left. It takes a half-dozen seconds to position it again, before with a grunt swinging it overhead. The head smacks down.

Up… up… up it goes. For a split second, it seems like he might have failed. But a little pathetic *ting* leaves the bell before Creel lets the mallet slip free and impact the ground with enough force for the onlookers to at least consider his own performance impressive. For someone with no enhancements, it's definitely not easily imitated.

"Thirteeeeeeeen!! There… beat… that!!" he declares. Pant, pant, pant…!

* * *

"One … two," Thor begins counting aloud and soon the crowd is as well. They're with him all the way to twelve and Thor has seemingly forgotten about his ice cream which has now melted all over his hand leaving with only a little cake-cone.

The tension from everyone in the area builds swing by swing. As the pause between each number stretches. "Eleven … …. Twelve," As the hammer goes up again Thor is as wrapped up in the display as everyone else is momentarily forgetting the contest for the impressive feat he witnesses.

*ting*

The crowd bursts into applause. Many cheer. Thor sticks the ice cream cone in his mouth and also claps and then reaches to retake the cone biting off its edge as he moves forward, "Well swung," Thor says moving to claim the mallet.

Thor lifts the hammer as if it had no weight to it what so ever. His right arm goes outward, straight as can be, and he holds the hammer by just the tip of its handle for a three count the massive mallet barely moving despite its considerable head-weight.

He looks to Creel, grins again, and tilts the mallet up letting it slide through his palm into an easy one-handed grip, "One." He announces and mallet to striker there is a clear *DING*, "Two." *DING*

By contrast there is no tension in the crowd. Some count along others are merely awestruck. Whereas Crusher may not have recognized the name 'Odin' certainly members of the crowd did. The name 'Thor' burbles through the crowd as witnesses explain to their neighbor that what is unfolding before them.

"Twelve." * DING*, "Thirteen," *DING*, and he raises the hammer a final time sort-of wiggling it tauntingly in the air, "Oh no. Can he do it?" The Son of Odin asks in a loud whisper as if imitating the crowd. Pause. Hammer falls. *DING*

Applause again and Thor sets the hammer down.

"I cannot wait to see /fifteen/ swings," Odinson sizes up his opponent's condition, "Though your last swing was quite timid - may need to use your /other arm/," he gives him a little punch in the shoulder there.

* * *

Although nobody can call Carl a smart man, it becomes almost instantly clear that Thor is augmented. To maneuver the hammer so effortlessly and precise, nary a bead of sweat amongst the quagmire of melted cream, he is some manner of metahuman. The human part of Creel, of which he has the most experience, is ever more resentful. While the crowd enjoyed both displays, it is clear they heft Thor on a much higher pedestal.

Both at his recognition and the easy defeat of a man who to those on the lower planes might not be easily surmounted. Breath still heaving out, Carl slowly glances down to his right palm. It is red, raw, one blister popped upon it. All his efforts, training, pain, sweat, reduced to naught but an exceptional ant before a titan. Not in the slightest bit recognizable above an average example…

"I see." Carl says, voice terse. The punch wobbles him a lot more than he wanted. He tried to brace himself, to resist, but Thor wanted him jostled and jostled he is. He cannot resist it, and that basic defiance of his desire stokes the flame of hungover anger all the higher. Reaching out, he grips the hammer's hit with his left hand. The sagging human hauls it up with another grunt of effort to thump on the meaty haunch of his shoulder. "So we're allowed to use all our strength, is that it?"

A slow roll of the neck follows, few dull pops heard. Then his grip tightens. Fingers suddenly ripple in the same dark color of the metal. Like a splash of paint, his chiseled white skin is replaced with the dull luster of iron, drawing up to cover his face, vanishing beneath his tank top. His right fist, clenched, warbles together before forming the crude shape of the mallet.

"LIKE THIS?!"

With a roar he swings overhead. The air billows in pitiful defiance. The base of the strongman's game is hit with titanic force, the blow of kinetic energy roaring out. Nearby people are staggered, the ground denting slightly. The indicator rockets up, shatters the bell into spiraling fragments and hurls off into the horizon with a CLANNNNNG resounding in a fading echo. People scream, terrified and surprised by this inhuman manifestation so quickly brought to overt force.

Of course, it wasn't done with intent to frighten or injure anyone else present. His matte eyes are glaring straight at Thor, as if only he and his challenge exist in the world this moment. "Well, looks like you can't ring it any more yourself. I win!!"

* * *

Thor's face twists in sudden surprise at the power of the stroke.

*CLANNNNNG*

There is a beat of absolute silent confusion. The crowd stands dumbstruck. Thor's plastic glasses are askew on his face the sheer force of the shockwave having knocked them almost completely off.

The Son of Odin's expression grows increasingly grim in response to the strike. The machine becoming wreckage causes his face to darken with dissatisfaction.

'Well, looks like you can't ring it any more yourself. I win!!'

His gaze snaps back to Creel like a viper, the dissatisfaction of his face turned a scarlet shade of fury, "No!" He says in protest, "That's —," he stops short of saying 'not fair' for actually voicing such a petulant whine is an old habit that died many centuries ago for all of injustices his brother has doled out upon him.

Rolling his shoulders Thor stalks forward a mighty vanilla coated fist curling as he approaches. Flip-flops clacking beneath the nearby chaos. He stops just before Crusher and exhales. Resentment heavy upon his features he reaches outward to his side and a hand opens as if grasping for something …

… and closes around the largest teddy bear at the festival. He shoves the thing into the space between them, pushing it tersely against Creel, "Savor thy victory, deceiver, for you shall not relish the feeling against me again." Would that they were not surrounded by mortals at a carnival he would likely punish Creel but, despite how prolific mere-mortals are in Midgard, there is something that seems unworthy about mulching them into collateral damage on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

With his other hand he strips the glasses from his face locking gaze with the man who bested him and demands to know, "What is thy name?"

* * *

There is a mighty grin from Creel. He thinks that he bested the other man in strength, of course. Oh, he may have gained remarkable power, but Thor is still far above were the test not indirect. Ignorance can truly be bliss, for men like him. For a few moments he tenses, unsure if the Odinson will react in a way he deems rational, like trying to slug him in the face…
Instead, he gets a bear. Numbly clinging to it, as if this was in no way how he expected things to play out. Peering down at it, uncomprehending. This may be the first and last time he is called a deceiver, in all honesty. Leveraging destruction to his advantage was surreptitious this day.

"My name?! I'm…" This seems to cause issue. The part of him that is truly prideful is Carl Creel. Yet, that which allowed dubious victory was the Absorbing Man. "Called…"

"You broke it!!" interjects the attendant, hands on his head. "Aw, man! You broke it!" The metal-laden figure turns his head, as if confused. "Huh?" A few moments later, he takes in the sight of the battered machine, remnants of bell, and mild dent in the ground. People didn't flee in a panic, principally because Thor is here, but they still look on edge.

"Aww… fiddlesticks." He does look genuinely apologetic. In the heat of the moment, he disregarded the consequences. Carefully setting down the mallet, his hammer-hand warbles back to normal. Crouching down, he grips either side of the base and tries bending it back to a normal shape. It just makes it worse, causing the entire thing to tip to the side.
"Uh… crap. Is this insured?"
"Not if a metahuman breaks it!!"
"…What if a villain breaks it?"

* * *

Odinson seems about to speak but another comes forward.

Thor steps backward as the mortal lodges a protest. The Son of Odin looks between them, to the empty cone in his hand, and then to Carl's efforts to repair the machine. Thor grins again ascribing some virtue to the villain's toil in mending what he has broken.

"Very well, Fiddlesticks — Master of the Carnival Bell," Thor calls out his foe by name from the side of things, "When next we meet it shall be in a challenge /truly worthy/ of our might." The God of Thunder flexes there the bulge of his mighty bicep somewhat soothing the crowd's dismay, "They shall sing of it for centuries to come!"

And so Thor just walks away there. Trashing his half-eaten cake-cone and wandering back into the crowd. Leaving the mortals to mend their things following his sport. Irritated at the defeat yet impressed by Creel's display of fatigue and then newfound strength is something that Thor does not understand except to feel as if he'd been gamed while playing a carnival game.

It is doubtless that this will not be the last time Thor and Fiddlesticks have a chance to see which of them is the true champion.

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