The Earth trembled with the force of a thousand clashing stars as a cobalt bolt of lightning crashed down, breaking the Earth, and completely leveling an entire forest in one fell swoop. The trees, wildlife, and all were obliterated, leaving almost nothing but a steaming crater in its wake beneath harsh rainfall.
At the center of said explosion, drenched in rainwater, stood a pale man with his hands in his coat pockets, wearing a long coat with his collars popped. His slanted, electrified eyes scanned the area and his breaths were sharp, only visible due to the biting cold air surrounding him. Though he looked like a man, he was far beyond that.
He was an Effigy, having the power of a god within him: The God of Lightning. Effigies were chosen by the gods themselves. For every god, an Effigy existed on the planet, their body acting as an avatar for said god. Once an Effigy died, their powers were immediately transferred into a child born at the exact moment of the Effigy's death.
An Effigy's extraordinary power lies dormant until a child begins to enter the years of adolescence. Only then could they access abilities far beyond that of any mortal on Earth, powers capable of wiping out entire cities with the snap of a finger.
For every nation, Effigies played different roles. Some were royalty, whereas others were servants to the royal family.
Some were slaves, whereas others enslaved their entire nation with an iron fist.
Some fought in wars, whereas others waged them.
"Show yourself. I am aware that cowardice runs through the veins of the descendants of the God of Vapor, but to think their Effigy would be too afraid to show his face is rather... disappointing." the Lightning Effigy, a servant to the royal family, fighting their wars for them, spoke with pompous pride, still scanning the area with his electric eyes.
He could sense his rival Effigy within the vicinity, though due to the moisture in the air from the heavy rain falling onto the Earth, it would prove a tall task to locate him. However, the Lightning Effigy's eyebrows furrowed before he grabbed the bladeless weapon on his back, drawing it as he pivoted his body.
The man then reached for the weapon on his back, the handle of a greatsword that lacked a blade, Though it would remain bladeless for but a second longer as electricity began to spew from his fingertips, wrapping the handle with energy before that same energy began forming a blue, crackling blade. As his blade formed itself, a single droplet of water evaporated, turning into a gaseous state that took the shape of a man.
With Earth-shattering force, the Lightning Effigy turned around and swung his greatsword downward, the crackling blade cutting through the air whilst creating a shockwave that burst outward, kicking up what remained of the leveled forest.
However, his blade would simply pass through the man of gaseous state, striking the ground before creating a crack that zig-zagged further than the eye could make out. The Lightning Effigy's eyes enlarged ever so slightly as he watched the formless man phase through his attack before turning his body from gas to solid, revealing himself.
The Vapor Effigy, now fully solid, used his ability to manipulate the water vapor in the air around him to spin his own body, going against the laws of physics. His drapey, shinobi garb, along with his shoulder-length blue hair fluttered behind him as he spun with vicious grace, his two-toed shoe aimed directly at the Lightning Effigy's face.
Once again, lightning and Earth clashed as a bolt of lightning rained down from the heavens on top of the Lightning Effigy, and within almost the very same moment, he was in another spot entirely, standing with a single hand in his pocket while the other held onto his electric greatsword.
The Vapor Effigy landed with a spin, kicking up dirt whilst leaving a foot-sized trail in a circle around him. Though he wore a mask over half of his face, his eyes were still visible, showcasing his frustration as his eyebrows and eyelids furrowed. "You speak of cowardice, yet you flee." the masked Effigy's voice was muffled as he spoke, posing in a tri-point stand with one foot, one knee, and a hand on the ground.
The Lightning Effigy scoffed, still standing in place, holding his greatsword over his shoulder as raindrops evaporated upon making contact with it. "Says the one who hid himself before a pathetic attempt at a sneaking assault; whereas I faced you head-on."
"I am not here to measure egos, Xod." the Vapor God's Effigy muttered, rising up from his tripoint stance. "I am here under the king's orders to kill you." The Vapor Effigy did not draw his weapon, sliding one foot forward and one foot back while he held a fist to the side of his chest and a palm toward the sky.
"So it is your king that sent you to disrupt my beast hunting?"
"Beast hunting should be the least of your worries as of now, Lightning Effigy."
"Is that so, Keo? So this is how it all ends."
Keo, the Vapor Effigy nodded his head. "For you, yes."
Xod chuckled. "Are we really doing this, old friend? Right here, right now?"
"Yes." Keo's voice was monotonous, though there was a minuscule solemnness to it. They were comrades once, friends even. But that was back when their nations had an alliance. They won and fought wars together, being feared by many, tearing through those who opposed them like a storm.
But things change.
Their loyalty to their people was far from one of those ever-changing pieces of themselves.
"Then let's dance."
Thunder clapped, and Xod dashed forward with his greatsword trailing behind him. In just a moment, the briefest of moments, the Lightning Effigy swung his sword through the body of Keo, though the Vapor Effigy phased through it once more as he turned his body into gas once again.
Once the sword passed through him, Keo solidified his body. His fist clenched, his leather gloves squelched, and Keo sent a straight punch aimed directly at Xod's smug face. Using his lightning-speed reflexes, Xod leaned his head to the side, dodging the punch with ease.
The punch created a shockwave, one strong enough to wipe out entire villages. If Xod were a regular mortal, the shockwave alone would have vaporized him. Within the same fraction of a second, Xod once again tightened his grip on his energized blade and slashed away at Keo, though once again, he turned his body into gas and the attack slipped through.
Keo once again attempted to punch Xod once his body was solid once again, only for Xod to catch the punch with the palm of his hand. The impact of the strike sounded as if an unstoppable force and an unmovable object crashed together with the force of two planets colliding. The clouds above them parted due to the pressure of it all, if there was anything left around them, it would have been obliterated.
The rain stopped, and to the unwise, that would mean the Vapor Effigy was putting himself at a disadvantage, but that was far from the case. Even if there were just a single molecule of moisture in the air, he would be able to use that to decimate anyone who dared face him.
Before Xod could even begin to think of a counter-attack, Keo changed form once again, slipping through Xod's body. As Keo phased through the Lightning Effigy's body, he reached for his belt and grabbed one end of his chained sickle using the only solid part of his body, his right hand.
Xod's quick eyes followed as Keo threw one end of his sickle away from the two of them. Keo then faded away, no longer being gas in the shape of a man, but fading away with the rest of the moisture in the air.
Xod could see through the smoke and mirrors, his eyes darting to look for wherever Keo was off to. His eyes followed the sickle, and using his lightning-fast speed, Xod zapped toward where it was going. However, the sickle itself was simply a diversion.
Keo reemerged as a partially solid figure before grabbing the chain and altering its trajectory. Xod's eyes shifted again, following the tip of the sickle before Keo once again seemingly teleported and changed the direction of the blade once more.
Xod's eyes continued to dart around as he watched Keo repeat this over and over, disappearing and reappearing in the blink of an eye. Though Keo tried to seem as if he were moving at random, Xod knew that there had to be some sort of pattern, some sort of method to Keo's madness.
'I've got you!'
Thunder clapped, and Xod moved at light speed, leaving a lightning trail behind him. Xod grabbed Keo's hand, the only part of him that remained solid as he grabbed the chain to his sickle. "Predictable."
However, before Xod could even attack Keo's hand, Keo quipped back. "Hey, I was just about to say the same thing."
Though Xod failed to notice due to his perspective, Keo's sickle and chain had formed the shape of a star, Xod being in the middle of it. Keo then pulled his arm upward, along with Xod's, tightening the chain which caused that star shape to converge, wrapping Xod up into it and restraining him.
"I've got you now!" Keon then grabbed the sickle itself, gripping it tightly. Keo was prepared to slice Xod's throat, ending this feud once and for all. However, things would not go that simply for the Vapor Effigy.
Lightning once again collided with Xod's body, breaking the chains and sending Keo sliding backward. As if there was a thunderstorm, lightning bolts crashed down in a circle around the two of them, and the Earth began to tremble.
Keo cleared out, turning his body into gas and transporting himself across the battlefield. His eyebrows furrowed once he saw what was before him.
Xod had taken the form of the God of Lightning themself. He had become Rammatra.
Standing at least fifty meters tall, Ramattra appeared as a humanoid with the head of a ram, wearing knight's armor with a cape fluttering behind them. In Ramattra's hands were two greatswords, though once they held them to the sky and shouted, summoning lightning, they became weapons of pure electricity.
Ramattra then pointed one of their swords at the human form of Keo, compelling the Effigy to sigh. "So you would like to let loose? That's fine with me." as those words left Keo's lips, the air around him began to swirl around his body, covering him in a thick fog.
Just as it did for Xod, the Earth trembled until the fog cleared and the God of Vapor appeared.
Keo took the form of Garushido, the Vapor God. Garushido had the body of a nude human, though they lacked reproductive organs, along with wings on their back. Instead of weapons, Garushido had razor-sharp claws capable of cutting through every and anything on Earth.
Neither one was holding back.
For the first time in half a century, Garushido and Ramattra would face off in battle outside of their avatars' bodies.