1963-08-17 - Keep the Home Fires Burning
Summary: Rescuing the Enchantress doesn't go as planned.
Related: Burning Dream Bridges
Theme Song: Queen of the Reich - Queensryche
amora thor rogue louis 


Once again the multi-dimensional hoppers are gathered there in Central Park's main overpass in the middle of the night. The street lights are dim, offering faint halos of light that give just enough illumination for the small cadre to see each other. At the arch of that bridge stand the gathered Powers, the one in green and black Asgardian garb with the silvered plate armor is standing before the faint shimmering that has served them as the gate to Muspelheim in the past. Again he weaves the magic, using a tertiary spell to insure they are not disturbed by mortals passing by on their way to an evening's recreation.

Over his shouder, Loki tells them. "Chances are the forces of Surtur may well know of this entrance to their realm and have set guards upon it." Of course this might have been something to know when they were speaking about their plan. "I suggest we break through and avoid contact with them if possible, then make our way towards where Amora and the princess are held. We will need to move quickly."

He looks back to his business as he lifts a fingertip and carves a rune in the air, "Make ready, warriors of Asgard." His lip twitches for amoment then as he adds, "And Scarlett."

*

Thor hardly looks the Midgardian right now. He's looking a touch more regal and a whole lot more 'warrior'ish, that which Loki's referred. He's at the forefront, peering into the enchantment dubiously, but truly only his brother could begin to discern that. Mjolnir hangs at his side, all the more obvious now, thanks to the armor that he wears. It's with a more stalwart and confident expression that he turns first to Loki with an exagerrated eye-roll. "Please brother, the theatrics? This is war, not a play."

Glancing now to Rogue, brows rise and his voice lowers as he points, "How long exactly has he been like this?" This maid must surely know, yes? He hasn't yet seen them too far distant; only on the occasion.

In a louder voice, then, Thor returns his attention to Loki and beyond. "Avoid contact, if possible. If they are watching the gates, brother, won't that be difficult? Or…" Magicks. Of course…

*

Woe to any who deem her a Power in her own right. By definition Scarlett is an anti-power, a null point in the fabric of space-time drawn specifically to devour the very essence of thought and soul by a solemn touch. Those dangers being as they are, her precautions are exceptionally simple: a pair of gloves buckled over her wrists and forearms, designed to permit unrestricted skin-to-skin contact. Viridian tones too are her birthright as a redhead, and among the Asgardians she might be the one most direly in need of a suit of light chain or a metal cuirass. Leather boots and, rather surprisingly, a pair of slender metal batons at her waist it is.

A nod provides a delicate acknowledgment to Thor, the elaborate set of her braids the one single tip of her hat (or bloody coronet, in this case) to Asgardian tastes. The bohemian set know braiding as well as the Norse weavers ever did, and they've done rather magnificent things with what they've got. "The statecraft may be for my benefit, my lord." Her voice carries a soft hint of amusement.

Will she be laughing later, rather lithe and unwarrior-like thing that she is? There's a particular turn of phrase the Muspelheim patrol have about the eldjotnar who fell down, thanks to her…

*

"Bah," Loki's smirk is amused, though a touch edged. "And here I thought you would be seeking a chance to be your terrible heroic self," The long silver blade that Loki holds in his off hand, swirls around as he casually lifts his arm and then /stabs/ the sword into the gap of reality through that sorcerously crafted rune. It causes the ripple to grow larger, flaring wide and suddenly looking like a glowing spot light aimed straight at them, bathing them in platinum light.

"A moment," He turns his back to the portal and lifts his hands, green eldritch energy flaring around them as suddenly they too appear as but heat shimmers in the air, standing there speaking to each other. But then another twist of the wrist and they can see each other rather well.

"Now, make haste!"

Rounding back he takes the two steps needed and then /leaps/ the distance required off of the bridge and into that spotlight, flickering out of reality and suddenly into the realm of muspelheim.

Only on the other side to be struck with that huge waft of heat and then voices of giants shouting, shrieking, "THE BARRIER IS BREACHED! DESTROY THEM!"

"I SEE NAUGHT!"

"THERE, THERE! AIM FOR THE LIGHT!" And suddenly the world is filled with blazing and blasting spheres of fire hurled all about them.

*

"Purpose drives this battle." As if it doesn't all those other battles? Thor gives his brother a sidelong glance, and a hint of a lopsided smile, "There will be time enough later." And then the stories they will tell!

Thor isn't half as graceful as Loki; in comparison, he almost lumbers, but the warrior does make it through the portal and once on the other side, catches the announcements of those tasked with watching the entrance of the portal.

The best laid plans, though… when Loki suggested going in quietly (of course he did!), Thor's always got 'other plans'. And, in this case, there will be a round telling of 'I told you so' the moment mead hits the table. Or maybe a whole lot earlier than that as fire streams out. Mjolnir is immediately in his hand, and with an easy flick of the wrist, it begins to spin and spin.. and spin, fanning the flames possibly in the other direction, back.. creating something of a barrior specifically for his brother's magicks to work in tandem. Blind 'em with the fire in front of them!

"So much for stealth.."

Thor can't help another glance back, first at 'Scarlett' and then Loki, brows rising. "Are you impressed, then, with such show?"

*

Two princes of Asgard by proxy prove a much larger, imminent threat than the missing Ninth Legion, the Nova Corps, or a single firebrand could ever be. Even going full Vargas Girl on an ICBM, they would not register her as a threat in the same constellation.

That suits Scarlett perfectly.

Muspelheim unfolds in all its infernal degrees of miasmic brilliance as Midgard's contribution steps forth into the incandescent barrier between realms. Faintest resistance clings to her and snaps away, delivering Scarlett into the breach. Far be it from her to stand around staring like a spellbound tourist. Soon as her sole touches the blasted igneous plain, be it bedrock or dressed stone, she bounds forward and lands behind the crackling flame-wall.

"With all due respect, would stealth not have required hiding you under a barrel somehow?" she answers, voice pitched to be heard over the cacophonous fire giants bellowing their commands. Hers may be odd for sharing a ghost of their inflections. Thor's question earns the rarest of all gifts, one of those fleeting smiles that could put the sun to shame for sheer radiance.

Then her gaze cuts past the Trickster towards any inbound missiles or signs of trouble such as, say, someone thinking to ride into battle on a giant-sized salamander.

*

Loki's sword becomes a focal point for him as he brings it up, three small translucent half-spheres serving to shield them in part from the explosions even as debris spatters and clatters around them, leaving craters in the terrain even while Thor creates that giant wall of fire, pressing the heat away with that blurring hammer and the wind it generates.

Raising his other hand, the trickster shouts, "On my call, we fly…" He gestures it in the direction they need to head, towards the large quintuple towered fortress that lies towards the horizon, seemingly built of onyx and standing terribly tall. "Thor, hoooold!"

The enchantment takes a few moments to gather strength, his brow furrowing as a small rivulet of sweat trickles down. Another blast explodes near them. Then he finishes the conjuration.

And suddenly a great cone of frost joins the wind created by his brother, crafting a wintery blast of purist blizzard that flares out like some great frost dragon's breath turning the burning landscape into a wintry wonderland as those giants stand there, staves in hand and with icicles hanging from their features.

"Go, now! We have little time!" He turns to the side, breaking into a quick stride and then /leaps/ into the air as two shimmery mirror-like wings manifest around the armor he wears.

*

Thor's covering for Loki's conjurations, and the pair work in tandem; a pair that has certainly fought side by side before and knows what to expect of the other. It's easy for the older brother, really, to fall into habit. This is familiar to him; homey. It gets the blood flowing and the need for battle does rise within the Crown Prince.

Blue eyes lift aloft as Loki points in the direction to where they'll fly, and as Loki calls 'hold', Thor does just that. The spin of Mjolnir begins to wind down to allow Loki to do what needs to be done. As the blasts get closer, however, the protector that is older brother comes out and he makes to position himself such that should something actually collide, he'll be taking the brunt of it.

Thankfully, the only 'real' danger Thor is in is the singeing of his red cape that flutters with the wind (what was that about heroic poses again?).

The moment Loki makes his ice, however, Thor's ready with Mjolnir, and spins up again, sending the shards of cold now in the direction of the giants even as Loki turns about and starts running. Scarlett is checked, making sure she follows before Thor brings up the rear, making sure that should any of the giants follow, he'll be the one that they'll have to contend with. He can also fly, thankfully, though aided, and with the spinning of the mighty hammer, the Prince becomes aloft, following his brother.

*

On Loki's warning, a key turns in the proverbial lock. Gravity releases Scarlett, uncoupling invisible tethers bind trim ankles and steel-reinforced toes. No blithe kite catching a spring zephyr, she rotates towards the onyx bastion on the horizon. Smoke and steam ascend in a helix distorted by the gathering focus bleeding colour from her face, and then she defies whatever physical laws govern Surtur's tormented realm.

On Loki's verbal word, a look is thrown over her shoulder, a salute in a faint and bright grin.

The air tears itself apart when she finally launches forward, her arms crossed in front of her face to block those ice shards likely to scour flesh clean. An initial burst of speed escalates by a magnitude and the air warps into something of a cone, fanning out around her.

Her path is not straight, cutting in a balletic arc meant to survey for any defenses and draw them off, but at that hellish pace even missiles might have a time of catching up to the redhead.

Eat dust, frosted giants and children of Asgard. Maybe Midgard can offer up a surprise.

*

As all good heroes bound forthwith, unto the darkened keep and fiery hellscape that held fair maidens. None traversed the rocky plain after them and none sounded the alarm or harkened the cry of intruders. The Princes bold and mortal bolder, would find no opposition in their flight, nor in their landing.

The darkling plain in which they stood upon was empty, with a hollow note ringing with each foot step trod upon the ashen soil. Before them, a great and terribly wrought fortress' portal yawned open, black iron thrown open wide as if in welcome to the visitors that trespassed upon the realm.

The only sound to follow their entrance the whistle of the heated wind that swept through the air and spokes of the gate that stood the lone observer to their approach. Above thunder clouds riot, rumbling in the distance.

No lights flickered to in the keep above. No sounds of life. Nothing. All was quiet and silent as a graveyard before a storm.

*

Sheathing the silvered blade over his back, Loki steps forwards and frowns, lifting his voice to remark. "I had expected there to be a welcoming committee." His black leather boots creak faintly as he starts towards the iron gate, his footsteps quick as he holds up a hand to cast a light within. Over his shoulder he murmurs, "I recommend we gain Amora's freedom first, thus she can aid our extraction of the princess should she be of sufficient humor."

A frown touches his features for a moment as he turns his head to the side, as if he heard something distantly, and yet was unsure what exactly it was. His brow furrows and he then tells the other two, "Be on your guards, something rests ill before us."

*

Thor lands with a *thump*, and as his hammer slows its pace, he's looking around. When it finally ceases its revolutions, it is held easily before him, partially preceding him as he treads. He, too, listens, cocks his head, but he obviously can't quite make out what it is that his brother hears.

The thunder in the distance, however… that brings a touch of a smirk to Thor's face. He'll be keeping an eye on that for use for later. (As if he couldn't call it himself? Perish the thought!)

"If it was up to you, you'd hear all the ghosts of its past, Loki. There's nothing. Come on." Thor steps forward now, sparing a glance to Scarlett. He even gestures towards her in example; "See? I bet she isn't near paralyzed with imaginings. Amora will be in fine humor to aid our cause." Because, why not again?

*

Yon gaping maw rimmed in hell-iron bodes ill for the dawn-tressed maiden. Deep malice makes too deep an incision upon the earth to conclude her activity, and be condemned by those honourable sons of Asgard. What prevarication might seize a less emboldened soul sloughs away at the frosted and thunderous reminders at her back, imparting their timely graces wherein even the lowliest serf might stand proud as a conquerer. Though she be neither, Norn-daughter descending, virtue her armament and the blackness of night at war with everlasting sky her aegis.

The lame pause passes as she burns o'er the firmament, tidings of a scintillating comet painted for those rare minions to twilit-charging Surtur prone to turning their heads towards a fell omen.

She consents to no sound to greet they who yet live and breathe, floating an inch from the ground. A very model of patience suffers the safeguards placed over her 'ere the slaughter, her gaze traversing the narrowed hallways by ceiling and door, anticipating something slant to attend upon them in all its defiance and grief for invasion.

"Suppose she reigns sovereign here?" It may be worth consideration. The gloves are loosened round her harpist's fingers, exposing fatal flesh to the kiss of air.

*

As the trio passed through the gates, none showed. As the trio balked at the silent keeper of the fortress, the iron gate, it stood still. Resolute. Unmoving. Yet again as the golden haired Princeling strode forward without pause the gate and the halls connecting remained silent. No other doors appeared as expected, however neither upon the halls great trimmings or secretly hiden behind a great basalt carvings was there a window nor hollow portal to be seen. Merely the huge stretch of the hall opened up before them, straight and lumbering. Tall and wide as any found in realms much more grander.

And then so it was, that two great doors stood out before them at the end of the length of such an expanse. The only ones to be seen in the entirity. There. Perhaps a trick of the poorly lit halls, but a flickering of orange and yellow bejeweled light could be seen beneath the doors.

*

The three heroes step forwards into the maw, with Loki's brilliant light illuminating the way. He frowns as he holds up his other hand, a flicker of greenish energy dancing over his knuckles as he sends small will'o'wisps off into the superstructure, each to seek and search and report back with what they find. He shakes his head, expression grim though a touch distracted.

His boots continue to make quiet clacks upon the floor while they move and then when Rogue offers her comment…

'Suppose she reigns sovereign here?'

Loki stops for a moment in his footsteps and cocks an eyebrow, looking straight at Thor.

*

There's nothing like dark and silent to really get one's thoughts running wild. With each step, Thor can truly understand why Loki is hyper-alert. Too much 'nothing' means there is bound to be something that leaps out at them. Something that would take the small group by surprise.

'Suppose she reigns sovereign here?'

Thor never for a moment thought it would be a statement.

The moment it is uttered, it is thanks to the closeness the brothers had in growing up; their jokes, laughter and tears that brought the fact they were more similar than different to the fore. With the look from Loki, Thor pauses in his step. He can't help it, he can't. Undoubtedly, it was meant well and in earnest. It was a statement that could perhaps aid their understanding around them—

No…

It's the look shared with his brother that causes first the Crown Prince to actually bark out a laugh, the sound loud and genuine. Laughter, for the moment fills the halls as his brother's own joins in that duet. There, it lasts for a good few counts, almost to the point where Thor has to wipe a blue eye due to the tear formed along the side.. and wipe it he does with a free hand, and a soft exhalation.

"I don't think I've laughed like that in a long time. For that jest, I thank you, Lady Scarlett."

*

"Naturally, my lord. I doubt laughter should be anything they expect." And by laughter, they mock their erstwhile hosts. Let dread by slain on the point of a young woman's deep sense of sardonic humour.

Point made even as the floating bohemian stretches her arms behind her, shoulders rolling beneath her heavy braids. Scapulae drive closer together to ease the perennial tension suspended across her back, and a satisfied release might be well and truly achieved. She then gives a faint shake of her wrists, limber as one can hope to have.

The sight of the two of them sharing in good spirits is enough to make the entire venture worthwhile. Make her fly around the towers a thousand times, it would be well worth the memory forming in her shattered psyche.

*

Wiping at the corner of one eye, Loki shakes his head. "Ah." He rests a hand upon the door and begins to focus his energies upon it, gauging the safety, the power invested in the structures, and likely what is on the other side. After a few more moments he gives a nod to the others in the party. "Come, let us be done here, I find that we have much to address once this quest is at an end."

With that said he puts his shoulder into the door even as he channels the force of that spell.

*

The doors open with a resounding groan of wood bound by iron. The creak of thousands of closure and openings, and echoed off the tall arches and massive pillars of the throne room before them. All blacken basalt rock carved upwards and lit by a massive, single enclosure of flame in the center. Upon a dias risen above, with an even more enormous spiked and iron wrought throne sat the very two that were sought after.

Amora sat perched, tiny compared to the seat. Her figure clad in red and twisted metals with blackened spikes. Flickering shadows illumined her features, a sickeningly sweet smile on her lips as she held a sleeping child of coal black skin and hair wreathed in flame on her lap.

Green eyes flickered upwards, their pupils sharpened to a cat's point, landed upon the two princes and mortal in the great gate's path.

"You certainly seemed to have taken your time in your arrival.." Her voice echoed upon the large and otherwise vacant hall.

*

Thor reaches out to put a hand on his brother's shoulder as he chases away the last vestiges of laughter. He shakes his head before he lumbers on, following his brother. When the doors are reached, he's beside Loki again, lending support with a push to the door to help open it with brute force coupled with the magery.

It opens slowly but surely to the urgings, and once it is open and Thor is able to get those first looks into the room, his lips form that smile, keeping the laugh as best he can.

A throne room indeed!

"What?" Thor's tones are light and familiar as he approaches, "And cut short your reign? We'd never hear the end of it."

*

Soldis Nornsdottir 1. Odinson 0-0.

At least on one particular front. The redhead scarce constitutes a presence here, dwarfed by the men placed rather deliberately ahead of her. She drifts step by step behind them, her boots settle upon the ground rather than be held aloft.

She meets no one's gaze here, and by the downward cant of her head might even be marked as properly modest. But then the vestiges of Muspelheim's children still whisper in her thoughts from time to time, their manifestations possibly guiding her even now. When in Muspel, and all…

*

"Love what you've done with the place," Stepping up to stand beside Thor, Loki lifts his voice as he spreads his arms wide, as if embracing the very situation. Then he lowers his head slightly as one foot eases back, a form of a bow that is rather well executed. "We come for Surtur's daughter, and Amora Incantare, the Asgardian who had been taken against her will."

He gestures behind him and to the side slightly indicating his two comrades. "Yet if you've decided to take over the place, then I doubt we'll stand in your way. We will have to have the child, however."

''Continued in Part Two.''

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