1963-07-30 - Columbia: Hell on Earth
Summary: A fiery invasion at Columbia draws together exiles and royals.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
crystal amora louis 

The sun hangs heavy over Manhattan, the summer heat a palpable thing that unrelenting beats the denizens of New York. It's the type of day when the newspapers send out photographers with a dozen eggs and asks them to cook a few on the sidewalk. It's the type of day that is completely clear and not even a wisp of cloud grants a shadow nor a modicum of respite from the sun so strong above the city.

Yet the city deals with it in the typical New Yorker fashion. All across the city people are trying to get relief. There are air conditioners humming, fans in windows, and down on the street fire hydrants are uncapped sending a cascade of water into the gutters and creating makeshift wading puddles for students and adults alike.

Across the way, next to the river, Columbia University deals with it as well. What students are still in attendance have come together to run around the quad in t-shirts and shorts, colorful spheres hurled back and forth and when they strike someone they explode in a burst of water. There's laughter, delight in the people as they enjoy the summer despite the heat. Even a few hoses have been turned on and poured over a few tarps so that people can slide wildly down a hill.

As for Professor Louis King, he's inside the faculty building… in his office with the metal fan whirring in his window. The heat bothers him, certainly, and a spell could alleviate him of that. But he does feel a certain… desire to maintain the facade of his identity. And so he maintains character, heat and sweat and discomfort and all.


Rumors of Crystal's sister have been scarce lately. It's hard to really search for someone on the basis of 'no really, so much long red hair.' But that doesn't mean that she's ready to give up. So when things at the Institute are under control, Crystal ventures into the city, leaving things to luck.

Her light blue cotton dress doesn't stand out too much among the students, though she does look remarkably fresh, given the heat. She might be cheating just a little bit. Stepping off of the path through the quad, she takes shelter in the shade under a tree, watching the water fight with a small smile. Surely she has nothing to do with the balloon that bursts right over the head of a young man about to execute a sneak attack on one of his friends.


"Hah, nice one Will!" The kid who was being sneaked up on turns and points at the kid who just got soaked by his own projectile.

"Hey, Pete!" And splat! a water balloon crashes into another kids noggin.

Laughter follows after her as she walks, though a few of the kids sort of nudge each other in the ribs and gesture in her direction. Raised eyebrows offer the universal signal of, 'hey check that out.' from one to the other, before one of the water warriors gets the brilliant idea to include the beautiful gal walking down the sidewalk on the quad, between all of those tall and beautiful marble facade buildings.

She might have some warning as the tall and a little gawky teenager tries to duck behind a tree, then breaks out of cover into a run heading straight at Crystal with water balloon at the ready. Distantly a few kids sliding down the slickened tarps laugh and might serve as a momentary distraction.


Crystal isn't without her own sense of mischief and fun, but there's also decorum to be considered. And the cotton dress. Not something she particularly wants to get soaked with nowhere to retreat to, whether or not she can deal with the after effects. Then again, she'd rather not create another mutant scare.

The answer is simple, really. A twitch of her finger and the young man's balloon bursts prematurely in his hands, just like the last one. Crystal laughs, stepping aside with a sympathetic smile. "You seem to have gotten a bad batch."


To his credit, the tall lanky kid grins and gives a small shrug even as he grabs the collar of his t-shirt and tries to air out some of the moisture. He turns around and begins to walk away… then breaks into a run as some of his friends dart in and proceed to pummel him with a few balloons that cause him to get entirely soaked.

It all serves to make people laugh, and the vibe is pretty positive on the quad as people enjoy the summer despite the heat. But then a short rumble seems to shake the ground.

It's just a quick crackle, a momentary loss of equilibrium that reminds any Californian of home. Not quite an earthquake and more a jostle. It's enough to cause people to stop laughing, to look around questioningly, and for one kid who had been running to stumble onto the grass.

Then there's an explosion of heat at the top of that small hillock that overlooks the quad. The temperature rises sharply fifteen degrees at least just in the general area as a large flame seems to leap up there upon the hill, sending the people who had been up there flying and knocked off balance. The tarp that had been along that side of the hill instantly melts, the plastic catching fire after a moment and then being lost in that pillar of fire.

Figures begin to emerge from the flames, tall creatures with red skin and digitgrade legs stride forth, decorated with brass jewelry and weapons with fire streaming from what could pass as their hair or bears or moustaches. One turns to the other and motions with a brass looking trident and says something sharply in a language that has almost never been spoken before on Earth.


Crystal's smile fades when the earth trembles, hands spreading to either side of herself. To any observer, it looks like she's just catching her balance. In reality, though, she reaches her senses out through the soil, searching for the source of the disturbance.

The column of fire is absolutely not what she expected.

For just a moment she hesitates, but there isn't time for that. Making her choice, she starts toward the creatures coming out of the fire, extending a hand toward the flames. "Stop!" she shouts toward them, drawing herself up as tall as she can and using her powers to try to extinguish the flames. "You do not belong here!"


She's able to reach out with her powers and she can feel that primal elemental contact, the way the flames flicker at her behest, the tapping of some sort of phenomenal power somehow surging through that flaming pillar. It's as if she was trying to suppress the sun itself, reaching out and whispering to it to please be less sunny.

Yet it is to her credit that that pillar flickers and flares, her exertion causing it to seethe even as those beings turn their gaze upon her. Several more file out of the pillar, but her efforts have drawn their attention.

The tallest one with the full beard of flames points at her and again it utters a few guttural noises that to her sound like nothing at all. No clear beginning and ending of words, no sentence structure, just a rumble punctuated with a snarl like a crackling popping fireplace.

But then another steps forwards and holds up a hand as if staying her. It roils and seethes, the fires flickering from its head glowing. A greenish eldritch energy surges around its hand and then suddenly that growling makes sense.

"Human. Bring to us your emissaries, your diplomats, your wise. We arrive here, at your source of power, to demonstrate our own. Look on our might and despair, yet rejoice in the knowing our demand is simple."

It draws itself up and then gestures to its leader, the tallest one with the flaming beard whose voice is much more raw as it snarls.

"Bring us the Asgardian."


So much flame. Too much for Crystal to do more than feel a whisper of it before she lowers her hand. Sometimes, fighting fire with fire is not the answer.

Head high, she steps forward toward the would-be invaders, seemingly unafraid. "I am no human," she replies, looking between the speaker and the leader. "I am Crystal of the Inhumans, and you have no standing to make demands here." She reaches into the earth next, pushing a great slab into the path of the flames without looking away from them.

"These people have no knowledge of Asgardians. If you were able to track one here, you have a much better chance of finding this Asgardian than they do."

And yet she sighs, looking vaguely…irritated? "Which would only cause more chaos, of course. For whom do you search? Perhaps we can handle this more…discretely."


One turns to another and words snap out sharpy, "She is attempting to sabotage the pathway!"

Another turns back to the first, "She seeks to strand us here!"

The tall one points forward with his trident and shouts, "Attaaaaaaack!"

Suddenly the quad lights up as fireballs begin to hurl across the grassy field while several of the trident wielders rush down the hill charging at Crystal with their weapons held ready to attack. Apparently the time for diplomacy has passed.

The crowd, however, responds with what is typical of crowds in such a circumstance. Panic. People turn and start to run away, shouting, screaming, and the beating of feet along whatever ways they can to get clear of the hub bub.


"Or we can do it this way," Crystal says grimly as the creatures move to attack. As the students panic, the young woman starts to rise from the ground, wind whipping around her as it lifts her. There's no doubt that this is too much for her to handle alone, but she's going to try. There are too many innocents here for anything else.

Hillocks of earth and stone rise from the ground under the feet of the charging creatures, while several water balloons rise from their abandoned buckets to intercept the fireballs flying through the air.


The beasts bound towards her, leaping at points, rebounding off the trunks of trees and when she raises the rocks from the ground some of them try to climb up them to leap off, another skitters in the dirt and dust, unable to gain purchase as it falls down the side. Water flashes through the air and instantly converts to steam as it impacts with those hurled fireballs.

The soldiers try to press their attack. One gets close enough to her as it swings its trident even as it leaps off the side of a tree and hurtles through the air at her, seemingly so heavy and yet able to float or perhaps glide through the air in an eerie manner.

And then perhaps as her attention is on another, a blazing bull monster of a fire creature rises up, riding on one of those lifted hillocks as it cocks back its arm and gets ready to throw its trident at her.

Only for a water balloon to splash against the back of its head.

"Y-y-you stay away from her." A weak voice is heard, nervous, fearful yet with a touch of steel to it as that young lanky kid named Will holds up a second water balloon in his hand.


Crystal is juggling earth, air, and water all at once, while trying to keep any of it from hurting the college students trying to flee. It's quite a lot to keep track of, and doesn't allow for much concentration on dodging tridents.

The leaping creature bowls into her mid-air, sending the pair flying toward the side of one of the buildings, but her attention is on the would-be hero on the ground. "No!" she exclaims, summoning a geyser of water to strike the bull before he can retaliate.

Hopefully the buildings are sturdy.


Her act of heroism is such a noble thing, it's a pity so few are around to witness it.

As that geyser of water slams into the great bull of a creature with the flaming hair, it knocks it back sending it sprawling as its skin abruptly darkens into a seething lava flow of black and crimson. It shakes it head, sitting up slowly like the minotaur of old, shaking its head as its skin cracks and flakes.

Will, luckily, takes this moment to flee. He hesitates for a moment when he sees the leaping creature pin her and he starts to head towards her… but something in Crystal's eyes seems to tell him to run, to go. Or perhaps something else.

The tallest of them starts to walk toward Crystal while its soldier wrestles with the Inhuman, trying to restrain her as it chuffs heavy heated breaths…

Only for there to be a sudden crackling sound of two icebergs passing so very close to each other. There's a blue flash and an abrupt chill in the air as a tendril of ice bursts forth like frozen branch in the mid of winter, slamming hard into the chest of the creature upon Crystal sending it flying back to crash amongst its comrades. And as soon as it hits the tendril shatters, showering those nearby with flakes of snow even while the temperature drops.

Standing some ten feet behind Crystal and holding a long blue sword in his hand stands Loki, his guise as Louis King having dropped and his silhouette garbed in the armor of Asgard. Green and black robes with silvered plates protect him as he spins the sword around and stabs its end into the earth, creating a circle of ice upon the ground that rushes forth to create an area of protection around him… and this strange young Inhuman.

"I am Loki, of Asgard. And I am bound to this land's service."

Yet even as he speaks a call goes out. Across the world, across the realms, from mind to mind a clarion call of alarm that strikes resonantly amongst Asgardians. It is the call to arms, a sound of great horns and loud drums signalling the call of war with the words from him.

// Amora. Thor. Heimdall. Muspelheim treads upon Midgard. I stand against them. // And suddenly the magics that block him from scrying, geas, and observation drop… and any being of the universe can now find him.


Crystal isn't entirely helpless. The pair slam into the building, driving the air from her lungs in a whoosh, but the Inhuman princess is too tough to let that stop her. She struggles with the creature, swinging a fist at its jaw and a knee at its side, but for all her strength, it doesn't avail her much.

Until, that is, that flash of icy cold.

Crystal takes a moment to recover, wincing, before she looks up to see her savior. "Ice," she pants, starting to push up. "Yes. That makes sense."


Amora had been enjoying herself, strong hands massaging her back with a deliciously sweet scented lavender oil. She sighed, closing her eyes as she lay on the fluffy white sheet of the massage table. She stretched languidly, soft jazz music played in the background of the spa. She quirked a smile at the handsome young man behind her, sighing contentedly as he worked out a knott on her lower back.

Then the sizzle of magic burned in her mind, the warnings of the crack in the realm of Midgard gaining her attention and she sat up with a frown. She waved off the man's question and dismissed him without further notice.

Loki's summoning followed and she stood with a curse. A shimmer of magic covered her as she cast one last glance around the room and travelled to where she suddenly sensed the Trickster God.

Magic flared in her hands, lime green and smoky tendrils climbing up her arms and around her body to encase her in her Asgardian armor. The dwarves of Nidavellir had done their work well. Green trimmed in swirls of gold covered her arms, and legs in metal unknown to man. A breastplate with similar etchings and embossed gold leaf hugged her chest and torso. To top all of this, of course, was the green and gold head-dress that sat proudly on her brow with raised edges. Cascades of golden hair tumbled down her back and fanned out around her in a magical storm of glitz and verdant smoke as she appeared.

Her gaze swept over the scene with surprise, lime green magic staining her hands still held out stretched in readiness. "Well, this is … interesting…"


The tallest of the fire beings stomps forward, each step leaving a burning crater of suddenly dead grass in his wake. He calls out a loud cough of a burning rumble that seems to draw his men back and around him. Angrily it slams its trident down upon the ground as it now espies not one in opposition to him and his, but rather three.

The assistant steps forward quickly and gives voice. "Odinson, you are not the prince we seek."

One of the creatures lashes its tail towards Crystal, snapping its jaws quickly as if getting ready to leap at her again, but that circle of ice upon the ground seems to crackle as it solidifies, growing stronger.

"We seek the Thunderer. His fall from grace grants us claim upon our rite of revenge. Exiled from Asgard, he is to be taken from Midgard and to toil in Surtur's mines." The assistant looks up towards the larger flame-based creature, then back towards the trio. "Produce him before us, lest the legions of Muspelheim march."

To which Loki responds, "I have no idea to whither my brother has wandered off. He is his own and seeks his destiny. You do Asgard and its holdings ill to threaten this land so." The heavy sword is drawn up from the ground and flips around to rest upon the trickster's shoulder. "Grant me time to send missives many, across the realms I shall fly and then we shall bring him before you to address your complaints. I adjure you to depart this realm until that time."


Crystal manages to push herself up from the ground just in time for Amora to appear in all her glory. Well. That'll give a girl a complex. Quietly, she brushes a hand over her simple cotton dress, putting herself back in order. She stays quiet as the others negotiate, but there's no doubt she's listening. She knows too much about statecraft not to.

When the creature snaps at her, she curls a finger, building a tendril of ice from Loki's circle to sway in front of it in warning.


Amora lowered her hands as the flame-be-decked creatures gravel out their orders, her magic swirling tightly about her person with sparks of gold and a myriad of green vapors. At their demand for Thor, she started, her eyes widening and narrowing in rapid succession as her lips peeled back in a silent snarl. She looked as if she would retort sharply, in anger, before Loki spoke. Then she settled back, her chest rising and falling as she glowered at the creatures.

As the silver-tongued Prince finished his diplomatic speech as it were, she settled a hand on her cocked hip, a foot stepping out to displace her weight.

"Well, there is a flaw in your manner of thinking," Her voice was soft, "You assume that Thunderer has been exiled. He has not. He is visiting Midgard out of his own free will. Therefore, your arguement is null and void. The only Asgardian to be exiled here.. is me." Her voice was low and sweet, sugary almost.. laced with an edge of arsenic. Her hand rose, a ball of green light fluttering between her fingers.


The creature that seems to be the leader snarls and its translator responds, "Then none in the Shining City would object if we felled you?" Quite the bit of dedication there in the translator to say that, no hesitation as if it did not care to editorialize.

Yet the presence of the others makes the creatures of flame to step back as several start to move towards the still blazing pillar of fire. The tall creature with its ten foot long trident points the weapon towards the trio of them and growls again. The translator adds, "You have one fortnight to meet our terms, lest we return in greater numbers with malice in our hearts."

With that the red creatures start to stalk back, turning away with tails lashing and flames licking at their forms.

Loki gives a nod in answer, still holding the blade in hand as he watches them step into the pillar. The flames flicker as each enters, then finally it goes out once they have all departed. It leaves the trio of them there alone… save for the students peeking out from cover, and then there's a faint voice of one of them as a young woman says quietly from the second story of the library that overlooks the quad.

"Prof… professor King?"


Crystal lets out a long breath once the creatures are gone, holding out a hand to smooth over the ground where the battle passed. She can't make the grass grow again, but at least it looks less like there was actual trench warfare going on. Which leaves…

The Asgardians.

Crystal turns to face the pair, giving them both a long look as she tries to decide just what the appropriate actions are at the moment. "Thank you," she finally says, plucking a bit of rubble from her hair. "I don't think I was going to be able to finish that myself."


Amora's stance didn't change for a long moment as the creatures spoke their grutteral words, her glaring at it in response to the question of felling her. A cold smile unfurling at her lips. "You may try it, darling." Her arms spread out at her side as she stood there, watching the creature walk back into the flames. As they vanished her shoulder's tense posture eased some what.

A worried glance swung around toward the Asgardian beside her, her magic fading to nothingness as she fell silent and stood beside him with.


Looking between the two of them, Loki frowns in response even as the other creatures leave. He turns towards Crystal, green eyes flashing as he gives her a nod, "You were brave to stand alone against them," He tells her this calmly.

But then he hears that young person voice his alias and he looks upwards. For a moment he gets a slight wry smile and holds up a hand, green light flickering into being and suddenly that young woman is asleep, her arms propping her head up on the railing there. He heaves a small sigh and looks between them. "Shall we adjourn somewhere private to discuss what has passed?"


Crystal hesitates for a moment, looking between the pair once more. "You're…exiled," she points to Amora, "And you are a prince here, away from your home, who is missing his brother," she summarizes, a flicker of amusement in her features. "Yes," she agrees. "It seems we have more in common than I might have imagined."


Amora watched as Loki cast his spell upon the mewling human, and a sigh dragged from her lips as she folded her arms and glanced toward the lone woman beside them. She hitched a golden brow upwards, looking over Crystal with a less than enthused stare. "Quite." She murmured dryly.

Then her attention turned more fully to Loki and she gestured. "Indeed, let us depart. I would rather not remain and garner further attention from the mortal population herein." She murmured.

"Lead the way, my Prince.."


"By your leave," Loki looks between the two of them and extends his hands to the side, holding his arms out as a faint surge of mystical energy can be felt. It surges and coalesces around them and then suddenly the world shifts beneath their feet, the circle of ice underfoot flickers, fades, then teleports with them with a rush of displaced air.

The world coalesces and brings them together back under the same sky, though perhaps several hundred miles away. It manifests as a surge of crashing waves at the base of a long, tall cliff. They're standing atop of the cliff, the face of it white and around them are scraggly and mossy grass and growths that give it at least some colour. For travelers of the world they'd recognize it as the Cliffs of Dover and luckily is free of observers.

Once he steps away from the two of them, Loki's armor fades, flickering out of reality and returning him to a much more normal looking grey suit with a green tie.

"You are of the Inhumans, if I heard you correctly. Might I know your name?" He turns to look at Crystal.


At Amora's look, Crystal once again smooths a hand over her skirts, self-conscious. And as she steps closer for the teleport, she shakes a hand through her hair, trying to make sure all the bits of grass and rubble are out of it. Elemental powers are impressive, but they just don't do much for looks.

She's steady through the teleport, unsurprised when they emerge elsewhere, though she does step forward to identify the cliffs before turning back to Loki. "Crystalia Amaquelin," she introduces herself with a slight, graceful curtsey.


As they arrived at the cliffs, and the magic subsided, Amora turned her attention to her surroundings. Her lips twitch as she leans over to admire the view of the cliffs around her, her hair whipping in the breeze to tangle playfully about her features. She closed her eyes, inhaling the fresh scent of the cool salt air around her. "..On the French coast the light gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.." She recited, a wink aimed toward the Trickster Prince as she preened.

In a haze of smoke and snap of her fingers her figure was once again that of the mortal guise she had donned previously. A white sun-dress lined in lime green snapped around her knees, a pair of sunglasses perched on her nose and a wide brimmed, matching hat sat on her crown of golden curls. She reached up a hand to secure it, and seemed to take the time that Crystal introduced herself, to admire her own figure in the cut of the new dress she had donned.

"Inhumans?" She arched a brow, "Ah so you must be another of the mortals gifted with power. How regretful I didn't see it on display.." She mused.


"Crystal," He touches a hand to his chest as he turns, resting a foot upon a small rock that might offer one of the few places to sit along this particular coastline. "I am Loki of Asgard, this is the Enchantress." He gestures towards her with one hand uncurling. He lifts his chin and asks, "Would you please relate to us what passed from your point of view?"


"I'm afraid you didn't miss out on much," Crystal replies ruefully to Amora, seeming at least a little more at ease once the other woman has changed into more usual attire. "Wherever they came from, whatever they were traveling through, I've never felt that much fire. Ever. They came through it, demanding we surrender the Asgardian. I tried to explain that no one here could find them an Asgardian, trying to put out the flames…which they interpreted as an attack, unfortunately, and responded in kind. Which is where you found things."


Amora frowned faintly at the retelling and she rose from smoothing a hand out over her skirts to fold her arms under her bust. She cast a glance toward Loki again, her lips pursing together into a thin line of thought. Then she was moving, pacing more like a small walk to the edge of the cliffs and then back. A hand settling to rest beneath her chin.

"Those were Surtur's minions.." She murmured softly, her brows pinched together briefly. "They threatened war.. but Surtur should be bound.." She was thinking out loud more likely than not, her words not particularly directed toward either of the two around her.


That causes a furrow to touch Loki's brow as he looks between the two young women. He shakes his head, "This bodes ill," A frown takes up place at the corner of his mouth and he murmurs, "Enchantress, please be so kind as to make sure Crystalia gets to where she wishes. I must away to seek out Thor."

With that having been said he turns back towards the Inhuman and smiles, "You were brave today, it was fortunate you were there."

And as the last word is spoken he bows to her and then abruptly flickers out of existence.

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